Duke Mireille examined the Hangyang Islands on the chart that a craftsman was creating with a disapproving look.
His gaze then went to August Felini, who was standing next to him, pointing out the route.
As if they were already accustomed to such scrutiny, both men didn’t respond to the complaints from the man of higher status.
In fact, even after the duke sat down and smoked his cigarette with a fierce expression as if to blame them for something, the men didn’t budge.
In the end, the duke finally left the studio after an hour without saying a word.
“What a bunch of **ing idiots.”
In front of the building, Mireille graciously took a cigarette pack out of his arms and puffed out a long smoke.
Capturing mermaids was a business he really looked forward to but till now constantly ended up in vain.
Simply thinking about the wonderful word triggered a mythological bliss.
Mireille recalled a well-known ancient mermaid whose gorgeous skin lit like fireflies in the sea and whose rich blue hair fluttered with froth.
Bell Rock was its name.
It was no exaggeration to argue that this gorgeous creature influenced the imperial people’s perception of mermaids.
Mireille imagined it would be a very unique pet, remembering how the rare race brought in from the Western Continent all those years ago had turned Sesbron upside down.
Mireille thoroughly prepared for this operation of capturing mermaids, whom he first heard about through the slaves brought from the Islands of the Anatole Sea.
‘Of course, when they first mentioned mermaids, I ignored them.
But the more I thought about it, the more plausible it seemed.
There are races on the Western Continent that employ huge birds as means of transportation, while humans in the South can command dolphins or pigeons.
Then it shouldn’t be impossible for a sea-based race to exist, should it’
Mireille first collected eyewitness accounts.
Through them, he heard that this creature was different from the myth about mermaids taking out a sailor’s soul as soon as he sees it, which made him more convinced of its existence.
He sent people to the Imperial Academy and the library to find out more about ancient tales. It wasn’t long before he slapped his knee with laughter.
‘Haha…Hahaha, it’s really there!
Southeast of the Ingres Sea, close to the wind-free zone all year round.
The only sea that’s left untouched because no sailor dared to go there.
But how to catch them …No, more importantly, after catching it, how to keep it In the past, rare races imported from the Western Continent all perished.
It isn’t a good idea to recklessly bring in minority tribes.
To survive the mainland environment, it has to churn around in an aquarium…’
Mireille began studying ancient mermaids.
‘If even that mad Admiral can study ancient lore, then there’s nothing I can’t do…’
During the process, he also learnt about artefacts, and it was entirely coincidental that he came to assume that the heirloom Lil took was an artefact.
When his expedition team left, Mireille cleaned the mermaid’s aquarium every day while waiting for the return of his merchant ships.
‘It would be great if they caught a pair consisting of a male and a female so they could mate and reproduce.
But as long as at least one of them is female, it doesn’t matter.’
He’d been thinking about it for months, but his spirit was now broken.
It was all for nought.
In addition to the fact that half of his ships’ voyages were unsuccessful, the pirates stole the cargo from the other half.
Mireille clenched his teeth on his cigarette.
‘Yes, despite the pirates’ attacks, the mermaid must be caught no matter what.
If a real mermaid can satisfy the Emperor and give me the assistance of the royal court, those bloody pirates can be wiped out as well.
No matter how many flying and creeping bastards there are now, they won’t be able to contribute much against my Garni association equipped with military power.
Moreover, in that case, I no longer have to beg for Admiral Retiro, and I could crush that cheeky bastard Venua.
The mermaid will be a very important turning point for my business…’
“…Your Grace! …Your Grace!..”
Mireille stepped on his dropped cigarette and looked up.
A man was rushing in from afar.
“…Huff… Huff… Your Grace!”
With both his hands behind his back, Mireille only chinned at him, but it was enough for the servant to understand and he bowed his upper body in response.
“The Prince Regent of Obernyu is here.”
“…Speak of the devil and he appears…”
“Where is he”
“He’s in the portrait room.”
The procession, which arrived behind the servant, took out a chair for Mireille to sit on and raised a parasol above his head.
