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Chapter: 31


 Chapter 31: Step by Step (1)

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The war progressed smoothly. There were almost no casualties on the side of the empire; the Protective Barrier proved its effectiveness, and more people because interested in Juno. However, not everyone had a good opinion of her.

"There’s a rumor that Countess Sergien is fulfilling her selfish desires by using her dead husband’s creations."

Juno, who was making a new medicine while examining Jupiter’s condition, laughed at what John told her. "I don’t need to worry about that, right?"

"If the rumors pile up, the situation will become troublesome."

Juno looked at the newly made medicine. "Do you think I should clear the air?"

"Yes."

Juno spoke of her concerns. "It’s no different from the rumors about House Sergien."

"Master, however, was recognized as a perfect alchemist."

Yes, Peter and I are different. Peter was born into House Sergien while Juno wasn’t. Even though they knew Juno was selling alchemist-made products and the Protective Barrier, they made fun of her. They recognize what I created, but they don’t want to recognize me. Not all nobles were like that, but many didn’t want to see a woman as better than them. For Juno to be recognized as an alchemist like Peter, she had to put in more effort. The problem was that Juno had something more important than their recognition.

"I want to focus on Jupiter’s recovery," she said.

John blinked. "With the Protective Barrier on the market, they’ll keep trying to contact you." He pointed to the stack of letters on a metal tray.

Aside from acknowledging Juno, many people were anxious to make use of her skills. She revealed the Protective Barrier to the world, so she couldn’t pretend it didn’t exist. I don’t plan to give up on revenge just because Jupiter returned alive. A month had passed since he came back to the mansion, but he showed no signs of waking up. Juno frowned, thinking of Jupiter who was currently lying motionless on the bed.

"I don’t regret being motivated by revenge, but I do regret putting out an inferior version."

The ones being sold on the market were of a lower quality than what Juno could make, but people still wanted them. Having the Protective Barrier is like having another life.

It was a great advantage not to be hindered by an opponent’s attack on the battlefield. The news of victory increased the value of the Protective Barrier and caught the attention of many nobles. Thus, many letters were sent to House Sergien.

Juno sighed. "Tell them there’s nothing better than the Protective Barrier currently being sold."

Her highest priority was waking up Jupiter.

John nodded. "Unfortunately, no one will believe you."

The high-ranking officials who received the Protective Barriers from Juno as a gift were showing them off. Juno checked the time and began to stir the medicine. "Indeed, they can’t keep their mouths shut."

"Since everyone has seen and heard of it, they’re persistent."

She knew what John was worried about. Juno had the skills but not the respect, all because she wasn’t born into House Sergien and the rumors about her before her marriage. The daughter that Marquis Trish abandoned. The woman who was sold to Count Sergien. These made Juno laugh; the fears and jealousy people generally had toward alchemists weren’t directed at her. At this rate, there will be problems as John said.

"…I’ll ignore them for now. I’ll think about what to do."

Just a little more. Juno wanted to save Jupiter. She wanted him to wake up and look at her with his blue eyes. She had been feeling this way for the past month. I must really love him. When she thought he was dead, she was so tired that she didn’t want to feel anything anymore. When he was brought back to the mansion, she was filled with so much hope. Juno stared at Jupiter’s unmoving body. If you don’t wake up, a piece of me will be gone.

Jupiter had a very special place in her heart. Neither Peter nor John, not even Hebe could replace him. She had to wake Jupiter up, no matter what. You kept your promise. She refused to give up on him because he kept his promise to stay alive. Juno clutched the medicine in her hand.

John, after quietly watching her, walked out of the room.

***

Juno reached out to touch Jupiter’s hand. Half a year after he returned, he was still sleeping. None of the medicines that Juno created worked.

"…Why won’t he wake up?" she asked.

Standing behind her, Peter said, "His body is fully recovered. Him not waking up can’t be solved with medicine." He touched her shoulder. "I have a suggestion. Why don’t you put him in a doll?"

"…A doll?"

"Yes."

Should she transfer Jupiter’s memory into a doll? Would he be like Peter? Juno would do anything to feel Jupiter’s warmth again, but this wasn’t her decision to make.

"I… can’t choose for him."

"I know. Juno, do you remember the process by which I put myself into a doll?"

She nodded.

"I transferred my memory into the doll’s brain before my old brain stopped functioning. I had to cut into my own skull."

Juno winced.

"I wasn’t conscious. However, I couldn’t even guarantee my brain was still functioning. There was only a slim chance that the medicine kept my body alive." Peter looked at Jupiter before turning his attention back to Juno. "He’s still breathing. We can’t just do what I did."

She was too frightened to take that risk. "Then what should we do?"

"Transferring his memories into a doll will be our last resort. Before that, I have to make sure his brain is still working."

"Huh?"

Peter tapped his head. "We’ll wake up his brain. Then we communicate with him through his consciousness to ask for his opinion."

"…Is that possible?"

"In theory, yes. Since I have the experience of transferring my consciousness, it’s not that absurd of an idea. Of course, the best outcome would be if we woke up his brain and he regained consciousness normally. However, that’s being too optimistic. But it’s better than nothing, right?"

Juno nodded. "What should I do?" As long as Jupiter was breathing, she refused to give up.

Peter took his hand off her shoulder. "There’s something else that needs your attention. Leave him to me for now."

"Huh?"

"I don’t think you’re aware of what’s going on outside these days."

"That’s…" Juno bit her lip.

As John had warned, rumors about Juno were growing out of control. There were those who tried to oppose her by saying she refused their requests. One person heard a noble family bribed her. Another said she was on good terms with a certain group and only did business with them. Someone claimed he was insulted by Juno Sergien. Groundless, false rumors continued to spread.

Compared to Peter Sergien, who was like a solid, untouchable fortress, Juno was a castle with a weak foundation and only lucky to have become an alchemist. The title of alchemist carried a lot of weight, but the name of Juno Sergien did not. They asked Juno to do what Peter didn’t and criticized her for not doing it. It wasn’t just that. The war against the Kingdom of Darnan ended with the empire as the winner. Those who were displeased with Juno began to make their move. After all, the Protective Barrier wasn’t needed anymore.

A nobleman decided not to do business with her, and others followed suit. It was their loss; however, more and more people sympathized with that decision. As a result, people had begun to doubt Juno’s skills. It’s only a matter of time before the emperor loses interest.

Juno might not be able to protect her family if there continues to be more doubt. Everyone is after me and my family. Everyone was driven by greed to get what Juno had. She hadn’t done anything despite having the resources to do so. If she continues on like this, she might lose everything again.

"I…"


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