Chapter 37

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Author: lipzoldyck

 

“…!”

 

The Duke froze as if it had been scrawled by a dragon’s paws, then carefully held the small body in his arms.

 

“I missed you too, Liriette.”

 

It was a blunt tone with a low voice, yet there was a lot of warm affection in it.

 

Knowing this, Liriette smiled brightly like spring.

 

Observing the two of them, Olivia opened her eyes wide as if she saw something surprising.

 

‘I know that he loves that child so much that he sends people every few days to ask how Liriette is and send her presents. But I never thought he would make that face.’

 

It was clear to the biological mother that her son, who was blunt as ice, was in love.

 

‘To fall in love with his young daughter rather than the woman who will become his wife when he’s in the prime of marriage…’

 

She was dumbfounded, but she got it.

 

‘Liriette is a child worthy of that.’

 

***

 

Meals were served in the verdant garden.

 

Liriette gulped down her saliva at the sight of the enormous amount of food that had filled the table.

 

‘Awesome. It’s like being invited to a giant’s dinner.’

 

Liriette has one thing she recently learned.

 

Olivia was a huge glutton no less than the Duke!

 

But few people knew about it. For she thoroughly hid it.

 

She deserved to be pointed at, saying that it wasn’t dignified for a noblewoman to eat large amounts of food. Even more so if she was a duchess who was respected by everyone.

 

However, after Mello’s death, Olivia no longer felt the need to hide it.

 

‘What if I get a finger pointed at me? I said I would eat it, though.’

 

Olivia ate a staggering amount of food with graceful gestures. When the maids saw her for the first time, they forgot the rule about not showing personal feelings while working, and opened their mouths.

 

Only Liriette clapped with her twinkling eyes.

 

[Wow, Grandma. How come you eat so much? You’re so amazing!]

 

Recalling that time, Olivia smiled and put a large piece of meat into her mouth.

 

The Duke also had never seen his mother eat so well. He looked at Olivia and spat out a word.

 

“There must be enough meat.”

 

“Don’t worry. I prepared for it.”

 

Liriette’s eyes widened as she heard the conversation between the two.

 

“My goodness, it looks like there’s enough of it now, so how much more do they want to eat?’

 

Liriette watched with interest the two alike ones finishing off an enormous amount of meat with the most elegant gesture.

 

 

As the meal was coming to an end, Olivia said something unconventional.

 

“Laurencio. Leave Liriette behind.”

 

The Duke, who had been expressionless the whole time, raised one eyebrow.

 

Olivia continued her words.

 

“As you know, the skills of a noble lady can’t be learned in one month. There are still many things I need to tell Liriette about.”

 

Although it was reasonable, there was something Olivia didn’t know.

 

It wasn’t because of education that the Duke left Liriette here in the first place. Because he wanted Liriette to be intimate with Olivia.

 

And his purpose must have been perfectly accomplished.

 

Olivia talked to Liriette between meals and even put food on her plate.

 

It was an affectionate sight that would leave anyone knowing her pass out.

 

So the Duke flatly rejected his mother’s proposal.

 

“Like Mother said, it takes a long time to learn the skills of a noble lady until she becomes an adult. Mother laid the foundation, so I will invite a teacher to the castle to do the rest.”

 

Olivia furrowed her brow.

 

“You don’t want to entrust Liriette to me?”

 

“Not that. But…”

 

The Duke continued, looking at Liriette from the other side of her, her eyes wide open with a nervous look on her face.

 

“I don’t want to be away from Liriette any longer.”

 

“…!”

 

“Every child must grow up in the arms of their parents.”

 

It was a word that could serve as an example for all parents in the world. Yet Olivia’s face contorted as if she had heard something she wasn’t supposed to hear.

 

‘Is that what a kid who left his mother’s arms as soon as he was four years old and went hunting for monsters would say?’

 

Olivia, who soon regained her senses, said.

 

“It also depends on the parents. Aren’t there many days when you leave the castle empty because of monsters that appear from time to time? I’m living leisurely, so I can take good care of Liriette.”

