Chapter 1. I was abandoned by my family
It was a lie.
The power of the Erebos family was so powerful that even when Marquis Leroy secretly proposed that the two of them should join hands, Marquis El pretended not to understand. Therefore, Marquis Leroy had no choice but to find someone who could forge the edict.
Recently, he even suggested that their children should get engaged again, which made it difficult for him to abandon his greed for Leticia. However, now he was trying to save his own life, and couldn’t pretend not to know anymore.
Undeterred by the ferocity of the situation, Marquis El looked at Leticia. The moment their eyes met, she nodded quietly.
Marquis El clearly recalled the conversation he had with Leticia recently.
[I know what you were plotting with Marquis Leroy.]
Unexpectedly, Leticia started their conversation with the main topic. Her words continued without giving him a chance to pretend not to know what she meant.
[You were told to capture Keena Erebos. I have the letter you sent to Marquis Leroy.]
[By the way, Keena is already with me.]
The moment he heard that, he thought he was already doomed. Leticia then spoke in a gentle tone, as if she had read his mind.
[I’m giving you one last chance.]
Leticia took a sip of tea with a calm look, and began to slowly speak.
[Do you go to the abyss with Marquis Leroy, or pull your feet from the abyss before it’s too late.]
[Are you threatening me?]
[It could be a threat, or a suggestion.]
[The choice is up to Marquis El. So please consider it carefully.]
After saying that, Leticia quietly got up, and left the drawing room. Marquis El was left alone, he rubbed his hands down his face, and sighed.
Even if she hadn’t said anything, he knew right away what Leticia wanted from him.
Leticia wasn’t trying to empower Marquis Leroy, rather she was trying to weaken him. He knew that if he didn’t participate, not only would Marquis Leroy fall into the fire, but he would as well.
He was thinking about taking the risk, and standing on Marquis Leroy’s side. However, not long ago Levion had persuaded him to listen to Leticia, and he decided to give in. Fortunately, the evidence that Marquis Leroy used to frame the Erebos family had shown up, and he’d known he’d made the right choice.
“This is a conspiracy!”
It couldn’t collapse like this. Marquis Leroy bowed deeply in front of the Emperor.
“I’m sure it’s a trap that’s trying to put me in a corner!”
“I also wish to be a witness.”
When it was time to decide on this important matter, Seios, who’d been standing behind the Emperor and was watching the scene closely, said this as if he’d come to a hard decision.
Marquis felt like this was his last hope, but that hope didn’t last long.
“All of the remarks made by Keena Erebos, and Marquis El are true. Please allow me to be a witness.”
Marquis Leroy shouted angrily at Seios betrayal, who he always believed would stand by his side.
“What are you talking about? I’ve never asked for anyone to forge someone’s handwriting!”
“Upon my name, I have witnessed this, Your Imperial Highness.”
Seios’ gaze, which had been directed at the Emperor, returned to Marquis Leroy. The Marquis sighed to himself at the look in Seios’ eyes.
His eyes said that he already knew everything. Nevertheless, Marquis Leroy felt like he was going crazy when Seios said he’d be a witness.
“Marquis Bartel Leroy.”
The Emperor’s voice fell heavily over Marquis Leroy.
“I don’t think you deserve to remain a citizen of the Helios Empire because of the problems you caused with the Rose Velvet, and subsequently blaming the pink diamonds. Also, for falsely accusing the Duke of Erebos, causing unfair damages, and the persecution of that family.”
Marquis Leroy’s mouth dried up, and his hands began to tremble.
He prayed and begged, over and over in his heart.
“I order you to be stripped of your title, and to be deported from this country. Your wife and children must all leave with you.”
“Your Imperial Majesty!”
“Be grateful I am of a kind disposition, and it ends at this.”
At the order that he was to lose his title and leave the empire, his legs lost all their strength. He clenched his teeth and barely stopped himself from collapsing.
‘D*mn it! D*mn it! D*mn it!’
He’d made an obvious, and unquestionable mistake. Because he’d know Marquis El for so long, he’d believe that he would stand by his side at this time.
‘No, this is for the best.’
He was devastated that he’d lost everything, but his eyes lit up in a strange way. He lost his title, but all of his family would be together. He would be deported abroad with Leticia. Everything will go well if Leticia was with them, so he hadn’t lost all hope yet.
The Marquis’ gaze turned to Leticia, who also looked noticeably stiff, as if she thought she was being deported as well.
However, Enoch noticed what the Marquis was thinking, and spoke to the Emperor.
“Your Imperial Majesty, I think it’s unfair that Count and Countess Aster’s daughter, Lady Leticia Aster, should be ordered to leave the country. Please give us your grace.”
“The Duke’s words make sense.”
Marquis Leroy’s face turned ashen when his belief that he’d be leaving with Leticia was overturned.
“Of course, this child here is an ‘Aster’, who is directly recognized by this Emperor, so is therefore excluded from the deportation order.”
“Your Imperial Majesty! That is my daughter! Definitely my daughter…”
“What are you all doing? Eject this sinner.”
“No, Your Imperial Highness!”
