Chapter 14

Translator: Alice

Editor: starrie

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“What if you run into the vassals? Seriously, how embarrassing…!”

 

The Duchess stared at him with a frown for quite a while, before clicking her tongue and turning towards the other side of the garden. Her handmaidens, who had retreated a distance away, glanced at Karla and Isaac as they followed after the Duchess. 

 

Isaac, who had endured the situation silently, only started moving to leave after the clear sound of their footsteps were completely gone. The moment he set his foot on the forest path past the arch, Karla, who had been standing in the distance, followed him.

 

In the forest where the migratory birds had left, there was only the rustling sound of leaves and the sound of the wind. When they reached the connecting fence towards the annex, Isaac stopped and turned to Karla.

 

“Do you have any business?”

 

“Not exactly?”

 

“Then don’t follow me.”

 

As if she was ridiculing his calm tone, Karla raised her voice and asked.

 

“Was that Max?”

 

She pulled up the corners of her lips as she pointed her chin to his injured cheek. Her hand holding the cape looked elegant.

 

She was curious about it, so she followed him. Issac touched his face sluggishly, before opening his mouth with a wry smile. 

 

“If you are following me because you want to hit me too, I’ll let you hit me as much as you want. So, can you hit me quickly and get out of my sight?”

 

“…I didn’t have the intention to hit you.”

 

“Then, just beat it.”

 

It was a drastic remark that did not go well with that slightly smiling face. Karla let out a sigh and got to the point.

 

“Why did you have to provoke Max? There’s no benefit to making him angry.”

 

“I think you are misunderstanding, so let me clear it up in advance. The person that started the argument first was Max. I’m not sure of the details, but apparently my opinion had been adopted at the vassal’s meeting, so he rushed in excitedly.”

 

A few days ago, the new railroad track came up in conversation while he was playing chess with the Duke. 

 

Issac suggested to the Duke, who was worried about the cost of laying down new railroad tracks, that rather than laying the tracks for a roundabout route, it would be more reasonable to lay tracks through a tunnel. After elaborating with some examples and structures, the Duke’s eyes lit up and cleared his chessboard.

 

That was it. He was just chattering without thinking because he was tired of the Duke’s poor chess skills. But Isaac didn’t expect his word to have such an effect.

 

‘I’ve told you a few times to know your place. What are you doing, showing off to the vassals? Do you want to get rid of the illegitimate child label? You unlucky b*****d…!’

 

Max must have barely been able to participate in this vassal meeting for the first time as the Little Duke. Naturally, Max would be frustrated if his words were taken half-heartedly but Isaac’s opinion was agreed upon by the vassals. 

 

Even so, it wasn’t acceptable for him to barge in in the middle of the night and slap him on the cheek. 

 

Karla snorted as she watched him touch the bandage while choosing his words. 

 

“I’m not talking about that. What did you say to Max afterwards?”

 

“Did you threaten him by talking about Maya Oubrick again?”

 

The blue lace of her sleeves swayed in the breeze. With an expression colder than that breeze, Karla took a step closer to Isaac. 

 

“Is that the only weapon you have against Max? Don’t you know he’ll fly into a fit whenever that topic is mentioned about?”

 

In this spacious mansion, there was only Karla that could soothe Max, who was a mess that even their parents had washed their hands off on.

 

There weren’t many empty words that could comfort her foolish twin brother, but she wasn’t only burdened by her brother. Her hysterical mother, her indifferent father, and even her own future of a marriage that was akin to being sold, all of it was frustrating to her.

 

“I implore you, please don’t push Max like that. You can escape with just a fist to your jaw, but I’m the one that has to handle the aftermath.”

 

“Isn’t that none of my business?”

 

Isaac responded without much care, and looked towards the ground. The image of scattered leaves on the well-maintained dirt road seemed to reflect his disorderly mental state. 

 

It’s always been like this. This attitude of constantly protecting their own interests while pushing all the blame to Issac. 

 

Although his half-sister had a neutral stance, she was no different from other members of the Ducal family by passing the blame to him during crucial moments. Even now, instead of worrying about him after seeing his swollen cheek, she’s busy blaming him

 

…In this mansion, there was only one person who truly cared for him.

 

Issac turned his gaze to the book he was holding, and let out a sigh. There was no time for him to engage in a verbal spar. He wanted to quickly return to the annex and read the book that Dahlia gave him. 

 

“It has nothing to do with me, so stop talking nonsense and go, Karla.”

 

He held the book that had faded yellow due to the sun tightly in his arms. As he turned around while ignoring her, Karla grabbed Isaac’s wrist.

 

“No. You’re involved in this too. If you make things difficult for me, that girl will be in trouble too.”

