Cecille’s violet eyes sparkled with intelligence, and her face radiated confidence as she spoke.
And above all, there was an unusual and powerful charisma about her that belied her eight years.
Isaac hesitated for a moment and then turned his gentle gaze toward Cecille.
“Let me see… I thought the clever young lady on this side was the client.”
He tapped the desk with his index finger and smiled slightly.
“Working for Duke Bartholomew is certainly an interesting challenge. Well then, shall we discuss the details? Young lady.”
* * *
“Let’s see… If it’s as this exceptional young lady says.”
After listening to Cecille’s detailed explanation, Isaac spoke while flicking his fingers one by one.
“To improve Duke Bartholomew’s environment, there are three main tasks: first, hiring staff; second, mansion cleaning; and third, checking and replenishing supplies.”
‘He’s fast in conversation, as expected.’
Cecille had known about his abilities for a long time.
Naturally. Isaac Goldman was the Empire’s top freelance problem solver.
To be precise, he wasn’t at that level yet, but he was scheduled to reach it in about ten years.
‘Goldman is one of the people who once pursued me.’
There were many who had pursued Cecille, but Isaac was one of the most threatening enemies.
‘The memory of almost being killed by his twin blades is as sharp as yesterday. I thought my heart was going to stop back then.’
The memory of that day was still vivid.
The day Cecille came out of her hiding place to pick herbs, she was ambushed by Isaac in the dark forest.
Even though she was already a powerful mage back then, she hadn’t noticed Isaac’s presence.
The sensation of the cold dagger touching her neck. The more she struggled, the tighter the strong arm wrapped around her.
Those chilling moonlit eyes, shining with determination, belonged to the same man she now faced.
Even though there was a 20-year time gap, it was still hard to believe.
‘Back then, I eventually fought him to the death and drove him away, but I was also seriously injured and couldn’t leave the hideout for two weeks.’
Isaac initially pursued Cecille for the bounty, but he later became one of the key adversaries of her greatest enemy.
And after that, he had made several attempts on Cecille’s life.
‘I almost died a few times, but now there are no personal emotions.’
‘Considering the many wicked things I’ve done and how much I learned about him during that pursuit, it’s no surprise.’
People who share more about each other than their comrades have a bond as enemies.
The exchange of information while clashing with weapons is more truthful than a few words, Cecille believed.
‘Other than his obsession with money, he’s surprisingly straightforward and trustworthy. I can entrust him with this task without any worries.’
Isaac initially pursued Cecille for a bounty, but in the process, he encountered Cecille’s numerous misdeeds and developed a sincere sense of duty to eliminate her.
Finally, he realized that he couldn’t capture her alone and entered Duke Bartholomew’s service as a subordinate of Valentine Cervérios, a holy knight of the Church, who was sent to exterminate Cecille.
‘On that side, he was an adversary so bitter that it infuriated Duke Bartholomew. I shouldn’t meet him again in this life.’
While Cecille was reminiscing about the past, Isaac spoke.
“You’ve come well-prepared. The three of you are certainly a handful for me.”
“So, are you going to take on this job right away?”
“What’s the problem?”
Isaac chuckled, clasping his hands together.
“I understand that you’re quite clever, but promising to take on this job right away is a bit tricky, considering your age of eight and the fact that you have practically no financial means.”
“So, the success of this contract depends not on you but on Duke Bartholomew, who holds the purse strings. Even if you want to hire me, if Duke Bartholomew doesn’t allow it, you’re out of luck, aren’t you?”
Even after hearing the rejection, Cecille didn’t show any signs of being flustered.
Instead of being flustered, she raised the corners of her mouth slightly.
“As I expected.”
“You seem to know the reason for this passivity. You’re afraid of being rejected, aren’t you?”
His nonchalant attitude gave way to a hint of tension.
He turned to look at Cecille, who didn’t seem flustered in the slightest. It was the first time he had felt flustered since they entered this place.
He tried to cover it up with a relaxed smile.
“You’re quite cheeky, young lady. Is this not some sudden joke?”
“It’s not a joke at all. You have such remarkable abilities, yet you’re just swatting flies in the office. The reason is that you’re a heretic.”
Cecille pointed to one of the walls in the office.
There was an old tapestry hanging on the wall, a unique item Cecille had never seen in the palace.
The tapestry depicted a beautiful tree with branches spreading out.
Around it were intricate patterns that seemed to hold religious significance.
Additionally, on the nearby shelf, there were several unique candelabras with multiple arms.
“You’re a Tetragosian, right? So, despite having these abilities, you’ve been rejected all this time because of it, right? This country doesn’t treat heretics well.”
The Empire had a state religion. The official religion was the Tetragosian Church.
For a long time, the Empire had rejected religions other than the state religion.
Isaac belonged to a minority ethnic group with their own special religion, which had prevented him from realizing his extraordinary talents for a long time.
‘In his previous life, Isaac joined the ranks of holy knights and eventually converted to the state religion, the Tetragosian faith. This could have been due to being influenced by the character of holy knights or the strong desire to eliminate me, but…’
After abandoning his long-held faith, Isaac didn’t appear to be happy even though he received the recognition and fame he deserved for his abilities.
Although he was an adversary, it was not a pleasant sight to see.
But Cecille had no aversion to heretics. She was a black sorceress; what was the problem with heretics?
Cecille also knew that Duke Bartholomew was similar in this regard.
“You’ve thought about working while ensuring freedom of faith, haven’t you? Duke Bartholomew doesn’t care in the slightest about what gods people believe in. He’s only concerned with whether they have the ability or not. Isn’t he the best employer for you?”
Cecille knew how to phrase her words to make them appealing to the other party.
In the past, she had enchanted numerous people as a black sorceress.
“And you, too, will become the best employee for the Duke. You work solely for money, without paying any attention to worldly rumors. In the eyes of Duke Bartholomew, who finds it hard to hire even one servant, someone like you would be more than reliable.”
From her expression to her gaze, tone, and even the slightest hand movements, Cecille calculated the best approach, taking Isaac into account.
“How about it? This is the right time to endure the possibility of rejection, isn’t it?”
She smiled before she finished speaking.
Before she even completed her sentence, Cecille realized that she had succeeded.
No wonder. Isaac’s face looked completely convinced, as if he had been completely captivated.
With a dumbfounded expression, Isaac rubbed his forehead.
“How could you… Truly, your eloquence is unbelievable. Is this what they call ‘three lifetimes of genius’?”
Cecille shrugged, without a hint of embarrassment.
“I’ve heard many people say I’m a genius who comes along once in a century.”