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My fair lady

Now that I had become master of the house, another question arose: should I remain at Remington’s castle? I had entered it to begin with as a symbol of peace between the humans and bluebloods. Now that I became the human representative myself, a new form of alliance would need to be forged. It was no hurry, of course, since it would take time for my father to fully transfer everything to me; until then, nothing had to change.

Nevertheless, discussions began as soon as we returned to his castle that day, to avoid getting caught off guard. There were two matters to discuss: me, Ellerie, and Calder’s unattended territory.

Remington, Arula, and I sat in the library again. On the table was not a map this time but the family history of the three houses—not mine, obviously. The easier issue to deal with was Ellerie’s, and so that was how the meeting began.

“More than sufficient time has passed,” Remington said, “Since the incident. Any ordinary human would have gained temporary magical energy by now.”

“She may protest fervently, but I will take her back home,” Arula proposed. “Ellerie no longer has any reason to stay here.”

Before Remington could respond or even react in any way, the door of the library opened with a dramatic bang.

Drama queen. I almost rolled my eyes but managed to remain stoic as a furious Ellerie stormed in. She was already frenzied as she entered, but when she saw the three of us sitting the way we did—Remington directly opposite of me, Arula next to me—her eyes widened even more, in rage.

“Ellerie?” Remington voiced, a bit too calmly. “Did the staff not tell you that—”

“That you’re having a meeting here with Arula and her! Of course they told me! You know what they also said? They also told me you’re planning to send me home and ditch the thought of marrying me. That’s why I came.”

Oh, Ellerie, losing your grace so easily because of a mere man. She hadn’t even bothered closing the door, as if trying to show to the world our evil scheme against her—when all that really showed was her own insanity. This could be confirmed by the frightened expressions of the servants outside as they looked at her.

“Ellerie—” This time, it was Arula who tried to intervene. He stood; Remington and I followed suit. While Remington and Arula advanced towards her, I stayed put, as was the only appropriate action for me to take at that particular moment. In fact, I backed off a bit, leaning against the wall next to the window.

Ellerie broke free as soon as her brother took hold of her arms, not because she had extraordinary strength but because Arula wasn’t trying to restrain her. Her gaze locked on Remington as she asked, “Is that what you’re going to do?”

Even now, she’s not trying to take the wheel of her own life, only letting others steer it. Even now, she is only questioning Remington’s decision, not claiming the right to that decision herself, I thought.

“There is no need for you to stay here,” Remington replied, “Your family must be missing your presence too.”

He didn’t even bat an eye when he said that.

Thus, Ellerie turned her attention onto me instead. Marching to where I was, she hissed, “You did something, didn’t you? Amelia was always loyal to me; she can’t have done something like that—or known how! You talked to her, didn’t you?”

I sighed.

“Lady Ellerie, my name is Larissa,” I said as the first thing, “Please don’t forget.”

“Oh, I would never forget that—”

“Thank you. As for whether I have spoken to Amelia at all, it shouldn’t be difficult to check.” Saying so, I glanced at Remington and arched an eyebrow. “I suspect that it has already been checked, in fact.”

Remington almost smiled there—knowing full well I was playfully accusing him of having ever distrusted me. The good thing was, that conversation had already been dealt with.

The blonde did not miss that exchange. I did not intend to let her stupid brain miss it. She glared harder.

“Loyalty...what about it?” I asked, shifting my gaze out the window as if sincerely thoughtful. “Who among the nobility is truly loyal?”

“I despise you,” Ellerie growled, drawing closer to me still.

She wasn’t really going to do that, was she? Right there in front of everyone?

“Lady Ellerie—” I began to say.

With all her might, she pushed me out the window.

Oh, wow, she was really going to do that, huh?

“—the door is open,” I whispered in a volume only she could hear as I fell.

I fell backward out of the window, and reached out with one hand as if asking to be saved.

Larissa! came the voice of Arula in my mind. He was really asking a question of whether I wanted him to lend me a hand—it was quite a simple deed, since we had a blood pact, he could teleport me anytime to his own location. The problem was, if he did that, it would be clear to everyone else that we had a blood pact.

That was why he asked.

No, I answered.

In the next millisecond, I found myself hanging mid-air on nothing. The fall simply stopped—I was neither lifted up nor lowered to the ground.

That was exactly what I wanted.

Everything else around me also stopped in the same instant. A moment later, Remington—the only moving thing in the world right now—appeared at the window. After confirming my exact location, he descended from the open window himself, slowly, and on his way down took hold of me. Under his influence, I too could not move, but he held me close to him so that we landed on our feet on the ground.

By the time we landed, fifteen seconds had passed, and the effects of his ability wore off. As a result, my initially outstretched arm dropped, causing my hand to slide onto his shoulder.

Remington held me still, not yet releasing me from his arms.

I looked up first at him, then the library window whence I fell, and then back to him.

“She is still watching, my lord,” I said softly.

“Let her,” he said.

Being this close for this long, I detected an abnormal heart rate coming from the Lord Remington. Out of excitement of my success, my own heart leaped in joy—and as I buried my face in his shoulder, I was quite certain that he, too, could feel my heartbeat, and most definitely mistook it for something it never was, and never would be.

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