༺ Bitterness and Joy (3) ༻
Around 10 o’clock.
Siwoo didn’t have a particularly strong tolerance for alcohol to begin with.
He tried to match Takasho’s pace, despite him being a skilled host who was used to alcohol, and ended up vomiting all the alcohol he consumed.
Still feeling giddy, he stumbled his way toward Amelia’s lodgings.
Until the moment he saw the building, he had been thinking of turning in early because of his headache, but after he saw it, his nervousness took over.
The reason why he felt that way was because earlier, he rejected Amelia’s offer and went on a picnic with the twins instead.
Now, if Amelia were to see a drunken slave crawling in late at night, what would she think?
Siwoo didn’t feel down for too long though, as he somehow regained his confidence quickly.
He realized that this miserable life as a slave would be over in about a week.
The fearful life of worrying about the possibility of him displeasing Amelia would come to an end soon.
Though, he’d still have to be careful with his words and behavior, at least until the Count had fully wrapped up their negotiations with Amelia.
Siwoo swiftly opened the door and entered the building, holding his breath quietly so Amelia wouldn’t notice.
What he saw inside startled him.
From the outside, it appeared that all the lights were off, so it was reasonable for him to think that Amelia was either out or was sleeping in her room.
Never did he expect that she would be reading a book in a corner of the lobby, with a lit candle beside her.
Amelia’s sky blue eyes, which didn’t lose their luster even in the dim light, glanced briefly at Siwoo.
It seemed unlikely that she was waiting for him, but Siwoo still couldn’t help but flinch a little when he noticed her.
He had never seen her doing something like this around this time before.
No, it was rare for him to see Amelia outside of her research room or her room in the first place.
Siwoo wondered if he should greet her or not.
In the end, he decided to greet her politely and carefully.
Amelia gently closed the book and turned to look in his direction without saying a word.
Seeing her reaction, he suspected that Count Gemini had already spoken to her.
If that was the case, then it would be reasonable to think that she was waiting for him.
Siwoo could feel his hands getting sweaty.
“Since I have to start working early tomorrow, can I go to sleep now?”
Only then did Amelia open her mouth.
Then, the room fell into complete silence once again.
Why did she mention cake out of the blue?
Her action confused Siwoo for a moment. Amelia slightly lowered her gaze and asked him.
“Do you want to eat some cake?”
Siwoo walked unsteadily towards the sofa where Amelia leaned her body down.
On the desk, there was a plate covered with a silver cloche.
He couldn’t understand what was going on.
“There’s some left.”
Siwoo sat down cautiously, feeling a little self-conscious as if he was being closely watched.
He even took care to breathe quietly, out of concern that Amelia would be displeased at the smell of alcohol.
Then he realized that he was too used to this submissive mentality because of his years as a slave.
He kept looking at Amelia’s face.
Maybe, the reason why she was sitting here was because she wanted to give the cake to him.
As soon as he began to eat the cake, she opened her book again and continued to read.
And that was all she did, she didn’t start a conversation with him, nor did she actually have any business with him. The situation made him feel perplexed.
Siwoo devoured the cake without paying much attention to whether the cake went through his mouth or nose.
Though, it seemed like the cake would still be tasty even if he were to eat it through his nose.
When Siwoo was about to finish eating the cake, Amelia, who appeared to be engrossed with her book, suddenly offered something to him.
Not just one, but a whole pack of them.
It felt like she was trying to be kind to him.
No matter how much he thought about it, he couldn’t help but think that this situation was caused by something that Count Gemini had suggested.
Otherwise, there was no reason Amelia would suddenly act like this.
She probably was contemplating how to convince him to stay as her assistant by treating him better than the way she used to so that she could have a reason to turn down their offer.
Siwoo couldn’t get rid of the uneasy feeling and eventually gathered his courage to ask her subtly.
“Have you heard something from Count Gemini?”
It seemed like his guess was off the mark.
Amelia merely tilted her head in surprise after hearing him mentioning the Count’s name.
