They returned to the ducal estate.
It was probably because of Desian that she wasn’t tired after walking a long time.
Before she left, she should tell him in advance.
“Del, I have something to tell you first.”
At Desian’s direct gaze, Citrina held back her ponderings.
I feel like you’re not with me even though you’re here.”
Desian’s hand stroked Citrina’s hair.
He touched her delicately as he smoothed her hair, as if her hair was made of glass and could be broken easily.
“It’s like I can’t reach you even while I touch you.”
Desian’s touch slowly and cautiously sunk into her hair.
It seemed reverent at first glance.
It was as if Citrina’s average brown hair was the most beautiful gift in the world.
Citrina glanced at Desian’s hand and lowered her eyes.
Now was the right time.
But why couldn’t she say anything?
Citrina calmly handed him the bottle of fragrance she had just packed.
“Is this for me?”
This is my present to you.
Citrina looked at Desian.
She couldn’t see any sign of the evil deeds that she remembered from the book.
She felt much more at ease.
Now Desian could be happy.
Citrina opened her mouth once more.
“I think I’ll be leaving the duchy soon.
This is a parting gift for you.”
“… You’re leaving?”
Desian paid no attention to the fragrance he had called sweet.
Instead of a languid expression, a sharp gaze stabbed at her.
Desian’s voice dropped.
He spoke in a raspy voice and glared at her plainly.
Somehow she felt suffocated.
She thought he was a friendly and lazy man, but his eyes were shaking terribly.
Citrina knew as well.
He had a crush on Citrina.
Therefore he wasn’t used to heartbreak.
Citrina clenched her mouth as she tried to think of a way to appease him.
“I also want to make my own story now.
And there’s something I need to do.”
She hadn’t mentioned that she had wanted to do this from the start.
Desian’s gaze looked like he was going to break any minute.
It was an odd thing.
Was it possible to have eyes like that in a relationship between just friends?
“Is it not perfect?”
“If you want more….”
“Whatever it is, I can get it.”
There was a brief silence.
Citrina was tempted by that comment.
That was natural.
The Duke of Pietro’s Desian Pietro could back her up.
But Citrina knew she needed to follow her own aspirations.
“Del, thank you but I want to do it on my own.
And you’ll make friends other than me.
Then you might forget me easily.”
At her words, Desian though.
She didn’t even know his heart.
However he couldn’t stop her from speaking.
In Citrina’s eyes now, for the first time he could see her longing to accomplish something.
“And I’ve always thought this.
You need a new life just like I do.
Del, not me, not the duchy, but a new, friendly world.”
Desian spoke as if he were referring to an unfamiliar proposition.
“Rina, I’m not stupid.
That’s an excuse.”
Desian smiled beautifully after finishing that sentence.
He didn’t even need anything else.
From the first instant he looked in Citrina’s eyes, everything was clear.
All he wanted was Citrina and any indifference, aspiration, or tenderness in her eyes…and all of her other feelings.
‘I don’t want you to run away… I can’t let you go.’
He moistened his lips with is tongue, hiding his spiraling inner feelings.
At the end of that thought, Desian’s fingertips slowly touched her eyelashes.
Citrina’s vision was slightly obscured.
Her eyelashes curled around Desian’s fingertips like butterflies.
Desian felt it tickling his fingertips, the feeling of being connected to her.
Even though her eyes did not reach him, desire still wriggled in his stomach.
“I don’t need another world.”
Instead of simply saying ‘I want you’, Desian expressed it this way.
My world ends with you.
It was over already.
However he didn’t go as far as to say that.
In any case, she didn’t understand.
Slowly, Desian pulled his hands away from her eyes.
“You can leave if you want.”
“I will succeed and come back.
I hope you remember me in the future.”
Citrina jokingly asked, raising the corners of her lips.
She let out a mischievous laugh.
Desian answered her as usual, as if she had asked, ‘Do you have some time?’.
“I’ll be waiting.”
But Desian did not plan to wait for eternity until that encounter would happen.
“Thank you for saying that!”
It was enough to make the world she wants to see his own.
Citrina smiled at him.
She wouldn’t even imagine what he thought whenever he sees her smile.
