Chapter 1. I was abandoned by my family
“Do you know how surprised I was when you didn’t come back?”
Before entering the banquet hall on the second day of the Hunting festival. Leticia tapped Enoch’s arm lightly, unable to overcome the emotional surge.
It was getting dark, all the other knights were back, but Enoch wasn’t in sight. She was worried there might have been an accident inside the grounds, so she wanted to go into the hunting grounds and find him right away.
“I’m sorry to have worried you. I really wanted to give this to you.”
It was none other than the crown of laurels that Enoch was talking about.
It was a glorious wreath for the winner of the Hunting festival, but Leticia only looked up at Enoch. Far from happy, she looked somewhat dark.
“I appreciate it, but I didn’t want this.”
The small hand, which was lightly tapping, slowly grabbed Enoch’s sleeve.
“It’s enough for Lord Achilles to have returned unharmed.”
Leticia also vaguely felt that her feelings for Enoch were changing little by little. However, he just pretended he didn’t know and pushed her away.
This very evening, waiting for the late Enoch to return, she gradually came to admit it.
“So don’t push yourself too hard next time.”
Leticia shook her head at the end of her last remark.
She was glad he came back without getting hurt. She was angry and distressed at Enoch who came back late, so she kept getting emotional.
“I’m sorry, I won’t worry you again.”
She turned her head as if she didn’t want to see him, and waved her hand with a puzzled expression.
Leticia then raised her head and faced Enoch straight.
“Are you sure you’re really sorry?”
“Yes, I am reflecting on my actions. So please forgive me.
Leticia paused and pulled hard on Enoch’s sleeve. As if she’d made up her mind, she said to him with a grim expression.
Wouldn’t this be enough?
Even friends hug each other lightly when greeting each other.
She and Enoch were not friends. They weren’t as far away as others, so she expected that he would allow it.
“Think of it as a punishment.”
Looking up with confidence at that moment, Enoch’s expression was somehow strange.
It was then that Leticia finally lost her courage.
‘Does it bother you?’
She quickly looked into Enoch’s eyes when the thought came to her mind.
Enoch looked down quietly at Leticia with an unfamiliar look on his face. Leticia was suddenly worried by his reaction, and shook her hands quickly while saying.
“It was a joke, If you were offended…”
“It’s not like that.”
As soon as she tried to take back her words, Enoch firmly stopped Leticia. Soon he muttered with a grin in his voice.
“I think it’s a prize, not a punishment.”
Leticia had turned her head away because she was not confident enough to see his face, looked back up with a surprised expression.
“I’m sorry. It’s a punishment, but I keep laughing.”
Even though he covered his mouth slightly, she could see the corners of his mouth smoothly rising between his fingers.
The smile on his face was so bright that it was hard to believe he had always looked so indifferent, and Leticia was shocked into silence momentarily.
“You know how to smile so beautifully.”
Sometimes he gave her a friendly smile, but today was the first time she’d seen such a wonderful smile.
Because of her.
“Then can I be punished now?”
Enoch opened his arms slightly as if he couldn’t be happier. He did not give off the image of a penitent man, but Leticia smiled anyways.
As Leticia stood there for a long time and stared at him.
“My arms hurt.”
Enoch wiggled his arms to try and urge her to hug him quickly, but Leticia was still waiting.
Rather than being frustrated, Enoch was so cute and lovable that she wanted to approach him.
Leticia grinned shyly and slowly fell into Enoch’s arms as she struggled. She asked him to hug her, but she was still feeling shy about it. Maybe that’s why Leticia pushed further.
“Next time, I’ll give you a terrible punishment.”
“I’m already looking forward to it.”
“It’s a bee.”
Even though she spoke quietly on purpose, Enoch’s laughter fell over her head.
“I’d like to get this punishment at least a few times.”
“Next time, it might be a really scary bee.”
“If it’s Leticia’s punishment, I’ll take it happily.”
When she couldn’t hold back her laughter, Leticia lightly beat on Enoch’s chest.
“You keep saying you’re sorry, but you keep playing games.”
Smiling at the touch that felt like a gentle breeze, he was reminded of what happened the night before.
It was an unpleasant meeting.
In addition, his relationship with Leticia was not bad, which naturally brought a smile to his face.
Until Levion showed up.
[What do you mean?]
Last night, after the music ended, he thought he’d take a break. He left Leticia’s side to get a drink. As if waiting for that moment, Levion approached with a grim face and started to lecture Enoch.
Levion didn’t back down and kept talking.
[How is she supposed to live in a mansion without a single servant?]
[It’s for Leticia, please let her go.]
He almost burst out in laughter at that remark.
Enoch’s anger rose furiously at this absolute rubbish.
[What are you going to do next if I do what Sir El says?]
