Kieran, who was in deep thought, lifted his head at Lia’s voice.
She stared over Kieran’s shoulder and froze in terror.
There was Anastasia, eyeing them as she approached, trying to calm her rage.
“I’m disappointed, Lian.
I even asked you as a favor.”
The Marchioness glared at Lia, her cheeks trembling.
Kieran saw Canillia lower her head and stood in front of her.
“I told him to come, Mother.”
“Kieran, you go back to the Princess.
This is between Canillian and me.”
“This is an unfair fight for Canillian.
Go back to the Great Hall.
Now isn’t the time to accuse Lian, mother.”
The Marchioness’s hands trembled at her son’s remark.
Kieran disregarded her and tugged Lia’s arm.
Then the Marchioness planted herself in front of them.
She panted and scolded, “Like mother like daughter.
You’re doing exactly what your mother did, Canillian.”
“Mother,” said Kieran.
“I don’t understand.
This child is a fake, Kieran.
He’s not really your sibling.”
“Stop it!” shouted Kieran.
He grabbed Lia’s shoulders and ordered, “Leave now.
Go there and wait.”
LIa kept her mouth closed and nodded.
She was no longer hurt by the Marchioness’s abuse.
She was so used to it now that she knew that the faster she acknowledges it, the faster the Marchioness stops.
Lia said her goodbyes to Kieran and the Marchioness and turned around.
The place Kieran referred to was the top of the tower where she had kissed Claude.
But Lia had no intention of going back.
No, to be truthful, she didn’t have the courage.
She got out of everyone’s sight by walking in the garden—the beautiful garden cared for by the Prince.
A moment ago, it was filled with dark silence, but now it was full of joy.
Lia plucked some petals and went to a building from which light shone.
As she drew close she remembered that this was the cottage of the tailor, the one who created her uniform.
A cat was curled up and sleeping in the doorway, but ran away quickly at the sound of her footsteps.
The pouring rain was relentless.
Why did Claude kiss me Out of curiosity Then why did he hug me and try to calm my tears How hurt and sad is he now—
Her thoughts trailed behind her like a shadow.
“I’m embarrassed and sad, Kieran.”
Kieran glared at the Marchioness.
He looked up at the ceiling and sighed.
The celestial figures on the beautiful fresco looked like they were ridiculing him.
“When I was very young, whenever I was sick, you kneeled and prayed to God.
Oddly, that is my only memory from my childhood.
Remember You asked God to never forgive that woman.
Instead of me, you pleaded, take that woman’s child instead.
You don’t regret holding my hand and going to that lake.
So that punishment should be on that woman’s child, not me.”
Anastasia’s face turned white as Kieran calmly recalled the story.
She wanted to shut her son’s mouth.
He remembered that There was no way, she thought.
He was so young at the time.
Anastasia had fired everyone that knew about the story—except Betty.
Betty’s face flitted across her mind.
Betty played with your memory.
The only person that could start such a rumour is Betty.”
Of course, I,” Kieran said, hesitating before completing the sentence, “threatened Betty a little.
I wanted to know if my memory was false.
She was tight-lipped, as she had allegiance to you.
I somewhat remember.
It was a very cold day and it was your hand I was holding.”
“I’m also a sinner.
I used that child for my purpose.
I agreed to your plan, which is why she is living the way she is right now.
It seems that God,” his voice faltered, “listened to someone else’s prayer, not mother’s.”
Kieran continued cruelly while staring at the Marchioness’s blanching face.
“So right now, I’m paying the price.
Let Canillia go, mother.”
Anastasia panted and, seeing Canillia’s face in her mind’s eye, she collapsed.
It was because of that child, she thought.
That child ruined her world.
Because of that child—
In a dark basement jail, Claude wiped another’s blood off of his face with a piece of cloth, then turned around.
His face showed no emotion, as though he had never experienced any emotion.
Even the Emperor frowned as he watched Claude walking towards him.
“Was it…the Sergio family”
“Geore’s soldier has no reason to be loyal to the Empire’s noble.
But, it is true that Marquis Shelby was involved in this too.”
Are you going to the Duke”
And, I am going to recover the rights to the neutral territory.
Allow me to go to war.”
“In the end—”
Claude spoke coldly, showed respect to the Emperor, and brushed past him.
Guards were busy dragging the prisoner back into his jail cell.
Claude came out of the putrid basement jail and inhaled fresh air.
The rage he had harbored the entire time brought intense pain as though his very organs were twisted.
He walked past the disheveled party area and then walked up the Palace’s west stairs.
There was no way Canillian would be there.
He had probably gone somewhere with Kieran or had run away.
Even so, Claude’s feet took him up there.
Why did he keep remembering that child’s crying face
The plush carpet absorbed the sound of his footsteps.
A mirror reflected the image of a man with enraged eyes.
Upon arriving at the top, he sighed and turned the doorknob.
The scent of a sweet flower struck Claude.
There, in the room, stood Canillian gazing out the window.
Canillian turned around in surprise.
His breathing stopped for a moment.
Claude mumbled Lian’s name and approached him.
Then he spread out his arms and hugged Canillian, who was standing awkwardly.