The Hunter and the Mad Scientist - Chapter 8
“Anyway, let me read more of this.”
Esperanza nodded roughly, and Cedar asked in a subtle tone.
“You don’t think I won’t give it back, do you?”
“Huh? You can keep it since I won’t read it anyway.”
“Are you serious? This kind of data?”
Does that mean thank you or are you stupid? Somehow Dr. Sullivan was recognized, but his evaluation of Esperanza seems to have fallen further.
“Yes, well, it’ll be better than what I have.”
Considering that she gave him the sickle, he thought that he needed to do something more to make them even.
“Then, thank you.”
Cedar jumped up and left before she could answer. He was very excited.
“I have to put this away.”
‘I shouldn’t have poured it out. I was going to try to look cool.’
As Esperanza beckoned, the notes were piled up steadily in her inventory. The maids who came to remove the teacup opened their eyes wide as they watched the scene.
“Is it witchcraft? It’s my first time seeing it!”
“Wow, can you show us again? It’s amazing!”
The maids were very good at flattery.
Feeling proud, Esperanza even showed them some simple magic. When a small ball of fire floated on the palm of her hand, the maids were very excited.
“You can use magic like this!”
“It’s very different from what our count uses. Miss, can you make water, too?”
“Waaah, make some water too!”
Hours later when the door, which had been quietly closed, opened and the count with the butler entered, the maids who had gathered without working scattered in an orderly manner.
On Esperanza’s hand, the floating water disappeared with a bang and Cedar, who forgot to come in, looked blankly at Esperanza’s palm, and asked.
“You can use magic?”
Esperanza, who was left alone in the empty drawing room, blinked. She thought the speed at which the maids disappeared was more like magic.
“You use it, too, don’t you? You said you are a magic engineer.”
“Of course I can but……Excuse me for a moment.”
Cedar pulled Esperanza’s hand and flipped her sleeve.
Her white wrists were exposed along with her hand that looks thin but can easily use huge weapons such as a long rifle or a sickle.
He took the other hand and flipped it over and his eyes turned to Esperanza’s ankles then flinched away.
He couldn’t even think of flipping her skirt over. Instead, he whispered in her ear.
“Do you have mana in your body?”
Esperanza whispered in response.
“No, but what’s wrong with you? I used magic to open my bag yesterday, too.”
“It wasn’t like this!”
Dr. Genius’ eyes flashed and Esperanza stepped back unknowingly. Then Cedar let go of her hand and backed off, perhaps realizing he had overdid it.
“……it’s all right.”
“Let’s go to my lab for a minute.”
“Count, then the party…….”
“I’m not going. Howard, go do your job.”
Butler Howard disappeared like the wind without further questioning and Esperanza was about to lose her soul.
“Will you come with me?”
Cedar, who had been cold until just now, suddenly smiled, but his smile didn’t feel very friendly. It was like a kidnapper’s smile.
“Right now? I’m cleaning this up.”
“Is there anything I can help you with?”
The count stepped back like a gentleman and stood with his arms folded in front of the door while watching Esperanza put the last note in her inventory.
Following him, who was striding ahead, Esperanza had to step as wide as possible in a narrow dress. Cedar, who was walking ahead with a twinkle in his eye, couldn’t see that Esperanza was walking uncomfortably next to him.
‘Your ears are red.’
His back muscles, hidden by the vest, are tight. It was surprising.
When I touch his back slightly, the spine shrinks and loosens. I didn’t expect he would be so surprised.
“Oh, I’m sorry
He didn’t even seem to have time to answer because we arrived at the study. Still, after passing through the amazing library, going upstairs to the second floor, and further inside, the lab appeared.
It was similar to Dr. Sullivan’s lab, but it looked more expensive.
The bookshelves were plastered with mahogany, and brass cogwheels were full of mysterious machines rolling nonstop and instruments with red saliva moving. The machines repeatedly exchanged things between themselves and switched circuits.
“Esperanza, come here.”
Cedar descended the endless aisle of his stairs, brought a huge grid board, and set it down at his feet. Esperanza was stunned and stepped back.
“You’re not trying to do anything weird to me, are you? I don’t like dissection.”
“Why would I dissect you? There are so many things I can study while you’re alive.”
Oh, that was the problem?
