Chapter 1. I was abandoned by my family
“What do you think about the news that Leticia became my foster daughter?”
It was about time to enter the party. Count Aster was waiting for Enoch near the door when he made that comment. Enoch was being cautious because the purpose of the party was to demonstrate the Achilles family’s position.
He was worried for a while that Count Aster might be offended by what he said, and he felt rather distressed.
“I didn’t think about it yet. It’s better to announce it as soon as possible, and…”
Enoch rubbed his neck, a little embarrassed to be saying it now, and confided the fact that he and Leticia had decided to become engaged.
While they weren’t blood related, he felt badly that he’d given the news so late to Count Aster about his foster daughter. However, the Count’s face showed that he wasn’t the least bit disappointed.
“Please continue to take good care of Leticia.”
Enoch nodded lightly to thank him, and entered the party with Count Aster.
As soon as he entered, he felt all eyes focus on him, but Enoch was too busy looking for Leticia to care. His heart began to beat faster thinking about officially announcing his relationship with Leticia today. He was becoming nervous, more nervous than during his knight examination, and felt like he was suffocating.
How happy he’d felt that day when he learned she shared the same possessiveness. His desire to monopolize, which he’d been swallowing so far, had been unmasked.
Without even realizing it, Enoch felt a pang of conscience when he thought of her pale face that he liked having all to himself. However, he still had no intention of letting her go.
Enoch put a pleasant smile on his face, and went out to find Leticia. He looked around as he exchanged a quick hello with the nobles approaching him, but he didn’t see anything strange.
Feeling increasingly impatient, Enoch quickly moved on. By chance he checked to see if she was on the balcony, then he paused. He’d found Leticia, who was turned away with a troubled expression, and Levion, who was talking about something in front of her.
“Are you sure you won’t regret saying that?”
Levion said this with a gracious smile.
Her words, saying that she wouldn’t return to her family or him, penetrated deep into his heart and struck a nerve.
“It’s your last chance, Leticia.”
From Levion’s point of view, the Achilles family wasn’t anything special. It was only recently that you could say that good things were happening.
Even so, there wasn’t any benefit to Leticia. He couldn’t understand why she kept trying to stay by their side.
“Rather, you should go back to your family.”
“You know I’m not doing this to make you like me.”
Levion lightly shook his wet hair as he said this. His voice had relaxed even further, but Leticia’s expression had grown colder.
“Do you realize what you’re doing?”
Leticia had her head bowed down this whole time. She slowly raised her head and looked straight at Levion.
“That you always tried to teach me as if looking down from above.”
“Then you would say ‘I’m doing this all for you.’”
“Everytime in this kind of manner, just like now.”
Why does this person treat her like she doesn’t know anything? Did she look that ridiculous to him?
Leticia has mixed feelings, and a smile spreads across her lips.
“At first, I thought you really cared about me, but now I know you don’t.”
“That’s not true.”
“Don’t fool yourself.”
“You were ashamed of me.”
She thought Levion would know, even if she didn’t say what he was ashamed of.
As expected, he immediately realized, and closed his mouth. He shook his head for a while, then said.
“You know that it’s not like that.”
“You were embarrassed to have me stand next to you as your fiancée, but you didn’t want to break it off and look like a bad person.”
She didn’t say anything, but Leticia had known everything. She had quietly swallowed it, because she was afraid that the relationship they had would collapse.
“It’s cowardly and childish.”
You’re that kind of person.”
“It’s not like that…”
“Look at you even now. Trying to get what you want, pretending to do it for me, and trying to appease me.”
Leticia turned her head with an expression that she didn’t want to talk more. She felt like she was losing her strength because of how uncomfortable she felt around him.
I’m tired, tired and annoyed.
In the midst of Leticia suffering from her complicated and intertwined emotions, Levion persistently tried to talk to her.
“I just don’t want you to regret it.”
Not knowing what to say anymore, Leticia bit her lip tightly. She felt disillusioned with the way he was still pretending to be doing this for her.
“There’s only one thing I regret.”
Before Levion could ask, Leticia said.
“That I didn’t take care of myself.”
“So I don’t regret what you think. However…”
It’s such a waste that she’d given her heart to him.
Leticia turned around to say that this would be the last time. She didn’t want to waste any more time dealing with Levion. She just wanted to meet with Enoch as soon as possible.
Levion quickly reached out, as Leticia seemed to be walking away without regret. Even before he could reach her, someone blocked his way.
“I’ve held back my jealousy until now.”
When he stepped out, Enoch coldly looked at Levion as he wrapped his arm around Leticia. The way he was protecting her from Levion made him sigh in frustration.
“I hope you behaved yourself well, so that there’s no misunderstanding.”
The way he casually held Leticia’s hand, it was obvious to anyone that she was special to him. He definitely thought their relationship had become distant, because there was no ring on her finger. For some reason, Levion felt like his heart was sinking to the bottom of his chest.
Despite his calm exterior, Levion had stiffened up in shock. Leticia pulled on Enoch’s hand with a serene look.
