Chapter 1. I was abandoned by my family
Leticia looked at the list in confusion. Unfortunately, Ian’s name was nowhere to be seen.
She carefully grabbed Ian’s sleeve and looked at him. Ian was looking at the list with an expressionless face, and slowly lowered his head. When he eventually looked at her again, he spoke slowly.
His tone was too dry and heartless to say that he was a failure.
Leticia clasped Ian’s sleeve tighter.
She didn’t know how to comfort him. Even when everyone else was off having a good time, Ian refused and concentrated on studying for this test.
Knowing that, Leticia was upset for him.
“I know you’ve been working hard.”
Leticia grasped both of his hands with even more force. She looked straight into his eyes and said.
“There are many things you can do, if not this.”
“So it’s okay.”
Leticia believed in Ian’s potential.
Ian does his best while quietly working without being seen.
There was no doubt that one day his potential would blossom.
“It’s a little disappointing.”
Ian stared calmly into her sparkling blue eyes, then leaned his head on Leticia’s shoulder. Leticia patted Ian on the back because she felt bad that he thought he needed to pretend to be calm as if nothing happened.
“That’s for sure.”
“I should have tried harder.”
“You’ve done well enough now.”
“Thank you for doing your best.”
She meant it.
His determination to take the test was great and the result was disappointing, but she was proud of Ian who took the test.
Ian’s expression, which touched Leticia’s heart, was looking more comfortable.
“I’ll do better next time.”
“Yes, you can work hard next time.”
“My name will be on the list then.”
“Yes, it will.”
Leticia smiled and stroked Ian’s head gently, but she didn’t notice that Ian’s eyes were on the person behind her.
He aced it.
“I knew it would be you!”
“Emil got first place on the exam!”
Emil wasn’t too happy, because the result was only natural. He just thanked his colleagues for congratulating him out of courtesy.
Emil looked at the list once again and as soon as he checked, his mouth curled up into a grin.
‘Ian Achilles name is nowhere to be seen.”
The fact that Ian had failed the first test made him even happier.
‘There’s no way you would’ve passed.’
He never expected someone who never attended the Scholastic Academy to pass the exam, even with months of studying. Ian seemed to be foolish and ignorant. He took the test while brimming with confidence.
Emil looked around in a cheerful mood. He wanted to see Ian’s defeated face after he failed the exam.
The reality was not what he had expected.
“There are many things you can do, if not this.”
That’s what you’re saying?
Emil watched Leticia and Ian with a confused expression.
It was expected that Leticia would comfort him. She might be pathetic and lacking, but she was kind and gentle by nature.
He thought there would be a light twinge.
Instead of thanking him for doing his best.
“There are many things you can do, if not this.’
Emil stiffened when he heard them both say that they believed in his potential.
‘Why am I so….’
His fists tightened involuntarily.
‘Don’t you feel like you lost?’
Even though he failed the exam, he couldn’t understand the positive atmosphere. It was strange that Leticia didn’t look disappointed, they didn’t even argue.
Emil left his seat because of an unknown discomfort.
He felt like something was welling up from inside him.
“Shall we eat something delicious together to make us feel better?”
They didn’t want to go back home yet, so Leticia made that suggestion to Ian. However, his gaze was directed elsewhere.
“Yes, I like that idea.”
She thought he wasn’t listening, but Ian nodded slightly.
Then he carefully told Leticia something that had come to mind.
“There’s something I want to do before that.”
“What is it?”
Leticia tilted her head slightly and asked, but Ian smiled instead of answering.
The first thing Leticia and Ian did when they arrived at the square was go to the bookstore.
“What are we doing here?”
“I wanted to see what I did wrong.”
Ian smiled softly and looked over the books. He was already looking to study and to get better as soon as the exam was over. Leticia had a little smile on her face because she was proud to see him working hard to learn from his mistakes.
“It won’t take long.”
“Take your time.”
Leticia nodded in satisfaction and looked around the bookstore.
‘I need to find what I want to do, too.’
What she’s good at.
Her favourite thing.
She was doing her best to be patient.
A man, who had been sitting at one of the tables reading a book, suddenly got up and quickly left the bookstore. However, he’d forgotten some of his papers on the table where he’d been sitting.
“Ian, I’m going out for a minute.”
“Where are you going?”
“Someone left this behind.”
Leticia told Ian that she would be back soon, but he shook his head and followed her.
She went out looking for the man right away. Fortunately, the man realized he’d left some of his stuff behind, so she was able to catch him on his way back to the bookstore.
“You left this behind.”
“Oh thank you. Where do I leave my mind sometimes. Geez!”
The man clicked his tongue and received the papers from Leticia. He looked back and forth between Leticia and Ian, then asked.
