Chapter 4

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Author: lipzoldyck

 

Valerian briefly expressed self-reproach for his ridiculous appearance and compassion for a child named Theresia Oblene, but soon it ended.

 

It was a pity that the child had to live in such a monster’s den, yet there was no other option for him to protect Everdeen.

 

He took off his glasses, trying to suppress the guilt, and pressed his eyes tightly.

 

Then after his headache subsided, he put on his glasses again and opened his mouth.

 

“Sebastian.”

 

“Did you call, Milord?”

 

The butler who was standing outside the door came in and bowed his head politely.

 

In Valerian’s eyes, he saw an old man with a benevolent yet resolute impression, but in the mirror standing next to them, only suits and monocles that were neatly floating in the air were reflected.

 

Valerian calmly gave an order to Sebastian.

 

“Lady Oblene wants you to pick her up yourself. Will it be okay?”

 

“It’s possible. I will prepare and leave right away.”

 

“Alright. If you need anything, feel free to talk to me anytime.”

 

At those words, Sebastian only lowered his head with a soft smile.

 

He was touched by Valerian’s caring heart, but he was one of the people who knew best how poor the Duke of Everdeen’s finances were.

 

Knowing that, even though Valerian didn’t get an answer back, he let it go.

 

Valerian added lightly, turning his head away from Sebastian to hide his embarrassed and guilty face.

 

“…Please take good care of the child so that she isn’t frightened.”

 

In front of him, Sebastian, as always, bowed deeply in a respectful yet sincere manner.

 

***

 

“It’s done, Miss.”

 

I looked through the mirror at the maid removing her hands from my hair with my mouth open.

 

My reflection in the mirror looked like a well-behaved, calm, and excellent child to be educated as the successor.

 

It was so dainty that it couldn’t be compared to my usual scruffy appearance, but I felt dirty.

 

‘So it’s enough to decorate me like this.’

 

Dinner time the day before. As soon as I returned to my room, I was caught in the hands of strangers and literally had to go through a process of stripping and polishing the ‘goods’.

 

[A total of 450,000 gold including travel expenses, Viscount.]

 

[Cough, cough. Ehm.]

 

Even after the Viscount had summoned people, saying that I couldn’t look like a beggar to the Duke, he kept clearing his throat, as if he was dissatisfied with spending 450,000 gold for me.

 

However, he couldn’t hurt his face in front of those who were busy moving to meet the tight deadline, and in the end, he held out a bag of gold coins with the corner of his mouth flickering.

 

‘I liked that one, but ugh, it’s satisfying.’

 

Thinking of the Viscount’s distorted face made me giggle. But I soon had to laugh.

 

“Miss, the Duke’s carriage has arrived. He told you to go down.”

 

The maid grabbed my arm and pulled me down from the chair, pushing me out of the room.

 

“…I know, don’t push me.”

 

I stared over the maid’s shoulder at the bed and the old blanket, where I had slept every day for the past few years, with my eyes full of longing, then looked away and came out.

 

An even more depressing silence fell in the corridor at the sound of the bustle coming from under the stairs and through the open door.

 

Hiding my complicated intentions, I walked silently, but stopped in the middle of the hallway. Then I sighed and turned around.

 

“Wherever you are, come now, Tommy.”

 

Yesterday evening, the news that I was going to the Duke of Everdeen must have been shocking, so I saw Tommy running away with a pale face.

 

He stood there with tears streaming down his clear blue eyes. | I clicked my tongue at that figure, and he asked with a tight squeeze.

 

<Y-Y-Y-You…>

 

“Yeah.”

 

<You a-are r-really, going…?>

 

“That’s right. Then why are you running away? I have to go now.”

 

Before leaving the mansion, I was going to swear at the Viscount with Tommy as much as I could.

 

It’s time wasted in vain, but I know that such a reaction can’t be helped.

 

From the moment I was born, I grew up with Tommy as if he was my brother.

 

The feeling of losing the one and only family member was the same on this side.

