Chapter 1. I was abandoned by my family
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen this ring before.”
On a sunny afternoon, while quietly enjoying tea together, Countess Aster asked about the ring on Leticia’s finger.
“It’s pretty, it suits you.”
Leticia, who was having a sip of tea, smiled brightly. WIth a happy sparkle to his eyes, Count Aster asked with a mysterious smile.
“I think I saw Lord Achilles wearing a similar ring. Are you wearing matching rings?”
At that, Leticia shyly played with her ring. She didn’t think he’d notice so quickly, and she slowly bowed her head.
She wanted to be honest with Countess Aster.
“Actually, Lord Achilles confessed to me.”
“Yes. I was actually going to confess, but he did it first.”
She could still recall clearly what happened that day.
Fireworks beautifully bloomed across the night sky, the clear eyes that only looked at her and the steady voice that flowed quietly to her.
[I like you, Leticia.]
[I like you a lot.]
She still couldn’t believe it, everything felt like a dream. She could still remember the warmth from his hand as he put the ring on her hand.
When she’d finally confessed that she liked him.
[I like you more, Leticia]
As she spoke, Enoch looked as if he had the whole world in his hands and that he might die of happiness. Enoch didn’t know how that look stirred her heart.
‘I also felt like I had the whole world in my hands.’
She almost cried because she could clearly see that he felt the same way as her.
“I’m a lot happier right now, aren’t I?”
She worried momentarily if she deserved this happiness.
The person she liked and cared about felt the same way about her. She used to think it was greedy to harbor these feelings, that a relationship would come to her if she just gave enough affection.
It was different now.
“I want to be happier now.”
With people she cherishes, and who cherish her.
“You’ve changed a lot, Leticia.”
Count Aster had been listening to Leticia and Countess Aster’s conversation.
“I’m willing to help you be happier, too.”
“I think I can make you happy first.”
He was curious about what Leticia meant. She played with her teacup, then slowly spoke up.
“I’d like to be adopted by the Count and Countess.”
“I want to continue living at the Achilles mansion though. May I?”
She liked the idea of being their adopted daughter, but she didn’t want to be away from Elle, Ian and Enoch.
She knew she was being greedy, but didn’t want to give them up. The Count answered her carefully placed question.
“It’s only natural. Don’t feel too burdened by the fact that you’ve been adopted, it’s not a big change.”
“Oh, honey. What do you mean, there are no major differences? How can there be no change when we’re going to be a family?”
The Count and Countess’ attitude was that there was no need to worry, she was embarrassed about worrying that she would have to live at the Aster’s mansion after she was adopted.
This made Leticia feel more relaxed.
“Thank you for understanding.”
“Thank you for accepting our offer, Leticia. Actually, I was worried that you might feel uncomfortable.”
“What do you mean uncomfortable? This just means you care about me.”
She was so happy that they wanted her to be their daughter.
Count Aster and his wife chuckled as Leticia waved her hands and jumped to deny being uneasy.
Count Aster, who looked at Leticia with a warm gaze from the beginning, said.
“Now remember, that we are your parents now, just as you are now our daughter.”
“It means you can ask for help whenever you’re in trouble.”
“Since we are to be your safe harbor, don’t you think you should come and rest in it?”
Leticia felt her heart fill with joy at the Countess’ words that came right after the Count’s.
For those who care about her so much, she wanted to keep moving forward without hesitation towards her own happiness.
“Thank you for accepting me as your daughter.”
Leticia smiled even more brightly, hoping that they could feel her sincerity.
She now had a new family, she was so happy she thought she might cry.
“You’re going to be Count Aster’s adopted daughter?”
Leticia was walking with Elle through the festivities before they went to watch the Swordsmanship tournament.
Elle asked her where she went that morning, and was slightly hurt when she told her what had happened.
“I can’t believe you only told me about this now. I’m a little upset.”
“Aren’t you the first one I’ve told?”
“I didn’t say I was upset yet…”
Leticia squinted at Elle who was quickly changing her words. Quick changes of mood seemed to be a characteristic of the Achilles family.
“Remember when I said I wanted the same accessory as you? Let’s try to buy it now.”
She quinted down at Elle, who’d skillfully changed the subject, but quickly gave up being upset when she saw the eager glint in Elle’s eyes.
“I give up.”
Elle immediately recognized Leticia’s capitulation, and pretended like she hadn’t won. She crossed her arms and grinned.
“It’s all because I like you, Sister.”
“I didn’t say anything. So what kind of accessory do you want?”
“A hair ribbon! With matching hairstyles!”
She wanted to show people that they were wearing the same ribbons.
Elle couldn’t stop grinning at the thought of it.
“Yeah, let’s go pick one.”
Leticia promised to buy whatever Elle chose and took her to a store that sold a number of different hair ribbons. There was a festival going on, so they were selling more colorful and diverse hair ribbons than normal.
A shallow sigh escaped Leticia’s mouth as she looked around at some of the ribbons on display.
‘What color would be good?’
She wanted to choose a color that would suit Elle’s dark hair color the best.
