I had only been to the imperial palace, but it was already night.
It was also a dark night with only moonlight and starlight outside.
It's time for everyone to be asleep, but rather than going to bed, I was getting ready to go out.
It was because there were things I needed to prepare before leaving for Terrian.
“Duke, do you really have to go out at this time?”
Even as she helped me prepare to leave, Anna continued to worry.
I knew why she was concerned.
At this late hour, when everyone else was asleep, I was rushing to go out alone.
Still, there was a reason I had to go.
In the novel, the Saintess appears around the time when human casualties from a sandstorm are great.
Waiting until that occurred was unacceptable.
At that point, Theodore's reputation would have already hit rock bottom and his anxiety would have grown.
So, I needed something to replace the Saintess right away, something to stop the sandstorm.
“I need supplies.”
A genius wizard who possesses vast magical powers but lives in hiding after killing his master and running away.
I needed he who, in the novel, appeared out of darkness.
In the middle of the night, I rode my horse through the back alleys of the capital.
All of this was to head towards the Darkness.
The one I was looking for had stayed at an inn until he met the female lead and became known as the 'Madman' of the back alleys.
Of course, like any novel, he was a madman with a backstory.
The teacher who raised him when he was young was a very inquisitive wizard, and he used his genius, talented pupil in many experiments.
It was explained that the soul of this young man had become dark due to this torture masquerading as experimentation.
He looks for the right time while building his strength and, eventually, kills his teacher and runs away.
This teacher was one of the sages of the Mage Tower, and the Dark Mage came under the pursuit of the tower’s wizards.
To obtain the female lead, the madman resolved “In the future, I’ll come to dominate the Mage Tower.”
Because I had already read about that obsession in the original novel, my current mission became even more frightening.
However, I had no intention of running away because I now needed this madman.
‘If you attack, I'll have to fight and take you by force.’
I tied my black horse at the inn's stable.
The horse neighed.
While stroking the mane of that bleating horse, I looked at the inn's nameplate once more to confirm it was the correct location.
“The light in the dark.”
He will be living here.
When I stood in front of it, my heart trembled.
I'm not a heroine who can tame the dark-hearted or make them fall in love with me.
I was a supporting character that could be said to have a mere supporting role; no, just an extra, so I didn't know how he would react to me.
“Well, I can’t stand here forever.”
It was better to go in right away now that the decision had already been made.
Finally, after making sure the hood of my robe was on correctly, I opened the inn door.
“So it is. I…”
“Ha ha ha. That's funny.”
“This time, I hit the fleeing thief on the shoulder like this…”
As with most inns, the first floor here also seemed to be used as a space for guests.
It was crowded with people eating, drinking, chatting with their groups, and with men sharpening their weapons.
It was full of an air that was too lively for such a late hour.
This was natural.
This inn was for outlaws of the back alleys.
It must be morning for them.
An employee who noticed me standing at the entrance and looking around hurriedly approached me.
“Do you need anything?”
“I am looking for someone.”
“Who are you?”
The moment I tried to say the name I had come up with, a raw scream of pain was heard.
In an instant, all sounds stopped.
But even that was short-lived. Everyone just glanced at it and resumed doing their own thing as if they were used to it.
It was the same with the employees.
He sighed calmly in front of me.
“Ugh. I knew it would be like this. Don't make bets with Mr.
Wolf? Perhaps the protagonist of the uproar…
Wolf was also another nickname for the darkness I was looking for.
Originally born in a brothel, he was born without a name and was given a number that he was called by when he later met his teacher.
Although he is more often referred to as 'crazy' now.
Without hesitation, I moved towards the place where the screams came from.
“Uh? customer! If you go there… … customer!”
Ignoring the waitress who tried to call out to me, I strode forward.
Seeing it up close was very brutal.
Even though I don't have a weak stomach, it was to the point that something vomit was about to come up.
The thumb of the left hand of the man, who shuddered intermittently with his head down on the table, was cut off.
And that thumb….
It had fallen in front of a man.
The man with long, black hair closed his eyes in amusement.
“So why are you trying to make a bet with me? Huh?”
Then he looked at me.
Suddenly, the man's pale green eyes flashed dangerously.
“You want to bet with me too?”
Usually, that light green color would evoke a feeling of freshness, but the man in front of me looked rather creepy instead of refreshing.
‘This man must be Wolf.’
Dark hair, light green, strange eyes, thin lips, and behavior as though he has a few screws missing.
Everything matched the description in the novel.
“There is something I want to ask you.”
“Please. By the way, I don't do anything unless it's interesting.”
Wolf stood up.
I didn't notice it when he was sitting, but when he stood up, he looked quite tall, as tall as Theodore.