Mireille wore a gilded robe with gold lacquer and chose from jewels placed on a red cushion.
Mireille, who had been putting on and off a few rings, angrily gave an order to the aide.
“Bring the ring that I wore to the Tutt Banquet.”
Moments later, a brilliant, transparent diamond sparkled from his hand.
As Mireille walked down the hallway, he looked down at the ring with satisfaction.
He went up the stairs and passed through the wide open doors.
Before turning the corner Mireille smirked and clicked his tongue as it was obvious why Venua went to the portrait room.
He smiled brightly as soon as he turned the corner.
In the large gallery filled with portraits, the party of the regent of the principality of Obernyu flocked in front of one particular painting.
It was an unfamiliar sight.
Venua himself was sitting on the couch, admiring the portrait from a distance.
He had been like that ever since he started looking for her, even though he said he wasn’t in a hurry.
Meanwhile, Mireille walked along the carpet and pretended to be glad.
“Oh! Venua! It’s been so long.”
Venua, resting a glass of wine on the armrest, looked back at the Duke.
However, as if he was momentarily distracted by something trivial, his dark blue eyes immediately returned to the painting.
His lips barely moved.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting.
Would you like a cup of tea”
Venua answered, bringing the glass to his lips.
“Not with you.
I look forward to the day when I can have one with Liloa.”
Again, Mireille was captured by the urge to strangle Venua and pull out his tongue.
‘Whether it’s the Admiral or Venua, these blue-blooded men have no manners.
I look forward to the time when all this humiliation I endured will finally pay off.’
On the other hand, Venua remained calm while sipping alcohol, unaware of the internal turmoil of the duke beside him.
Mireille naturally inclined his attention to the portrait to conceal any signs of emotion that would reveal himself.
A woman in a white satin dress embroidered with an ivory rose pattern had a gentle smile on her beautiful lips.
The duke felt uncomfortable looking at this woman’s face.
If Venua was fire, she was oil, and the mixture of fire and oil made his stomach boil.
The duke furiously lowered his eyes to the name engraved on a bronze plaque, glittering beneath a huge frame that occupied half of the wall.
[Liloa Filiver Shay Mireille]
– Tung! –
The lid closed with a dull sound when the creature’s nails, aimed at Lil, smashed the wooden stick that had supported the lid instead.
Although Lil wasn’t shocked, she turned stiffly to the rubble of the shattered wood.
“Are you all right”
Cesar held Lil’s shoulder while she nodded and wiped the water from her face.
She couldn’t believe what she just saw, so she rubbed her eyes three or four more times in astonishment.
‘A human face rising out of the water…webbed hands…’
Lil crawled forward, mumbling something incoherent.
The area around the joints was a mess caused by the nails digging and scratching the wood.
Lil, who was examining the irregular grooves, opened the tank with a dagger.
The waves breaking against each other generated a continual sound of water. She then leaned in a little.
After the storm died down, two dazzling lights could be seen beneath the rippling water surface.
The outer corners of its eyes rose in a fierce shape, and its entire eyeball was blue without any white.
Lil had never seen a mermaid before, but the creature was clearly staring at her.
The lights burning with hostility were threatening.
A random thought entered her mind.
‘If starlight was blue, would it look like that There’s a subtle glow in its hair.
Long and thin strands floating everywhere, just like the tentacles of a jellyfish.
Its figure, which seemed to be painted with glowing paint in pitch darkness, is surprisingly beautiful.’
Despite its growling sound and the bubbles of water forming between its exposed teeth, Lil couldn’t think of anything else.
She stared into the tank that seemed to be from another world and was at a loss for words.
‘A mermaid in the belly of a sailing ship built by reality.’
The gradually fading of the dazzlingly bright eyes could only mean it was sinking deeper.
It appeared to have an iron ball tied to its tail.
The beast, filled with rage, could only sit still.
Meanwhile, Lil silently gazed into the tank until the mermaid reverted to a dot, with only its foam rising and growing to the sparse surface.
Lil muttered to herself.
“…What should I do..”