“It won’t hurt, so stand here and…….”
It was a very low and sweet voice, as subtle as a gentleman handing roses to a married person. Under other circumstances, she might have even forgotten this man’s true nature and her heart would have raced but even now, when she knew what was going on, she was still amazed.
‘The metaphor that fits the situation is…….’
He’s a kidnapper.
“It’s really just a reader. Originally, it was used for magic items.”
“I’m supposed to pour mana into it and then watch as it comes back to me?”
In reality, it is like electricity passing through a person’s body. Cedar’s eyes widened as if to say, ‘You knew?’
“How can it not hurt?”
Esperanza shuddered and stepped back.
When she took a weapon as soon as she could, a toy-like pistol appeared instead of the original weapons. She didn’t have time to search through her inventory so she grabbed it and aimed at Cedar.
However the magic engineer did not blink an eye even with the gun in front of him.
“I won’t make it hurt. I’m going to spill just a little bit.”
“You’ve never done it to a person.”
“That’s because people don’t have mana.”
He said with a tilt of his head as if he was innocent.
“Of course, I would have tried it if I had a chance. I don’t feel good about doing this test to you either. It would have been nice if there were more legally available experiments.”
“You just said I’m a test subject!”
“Of course not you, Esperanza, you’re a guest, aren’t you? We’re looking for the same thing. You’re not a test subject.”
I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you.
“……Yes, you may not believe it. I guess I’m not a very reliable man.”
Esperanza was excited and pressed her chest which was rushing up and down with one hand. Cedar sighed and his drooping shoulders looked sullen.
As his pretty face like a wax doll was staring pitifully, she felt like she had to give him a candy but Esperanza who knew his true nature remained vigilant.
“Then why don’t you give me a drop of blood? Just one drop.”
Esperanza, who was reflexively angry, stopped. Isn’t one drop okay? The Hunter’s body, which is optimized for combat anyway, is insensitive to pain. Besides, if he studies that drop of blood well, she might get some benefits.
Most of all, he asked me with such a beautiful face. Wouldn’t a drop of blood be okay?
If she was in a normal state, she would have come to the conclusion that no matter how much he researched Hunter’s blood, he wouldn’t be able to discover anything related to Golden Claw or dungeons, but Esperanza was also out of her mind.
“……Take care of hygiene. Make sure to disinfect the needle.”
Cedar smiled brightly when he reached out his hand and his eyes shone like the afternoon sun.
Esperanza was at a loss for words.
Cedar, who wrapped Esperanza wrist with a large hand, lowered his fingertips along the veins.
A deep gaze reached where the fingertips touched. It was serious and careful as if touching something precious and my stomach tickled.
Esperanza inadvertently clenched her fist then she gently loosened it.
“I won’t make it hurt. I promise.”
Unlike the time when he formally kissed the back of her hand, Esperanza felt heat in her hand now.
His delicate fingers pointed to a certain point and at that time, Esperanza glanced sideways and saw the red needles on the instrument panel moving. Her heartbeat, which had been speeding up subtly, subsided in an instant.
‘This guy was secretly checking my mana.’
It was as if all the tension that hadn’t existed was broken. Cedar was stepping on the grid with one foot and measured her mana indirectly by using himself as a medium.
He doesn’t have mana so he won’t be affected even though the readings would be less accurate since Esperanza wasn’t tested directly.
Even so he discovered that Esperanza had a lot of mana and made a fuss trying to hide it.
Cedar smiled regardless of her gaze. He took out a hand-wrapped needle and tore it off with his teeth. Then, as if to show, the needle was washed again with a disinfectant before poking her thumb.
“Shh, it’s alright. It’ll be over soon.”
The needle came out, and a round drop of blood fell into the glass bottle. Cedar secretly pressed her wrist to let more blood flow out.
“You said it was a drop, you fraud!”
“While we’re at it, just one more drop, I won’t do it again.… What?”
Even while whispering softly, he pressed down on the spot, so he managed to fill a glass bottle the size of a finger.
Cedar closed the vial and wiped the bloodstain around her wound with his handkerchief.
“I guess I trust you again.”
“Thank you for your cooperation.”
He shrugged his shoulders and pulled his hand off without hesitation while Esperanza shook her head in amazement.
‘You’re such a weird person.’