With both hands heavily shackled, I stared up at the young man in front of me.
His golden hair, like that of an angel’s, was glowing with a faint light from the skylight that shined through the window, like how divinity was bestowed in religious paintings. No emerald could rival the brightness in his fresh verdure eyes, it looked all the more brilliant on that lovely, beautifully arranged features.
In short, he was an outrageously beautiful young man.
He made the man clad in the ink-black robe stand behind him and faced me.
「There’s no cause for concern. Although she was with the magician, since there wasn’t even a staff to be used as evidence, they will presume she was but a simple maid」
Slight relief spread into the young man’s expressionless features at the robed man’s report. He voiced his gratitude at the man, letting the man leave the room then gently came closer to me as I sat as is on the bed.
「I’m sorry for letting you go through that painful ordeal, Maritsia」
I realized the small key he held in his hand was for my handcuffs because my hands felt lighter.
「I’ve been looking for you the whole time since then. You’ve been forced to work under that outlawed magician, right? You can rest assured now. I’ll protect you」
The young man had once been that young boy, I’d realized.
For that reason, I made my body smaller to escape the arms that stretched out for an embrace.
The one who taught me that the origin of my name means 『prayer』 in an old language had been a young boy with soft blonde hair and striking good-looks. That’s right, the beautiful young man in front of me was clearly once that young boy, convinced of that, my skin crawled.
「I won’t let you run away anymore. My Mari」
In the hopes of shaking off the terror, I slapped his cheek using my unbound hand with all my might.
◇ ◆ ◇
「Teacher, what kind of magic will you show this time?」
My name is Maritsia. This spring, I’ll be turning 12.
Born to a family of farmers with many children, I was discovered by Teacher, who was right next to me, and became a magician’s disciple. Having taken charge of me who had strong magic since birth, it seems Teacher paid them enough money as compensation, but that doesn’t really matter. The truth of the matter was that I like Teacher, after all.
「Curious, Mari? Let’s see, in the house we’re going to this time, it seems there’s a young master just a little older than you, so why don’t we show something flashy?」
Teacher, who gives me a smile, looked cool.
The black-haired, black-eyed Teacher seems to be a famous magician in the field. The guest the other day told me that even though there were numerous offers for government posts that come even from the royal palace, he rejects them all. He looks to be around his twenties and we sometimes end up looking like siblings with a slight age gap, but since a well-dressed uncle who showed up in the studio bowed his head repeatedly at Teacher the other day, I think he’s a lot older than that.
What’s disappointing was that Teacher doesn’t teach me magic much. My job was to sweep and wash, and after that, to just offer my blood for Teacher’s research. Even though he taught me things like reading and simple calculations, he showed no signs of teaching me fundamental magic. With this, I wasn’t a disciple, I was just a maid.
「Mari, this is today’s stage」
I unintentionally let out an idiotic「Fwaa」 in amazement. I could only see the huge gate and the garden inside since the only thing visible of the house was its roof. I suppose it’s extremely vast. The house must be very magnificent too.
Once teacher told the gatekeeper his name and showed his wand as confirmation of his status as a magician, he informed the gatekeeper that he had been invited to today’s party. When he did so, the gatekeeper who had worn a terrifying face, showed us inside somewhat nervously.
Inside the well-kept garden, I was starting to see a very big house with white walls. Standing at the entrance door, an uncle, who was wearing black from top to bottom, bowed at us with a snap. It surprised me to see for the first time a bow that bent just the lower back like a branch snapping off rather than curling the back.
「Magician Iskatel-sama. Sorry to have kept you waiting」
「That should be my line, we appreciate getting invited as entertainment」
Upon Teacher’s words, the uncle who who wore black clothes from head to toe, once again, bowed his head with a snap.
「And this is?」
「Aah, this girl is my assistant」
I plucked the hem of my clothes and bowed as gracefully as I could.
「I’m called Mari. Please treat us well today」
Even though I greeted him enthusiastically, the uncle just nodded his head indifferently with a「Is that so」. I felt a little disappointed.
「Well then, Magician Iskatel-dono, please have the entertainment ready in an hour」
「Of course. Would you happen to have a waiting area? I’d like to get ready」
「We’ve made preparations. Please follow me」
Led by the uncle, Teacher and I stepped into the premises. It’s not the first time I’ve entered a noble’s residence, but I sense that even though they look simple, the decorations were pretty expensive. Even though I may look like this, since I follow Teacher everywhere, I have a good eye for it.
「Well then, I will call for you once it’s time」
When the uncle left the room, I unintentionally breathed out a「Buaa」 in relief.
