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Jean asked a maid to lead him to Clarisse’s room, and as they passed through the hallway, he heard Mary’s sobs from inside. He thought Mary was at his aunt’s house. For that strong maid to be crying? It must be an emergency. 

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Jean knocked on the door, wondering as to what was wrong, and to his surprise, it was Sid who opened the door. He immediately put the puzzle pieces together and realized Mary had come with Sid.

“Jean, look, just calm down, okay? … Don’t lose your temper, alright?”

“What?”

“Just promise me you won’t lose your temper, no matter what you see.”

Hearing those words, he knew his intuition was correct. He pushed Sid aside and entered the room, where Clarisse was sitting on the floor with a bright crimson-stained cloth on her forehead, desperately trying to comfort Mary, who was crying hysterically.

In a low voice, he asked Sid, “What happened here?”

Sid could tell that Jean, who still remained expressionless, was truly furious.

“I’m not sure… we only heard the sound, but it seems that Miss Farenheit pushed Clarisse towards the bookshelf…”

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“I’m killing that woman.”

Even though “kill” was a figure of speech, he had to say something to calm his nerves. He turned around and was about to leave the room when Clarisse’s voice reached his ears. 

“Jean-sama! You came!”

The relief in her tone indicated that Clarisse was really pleased with Jean’s arrival, and he immediately turned his full attention to Clarisse and nothing else. He made his way to her side in a few steps, avoiding the books scattered about, and kneeled down in front of her.

“Are you okay? Let me see your wound.”

He gently squeezed her hand and softly removed the cloth, letting out a little exhale as the wound appeared smaller than he had expected. The bleeding had stopped now, and the wound didn’t look to be very deep to an inexperienced eye. But a wound is a wound, and the thought of possibly having a scar left on her forehead made his insides boil. As soon as they get back to his aunt’s house, he’ll summon a doctor to examine it.

“I think a book fell on me from above and hit my forehead. It doesn’t hurt that much. In the meantime, I’ll make some medicine for the wound…  I’d like you to pick some herbs from the garden, Mary.”

With those words, Mary finally stopped crying and left the room to get the herbs and materials Clarisse had instructed her to get. Having been with Clarisse for so long, Mary was able to recognize some of the herbs and knew how to use them. Sid also tactfully left the room to leave Jean and Clarisse alone.

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As soon as Sid stepped out, Jean didn’t hesitate to hug Clarisse.

“You poor thing. You must have been scared.”

“Rather than being scared, I was startled… I’m sorry, Jean-sama, the dress is probably stained with blood, and you went out of your way to buy it for me.”

“I don’t care about the dress.”

Jean’s body was much larger and muscular than her, and when she was wrapped in his, she let out a sigh of relief and gently rested her cheek against his shoulder. It was a childish gesture, but her body relaxed when she felt his heat. As he sensed the change in Clarisse, his arms tightened even more.

“My sister… is a pitiful person who needs to destroy the happiness of others to be satisfied.”

“She is a stupid, a person who doesn’t even deserve to be called pitiful.”

Jean, still quietly furious, cut her off in one swift breath.

“…But if she stays like that, no one will take care of her, and one day she’ll be all alone.”

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“Even though she…”

“But I shall turn a blind eye to it. Jean-sama, in some way, this is the punishment for sister Matilda.”

Clarisse said in a firm tone. To Jean, this wasn’t even close to punishment, but it was a matter for Clarisse to decide, and he had no right to say anything about it. He silently rubbed the purplish bruise on Clarisse’s left wrist. The bruise must have been from when that woman took her ring. How could she be so kind to her sister when she had been mentally abused ever since she was a child, and even today, hurt physically?

At that moment, a hesitant knock came from outside, and while supporting Clarisse, who was struggling to stand up, Jean opened the door.

“You are…”

There stood the Viscountess Farenheit with a pale face.

“The maids were talking about Clarisse’s injuries, and then I realized you two were here, so…”

Jean carefully checked Clarisse for any signs of concussion, then sat her down on the couch across from the Viscountess, and cross-legged he sat next to Clarisse. When her mother saw the scar on Clarisse’s forehead, tears welled up in her eyes. Her mother was a person who always cried silently in these situations.

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She wiped away the tears with a handkerchief, and then, as if she had made up her mind, the Viscountess opened her mouth.

“Margrave Gutenberg, you’ve known everything about our family, haven’t you?”

Jean didn’t answer the question but just shrugged his shoulders.

He didn’t have good feelings towards this mother – he was angry and resentful of her for not protecting Clarisse enough – but the reason for her coming here was obvious, so he asked bluntly.

“If you’re here, I assume that means you are going to talk about it with me?”

“Yes, Clarisse, if you want to hear it too, I will tell you everything.”

Clarisse’s violet eyes sparkled with intense light.

“Mother, please tell me everything about the Farenheit family.”

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