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Daniel Blanchett was gone. It an accident in which his carriage slipped on the snow.
Gerard looked at his father’s face; the man’s eyes were closed. His father, who was laid there neatly and surrounded by lilies, looked very comfortable. He looked more peaceful than ever.
Helena covered her mouth with a handkerchief and wept beside Gerard. His mother was unexpectedly crying. She must have felt bad for her husband.
Gerard, on the other hand, remained expressionless. He didn’t know how to feel.
‘This is not real.’
He came to the Capital to confirm his father’s death directly, but he couldn’t accept the reality despite having seen it with his own eyes.
A long line of mourners visited Daniel at his funeral. The Emperor and his wife, the Archduke, Imperial nobles, the remaining line of Blanchett, and the Duke of Norbert.
Perhaps he came because he felt sorry for Daniel Blanchett’s death. Or, did he come to deepen his relationship with the next Marquis? He couldn’t understand what they were thinking, but there were indeed many people who honored Daniel’s life at his funeral.
Owen, who also attended the funeral, walked up to Gerard.
“His Majesty the Emperor, the eternal sun of the Hernia Empire.”
Gerard greeted Owen politely.
“It’s an honor that you attended despite your tight schedule.”
“Of course I’m attending. I’m sorry the late Marquis died so suddenly.”
Owen asked, his eyebrows taut.
“How are you feeling?”
Asked if he was OK, Gerard Blanchett’s answer was set. What would he do if he was not fine?
“Phew, it’s alright to say that you’re not fine. It must have been such a surprise to you when you heard the news at the border.”
Owen said again, patting Gerard on the shoulder a couple of times.
“You’ve stayed long enough there, so you can return to the Capital now.”
“You have to inherit the title of Marquis as well.”
Gerard didn’t answer Owen, who told him to return. He didn’t confirm that he would return to the Capital or settle on the border. He suddenly couldn’t make up his mind. It was strange.
At the end of the line of mourners, a carriage with a swan pattern entered the Blanchett residence. It was the carriage of the Roem family. The Roem family had just resumed their social activities after Karina’s nuptial ceremony.
Gerard began to feel nervous the moment he recognized the pattern on the carriage.
A noble lady dressed in black with neatly braided brown hair gracefully got out of the carriage while being escorted.
It was Chloe Roem, whom he got to see after 4 months.
Was it his imagination that her blue eyes seemed prettier? He was anxious to look at Chloe, as if she wasn’t supposed to be seen.
Gerard and Chloe’s eyes met for a moment. He avoided her gaze out of reflex. He didn’t understand why he avoided Chloe, even though she was the one who avoided him.
Count Roem walked up to Gerard and greeted him.
“May you lay in the peaceful arms of the Empire.”
He proceeded to offer a heartfelt consolation.
“I’m really sorry, young Marquis.”
“I hope the Roem family may lay in the peaceful arms of the Empire as well. Thank you for coming.”
He was naturally greeted by the Roem family, but all his attention was on Chloe. He couldn’t even talk to her.
Gerard found it strangely difficult to face Chloe, whom he met again after a long time. Was it because the young Lady of Roem didn’t even show any hint of agitation when she saw him? It was so disappointing when her eyes dropped calmly.
‘I want you to look at me.’
It seemed that he was the only one who was sad about it. It wasn’t something he should be upset about, but he was.
After that, the funeral proceeded in a strangely calm atmosphere. A priest read the Bible. People shed tears in front of him.
During the ceremony, Gerard suddenly remembered a conversation he shared with his father.
-But, don’t you have any illegitimate children, Father? Everyone has one.
It was the last conversation they shared.
-If anything bad were to happen to me, you should have someone to take my place.
-That way, wouldn’t you be able to maintain the prestige of a proud father?
Those sharp words were directed to his father. Why were the words that he thought were going to relieve him become stuck in his head? Would it have been better if he was just an obedient son as always?