「Yes, Teacher. The person just now… I don’t know whether I should call him meticulous, or proper… It feels like he doesn’t waste even his steps」
「That’s right. In some sense, 『proper』 is point on. A butler can’t show others a chink in his armor. You see, one’s shame is his Master’s shame, after all. That’s why they have to always show a 『proper』 behavior」
「That’s… a pretty hectic job. Is it a worthwhile job that you often talk about with a lot of responsibility, Teacher? 」
「That’s right. —-Mari, get ready」
Prompted by Teacher, I hurriedly pulled out a small knife from my bag.
「Because we’ll be showing them a small firework tonight」
I lined up the pebbles that were passed to me by Teacher on top of the table. At a glance, the stones look like the ones you’d find tumbling anywhere, but based on what Teacher said, it seems like there were small crystals inside it. Unfortunately, I can’t tell it apart from any other ordinary pebbles.
「It’s 15 in total, huh? Well then, I’ll start」
I slid the knife over my arm. A red line ran and partly puffed up as the blood swelled out into red beads from there.
（Was it too shallow?）
I pressed a hand to open up the wound and spilled my own blood drop by drop unto the pebbles I arranged.
「It’s ready, Teacher」
While I wiped the knife and stuck a gauze to my wound, Teacher started putting magic into the pebbles.
Teacher’s earnest eyes narrowed only for a moment then the pebbles glowed with a faint pale. I loved these moments. These are moments when plain pebbles, with my blood and Teacher’s magic, change into very magnificent things after all.
「Mari, drink the usual tea」
Probably realizing that I’ve been staring at him all this while, Teacher instructed me to do that. He gave me a soft smile when he saw me unintentionally making an expression that seemed to say「U-ge」 like he caught me in the act.
「Mari, you shouldn’t make that kind of expression. It ruins your cute face」
The 「tea」 Master was referring to was a medicine that I drink almost every day. It’s a brewed herb that has blood-forming effects, but it has an awful taste. I’d rather not drink that bitter-sour tea if possible.
「Mari. There are tea cakes here today, right? Would it help if you eat those immediately after drinking the tea?」
「But, Teacher. The tea really does taste awful」
「I’m sorry for forcing you. But, considering the amount of blood you supply me everyday, that tea is indispensable」
So, please bear with it for me. To Teacher who said all these, I shook my head back and forth in panic.
「It’s not something you need to apologize to me for, Teacher! It’s fine! I’ll drink it!」
As far as I was concerned, offering my blood to be of use to my beloved Teacher, was not something I hated in the slightest. Well, I did hate drinking the tea, though.
Still, Teacher worries about my health, so something like having reservations over drinking tea would incur divine punishment.
「So, Teacher… you don’t have to mind me, please use my blood as much as you want. I want to be useful to Teacher. That’s why—-」
The words that followed after ‘That’s why’, were stopped by Teacher’s hand.
「Mari, that personality of yours doesn’t change, does it? It’s fine if you despise me for making you supply blood, you know?」
I peeled Teacher’s hands, who was showing a slightly troubled expression, from my mouth.
「Nonsense! I want to be of use to you, Teacher! If it’s for that, I can endure a bit of pain! 」
Teacher had a smile that still looked troubled, but even then, he gently stroked my head.
「Even your hair has grown considerably, hasn’t it? Why don’t we cut it once this job is over?」
My hair, which I put together into a single braid, was now reaching my waist. It was black just like Teacher’s. My body, which seemed to be hosting powerful magic, was useful to teacher’s research not only for blood, but also hair. That’s incredible, me (my body).
「May I know whether the preparation will soon complete?」
「Sure thing. ―――Mari」
I pulled out Teacher’s robe from the luggage. An embroidery was sewed into the smooth, ink black fabric with silver thread. Similarly, I pulled out my own robe too. It was a simple one with black cotton that couldn’t compare to Teacher’s, but while crude, still had a embroidery fixed with a white thread.
「Then, shall we go」
We headed to the mansion where the young master’s birthday party was held. I’m pretty certain he’ll be pleased with the beautiful fireworks.
With my heart pounding in excitement, we left the waiting area behind.
If you’re intrigued with the story so far:
You can purchase the hardcopy of the light novel on its Amazon page
You can find the original webnovel at this link
Names may be updated in the future if/when I find more information on them:
(1) Maritsia / nickname is pronounced as Maree
(2) Iskatel: pronounced искатель (Iska-cheri)
(3) When Mari makes sounds like “fwaa”,”bwaa”, “u-ge”, the writing doesn’t explicitly say what her reactions say. This is my interpretations, and i may be wrong.