Despite being dragged away, Marquis Leroy struggled roughly to escape somehow. His struggles became more violent when he passed Leticia, and he looked at her in pure desperation.
“Look over here, Leticia. I’m your father, right?”
“Please help me out. Are you going to abandon your father like this?”
“Even so, shouldn’t you do this for your younger siblings.”
He reached out his hand wildly, but there was no contact. As he became more nervous, and began to yell, Leticia slowly approached. His heart felt as if it would stop, as he began to run out of breath.
“Yes, Leticia. Come here, and help daddy.”
At this moment, Leticia seemed to have become a ray of hope.
She stopped at a close distance, almost within touching distance, and looked at him heartlessly.
“What are you talking about?”
Marquis Leroy looked at Leticia blankly. However, Leticia stepped back, and said in a voice without any emotion.
“Since when have we been family?”
He never thought of her as family, but now he does?
“You’re family only when you need it, and throw it away when it’s useless.”
Leticia’s idea of family did not mean that they had to be unconditionally close to each other. She hoped that they would be able to resolve quarrels quickly, that they would take care of each other, and help each other even if they were estranged at times.
However, the definition of family that she and her ex-father had was completely different.
“Then I’ll throw it away this time.”
“Because it’s useless.”
“That doesn’t make sense…”
He only knew who she was talking about because she never took her eyes off of him.
“It’s just that it’s no longer useful.”
“Oh, no. Leticia. Leticia!”
Marquis Leroy freaked out, and reached out again as she avoided his touch. However, the more he tried to reach her, the farther she was.
“What happened, father?”
“What do you mean? Marquis Leroy was deprived of his title, and deported from the country with his family.”
As soon as he arrived at the mansion, Levion was waiting for him to find out what happened. Marquis El replied helplessly with a sigh in his voice.
“Anyways, I’m glad that I changed my mind in the middle since we were almost ruined too.”
Marquis El shook his head, and said, “When I think of it, my heart goes cold.”
Levion, who was quietly watching his father, recalled his conversation with Leticia a while ago.
[There’s one thing I’ve realized from this incident.]
The sunlight pouring in was warm, but the quiet atmosphere around them felt rather creepy and chilly.
[That people don’t change.]
Embarrassed, Levion approached Leticia and tried to explain. However, she took a step back, as if refusing him. When his eyes met her, Levion stopped where he was.
‘I’m sick of it.’
She didn’t say it out loud, but it was definitely like he heard her say it outloud.
As if there was nothing to be disappointed about because there was no expectation. Rather, as if she was grateful that she could break off the lingering feelings that should’ve never existed.
Just as it was a waste of time that they were facing each other like this. Levion, who became nervous when Leticia turned away, stood in front of her.
[I took you for granted. I didn’t know how precious the love you gave me was.]
[I’m sorry for ignoring you, and hurting you.]
He could see her hands shaking while she tightly held onto her white sleeves. He couldn’t let her go because he knew it would be over forever if she left like this.
[I’ll do as you say. I’ll do as you say.]
[I’ll do whatever you say…]
He wished she would say anything, but Leticia kept her mouth shut. She just looked down at him, who wanted to collapse.
In the meantime, he was so grateful that Leticia hadn’t left yet. However, the voice that flowed from her lips caused him to crumble miserably.
[Then don’t do anything.]
To Levion, who didn’t understand immediately, Leticia explained in a sweet voice as if she was being kind.
[Just like before…]
Sadly, Leticia’s words were not wrong.
In the past, Leticia was shamed, ignored, and treated as if she was pathetic because she hadn’t awakened yet. In addition, he had never done a single thing for Leticia.
Even though he knew better than anyone else what she was going through, Levion looked at Leticia with a stunned expression.
[Just do nothing like before. It’s not that hard.]
Only then did Levion know what Leticia wanted from him.
To do nothing. Leticia wanted nothing from him.
In the midst of his desperate collapse, Leticia’s words had not ended.
[I’m telling you in advance, I won’t come back to you even if I have nowhere to go. I’d rather starve to death on the streets.]
At the end of her words, Leticia walked past him with her head held high. Levion, who was left alone, collapsed in desperation.
He didn’t do anything for her.
He tried to remember anything, but couldn’t think of even the most trivial thing. So, he felt even more miserable, and wanted to die.
Because there was nothing she wanted from him, as she was completely letting go of him now.
So, he was even more desperate and anxious to do something for her this one time.
[Father, I think it’s best if you follow Leticia’s words.]
[Why? You were so happy to bring Leticia back just a moment ago.]
After Leticia left, Levion visited his father in the drawing room again. However, Marquis El couldn’t figure out why his son had a sudden change of heart.
[I think it’s better to be careful, then to be covetous.]
Marquis El, who’d been contemplating whether to be greedy or to step back this time, eventually decided to be careful as Levion advised.
“I almost saw something rough after being unnecessarily greedy.”
Then added, “As expected, people should live within their means.”
At that, Levion smiled bitterly, and bit the inside of his mouth.
Luck was already out of his hands. It was a natural result because he’d left it unattended without knowing how precious it was.
It seemed that this time he’d finally come to acknowledge it, and accepted the results.