Chapter 1. I was abandoned by my family
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He had a strong feeling that something good would happen today. The dream of becoming an Imperial civil servant, being envied and celebrated by other people. It was a reality that would come true today, and it was more enjoyable than he’d thought.
After such a long time, Emil had woken up in a refreshed mood this morning. He had a light breakfast and went to see the final list of successful candidates.
However, the way people looked at him as soon as he arrived was strange. At first, he thought the coughs and glances from his academy colleagues were jealousy. He wasn’t particularly offended because he had received these glances once or twice in the past. Rather, he thought it was all just ridiculous.
“What is this?”
He couldn’t see his name, which should be at the top. Slightly frowning, Emil looked down the list slowly. In the middle, he felt annoyed when he saw the name ‘Ian Achilles’, but he continued to look for his name while trying to appear calm.
But his name was nowhere.
‘How is it possible that they forgot my name?’
It was clear that his name was missing.
It was so amazing that he couldn’t help but laugh. He couldn’t believe that they’d made such a ridiculous mistake.
Emil put on his best face and went to the academy. He was about to talk to the professor who participated in the last interview.
However, Professor Warner Russel looked at Emil like he couldn’t understand what he was going on about.
“There’s no problem with the list of successful applicants.”
“I don’t see my name on it.”
He couldn’t even laugh at the unexpected answer. As soon as he tried to properly protest, Warner handed over the list of successful candidates to him.
“Check it again then. If it’s not there, it’s not there.”
Emil was uncomfortable with the professor’s attitude, but he endured it and carefully went over the list that Warner handed him.
‘Why is my name not here either?’
That’s absurd. No, it couldn’t have happened.
The interview atmosphere was good and his results were the best. Why?
It was clear that something was wrong. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been rejected.
He crumbled the list of successful applicants that had unacceptable results. It was natural that Emil’s impression was horribly distorted.
“Why was I rejected?”
As he asked this, he could feel his indignation rising.
No matter how much he thought about it, he couldn’t understand. There was nothing wrong with his grades, the interviews, his personality test, or the evaluation given by the professors. Everything was perfect, but he still failed.
When Emil clenched his teeth and asked, Warner said with a more determined look than ever.
“The Imperial civil servants are responsible for carrying out the business of the Empire on behalf of the people, and you are not qualified for that position.”
Warner continued before Emil could even ask why he wasn’t qualified.
“You’re spreading false rumors about your family. How can I trust you enough to pass you?”
Emil bit his lip to stop a sigh from escaping. He was apparently referring to the fact that he had spread a bad rumor about Leticia.
He needed to find out why Warner thought he’d done it, but that wasn’t the main problem right now.
“I’ve never done that.”
Emil answered, while keeping a straight face. There was no evidence anywhere, so he could confidently deny it. For now, the first thing to do was to explain that it was a misunderstanding, and get his name placed on the list of successful candidates.
But Warner had no intention of doing so.
“Well… That’s what your family member said directly to me.”
“They asked me if I thought you were qualified as an Imperial official even though you’d done such a thing.”
After saying that, Warner turned around as if he had no intention of continuing this conversation anymore. Eventually, Emil had no choice, but to leave the office with a gaunt look.
‘Who was it?’
Who said that?
Unlike his pale face, his heart was boiling. He had the urge to find the instigator right now and tear them apart.
He couldn’t breathe and his head burned hot. Emil once again looked at the list of successful candidates that was posted like this would be the last time.
As expected, nothing changed.
The moment he unconsciously clenched his fists, he felt a blatant stare. As he looked behind him, he made eye contact with Ian. He was leaning on Leticia’s shoulder and staring at him. The corners of his mouth rose up smoothly.
Emil’s hands began to shake, then Ian mouthed something to him. Ian frowned with displeasure, and tried mouthing it again.
‘Fire, versus, day, la?’
At that moment, he could clearly hear something disconnecting in his head. The sound of people laughing at him kept lingering in his ears.
He couldn’t afford to stay calm anymore. Emil approached Leticia without hesitation, his expression twisting fiercely.
“I have something to say to you, so please give me a moment.”
He barely calmed down enough to say this. By Emil’s appearance, it seems that he’d lost his composure and had rushed over here.
“Do it here.”
Elle, who was standing beside Leticia, wrapped her arm around Leticia’s shoulder when she said this. Ian stood on the other side, perhaps thinking the same thing, he blocked Emil from approaching any closer.
“It’s okay, I’ll be right back.”
“Please wait here.”
Leticia soothed Elle and Ian by gently stroking their heads. Emil, who was watching the scene, let out an annoyed sigh. He couldn’t believe they were being affectionate like that when he was upset because he’d failed for a ridiculous reason. He just hoped that this problem could be resolved quickly and there would be no more problems.
Emil moved to a corner, once he’d confirmed that there was no one around them, he said.
“Say I didn’t do it right now.”
Emil’s voice got rougher at the sight of her confused expression.
“Do you think this is funny? If you’re trying to provoke me, you should take responsibility!”
