Chapter 5

Translator: Alyalia

Editor: Yommie

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Sponsored chapter by Leia. Thank you for the support~

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01. Crack (5)

 

As Ana looked back with a blank face, the broker fiddled with his hat, wondering what her thoughts were that made her become pale.

 

“You may be angry that he wanted to receive Madam’s support only now. Instead, whenever he starts working on a new piece, he will reveal it solely to Madam first. You can even visit his studio if you wish.”

 

“….”

 

For a moment, she was speechless. Siasen still didn’t know how to hide his likes and feelings completely. Though, to be precise, it didn’t seem like he intended to hide it.

 

At yesterday’s reunion, he was much more mature and cooler than when they were young, and at the same time, he was more passionate than ever. Ana was secretly afraid that he might grab her wrist and run elsewhere, or embrace her.

 

In fact, Siasen had a history of doing similar things like that. And that, too, in front of her cold and strict father, Count Dupont, who doted on his young daughter like the apple of his eye.

 

Her father was generally a kind and compassionate noble, but he was also still a noble. The boy who dared to openly show affection to his daughter was his cousin’s adopted son. Still, in his eyes, he was nothing more than a child who had nothing about status, origin, lineage, and future.

 

If he set his mind to it, and with a bit of luck, Anais Dupont could very well become a lady of the Imperial Family. So, how dare someone like Siasen harbor such greed toward his precious child?

 

“If you don’t know your subject, even your humble wings will be broken.”

 

He wasn’t angry. He just said it with a smile on his face. But Ana had never seen her father with such scary eyes. Her father was a man who could throw the helpless Siasen to the ground and trample on him.

 

Even she, his own child, was scared of him, yet Siasen knew no fear at that time. How was that possible? His black eyes quietly observed Ana as she scolded him not to be reckless, telling him he didn’t know what he was risking and was behaving like a child. Those eyes were warm, intense, and yet so sorrowful…

 

“You’re the one who knows nothing, Ana.”

 

You’re the only thing I have, the one thing I would surely die without. Why don’t you understand that?

 

It was a nostalgic and painful memory. But even if she went back in time, she would have done the same thing. He was that precious to her, that frightening, and at the same time, she was terrified of losing everything she had.  

 

It was something that shouldn’t have been done and wasn’t right. And yet, perhaps, Ana wasn’t in love but rather suffering from passion. Siasen could have given up everything for her, but she couldn’t do the same.

 

“Madam?”

 

She was lost in thoughts of Siasen again. Ana calmly adjusted her expression and spoke. Her voice and expression were calm, but her heart was beating like crazy as she said her words.

 

“I see.”

 

Ana didn’t just have bittersweet memories with Siasen.

 

“Tell him it doesn’t matter how much he wants.”

 

Guilt. It was a debt that was difficult to repay. As time passed, the debt and interest grew like a snowball.

 

Every time she thought of him, the pain in her heart outgrows her affection for him because his future had been shattered by her.

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As the afternoon passed, Ana had a really bad headache. She put down the book she was reading and rubbed her throbbing eyebrows. She felt like she was being pricked by a needle. Sometimes, she would feel like this when she had too many things to worry about… This was well deserved as the aftermath of the broker’s visit and the unexpected reunion.

 

Eventually, she locked herself in her bedroom during the day and closed her eyes. She didn’t know. She just wanted to sleep all day.

 

Ana hated being lazy, but she thought it would be okay for today. So, she took a long sigh and closed her eyes. Then she had a dream. As expected, he was there.

 

Siasen was a playful boy with black curly hair, and she couldn’t help but think that this boy was different from anyone she had ever seen. He was curious, fun, and pleasant to be with. She liked how mischievous he was, as if he didn’t know anything about manners and didn’t hesitate to say harsh things sometimes.

 

Especially his face holding charcoal and drawing in a sketchbook with extremely serious eyes… No one in the world will ever know how majestic and wonderful he looked. His eyes, darker with concentration as he focused on the model, especially when she often became his model, made her heart thump wildly.

 

“When you look at me like that, I feel like I’m the most beautiful girl in the world.”

 

Siasen seemed to have listened to her murmur, then spoke playfully but really meant it.

 

“Of course. You’re really like that.”

“… Lie.”

 

Her ears were red, and she grumbled. As she grew up, Ana knew that her face, which had always received compliments, wasn’t lacking in beauty.

 

The lily of the Dupont family. With her dreamlike, soft platinum hair falling gently, her small and fair face, fine maple-colored eyes, exquisitely delicate body, and a dancer-like posture naturally imbued with etiquette… She was the most perfect flower, carefully nurtured with only the best thing in the greenhouse.

 

But she was well aware that she wasn’t the most beautiful person. It was a fact one could easily discern just by attending social gatherings. Among the many flowers, she was a pretty girl, yet many surpassed her in beauty.

 

Siasen would realize this, too, when he attended such gatherings. That even the one he adored wasn’t so different in that regard.

 

It was a time when she was young and immature. She was worried and insecure because of social competition and looming thoughts of marriageable age that gradually approached. However, Siasen’s assuring words, upon hearing her complaints, made it all seem like it didn’t matter.

 

“They are all fake. You’re the only one who is real to me.”

 

Rather than saying I love you, his black eyes struck her heart when he said that.

 

Truly, everything she had been worried and fretted about until now has become meaningless. Only his eyes and being with him mattered. He was right. Everything except him was fake.

 

The boy smiled mischievously and looked at the girl, who casually turned her head so as not to show that she was embarrassed.

 

Ana stood still and watched the scene from two steps away. It would disappear if she blinked her eyes, so she put all her attention into it.

 

At this moment, Ana couldn’t understand herself in the past. It was a thought that occurred to her as she once again encountered the emotions from the past.

 

How on earth could a woman like her not choose him?

 

Despite falling so deeply, to the point where he felt like he would die without her, loving to the extent of finding himself strange and truly suffering as if mad with pain. But with what courage did she turn away from him? Back then, being young and reckless like a child, why on earth did she do that? Though not understanding, there was part of her that did understand.

 

Ana regretted it, yet at the same time, didn’t regret it. She affirmed her current self. Not shying away from the duty and responsibility, she had built her own fortress, deep and strong like a tree with deep roots. Her family, honor, lineage— they were precious. Anais von Tudor was a woman who could never be just by herself.

 

In the end… I’m also a noble. Anais smiled with relief and despair.

 

As soon as she opened her eyes, Anais felt an indescribable sense of safety when she found her husband sitting in an armchair. To her, Garcia symbolized her present and future, the sum of all the things about her that she loved and wanted to protect. Her guardian, companion, the head of the family, her husband. The value of all these things goes beyond love.

 

“Honey.”

 

As she whispered softly, the man who was looking at the documents frowned weakly, glanced up, and stared at Ana. As he stopped what he was doing and sat by the bed, Ana’s eyes stared at the piles of documents that the butler would have brought.

 

Why are things that would only be found in the office here? From the worried look in his eyes, she could immediately see why they were there.

 

Despite being extremely busy, this affectionate husband had chosen to stay by the side of his ailing wife, bringing his work to read over as she slept. Despite the consideration she was used to receiving, her heart was touched once again.

 

“It must be inconvenient that you didn’t do it in the office.”

 

“I heard you’re feeling worse than this morning.”

 

Despite instructing the maids to keep quiet about it, it seems the word got out anyway. Naturally, while living under the same roof, Garcia’s control within the household and the family was to the point that even Anais, the hostess of the family, had to concede to his authority.

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