‘Look at them….’
Elody sighed at the lovebirds in exasperation.
Brien and Marie were of similar age. Both didn’t have a lover and they were often caught stealing glances at each other.
“Oh, look over there. Madame!”
The sudden call broke Elody’s train of thought, her eyes gradually fell onto the object of attraction, a cavalcade.
They seemed to be peddlers from a foreign country as they were donning exquisite outfits. The costumes with striking patterns lit up the day, a riot of color to rival any gardener’s paradise. The cavalcade was attracting all wandering eyes and pervaded everyone’s senses. Beautiful colors surrounded the streets making it quite a sight. However, merchants on the streets seemed to have a sullen expression, they were dissatisfied because the foreign merchants took the attention of their customers.
“They’re the famous merchant guild, Rhondia, right? I heard they sell the best goods in the whole continent…. They must have come a long way to our territory!”
“Looks like they’re on the way to the capital.”
“Yes, I guess so! I’ve heard of how famous they are…. Woah!”
Suddenly, a strong smell of perfume loitered over us creating a subtle atmosphere. The aroma is warm and inviting, but the fragrance was… musky.
Brien’s expression hardened for a moment, while Marie’s cheeks turned pink like roses, the color so vivid against her pale, freckled skin.
‘Um….’ The perfume seemed familiar to her. Elody thought she’d roughly remember seeing it in the novel.
‘Ah, that’s right!’
There was a chapter in which the female protagonist misused a perfume.
It was a famous perfume that came from the East, not the common ones, but rather, the ones to seduce the opposite sex.
Of course, the peddlers didn’t just sell that one type of perfume. They also sold common flavors like floral or fruity scents.
Unexpectedly, the heroine used the wrong perfume, and in the end, the male lead, Caville, had to save the female lead who was in a difficult situation because of the paralyzing aroma….
Then, there is a scene where their lips collided into each other while hiding together in a narrow place.
In short, the perfume led them to their first kiss….
Elody glanced at Caville, who held her hand tightly.
“What’s wrong, wife?”
Elody shook her head at Caville’s innocent question. Meanwhile, Brien and Marie were blushing, both faces burned bright as they coughed away their embarrassment.
Suddenly, a brilliant idea flashed into Elody’s mind.
‘Why don’t I study perfumery?’
Perfumes were fairly lucrative items. Elody would be able to bring in a lot of money if she were to succeed in selling them.
‘It’d be good if I could get a sample or two.’
“Marie, are you going to buy that perfume?”
“Oh! um… you needn’t worry! Children don’t need to know.”
‘But…it’s just perfume….’
“…No, I’d like to buy one too.”
“Huh? Your grace?”
“I’m going to research and study perfumery. I’d like to sell them so I can gain profit. Not that one of course, but the regular ones.”
At Elody’s words, Marie became even more embarrassed and confused, her mind scattered like a scared rabbit as she blinked multiple times.
‘How does she know about the perfume when I didn’t tell her about it?
Marie thought that Elody knew because another maid told her. It must have been Emily, who usually enjoys mischievous jokes.
‘That blabbermouth! How could she say such things to a young girl…!’
She suddenly felt awkward, even going as far as attempting to hide her face behind her lean fingers. She could feel the heat growing in her cheeks. By now they must have been as red as ripe strawberries.
Unable to deal with the embarrassment, Marie ran away, saying she had things to do.
“Ahem…,” Brien coughed and awkwardly fiddled his red ear.
‘Why are they so shy when they’ve just met? It’s embarrassing to watch.’
Elody clicked her tongue in disapproval and held Caville’s hand. As she started to look around, she noticed that the market had become even more crowded.
“That’s quite the crowd. Sir Vedos, don’t take your eyes off of Caville.”
“Yes, I understand….”
All of a sudden, a swarm of people started rushing towards a merchant that sold goods at a ridiculously cheap price and the streets became completely overcrowded.
Suddenly, a person crashed into Elody.
“Oh no, wait…!”
Elody accidentally let go of Caville’s hand and he got caught in the crowd that kept flowing down the wide avenue.
A pile of people continued to pass by and Elody was pushed back for a long time.
The market was hectic and they were trapped in an endless sea of people. Elody couldn’t see which way Caville was headed. She couldn’t even see if she was going to bump into a wall or crash into a person.
Finally, Elody managed to get away from the hordes. She looked back at the many people that crowded the streets and searched for Caville, but he was nowhere to be found.
She started to move amongst the crowd, her eyes darting more wildly with each passing second. Then, she saw a tall figure standing in the corner of the road.
“What should I do? I lost Caville!”
Brien’s expression immediately darkened and Elody panicked. She called out Caville’s name in a quivering voice, hoping he would shout back, but to no avail.
“Caville!” she shouted, as it became even louder until many heads were turned in her direction. It was too dangerous for him to be alone.
Elody’s sight suddenly caught on to a dim light which oozed through a narrow gap in the alleyway. Without a second thought, she looked down the stretch of the alley, and there he was, his small figure could be seen from the shadows.
Elody’s heart, which was pounding nervously, finally calmed down. She couldn’t be more relieved to have found him.
‘But who are those people?’
Next to Caville, were two boys that surrounded him. They didn’t look much older than Caville, however, they were indeed taller than him.
“Hey! You were adopted by a rich merchant, weren’t you?
“His clothes seem expensive. Let’s take it away!”
It was a bad situation.
Elody quickly approached them.
“Stop!” Elody shouted.
