Released from under the man’s body, Tinassha went to pick up the pitcher in question.
“Didn’t I tell you that my protection won’t work against poisons?! Please be careful. From now on, I’ll sample everything first.”
“If you are struck with aphrodisiac, I won’t be able to stop you.”
“Magic potions don’t work on me!”
Her blood pressure went up, and she was mad. Once she had calmed down a bit, she tilted her head in puzzle.
“I don’t understand the intention at all, but… It really was just aphrodisiac.”
“I think I know who it was, but I don’t have any proof.”
Oscar sat on the bed with his legs crossed. On his face was a naked disgust, which was unusual for him.
“Well, let’s get some proof then.”
Tinassha chanted a short spell and injected a magic composition into the remaining aphrodisiac water in the pitcher. In reaction, a faint, threaded three-dimensional figure formed in the air.
After the three rings were formed, she added a bit more chanting.
“What are you doing?”
“Figuring out who made this.”
“Is such a thing possible?”
“I think not. I mean, there’s no one trained to do this now. It’s an art that has died out quite long ago; probably I’m the only one who can do this now.”
Everytime Tinassha added more chanting, the figure changed shape a little and whirled around.
“I won’t be able to tell if it’s a practitioner I don’t know, but if it is someone I do know, then I can find out who it is. Look… hm…”
Tinassha had known the answer, and she looked at the revolving figure with more disappointment than ever.
※ ※ ※ ※
The next day.
Oscar was organizing some documents in his office. Tinassha made tea and brought it over, and he accepted it with a thank.
There was knocking at the door just then. It seemed like the one he had summoned had come.
The one who nervously entered was Carve, a potion expert.
“I have come as per your summon.”
He bowed, and Oscar offered him a glass filled with water.
“Do you remember this? Don’t drink it.”
Carve walked forward and accepted it. He stared at it fixedly and smelled it. He let out a sound, and his blank face turned pale. Tinassha looked at him with interest.
“Your Highness, why do you have this…?”
“Someone put it into the pitcher in my chamber.”
Upset, he looked back and forth between Oscar and Tinassha. Oscar was expressionless, but Tinassha nodded with a frown on her face.
When Carve realized what that meant, he bowed fervently at Tinassha.
“I am sorry!! Of course, it’ll be used like that! How I can apologize to you, Miss Tinassha…”
“Well, this is enough.”
“But this is the strongest! Just a little of it and you will lose all your reasoning in a moment.”
Carve’s face was as white as a sheet. Tinassha turned around and clapped her hands at Oscar in amazement.
“You should praise me more.”
Oscar thought she looked very lovely, clapping her innocently like that. He turned back to Carve.
“So, who asked you to make it?”
He hesitated just a little and spat the words out with a bitter voice.
“Duke Pasvar, Your Highness’ uncle…”
Oscar felt a headache coming with this expected answer.
※ ※ ※ ※
The current King Kevin was the eldest of three siblings. He had a younger brother and a younger sister, but both had passed away.
His younger brother, who had served as the Prime Minister, had died last month due to illness. His younger sister, who had always had a weak constitution, had died a few years after her marriage. She had lost her own child in the serial disappearances that had once shaken Farsas, and had had a sudden breakdown due to the pain.
Her husband, Duke Pasvar, was a famous snob. After her death, he built a mansion in Koras with her fortune, away from the castle city. There, he had been living a life of self-indulgence, far from people’s scrutiny. But a few days ago, after the festival had ended, he had returned to his residence in the castle city for some reason. He had come uninvited, but since then had been finding faults with the officials and spreading rumors about Oscar, whose work had increased, behind his back, meanwhile being all polite in front of him like a proper relative.
When Pasvar returned to his residence that night, he listened to his subordinate’s reports in his bedroom with a wine bottle in one hand.
“Do you know if the drug worked?”
“The preparation was flawless, but how well it worked is…”
“Well, we’ll just have to wait for the result then.”
Once his underling had withdrawn, he poured some dark amber wine into his silver cup and muttered happily, already drunk:
“That cheeky boy, seems like he keeps an elementalist close. He’s probably pale with fear by now after realizing how much he messed up. It’ll be even better if that story is true and the girl died.”
“The story you mentioned, what is it?”
A female voice suddenly rose up behind him. Startled, Pasvar turned around.
Outside of the large window, in the darkness, a blue moon had risen brightly. In the room, under its cool light, stood a girl. No one had noticed her coming in. Her skin was too pale, and on her beautiful, doll-like face, was a cruel smile.
“I want to hear it too.”
Pasvar instinctively realized the danger and his voice was becoming shrill with fear.
