Chapter 1. I was abandoned by my family
5 Advanced Chapters
The letter had politely asked for it, but anyone who saw it would recognize it as coercion.
Also, he’d already expected Count Aster to refuse. In addition, she was belatedly told that he’d put in a complaint to the Emperor that they were her real family.
As soon as she received the letter, Leticia immediately went to the Aster mansion. She couldn’t look at the count, so she bowed her head even as he called out to her.
“We’re fine, so please raise your head.”
“It’s not your fault.”
The words made her eyes sting.
As she looked at them with tearful eyes, the Countess moved from her seat beside Count Aster, and sat beside Leticia.
“We will always respect your opinion.”
“I just want you to make the choice for yourself.”
Realizing that this meant that she only wanted her to be happy, Leticia went straight into Countess Aster’s arms. She wanted to cry, but she tried hard to hold it in.
Count Aster and his wife said nothing except that they wanted her to be happy.
Leticia was rather troubled by the way that they tried to not burden her.
‘It’s clear that my father knows.’
There was no mention of her ability in the content of the letter, but there was no reason for him to try to take her back unless he already knew.
‘The day I didn’t want to come has arrived.’
She knew it would come someday, but she didn’t know it would come this soon.
Countess Aster patted Leticia’s shoulder silently, perhaps she’d noticed her bitterness. Feeling touched, Leticia slowly lowered her eyes.
“Is Leticia really lucky?”
“Please answer my question, Seios!”
Marquis Leroy immediately sent a letter when he heard that Seios occasionally visited the Magic Academy. He never replied, so he visited the academy on his own.
Fortunately, he happened to encounter Seios, who had something to do at the academy. This meant he was able to talk to him, face to face.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Seios burst into laughter at the accusatory tone.
“What difference would it have made if I told you?”
“Of course it would have made a difference.”
It meant that if he had Leticia, his business wouldn’t have been disrupted and his family would’ve continued to thrive.
Seios immediately understood what he meant, and clicked his tongue in amazement.
“You still haven’t come to your senses.”
“Leticia is much more righteous and wise than you think.”
She was just weak to the people she loved.
“Do you think that kind of child will return to you just because you called her?”
“She has inherited my blood.”
“What if that child says she won’t go back?”
Of course, he was going to bring her back somehow.
He couldn’t say that, so he quietly shut his mouth. Seios expression hardened as if he’d already noticed.
“Don’t let me down anymore.”
“If you keep doing this, I will not help you any further.”
Seios stood up after saying that.
Even then, Marquis Leroy didn’t listen and turned away from Seios.
“Are they allowed to do this? Are they even human?”
Enoch called Elle’s name heavily, with the implication that she should stop.
Marquis Leroy had already brought it in front of the Emperor. Now the Marquis, Count Aster, and Duke Achilles, because Leticia was living with him, were all called to the Imperial palace.
As they rode in the carriage, Elle complained because she couldn’t stand Marquis Leroy’s atrocities. It was Enoch who stopped her.
“The choice is Leticia’s, not yours.”
“You have to respect whatever choices she makes.”
Enoch didn’t want to burden or force Leticia to make a choice.
However, Elle didn’t change her opinion on the way to the Imperial palace or the audience chamber.
“Respect? Forget it, I don’t know about that.”
“I can’t let my sister get away.”
Even though Leticia didn’t say she was going back to Marquis Leroy, Elle hugged Leticia’s shoulder as if she was anxious. Leticia couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the stronger than usual touch.
“I think you’re hugging me too hard.”
“I’m worried that you’ll run away, so I need to hold on tight.”
Leticia gasped for air and poked her in the arm, but it was of no use. At that moment, Ian, who had been quietly watching them, secretly stood by Leticia’s side. Before she could even turn her head to ask why, one of his arms wrapped around hers.
“It’s been a while since Elle was correct.”
Ian smiled instead of answering.
Finally Leticia noticed that Ian had also locked his arms with hers, just as Elle had, for fear that she would run away.
Embarrassed, she stared at Enoch, as if to ask for a hand.
Enoch took turns looking at Leticia and his younger siblings, then slowly turned his head. Just a while ago, he said he’d respect her choice. When she saw that he didn’t try to stop them, she came to understand that he felt the same way as his siblings.
As soon as she tried to scold him, she felt a gaze from somewhere. The moment she turned her head, she found Marquis and Marquess Leroy, as well as Diana and Xavier.
They were looking at Leticia, who’d suddenly stopped walking. Enoch’s expression cooled down when he saw the people from the Leroy family nearby. Elle and Ian were already glaring at them with thorns in their eyes.
