Huge thanks to Sammikinns for the kofis! (2/2)
Written in familiar letters on the envelope was ‘Sent by: Laurel Beroch’. Edina pouted and laid next to Dahlia with a look of envy on her face.
“You and Laurel are very close. You’d always send a letter once every ten days. My younger brothers probably don’t even know that I’m the one paying for their tuition.”
“What do you mean? Your relationship with your younger siblings is even better than mine. Wasn’t it written ten times in each letter to you that they wanted to see you?”
“…Is that so?”
“During the previous vacation, my youngest brother told me not to go and cried for a long time while holding onto my skirt. Laurel doesn’t behave like a spoiled child with you, so seeing that makes me a little envious.”
As Edina rolled around on the bed with an embarrassed face, she picked up the blanket and rubbed her face on it lightly.
Contrary to her sassy personality, her face looked cute when she was embarrassed even to a female, but Edina would berate Dahlia if she smiled, asking why she was smiling again, so Dahlia bit her lower lip to prevent her laughter from leaking out.
“Speaking of vacations, Dahlia, are you going to the poverty centre again at the end of this year?”
“If nothing happens? But isn’t there a long way to go before it’s time for a vacation.”
“What do you mean a long way to go? The day after tomorrow is already December.”
Was it already that time? Surprised, Dahlia checked the postmark on the envelope.
After seeing the postmark stamped in the capital Aretschelman, and the words ‘November 28’, did she feel the sense of reality of the date.
“Time goes by quickly… But why are you asking about vacation?”
“If you don’t have anywhere to go, would you like to go to my house together with me? My younger siblings wanted to meet you, so they told me that I must bring you along. If it’s alright, I’d like to invite Laurel too. Although it wouldn’t be that comfortable as the house is small, but…”
Edina’s home, which was united with familial love, seemed to be a very noisy and harmonious place based on the stories she had heard.
‘It would be fun to go.’
Dahlia lifted her eyebrows to soothe her disappointment.
“Thank you, but I will have to decline. Laurel’s asthma always gets worse in the winter, so I have to be careful. Besides, she has been saying that she has a low fever these days, so this time I’ll have to take her to the doctor’s office.”
“Oh dear… didn’t you say that she had a fever around Thanksgiving? In that case, hasn’t it been over a month already?”
“Yes. It’s lasting for a particularly long time this time.”
“Then there’s nothing I can do… I hope that she gets well before your vacation.”
Edina sighed with a worried look on her face. As she hated gloomy atmospheres, Dahlia tried her best to give a faint smile.
Winter has always been like this.
Whether it’s spring that’s filled with life, that brings warmth and allows flowers to bloom, or summer, that increases the remnants of vitality that spring brought, and even autumn, that leaves behind evidence of growth with condensed vitality, were foundations that allowed Laurel to grow. But winter was different.
Like the northern wind that takes everything away, winter robbed Laurel’s health little by little, perhaps because the life that’s present on the field wasn’t enough.
Although she has already gotten used to winter, getting used to it and her worries were two separate matters. Dahlia clutched the envelope and prayed inwardly.
‘I just hope nothing happens this year.’
‘May Laurel survive the winter safely.’
“Dahlia, are you going to the poverty centre again this year?”
Isaac, who was in the midst of transcribing a book, suddenly raised his head and asked a question.
The same question was already asked for the fifth time. However, Dahlia didn’t show any sign of irritation, instead nodded with an expressionless face.
“Yes, since I don’t have anywhere to go, and I want to see my sister. I might leave a day earlier than last year.”
“I want to go too… Can’t I follow along?”
Instead of berating him for being ridiculous, Dahlia shrugged her shoulders like she was telling him to be serious.
“While it doesn’t matter to me, I heard that the Young Master will be going on a border inspection with the Master.”
Isaac’s shoulders drooped with a sullen look. Noting the ink dripping from the pen he was holding, Dahlia exclaimed while picking up the rag.
“Of all things, a trip with His Grace. It’s terrible just thinking about it.”
Isaac grimaced and wiped away the ink that had accumulated on the tip of his pen with a velvet cloth. After checking that there weren’t any stains left, Dahlia got up.
“You’re saying negative things again. You participated in a hunting competition together previously, and even inspected the railway bridge together. Do you still feel uncomfortable with the Master?”
“I feel uncomfortable with everyone but Dahlia.”
To Isaac, it was words spoken sincerely, but Dahlia had only laughed softly.
“I know that the Young Master is uncomfortable, but the Master seems quite happy. It seems that he must enjoy spending his leisure time with you.”
“Since he has finally found a docile and obedient companion, so from an elderly’s point of view, it must seem very fun to bring it along.”
Despite his impudent tone, Dahlia had only criticised him slightly with a “Hey!”
“Now that I look at it, the Master’s reaction isn’t the only good thing. I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the Young Master in the mansion these days. The Young Master is so handsome, his manners are excellent, and he is muscular even at such a young age!”
“Take out the part about young age.”
“…He’s muscular! They’re all compliments. Even I felt proud for no reason.”
As Isaac looked at Dahlia with a silently smiling face, he returned his gaze to the books and documents again.