Seeing the movement of her usually straight brows, which were now arched out of confusion, he figured out that she wasn’t feigning ignorance about the matter.
Recently, her demeanor had a peculiar change.
He heard once that a sudden change in someone’s demeanor could possibly a sign of suicidal tendencies.
Maybe after living for roughly 150 years, her research had come to a dead end and she was starting to prepare for passing on her brand to an apprentice witch.
Such thoughts crossed over his mind.
But, he couldn’t keep entertaining those kinds of thoughts.
His head was too influenced by alcohol, he couldn’t organize his thoughts properly.
At that moment, Amelia murmured hastily.
“I will be going to Border Town tomorrow.”
Her words were categorized as murmurs because of how quiet and quick she spoke it.
Siwoo glanced at Amelia, wondering whether he had misheard her or not. But, he could only see her nonchalantly flipping through her book.
“Are you asking me to accompany you to Border Town?”
“Okay, I’ll make the necessary preparations. Thank you for the cake and the cigarettes.”
Siwoo entered his room without letting his guard down in case Amelia called him and said something like ‘Do you really think you can run away from me? Ha!’
“That was a surprise…”
Amelia’s eccentricity was getting more intense as days went by.
He would have preferred to endure a clear torment rather than receiving exuberant gifts that came out of nowhere. All the gifts he received only added to his discomfort more than anything.
Siwoo, who was about to take a shower before going to bed, was startled by the sudden sound of knocking on the door.
He had a reason to be startled by this.
Until yesterday, Amelia used to barge in and open the door as if it was the door to her own room, but this time, she actually knocked it.
She knocked the room of a mere slave!
He quickly put on his clothes and opened the door.
In front of the door, Amelia was holding a book, looking up at Siwoo.
Then, she explained the reason why she came here.
“Since it’s been a while since you last went out, I thought you might be tired. You can rest until tomorrow afternoon.”
Siwoo blinked, unable to respond to her words immediately.
‘Did I hear that correctly?’
“That’s all. Good night.”
‘What? Good night, she said?’
‘Did she say that to me?’
Without looking at Siwoo, who froze in surprise, Amelia walked back to her room with graceful steps.
Siwoo couldn’t understand the reason behind her actions.
After showering, Siwoo sat on the windowsill, smoking the cigarette that Amelia had given him.
He was pondering the inexplicable change in her demeanor.
It didn’t seem like she had heard anything from the Geminis.
After he became her assistant, she gave him a lot of things, starting from exquisite lodging, tailored suits, pajamas, even cigarettes and cakes.
Of course, the amount of money she spent for him was nothing much for her.
But, the amount of money she spent wasn’t important.
Her attitude toward him was.
For the longest time, she acted as if she could eat him anytime she wanted. That was why when she suddenly acted all friendly like this, he was more terrified than anything.
There were two possible reasons for this change.
One, she genuinely had a change of heart and was trying to make up for all the trouble she had put him through.
Two, while she didn’t show it, she might have considered him as her own person and tried to take better care of him as his superior.
He couldn’t help but wonder what brought this change to her, though he wasn’t seriously concerned about it.
After all, this dilemma he was facing would soon become irrelevant.
For now, he got to feast his eyes on Amelia while waiting for the promised time to come.
After all, there was no guarantee that he’d ever get a chance to converse with such a beautiful woman when he returned to the modern world.
Siwoo gradually collected his thoughts.
Originally, he planned to stay silent until the negotiation between the Geminis and Amelia was completed, however he decided that it would be better if he were to say a few words to her.
Since he would be leaving Gehenna soon.
It would be difficult for him to continue being her exclusive slave.
Along with requesting her permission to leave, he also intended to display the minimum courtesy to her.
“It isn’t hard for me to do it anyway.”
He had gone through a lot of painful things because of her, yet a few days of her kindness could make his heart feel at ease, it was astonishing.
It was getting late.
As he was about to close the window and go to bed, he noticed something hanging on the window above.
