Kafni was stunned when Annan held her hand. After that, her body became a little stiff.
Kafni’s eyes widened slightly. Her pupils were clear as red gems, filled with confusion and dismay.
Have Kafni’s hands always been this soft? This was the first thought that popped into Annan’s mind.
Kafni held his hand many times. The only thought he had was that her grips were firm, contrasting her appearance.
Although she didn’t have any calluses and her skin was unusually fair, Annan couldn’t break free whenever she held his hand.
Yet today, Kafni’s palms were so soft and tender.
Is Kafni not a Transcended yet? Annan was dumbfounded.
This would mean that…
Kafni advanced from an ordinary person to Transcended at Silver Rank in just four or five years?
She didn’t even have a basic profession right now…
Isn’t her leveling speed a little too scary?
But Annan suddenly noticed something.
There were apparent calluses on young Annan’s palm— these must be the traces of sword practices.
The young Annan who was using the Frost Sword for the first time appeared in his mind; he was indeed about this age.
Has Annan already started practicing Frost Sword now?
“Now that we have held hands, we are friends.” Then, Annan said in a childish but serious voice, “If someone bullies you, I will help you beat him up.”
Annan had reconsidered his tone several times before speaking. It wasn’t easy to decide how he should say it.
This should be what a nine-year-old boy should say… right?
Annan suddenly felt that he should change his name.
He should not be called Annan in his current situation, but Edogawa Conan  instead.
Annan was clear about it in his heart.
The clue was with Kafni… To save time, he needed to conquer Kafni with the highest efficiency. Of course, he could not expect Kafni to “join his team” right away, but he had to persuade Kafni willing to “provide information” at least.
He suddenly grabbed Kafni’s hand even tighter.
But he adjusted his grip well so it wasn’t hurting her—This way, it wouldn’t raise her attention.
At this time, if Kafni threw away Annan’s hand or pushed Annan away because of nervousness or whatever, the atmosphere between them would immediately become cold and distant.
If Annan tried to grab Kafni’s hand again, she would firmly reject him.
This was because the Young Kafni could not decide if she wanted to keep her distance or maintain the current state now that she also felt some positive emotions from Annan.
If she tried to push Annan away or escape his hand but failed, she would subconsciously think that she indeed longed for a friend like him… But if she succeeded in rejecting Annan just once, she would immediately regain clarity and remain calm and vigilant.
But Annan didn’t want to grab Kafni with brute force—
After all, Kafni’s identity was a noble like him. As a guest, he shouldn’t be too crude… The maids were watching.
However, in Annan’s experience, he didn’t need to apply brute force at all.
He just squatted down while still holding her hand, changing the subject naturally, “What are you painting?
“Is it a flower field?” Again, Annan intentionally took the lead in the conversation.
The Kafni at this age was much easier to fool than the Kafni five years later.
Annan quickly diverted her attention.
It could also be because she had not been able to find anyone who could appreciate her paintings lately. Kafni replied softly with some nervousness and uneasiness, “Yes… these are the flowers.”
She was worried if this slightly shorter boy would tease her paintings for being “weird and scary”.
It was rare for her to encounter someone willing to chat with her instead of being afraid of her.
Kafni was born with the ability to read people’s intentions and discern the truth and lies.
She knew… This adorable blue-eyed boy wanted to be friends with her from the bottom of his heart!
Kafni didn’t want to lose such a rare true friend.
Fortunately, Annan indeed didn’t laugh at her. Instead, he just nodded seriously, “It’s well-drawn.
“You might become a great painter in the future, Kafni.”
—This was not Annan’s flattery.
Annan indeed knew that Kafni’s painting skills would be superb in the future. She could already replicate Amos’s paintings at the tender age of 14. She could also create bizarre “inspirational paintings” with a mystical sense of beauty.
As for the blood-red sea of flowers at the tip of her pen now… Although this crayon drawing was still rough to the touch, it already had some of that vibe.
Kafni also looked back at Annan in amazement.
She saw that Annan was sincere with his compliment!