“Who are you?! Why are you here?!”
The girl gently floated into the air and drew close to him, her long black hair swaying as if having its will. Her deep dark eyes focused on Pasvar, and her petal-like lips smiled.
“Nice to meet you. I am Tinassha – The Witch. People usually call me The Blue Moon Witch… Ah, your nephew often scolded me for coming in through the window. Sorry.”
Pasvar became weak in the knees and sank down into the sofa. His tongue couldn’t move well due to fear; he opened his mouth as if gasping and muttered:
“It’s a pity that I’m not an ordinary elementalist, right?”
With those words, Pasvar finally understood that she was the elementalist he tried to set up, and that she wasn’t a cute magician at all.
“Why a witch…”
“What is that story?”
She asked, seemingly gently, but everyone in the continent knew that the might of a witch couldn’t be measured by her outward appearance.
Pasvar gasped out an answer:
“He’s cursed by a witch… Any woman who has a relationship with him will die before long…”
“If women died just from having a relationship with me, then there would be quite a few deaths since long ago.”
The voice of a young man, filled with astonishment, rose up in the room. When Pasvar turned around, he saw his nephew-in-law standing leaning on the wall.
“Y-you, when did you?!”
Oscar continued leaning on the wall with his arm crossed. He ignored Pasvar and said to the witch:
“Hey, wasn’t he surprised at you coming in through the window?”
“It’s convenient, so it’s alright, isn’t it?”
Tinassha picked up the report that had been thrown down onto the bed. It had information about Farsas’ human resources, domestic and diplomatic affairs, but nothing particularly confidential.
“So, Uncle, where’s that story from?”
“So the drug didn’t work on you?!”
“Now, did it work, or did it not… To be honest, I was a little disappointed.”
“Do you want to be blown away and get injured?”
The witch retorted coldly at Oscar’s joke. Still floating, she approached the man cowering on the sofa and creeped her pale fingers along his neck.
“From whom did you hear it? If you tell me, I’ll go back.”
Pasvar frantically tried to brush her hand away and shouted:
“I don’t know! I don’t even know the name! It was some magician!”
They looked at the man, who was at his wits’ end, then at each other.
“Do you think it was that guy?”
She glided over Pasvar’s head and quietly landed down next to Oscar.
“Unfortunately, he made the first move.”
“What does he want to do? I have no idea.”
Oscar rested his chin on his left hand and pondered while combing through the witch’s hair with his right. She partly closed her eyes like a cat being stroked. Seeing that scene, the man who was flattening himself to the back of the sofa shouted in despair:
“So the story about a witch coming and the curse is true! Serve you right! This is the end of your, and your father’s bloodline! Hurry up and die!”
Tinassha began to construct a spell, her eyes gone cold, but Oscar stopped her.
“Even so, it’s not something for you to worry about, Uncle. You should return to your Koras mansion without concerning yourself about things too much.”
Oscar said over his shoulder and started walking towards the balcony that he had come in through. But more abuse was thrown at his back.
“If you die, this country will be mine! You’re way too stupid!”
But Oscar didn’t turn his head at all, as if he didn’t hear any of that. Pasvar laughed like he had gone mad and the witch, the only one remained in the room, looked down at him in disdain. She walked towards him and suddenly whispered:
“His bloodline will not die out. Why do you think I came?”
Pasvar stopped laughing and looked up at the witch in shock. She smiled bewitchingly under the moonlight.
“His bloodline will not die out. And… ‘You can never come into this city again.’… Never.”
This time, he sank into the sofa like a puppet with its strings cut. He didn’t even have the strength to raise his head and just trembled slightly.
Tinassha looked at him icily and walked towards Oscar; he was waiting for her at the balcony.
“What did you do?”
“That’s how a curse is placed.”
She smiled with her eyes closed.
Moving through the dark night with magic, Tinassha sighed deeply. Next to her, Oscar was looking down at the town and admiring the rare scenery.
“What a wonderful relative you have.”
“It’s a fortune that I have no blood relation with him.”
He smiled dryly with his arms folded. The witch looked into his blue eyes.
“Somehow I feel sorry for you… I will definitely break your curse, one way or another.”
Below, the light of the castle had started coming into view.
Oscar patted the head of the witch with affection and regret. She was looking at him with eyes so clear, just like a little girl, so unlike how she had been in the mansion.
“What, do you want to marry me now?”
“I’ll find another way!”
Oscar laughed at her usual reaction. The residue of the foul mood from before had all gone.
Early in the morning the next day, Pasvar left the castle city as if fleeing without taking anything.
He then shut himself inside his mansion in Koras, and never left it again.