 

“That girl?”

 

“That girl. Dahlia Beroch.”

 

“…Dahlia…?”

 

“The maid who goes to and from your room everyday. The girl that you treasure.”

 

As soon as a familiar name that did not fit in this miserable situation touched his ears, Isaac lifted his eyes slowly while clenching his jaw.

 

Isaac had originally looked at Karla with an expressionless face, but now, rather than saying Karla’s face was that of a person’s, it felt like he was looking at an inorganic matter.

 

He stared straight at Karla with a blank face, his pupils dilated. In the absence of emotion on his face, unexplained dark emotions swirled in the black pupil. 

 

“Karla.”

 

A low voice pierced her eardrums. At the same time, an alarm blared in Karla’s head.

 

Realising she had crossed the line, Karla licked her dry lips to moisten them, and moved her mouth. A calm voice flowed into her ear in the place of the sound of the wind blowing past. 

 

“You’re not a stupid b*tch. Are you, Karla?”

 

Emotions could not be discerned from both his whispered voice and his face. Isaac called his sister, who was six years older than him, a b*tch composedly as he gently pried Karla’s fingers that were holding on to his wrist. 

 

“You are aware of what I can do if I am really angered. You are well aware of how I adapted to the clumsy rhythms of your family, and the reason why you insisted I should take on the role of an illegitimate child.”

 

“I– I’m.”

 

“Karla. You’re not that foolish, are you?”

 

“It’s okay to bully me. But don’t try to control me. You aren’t Rene.”

 

A barely audible whisper, floated in the air and scattered in the wind. Karla nodded her head slowly, barely exhaling the breath that she had been holding back.

 

She wasn’t Rene. She wasn’t Isaac’s mother, who died miserably in an extremely shabby brothel. She was only a witness to that incident, not a fallen body on the floor.

 

Her trembling body shook as she nodded her head with difficulty. Even a cape made of fox fur couldn’t prevent Karla from shaking.

 

Warmth spread over Isaac’s expectant face. Isaac released his wrist while giving a bleak smile, before taking a step back.

 

“I’ll take into account your advice. I won’t see you off, so be careful on your way back.”

 

Isaac gave his sister a sorrowful glance, but headed towards the annex without hesitation. As he left, a calm and reasonable atmosphere followed behind him.

 

As she looked at his silently retreating silhouette, Karla trembled before gazing at the annex with piercing eyes. She then hurriedly turned her back and left the forest. Only then did warmth begin to flow through her body.

 

“…Freak.”

 

Why did something like that come into this house? The flowing water-like whisper was drowned out by the rustling of branches and disappeared instantly.

 

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Covered by the veil of nightfall, the mansion was silent as always. It was only disturbed by the sound of the burning wood, the only sign of life in the stillness. 

 

Seated on her sofa, Karla fiddled with the lace at the end of her sleeves habitually. Within her blue eyes, a mysterious glimmer could be seen reflected other than the dying embers. 

 

Karla, who had been quietly staring at the fireplace, slowly got up to her feet and rang the bell.

 

“Did you call me, Young Lady?”

 

“Whiskey. Very light.”

 

As the maid left even quieter than when she entered, silence returned. Karla crossed her legs and gazed into the embers in languid eyes. Within the burning red embers, the shadows of the past replayed, and the fireplace in the old brothel where she had first met Isaac five years ago were reflected into Karla’s pupils. 

 

Five years ago… What was it like back then?

 

When the Duchess learned that there was a half-sibling to her children, she fainted and Max left the house.

 

But Karla felt ecstatic. She was so happy, to the point that she couldn’t fall asleep, at the fact that there finally was someone who was more unfortunate than her in this house. 

 

Ducal Princess Eufgenschult.

 

Other than Karla herself, there wasn’t no one else that knew just how ugly and dark it was behind the glamorous name that most would envy.

 

Her pretentious father, who made decisions based on the family’s best interests out of love or something else. Her mother, who was intoxicated with the status of Duchess, killed those that offended her without hesitation, as well as her brother that inherited the very same nature from her mother. 

 

As the price of being able to live an enviable life of luxury, the flaws of her family members were too great. 

 

While she tried to accustom herself to it for the sake of family, the sense of alienation only increased as she got older. 

 

Living normally in the midst of crazy people was like training yourself endlessly. Even if you’ve undergone that kind of training, the future that awaits was being sold to another foolish family that was gunning to become the next Eufgenschult. 

 

Karla’s pessimistic personality so as there wasn’t any other alternative. She was in an inevitably unfortunate situation. 

 

But, she actually had an ‘illegitimate brother’.

 

Isn’t that term itself referring to someone that, predictably, would have a hard life?

 

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