Chapter 1. I was abandoned by my family
New Kofi shop is up! (ﾉ´ヮ`)ﾉ*: ･ﾟ
‘Come to think of it, I don’t know who we’re inviting.’
While returning to the Achilles mansion in the carriage, Leticia realized that she’d never heard who was coming to the party. It may be good people because Count Aster had chosen them, but strangely, what Elle said kept bothering her.
[As you know, there will be many aristocrats at this party.]
[There will be aristocrats who chase after my brother.]
What Elle said was correct.
Everyone knew that the Duke of Achilles’ fortunes had improved. Furthermore, the term ‘dukedom in name only’ had gradually disappeared. Therefore, the flawless Enoch had infiltrated the list of potential grooms that everyone wanted.
[Brother is older, so there will be talk of marriage.]
‘I know. I know…’
However, Leticia almost sighed because she didn’t understand it in her heart.
As soon as she arrived at the mansion and was about to go inside, she ran into Ian walking from the garden.
“Ian, are you okay?”
“I don’t know.”
He wasn’t okay, but Ian laughed helplessly because he couldn’t say it.
Ian, who would normally stop Elle, was collateral damage and had to split firewood as punishment. He’d never really held an axe before, so he kept missing the wood. His body still felt shaky from putting all the strength into his arms.
“You know, you should get out of your room more and exercise.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be weeding?”
Elle’s face, which had the word ‘pathetic’ on the tip of her tongue, hardened at once. As the situation turned around, Ian chuckled and entered the mansion with Leticia, acting like he wasn’t having any difficulties.
Leticia told Ian that she was going to wash up as soon as they entered the mansion, and told him to take good care of himself. She turned towards her room, then turned away.
‘Can I ask who you invited?’
She thought about how to make it sound natural, as she walked to Enoch’s room. She knocked on the door, but there was no answer back. He must have gone out a while ago.
Just in case, Leticia carefully turned the doorknob. As expected, she didn’t see Enoch anywhere.
The first list created by Count Aster was clearly seen on the desk full of documents. Even though she knew she shouldn’t look at it, Leticia walked slowly to the desk.
The moment she picked up the invitation list.
Leticia screamed at the low voice that sounded from behind. As she looked behind her, she made eye contact with Enoch, who was staring at her with a puzzled look. She quickly tried to hide the invitation list behind her back, but she was already caught.
“Oh no, that’s not it…”
“I’m sorry. I was curious about who you were inviting.”
She was ashamed and embarrassed that she’d tried to find out secretly. With the various complex emotions she was feeling, Leticia bowed her head.
She wasn’t sure how Enoch interpreted her appearance, but he spoke with a more serious expression than ever.
“I won’t invite Marquis Leroy or Levion El, so you can feel relieved.”
She blinked slowly at his unexpected words, and a sigh came out. In fact, her ex-father and ex-fiancé did make her uncomfortable, but not enough to bother her.
However, Enoch’s face became darker and darker, thinking that she was lying.
Recognizing right away what he was thinking, Leticia placed the invitation list on the desk and waved her hand.
“I’m really fine. It’s not because of those people…”
How can she explain this?
She touched her fingertips with a troubled look, and a dark shadow fell over her. As she raised her head, Enoch was looking at her anxiously and gently caressed her face.
“They will not be invited.”
She could tell without asking who he meant, but it really didn’t matter to Leticia. She would be lying if she said it wouldn’t be uncomfortable, but there was something else that was bothering her.
“I’m curious about which young ladies will be invited…”
“I didn’t invite any young ladies, but they might come with someone else.”
Leticia, who was only looking at Enoch, smiled brightly at his answer. Her smiling face was as bright as a spring day full of sunshine.
“Just in case.”
Wanting to double check because he thought he was imagining things, Enoch touched his neck and asked.
“Are you jealous?”
Enoch knew well that he needed to tell Leticia that entering his room, and looking at the list without permission isn’t something she should do. But strangely, she reminded him of a cat caught with a fish in it’s mouth.
“What? No, not at all.”
“You don’t think so?”
“I don’t think so.”
Leticia shook her head quickly and stepped back, saying absolutely not. However, there was no room to move back because of the desk. She tried to sneak carefully to the side, but Enoch placed his hands on the desk with Leticia in between.
“Are you sure you weren’t?”
Enoch bowed his head so they could meet at eye level, making it so close that she could see her reflection in his eyes. As soon as his breath reached her, Leticia shut her mouth and pushed on Enoch’s shoulder with her hand. However, it was too weak to even move him.
Eventually, Leticia bit her lip with a red face.
“I think I was a little bit…”
“Only a little bit?”
“A lot actually…”
Leticia pinched Enoch’s cheek because it was annoying that he kept asking as if he wanted to hear it again, even though he’d heard her properly the first time.
“Is it fun to tease me?”
“Was it that obvious?”
“You’ll get in trouble if you keep doing that.”
Why does he look so happy when she’s scolding him? If someone else saw this, they would think he was receiving an award.
Leticia frowned a little, because he was so happy. Even though she knew there was no one else around them, she whispered softly in Enoch’s ear.
Enoch, who was listening to Leticia’s whisper with an excited face, tapped the desk with his fingertips.
