Chapter 13

Translator: Alice

Editor: starrie

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Jenny, with her shy and quiet personality, was a pr*stitute.

 

It didn’t feel real, then and even now.

 

However, it wasn’t a wild leap. Illegitimate children fathered by aristocrats are always abandoned in that way so that their flaws are covered. It was impossible to become a nobleman’s wife, but they weren’t lacking in mistresses. This happened, not only Jenny, but also Angela and Milena.

 

A talentless young woman without anyone to depend on. Moreover, there are very few places that view a woman with children favourably. It was an unavoidable path for a homeless woman to go to a brothel, bringing along their children.

 

At that thought, Dahlia could not help but fly into a rage. 

 

“Just because they’re orphans, you can treat them as you wish?”

 

Orphaned young women were the perfect playthings for fiendish men. Having a child doesn’t automatically make you a family, and even if you did get married together, there isn’t a need to pay for a bride price as you don’t have a family.

 

Above all, those with naive personalities are perfect to play with. 

 

Dahlia wasn’t unfamiliar with the gazes and hands filled with evil intentions. One of the reasons for leaving Cerecopalts was also due to weariness of the gazes of such men. 

 

…However, the Young Master is different.

 

As an illegitimate child, the Young Master would fully understand the sorrow of children born to such women. Therefore, he wouldn’t flirt with naive women, and result in an illegitimate child.

 

Of course, she wasn’t fully certain. There’s no point in guessing how he would be unless she could dig into his thoughts. 

 

However, the Young Master that Dahlia has observed so far, was a level headed person that was more sincere and elegant than anyone else, even if he was an illegitimate child. He was totally different from the b*****d that played with Jenny’s heart. 

 

She recalled his long, straight fingers tapping the chessboard. On his face that only showed hazy emotions? An occasional smile passes like a spring breeze. Thinking back at his low and feeble voice that had just finished changing due to puberty. 

 

The Young Master of her imagination bloomed like a flower in her mind, which was in turmoil due to the memories of Jenny. The corners of Dahlia’s lips naturally turned upwards as she closed her eyes.

 

‘Is the Young Master sleeping too?’

 

Her distracting thoughts disappeared, while the Young Master’s laughter steadily lingered in her ears.

 

It has only been a day, but she missed his laughter. She couldn’t figure out why she was like this.

 

A feeling of drowsiness began to encircle around her body. After painstakingly erasing the master from her mind, Dahlia slowly fell into deep slumber while thinking about what kind of book she should get.

 

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The vacation felt short even though it was half a month long. Dahlia, who spent her days dazedly while surrounded by children, was heavily disillusioned with the word ‘vacation’, as she boarded the early morning train with an exhausted body.

 

When she arrived at the Duchy, it was just past noon.

 

After notifying the head maid of her return, Dahlia was considering whether to return to the dormitory or to deliver the book to the Young Master, but ended up choosing the latter.

 

She had spent almost all the money she had brought, so she had no choice but to buy a used book instead of a new one. The gold coins that Isaac had given her were with her, as she had no intention of spending it at all.

 

Dahlia glanced at the book in hand and calmed her pounding heart.

 

Although it’s old and worn out… It’s a book she had chosen after much consideration. If it was the Young Master, he wouldn’t be disappointed.

 

She kept murmuring that to herself, as she walked hastily towards the Left Wing where he stayed at. 

 

Her mood, full of expectation at his reaction, plummeted instantly the moment she met Isaac. Thoughts on books and the gold coin were forgotten as Dahlia let out a startled cry.

 

“Young Master! What happened to your face…!”

 

A wound she has never seen before engulfed Isaac’s face.

 

A large bandage was attached to his white, smooth cheeks. What were the patches of bruises at the ends of his eyebrows? As she grabbed him with a face of shock, Isaac raised his eyebrows and gave her a troubled smile.

 

“I fell while organizing the chess table. I bumped into a corner of the table and got a little hurt.”

 

“Oh my goodness… how bad was the injury that you’ve even placed such a large bandage over it! Let me look at it!”

 

“No, it’s okay. The bandage was only a precautionary measure. Don’t worry about it, it’s really alright.”

 

Although his cheeks were clearly swollen, Isaac refused her request to look at the bruises with a firm tone. Isaac disregarded her displeased expression, Isaac repeatedly said it was okay, and naturally changed the topic.

 

“How was your vacation? Did it go well?”

 

Dahlia nodded reluctantly as she looked at the wounded area uneasily. 

 

If he insisted on changing the topic, he must have wanted to hide his pain. Dahlia’s feelings were written all over her face, so while she was trying to appease her bitterness, she abided by Isaac’s intentions. 

 

“Yes. My vacation was normal. The poverty center is the same as it has always been.” 

 

“What about your sister? You’ve said before that the condition of her body wasn’t good, is she still sick?”

 

“She seems to be quite healthy without many problems. As she wrote in her letters, she suddenly grew so tall. I was surprised at that.”

 

“They say kids grow faster in the time when they’re apart.”

 

He dragged the ending ‘Hmm” of his soft voice. Isaac, who had been fiddling with his fingers, glanced at Dahlia with twinkling eyes. 

 

“What about me? Do you think I’ve grown a little taller?”

 

A mischievous smile that was incongruous with his usual character spread over his wounded face. Seeing his lively expression made Dahlia burst out laughing involuntarily.

 

“Young Master. It’s only been half a month since I’ve left for vacation. Even if the Young Master grows up quickly, how would there be visible changes in half a month—”

 

Isaac got up from his seat by the window and stood in front of her. Dahlia looked at him up and down with astonished eyes.