Caville was shedding tears. He was confused and surprised.
When Elody stretched out her arm, Caville immediately ran towards her and gave her a big hug.
“…What? Wife? You’re telling me you’re married? You? A seven, no, eight-year-old kid?”
“You hit the jackpot, huh,” said the two children as they chuckled at their own remarks.
‘What’s wrong with these people?’
“Did you guys hit my baby?” Elody retorted.
“…No, we didn’t hit him. What do you want?”
The boy with freckles on his face asked menacingly.
“Who are you? How do you know Caville?” said Elody.
“We were in the same orphanage as him. Why?”
“Yes, we ran away from the orphanage, with dignity! I’ve had enough of the boss…” The freckled boy paused. “He’d beat us up from time to time…”
“Others got adopted to rich families while we became pickpockets….”
“Hey! I told you not to say that in front of anyone!” He fumed.
The boy with freckles was outraged by his accomplice’s slip of the tongue. Out of the banter, they glared out of anger towards each other.
“Caville, are you alright? Were you scared?”
Caville nervously hugged Elody’s waist and clutched her clothes tightly.
“Look at that coward, are you hiding behind your wife’s skirt?”
“HEY! You better keep your mouths shut.” Elody snarled.
The two boys seemed a little surprised by Elody’s sudden shout. They bit their lips as if she had broken their pride and ego.
“You… you little!”
The boy full of freckles raised his hand as if to intimidate her, but Elody was not scared. Her face was red with suppressed rage, and when the boy tried to set a finger on her shoulder, she swung around and mentally snapped.
She grabbed the boy’s hair and pinned him into the wall.
“Don’t you dare raise your hand towards me, you insolent child.”
“Alright! Alright! Let me go already!”
Then, Elody tightened her grip.
”If an adult scolds you, you obey them. Understood?”
“Ahhhhh! Hey, do something about her!”
Then, the child next to him immediately rushed to Elody.
But Brien, who appeared just in time, stopped the child.
“Madame, are you all right? But… what are you doing?”
Elody released her grip from the boy’s hair and whisked the hairs that remained on her palm.
When they saw Brien, the two boys looked dejected. They turned their gaze to the sword on Brien’s waist.
“Who are these children?”
“They used to live in the same orphanage as Caville.”
“…Let’s get out of here!” the two whimpered as they ran away in fear.
Elody clicked her tongue with regret.
‘I should have scolded them more.’
“Huh? What’s that?” asked Elody.
The freckled child had dropped something on the ground.
“It’s an old brooch, isn’t it?” claimed Brien.
“Seeing as the gems glow, I think it’s an artifact.”
Elody looked at the brooch Brien handed over. It was her first time seeing an artifact. Brien was right. Pulsing from the gem was a strange, bright light.
Artifacts meant relics containing ancient magic. They’re usually created by mages. It was a huge luxury that only the greatest of the nobles could have.
Artifacts were, in short, disposable magic tools made from specific spells.
Of course, the older it is, the more valuable it becomes. Artifacts containing real ancient magic were rare in the first place.
Then, a sniffling sound could be heard. Elody turned her head and glanced at Caville.
“Caville, are you alright? Look at me.”
Caville stopped crying and looked at Elody.
“You were afraid, weren’t you? My poor baby…”
The moment he got separated from Elody, everything went black. His face paled and his feet gave out. He was afraid he’d never get to see Elody again.
Caville then hugged Elody tighter.
He cherished the warmth of Elody’s gentle touch. He was frightened out of his wits when her hand slipped out of his grip. Caville was terrified of never seeing Elody again. Just the mere thought of the idea emptied his heart.
Never would he have ever imagined that behind the dark days in the orphanage, someone would love him unconditionally. Her aqua tinted eyes would brighten at the sight of him as if he was her most precious person in the whole world. Her existence brightened his world and he didn’t want to part with her. Only after the encounter with those pickpockets did he realize how much he treasured Elody.
When they were accidentally separated, Caville’s vision went black. His heart was racing and he couldn’t breathe, it felt as if he was drowning in despair. All he wanted to do was curl up into a ball and wait for Elody to save him.
Suddenly, two boys stunned him out of the endless wave of people.
They were shouting at Caville and their stands were menacing, yet Caville couldn’t hear a thing. All he could think about was Elody.
‘You left me.’
‘She showered me with care and love every day, walked with me in her free time, yet she still abandoned me in the end.’
Just as the dimming light in Caville’s heart was about to disappear, Elody’s sudden emergence broke him out of his stupor. Nevertheless, the anxiety that filled Caville’s lungs still didn’t subside.
‘Elody might abandon me.’
The paranoia and anxiety were eating Caville alive.
‘No! She can’t ever abandon me!’
Caville’s expression turned dark.
‘I can’t be abandoned….’
He was afraid.
The elders of the orphanage always said so.
‘You were abandoned for a good reason. Useless bastard!’
Dirty curses would hurl out of their mouths. Outcast by his family and frightened of nature and society alone, he had nowhere to call home.
Lonely, starved with warmth, the little boy stared into the dark abyss.
Elody said the adults were nothing, but those painful words couldn’t be easily forgotten, and they left a deep wound in his heart.
The memory he tried to suppress began to resurface and all of them came out like sharp thorns. Scratching his heart until it bleeds once more.
‘You’ll be abandoned.’
‘You deserve it.’
‘You are just trash that nobody wants.’
The nauseating whispers filled his thoughts and tortured his mind.
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