She didn’t even ask for his name.
In response, the maid only smiled.
When Rufus knocked on the door, a sound came from inside.
Carefully going in, his grandmother was trying to raise up from the bed. Rufus hurried up to his grandmother.
“Lie down; it’s hard on you.”
“It’s all right, Rufus.”
Baroness Inferna shook her head and leaned her upper body against the head of the bed.
“While I’m still able to, I want to see you more.”
Rufus clenched his teeth tightly.
Grandmother must have a hunch, too. That the days she had left were not too many.
‘No, there’s still a long way to go.’ She has to have more, that’s why he wanted to check.
It was a bubble of hope, but he still wanted to gamble on that little probability. His grandmother may live for another year.
“Thanks to you, Rufus, I’ve come to the Royal Palace. Thank you.”
When Baroness Inferna coughed coarsely, he frowned with pain, as the sight suffocated him.
“Don’t strain yourself and relax, Grandma.”
Rufus brought Baron Inferna back and covered her with a blanket up to her neck.
“I’m sorry, Rufus. You came back, but I’m sick like this.”
“Don’t be sorry,” Rufus turned his eyes deliberately.
He couldn’t face his grandmother. When their eyes met, something seemed to pour out of his eyes right away.
Rufus walked out of his grandmother’s room with the maid. Because many ears were listening outside, he took her to his room.
“Grandmother,” said Rufus, who closed the door, with a low voice.
“How much time has she left?”
The maid, sitting on the sofa, kept her mouth shut. He guessed it was a question that she couldn’t answer easily.
Rufus plopped down by the maid’s side and pulled his head back helplessly.
Above the white ceiling that caught his eye, the image of his grandmother, who coughed painfully overlapped.
What a cruel afterimage.
“…next year,” murmured Rufus, with his eyes closed. “Next year, my brother is having a coming-of-age ceremony in spring.”
“Yes,” replied the maid in a small voice.
“Can my grandma see it?”
He couldn’t hear the answer again, and Rufus intuitively realized the meaning of the silence.
Edel was right. This year was the last year he could be with his grandmother.
“… it’s a week.” The maid opened her mouth carefully, breaking the chilling silence that had been filling the room for a while.
“She can live for another week.”
A week. Were there only seven days left? He had hoped she would stay at least until this winter.
“How does she die?” With both eyes closed, Rufus asked in a low voice.
As she wasn’t feeling well, he wondered how she would die. Would she never wake up after she falls asleep?
“Is it a death that can be prevented?”
If she’s not feeling well, why doesn’t he get some precious medicine and give it to her? Maybe she will feel better again.
“Is there any way to stop her death?”
‘Not yet, not yet.’
She had a hard time raising himself and his younger brother alone. Her ten fingers were swollen so much she couldn’t wear a gold ring. Only a thin frame is left on her body since she has never eaten anything delicious, and she has never worn a pretty dress.
“You promised not to ask anything else,” the maid said quietly.
“…yes,” Rufus quietly raised his head.
A promise was a promise. He couldn’t bother her any more.
“Are you sad about the predicted death of your family member?”
To the maid’s simple question, Rufus couldn’t possibly answer.
“It’s all right,” the maid rose quietly from her seat and walked in front of Rufus.
“You still have time.”
A small hand stroked Rufus’s cheek.1
Rufus did not refuse the touch.
He couldn’t resist the warmth that bloomed from the rough hands with several calluses.
Rather, he wanted to stay like this forever.
[Read this at https://blog.millenniumsnow.com ♡♡♡♡]
Time passed slowly.
He was heartbroken.
He was in bitter pain.
His heart was about to burst into pieces.
“It’s okay to cry,” the maid whispered to Rufus, who leaned his head in her arms.
As if to soothe a child, she swept his body, which was hardened by wounds.
Relying on the hand of the maid, who gently stroked his back, his tears were about to pour out.
He hated it. He would rather close his eyes.
In the imperfect darkness, the past came to his mind.
She was a strong and loving grandmother.
She was a lady who had lost her husband and proudly ruled the Inferna estate.
She read him a bed-time-story with a cup of warm tea before falling asleep.
She had patted his head without saying a word when he used mana for the first time.
After his parents died, she held up young Edel and urged him to stand strong.2.
She had held Rufus’s hands tightly when he was forced to join the subjugation forces. Then she welcomed Rufus, who killed the Devil and returned to her life.
‘I knew you could do it.’
She spoke so calmly.
Rufus couldn’t take it any longer and hugged the maid hard.
There was a tight squeeze coming out of his arms.
As she embraced the man’s body quietly, the maid didn’t laugh.
[rant]I felt this chapter, and I liked how many emotions we got from Rufus. Usually, it’s always the cold poker-faced MLs who are popular. I feel refreshed when I see how Rufus and Sarubia show emotions in front of each other.
Unfortunately, the next part isn’t a good one. I will wrap the next scene in one go, even if it ends up a little longer. That way I can put it behind me faster :1
Thank you for reading, as always!! ♡♡♡♡[/rant]