At that time, the Marquis and Marquess glanced at each other, then slowly approached Leticia.
Leticia stepped back in surprise when the Marquis sadly called out to her. The way he looked at her so gently made her think that she was dreaming.
“I haven’t had an easy day since sending you away.”
“You know very well that there was nothing I could do about it.”
The Marquis and Marquess alternately talked with friendly smiles. The words that came out of their mouths, however, were nothing but mild excuses.
He couldn’t watch anymore, so Enoch urged her to go to the audience chamber quickly.
Leticia came to her senses at his voice, she straightened her shoulders and stepped back. She followed Enoch into the audience chamber, but somehow she felt complicated and her head drooped.
In the meantime, she felt her family’s gaze on her, so Leticia grasped Enoch’s hand tightly.
“Leticia was originally my daughter, and she is my child. She was expelled because of a grave misunderstanding. I just want to bring her back to help resolve the misunderstanding and continue our familial relationship, your Imperial Majesty.”
The Leroy family had gained great confidence with the Imperial family by tipping them off to Duke Erebos’ rebellion long ago. Perhaps that’s why he took for granted that the Emperor would look on him favourably.
However, Count Aster wouldn’t give up without a fight.
“When you put it that way, she is strictly my daughter, your Imperial Majesty, since she is on my family register. She was originally a child I loved like a daughter. After she was excommunicated, she said she would become my daughter of her own free will, so she is my family.”
Leticia never told him that she wanted to go back to her family. So, he couldn’t sit back and let the Marquis’ take advantage of this situation.
Marquis Leroy smirked at Count Aster, who was being more forceful than he’d expected.
“Don’t you know that blood is thicker than water?”
“It’s the Marquis who showed that blood means less than water.”
There was a hint of sarcasm in his quiet voice. Marquis Leroy immediately noticed, and his expression hardened.
When the atmosphere turned sour, the Emperor interjected.
“Stop it. I think it’s only right that the young lady speak for herself.”
When he said this, all eyes in the audience chamber turned towards Leticia.
“What does the young lady want?”
“Your Imperial Majesty…”
“Will you go back to your original family and live as Miss Leroy, or will you live as Miss Aster with your current family?”
Leticia was standing silently, and quietly lowered her eyes. She could feel countless eyes staring at her.
The Count and Countess Aster, who’s eyes said that they were going to help her no matter what she chose; Elle and Ian, who’s eyes looked at her anxiously; and Enoch, who’s eyes said that he would protect her no matter what.
Then there were her parents and siblings, who were already smiling as if they thought she’d go back to them.
At one time, she’d hoped for this day. She hoped that her family, who abandoned her, would want her back like they do now.
It could even be said that Leticia would’ve embraced them happily, even if they’d abandoned her. Others would’ve clicked their tongues at her, but to her they were family.
She’d been excommunicated for less than a year, but it felt so distant, as if many years had already passed.
She felt like she was suffocating and slowly dying after she was abandoned by her family.
“I don’t want to go back to my original family.”
Marquis Leroy and his wife froze in shock at her firm voice that held no hesitation.
However, Leticia wasn’t done yet.
“I love my current family.”
With those words, Leticia held Enoch’s fingertips tightly and turned away from her own family. She felt them staring at her incredulously, but she intentionally turned a blind eye to it.
“Then I think we’ve come to a conclusion.”
The Emperor looked a little surprised when the audience was done more quickly than he had expected.
Marquis Leroy came to his senses late, and quickly opened his mouth.
“Your Imperial Majesty, I would like to talk to my daughter for a moment…”
“With all due respect, your Imperial Majesty, I sincerely ask that you acknowledge Leticia as our daughter.”
Without missing a beat, Count Aster cut off the Marquis. He was going to take this opportunity to clearly show who Leticia’s family was.
Marquis Leroy realized what he was trying to do and glared at him, but the situation wasn’t on his side.
“By your own admission, she’s already on Count Aster’s family register.”
“Your Imperial Majesty!”
“I’ll respect the Count’s wishes.”
The Marquis urgently called out to the Emperor, but he’d already recognized Leticia as the daughter of Count Aster.
The Marquis wouldn’t give up like this, and he turned to look at Leticia. He just needed to talk to Leticia and convinced her that they were a real family.
Marquis Leroy approached Leticia with the kindest, gentlest smile he could muster, but as soon as he took a step closer, she quietly hid behind Enoch.
Marquis Leroy froze and his face paled. She acted as if she didn’t even want to look at him, as if she had difficulty even facing him.