But even Kafni felt that her paintings were not that great.
“What’s wrong?” Annan backtracked in confusion.
Did I say something wrong?
Why does she suddenly seem so shocked and confused?
Annan didn’t realize yet that Kafni’s supernatural vision could see through lies and people’s intentions.
This was 14 years old Kafni, and she had not opened up about her abilities to Annan.
“…No, nothing.” Kafni suddenly felt her cheeks getting hot.
She turned her gaze away to look at the painting.
She initiated an explanation with her signature, soft, drawling voice, “Because I saw… the sky turned red. It was a color like fire… there were red vines that crawled from the ground to the sky, turning the entire sky red.”
Kafni gasped for a breath after making such a lengthy statement in one breath.
Annan frowned slightly and thought about this.
…Red vines… crawled to the sky…?
Kafni was too young to provide a clear description. But she had a supernatural vision… she must have seen something we could not.
While Annan was staring at the painting in deep thought, Kafni was spying on him.
Anna… seems to like my paintings? Kafni felt a little touched.
[TN: Continuation from the previous chapter, Kafni referred to Annan as Anna. It isn’t a spelling error.]
She still had not realized that her left hand and Annan’s right hand had been held together all this while, but her dad witnessed it.
His Royal Highness Albert had just come out of the side hall hurriedly and was looking in this direction. He was probably looking for Kafni.
But he saw the maid that followed alongside his royal sister pressing a finger on her lips as she smiled, signaling for him to be quiet.
It was only then that Albert understood.
Looking from a distance, he did not see Annan at first glance. After all, Annan was wearing an elegant pure white robe that was almost camouflaged within this silvery purple sea of flowers.
But after he located Annan and Kafni, his gaze became a little conflicted.
As far as he knew, Annan went to the garden just a few minutes ago.
He realized that his daughter, Kafni, was still in the garden. She was notoriously eccentric, cold, distant, and inarticulate. There was a possibility she might bump into Annan.
That was why Albert rushed over hurriedly, intending to resolve any conflict.
Annan had only departed 5 minutes ahead of Albert. Plus, he definitely couldn’t walk as fast as Albert because of his young age. So, Annan had probably been here for less than 3 minutes.
But how were they able to get so intimate with one another in such a short period?
They were even holding hands…
It has not even been 3 minutes!
Looking at the rare excitement on Kafni’s face and her eyes that seemed to be shining brightly, Albert even felt a little jealous. But, on the other hand, he also couldn’t bear to interrupt Kafni’s rare happiness.
On the contrary, Annan didn’t notice that Kafni was staring at him.
He was simply thinking deeply about Kafni’s words.
Suddenly, Annan vaguely grasped some clues.
He leaned his head over and whispered into Kafni’s ear— It didn’t seem like something Annan could ask, hence he had to be as quiet as possible, “How many vines did you see, and where? Did they form some sort of pattern?”
Kafni blushed a little when Annan leaned in so closely.
She leaned back slightly to create some distance in a panic.
She quickly calmed down afterward and also leaned over to whisper in Annan’s ear, “There were six… One here, and the other five… Do you want to see it? I’ll take you there.”
As expected. Annan squinted slightly.
Is it… a hexagram?
The number six symbolized the “War” number, and the month under the protection of the war deity Red Knight was the month of June. Therefore, if the purpose of this ritual was to cause war, it made sense that “six” was used as the core structure of the ritual.
From the ground to the sky…
Does this mean that the entire palace is a ritual ground?
Is it underground?
Annan put aside his inner speculations temporarily and nodded thoughtfully to Kafni, “Okay, take me there.”
Kafni had zero hesitation.
She simply put on her boots, brought along her drawing board, and was about to leave with Annan. Only then did she realize that they had been holding hands for so long.
She pursed her lips and actively reached her hand out to Annan.
“Come on, Anna.” She said seriously, “I’ll take you there.”
“…It’s Annan.” Annan corrected exasperatedly.
Credits to MindMatrix for editing this chapter and improving the readability.
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