Wolf gradually approached me.
Even though I was wearing a hood, it was as if he was going to look inside it.
Something dangerous flashed in his eyes as he met me.
He raised an eyebrow and smiled.
“Ah. You are indeed intriguing.”
I followed Wolf to his room. It was an ordinary room with only a bed, wardrobe, and table.
I stood at the entrance.
Then Wolf, sitting at the table, motioned with his chin.
Taking it as a sign to sit down, I sat right across from him.
Then, without asking what kind of request I had, Wolf started explaining about the down payment and fee should he succeed.
It's fortunate that things were going as I had hoped, without any problems, but on the other hand, I felt uncomfortable.
‘Why was he being so obedient?’
I decided not to question it. Maybe I could get the answer I wanted to my request.
I was the one in a hurry, so first I put down the 10 gold for a down payment on the table as he requested.
Wolf immediately took the 10 gold.
It was okay to ask now because he had accepted the money.
Only then did I ask Wolf about what I had been curious about.
“Aren't you going to ask what's going on?”
Wolf clapped his hands as if he had finally remembered that question.
“Ah. Didn't think to ask that. So what do you want?”
I couldn't possibly follow Wolf's logic.
He had just cut off someone else's finger not too long ago.
Now he was… It was to the point where I doubted if he was the same person.
I was already tired at the thought of taking such a long journey with someone who was so difficult to predict.
I opened my mouth after wiping my face once as if I was wiping my face dry.
“I want you to get rid of the sandstorm that is being created in Terrian. Of course, you can't just go, you have to be disguised as my attendant.”
If he moved separately from me, Wolf would not be able to enter Terrian.
It was unlikely that a fugitive would have an ID.
Therefore, it was safest and most effective to go dressed as my attendant.
In a way, it was like asking for two things. Deep down, I was worried that Wolf would hesitate over this.
However, he reacted unexpectedly.
He twitched the corners of his mouth and nodded his head as if he liked it.
“I like it.”
I felt a bit uncomfortable for some reason, but I calmly took off the hood that was covering my face.
Since he accepted my request, it was time to introduce myself formally.
“My name is Rosenta Estella. I am the Duke of Estella.”
The room was dark, and my dark blue hair had lost its light and looked black.
I was wondering whether I should shine some light on my hair in case someone misunderstood and thought that I was lying because of the color of my hair.
“Ah… … Also.”
‘What did he say?” I couldn't hear properly because I was thinking about something else.
I turned my gaze to Wolf and asked.
Wolf shrugged and smiled at me.
It looked like he really didn't say anything.
Then, naturally, he moved on to his own self-introduction.
“I should also introduce myself.”
Is that his only response?
I thought that if he saw my true identity, he would react in disbelief.
Under normal circumstances, there’s no way that a person with the status of a duke would make a request to a madman in a back alley.
However, Wolf seemed to feel that it didn’t matter.
“My name is… … .”
I interrupted Wolf from continuing his remarks.
“I know, Mr.
Wolf. Please take good care of me.”
Wolfe was silent for the first time.
He looked at me with a blank expression on his face and smiled.
Then he muttered, “Yes.”
Wolf, what are you doing? ah… … .”
When I called Wolf's name once again, his hand reached out toward me.
Wolf pulled me to him by the nape of my neck. It was a quick move.
In the blink of an eye, Wolf's face was right in front of my nose.
It was so close that I could feel his hot breath.
He met my gaze and said.
“Please take care of me, Duke.”
He licked his upper lip and gave me a coquettish smile.
As soon as I returned to the castle, I fell asleep in my bed without changing clothes.
I had to leave for Terrian as soon as I woke up, so I was trying to get some sleep.
Come to think of it… I brought Wolf and entrusted him to Anna…
When I woke up, I wondered ‘Where is Wolf…’
I was about to ring the bedside bell to call for Anna as usual but stopped.
A stranger entered my field of vision.
It was Wolf, who was wearing a butler's uniform and smiling brightly.
“Are you awake, Duke?”
When I last saw him at dawn, Wolf was wearing clothes that were ill-fitted.
But now, his long black hair was neatly tied back and he was wearing a monocle.
Both hands were even wearing white gloves as though he were a real butler.
Beyond that, everything was meticulously groomed and tailored, down to event the buttons on his uniform.
“What’s going on….”
“The butler's clothes were better than the servants’. Please call me Butler Wolf from now on.”
“No, why… … .”
Wolf cut me off.
“Duke, you should prepare to leave now. I understand that you are departing from your companion's mansion. Your clothes were prepared in advance by Anna.”
It was a flawless performance.
Wolf was playing the role of butler so perfectly, no, he was acting almost as if he had been possessed by one.
My head was pounding.
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