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[“What? The painting was sold before the Salon ended?”
Chloe jumped onto her feet and asked.
Not long ago, she inadvertently captured the heir of Blanchett in his childhood on canvas. Was she subconsciously longing for a time she could never return to?
She wanted to erase it, but couldn’t bring herself to do so.
After such hesitation for several days, Theodore happened to see the painting when visiting Chloe’s house. His eyes were sparkling and he pleaded to be given the painting.
Eventually, Chloe presented Theodore with the painting that she couldn’t bear to part with. She thought it’d be better to give it to him rather than keep it for herself.
However, she was ashamed.
Salon exhibition? The painting wasn’t supposed to be showcased to the public.
Moreover, the paintings in the Salon couldn’t be taken down until the end of the exhibition.
Chloe dropped her head at the thought of the difficult situation.
“You tend to keep your paintings away from the public, my Lady. That one was too good to be left in your studio.”
Theodore, on the other hand, seemed very satisfied.
“And there’s already someone who wants to buy it. You’ve been recognized as a decent painter now, my Lady.”
He released a chuckle and sipped his tea.
“…What? My painting?”
Surprised, Chloe asked.
“Yes, you can also determine the price.”
The buyer must be rich. Theodore tapped his hands against the arm of the chair and chuckled heartily. He looked rather excited.
“So, how much do you want to sell it for, Claudia?”
Theodore asked with a sparkle in his eyes.
Money. The more money she got, the better. If she thought about Abel’s future, it was better to earn a lot of money.
“No, I won’t sell it.”
However, it was not a painting that could be sold.
“That’s a painting that can’t be sold.”
“No, Claudia. Think about it properly…”
“No, Sir. I won’t change my mind.”
Chloe shook her head at Theodore, who was attempting to persuade her.
“And don’t tell me if it’s sold before the Salon ends. I’d be in a lot of trouble and highly embarrassed right now.”
“Please don’t do it again.”
Chloe knew. If she pretended to be fine and didn’t express her opinion, their relationship was bound to deteriorate. She should be able to express when she likes or dislikes something.
That was the standard in a relationship.
“I didn’t think too far into it. I should’ve asked, I’m sorry.”
Theodore seemed embarrassed as he immediately apologized.
“I just don’t want you to-”
“I know, you did it for my sake. I appreciate you for that.”
Chloe spoke softly this time. She didn’t want to be unnecessarily upset about something that couldn’t be reversed.
“I’m sorry for being sensitive and speaking in a sharp tone.”
Right, she didn’t have to be too sensitive. It was just one of those things that would pass and not cause much trouble once it passed.
Chloe put down the anxiety within her.
Meanwhile, Gerard frowned upon receiving reports from the Blanchett estate.
“I said I would give her as much as she wants, but you just said she doesn’t want to sell it?”
“The painting’s not for sale.”
“It was showcased at the Salon, but you said it’s not for sale?”
Gerard murmured, rubbing his eyes. It was weird.
‘I have to go.’
His gut was telling him something. And he felt a strong urge to follow it.
“I will go to the northeast myself.”
Aiden accidentally retorted upon his master’s unexpected remark.
“I have to see the painting with my own eyes. I’ll be traveling with a tiny entourage, so you just have to prepare a few people to escort me.”]
Gerard, who was watching everything, simply wanted to close his eyes.
He was going to bother Chloe, who had been living peacefully. And Herace, who took his place. Abel and Chloe had accepted him sincerely.
Everything was terrible.
He didn’t want to see any more.
However, the story kept going until the end despite his disastrous mood.
“Track down the woman who painted this right away.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
Raymond complied with Gerard’s command before leaving the room.
Even after Raymond left, Gerard stood motionless and stared at the painting.
‘Chloe Blanche- Roem…?’
There was a trace of Chloe in the painting. Overall, it was similar to her paintings he had seen in the past.
The painting style was less innovative than it was then, but it seemed to be influenced by Amone, who liked to use limited colors.
Especially this signature. It bore the most resemblance to her paintings in the past.
Gerard clenched his fist without realizing that his nails were digging into his own flesh.
Finally. Perhaps, he’d get her back this time.
His heart thumped unpleasantly.