 

A fortnight ago, their eye levels seemed to be the same, but now, she had to look upwards slightly to meet his eyes. He had really grown taller.

 

“Really… you’ve grown taller. Wow… how did you grow so tall within a fortnight?”

 

“I heard that I’m taller than my peers, but I wanted to be taller than Dahlia. I’m glad that will happen quickly.”

 

Isaac patted the bandage on his cheek and muttered to himself in a light tone. At his playful tone of voice, Dahlia asked about something she was unsure of. 

 

“Young Master. How old are you?”

 

“How old do I look?”

 

“Please stop joking around.”

 

“In any case, I’m not ten.” 

 

Dahlia pouted in response to his playful tone, and sullenly prodded for an answer. Isaac pulled on Dahlia’s wrist and left the room, replying softly in a voice filled with laughter. 

 

“Fourteen. Now that the year has passed, I’ll be fifteen.”

 

Dahlia’s large eyes, rounded until they could no longer grow.

 

When Dahlia asked if that was true, Isaac gave a shrug of his shoulders as a response.

 

When Dahlia realized that the Young Master, who had the air of a mature adult, was younger than her, she could not continue speaking and stared at Isaac with her eyes widened.

 

Just like that, when they reached the first floor of the Left Wing, Isaac, who felt the presence of other servants, released Dahlia’s wrist and glanced at the main building.

 

“You’re still on vacation till the end of today, right? Please do not work and just rest at the dormitories. And from now on, come to the annex instead of the Left Wing.”

 

“Are you going back?”

 

“Yes. Actually… I’ve returned to the annex since the day before yesterday. So, you don’t have to come and clean anymore.”

 

From the way his hands were clasped behind his back and the way he avoided her gaze, shyness was evident from his entire figure. She wondered why had he remained in the Left Wing when he had already returned back to the annex, but Dahlia could make a guess from Isaac’s attitude.

 

Could it be that he was waiting to say this to her?

 

Did he keep waiting in that room, so that she wouldn’t make a trip in vain?

 

Isaac gently caressed Dahlia’s back as if to cut off his loneliness. 

 

“See you next time,” Dahlia was jolted into reality from her musings at his calm voice, and turned. Then, she suddenly remembered the fact that she had yet to pass to him what she had brought. Dahlia carefully held out the book she was holding.

 

“Excuse me, this is… a gift for the Young Master. You mentioned that you’d like it if I could buy you a book. It’s…It’s old, but it’s clean on the inside. I chose it as it’s quite an interesting novel.”

 

“…”

 

“I couldn’t bear to spend the money the Young Master had given. It’s… too precious, so I bought an old book. If you don’t like it…”

 

“No, no.”

 

Isaac, who was staring at the book, hugged the book as if it was something precious. The bandaged cheek moved upwards slightly, and a bright smile appeared on his usually flat mouth.

 

“Thanks. I will read it well.”

 

It was a very clean book, other than the corners that were rounded due to wear. When he said it was a book he had wanted to read, and that he was really happy, Dahlia gave an embarrassed smile and left after bidding him farewell. 

 

At the sight of her hurriedly disappearing form, Isaac squeezed the book in his arms harder. 

 

Disproportionate to her slowly disappearing silhouette, the pounding of his heart gradually became louder and reached his eardrums. He pressed the book against his chest at the heartbeat that was unlike himself. Faint sunlight shone upon the corridor she disappeared through, and the traces of dust that floated mid-air glimmered.

 

“A gift…”

 

It was the first gift he ever received.

 

In his mind, which separated only what he needed from what he didn’t, there was no concept of gifts. After his arrival at the estate, he could purchase anything he needed, but it was the first time someone had given him something selflessly. 

 

“If you have some money left, could you get me a book? I’ve almost finished with the books in the mansion, so there’s nothing worth reading.”

 

From his understanding of Dahlia’s personality, if he gave her money without asking for anything, she wouldn’t accept it. So, he just said that as an excuse.

 

…It can’t be because she still remembered his request for a book.

 

The fingers that were caressing the cover of the book swept down the rounded edges and the back of the book. His half closed eyelids went down completely and then lifted up very slowly. Under the jet-black eyelashes, and in pupils even darker than that was filled with a mysterious brilliance. 

 

After leaving the main building, Isaac walked through the courtyard leisurely across the garden. His melancholy, that had been accumulating during the fortnight Dahlia wasn’t here, disappeared in an instant because of the book in his hand. A faint smile appeared on his face, which had always been blank.

 

However, his joyous mood didn’t last long.

 

It was because there were people he never wanted to meet in front of the arch that connected the garden to the forest.

 

“I heard that you’ve returned to the annex, but why did you come out from the main building again? Didn’t I warn you not to show up in front of me?”

 

A high-pitched voice and a look of dissatisfaction.

 

This was the Duchess’s attitude towards Isaac. The Duchess, dressed in a sable coat and a small parasol in hand, was probably on a walk. 

 

Karla, who was standing next to her, tactfully dismissed the ladies-in-waiting, and began to appease the Duchess in a low voice.

 

“He must have left something behind. Look, Mother. Isn’t he holding a book?”

 

“Didn’t I tell you to let your maids run your petty errands? But why are you here?”

 

“What can they do if the maids find it hard to be around Isaac? I’ll bring this to Mrs. Prada’s attention, so Mother should be understanding.”

 

Upon hearing that the servants hate Isaac, the wrinkles on the Duchess’s forehead became slightly straightened. However, there was no sign of the resentment within her eyes extinguishing.

 

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