Author: Niks



Erhan’s voice followed. “Oh, that’s right. Yesterday, the etiquette teacher said he’d never seen a family as harmonious as our family, right Luca?”


“I love my family, too. Mom, dad, you too Brother!” Luca exclaimed.


‘I guess so.’


The Count and my Aunt were a rare love marriage, which was not common in aristocratic marriages.


Erhan and Luca were the fruit of their love, not for the sake of raising successors. Erhan and Luca also cared for each other dearly, perhaps because they grew up with their love.


Sometimes I felt it when I followed my mother visiting the Countess. The Count’s family is as close as our family. It’s a happy family.


But now I don’t have my parents to hug me tenderly. There was no brother like them to rely on. Envy pricked my heart with jealousy.


“And Sister Leen too! You’re also part of our family now, Sister?”


“…Sure. Leen is also my family.”


For a moment, a shock that seemed to have been struck by lightning penetrated my head.


‘I’m their family, too?’


I focused on the fact that I was recognized as a family by the two of them. The only thing stuck in my mind was that I could be part of their relationship. 


I didn’t notice that Erhan’s answer was late at that time.



It was an exceptionally cold day. I lit up the fireplace and armed myself with a thick blanket, but my whole body was still trembling.


“Don’t you want to come out today?”


…What was I thinking?


They were just annoying people. Not only would it help to have a comfortable sleep, and it would not make me feel restless with strange words.


As I was bracing myself, I heard a familiar voice from the door.


“Sister, it’s cold today, right?”


“Leen seems to be sleeping all the time inside her room. Maybe she’s sleeping without knowing it’s snowing?”


“The snow was so pretty.”


I just thought it would be better not to come out. Hearing the two brothers’ voices made me strangely excited.


As usual, they shared recent events, and I listened to them. Meanwhile, I heard a loud cough.


“Did you catch a cold?”


“No, it was just a sneeze.”


Erhan denied it, but then coughed in succession as if to prove it was a lie.


“I want to be alone, so you go in and rest.”


“Even if you’re not sick.”


“Do you think I’ll be fooled if you cough like that?”


“It’s because I’m worried about leaving you alone in this cold place.”


“I can call a maid or a servant.”


“They have no choice but to listen when you tell them to leave.”


The battle of words between the two continued for several minutes, and there was no sign of a conclusion. Gradually I was fed up with the repeated quarrels between the two brothers.


Perhaps that’s why I burst open the door in a fit of anger.


“Don’t shiver outside and come inside.”


The expressions on the faces of the two siblings with their eyes wide open as if they had seen a ghost were indescribably funny.


But, knowing that it wasn’t the case, I endured the laughter and held it in. I opened the door that had been closed like that. It was a very disheartening opening.



Once the door was open, the second time was easy. I invited my two siblings to my room every day.


It was not difficult to get close to them again because we used to hang out together even before I relied on the Count.


My day started with a visit with my two brothers and ended with a parting.


I didn’t go out of the door, but my small world grew bigger. As the visits of the two brothers continued, my Aunt and the Count began to visit me carefully.


Of course, I didn’t refuse their visit this time. As I met the Count’s people one after another, I felt a sense of warmth.


They genuinely cared and respected me and did not discriminate. Their words and actions made me believe that I was not alone.


One day, I suddenly had a question. Even though I am awake and didn’t suffer anymore.


My heart still aches when I think of my parents, but I didn’t think of them every moment as I did before.


When the Count’s people came and talked to me, we often laughed. So, do I still need to lock myself in a room like this?


As soon as I had that thought, I opened the door and came out of the room.


The place where I stopped walking was where I could smell delicious food and hear familiar voices. It seemed that I came down in time for the meal.


“It’s all thanks to you that Leen was able to open the door. You’re better than your mom and dad. You are both commendable.”


When my name was mentioned, I instinctively hid. Then I watched them through a small crack in the door.


“But, Mom. I just wanted to play with my sister?”


Then Auntie gently brushes Luca’s hair. “That’s a very Luca-like answer. So, was it fun to play with Leen?”


“Yes. But it’s a pity that we met so briefly.  I wish we could eat together…”


“If you wait, the day will come when we can eat together with Leen.”


The Count, who had been watching the two boys happily, spoke with a rather serious face.


“Speaking of which, Erhan, Luca. I have something to tell you.”


When everyone’s eyes were on him, the Count glanced at my Aunt’s face as if asking for permission. My aunt nodded softly.


“I haven’t asked Leen’s opinion yet, but I decided to tell you first.”


My permission?