Several strands of black thread, fluttering in the wind like a dreamcatcher1Native American craft to catch bad dreams, allow good dreams, symbolizing protection and positive dreams..
No, those weren’t black thread.
Those were strands of black hair.
In response to his call, the flowing strands of hair descended gracefully.
Round forehead, mischievous purple eyes peeked through with playfulness.
“You’re quite slow to notice, Mr. Assistant. I’ve been there for the past five minutes.”
It was unthinkable that someone would go out of their way to come to his room to play this kind of prank on him.
But, there she was, Odile was hanging in the air like a bat, with her body wrapped in a cloak.
If this was their first meeting, Siwoo would probably get so terrified to the point that he’d get a heart attack, but this wasn’t their first meeting, so he was able to maintain his composure.
“Can’t you just come in here normally?”
“Should I go through the front gate right now? I’ll greet the professor while I’m at it.”
“Ugh, just come in.”
As Siwoo flung the window wide open, Odile swiftly glided into the room.
“Ta-da! I’m here too!”
Following her from behind, Odette popped out from the window and landed inside Siwoo’s room.
The twins invaded his room before he could move to restrain them.
Then again, even if he had time to react, he most likely wouldn’t stop them from enteirng in the first place.
“Before you tell me why you two are here, I assume you two are using the music box right now, right?”
“Yes, both of our music boxes in fact.”
Odile said as she flicked her two fingers open and close.
It was an adorable gesture that could only be appreciated due to her cute appearance.
“Wait, let us speak first!”
The headache that Siwoo felt from before came back.
No, actually, his head was hurting even more since the twins were here.
Though, he was actually delighted to see them.
Maybe it was because of the bond they had forged today. The sense of camaraderie from crossing the line of life and death together.
“We couldn’t have a proper conversation on our way back since we fell asleep in the carriage.”
“That’s right! We have so many things we want to talk about with you, Mr. Assistant!”
Despite the somewhat austere atmosphere of the room due to how old fashioned it looked, it became more vibrant the moment the energetic twins entered.
“You aren’t going to send us back just like that, right?”
“On a day like today, we have to spend the entire night chatting!”
“I get it, but can you two consider my situation a little? If Ms. Amelia found out, this would become a huge problem.”
The twins glanced at each other briefly before pointing to the window together.
“Well, we brought our carriage with us, so you don’t need to worry.”
“As long as we get inside the carriage, we can get as noisy as we want as we chat.”
“Also, we have a gift for you.”
That didn’t sound bad to Siwoo.
Besides, Amelia let him sleep until afternoon and judging by her recent attitude, she probably wouldn’t scold him even if he were to wake up even later.
He felt a little bit tired because of the alcohol though.
“Come, hold my hand.”
Odette jumped up and down excitedly while Odile reached out her hand as she opened the window.
The twins were really carefree.
He regretted not trying to get closer to them earlier.
Such thoughts crossed his mind.
The three of them escaped through the window using levitation magic, then went over the mansion’s wall before heading toward the rose garden.
“When did you bring the carriage here?”
“When we brought you here, we just left it here and went back home through the portal.”
That meant they planned to visit him again from the start.
“Our masters seem to be busy today and since there aren’t many days left to come and visit you like this in the future, we can’t just sit still.”
“Actually, we hope that Mr. Assistant can stay here with us.”
“Odette! I told you to not bring that up!”
“But, we’ve become so close… I don’t want us to part ways yet…”
Normally, the twins would keep their distance and walk a few steps apart from him, but now they were sticking closely to Siwoo’s sides while bickering.
It wasn’t about how long they spent their time together, but rather the quality of the time they had shared.
After they trusted each other as they put their lives on the line, their relationship had developed significantly.
Case on point was Odette, who had never been so affectionate before, but now, she was clinging to Siwoo’s arm.
Flowers in both arms.
A clichéd scene flashed through his mind.
Siwoo opened the carriage door, smelling the fresh and pleasant scent emanating from the top of the twins’ head.
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- 1Native American craft to catch bad dreams, allow good dreams, symbolizing protection and positive dreams.