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Gerard Blanchett’s punishment had been confirmed. He became the commander of the western frontier and would be sent to confront the Tzuwa people.
And on the day his disciplinary action was decided, the Blanchett estate was turned upside down.
“You… What the hell happened?!”
Marquis Blanchett couldn’t hold back his anger. His body was trembling all over.
“Do you have any idea?! The man who has to protect the Emperor left his position to protect Leila Stein?!”
Gerard just dropped his head and silently accepted his father’s anger. Though he had completely different thoughts in his head.
‘How long are we going to do this? I have to go out now to make sure I won’t be late for our appointment.’
Gerard was going to meet Chloe in the afternoon. Having been summoned while getting ready to go out, he was anxious about being late for their appointment.
“You’re always bringing disgrace to our family! I-I was humiliated by the Duke of Norbert in the Council meeting…!”
Daniel Blanchett gritted his teeth, seething in anger.
“Don’t you know how much the Norbert family is trying to bring down Blanchett?”
“He-he… is he someone you know? You know him?!”
Daniel couldn’t control his anger and threw the fountain pen in his hand. The pen broke and ink splattered all over the place.
Gerard looked down at the ink stains on his white shirt. He thought Chloe would like to see him in white, so he was going to wear it. He thought about changing his clothes before he went out.
“What are you going to do?”
A not-so-earnest apology came out of Gerard’s mouth. He had no regrets about his actions, but the apology came out reflexively.
“You want me to hear your apology now?! The prestige of the Blanchett family has been dragged down! What are you going to do about it?”
The fact that his prestige fell seemed to bother him greatly.
But all his prestige was created by Gerard. In the end, he couldn’t give up the title of the father who succeeded in his child’s upbringing.
“…Go and slit the head of the enemy general.”
He was a father who gave ruthless orders instead of warm words to his son, who was going to war.
The Chief Commander of the frontier.
In fact, the fact that he was heading into the battlefield was just a show. He could choose not to go to the battlefield directly if he wanted to, he only had to report from the office and return. Therefore, some sarcastically said that Gerard was going on a vacation.
Even so, what could he do? It’s not like Gerard Blanchett committed treason, and as the next Marquis of Blanchett, he wasn’t supposed to put himself at risk. Even the Duke of Norbert, who was looking for a chance to bring the Blanchett family down, dared not suggest it.
However, it was his own father, not anyone else, who expected Gerard to fight. Slit the throat of the enemy. Did he trust his son that much? Or did he say it thoughtlessly after losing his temper?
“I’m going to cut their heads off.”
Gerard, who was staring at the floor, looked up and said.
“…If Father wishes for it.”
“Phew, of course you have to.”
Daniel’s anger subsided a little by Gerard’s obedient attitude. He sighed and gestured for Gerard to leave.
Gerard bowed lowly and turned around. He stopped at the door as he was about to leave his father’s office.
“Do you have any illegitimate children? Everyone has one.”
“If anything bad were to happen to me, you should have someone to take my place.”
Gerard opened the door of the office, intending to leave his father with a cold remark he would remember.
“That way, wouldn’t you be able to maintain the prestige of a proud father?”
Daniel grabbed his nape upon hearing the first rude remark ever from his son. Gerard wondered if his father recognized that he was grown up now.
That day, Daniel’s office was a mess because it had to withstand his anger.
However, it wasn’t that the child had grown up and didn’t recognize his parents. He just learned how unreasonable they were.
In the meantime, Chloe was also ready to go out to meet Gerard. She picked up a handkerchief, folded neatly on the corner of her dressing table.
On the lower right of the handkerchief was a sword intertwined with vines. It was the emblem of the Blanchett family, which she had embroidered over several days.
Chloe was lost in thought when she touched the grainy texture of the embroidery.
‘Is it right to give him this?’
She recognized his hidden intention in mentioning the opera. Sir Blanchett seemed to wish for a handkerchief.
‘But why does he want it from me…?’
At first, she tried to ignore it. However, when he turned around, his back seemed so lonely that she couldn’t help but call out to him.
‘I know Sir Blanchett will come back safely, but he does not. It must be very scary and difficult for him.’
Yes, it was just a farewell to have a safe trip. She decided not to think much about it anymore.
