The Grand Duchy of Croix.
As summer approached, the sun was rising early despite the dawn. The dawn air pouring in through the large open windows was especially refreshing.
Elvin entered the room with the lights off. No sooner had Elvin furrowed his brow at the lingering fumes of smoke in the room than something flew towards him.
Something fell behind the seat where Elvin had been standing a moment ago.
It made a crashing sound as it hit the floor. The object was a crystal ashtray.
Elvin ducked out of the way reflexively, but he was almost hit in the face.
If it had hit him in the head, he would have been seriously injured. The butler, who was watching the situation, was so surprised that his mouth fell open.
When he saw that Elvin was not injured, he quietly patted his chest. It was a dangerous moment for Elvin, but instead of surprise or anger he stared at the other man with a blank expression.
“What brings you to my room?”
“Where did you wander off to again until this hour?”
The owner of the voice that barely contained his anger was the Grand Duke of Croix. His gaze at Elvin was filled with anger.
“I’m a little late because I had something to do.”
Elvin’s calm answer caused a blue streak to appear on the Grand Duke’s forehead.
As a father, he couldn’t help but worry because the eldest son of the family was constantly out doing outlandish things every day. He had no idea what Elvin was doing every day, and it was a regular occurrence for him to be away from home for several days. Even if he sent someone to follow him, no one could tell where Elvin went or what he was doing.
Elvin’s attitude, which was this way every time, made the Grand Duke feel that his patience was running out more and more. If he was still docile, anyway.
He always went out, creating rumors.
It was enough to bring disgrace to the family.
What parent in the world can just stand by and watch?
“What happened a few days ago? Is it not enough for you to go out every day, and now you do whatever you want?”
The Grand Duke hoped that Elvin would attend the banquets and get to know the other nobles. That way, when he inherited the family in the future, he would be able to get help from many people. Although connections were very important in the aristocratic society, Elvin did not like to be in such a position.
But somehow, he had recently attended a series of big banquets.
For a while, the Grand Duke was relieved that Elvin had finally come to his senses, but then an accident happened shortly after. A few days ago, Elvin had attended a banquet and had gotten into an argument with a few nobles.
Fortunately, they didn’t hit each other, but the atmosphere at the time was acrimonious. The people who had argued with Elvin were some nobles and were not much to look at.
However, one of them was a cousin of the current Grand Duchess of Croix, and the incident was immediately brought to the Grand Duke’s ears.
The Grand Duke was really embarrassed to see his wife’s face. Besides, how could he give up his title to the eldest son who would cause trouble every day?
The Grand Duke’s patience was already at its limit.
“I was just giving them a little warning.”
“What do you mean? Are you saying that they picked a fight with you first?”
The Grand Duke’s voice, as if in pursuit, oozed deep disbelief.
“I saved your neck from flying off, and now you are once again making light of it and tricking people. You seem to have several lives!”
The Grand Duke touched his forehead, feeling a terrible headache. As for him, not only did he not understand his son’s words, he didn’t want to understand them.
“How long? Is this how it is? Are you going to live a pathetic life?”
The mood became increasingly stern.
As he watched the two men, the palms of the butler’s hands were damp with cold sweat before he knew it. Grand Duke Croix and Young Master Elvin.
As rich as they were, their relationship was more estranged than others.
Elvin’s attitude towards his own father was certainly irreverent. Both father and son had hard personalities, and when the two were at odds, the servants couldn’t even breathe.
The butler’s heart always thumped in his chest whenever he saw this dangerous relationship between father and son. Then, from somewhere, he heard a gentle woman’s voice.
“Please don’t scold him too much. I’m sure Elvin had his reasons.”
The owner of the voice was the Grand Duchess of Croix, who was famous for being wise and compassionate. The Grand Duchess was still as beautiful as ever, even though she was already in her middle age. She had a flower-like face that could not be compared to any of the younger women, with the added softness that was peculiar to her.
Her appearance softened the Grand Duke’s stiff face.
“Your father and I were worried when you didn’t come home for several days. It is with disappointment that I say this, and I hope you will keep it in mind.”
The Grand Duchess’s face was calm as she looked at Elvin, and her eyes were full of love.
Looking at the way the Grand Duchess was treating Elvin now, who could have thought that she was his stepmother?
This was the reason why she has a good reputation among people and why many of them praise her.
Not only was she beautiful and gentle, but she even took care of her husband’s children.
She was quite different from the popular prejudice that a stepmother would be wicked.
“Elvin, have you eaten? If not, why don’t we all eat together for the first time in a long time? I’ll tell the head chef to make a special dish.”
“It’s okay. Why worry about him? Looking at his shiny face, it looks like he’s eating well on his own.”
“Elvin, don’t pay too much attention to what your father says.”
The Grand Duchess’ words gradually softened the Grand Duke’s face.
The Grand Duke didn’t actually mean what he said. The Grand Duchess was well aware of his feelings and softened the atmosphere with kind words. However, Elvin’s gaze at the two of them was endlessly cold, as if he was looking at an uninteresting and boring play.