It was dawn on the day she was leaving the Pietro Duchy.
Citrina was almost prepared to leave the annex.
Harold and the maids helped her pack.
“I look forward to seeing you again anytime.”
“Thank you, Harold.”
She had a lot of affection for Harold.
Citrina replied with a small smile.
It was then that Aaron came to visit.
His eyes were swollen.
Citrina tried to pretend she didn’t see.
“Aaron? What’s going on?”
“Citrina, take this.”
“What is that?”
Aaron handed her something.
Citrina scrutinized the unidentified jet-black box.
‘What could it be?’
Citrina glanced at Aaron.
“Open the box.
I made it myself.
It’s a magical music box!”
‘Desian also only gave me interesting presents.
You two are the same.’
Aaron had made that after she told him she couldn’t see him for a while.
I’ll open it.
Then did you cast a spell here?”
Actually, Brother helped me a little.”
Aaron confessed the truth with a puzzled expression.
‘I’m surprised Desian helped him.’
It must be part of brotherly love.
“Is that so?”
Citrina responded kindly.
Aaron grinned as he scratched his head.
‘Where is Desian anyway?’
Come to think of it, Desian wasn’t in sight.
Last night, they had greeted each other briefly.
Their passing words had been as short as a prayer.
Had that really been their last time together?
Citrina quietly brooded over their last encounter.
‘I couldn’t have left if I had gotten closer and more attached to him.
Besides, if I don’t leave now the gemstone that the jewel spirit is in might be gone.
You’re doing well, Citrina Foluin.’
She opened and closed her eyes.
“I think the carriage has arrived, miss.”
Harold said as he looked out the window.
Citrina climbed onto the carriage.
It was with a slightly heavier feeling than the first day she came here.
‘I got all of the slimes and mana stones that Desian gave me, and the music box from Aaron, plus the money to get me through.’
Instead of asking Desian to teleport her there, she decided to borrow the duke’s carriage purely because she was more comfortable with it.
‘When I return, we’ll be more mature and meet again.’
The day before, Aaron had cooked for her again.
Truthfully his cooking was not that tasty.
But Citrina gave him a smile.
Desian just looked at her.
His eyes were still clear.
‘…let’s stop thinking.
I have to think about something else from now on.’
Citrina bit her lip.
The coachman’s voice could be heard in the distance.
“Then we’ll depart for the nearest port.”
As soon as the attendant closed the door of the carriage, the coachman set off.
The baggage sat next to her in the same manner as when she arrived at the duchy.
Citrina looked at the view outside the carriage.
The carriage accelerated a bit more.
So bit by bit, they moved away from the ducal estate.
‘Bye, Del, I hope your future that I changed a bit will be a happy one.”
She brooded over what she had not told Desian.
Citrina let slip that much sentimentality.
The carriage left like that.
Citrina’s carriage soon arrived at the seaside pier.
As soon as Citrina got off, the coachman set her luggage down.
She watched for a while as the duke’s carriage left.
‘Let’s leave all lingering feelings in the sea, grow up, and come back, Citrina Foluin.’
Citrina stood on the pier.
The harbor air smelled unsurprisingly like the sea.
She smelled the salty scent of the sea, which was different from the nervous air at the ducal estate.
‘The ship will be leaving soon, so I’ll have to present the tickets I bought through Harold.’
Drunk on the romantic and sentimental atmosphere, Citrina boarded the ship.
Fortunately, Citrina had very little baggage.
There was only money, gifts, and a few clothes.
As soon as she entered the ship, a short boy who was one of the crewman approached her.
“We’ll take your luggage! As you know, this ship is scheduled to return after reaching the Drip Empire.
You’re going as far as the Drip Empire, right?”
The boy heard Citrina’s cheerful answer.
He checked her ticket one more time.
“You’re in the second room, right? That’s a two-person room.”
Walking through the ship corridor, Citrina thought the cruise ship seemed larger than she had first guessed.
Consequently it felt more like she was going on a trip.
The ship shook a little, but it felt cheerful.
“Here we are.”
The crewman slowly opened the door.
It felt similar to a normal room.
“If you need anything, you can speak into the magic stone on the table.”
Citrina nodded her head, admiring the evolved form of magic.
