Chapter 1. I was abandoned by my family
“How have you been, Leticia?”
It was their first meeting since she’d firmly said that she wouldn’t go back to her family. At first glance, it seemed like a simple greeting, but Countess Aster seemed cautious while she was asking.
“Yes, I’m doing well.”
Leticia had noticed almost immediately that her family was worried about whether she’d been hurt by the whole proceedings, so she smiled for them so they knew that she was okay. It was a brief exchange, but the Count and Countess gave relieved sighs.
After that, Leticia took a sip of tea, thinking that she was glad that she’d come to meet them today.
Countess Aster also smiled, perhaps thinking the same thing.
“I’m relieved to hear that you’ve been well.”
She couldn’t tell Leticia, but Count Aster and his wife blamed themselves for forcibly breaking her ties with her biological family. In addition, the Countess had lost sleep thinking about Leticia coming to regret it, and telling them that she was returning to her real family.
Despite their worries, Leticia looked more relaxed than ever.
This allowed them to feel a sense of comfort.
“I actually have a favor to ask of you.”
She said as she snuck a look at Countess Aster. As soon as their eyes met, she felt that Leticia was trying to make a difficult request.
“It’s okay, Leticia. Feel free to speak comfortably.”
“Yes, I’ll do whatever you want.”
So far, Leticia had never asked for anything difficult before. She seemed to think it was an unreasonable request based on her own standards.
Their expectations turned out to be correct.
“Can you come when I get married?”
At her unexpected request, Count Aster and his wife fell silent.
When the heavy silence continued, Leticia bowed her head and wrung her hands. She was about to apologize for her unreasonable demand.
“Are you marrying Duke Achilles?”
“Have you set a date? Do you know where?”
“When did he propose to you?”
The Count and Countess jumped up at the same time, placed their hands on the table, and leaned the upper bodies towards Leticia.
As their questions poured out, Leticia had no time to answer them, as she touched her cheek in embarrassment.
“No, that’s not what I meant… I think we’ll do it one day.”
She brought it up because she wasn’t sure if the conversation with Enoch was a joke or not.
The reality was that engagement and marriage hadn’t really meant anything to Leticia before.
The only reason she decided to get engaged to Livion was that she thought it wouldn’t be bad.
However, after meeting Enoch Leticia’s thoughts changed.
She always wanted to be with him, she wanted to stand by him. As the feelings in her heart grew beyond her control, she now had the desire to be his one and only person.
The Count made eye contact with his wife after he’d quietly called out to Leticia, then he continued to speak.
“You’re always welcome to ask these kinds of requests.”
“We would be happy to be with you at your happiest time.”
Count Aster and his wife told her it was a normal request, as if they were scolding her. However, their gazes were warm like a midday spring, which made Leticia smile broadly.
As soon as the talk of marriage came up, the Aster couple said they would take care of the preparations. So, when they did get married, they would be able to deliver it to them.
Even though they hadn’t decided on the date, it was already concluded that they were getting married.
After spending a wonderful time together, the sky began to darken. Leticia decided it would be best to return to the Achilles mansion, so she stood up from her seat, and said that she would visit again.
Count Aster and his wife watched Leticia climb into the carriage, and asked her to come again soon. Leticia, who’d been climbing into the carriage, paused for a moment and returned to the Count and Countess.
“Is something the matter?”
They wondered if there was something that she’d left behind, but Leticia didn’t answer. Instead she had a glint in her eyes, as if she’d made up her mind about something.
As soon as they tried to ask her again Leticia suddenly grabbed one of Count’s hand, and one of the Countess’ hands.
It was obvious that she wanted to say something.
Count Aster and his wife waited quietly for Leticia to speak without rushing her. Rather, they gently patted the back of her hand to let her know that it was okay.
Leticia had finally gathered her courage and said.
“Thank you. Father, mother…”
She really wanted to call them that at least once.
Before she could even look to see if she made them uncomfortable, she was wrapped up in an embrace. Only after she looked up at them wide-eyed did she realize that the Count and Countess were hugging her.
“Thank you for calling us father and mother.”
“My daughter, don’t ever get sick and come back again.”
Leticia bit her lip because she felt like she was about to cry at the sweet voice that fell over her head. She was so happy that she had someone who cared about her, and it felt so comfortable in their arms.
‘People who are more like her parents than her actual parents.’
On the way back to the Achilles mansion, Leticia couldn’t stop thinking about Count Aster and Countess Aster, who truly cared about her like she was their real daughter.
The two were a great couple in many ways. Most people don’t share their wealth, despite having more than they could ever use. The Count and Countess actively donated, they served on charity boards, and performed good deeds. They were respected and recognized by many, regardless of their status.
The only thing they were missing were children, since Countess Aster was too weak to carry them.
“They are people who will cherish their children more than anyone else…”
As she was thinking about how she wanted only good news for Count Aster and his wife, then she arrived at the mansion.
As soon as she got to the mansion, she immediately went to the drawing room, where she found Enoch sitting. She saw him first, smiled brightly and approached him, but stopped walking suddenly.