The way she spoke, it was obvious she didn’t want to be there anymore.
As soon as Enoch arrived, her gaze never left him. She acted as if Enoch was the only person in the world, and Levion gradually lost strength in the hand that had reached out to her.
When he’d belatedly tried to catch up to them, Leticia and Enoch were standing side by side in the center of the party venue. He had a bad feeling about this, and his heart began to beat uneasily.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to share some good news.”
Enoch, who received everyone’s attention, slowly began to speak. When he raised Leticia’s hand and carefully put a ring on her finger, everyone’s breath caught. It was officially showing to everyone that they were engaged.
“I thought you had a party to show your social status as a noble.”
“No way. The relationship between those two seemed unusual.”
“But they suit each other better than I thought.”
“Look at that stony man’s smile.”
“Who knew he could make that face.”
Some people were happy to see the lovely couple, while others questioned it.
“But didn’t they say she was disgraced?”
“I know. She was the daughter of Marquis Leroy, but now she has no family name.”
“A duke and a commoner, I don’t think they’re being realistic.”
Leticia was originally the daughter of a noble family, but she was excommunicated. What did they mean by a duke becoming engaged to a commoner?
Everyone began to add to the gossip, and then Count Aster approached Leticia and Enoch with a soft look.
“Please take good care of my daughter from now on, Duke Achilles.”
Those who’d watched Count Aster walk up, and then say those words, could not hide their surprise. The same was true for Levion.
However, there was something else that shocked Levion.
The way Enoch looked at her, and the way Leticia looked back at him, her blue eyes filled with affection that anyone could see. His cheeks were hot with embarrassment, but he never avoided Enoch’s gaze.
Levion clenched his fists and stared at the two. Suddenly, he remembered when he’d become engaged to Leticia.
At the time, she was definitely smiling at him, but it was significantly different from the smile she had now.
It was the first time he’d seen her with such a happy face, and he couldn’t stand to admit it.
She was definitely the same person, and yet she was so different.
Even if the situation had changed, it was so different that it confused him. In the meantime, her loving gaze directed at Enoch made Levion grind his teeth.
It was at that moment.
“This woman collapsed!”
A young lady, who’d been clapping at the celebration just a moment ago, suddenly fainted. When a short scream broke out, everyone’s eyes turned in the direction of the noise.
“Wow, isn’t that young lady Veronica?”
“Someone call a doctor!”
“Miss Veronica, please wake up.”
A young lady nearby suddenly collapsed on the floor. Unsurprisingly, other young ladies lost their composure and began to panic. The party venue became chaotic and noisy.
Fortunately, Count Aster quickly brought help and they were able to check the condition of the young lady who’d crumbled. The doctor sighed deeply, and only said that he couldn’t find the reason for her fainting.
Eventually, they put the young lady who’d collapsed, and the other panicked young women, into their carriages and sent them back to their respective homes. The nobles that were left seemed anxious and eventually excused themselves as well.
In the end, the party had no choice but to end on such a dubious note.
“I don’t know what’s going on all of a sudden.”
The next afternoon, Elle muttered with a downcast face. What had happened at the party yesterday was still bothering her.
Leticia, who couldn’t sleep for the same reason, asked carefully.
“I know, what about the young lady who fainted?”
She started to feel anxious that the food that was prepared had gone off.
Sitting facing Leticia, Elle sighed with a confused look.
“She’s okay now, but they don’t know why she collapsed. Everyone said she suddenly had a headache.”
“Well, I’m glad it wasn’t a big deal.”
“You’re right. You don’t know how surprised I was yesterday.”
Just as Leticia and Elle were letting out a sigh of relief, Ian quickly entered the drawing room. They were about to greet him, but the stiff expression on his face gave them an ominous feeling.
“What’s wrong with you?”
Elle asked Ian, hoping her hunch was wrong.
However, Ian handed over the letter he was holding instead of answering her. Elle began to look through the contents anxious, then gave a short sigh.
“What? What’s wrong?”
Leticia asked nervously as she watched her. Ian replied with a conflicted sigh.
“Some of the nobles who came to the party yesterday are suffering from a high fever now.”
“They say they don’t know the cause, but they’re claiming they’ve been sick since they went to our party.”
There wasn’t one letter, but several. They quickly understood that all of the claims were the same without reading them.
“Are they saying it’s our fault?”
Elle looked at the senders one by one and frowned. Unfortunately, all of them were aristocrats that had been invited to the party yesterday.
“They didn’t say it directly, but in the end that’s what they’re implying.”
“Is there something wrong with the food? If there was a problem with the food, shouldn’t we be sick as well?”
Elle, who was feeling frustrated and couldn’t understand, asked Ian.
“Where’s big brother?”
“He went to find out what’s going on as soon as he heard the news.”
The three of us sat there in silence, sighing heavily. It wasn’t enough that they had ruined a party that they had barely prepared for, they were also worried that it might lead to more people getting sick.
“What the heck is going on?”
Leticia swallowed the sigh that was threatening to escape and touched her ring.
For some reason, she felt like they’d been caught up in something terrible.