Right before dawn, Aria was suddenly awakened by a strange noise.
The sound had come from the window.
Rousing from her deep slumber, she drowsily walked towards the knocking sound on her bedroom window.
She opened her eyes, her eyelashes lightly batting against her cheeks as she rubbed the dreams away.
Aria opened the window.
It was the white pigeon from before.
The pigeon circled around her before it slowly landed on her shoulder.
So we meet again.”
Aria lifted her finger to stroke the pigeons head.
The pigeon closed its eyes and tilted its head to match her touch.
‘Whether its humans, hounds, or pigeons, everyone responds the same way when their head gets patted.
“I must look like a fool, talking to a pigeon and all.”
The pigeon nibbled her fingers in response as if saying, “Are you ignoring me now”
Aria, with a quaint expression, wrapped her bitten finger around the bird.
The pigeon flapped its wings and pointed at its leg.
There was a letter tied up around it.
Aria unwrapped the letter and read its contents.
[Its saddening to say that I am about to die.
But the spring you brought to me was ever so brilliant that I wonder how warm summer will be.
How prosperous autumn can be.
How white the paradise of winter must be.
Ive thought of this for a while.
So somehow, Ill hold on to my life for as long as Im allowed to.
– To the Spring Fairy -]
The letter was from the grand duchess.
Aria read it over and over again.
‘The pigeon precisely flew to my bedroom window.
Aria immediately slammed the window shut and quickly squatted on the floor.
Her pulse pounded like a booming drum inside her ears.
Was she exposed
‘No, the pigeon could have just flown back to me because I was the one who sent it there in the first place.
Aria opened the letter again.
The grand duchess called her theSpring Fairy.
Could this mean that she wont ask Aria to reveal her true identity
‘This feels strange.
She just wanted to do something to prevent the Valentines Massacre.
However, she never expected to receive a letter.
‘She said she would hold on to her life.
It wasnt a request to save her life, but a letter of gratitude to Aria.
With the hope Aria had shown, she would like to cling to her life and make a bold ambition to get through it somehow.
‘Ive never met the grand duchess in person.
But Aria wanted her to live no matter what.
She ran straight to the garden and picked up a freesia flower.
Aria tied a note to the birds leg, put the flower in its beak, and sent it to the sky.
[I will show you the wonders of all the seasons.
Whether its spring, summer, autumn, or winter.
I will bring the promise of seasons to come until spring arrives again.]
* * *
Aria needed to find a place where she could practice singing in secret.
She had thought of it as soon as her fever had gone down.
After blooming dozens of cherry blossoms with herSong of Life, she felt her 10-year-old body reaching its limit.
Her powers remained the same, but her current body couldnt withstand it because she hadnt been trained at all.
‘I could die if I tried singing the song of healing or destruction…
But in order to heal the Grand Dukes wife, she had to do it.
She held out a card.
[Im not sick anymore.]
“Hmm, I still think you have a mild fever,” Diana said, touching Arias forehead and neck.
Aria stood up from her seat, pretending not to hear her.
“You have to rest one more night… Hey Young miss, are you listening to me”
She tried to escape, but she was caught right away.
Aria shook her arm a few times before giving up.
Then after a while, she looked up at Diana with her big puppy dog eyes.
You have to rest.”
“Stop giving me those puppy-dog eyes.
“I said, no!”
Diana sighed and finally raised both of her hands as a sign of surrender.
“Where do you want to go”
Aria was currently banned from viewing the flowers.
“Alright, Ill allow it just this once…”
Diana reluctantly agreed after Aria persistently insisted that she was not allergic to pollen.
“However, you must come back before sunset.”
“If you get lost, ask anyone around for help.”
“Do not hold back because everyone is willing to help.”
The conversation took longer than she thought it would.
She had to raise the [Yes.] card several times before Diana actually let her go.
After a while, Aria finally went to the garden.
She looked around as she pretended to admire the flowers in the garden.
‘The perfect place where I can sing freely.
Suddenly, she heard footsteps that ran towards her at a high speed.
Aria hurriedly turned back to run, but it was too late.
With rapid acceleration and a more bounding motion, the creature came right at her.
“Aaah!” Aria shrieked as she was sent reeling backward and fell.
Her heart almost leaped out of her chest.
She stared at the panting wolf who was wagging its tail enthusiastically.
It was fortunate that she was alone.
What if someone else was there
“Youre very naughty,” she lectured the wolf while gently touching its snout.
It shouldnt hurt, but the wolf whined, drooping its ears and legs.
‘It sure knows how to make me feel bad.
She was thinking of scolding it a little more, but it was too cute.
She couldnt help but smile at the wolf.
After Aria got up from the ground and confirmed that no one was around, she whispered to it.
“How did you get here” Aria asked while shaking off the dirt on her butt.
“You ran because you missed me”
It seemed she was right.
Aria studied the wolfs reaction.
It seemed to be able to understand what she had just said.
‘Are we really conversing right now
As she stretched out her palm, the wolf raised its paw nicely over her hand.
The wolf lowered himself and leaned on the ground.
Aria was deeply impressed with the wolf.
She was able to communicate with animals and could even order them around.
It was beyond her expectations.
‘Thats why my father was so afraid of animals approaching me.
She laughed bitterly as she recalled Count Cortez, who had hysterically dictated on killing any living creatures that came close to her.
“Do you know a place where people dont normally visit Somewhere I can sing without anyone interfering.
A secret place, perhaps.”
“Thats where your leader is”
‘The place where the leader of the pack resides in…
Aria envisioned the alpha, who was in charge of leading the pack of wolves.
It didnt seem so bad to sing in that place.
Aria climbed onto the wolfs back and wrapped her arms tightly around its neck.
“Please guide me there.”
Then, the wolf immediately ran towards their destination.
Aria found herself standing in front of the Grand Duke of Valentine.
The leader of the wolves.
Aria and the grand duke stared at each other awkwardly.
On the other hand, the wolf wagged his tail and panted like crazy, as if asking for praise after fulfilling her order.
Dwayne, the grand dukes personal aide, pulled out his sword, thinking it was an enemy attack.
Confused and terrified at the same time, Aria hugged the wolfs neck tightly.
‘Is this the grand dukes office
She was already skeptical along the way.
The background kept changing rapidly as the wolf ran, and she had noticed the main palace getting closer.
This wasnt supposed to happen.
The Grand Duke of Valentine.
Tristan observed Aria riding his hound as he put a cigarette in his mouth.
“I didnt expect a child to ride my hounds like a horse,” he said as he lifted Aria up.
Aria grabbed her old bag like it was her lifeline while her eyes darted constantly.
The grand dukes smile deepened when he saw the distressed expression on Arias face.
“I implore you politely.
Wont you treat my dependable canines as mercifully as possible”
‘How about treating me kindly first… Aria thought, as he swinged her body around the air like a doll.
The Grand Duke of Valentine must not know the meaning of ‘polite.
“What shall I do with this devilish young lady” He asked, slowly exhaling a puff of smoke.
His way of speech was very stiff and formal.
He sounded a bit weird.
‘I cant say that I came here to practice singing… .
Aria rummaged through the old bag and pulled out her card.
She struggled while thinking of something to write, but the grand duke just stared at her patiently.
Its too strained.
‘My Lord Grand Duke
However, Aria was not his servant.
If she lowered herself too much, it wouldnt make her look good.
After contemplating for a while, she decided on the perfect title to address the grand duke.
Aria held the card close to her nose.
She tried to look grumpy about being lifted in such a discourteous manner.
[I came because I wanted to see you.]