The next day, the mother and son of the Diaz family were peacefully walking along the coast in Herace’s company.
“Mother, uncle, please lift me again!”
Abel said, walking between Chloe and Herace. His round eyes were sparkling in delight.
“Yes. One, two, three!”
Chloe and Herace grabbed each of Abel’s hands and lifted them up with force.
The child screamed playfully as he was lifted up in the air. The sound of his laughter, which blended with the sound of cool waves, was pleasant to the ears.
Herace lowered his voice when calling Chloe.
“Someone seems to be passing by.”
Chloe was surprised and tried to turn around. Then, he shook his head and said.
“Don’t look, be as natural as you can.”
Herace whispered, his expression turning stiff. He immediately grabbed Abel’s hand.
Chloe replied that she understood. However, her voice was trembling helplessly.
Herace, who noticed this, held her hand with his free one. Chloe was briefly surprised, but his firm grasp seemed to calm her down a little.
“I don’t think they’re going to do anything right now, but it’s better if we head back.”
Herace made a quick decision.
She should have pulled away, but she didn’t because of the risk of being caught in the process. After he reassured her by suggesting they should head back, he decided to take the opportunity to avoid them.
“Don’t worry about it. I’m the one who’s going to be appointed as the Knight Commander of the Anata Order, you know?”
Herace bragged about himself. It sounded ridiculous, but it relieved the tension between them.
“Yes, I know.”
Chloe nodded meekly.
Just as he said, he was going to be the Knight Commander of Anata’s Order. It happened in her past life.
That was what the future held for him.
After they returned home, they hurriedly closed the door.
After closing the door, Chloe glanced at their pursuers’ faces.
Though she hadn’t encountered them in the present, she had seen them in the past. Knights of Blanchett.
He had found her.
“I know… them. What should we do?”
Chloe murmured while clenching and unclenching her fists continuously. It was difficult to counter the sudden anxiety.
“We have to go… We have to go.”
Herace tried calling Chloe but it didn’t seem to affect her at all. Chloe panicked because she didn’t know what to do when her concerns became real.
Abel was bewildered, so he tightened his arms around Herace’s neck. He was confused at the sight of his panicked mother that he witnessed for the first time in his life.
Herace called her with all his might.
It was the first time he called her by her real name.
He had never called Chloe by name when they met in the Capital, nor when he met her again in Etra. He addressed her as the young Lady of Roem when she was still in the Capital, but he avoided calling her that on purpose in Etra.
Just as she abandoned the name ‘Chloe’ and chose to go with ‘Claudia’. He wanted her to choose him, not him to choose her.
However, it was her name, ‘Chloe’, that she responded to. His heart sank.
“Calm down, Chloe. You keep saying you have to go somewhere.”
Despite having a smile on his face, Herace’s voice was trembling.
“He… He must have found my whereabouts. I have to leave this place.”
Chloe said while making eye contact with Herace’s eyes, glazed with sorrow.
“Yes, let’s go to Uncle Theo’s place first. We’ll talk about where you’ll be staying after this…”
Chloe shook her head firmly.
“We have to go.”
“You have to go… where?”
Herace’s eyes shook.
“…I have to go to the East.”
Chloe felt like telling him that much would be enough.
“Oh, the East…”
Herace murmured Chloe’s last words as if memorizing it. In fact, he had something else to ask, but his mouth couldn’t come up with anything.
‘What about me? Are you going to leave me here?’
Chloe sensed what Herace wanted to say. However, she pretended not to know and avoided his eyes.
‘No matter how I look at this, he will be appointed Knight Commander of the Anata Order soon. We both know it.’
Just as she thought, Herace had his own life. The trust of the Archduke, the recognition of his skills, and his position in the North. He gained everything after doing as much as he could.
Therefore, Chloe couldn’t bring herself to ask if he wanted to join them. It would have been the same as asking him to give up his entire life.
Furthermore, she wasn’t even sure if she wanted to ask him to join her. Those remarks were too heavy to be said when she wasn’t sure yet.
Silence engulfed Chloe and Herace for a moment.
“First… Let’s go to Uncle Theo’s place after it gets dark. We’ll discuss our- your next moves.”
Selfishness and consideration. It was so difficult to choose the right answer.]
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