Once the curse was lifted, Jade’s body briefly blurred, then reverted to its normal form.
Jade scowled and scanned his surroundings.
As an ornamental sword lay at his feet, he made an odd expression.

“Are you okay?” Lobelia asked.

Jade’s frown deepened when he saw Lobelia standing in front of him.
“What happened?” he inquired, “I’m sure I fell asleep from the potion’s scent.”

“I removed the curse in your dream,” Lobelia explained.
“That’s why the Duke was awoken from his unconsciousness.”

“But why am I still dreaming?” Jade asked.

“Let’s say you’re half awake,” she said, “Lucid dreaming is a more appropriate term.”

“Lucid dreaming…” muttered Jade as he looked around.
Only then did he remember the contents of the dream and realize where this place was.
He laughed dryly.
“When I had an episode a few months ago, I managed to calm down after having partially destroyed the office.”

Following his words, there was a moment of silence.
Jade didn’t say a word, giving off the impression that he didn’t want to be disturbed.
Lobelia waited patiently in the background while he collected himself.
Even she, who had the knowledge of the Original, was taken aback.

“Thank you for waiting,” Jade said, finally snapping out of his deep distress, and smiled at Lobelia.
“You’re good at being a maid,” he jested.
Lobelia blinked blankly, then let out a gasp of realization.
Apparently, the experience of removing the curse in his dream had come as a huge shock to Jade.
It was expected.

He picked up the sword on the floor, hung it back on the wall, and looked back at Lobelia.
“You,” he hesitated.
Lobelia looked up at him as she was preparing to awaken from the dream.
“You told me you wouldn’t get hurt by the sword,” he said to her.
The light pouring down from the huge window cast a shadow over his face, obscuring the look on his face.

“Yes, I did.” Lobelia nodded.

“Is it because all of this happened in a dream?” he asked.

“Exactly,” replied Lobelia.
In the Original, when Jade first met Aina in his dream, he suspected her and tried to cut her with a sword, but Aina was unharmed.
The incident left Jade indebted to Aina and less of a villain. I’m not so stupid to risk myself, Lobelia thought to herself.

“I plan to do the same thing in the future with the circumstances that the Duke has gone through,” she said.

“Next time,” Jade grunted, “I want to be conscious from the beginning.”

Lobelia replied that she couldn’t guarantee that and led him out of the study.
When the curse was lifted, it affected the dream’s axis, and the space beyond the study lost its shape and became filled with a dreamlike haze of pastel colors.

“You’re going to wake up,” Lobelia said and held out her hand.
Jade looked down at Lobelia’s hand with a curious gaze.
A tiny sigh escaped Lobelia’s lips.
“Grab it,” she said.

“Is this necessary?” Jade asked, suspiciously.
“We’re not real lovers, and it’s kind of awkward to hold hands.”

Lobelia was dumbfounded, barely holding back the urge to laugh.
In the Evelentia mansion, he was so bold, kissing the back of her hand.
He, indeed, distinguished public and private; he couldn’t even bring himself to hold hands behind closed doors.

“It’s necessary,” she answered, “I entered the dream on my own, so only I have a way out.
If you don’t hold my hand, no matter how of a duke you are, you’ll get lost in your dreams.”

“I see,” Jade muttered.
Without further questions, he took Lobelia’s hand.
He felt awkward but remained silent.

“Imagine your body rising to the surface,” she instructed.
They made their way forward through the mist, and as the fog faded, they could feel themselves waking up from the dream little by little.

In an instant, everything changed.
The faint mist disappeared, and suddenly, a small woodland appeared.
It was winter.
The woodland was deserted, and a thick blanket of snow enveloped the trees.
At a distance, there was a girl in ragged clothing and barefoot.
Her pale hands trembled as she searched through the dirt and stones.

“What is this place?” Jade asked, confused.
He had never seen that child before, nor set foot in this place.
Lobelia, on the other hand, immediately grasped what had happened.
Since two consciousnesses shared the same mental space, she anticipated that such an incident might happen.

“It’s nothing,” Lobelia said, trying to stay calm.
“Ignore it.” She pulled Jade’s hand rather harshly to divert his attention.
But Jade stood there and wouldn’t budge.
She put more effort to yank him, but it was no use.

“But she’s shaking,” he said, “Shouldn’t we save him? If we leave her like that, she might die.”

Lobelia was surprised that Jade would show sympathy for the girl.
She simply thought he was cold and cruel.
She assumed that even if her memories and his memories were mixed in, he wouldn’t be interested.

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