He wanted to grab Leticia’s shoulder right away, drag her to the professor’s office and demand she explain to him. However, Emil wiped down his face with a desperate look, because he knew better than anyone else that nothing would change.
He couldn’t help, but laugh at the way she stared at him in the midst of it all. He was about to sarcastically ask the root of her desire to take him down like this, and did she feel better after doing this?
“I don’t know why you’re acting like this. Don’t grab people that aren’t involved and talk to them like that.”
“Then who else would tell the professor that I spread such rumors?”
Only then did Leticia vaguely realize what Emil was so angry about.
Soon, an annoyed sighed escaped Leticia.
“How can I know that?”
Leticia seemed somewhat annoyed, and she turned her head as she didn’t want to get involved anymore. It was an attitude that said she didn’t care to clear up the misunderstanding.
“Then, who on earth?”
He didn’t know if she’d done it or not. Even though he had no idea, Leticia glanced back. She seemed to want to go back to Elle and Ian.
Emil’s eyes were darkened by the future that was coming for him. When he thought of how the Marquis would reprimand him mercilessly for the news that he’d failed, he couldn’t breathe properly, as if I were immersed in water.
They will be so ashamed of him. They will not treat him like he’s a human being. They will criticize him for failing to become an Imperial official because of something that he lacked. It was a normal reaction, because he failed to meet their expectations.
However, he was not confident he could endure their condescending gazes.
“Sister, sister, sister…”
The anger that had been rising inside him disappeared before he knew it. Emil called out to Leticia as if he was barely hanging on. However, Leticia only looked at him with a blank expression. Knowing that, Emil still shamelessly leaned on Leticia’s shoulder.
“Just this once, just this once…”
Please tell me it’ll be okay.
[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.]
[You did a good job. Thank you for doing your best.]
What Leticia said on the day Ian failed his first test came to mind. He remembered her touching his cheek affectionately to soothe his pain.
“I didn’t mean to be angry.”
“So please… Please say it’s okay.”
He desperately wanted to hear that right now. He needed to hear those words to soothe him.
Emil grabbed Leticia’s sleeve and laid his head on her shoulder. He bit his lip tightly because he was afraid he’d begin to sob.
[I’m proud of you.]
He remembered the day the results of his first ever exam at the academy came out. He didn’t know how to study, so his grades were disastrous. Naturally, Marquis and Marquess Leroy made a fuss and said they didn’t want to see him.
At that time, Leticia was the only one who comforted him.
[I know you worked hard.]
The touch that gently patted him, who saw him with a face that wanted to cry at any moment. Her gaze looked warmer than sunlight and her gentle voice was like a spring breeze.
[You don’t need to meet their expectations.]
She always whispered to him like this.
[You make your own value.]
Whenever he collapsed, Leticia was the only one who helped him get back up.
Good job. Thank you. You’re fine.
That father, mother, and other family members wouldn’t say it. He was so desperate for what only Leticia could say.
“Go to someone else and complain.”
His hand was coldly pushed away.
Leticia shook Emil off of her shoulder with her hand, and faced him straight on with dispassionate blue eyes. This was the first time in his life that he’d seen Leticia’s eyes so cold, and Emil felt like the ground beneath his feet was collapsing.
However, Leticia’s words were not over yet.
“If something bad happens, you blame me. The only person to blame for what is happening right now is you.”
“And you still want me to say it’ll be okay?”
While talking, Leticia smiled and took a step closer to Emil.
“I guess you think it’s unfair, but don’t think like that.”
“This is all what you did coming back to you.”
[Get ready to get back everything you’ve done to me.]
It was what Leticia had told him that one day. He never thought the words would come back like this.
Leticia stepped back as if she had finished what she had to say and turned away. He tried to quickly catch up to her, but before he knew it Elle and Ian blocked his way.
“Hey, since Ian passed, can we eat something delicious today?”
“I’m the one who passed. Why are you the one deciding how we celebrate?”
The twins stood casually in the place where he was supposed to be standing. Watching them leave, Emil couldn’t say anything as Leticia smiled and looked at them affectionately.
“Brother, what happened? You passed, right?”
Upon arriving at the Leroy mansion, he encountered Xavier, who had just returned from the training hall. As soon as he saw Emil, he smiled and asked about the results, but Emil didn’t even look at him.
“I want to be alone, so get out of my way.”
Emil was troubled about how to tell his family that he didn’t pass. Right now, he just wanted to lie down in his room and cool off.
As soon as he entered his room and was laying down in bed, he heard a knock. The door opened before he could tell them he was tired and to come back another time.
“Go back, Irene.”
“I have something to say.”
“I’m tired right now, so go back.”
“I have to say it now, or else you’ll blame our eldest sister.”
Irene said this in a calm voice, while she slowly made her way to his bedside. Until then, Emil didn’t understand what Irene was saying.
“What do you mean?”
“I did it.”
Irene was staring at Emil without saying a word for a moment, then she slowly began to speak again.
“The reason why you failed.”
Emil had been laying on his bed and looking up at Irene when she said this. Emil quickly got up, he stared at her hoping that it wasn’t true.
“I was the one who talked to the professor.”