“Why are you looking like that? What’s wrong?”
When she asked carefully about the dark look on his face, Enoch sighed for a while as if he was embarrassed.
“The rumor that the pink diamonds caused the collapse of the nobles at the banquet has spread further.”
“So, I’m worried that it’ll cause problems with the wishing bracelets.”
The rumor had spread wider than he’d expected and it would be a matter of time until it reached Elle’s ears.
Mary, who’d been quietly watching, slowly approached.
“Someone is here.”
“Who is it?”
“That… They kept saying that they had to meet the Duke.”
Enoch, who’d been thinking for a while about what to do, soon nodded.
The man who came to visit him looked like he’d been sick for a long time, because of this he looked unhappy and haggard. He studied this depressed man, who hung his head like a sinner. As soon as their eyes met, the man quickly fell to his knees as if he’d been waiting.
Even before he could ask why, the man slumped forward and began apologizing.
“I know I don’t deserve to say this, but… Please help me, your Grace.”
The man was a miner who’d worked in the Rose Velvet mine and the pink diamond mine. He confessed that he was threatened by Marquis Leroy, that he would not pay him properly unless he spread false rumors about why he collapsed. He confessed with tears in his eyes that he had no choice, but to spread the rumors.
“What’s the reason you’re here?”
It was obvious that it wasn’t just one or two people who’d spread the false rumor, but he might’ve never known if the man hadn’t shown up like this. Nevertheless, he came to him in person and confessed everything.
When Enoch asked with an expressionless face, the man replied with his head down.
“When we had a hard time because of the drought, the two of you handed out your own relief supplies.”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t keep my mouth shut when I’ve sinned and wronged my benefactor that I’m grateful to.”
The man once again apologized, then passed something that he’d been holding in his arms to Enoch. When he looked at the bundle of wrapped cloth that looked like something was inside, the man said.
“I and the other miners think there must be harmful substances in this ore.”
Leticia and Enoch looked at each other at the same time.
The moment he opened the bundle of cloth in his hands.
“It’s ore from the Rose Velvet mine.”
The man left the mansion after apologizing one last time. As silence reigned in the drawing room, Leticia said.
“What are you going to do now?”
“Well, I think it’s better to find out if there’s any harmful substances.”
Enoch decided that he would plant it in a flower bed that was out of the way.
The next day, the flowers that had been fine until yesterday, had withered as if they had lost all of their vitality.
A thunderbolt struck in the middle of the night, and caused a fire on the roof of the mansion. Fortunately, the fire was quickly put out, but it felt strangely ominous, so the house was quiet for a while.
Emil smiled inwardly, saying he would take it easy and study.
He never forgot what he saw, even if he only saw it once. Thanks to this, he always had an easy time with tests.
Something was strange these past couple of days, he was getting the questions wrong one after another. He sometimes got them wrong in the past, so he just let it go, and figured that he was a bit tired.
Then today, he started getting half of the questions wrong, not just one or two. Unable to look at it and admit it, Emil shoved his hair back with a grim expression.
‘It’s because I’m tired.’
Otherwise, this wouldn’t have happened.
He thought it would be better to get some air, so Emil left the room with slightly disheveled hair.
At that time, he encountered Xavier coming from the other side of the hallway. He looked tired after his lessons at the training grounds. Xavier’s expression didn’t look good either, so Emil decided to ask if he was okay.
“What’s wrong? Did something happen?
“It’s nothing, brother…”
“It’s okay, you can tell me.”
He ended up telling Emil that he kept losing in confrontations against other trainees. While this happened to most people, other than the last Swordsmanship tournament, Xavier had never been defeated in a sword fight.
Emil was surprised at this somewhat unexpected event, but he didn’t show it on the outside.
“I’m also in fact…”
“No, pretend you didn’t hear that.”
Emil, who began to speak without realizing it, immediately stopped himself. However, Xavier had already heard it, and insisted he finished what he was saying. Emil had no choice, but to say something.
“You can’t solve the problem either?”
“Be quiet! Your voice is too loud.”
As soon as Xavier raised his voice in shock, Emil quickly covered his mouth, and looked around. Fortunately, there was no one around, so he breathed a sigh of relief.
“By the way, brother.”
“Are we okay?”
Xavier told Emil that today was the only day he’d lost, but the truth was that he hadn’t been able to practice properly for several days. His physical strength was not what it used to be, his agility was severely impaired, and he began to feel increasingly anxious.
“It’s not weird, is it?”
“Of course, people can’t always do well.”
Emil patted Xavier lightly on the shoulder in an attempt to reassure him, but it didn’t sound very reassuring as he felt a twinge under his eyes.
Emil went to the garden with Xavier after suggesting they get some fresh air together.
“Did my prayer come true?”
Diana, who’d been hiding behind the pillar, peeped at Emil and Xavier’s back, and secretly smirked.
“Then maybe I have a good ability?”
 In earlier chapters, the Countess felt guilty about a child that didn’t survive. I have a feeling she had a miscarrige, and that’s what she felt bad about.