Chapter 1. I was abandoned by my family
It’s finally the second day of the Hunting festival. There were many lovers confirming their feelings for each other, and they looked more wistful than yesterday.
But somehow Leticia’s expression seemed unsettled.
“I’m sorry I should have been next to you yesterday.”
Elle wished she could know what Enoch was thinking when he stepped away for a drink.
Leticia spoke in a soft voice to Elle, who vowed never to step away from Leticia’s side in the future.
“There’s nothing to be sorry about Elle. Don’t say that.”
“But… You don’t look well.”
“I’m really fine. It’s just…”
Leticia stopped talking mid sentence without realizing it.
She still remembered the woman’s smiling face at the banquet. A smile spread across her face, but her eyes were hard as they were evaluating her like an object. No wonder she thought it looked so calculating.
It didn’t really matter.
There was only one thing Leticia seized on.
‘The way she looked at it must be…’
She felt a sense of déjà vu that she had felt somewhere.
But she couldn’t remember where, so she had a lump in her chest since last night.
“It’s just that it bothers me a little bit.”
Leticia managed to smile and clasp hands with the anxious looking Elle.
“Come to think of it, when will Lord Achilles arrive?”
Elle was forced to let the subject go, since it was obvious that Leticia didn’t want to talk about it anymore.
“My brother was a bit of a disappointment yesterday, at least that’s how I see it.”
“Why wouldn’t he be?”
Elle looked at Leticia like the answer was obvious.
“It’s because he only caught a rabbit.”
“I thought it was cute, though.”
“What’s the point of it being cute? He caught a rabbit the size of my palm and used it for something stupid. When did you get here?”
Elle smiled awkwardly at Enoch, who was looking down at her with his arms crossed.
“Good morning, Brother.”
“Do you know your mistake?”
Elle hid behind Leticia, knowing that she’d done something wrong. Enoch, who was looking at the scene in disapproval, tapped Elle lightly on the head and moved towards the hunting ground.
He could feel someone clasp his jacket from behind. As he turned around, Leticia was standing with an uneasy look.
As soon as he tried to ask what was wrong.
“Don’t feel too pressured. I don’t want you to get hurt while overdoing it.”
“I’m just thankful that you returned back safely.”
She was worried that the conversation he’d overheard might have hurt his pride and he might push himself to catch some better game.
But Enoch smirked as if he was fine.
“It’s natural to feel burdened and push yourself to look cool to someone you’re interested in.”
“What? Oh, that’s true, but…”
Leticia hesitated to speak, but eventually looked up at Enoch and said.
“Then can’t we have two rabbits?”
Enoch couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the sparkle in her blue eyes.
“If I can’t find anything else, I’ll bring you another rabbit.”
“Yes! I don’t care if you don’t catch anything, just don’t get hurt.”
Enoch glanced down at her small hands holding onto his cuff, then looked at her again.
Light pink hair, the color of newly bloomed cherry blossom, scattered across her slender shoulders. The sky-blue eyes that looked straight at him with worry about his safety. Enoch, who was staring at her soft lips, took something out.
Leticia recognized the white rose immediately and looked up at him with surprise written on her face. The moment their eyes met, Enoch smiled with a gentle rise to the corners of his mouth.
“Don’t hate me or get revenge on me since I didn’t play a joke this time.”
Leticia immediately recognized the laughter in his low voice and whispered while smoothing his cuff with her fingertips.
“Revenge is a trivial matter.”
The thought of revenge would seem insignificant to anyone else.
However, Enoch’s face hardened.
“So it’s even scarier.”
“Who knows if there’s someone else who might want to give you a white rose like yesterday?”
Leticia blinked her eyes and turned her head slightly. She didn’t expect he’d keep that in mind until today. Enoch tickled Leticia’s cheek with the white rose he was holding, while he squinted slightly in disapproval.
“Don’t receive a white rose from other people.”
She didn’t say much, but she could easily understand he meant for her to wear only his rose.
Leticia was carefully touching the rose he’d handed her. She looked up at Enoch with a smile on her face.
“This is enough for me, too.”
She repeated the words that Enoch had said yesterday.
The words he’d whispered sweetly, while smoothing the blue ribbon she’d given him.
This was a small, but trivial revenge Leticia could give Enoch.
“There’s going to be a Hunting festival winner at today’s banquet, right?”
Elle asked this as soon as Leticia returned from seeing Enoch off at the hunting grounds.
As Elle said, today was the last chance to win the hunting festival and the final winner was revealed. Maybe that’s why people often got hurt because it was a particularly intense day.
The winner will be recognized as a knight at the final banquet, which is the main event of the Hunting festival.
“Yes, I think so.”
“He’s never hunted before, but he’s good at it.”
