Chapter 3

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Author: lipzoldyck

 

It was left behind by the chief, the last survivor of the Mortia clan in the world, at the moment of his death. The contents of the curse floated secretly.

 

Everdeen; I curse you!

 

You will pay the price for interfering with the divine mission from Heaven!

 

The bloodthirsty glory will fall to the ground,

 

All the golden riches that were everywhere will crumble.

 

In the end, the eyes full of longing will be filled with only fear and contempt.

 

You sinners will be tormented forever, neither living nor dying!

 

Of course, it is said that the Duke cut off the head of such a chief without blinking an eye.

 

The way he wielded his sword with sparkling golden eyes was like an evil spirit that had crawled up from hell.

 

There’s nothing wrong with that. The Emperor must have had a little stomach ache, but the people were accustomed to praising Everdeen, then the Duke and knights returned to the Empire amid hospitality.

 

The problem was then.

 

After that day, everyone in Everdeen Manor, including the Duke, became a ghost.

 

Technically, they didn’t die and disappear.

 

It’s just that their appearances and hearts that beat regularly were erased.

 

Those who became ghosts could see each other, and they could pick up things or put on clothes.

 

But their faces weren’t reflected in the mirror. They could hear each other’s voices, but normal people couldn’t hear theirs.

 

Just as if the world they live in and the world ordinary people live in are separated from each other.

 

The appearance of ghosts, only clothes and objects wandering silently in the empty air, aroused fear.

 

Due to the curse making external activities difficult, the Duke tried to hire an agent from outside.

 

But they all fled from Everdeen Manor in terror in less than a week.

 

[It’s cursed! That place is cursed!]

 

Rumors about the Duke of Everdeen grew worse every day.

 

People slandered them as easily as flipping their palms, as if they had never praised Everdeen.

 

[They say that a loud noise is heard as if a party goes on every night?]

 

[It’s also normal for things to change places randomly.]

 

[Didn’t they say that there were people who died after falling down the stairs, perhaps because a ghost pushed them on their backs?]

 

[It’s really the Ghost Duke.]

 

Naturally, the honor of the Duke of Everdeen fell to the ground,

 

They couldn’t take care of the manor normally, so the gold coins that were filling up the warehouse were exposed.

 

People’s eyes were full of fear and contempt, not respect.

 

The people of Everdeen Manor became living death like that.

 

Upon hearing the news, the Emperor was said to have laughed so loudly that the hall rang loudly.

 

<Of course, he didn’t make it obvious in front of other people. A ghost from the Imperial Palace saw him sticking his tongue out, though?>

 

The Emperor, who laughed at the Duke’s misfortune as if he had all the happiness in the world, declared with a benevolent face that he would end the war that had been going on for 10 years.

 

On the surface, it looked like it was mourning the tragedy of the Duke of Everdeen, but it was a general secret that in reality it must have been a decision based on public sentiment that was slightly shaken by the prolonged war.

 

Whatever the intention, after that, the Duke wrote a letter expressing gratitude for the kindness of the Emperor, then locked the door and went into hiding.

 

Before he lived in seclusion, he left a message saying that if there is a child from a noble family to be adopted as the heir to the Duke of Everdeen, they should contact him anytime.

 

However, rumors about the Duke’s family were so terrible that even if it was an illegitimate child, no parents willingly offered to send their children.

 

It was because of a somewhat frightening rumor that if an illegitimate child died and became a ghost, the family would be in trouble.

 

It’s already been five years since then… That’s what Tommy explained to me for a full day.

 

***

 

‘Adoption…?’

 

Back to reality

 

I wasn’t just hardened by their gossip or notoriety.

 

Being adopted as an heir to the Duke’s family.

 

That meant that I had to leave the Oblene Mansion, where memories with Mother remained.

 

Realizing this, I threw the paper I was holding in my hand and raised my voice.

 

“No, I don’t want to! I will never go!”

 

“No, this bitch…!”

 

“Even if you said you would kick me out, I would never go! I won’t go even if I die!”

 

“…It seems like you won’t listen.”

 

The Viscount let out a dreary murmur and quickly narrowed the distance. His shadow, about twice my size, loomed menacingly over my head.