Citrina entered the room, relaxed.
Although it was inside a ship, the room was similar to a general room as it was meant for long term travel.
The was a bed on each side of the door.
There was a table in between the beds.
‘Perhaps… there’s another passenger.’
With that in mind, she put her luggage on the left bed.
Citrina sat comfortably on the right side of the bed.
Citrina looked for a place to set the music box Aaron had gifted her, and her eyes touched the small bedside table with the round stone on it.
“If this is a magic stone, it looks pretty rough.”
The magic stonework was crude.
It was true that the concept of crafting something was not commonplace in the empire.
Citrina placed the music box Aaron had gifted her next to the magic stone.
The narrow tabletop was already full.
“What kind of magic was used here?”
She forgot to ask that question.
Citrina tapped the music box.
Something small fell from the table to the ground.
“What was there?”
Citrina bent down and picked up the something that had fallen.
It was a gem.
The door opened.
“Oh, is there someone new? Nice to meet you!”
She heard a bubbly voice behind her back.
Perhaps it was her roommate using the next bed.
“Yes, nice to meet you.”
Citrina put the jewel in her hand on the table and turned around.
The woman did not lower her enthusiasm in the face of Citrina’s calm tone and demeanor.
“I didn’t know anyone would be sharing this room!”
She strode up and shook hands with Citrina.
She was like an eager puppy who hadn’t met anyone in a long time.
Her attitude was tremendously sociable.
I also didn’t know.”
“Where are you headed?”
“There’s something I want to do.”
There was no need to explain about learning jewel crafting from the dwarf or finding the jewel spirit.
“Wow, you’ll surely achieve it!”
Citrina interrupted lightly.
She meant, ‘Let’s stop talking’.
But the woman didn’t seem to want to stop talking.
“Ah! Come to think of it, we haven’t given our names yet.”
“Yes, I am Citrina Foluin.”
Citrina said as she lightly brushed her hair behind her ear.
Now that the small talk was over, she had to go up on deck and look at the coastline.
“Nice to meet you! I am Adilac Antigone.”
“Yes! Why do you ask? Do you happen to know me?”
‘Of course I know you!’
Citrina was inwardly appalled.
‘… why are you coming out here?’
It was Adilac Antigone.
They were the genius craftworker in the future in the original work.
The person Citrina was looking for was right in front of her.
But there was just one problem.
“…I don’t know.
This is my first time hearing that name.” Citrina looked at Adilac Antigone and thought about how she had imagined them in her head.
Long hair, okay.
Green eyes, that was right.
The fancy dress was also fancy, so okay.
There was only one problem….
It’s a woman.
It’s a girl.
Does that make sense?
There was a scene in the original work in which Feinmann introduces the character as a man, but of course it seemed to be pretty vague description…….
‘No wait, is it a different person with the same name?’
Citrina prided herself in having seen quite a bit in her life.
Wasn’t it common in a film or play for a character thought to be a man to actually be a woman with a masculine name?
They must share the same name.’
Adilac Antigone was not a common name.
A foreboding hunch crept in.
“It’s so nice to meet you.
Ah I’m so glad I’m sharing the room with someone else.
I was really worried.
It’s my first time sailing.
“Ah, I see.”
Citrina nodded and studied her appearance carefully.
‘Alright, you can’t be sure yet, Citrina Foluin.
Maybe if I wait a little more.’
“Ah, by the way, are you interested in jewelry? I am on my way to a jewelry atelier in the Drip Empire to study and become a jeweler.”
‘Isn’t this obvious?’
But wasn’t this person supposed to by a mysterious enigma? Where the hell had this motormouth come from?
‘Alright, calm down, Citrina.’
In any case, Citrina had been met with luck.
And there was no way she was going to miss this opportunity.
“…are you on your way to the jewelry atelier? You must be interested in jewelry.”
Citrina spoke in a friendly manner.
I’m going to the jewelry atelier.”
“I also want to learn about gemstones.
Which atelier are you going to?”
“Oh, that’s great! Nice! I’m going to Ronata, the biggest jewel atelier in the Drip Empire.
Would you like to go together?”
Obviously, Citrina had not spoken all that much.