I waited for the words to come out of the Count’s mouth.


“Leen is already part of our family. But I want us to be a family on papers as well, so I’m going to go through formal adoption procedures and put her in the family register.”


My heart pounded. Tears were about to burst out of my eyes. I knew that you thought of me as a family, but hearing it in person made me feel different.


I might have run to my Aunt and the Count’s arms. If it weren’t for the words that came after.


“I’m against it!”




The people in the room turned to look at him in bewilderment. He bit his lips nervously and continued.


“It’s true that our Leen is part of our family in a broad sense. But she wasn’t born between mother and our father, like us.”




“I think we have done our best to provide her food, clothing, and shelter.”


The Count’s voice filled with anger echoed through the dining room. “Erhan!”


“I didn’t say anything wrong! Leen is my Aunt’s daughter, not my father and mother’s!”


The Count sprang from his seat and raised his hand in front of Erhan. Seeing this, my Aunt screamed immediately.


“Honey! Don’t be violent!”


At that moment, as if recognizing what he was trying to do, the Count lowered his hand. But there was still anger in his eyes.


“I’m very disappointed in you, son. Are you against the adoption just for that reason? If you are genuinely opposed to it, you should give a more plausible reason.”


I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t stand the reason they were fighting. It was a fight that would not have started if it wasn’t for me.


A deep sense of guilt came over me as I thought I had created a riot in the Count’s family.


In the end, I ran away from the place I was standing. However, I did not feel any resentment towards Erhan. It was sad,  but he only said the very right thing.


Erhan must have had his reasons for opposing my adoption.


Predictably, Erhan probably felt threatened by me. The Count and my Aunt were never the ones to discriminate against anything just because I was adopted.


If I became the daughter of the Count, I would be given the same qualifications as Erhan.


For example, the position of a successor.


Luca was not interested in the position of a Count, and built a barrier to related studies. Without me, Erhan would have inherited it without a fight for succession.


So, that’s why he must be anxious and repulsive to my adoption.


When my mind was settled to some extent, the Count came to see me. It was not difficult to predict what he was going to say.


“Leen. I was trying to officially register you to our family. Will you be our daughter?”


The Count must have come to me without being persuaded by Erhan’s opposition.


Because of this, I declined the offer.


I wanted to let Erhan know that I was harmless. I won’t take his place. I know my position well.


Foolishly… The Count did not try to persuade or force me to become their daughter. He respected my choice and asked me to tell him whenever I changed my mind.


I embraced the Count’s arms and answered ‘Okay’. His arms were as warm as those of my late father.


The next day, Erhan gave me a friendly smile as usual. I thought it was fortunate that the smile hadn’t changed.


On the other hand, however, I felt an unknown sense of incompatibility. I smiled, pretending to be ignorant of the discomfort. I didn’t want to be hated by him.


So, I smiled like a fool.



Since I left the room, my daily life has changed quite a bit.


Not on paper, but the Count and my Aunt treated me like their own child. I started studying herbal medicine again in the lab provided by the Count.


On sunny days, I went on picnics with the Count’s family, and sometimes went horseback riding with Erhan.


Luca was attending the academy, so we could only hang out on vacation.


After some time and complete stability, I began to receive several lessons from teachers invited by my Aunt.


My daily life was restored as before in the love of everyone.


It was at the end of the especially long summer that the daily life that I thought would be so full of happiness got messed up.


I went out to buy herbs and bought a bunch of lavender flowers. It was supposed to be a gift to the people of Count.


It was the first time I was given something as a gift, so I entered the mansion with excitement and anticipation.


When I heard that Erhan was in the guest room, I headed straight there. A little thought would have made it easy to understand why he was in the guest room, which meant he was with someone.


Excited, I didn’t give much thought to it.


As I entered the room, I saw a boy with dazzling silver hair and gray eyes.


The boy’s eyes glanced at me as if he felt my gaze. There was an eerie chill in the air but I thought it suited the boy. 


Yes, until then.


“Le— Leen?”


Erhan’s bewildered voice struck my ear. Only then did I realize that I had made a mistake and hurriedly bowed my head to the boy and apologized.


“I’m sorry. I was in a hurry and came in without knowing that brother Erhan was with his guest.”


Usually, I spoke of his name, regardless of an age difference, but since it was in front of someone else, I decided to side with Erhan.




As if something had happened, the silver-haired boy frowned and looked at Erhan.


“Uh-huh. She’s not my real sister, but my cousin who lives with us here at the Count.” Erhan said apologetically, sweating profusely.


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