the Original, the duke went out to subjugate immigrants on the orders of the emperor and was attacked by a man who practiced sorcery.

Normally, the duke is able to suppress the curse, but whenever he wields his sword, the curse overpowers him without his knowledge.
The curse was the reason why he had acted like a sadistic man during the swordsmanship battle.

“I can break that curse,” Lobelia said.

“How?” Jade asked reluctantly.
He wanted her gone at this very moment to deny this curse she claimed he had.
But he knew he shouldn’t.
If he remained the way he was at this rate, he’d turn into a monster in five years.

“The curse creeps on you when you fall asleep, and it’s especially powerful at night.
Wait, can I take out what I’ve prepared?” asked Lobelia.

Jade nodded, and Lobelia took a small perfume bottle from her pocket.
Not only did she discover the duke’s curse in the Original, she also gained knowledge in magic.

“This is a sleeping potion I made.
It’s only a temporary solution and not the definite cure, but by using this you’ll know whether or not I’ve been truthful.”

Lobelia placed the bottle on the table and said, “If you confirm that what I say is true, summon me”.
When Jade didn’t say anything, Lobelia lowered her head in a small bow and took her leave.

With Lobelia gone, Jade sank into a chair and exhaled the breath he had been holding.
His eyes glowed dangerously as he stared at the potion suspiciously, eventually holding it in his hand.

* * *

Lobelia quickly returned to his uncle’s manor after her visit to the duke.
She hoped her arrival wouldn’t alert anyone, but unfortunately, the person she least wanted to run into was waiting for her.

“Lobelia,” called Marlon.

He was trimming the branches of a flowering tree in the garden when Lobelia arrived.
Lobelia swallowed involuntarily, not from fear or worry, but to resist the urge to snatch the scissors from Marlon’s hands and stab him at once.

Marlon looked down at Lobelia with his sunken eyes and questioned her, “Where have you gone for so long?”

“I went to the temple to pray.” Lobelia pulled out a token of blessing from the temple.
She had stopped on her way out of the duke’s residence to pick it up.
After Julia was cremated, Lobelia continued to pray at the temple where her mother’s ashes were stored.

“Oh dear, you must have gone there again,” Marlon sighed.
“It’s good to pray in the temple, but in the future, be punctual and come back.
Isn’t it already past the afternoon tea time?”

“I am your protector,” Marlon added, “and I hope you don’t do anything that worries me.”

“Yes,” Lobelia replied, lowering her eyes.
“I’ll keep that in mind.”

Now go where you need to be.” Marlon ordered, oblivious to his niece’s thoughts.

Lobelia waited until Marlon disappeared before heading to the outhouse.
Upon arriving, she took off her robe and draped it over the chair, sighing.
She had expended a lot of energy pretending to be docile.
Oh how badly she wanted to stab him right then and there, but he should not die an easy death.

You’ll have to taste everything I’ve been through.

She had already taken the first step, which was meeting the Duke of Ferrado.
The only thing she could do now was await his reply.

To congratulate herself for a job well done, Lobelia headed to the kitchen to brew herself some tea.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.

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