However, contrary to how it looked, he wasn’t a very good son, and the memories related to his father weren’t that good either. It was all just empty and vain. But his father presented Gerard with goals and direction. The feeling of freedom he got after his father passed away and a sense of uncertainty about what to do next filled his heart.
After the funeral, mourners began to leave one by one. Gerard rubbed his eyes with growing tiredness.
He confirmed his father’s body was headed to the Blanchett estate and turned around. He took a deep breath before following his father.
At that moment, someone grabbed the hem of Gerard’s sleeve.
She was there when he looked back. Chloe Roem.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve met. I’m sorry we had to meet in this kind of situation.”
An elegant accent. Soft voice. Gerard acted foolishly because he never thought the young Lady of Roem would talk to him.
“No words can comfort you. I hope you don’t hold it in too much when you’re feeling sad.”
After saying those words, Chloe handed Gerard what she had in her hand. It was a handkerchief. A white handkerchief with Blanchett’s emblem on it.
It wasn’t until four months later that the item found its way into the hands of its rightful owner. Gerard felt emotional at the unexpected situation.
“Chloe, let’s go.”
Countess Roem called for her from afar.
“Then, I will take my leave.”
Chloe bid him farewell in a hurry before walking away. Gerard blamed himself for not being able to say anything as he watched Chloe walk away without any sign of stopping.
‘Are you doing well? How have you been?’
He wanted to ask her a lot of questions.
‘All this time… Have you thought about me?’
However, he couldn’t ask her anything.
Gerard squeezed the white handkerchief in his hand out of remorse. The soft fabric in his hand gave him comfort.
-I hope you don’t hold it in too much when you’re feeling sad.
Comfort. Did he feel sad just as she thought? The death of the father who had never cared for him?
At that moment, he remembered his father’s last assignment.
-I’ll cut the head of the enemy off. If that’s what you want, Father.
It suddenly occurred to him. Wouldn’t it be possible to shake off this vague sadness after defeating the captain of the Tzuwai? Would he be able to move on from his father’s death that way?
‘I have to return to the border.’
He felt like he found a road that he couldn’t see before.
Actually, Gerard didn’t have to go back to the western border. Owen de Hernia was going to end his punishment directly.
However, he made up his mind to return. When he returned to the Capital, it was obvious that the wrath of the Tzuwai tribe would continue against the locals at the border. And he didn’t want to be irresponsible by quitting a job that was almost done.
Gerard Blanchett was determined to do what he believed was right. The shadow of Daniel, which had been fixated on Gerard, was gradually fading away.
Gerard returned a month later after a brilliant performance. Not only had he defeated Catarman, the chief of the Tzuwai tribe, but he also repaired the defenses on the western border.
The Emperor held a very grand ceremony for Gerard, whom he regarded as a friend and political partner. And Gerard was awarded a title with the highest honor at the triumphal event.
“Where is Marquis Blanchett?”
The triumphal ceremony created hot interest toward the new Marquis of Blanchett. Everyone wanted to greet and talk to him one more time.
Tired of dealing with people, Gerard hid on the terrace. He leaned against the railing whilst watching someone with a gentle look.
He could see young Lady Roem through the terrace window. She knew he was looking at her, but she never looked at him.
“Chloe Roem, such a cruel hearted girl.”
It wasn’t just this time. Throughout the triumphant ceremony, Chloe Roem didn’t spare him more attention than necessary. That was contrary to him, who kept looking at her and unconsciously tried to narrow the distance between them.
It was as if they had reverted back to the strangers they used to be in the past. To Gerard, his days of his friendship with Chloe felt like a midsummer night’s dream.
‘Who is that?’
A red-haired man was circling young Lady Roem. It was unpleasant seeing her smiling widely in his presence.
‘Isn’t that the knight escort of Archduke Anata? Why is he in the Capital instead of the north?’
It was when Gerard frowned.
Owen opened the terrace door after a couple of half-hearted knocks.
“You gloomy b*stard. You think you can just spy on the terrace?”
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