The Roem residence suddenly became noisy. The sound of the servants running, her father yelling, and her mother screaming.
Chloe threw open the door.
“Send more people, now!”
“Honey, she hasn’t, right? She’s not… Isn’t she?”
“What do you mean? Our Cathy wouldn’t do such a thing!”
Catherine Roem had left.
It wasn’t an accident like a kidnapping. It didn’t seem that way from the disappearance of her cherished brushes and paintings, as well as a simple note telling everyone not to look for her.
It all led to a cold truth. Catherine had disappeared on her own.
“Mother, please go inside for now. The police said they would help, and they’re going to find her soon.”
Karina took care of the collapsing Countess. However, she looked like she was holding back tears.
Chloe, who came out of her room, stiffened at the sight in front of her.
It was the first time in her life seeing such a grim look on her father’s face and her mother crying so miserably. The servants were all looking around the house with stiff expressions. Soon after, the security forces of the Capital stormed into the Roem residence.
Chloe, who was thrown into such a tumultuous situation, could only deny reality.
It couldn’t be. These people must be making a fuss for nothing. If she entered her sister’s studio, Catherine would be painting there. If she called out to her sister, she would look back and welcome her.
Chloe’s feet began to move quickly as soon as her mind came to a conclusion.
“Chloe, where are you going?”
She heard Karina calling her from behind, but she couldn’t stop her feet. She had to go to Catherine’s studio right at that moment.
-I’m so sorry.
There was no way Chloe’s heart would be relieved just by the short apology. The pain inflicted by someone she loved and respected the most was not easy to heal.
-Would you like to stop by my studio later?
Therefore, Chloe didn’t go to Catherine’s studio.
‘I should’ve gone. I should’ve managed to go and see her…!’
Chloe regretted her decision so much that she nearly went crazy.
She almost bumped into servants several times because of her blurry vision. She didn’t stop apologizing until she finally arrived in front of her sister’s studio.
It was difficult to stand straight because she ran out of breath. Chloe grabbed the door handle and waited for a while to catch her breath.
She was scared. She felt like the reality behind this door would be difficult for her to accept.
The reality made her feel overwhelmed even before she opened the door. Her sister’s apology kept ringing in her ears.
That apology was a farewell to her.
“Hah… How can it be like this? How?!”
Indeed, as Karina said, Catherine was very selfish.
“Sister, where did you go…”
Chloe cried out to Catherine.
The one who stopped Karina when she harassed her. The one who put her to sleep on nights filled with thunder, the one who cried after being scolded by their father, or because their mother only adored her sisters… She was always there to comfort her by her side.
Catherine did all of that.
Chloe had a habit of hiding when she was sad or tired. It was her eldest sister who looked for Chloe when she secretly hid from everyone.
Catherine would quietly approach and paint beside Chloe, who was upset. And once Chloe’s feelings subsided, she would put her painting in her sister’s hand.
The small pieces of paper displayed a delightfully smiling Chloe.
“I… I’m so scared, sister.”
The door of the studio opened with all of her remaining power.
The studio was calm, filled with the smell of paint and paper.
And in the center of the room, there was a canvas covered with white cloth. Chloe approached it, as if bewitched.
She was convinced that this was the reason why Catherine called her to the studio. Chloe removed the white cloth impatiently.
And she had no choice but to sit down in front of it.
“…Hah, seriously. Why are you doing this? Why, why…”
It revealed a painting of three women. The picture was painted with a very limited color palette. As if imitating Chloe’s style.
The painting didn’t contain the artistic feel Catherine valued so much. Not only did she use a style of painting she had never used before, but it was also messy because it was painted over something else.
Chloe could see what the painting was without checking. It was the painting she would never forget.
The self-portrait of Catherine inspired by Chloe’s painting.
‘I’m sorry, and I love you.’
That was exactly what the painting meant.
Catherine expressed her apology by ruining her own painting, and paid respect to Chloe’s painting style by imitating it clumsily.
Three women painted only in green. The three women were undoubtedly the three siblings of the Roem family. The three sisters on the canvas were smiling so happily.
“What am I supposed to do…”
Chloe hugged the painting Catherine gave to her, breaking down in tears again.
In the end, Chloe and Gerard didn’t meet that day.
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