20 About Commitment

Without a shadow of doubt, Marlina was enlightened. 

Despite being a village maiden bereft of any higher education, her perspective and thought process were truly extraordinary. It was no mean feat.

Marlina, who had been relentlessly attempting to "sell" her sister to Ansel, harbored a modest aspiration deep within her heart.

Could it be...just a conjecture, that she held something that might draw the attention of Lord Hydral?

Of course, this was but a fantasy of Marlina's. She understood that "intelligence" held no value for Lord Hydral. 

He could summon the smartest individuals in Red Frost territory, each with a wealth of experience in their respective fields, to serve him at his behest. Why would he ever need a simple village maiden who only ever dealt with tax officers?

What Lord Hydral required was the kind of great talent that Seraphina possessed. 

During her days at Ansel's mansion, Marlina was caught in a constant struggle between this anticipation and self-denial.

The moment Meli unexpectedly brought up the topic of meeting Ansel, the young maiden's fantasies once again sparked and swirled in her mind. 

Even at this moment, she clung to an indescribable anticipation.

"Miss Marlina." 

For Ansel, Marlina's emotions were as captivating yet transparent as Seraphina's delicate body. 

He, being the villain he was, had an exceptional fondness for pure souls - intelligent, upright, and beautiful. 

The sight of the innocent young girl in front of him, clumsily trying to dress up and suppress her underlying desire, yet occasionally revealing a yearning gaze reminiscent of a small creature, was as evocative as it was endearing.

"You and Seraphina have been staying here for some time now. For Seraphina's sake, I don't mind your stay, but I suspect you feel rather uncomfortable about it, don't you?"

Ansel asked with a genial smile. 

It wasn't a guess, but a visible truth. Marlina felt extremely self-conscious about living off Ansel's hospitality. She always attempted to assist the maids around the mansion, only to feel more embarrassed by their perfection.

"Indeed…!" Marlina's heartbeat missed a beat. Unlike her foolish sister, she immediately discerned the hidden meaning in Ansel's words, yet managed to maintain her composure and decorum. 

"I am glad that Seraphina can be of help to you, Lord Hydral, but I don't want you to see me as a... part of her. You could also say, I don't want to be a burden for Seraphina."

"What the..." 

Seraphina, who had been eavesdropping, bared her teeth with a grin. 

"The Hydral family is so rich! What's wrong with accepting their food? Marlina, you're overthinking things. He does have many faults, but his generosity is beyond question!"

The study room fell into a sudden silence, with all the maids staring at Seraphina, who was rubbing her arms. 

"What are you all looking at?" Feeling uncomfortable under the scrutiny of female wolves, she rubbed her arms. "I didn't insult him! Didn't I just praise his generosity?" 

With Ansel's declaration of "indulgence" and "tolerance," Seraphina had become more outspoken. If not for the frequent shocks, she would have been even more reckless. 

Hence, it was proven that Ansel was indeed far-sighted in asking his eccentric father creating that collar, even if it wasn't for taming.

Marlina shot her sister a sharp look. She knew that Lord Hydral was exceptionally tolerant and indulgent towards Seraphina, so she was no longer terrified by Seraphina's shocking remarks. 

Yet, at this crucial moment when she might secure a precious job, Seraphina's inappropriate remarks irked Marlina.

Ansel, as was his custom, paid little heed to Seraphina. In the absence of outsiders, he was not overly strict with the young wolf.

"Seraphina and I will be away from the Red Frost city for a while, at least three days, perhaps as long as a week. During this time… I need someone to assist me with some paperwork, the simpler kind."

"…You, you mean—"

Marlina could no longer suppress the excitement welling up within her, her cheeks flushed with exhilaration.

"I'm entrusting this to you, you should have a knack for this," Ansel replied gently with a smile, "Don't worry about making mistakes. I have ample resources here, and you can follow my templates initially. If you are unsure about anything, ask Meli. She will guide you."

The maid standing quietly in the corner of the room smiled and nodded at Marlina.

In stark contrast to her ungrateful sister, Marlina held back her tear-filled eyes and bowed deeply to Ansel:

"Thank you for your trust, Lord Hydral! Thank you for your…grace!"

Her voice was choked with emotion by the end, while Seraphina, scratching her cheek, was utterly mystified at her sister's fervor.

However, considering Ansel's generosity, she refrained from creating a scene.

"We should be going now. Seraphina, gather our luggage."

"... I have to carry the luggage?" Seraphina gazed at the three suitcases neatly arranged by the maids, her eyes wide as she turned to Ansel, "Why am I doing everything?"

"Because it's only you, me, and Saville on this trip."

"Well, let the old butler ughhhhhhh——"

Saville ignored the twitching Seraphina, bowing to Ansel, "I'll go and activate the teleportation circle for you, young lord."

Ansel waved his hand, then turned to Seraphina, who was getting up from the floor, and asked gently, "Should I repeat what I just said, Seraphina?"

The sullen girl walked silently towards the suitcases, her fingers twitching intermittently.

Witnessing all this, Marlina felt sympathy but remained silent. Not only was she hesitant to defy, but she also hoped Ansel would properly discipline Seraphina. Marlina's inherent timidity prevented her from effectively reprimanding her sister, often attributing Seraphina's brash demeanor to her own incompetence.

"Miss Marlina, I look forward to your performance."

As Marlina was swept up in her emotions, Ansel turned his gaze towards her.

To be honest, purely based on preference... or to put it more plainly, from kink's perspective, Ansel favored Marlina more among the two sisters.

He cherished… the intoxicating joy of not forcing her into submission, but gradually tinting her goodness and gentleness with his own hue.

By the time Seraphina had picked up the luggage, Ansel had already approached Marlina and whispered softly in her ear:

"Trust me, to me, you and Seraphina are equally important."

This statement left Marlina, still overflowing with joy and excitement, with a blank mind.

Even being acknowledged by Ansel and receiving a sincere job from him didn't leave her as stunned.

By the time she regained her senses, Seraphina had already said her goodbyes, carrying the suitcases with a disgruntled face, and mumbling under her breath.


The young girl's chest heaved, she felt a flame ignite from her heart and spread to her brain, making her dizzy and confused.

The flame was kindled by the breath still burning her ear, and those intoxicating, young, and magnetic gentle words.

She was calm and rational, this was true.

However, which simple country girl could resist such a Hydral?

And Marlina never doubted the authenticity of Ansel's words.

After all, it is widely known—

Hydral never lies.

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