“Are you both students?”
The man looked suspicious of their answers. His eyes turned towards the book in Ian’s hand. It was a book mainly read by people preparing to be an Imperial official.
As soon as he noticed where the man was looking, Ian said with an indifferent expression.
“I’m preparing for the Imperial Civil Service.”
“Oh, is that so? As far as I know, today is the announcement of the first exam results.”
“Unfortunately I failed.”
“Ah… I see.”
He lamented as if he was sad, and then asked a question out of curiosity.
“Why do you want to be an Imperial official?”
When asked like this, everyone would answer the same way.
‘I have always been interested in the Imperial Civil Service and I’m studying to get good grades in the exam. I want to work hard and expand my talents.’
But Ian gave an unexpected answer.
“I want to make money.”
“There’s no job that’s as stable and pays as well as an Imperial official.”
The casual way Ian said it made the man think he’d misheard at first. However, there was no change in his neutral expression.
“You mean you only want to do it for the money?”
Somehow the man felt a little disappointed.
Contrary to his honest and frank impression, he openly revealed his greed.
Ian then asked something that he was curious about.
“Is that a bad thing?”
“Money doesn’t make you happy, but you’re unhappy without it.”
“I don’t want to make my family unhappy, even if I can’t make them happy.”
It meant that the reason why he wanted to make money was for his family.
The man belatedly released the meaning of his words and closed his mouth.
‘Money doesn’t make you happy, but if you don’t have it you’re unhappy….’
It may sound acrimonious and pessimistic, but it was straightforward. Realizing that it’s all about his family, it sounded very touching.
“Yeah, you’re right.”
He wanted to make money because he didn’t want to make his family unhappy.
It wasn’t as bad as he thought. It was a very realistic and clear motive for applying.
He was sincere enough to come to the bookstore to check the books as soon as he saw the result of failing the first announcement. His belief that he would not make his family unhappy. He did not hide, or conceal, his belief for fear of being misunderstood, and his confidence oozed from his facial expression and language.
In addition, if you were applying to be an Imperial Civil servant, after seeing the paper the man left behind, most would have wanted to look good in front of him. It was impressive because of his honest attitude to express his thoughts without trying to be expedient.
The man also knew that all aspiring Imperial Civil servants were smart and ambitious for their own advancement, but he felt that a young man, with a motive to protect others, must become a high-ranking civil servant.
“Can you tell me your name, if you don’t mind?”
Warner Russel, a professor in the higher echelons of the Imperial Civil Service, had never written a recommendation letter for any of his students.
But today, for the first time, there was someone he wanted to write a letter of recommendation for.
“What happened, Brother? Did you pass?”
“Of course he did.”
Xavier criticized Irene for asking such a question.
But Emil went into the mansion without responding.
The expression on his face was unusual, so Irene asked cautiously. Emil stopped and turned around. In front of him stood Xavier and Irene with puzzled faces.
Strangely, the words caught in his throat today.
“Yes, of course.”
Emil clenched his fist while speaking.
Of course he passed.
Of course he was accepted…
‘Why aren’t you happy for me?’
He didn’t know.
Xavier and Irene had no idea what Emil was thinking and just nodded silently.
“See, my brother would never be eliminated”
“Of course, you’ll pass the interview too.”
Emil was choked up and felt as if someone was suffocating him.
He wanted to get back to his room as quickly as possible, he gave his thanks while pretending to be calm. Emil closed his door, and after making sure he was alone, released the breath he was holding in.
Standing against the door for a moment, his legs gave out and he sank down.
Of course, of course, of course, of course.
Emil is smart, so of course he can do everything well.
It’s weird to make a mistake.
‘No, that’s not what I want to hear.’
A warm voice spread to his ears as soon as he unwittingly tore at his hair.
[I know you’ve been working hard. Good job.]
She would generously embrace you, as if to say it was okay to fail.
[Even if it’s not this, there’s a lot you can do.]
They were words of faith in his potential.
His family thought nothing of his efforts, and the results he achieved. No, they took it for granted. The reason was simple.
‘Just because I have an excellent mind…’
It’s not that he didn’t have to try, but no one acknowledges it.
He couldn’t breathe properly, he felt like he was drowning.
Emil breathed out slowly trying to calm down, but the voice lingered in his ear.
[I don’t want you to sacrifice yourself for our father.]
[Your life is precious.]
A worried look on her face and eyes that truly cherished him.
He’d momentarily forgotten.
The reason he wanted to be an Imperial Official was not because he wanted to, but because it was his father’s will.
Emil swept down his face with a distressed look.
What had he missed? How long has he been… ?
A big thank you to Amber and Jengamon for the Kofi!