Huge thanks to Sammikinns for the kofis! (1/4)
Dahlia looked at Isaac with eyes filled with surprise, before her lips moved and she burst into laughter.
It was because the young master was so naive.
Why was he trying so hard with such a bland face? The way he kept cracking jokes that weren’t like jokes was both amusing and cute.
How could he get engaged to a maid?
The young master before her was a boy that was only grown in size, but has yet to mature mentally. Dahlia was already aware that the things craved the most during adolescence were an amiable attitude and kind words, so it was easy for a nosy person like her to be idolised.
A startled look slowly spread over Isaac’s face, which didn’t show any emotion. With a giggle, Dahlia added in with a secretive tone.
“Alright. In that case, the day the Young Master holds his coming-of-age ceremony. If you haven’t changed your mind by then, please propose to me formally.”
Dahlia stood up and raised her hand to touch Isaac’s cheek gently.
“Perhaps the Young Master’s mind would change when that time comes.”
A fragrance resembling spring wafted from the palm that stroked his cheek.
Isaac stared at her with a hazy gaze, and relaxed the hands that were clutching his thighs. The words she uttered in a playful tone filled his mind and clouded his consciousness.
“Then, Young Master, I’m finished with the cleaning, so I’ll leave.”
Dahlia retracted her hand without hesitation and got up from her seat and picked up her box of tools for cleaning that was placed in front of the sofa table. After she disappeared through the door with a greeting, “Please rest,” Isaac only remained seated in front of the desk
A minute became ten, and ten minutes became an hour. Even with the passage of time, the soul that had flown out, couldn’t resettle back into its original place.
“Please propose to me formally…”
Isaac, who was looking at the desk dazedly, picked up his pen once again and started to move his hand mechanically.
With a scribbling sound, letters began to appear onto a piece of blank paper.
‘Reinterpretation of utilitarianism’. The densely packed sentences that filled the book were moved to a new location by thin fingers. Unlike the beautiful lettering, the pupils that were following the lines of text widened greatly, and were busily moving.
[…To enhance the happiness of others by sacrificing one’s own happiness, this proves society’s imperfections]
Isaac unconsciously substituted himself into the text.
‘My sacrifice, your happiness. If you’re still finding a way out of the depressing reality that none can tolerate you.’
[But in such a society, one should not forget that their sacrifice is the best virtue in society.]
‘In such a reality… If I can give you happiness by sacrificing myself.’
‘…If the reality of me loving you could be seen as a virtue.’
‘Just like how a discontented man is more dignified than a satisfied pig. Perhaps a life of advancing towards you, even if I have to wander through the mud, would be much more dazzling than living like the dead in the shade of reality.’
‘By your side, to be together forever.’
‘…What should I do?’
‘I’ve started to look forward to living.’
How could she thoughtlessly say something like ‘please propose to me’, without having the slightest knowledge of his desperation?
While being ignorant of how persistent that young master really was, and not knowing how gloomy and twisted he was. To speak about liking so frivolously, and now…
“Perhaps the Young Master’s mind would change when that time comes.”
A bitter smile couldn’t help but form on his lips as that whisper reverberated in his head.
That naive maid thought that he was an ordinary child. She talked about the engagement with a childish heart. She considered those words to be the passing words of an immature young master.
‘What are you going to do?’
‘You’re the only one for me now.’
‘Inside here, the empty space has already been tailored for you. There won’t be anyone else that can enter, other than you.’
‘Even so, you still talk about the future so easily.’
“Why didn’t you just fly away when I could let you go?”
He let out a forlorn sigh and rubbed his eyes. Liquid, the identity of which was unknown, whether it was tears, emotions, or both, welled up from inside his hot eyes, causing it to start stinging.
It was nothing much.
…Even though he knew it was meaningless, he was still like this.
No matter what, Isaac hated himself for being miserable because of a few sweet words. After barely managing to suppress his emotions, Isaac kept moving his hands with a languid face.
The anguish that filled his mind gradually faded the more he moved his hand. Still, Dahlia’s voice continued to reverberate like background noise in the corner of his mind.
Isaac continued to write for a long while, and only came to his senses after his room was dyed with the light of the setting sun. The mystery of the setting sun wasn’t the thing that awakened him out of his stupor, but an unexpected guest that appeared outside the door.
“I heard that you’ll be going to the border with Father next week.”
Karla approached the desk while flipping the white cape backwards gracefully, It had started snowing before he knew it, and snow that was lighter in colour than the white sable fur cape accumulated on her shoulders.
“What brings you here?”
“Why? It’s because you kept doing things that are unlike you, so I’d come to see what kind of insidious plan you’re up to. Why are you so diligent these days?”