 

I opened my eyes and glared at him as if I wouldn’t give up.

 

I wasn’t afraid of being hit. I would just be in pain for a while.

 

Contrary to expectations, however, the Viscount didn’t raise his hand.

 

“…Whew. It can’t be helped if you hate it so much.”

 

The Viscount suddenly twitched the corners of his mouth with a most embarrassing smile.

 

‘Huh?’

 

While I was at a loss for words, bewildered by the unexpected words, he suddenly lowered his upper body and let out a snake-like whisper in my ear.

 

“I have no choice but to overturn your mother’s grave and throw it out in the field.”

 

The moment I heard those words, my whole body stiffened with instinctive fear.

 

“In addition, I have to get rid of the painting of a person who died of an unknown disease hanging in the portrait room, what an unlucky thing, tsk.”

 

The Viscount brushed his fingertips and clicked his tongue, like someone who had touched something really dirty and sinister.

 

It was difficult to accept it at once with my common sense, so I understood his words a little later.

 

The shock made my mind, which had been dazed and still, barely roll.

 

I gnashed my teeth, chewing all sorts of curse words in my heart.

 

“…Do you think I will leave it like that?”

 

“Ha. So what can you do about it? Can you beat even one of the hounds raised at the Viscount’s house just because you’re so desperate?”

 

“…”

 

I felt like I was about to burst into tears.

 

As soon as I thought of that, I felt tears welling up in my eyes, but I opened my eyes thinking that it would be a waste to shed a single tear in front of the Viscount.

 

‘…I’m angry.’

 

I’m really, really angry

 

However, there was nothing wrong with the Viscount’s words.

 

Have the ghosts watching to stop the Viscount? That was impossible in the first place.

 

A ghost is a ghost. There aren’t many ghosts that can have a significant impact on humans.

 

In addition, most ghosts don’t seek to stray far from their dwelling place.

 

Tommy also doesn’t rush away from the Viscount’s house because he could lose all his energy and disappear while doing so.

 

That’s why even if the Viscount sends men to dig up Mother’s grave, I can do nothing.

 

Nothing at all.

 

“Looks like you’ve understood what I’m saying now.”

 

The Viscount satisfactorily straightened his upper body only when I lowered my head in silence.

 

I could feel him looking down at the top of my head with cold eyes.

 

“The departure is tomorrow morning.”

 

“…”

 

“Go back to your room, there will be a maid waiting for you. If you don’t want to look rough, you’d better stop nagging and follow.”

 

The Viscount left only those words, then turned around and left the drawing room.

 

Even after that, I stood still for a while with my fists clenched, thinking.

 

Memories, traces, and a portrait of my mother.

 

The ghosts of Oblene Mansion are the only ones in this world who are on my side.

 

How long had it been since I stood in the drawing room silently, as if I had become a stone?

 

As the sunset came in through the window, I pursed my lips and raised my head fiercely.

 

“…Alright. An adoption, that’s all it takes.”

 

I smiled with the look on my face that would have made Tommy say, “She’s thinking of something weird again,”  if he had seen it.

 

“He only told me to get adopted, but he didn’t tell me not to be dismissed, didn’t he?”

 

Now that this has happened, please leave the name of the child who was abandoned the fastest in the history of the empire.

 

***

 

The Duke of Everdeen, Valerian Aberdeen, looked down at the name written on the document that came up in front of him.

 

Theresia Oblene.

 

The eldest daughter of Viscount Oblene.

 

And…

 

‘…Eight years old.’

 

A child who has just turned eight.

 

‘How young.’

 

Even so, she was too young.

 

After hesitating for a moment, he immediately took his steps and approached the mirror covered with a long cloth in the corner of the room.

 

Valerian inhaled slowly and slowly reached out for his hand.

 

He pulled down the cloth with his white-gloved fingertips and lifted his head with difficulty to check the mirror.

 

“…”

 

In the mirror, there was only the smooth, wrinkle-free clothes floated quietly in the air in human form.

 

Only the glasses placed on the collar of his white shirt allowed him to guess the location of his head and eyes.

 

‘Is it fortunate if she doesn’t cry or explode after seeing this?’

 

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