 

“I just need to get rid of the monsters as quickly as possible and come back to the castle.”

 

“There are limits to what an adult man can do to raise a girl. My side can take care of what I need more.”

 

“There are things I can take better care of because I’m a father.”

 

“What is that.”

 

The Duke pondered for a moment, then he answered with an extremely serious face.

 

“I can give her a ride on the wooden horse. All day if she wants.”

 

“…”

 

Silence lingered between the two.

 

Olivia let out a sigh.

 

“Since you and I both want to have the child, we’d better get an answer from her.”

 

At those words, Liriette’s shoulders, who were listening to them with an extremely tense face, trembled. Olivia said, turning her eyes as if telling her not to be intimidated.

 

“Tell me, Liriette. Who do you want to be with?”

 

“I-I…”

 

“I won’t be disappointed no matter who you choose, so tell me honestly. It’s a very important matter.”

 

Olivia and the Duke weren’t petty enough to be sad because a child’s feeling wasn’t the same as theirs.

 

Liriette knew that too, yet she couldn’t answer easily.

 

‘I like Grandma.’

 

For over a month, Olivia taught Liriette a lot of things.

 

The gestures, manner of speaking, and knowledge that a noble lady should possess.

 

‘Above all, Grandma still sheds tears whenever she thinks of Mello.’

 

She didn’t want to leave her alone.

 

But…

 

Liriet said in a trembling voice.

 

“I want to go back to Windsor-Ice Castle. Because that is my home.”

 

The butler, Simon, who takes care of her tenderly with narrow eyes. Marie, the maid with thick forearms who spoke kindly to her. Just looking at Liriette, the maids said she was cute and stamped their feet.

 

Above all, there was Duke Windsor-Ice.

 

Liriette’s father.

 

Olivia taught Liriette not to apologize for her rashness. An apology is done with the will to take responsibility when you’re sure of your fault.

 

Even so, Liriette lowered her head.

 

“I’m sorry, Grandma.”

 

“…”

 

Olivia lowered her eyebrows.

 

For she knew what Liriette meant by saying sorry.

 

She wasn’t sorry for not following her words. She says sorry that she can’t be with Olivia.

 

‘How can a child who is only 10 years old be so considerate?’

 

Olivia spoke softly to Liriette.

 

“It’s good that you clearly stated your intention.”

 

She added some words.

 

“I can’t help it. Then I have no choice but to go to Windsor-Ice Castle.”

 

At those words, Liriette’s eyes widened. It was the same with the Duke. Though very subtle.

 

“You’re coming back to the castle?”

 

Olivia abdicated her title as a duchess as soon as her son was ordained, and she left the castle.

 

It was for Mello’s recuperation, but on the other hand, she wanted her son to hold full power as a duke.

 

Where there’s no halo or shadow of his mother.

 

Most of all she liked a quiet life in the mansion.

 

So she shook her head.

 

“It’s not that I’m very much going back to the castle. I just want to be with my granddaughter, so I’ll stay for a while. And…”

 

Olivia said, looking at Liriette, whose eyes twinkled when she said she was coming to the castle.

 

“Shouldn’t we prepare a banquet to officially introduce the Young Princess of Windsor-Ice?”

 

Although the Duke had a natural talent for beating monsters, preparing banquets was a poison for him. Olivia, on the other hand, was skilled at preparing banquets, befitting a woman who had been a duchess for decades.

 

The Duke, who knew that, nodded his head.

 

Liriette also held her hands and smiled brightly.

 

***

 

Liriette returned to Windsor-Ice Castle. It was exactly 45 days.

 

In the meantime, spring came in full swing around the castle.

 

Warm sunlight. Flowers and buds in full bloom. Fluttering butterflies.

 

She couldn’t have imagined that it was a winter land full of snow just a few months ago.

 

‘It just feels like a different castle. How fascinating.’’

 

It was the moment Liriette entered the castle with a fluttering expression on her face.

 

“Miss Liriette, welcome back!”

 

Author's Thoughts

this chapter is sponsored by Msteleo (1/2)

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