Leticia shook her head with a smile when Elle seemed to be hoping Enoch would win.
“I just want Lord Achilles to return safely.”
It didn’t matter what he caught. She didn’t want anything but Enoch’s safety.
It was getting darker and darker, and before long it was almost evening. Young noblemen, who felt it was no longer safe to hunt, began to return one by one.
Enoch was nowhere to be seen among them.
‘Why hasn’t he returned yet?’
Leticia was nervously waiting for Enoch alongside Elle in front of the entrance to the hunting grounds.
‘Has he not returned because he’s trying to catch a rabbit?’
She was just joking.
It seemed like Enoch hadn’t returned because of his persistence in not giving up on his goal.
It was at that moment, when Leticia’s lips started to tremble and she worried that it was her fault that he hadn’t returned yet.
“Oh, there’s someone coming!”
Someone shouted while pointing to somewhere deep in the forest. Leticia turned her eyes to where the person was pointing.
Because of how dark it already was, it was impossible to identify exactly who the shadow was. It was not until he reached a break in the forest that everyone could see the man’s face and sharp eyes.
As soon as Leticia saw the face, she immediately brightened up.
“I’ve caught two rabbits instead.”
At his feet was a stag the size of a wild boar.
“Wha, what did you just say?”
Marquis Leroy stammered in confusion because he couldn’t believe it even though he heard it properly the first time.
Count Aster looked really uncomfortable and repeated himself.
“I said I wouldn’t invest.”
Marquis Leroy murmured hesitantly with a clear voice.
“You won’t invest…?”
He couldn’t understand why the Count had a sudden change of heart.
‘What’s the problem?’
Marquis Leroy clenched his teeth and wiped his face dry.
As soon as he arrived at the Hunting festival, he hurried to find Count Aster. To make sure the contract is stamped and it was difficult to back out of.
But on the contrary, he was beaten.
“What’s wrong with you all of a sudden? I’m sure you said yes last time.”
It was a big deal if Count Aster suddenly changed his mind about the investment because he still had to pay the miners.
When they’d first met, he’d done everything he could to convince him to invest in his mining business. Count Aster’s warm expression was not even a shadow of what it was when they first met, and he was only being minimally polite now.
“Yes, because at the time I thought it would be a good thing.”
“So you’re saying it’s not now?”
In a calm but firm voice, Count Aster replied to the Marquis’ demanding question.
“The only reason I was willing to invest in the Marquis’ mining business was because of Leticia.”
Marquis Leroy frowned at the unexpected name.
He didn’t understand why he was bringing up Leticia’s name here.
Count Aster noticed the Marquis’ confusion and continued.
“You don’t know this, but Leticia is a child who comforted my wife and I during the most difficult and painful time in our life.”
“I decided to invest in the Marquis’ business in the hope that this child would have a comfortable life. I didn’t know that she had been excommunicated.”
Even as he spoke, Count Aster could not hide the resentment in his eyes. No, he didn’t even seem to want to hide it.
“Count Aster, listen to me first. Please listen to my story first…”
“For me, family is more precious than life.”
Count Aster cut off Marquis Leroy’s pathetic attempt at an excuse.
“To me, even if the world collapses I wouldn’t abandon a family member.”
“I’m sorry I have to tell you this, too.”
Contrary to his words of regret, his expression was frighteningly calm. Marquis Leroy belatedly realized that Count Aster had completely turned his back on him.
“Then I wish you all the best in the future.”
Count Aster left his seat with those empty insincere words. The Marquis was left alone, sitting there with a desolate face.
In the end, he couldn’t control his emotions and started to kick a wall.
“Darn it, damn it, damn it!”
I can’t believe you’re screwing me over like this.
He couldn’t help but scream in frustration.
Count Aster had a good reputation among the nobility and commoners. There was no one who didn’t like him. He was polite and friendly to the nobles and generously distributed to the commoners.
In addition, some of the money he earned from his business was donated to the needy, which earned him envy and respect.
The meaning of such a person’s investment was nothing short of ‘a business that can be trusted’. On the contrary, if he refused to invest in a business, it became ‘questionable’ and ‘unreliable’. Count Aster rarely changed his mind in this way, it was obvious there would be murmuring among the nobles.
“I can’t believe you wouldn’t invest because of that!”
The more he thought about it, the angrier he got. He felt like fire would come out of his mouth.
What a pathetic bastard!
The Marquis couldn’t see how to make the business succeed unless he had that money.
Just as he let out a ragged angry breath, his head snapped up at the thought that flashed through his mind.
‘If only I had the money…?’
He seemed to be in a difficult position that only money could solve.
Marquis Leroy’s lips slanted up, thinking about what he would do in the future.
Note from Baset – I want to say a big THANK YOU to Jengamon for the kofi! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°