“The Duchess’ complexion is slowly getting worse. While His Grace trying to uplift me is fine, but I’m worried about her anger rising in vain. Especially…what will happen when Max returns to the mansion.”
“Well, I heard that he’s going to stay at the school until he graduates. And the Duchess is very busy with other matters these days, so she wouldn’t be able to harm the Young Master.”
He said that as he was afraid that Dahlia, and not him, would be harmed, but he was encouraged again. Isaac placed his chin in a hand and let out a light exhale.
“What matters is she busily settling?”
“Did the Young Master not hear about it? Young Lady Karla’s engagement date has finally been set.”
“Karla…? And when will that be?”
“I heard it’s in mid-March next year.”
There was a slight wrinkle present between his straight eyebrows. In order to prevent Dahlia from noticing, Isaac pressed on his forehead tightly and closed his mouth.
Karla, who stuck to her position as a bystander, was neither an ally nor an enemy, had threatened him to not do anything useless, and suddenly started to use Dahlia to show her affection for Isaac.
It wasn’t that Isaac couldn’t read her shallow moves, but after ascertaining that her intentions were clearly on the positive side, he continued to try his best to prevent damage to Karla when he acted. And he closed an eye to her nightly outings from the same meaning.
‘…Karla is engaged.’
Even though she had someone she liked, he couldn’t believe that she still thought of getting engaged to someone that didn’t have her heart. He found it amazing, and yet extremely vicious.
At the same time, as he watched the maid before him, he was overcome with a strange feeling.
It’s a promise to be with someone for the rest of your life.
Someone… with someone you like…
“Apparently, they started making her engagement dress two months ago. They’re running out of time though… I helped the Young Lady try on the new dress, and you don’t know how gorgeous her dress is.”
“…Is that so?”
“Yes. I can’t count the number of laces used to make the dress. Besides, there are pearl decorations on each frill, but it’s not overdone at all, and just looks pretty.”
Dahlia recalled the dress as she stared at the ceiling with dreamy eyes.
The senior maid had mentioned that the cost of the engagement dress would easily reach Dahlia’s goal of 5 gold, no, double of it. As soon as she heard the price, her hands trembled, and Dahlia was sternly rebuked by the maid standing beside her that assisted in dressing.
“How does it feel to wear a dress that’s as expensive as a house? Just imagining it is really…”
“Are you envious?”
“Of course I’m envious! To be engaged to a person you like while wearing a dress like that. It must be every woman’s dream.”
Isaac’s hand, which was laid on the table, fiddled with the edge of the opened book lightly.
Although he thought that it was absurd just thinking about it to himself, Dahlia’s words sounded like she was proposing to him.
“Getting engaged to a person you like in that dress. Every woman’s dream.”
Was that really a dream that only women had?
To vow to be by your side for an eternity while smiling in a tuxedo. He was dreaming of this, but it wasn’t because he’s a woman.
A self-deprecating smile formed on his lips, before it disappeared in a flash. Isaac only moved his eyes and gazed at Dahlia.
“In that case, Dahlia…”
“If I let you wear a dress like that, would you be engaged to me?”
Isaac asked, pretending to be calm.
If the only blemish to this perfect pretense had to be pointed out, it would be that his index finger that was brushing against the corners of the book was trembling slightly.
The rapidly moving green eyes reflected his emotionless face. His gloomy appearance being reflected in her lively eyes was both amusing and pitiful, so Isaac raised a corner of his mouth.
“What about it?”
In a joking atmosphere, he spoke like he was cracking a joke.
Of course, she’ll take it as a joke. She’d laugh and say, “Is that so,” or she’d speak laughingly, “What kind of joke is this?”
‘Even so, regardless of that. Even if it’s a joke, if you…’
‘…To get a positive response from you…’
‘In that case…’
“If the other party is the Young Master, I can get engaged without wearing such a dress.”
Dahlia looked at Isaac with narrowed and curved eyes, and the lips she was biting slightly were raised slowly.
A playful tone with a pure smile. With both of her hands on the table and a mischievous expression, that face looked up at Isaac.
“Any woman will fall for a handsome and smart man like the Young Master, even if he proposes empty-handed.”
The clear and melodic voice tickled his ears and burrowed deeply into his heart.
The fingers that were fiddling with the corners of the book trembled so much that they became visible. Isaac lowered his hand carefully and grabbed his thigh tightly.
He held on to his pretense desperately, as he forced down the emotion that rose like a fountain with difficulty.
“Such words… it’s an honour.”
He barely managed to endure the trembling of his voice,
However, he could gradually feel the limits that were restraining himself. Although his reason was shouting that it was just a joke, and it would be fine if he just laughed and let it pass, his instinct rashly prodded at Isaac to listen to more of such sweet words.
“…In that case.”
After gritting his teeth for a long time, his molars were a little numb. Eventually, Isaac surrendered to his instincts.
“In that case… I’ll give you a dress. I’ll definitely get you something that’s more gorgeous than that… Dahlia, be engaged to me.”
He focused and stared straight at Dahlia’s face with his shaky eyes.
Dahlia’s face, with her eyes widened, filled his black eyes.
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