“Elvin ? Wait…..”
Suddenly, the Grand Duchess extended her hand towards Elvin.
Elvin rejected and involuntarily shook her hand. Then for a moment the atmosphere became awkward.
“I’m sorry if I startled you. I saw a string on your hair and thought I’d take it off for you……..”
The Grand Duchess of Croix held her hand with a bitter look on her face, as if hurt by Elvin’s actions. The rims of her eyes were slightly red. Then, suddenly, the Grand Duke slapped Elvin on the cheek harshly.
Erwin’s head turned to the side.
The startled butler gave a short scream. He plucked up the courage to interrupt them.
A distinct finger mark formed on Elvin’s clear, white skin. Blood was also smeared on his beautiful, red lips.
“Why are you so rude to your mother!”
“I only have one mother.”
Elvin said in a cold and indifferent voice. His eyes were as placid as ever.
“How long are you going to act like an immature child?”
The Grand Duke’s face was red with anger. He had three sons. While the other two sons were both serious and polite, the eldest, Elvin of all, was always the one who made trouble.
Since the family was still alive and well and wealthy, they were able to disregard Elvin’s random line of trouble as a minor adolescent aberration and let it slide.
However, if there was one thing that the Grand Duke could not stand, it was the fact that Elvin was not polite to his family.
Especially when Elvin was not being polite to his stepmother as he was now, the Grand Duke could not stand it. Again, he had a moment of anger and raised his hand to Elvin, but as he looked at his son’s swollen cheek and bloodied lips, regret overcame him.
“Elvin, are you okay? Please wait a moment. I’ll call a doctor.”
The Grand Duchess looked surprised and took out a handkerchief from her pocket. She tried to wipe the edge of Elvin’s blood-soaked lips with the handkerchief. Then she lowered her hand again, as if she remembered what happened earlier.
“No. I don’t need a doctor. I’m a little tired, but unless you have something to say, would you like to leave now, or would you prefer that I do?”
Elvin spat out with a cold face.
There was no change in his expression, as if the wound on his face didn’t hurt. However, Elvin’s gaze, looking at his parents, was oozing with deep disgust.
There seemed to be a sneer on his slightly raised lips. In the end, it was the Grand Duke of Croix who raised the white flag this time as well, saying, “No parent in the world can defeat their child.”
“I’ll leave now.”
The Grand Duke walked out of the room with an angry look on his face. This time, he didn’t know when or where Elvin would have another accident if he left. So it was much better to keep him in the house rather than the other way around. As soon as the Grand Duke and his wife left, the door to Elvin’s room was shut tightly again.
“I’m sure I told you not to let anyone in my room without my permission, but if this happens again, your leg will be broken. Do you understand?”
“Yes, young master, I’ll keep that in mind.”
The Grand Duke touched his forehead once more at the sound of his son’s voice coming from the door of the room.
He grieved, thinking of his late wife who had died of illness long ago at the sight of his rude son. She was a carefree woman, growing up under the love of her parents.
It wasn’t bad, but she had an arrogant and selfish temperament that was unique to the royal family. His wife was innocent and transparent, but Elvin was cold hearted with an unknown depth.
Apparently, Elvin had inherited his dead wife’s tendencies.
But he was certainly not like her.
Elvin was also much more arrogant and selfish than she was.
When he was little, he wasn’t as bad as this, but his head got a little bigger, and one moment he became completely twisted. His oldest son had never wanted to talk to him. However, he couldn’t whip a child who had grown up. Every time the Grand Duke looked at him, his heart always felt heavy.
“Tsk! A stubborn boy! Who the hell does he look like?”
Grand Duke Croix sighed as he looked at the closed door of Elvin’s room. He looked quite tired today. The Grand Duchess patted him on the shoulder and gave him a gentle comfort.
“Don’t worry too much. Elvin will understand our feelings one day.”
“I have no face to look at you. Please give my regards to your cousin.”
The Grand Duchess nodded with a gentle smile. She didn’t show any signs of being offended by what happened a while ago. As a result, the Grand Duke’s gaze toward her became softer.
“I’m always thankful and sorry.”
“You don’t need to apologize to me. We’re family and it’s only natural.”
A day passed.
The sky was still dull, despite the sun hanging over the mid-sky. This was due to the fact that it had rained once in the morning. Still, it didn’t seem to be raining again as I watched the sun gradually come up. There were puddles of water here and there on the floor, but fortunately not enough to affect my going out.
The carriage started rolling.
Looking out the window, I could see a strong ray of sunlight shining through the clouds. As the clouds began to clear, the clear, bright spring scenery revealed.
The sky was gradually regaining its previous blue hue after the rain.
This morning, the investigators visited the Duke’s residence and transferred the maid.
It seemed that the Crown Prince did not intend to make a big deal out of this, and the odds were that it would probably end quietly.
But I wasn’t going to let it end that way. Eventually, the carriage stopped on the upper street like last time.