[I’ll take care of her.]
[What do you think you’ll do? Do you think you can bring your ex-fiancée to the El mansion? Do you think Marqui El will give you permission to do that?]
[As I said, it’s none of the Duke’s business.]
[You’re the one who doesn’t have a plan, so let’s stop now.]
He felt sick of it all.
Unable to bear to listen to him talking without any plans, Enoch cut Levion’s excuses off in the middle.
For Leticia’s sake.
He didn’t see the actions he was taking now as being for Leticia’s sake. Instead, his pride was hurt and he seemed to be following her around relentlessly.
If this man really cared for Leticia.
‘She wouldn’t have decided to stay with me.’
Leticia must have known.
That he’s not someone who would protect and care for her.
[Stop overdoing it, because it’s becoming awkward.]
[I’ve known Leticia for the longest and know her better than anyone else.]
What is it that he wants Enoch to do?
Levion stiffened, but still did not back down.
[Then let’s make a bet.]
Before he could ask what he meant, Levion clarified.
[The winner of the Hunting festival will take Leticia.]
[Are you not confident?]
A childish provocation by anyone’s standard.
It was funny and absurd to decide the game by only one win. In addition, he was irritated because he couldn’t get angry.
‘I don’t want to deal with him.’
However, he has a bad personality and brushing aside a battle so easily wasn’t in his character.
[I don’t have confidence in you.]
It’s because you’re not worth dealing with.
[Then can I ask you for something?]
Enoch started to speak, while looking at Levion, who tilted his head as if saying to go ahead.
[Stop looking at me like I’m a thief.]
[Because I never stole anything that belonged to you.]
[Also, fix that attitude of treating Leticia like a thing. Do you think Leticia is an object who can be picked up and given to others?]
So Enoch and Levion stared at each other fiercely, neither wanting to back down.
The next day, Enoch caught a stag as big as a boar and received the crown of laurels given to the winner of the Hunting festival.
Enoch was gently stroking her hair, and quietly called out to her.
Leticia, who was wriggling in Enoch’s arms, raised her head wondering if it was time to stop.
“Can’t you accept the laurel crown that I struggled so hard for?”
Enoch said as he lifted the crown of laurels up.
He looked earnestly at her when he asked if she’d accept it, but Leticia still hesitated. The time felt so long that Enoch’s mouth felt like it was drying up.
Fortunately, Leticia answered quickly.
“Then make me a promise.
“You can ask me for anything.”
“Don’t make me worry like that again.”
At those words, Enoch let out a relieved sigh.
‘This woman is…’
She thinks of me first.
He couldn’t stand it any longer because he was choked up by her answer that came out so naturally.
Enoch rested his head on Leticia’s shoulder. Leticia shrank slightly in surprise, but she didn’t try to push him away.
“I’ll never make you worry about anything in the future.”
“I believe you.”
He shook his head a little as if begging her to believe him, and he felt Leticia grinning softly against his hair. The corners of Enoch’s mouth also rose satisfactorily.
‘Why am I like this?’
Is he being too greedy?
He knew very well that he was greedy for whatever he could get.
It was hard for him to hold back his desire to get closer to her, even though he was already so close. He really didn’t want to hold back.
Gently looking up, Enoch rested his chin on Leticia’s head to satisfy his desire. Thanks to him, it felt natural to Leticia to be held in his arms.
“If you don’t accept, I’ll keep doing this.”
It was nice to feel the light touch of her pink hair against his cheek.
“Is that a threat? I’m sorry, but this kind of threat doesn’t work on me.”
Enoch unconsciously straightened up and looked down at Leticia.
She smiled brightly as if she had been waiting for this moment.
“I like the threat this time, so I’ll think about it.”
[I especially like the threat this time, so let’s think about it.]
A long time ago, it was his answer when Leticia said she might stay at the Achilles mansion until she died.
Enoch burst into a pleasant laugh, he had never expected to get the answer back like this.
At that time, he felt a strong gaze from somewhere. As he turned his head, his eyes met with Levion’s in the distance. He was clenching his fist and staring at them.
A fierce look that said he wanted to tear him apart.
At that look, Enoch was happy and even felt a childish pleasure.
He savored the gaze and put the laurel crown on Leticia head. As soon as Levion saw this, his face hardened, he turned around and stormed away.
Enoch stared at Levion until he disappeared, then slowly looked back down at Leticia again.
Leticia, who knew nothing, was smiling up at him.
Looking at Leticia like that, Enoch whispered in his mind.
‘Just this much.’
He hoped they could get closer slowly every day.
Slow was good.
He can wait as long as she needs. Even if it’s slow, he hopes they can reach each other someday.
Note from Baset – I want to say a big THANK YOU to Jengamon for the kofi! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°