“I feel like throwing up…”

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The next day, I got off the carriage with my queasy stomach clutched in my hands.

It was not the first time I’d come home all the way from the academy, but I still couldn’t get used to it.

“Are you okay?” Arkhan asked worriedly as he supported me.

“No… ugh.” When I opened my mouth to answer, I gagged instead.

I felt like I was going to throw up in front of Arkhan at this rate, so I squatted to calm myself down a bit before standing back up.

“… Let’s go.”

“Me too?”

“Come in and have some tea before you go.
You drove me all the way here, so I’ll feel bad if I make you leave right away.”

Opening the mansion doors, I beckoned Arkhan to come inside.

“Then, excuse me.”

Arkhan, who had been leaning against the carriage, smiled smoothly and began walking.

With a squeak, the doors to the mansion opened, and my darting eyes that were roaming around for a servant landed on a familiar figure.


The butler, who had been walking down the hallway with a tray, turned and saw me.
His face began to fill with horror.


“Long time no see, butler.”

Panting heavily, I forced a smile.

“You’re on your way to Dad, right? Let me join you.”

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“How did you get here? I mean, with the Young Master Helis, too…” The butler stuttered with an astonished expression.

“Let’s talk later.”

Pushing off against the wall, I headed to the study.

“Dad, I’m here.”

“Yes, leave it there.”

The middle-aged man sitting at the desk reading documents answered half-heartedly.
He was the viscount of the Khalia Empire, the owner of Blair, and most importantly my dad.



His green eyes beholding me narrowed into slits.

“Do I miss her that much? I think I’m already seeing hallucinations,” Dad murmured, rubbing his eyes and shaking his head.

“No, Dad.”

I walked towards him in big strides and put a hand on his shoulder.

“I really am here.”

“… Kate?”

Dad blinked and his eyes filled with bewilderment.

“Why are you here?”

“You’re saying the same thing as the butler.
Dad, I told you.”

I leaned on the desk with one hand.

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“Vacation starts on the 26th.”


The pen dropped with a thud from Dad’s hand.

“Goodness, you’re right!”

Soon after, my dad jumped up with a panicked expression on his face.

Pacing around the study looking horribly apologetic, Dad lifted his head and asked, “But how did you get back here?”

“Arkhan gave me a ride back,” I answered, pointing towards Arkhan standing near the door.

“Hello, uncle.”

“Oh my goodness, I owe you a lot,” Dad said, embarrassed.
“I think I mistook the date.
I’ve been so busy for a while now, you see.
Anyways, I’m very glad you came back safely, my daughter.”


Still feeling sulky, I pushed my dad away as he tried to hug me and pouted.
“More importantly, how did you get the date wrong? You’ve never done that before.”

In the next second, Dad’s expression immediately turned bitter.

“It’s because monsters have come out of Grania Forest.”


Located in the granary area in the southern lands of the Khalia Empire, the Blair fief was quite affluent, but it consisted only of several rural villages.

The county of Helis had mines, at least, but the only things scattered around here were mountains, fields, and forests.
Except for the occasional hiker, there weren’t many visitors or tourists either.

In short, this was a very rural corner of the world.

Therefore, it would be the ordinary citizens who would be the most likely to get hurt when monsters attacked.

Gasping, my face twisted.

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“Uncle Charles…”

Uncle Charles was a simple farmer who used to run an orchard near Grania Forest.
I remember how he used to share his fruits with me often in the past.

There was no reason for something like this to happen to him.

“Oh my, Miss.
It’s been a long time.”

“Are you alright?”

A little blood was seeping out of the bandage wrapped around Uncle Charles’ leg.

Uncle Charles scratched the back of his head awkwardly.

“It wasn’t anything that serious.
There weren’t even that many, so I only got scratched up a little.”

“There’s no way that’s true.”

“No, really.
There were only one or two of them in total.”

Waving his hands, Charles laughed in embarrassment.

“But the Lord did say that once a monster appears, the population increases rapidly, so we’d better take action quickly.”


“All the knights went out to protect an old man’s house like mine, so I’m only sorry that I have to bother them like this.”

“So the reason the mansion was so quiet was…”

Because everyone had gone to guard the forest.

With a bitter expression, I looked out the window

“… I see.
You’re really okay, right?”

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“Of course.”

“Still, that’s a relief.
Please rest well until you’re better.”

Leaving Uncle Charles and his warm smile behind, I left the drawing-room.

Perhaps because I hadn’t visited in a while, the hallway looked especially clean.
Had they had a giant cleaning day in the meantime?

Closing the door and tilting my head, I turned to look at Arkhan.

I just realized he was still here.

“By the way, isn’t it about time you left?”

“Do you want me to leave?”

Arkhan lowered his eyebrows and made a pitiful face.

I slid my eyes away to avoid his persistent gaze.

“No, I’m not forcing you.
But won’t the Count and Countess be worried? You heard it too.
Monsters are popping up all around here.”

Glancing at Arkhan, I let my words trail off.

Red eyes bent into half-moon shapes.

“Are you worried about me?”

Without thinking, I nodded and replied, “Yeah… We can’t have your body be shredded to pieces by a monster.”

“You really have a talent for brightening up the mood of a room.”

With a small sigh, Arkhan swept up his hair.

“What are you talking about?” I turned away, scrunching up my face.
“Hurry up and leave already.”

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