“Is being diligent weird?”
“Of course. If the fact that the boy, who has lived like the dead, was suddenly appearing all over the place wasn’t odd, then what would be considered strange?”
Isaac tapped the edge of the opened book with the tip of his pen, before opening his eyes slowly.
“Why? Were you asked by the Duchess to keep an eye on what I’m doing?”
He thought that Karla would suddenly become angry, or mumble and refrain from answering, but she just looked at him with a hazy gaze.
“Aren’t you lucky. Mother doesn’t have the time to take an interest in you right now.”
The words she spoke listlessly were filled with misery. As Isaac recalled the Duchess’ recent situation that Dahlia had told him about, his eyes slowly relaxed.
“I heard that you were busy preparing for your engagement, it seems that you’re quite busy?”
“That is but a matter of course. There’s only three months left. There’s the greetings to the Privy Council and sending an invitation. It’s our generation’s first engagement ceremony, so the tables, tableware and cutlery has to be spick and span.”
Karla looked at the bookshelf leisurely with her arms crossed. Upon seeing the aristocratic compendium that’s inserted in a corner, she couldn’t help but laugh.
“It’s been a while since I’ve read this book. Did you know that the family with the longest history in this book is the Eufgenschults?”
Delicately manicured nails pressed on the back of the book firmly. Long fingernail marks appeared on the velvet-lined cover soon after.
“Since it’s the engagement ceremony of an Eufgenschult, a noble amongst the nobles, there must be much to worry about. Mother was originally a person that values the family’s reputation, you should be quite clear about that.”
“You talk about it like it’s someone else’s business, even though it’s your own engagement ceremony.”
“It’s because it doesn’t feel like it’s my business. The only thing that they need there isn’t Karla, but Karla Eufgenschult. Instead, I won’t be provoked for the next five years if I follow his instructions.”
Isaac, who had his eyes trained on the book the entire time, raised his head with a curious look.
“So that was a condition?”
“Are you thinking of getting engaged to a man you don’t even like, just to enjoy that momentary freedom? Don’t you have a person that you like?”
Isaac got up from his seat and spoke in an indifferent tone. Karla stroked her tightly braided hair and watched as Isaac approached.
“It’s because there’s no other way. I thought I could earn at least five years… I have done my best for my part.”
As the only daughter of Eufgenschult, the cream of the Republic’s aristocrats, Karla’s value was unparalleled in gold. It was ridiculous that she would actually put aside distinguished noblemen in order to marry out of love.
If Karla was an ordinary girl, she might have the romantic notion of escaping for love, but she was an Eufgenschult. Karla was unable to muster the courage, knowing that this name was too great to abandon. Both she and Isaac were well aware that in reality, compromising was the best choice.
At the quiet call, Karla moved her gaze towards Isaac. He took out the nail-marked aristocratic compendium and began to flip through it.
“Do you like your engagement dress?”
‘Why are you talking about dresses all of a sudden?’
Karla looked at her younger brother with a face filled with suspicion, before speaking as she moved to the sofa.
“It wasn’t bad. It’s a waste to show it to the piggish Young Lord.”
“Why the dress all of a sudden?”
“It’s just. I want your dress.”
Just as she was about to take a seat on the sofa, Karla turned her head towards Isaac in a crouching position at his sudden words. Isaac didn’t pay any mind to her questioning look, and continued to look only at the aristocratic compendium.
Karla got up from her seat and openly asked her question.
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s just as I have mentioned.”
“You’re that… no, I’ve never heard you have such tastes. I knew you weren’t normal, but…you didn’t awaken to that weird taste, did you?”
Though her question was asked in seriousness, Isaac found something funny and burst out laughing to the point where he trembled while bending at his waist.
The joyful appearance that she saw for the first time in a while caused another crease in Karla’s brows. A smile was still present on Isaac’s face, and he waved at Karla as if to ask her not to misunderstand.
“My words could have been misleading. That’s not what I meant… When we spoke of engagement, I thought about dresses.”
Isaac drew closer to Karla, while rubbing the corners of his folded eyes with a hand. The slowly approaching face caused Karla to have a displeased expression.
He may resemble the Duke, but his looks was more splendid without the frivolous feeling, which was probably inherited from his pr*stitute mother.
As his appearance was overly genial, even a sense of alienation, there was an uneasy feeling in the corner of her chest every time she saw him.
“Wouldn’t I need money to hold an engagement party that’s as glamorous as yours? I, too, don’t think that I can continue living like this.”
“What are you talking about?”
Underneath the straight eyelashes, eyes that had shone brightly narrowed into curves as he gave a soft smile
“You’d asked about why I was being so diligent these days. I, too, wanted to live properly.”
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