 

“Don’t cry, you idiot. I’m really going to go now. Are you really going to cry until the end?”

 

He tutted his tongue and reached out his hand to wipe away the tears flowing from his eyes.

 

Then Tommy also managed to stop crying as if he had intuition that it was really the last time. He promised me with a determined face.

 

“I-I will work really hard. Even though I can’t see the grave… I will never touch the portrait.”

 

“How did you know I was going to ask for that, you wonderful brat. I will trust you.”

 

<Y-Yeah. Trust me!>

 

“I’ll be back soon, so don’t disappear in the meantime, and don’t cry because you miss me. Understand?”

 

<Huh…? You’ll back? How?>

 

“…You’ll know when you see it. Let’s go down anyway.”

 

I evaded my answer appropriately and gestured towards Tommy.

 

He looked bewildered, but he steadily followed me to the front door of the mansion.

 

“Ah! There she comes. It seems that my daughter overslept because she is very shy. Haha.”

 

Stepping outside the wide open door, I saw the Viscount talking nonsense and smiling servilely.

 

I ignored the Viscount and turned my gaze to the other side of him, then opened my mouth small without even realizing it.

 

‘Wow.’

 

Of course, I had grown up seeing ghosts since I was born, but it was the first time I had ever seen a ghost like that.

 

An old man stood in front of the Viscount. His body was translucent with bluish light like a ghost, but only the clothes were definitely from ‘this world’.

 

‘Doesn’t it really look like he is only half a ghost?’

 

At that time, the old man with a benevolent yet somehow indifferent face took up paper and a pen and wrote down something.

 

Then, the Viscount and the servants standing nearby looked at him with fear-stricken eyes and flinched.

 

The old man, who had removed the pen from the paper, picked it up in front of everyone.

 

[Then I will take you there. I’ll see the carriage for a while, so the two of you can bid your greetings.]

 

After the old man confirmed that the Viscount and my gaze had gone all the way through the paper, he smiled at me and turned, heading toward the carriage.

 

While he was talking to the coachman, who seemed to be a servant of the duchy, the Viscount placed both hands on my shoulder.

 

“Terry.”

 

On the surface, it was a gentle and friendly attitude, but he felt a sharp pain from the forceful force in both of his hands.

 

As I struggled to hold back my groans, he bowed his head and whispered with a smile on his face.

 

“For your mother’s sake, you’d better stay quiet and stop talking nonsense. If you do well, wouldn’t you be able to live in luxury in a place that doesn’t fit your subject?”

 

The entire Empire knows that the financial situation of the Duke of Everdeen isn’t good.

 

Thus, that word was a mockery towards me.

 

‘He’s a mean person to the end, anyway.’

 

But there’s something else I’ve prepared for you!

 

Regardless of the pain I felt in my shoulder, I smiled broadly with all my might.

 

While the Viscount was taken aback by that smile, I deliberately opened my mouth in a voice loud enough to be heard even by elder people.

 

“Dad!”

 

“Ah… What?”

 

“I had a dream yesterday, and Grandfather appeared in the dream!”

 

“Did… he?”

 

The Viscount relaxed his hand with a puzzled face as I giggled.

 

“Yes! So what Grandfather said was, lend me an ear!”

 

After confirming that the old man’s gaze had returned this way, I smiled and asked.

 

As if the Viscount couldn’t shake me off in front of the old man, he forced a smile and bowed his head.

 

Pretending it was a mistake, I grabbed his ear hard on purpose.

 

And the next moment.

 

“This bratㅡ!”

 

He gave strength to his lower stomach and yelled out loud, erasing his laughter.

 

“Aaakh!”

 

As if training with Tommy had been worthwhile, he shook my hand and backed away with a painful face.

 

I put both hands on my waist in front of him and continued to yell like a madman.

 

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Comments (3)

  1. Thank you for the update TL-nim! This chapter is a bit confusing in the end.. why is she doing this? I hope next chapter brings satisfactory results 🙂