When she opened up to Adilac, the words started pouring out like a leaky faucet.
‘How could I miss this stroke of luck with meeting Adilac?”
Citrina smiled and agreed.
Let’s go together.”
“Oh! I have a companion.
I’m so excited.
Shall we toast?”
‘Companion? All of a sudden?’
Citrina smiled awkwardly.
“I’d like a smooth cocktail.”
Said Adilac as she clapped excitedly at Citrina’s acceptance.
Things seemed to be going strangely well.
Anyway what was this subtle feeling that the mystery had not been completely unraveled?
Maybe it was because Adilac had turned out to be a woman, so why did she hide her gender in the future?
At that moment, the ship began to bob.
At last, the cruise departed.
That night on the deck of the cruise ship.
Citrina tried to enjoy to atmosphere after a long time.
The night sky was filled with stars like specks of salt.
“So is that why you’re going to improve your skills?”
That’s about right.”
It was enjoyable except for this person, Adilac Antigone.
Citrina was trying her hardest to get a better understanding of Adilac.
She carefully questioned Adilac.
“So what about your family?”
I have parents and an older brother.
They all think I’m the pain in the neck of the family.
“So is there anyone outside of your family interested in jewelry?”
Adilac shook her head at Citrina’s cautious question.
Everyone is interested in business except for me.
Therefore my family really hated that I was born a woman.
Normally business is a men’s club.
So I was urged to dress up as a man.”
Little by little the mystery began to unravel.
Citrina listened carefully.
“Anyway, I ran out of my house on the night of the meteor shower wondering why I should change my gender.
Looking at the stars, I wondered if I could become a great craftworker and I hope to make that come true.”
She didn’t know why Adilac gave up dressing as a man.
But Citrina was somehow heartbroken.
She realized there were many different types of families in the world.
There was no such thing as a beautiful, ideal family.
As Citrina was lost in sentimentality, Adilac continued to chatter.
“Phew, I have a few worries.
I’m not good with my hands so I don’t know if they’ll accept me as a student if I go the the atelier.
I’ll be glad if I don’t get kicked out.
I heard they cut all the gemstones with magic too, so I might not be able to do it.”
‘I can’t keep up with you because you’re too talkative.’
Citrina managed to pick up on a few of her words.
“In short, you’re having trouble because you future is uncertain?”
“Yes! That’s right! Few people understand what I’m saying the first time, but you get it right away!”
People never knew what would really happen.
She didn’t know that the Adilac who would dominate the world and become a master in the future would be so insecure.
“How are you bad with your hand?.
You’re going to be a genius.”
Citrina shrugged her shoulders.
She didn’t need to hear more of the story from people who would be happy in the future.
However, Adilac seemed to find her words hilarious.
“Me? A genius? Ha, ha, ha, ha! That’s a lot to say.
I’ve seen geniuses, but this is the first time I’ve heard someone called that.”
Adilac laughed to the point of tears.
“Then just take my word for it.
It’s good for your mind to believe in only good things.”
Citrina said indifferently.
As Citrina looked at her, she saw Adilac wipe tears from the corner of her eye.
“If not, you won’t have any hope…..”
It seemed that most people didn’t understand their endless possibilities.
“What will be, will be.”
“Thank you! Ah, do you want to hear about my interest in jewelry?”
Citrina looked at her seriously.
“It all starts wit the story of my great grandfather Chanho Bag Antigone, who was the 29th generation of the Antigone Barony.
Adilac spoke in a somber tone and clenched her fist.
‘Ah, I made a mistake.’ ‘Citrina had overlooked the face that Adilac Antigone was extremely talkative.
“…so Chanho’s ancestors bought a vineyard and it was a big hit.
So they buried some jewels there….”
“Ah, you found the buried jewels?”
“No! The jewels were there for a hundred years, and then another hundred passed by…”
After ten minutes of listening, Adilac’s voice was lulling her to sleep.
Listening to her speak, Citrina felt languid.
As the gentle night wind blew through her hair, Citrina nodded off to Adilac’s voice acting as a lullaby.
As the ship got closer to the Drip Empire, they were unknowingly growing more intimate.
The ship sailed leisurely across the sea.
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