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The witch Lycoris had one mission in her mind.
That was, to save a certain little girl from her miserable environment.
The name of the little girl that Lycoris was to save was Lily. That lovely, golden-haired, green-eyed, little girl, who lost her real mother, and was being oppressed by the lady that became her stepmother. She was being called things like 『Cinder』, and was forced to live a life as a servant.
That wasn’t all.
A ball to decide the prince’s partner was being held on this day in the castle. Ladies of marriageable age all over the country were supposed to gather there. And yet, Lily’s stepmother ignored the king’s directive and headed to the castle, leaving her stepdaughter behind in this mansion.
『It’s too cruel. The madame is getting in the way of the young lady’s happiness by even going against the king’s orders』
The elderly maid that had worked in the mansion since a long time back lamented and visited 『the good witch』 Lycoris for advice in the end.
After listening to her story carefully, it seemed that the mansion owner, Lily’s real father, left the care of the house to his new wife and became absorbed in self-indulgent pleasures. Doesn’t that mean he practically never returns home?
『You’ve got to be kidding me！』
Lycoris fumed and promised the maid that she’d rescue poor Lily from her current environment.
Her strategy went like this.
‘We should definitely make use of the ball held at the castle today,’ thought Lycoris.
‘I’ll send Lily to the ball somehow. Then Lily can bring her plight to the king or the crown prince’s attention. The king is known to be a wise ruler and he’s someone who devises various plans to save widows and children who have no one else to turn to. I hear the crown prince is also a remarkable person.’
It’s a strategy that would require Lily’s ability to take action, but the maid claimed 『say no more, our miss has plenty of guts！』 so it seemed Lycoris could expect a reasonable result.
Once Lycoris, who, with a burning sense of duty, visited the mansion and explained the strategy she came up together with the maid, Lily replied like this:
「……I appreciate your sentiments, but…」
「Eh? I-is it no good? I’m sorry. I got ahead of myself without asking for your opinion……」
Lycoris felt down after getting shot down when she had been burning with motivation, so Lily hurriedly added:
「I really am thankful for your sentiments. After listening to what you had to say, I’m quite aware that you thought over a lot of things for my sake… But, I’m strongly against changing my situation by depending on His Majesty the King」
「My…… that’s, how noble……」
Lily shook her head at Lycoris, who looked impressed with her.
「……As embarrassing as this is to say, it’s not out of some noble sentiment. I don’t want to entrust my future to someone else, even if it is the King」
Lily’s story went like this.
It seems Lily had lost the ability to trust her own father for welcoming her stepmother without waiting for Lily, who was still grieving over the lost of her mother. Not to mention, the person her Father chose had been clearly shunning Lily from the very beginning. Sure enough, Lily’s relationship with her stepmother only grew worse, with the addition of her family getting poorer and poorer from her father’s debauchery.
What she could gather through Lily’s words was her strong distrust towards her father, who made her family the way it is now. Her distrust for her father was even more deeply ingrained than towards the mother who wasn’t related to her by blood.
「At the end of the day, I think my plight was the result of entrusting my own future to my father―― to someone else」
Lily concluded it with that.
A heavy silence fell between the two.
Lycoris knew quite well what Lily wanted to say. However, Lily’s request for the practical problem was a challenge. It was a very difficult world for a woman to stand up on her own. One could say that there was practically no occupation which a woman can work alone. That’s right, if you remove the unique occupation of say, a witch.
「If it’s at all possible…」
Captivated by the earnest way Lily said this, Lycoris lifted her head and was engulfed in Lily’s sparkling green eyes.
「Would you… please make me your disciple?」
A witch takes only one disciple in her lifetime.
Often times, a young disciple shows up in front of an elderly witch, but there were exceptions.
They say one would know that 『the person would be their disciple』 the moment they looked into their eyes.
Even Lycoris knew it …
…The moment she stared at Lily’s, at those green eyes.
One month later.
「Eeh！？ You already finished making that secret medicine！？ Amazing！！ Way too amazing！！」
「Y-you flatter me too much……。This was all because you taught me well, Lycoris」
「No, my teaching is honestly not at that level」
The reason Lycoris clearly declared this was not out of humility.
Lily’s talent was superb, she’d been mastering everything Lycoris taught her, including things like magic outside of making magic potions.
Lycoris had a good memory, but her power as a magician wasn’t that strong. In comparison, Lily was clearly a genius that appeared once every hundred years. Even if one had knowledge of how to formulate the things such as the secret medicine Lily created just now, it was an item that likely couldn’t be made even if it took Lycoris decades.
「It would seem I have nothing left I can teach you……」
「Eeh！？ A-are you going to throw me out, Lycoris！？ But I had only…… just gotten to making this……」
「That’s not it, so please calm down！ What I was just trying to say is that it’s an expensive secret medicine that could buy a castle, so please calm down！」
The magician’s house that used to sit quietly in the forest at the outskirts of town, was now bustling with activity.
The next part is the turn of the prince’s that’s waiting at the castle in vain.
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