13 Beneficial To Both Of Us

"Your Grace, do you truly believe it is wise for you to be wandering around the Capital? Your condition is deteriorating, and it would be preferable for you to remain indoors unless absolutely necessary for you to venture outside!"

Felix watched as the Duke removed his black attire and casually tossed it onto the couch in his study. It had indeed been some time since Damien had experienced a relapse, and his symptoms were manifesting rapidly, hinting at an impending and unpredictable outbreak of the Fever.

Nevertheless, Damien refused to endure the confinement of his own mansion, feeling trapped and withering away like a sick old man.

"I'm fine, stop nagging."

Felix swallowed an invisible lump stuck inside his throat, then ran his gloved fingers through his long silver hair, and let out a subtle sigh, hoping that it would not irritate his Lord even more. And although he knew that his next question would be asked in vain, the man still had to voice it, merely out of duty and, most importantly, genuine concern,

"Should I already request the High Priest to assess condition, Your Grace?"

"No, it's still too early."

Since the Temple had yet to find a way to break Damien's curse, the only respite he found from the symptoms of Acme Fever was through the use of the High Priest's Holy Power. Although the process appeared straightforward, resembling the Priest's usual power for healing injuries and ailments, when the Holy Power was directed toward Damien's body filled with Demonic Acme, it caused a clash between the demonic and heavenly forces within them. This clash felt as if their very souls were at war, inflicting both of them with tremendous pain and exhaustion. Consequently, Damien always endeavored to delay his treatment for as long as possible.

Another sigh, tinged with discontent, escaped Felix's lips. He observed as his Lord skimmed through a pile of papers awaiting his signature, and winced, seemingly recollecting something of considerable importance.

"His Highness, the Crown Prince, sent a messenger while you were away. He ordered me to inform you that if you do not attend this year's Hunting Banquet, he will have no choice but to move your Duchy to the Northern border and leave you there alone to guide the North from the Magic Beasts."

Damien leaned back in his chair and crossed his big arms in front of his chest, his lips curling into an unbothered smile.

"Very well. Let him. I would rather battle Magic Beasts each day than endure the presence of those vexing socialites once a year."

Felix could not help but shake his head in total disapproval. His Lord was simply hopeless.

"Your Grace, you know that Prince Lloyd has only good intentions in mind. His Majesty the Emperor is very concerned because you are still not married at the age of twenty-five. I am afraid that he really might end up sending you all the way to the North to live out your days alone there."

At last, it was Damien's turn to sigh.


A frown line etched between the Duke's eyebrows as he struggled to suppress his annoyance.

"How am I supposed to marry someone when every single woman is afraid of me because of my curse? Sending me away to rot alone will be the most merciful gesture for both me and the Empire at large."

Though Damien's words held a modicum of truth, they carried an overwhelming sense of despair whenever the topic of his curse arose. Felix deeply respected his Lord, particularly because he understood and knew him like no other, and witnessing him wasting away pained him greatly. Yet, there was still absolutely nothing he could do.

The man took out a piece of paper from the paper holder in his hands and said, somewhat quietly,

"I can send a rejection letter, citing Acme Fever as the reason, Your Grace. I am certain His Highness will not insist on your attendance at the banquet upon learning of your pain."

Upon hearing the word "pain", Damien unconsciously touched his right arm, trailing his long fingers over the spot where Rosalie had touched him back when he saved her and felt a strange sense of relief. The first symptom of Acme Fever was muscle ache, which the Duke had been already experiencing for the last few days, however, for reasons unknown, the place where her hand touched his arm, was no longer hurting.

"No need. I shall attend this time. I will postpone my departure to the North for yet another year."


When Felix left the Duke's study, Damien returned to his usual daily routine of handling the paperwork that never seemed to decrease in quantity, no matter how hard he worked.

As he finally reached the final paper, he noticed a familiar letter and furrowed his eyebrows.

'Felix, you fool, I told you to burn this letter.'

He sighed and picked up the folded piece of paper once again, his eyes running over its contents:

"Dear Damien Dio, Your Grace,

My name is Rosalie Ashter, I am the only daughter of Marquess Ashter and I am writing you because I know the secret about your curse and have something that might help you better than the treatment of the Priest.

If you are interested in what I have to say, please meet me in the Imperial Palace Gardens right before the offering of the hunting loot.

Please, do not take my words lightly as what I have to offer will be beneficial to both you and me.

Sincerely, Rosalie Ashter."

Damien rested his chin on his left hand and re-read the letter once again. Unconsciously, he began to hear Rosalie's voice, reciting the words of the letter, while his mind wandered back to the moment he held her in his arms after saving her from the unfortunate carriage accident earlier that day.

Shaking off those useless thoughts with a brisk movement of his head, the Duke brushed his black hair away from his eyes and let out a weary sigh.

"Lady Rosalie Ashter... The only thing beneficial to you would be to stay away from me."

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