“Oh, that’s a little complicated.”
“So be careful.”
Leticia spoke firmly and pushed Enoch away, so she could look at the invitation list. The list contained the names of Marquis Arthur Leroy and Levion El, which were crossed out.
“I’m really fine, you can invite them.”
“No, I want you to invite them.”
“Are you serious?”
Knowing Leticia’s situation well, Enoch looked at her like he couldn’t understand what she was thinking. Facing his gaze straight on, she put down the invitation list and smiled.
“I want to show them how well I’m living.”
‘Why didn’t I know then?’
These days, Irene was always thinking about it. Even when she was awake with her eyes open, eating, drinking tea, reading a book, lying down again and before falling asleep.
‘It was so obvious.’
She didn’t know it was precious, because it was so normal. It was really foolish to realize it after losing it, but she was thinking about it now.
By the time she knew, an irreversible bridge had already been crossed. Even in the midst of all this, she saw that her family members didn’t even know what they’d given away, and they didn’t respond as she did. Moreover, seeing even the smart Emil react the same way, she realized once again that there was no turning back.
At that time, a fierce voice rang loudly throughout the mansion.
“What the heck are you doing!”
Indeed, he is her father, but she couldn’t handle the breadth of Marquis Leroy’s emotions. One day, his mood was higher than the stars in the sky; but the next moment, he’s fallen to the depth of the abyss. At some point, she’d started avoiding him.
Today someone else was the object of his anger. Irene felt her heart sink, and took a peek to see who it was. She couldn’t hide the surprise on her face for who it was.
“You’re making a mess around the house with your ability!”
“Why are you taking it out on me? You said you liked it before!”
As he shifted his gaze between the petals scattered under his feet, Marquis Leroy pointed his finger at Diana and shouted wildly. This was the first time for Emil and Xavier as well, and they were shocked by the sight.
“He never gets mad at our second sister.”
“I know, it’s strange.”
Xavier said this to Emil, who was looking at him suspiciously.
“Oh, by the way. I have something to discuss.”
The words ‘sister’ and ‘rumor’ came to Irene’s ears, although she couldn’t hear it properly because they were whispering quietly.
Finally, it was the day to announce the final successful candidates for the Imperial Civil service. The expression on his face was harder than usual, as if he was nervous.
Unable to watch, Elle patted Ian on the shoulder and said slyly
“You look like you’re about to die.”
“It’s because I cut firewood all day yesterday. Have you ever cut firewood before?”
“Have you pulled weeds all day? My back hurts too.”
Elle was worried about pulling weeds by herself, so Leticia decided to help her, and she worked twice as hard as her. Enoch, who belatedly saw this, freaked out and told her that she could stop picking weeds. Leticia looked like she’d almost died and barely survived. In fact, Elle knew that Leticia was trying to pick weeds together so it would end quickly.
At that moment, Leticia clapped her hands together as if she suddenly remembered something.
“Right, there’s something Lord Achilles said to me.”
Before she could ask what she meant, Leticia continued to talk.
“He asked me to tell him when you guys argue.”
Only then did Elle and Ian quietly shut up and go to the test site with Leticia to see the announcement of the successful candidates.
“Did you do well on your third exam?”
Elle asked, not missing the moment when Leticia looked elsewhere. Ian was trying to scold her by saying, “Isn’t it too late to ask?”
“What? You didn’t see it?”
“I don’t know.”
“There’s nothing you don’t know.”
Elle tapped Ian on the shoulder, but he had nothing more to say. The current Imperial officials’ reactions were lukewarm at best, and the atmosphere was neither good nor bad.
“The results will tell you.”
It would be a pity if he failed, but he was confident that he would get better soon. Ian glanced at Leticia’s back, who was walking ahead of them. Suddenly, the day when the results of the first test were announced came to his mind.
[I know you’ve been working hard. Good job.]
[Even if it’s not this, there are many things you can do. So it’s okay.]
Leticia never asked why he didn’t do better. She just said his options are much bigger and wider, so it’s okay and that he did well. She acknowledged him as a person, saying that he’d done well enough, even now.
So it was okay if he failed. It would be hard, but he was confident that she would accept that he’d done enough.
It was definitely like that.
“Crazy! Ian, can you see that? That’s your name!”
“It says Ian Achilles.”
Elle was one step ahead of Ian, and pointed with her finger saying “look at that.” He couldn’t believe it, so Ian blankly checked the list of successful candidates.
Nothing changed even if he blinked his eyes several times, he wondered if he was seeing it wrong. Even if he saw it once or ten times, the name ‘Ian Achilles’ was still there.
His smile spread at the thought of his achievements, and that he could help his family in the future.
But there was something else that made him even happier.
Covering the corner of his uncontrollably rising mouth with his hand, Ian peeked to the side. A little further away, he found Emil checking the list of successful applicants.
Somehow he was shaking all over. It was easy to know what the results were without having to check the list.
In the end, he couldn’t hold it in and he began to laugh. Leticia was congratulating Ian by patting him on the shoulder, and smiled gently.
“Do you like it that much?”
She thinks he’s happy because he passed.
However, Ian did not think it was necessary to correct her.
“Yes, I love it.”
He was more satisfied that a particular person failed, then that he’d passed.