Leticia glanced at Elle, who was busy trying to pick out a ribbon.
‘I think Elle would look good in anything.’
Leticia was thinking about which one would look the best, so she tried to put a purple ribbon close to Elle’s black hair.
“Your hair color is so vivid that I think bright or dark ribbons look best on you.”
“Everything suits you…”
“What should I do? They all look good on you.”
Leticia was speechless that she would talk about something so trivial with a serious look on her face.
“I’m fine, so pick whatever you want.”
“No, I have to pick a color that suits you best.”
“I’m being serious right now.”
Elle slipped away from Leticia so that she wouldn’t be disturbed anymore.
Leticia stared at her preposterous behaviour, but Elle was too distracted by the ribbons to even notice her.
“Are you sure you want this one?”
The hair ribbon that Elle chose was a light green color that reminded Leticia of the fresh green buds of spring. Elle nodded quickly when she looked at her in question, since the color suited Leticia’s hair more than Elle’s darker hair.
“Of course. I’m very happy with it. We can just tie our hair the same way with these ribbons now.”
“You like it that much?”
“That’s what I’m saying. It means we’re really close.”
Leticia looked surprised that Elle had put so much meaning on a little ribbon.
A smile spread across her face at sight of Elle’s excitement.
“Next time, we’ll try another accessory.”
“Really? I’d love that!”
Elle told her not to forget her promise many times as they entered the stadium.
There were a lot of people at the Swordsmanship tournament on the first day, but it seemed to be overflowing today.
“There’s going to be a winner this time.”
“Who do you think it’s going to be?
“Who do you think? It’ll be the Leroy family’s son.”
Leticia was listening to the conversations around her about the tournament, she grabbed Elle’s hand without realizing it.
‘It’s already the finals.’
She had no idea that Xavier would be competing today.
‘Come to think of it, what happened to her.’
Leticia almost fell over when she saw a familiar face on the stadium grounds.
Shocked, Leticia blinked several times, but nothing changed.
She knew Keena was good from her last match, but she didn’t know that she would reach the finals and be competing against Xavier.
“She’s better than I thought.”
“I know, I’m surprised too.”
Leticia nodded vacantly at Elle’s words.
Before they knew it, the stadium was filled with people and the last match had begun.
‘I think she might be overdoing it.’
She didn’t know anything about Keena yet, but she still felt a sense of attachment to her.
The first confrontation was a draw, contrary to Xavier’s expectation of an easy win. When Keena was dealing with Xavier without much difficulty, the people who were watching began to whisper to each other.
“That girl’s abilities are quite extraordinary.”
“It looks like he’s going to lose.”
They couldn’t believe that a strong candidate for champion was suddenly being pushed around by a random stranger who’d rolled in off the street.
The second clash was a draw again, the atmosphere was heightened, but Keena remained relaxed.
Xavier, on the other hand, had a grim expression while he ground his teeth.
The third and final confrontation. Xavier’s sword suddenly broke. The referee, who had decided that he could not fight any more, called the match for Keena.
“No way! That woman won!”
Elle let out a high-pitched scream and pointed at her. Leticia looked at her in disbelief, and then her eyes met Keena’s.
As soon as the match was over, Keena approached them through a group of people congratulating her. She was covered in perspiration and had a big grin on her face.
“How about this?”
“Worth a cookie.”
Leticia blinked in confusion for a moment. Soon she realized what she meant and she raised her voice in shock.
“Is this to pay for the cookie?”
“I’m paying you back with interest. Now, shall we go pay for a sword right away?”
“What, the sword… The sword I was going to buy from the weapon shop?”
“Of course. Do you have another sword besides that one?”
Keena’s match was over. She grabbed Leticia’s arm and rushed her out of the stadium.
She heard Elle calling to her from behind, but she couldn’t turn around because she was already being dragged away.
Keena took her to the weapon’s dealer from before. Upon their arrival, she gestured to Leticia to hurry and get the sword.
Leticia looked at her quietly, then raised her head and called out to her.
Keena stood there in shock for a moment, thinking she’d misheard. It was the first time Leticia had called her name, she couldn’t hide the surprised look on her face.
That was short-lived, as she stared at her in curiosity. Leticia slowly continued what she was about to say.
“You earned this through your own hard work. You should have it.”
“But I told you I wanted to help.”
Keena gulped at the unexpected remark.
Leticia didn’t notice, and shook her head firmly with a smile.
“I’ve never seen you so passionate about anything before.”
“That’s enough for me.”
Leticia’s words sounded warm and Keena couldn’t say anything.
She managed to recover and was about to say something when the door opened violently. She heard heavy footsteps, before she could turn around, a rough voice caught her ear.
“Did you do that?”
“If you’re kicked out, you should be quiet. Why are you cursing a hardworking man?”
He approached quickly with the threat of violence in his eyes.
Keena stepped in front of Leticia to try and stop Xavier.
Irene had followed Xavier and grabbed onto his arm from behind, but all Xavier saw was Leticia in front of him.
“Go away, Irene.”
Before Leticia could say anything, Irene shouted.
“You’re being embarrassing, so please stop!”
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