A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke - Chapter 10
The carriage progressed for a while before they finally arrived at the Tersia residence.
Esther was submerged in the overwhelming size, dazzled the very moment she witnessed it. Even the entrance was too large for her peripheral vision to grasp it whole.
She dazedly stared outside from the carriage window as they passed through streets.
They passed through a marketplace filled with huge, remarkable shops. After advancing through the crowded area came a breathless garden.
How far were they going? By the time the scenery turned tiresome, the carriage finally came to a stop.
Esther’s heart began to beat faster, realizing they had arrived at the Grand Duke’s mansion.
“I will open the door.”
The carriage door unlatched along with Ben’s voice.
Esther carefully stepped outside the wagon.
She lightly roamed atop the fresh, green grass and looked around.
‘Is this the place I’m going to live in?’
There were many statues lined up in front of the huge mansion; even a fountain was there. This reminded her of the temple.
Now that Esther had gotten a chance to witness the large mansion in which she would reside, she felt trivial and insignificant.
It seemed she was the only one who didn’t fit in this place.
The people of the Grand Duke’s family were undeniably different from someone who spent their entire life crawling on the very bottom as a replacement for someone else.
Darwin’s large hands gently wrapped over Esther’s frozen shoulders.
“In the future, this is your home.”
The words felt so heartwarming, Esther couldn’t push his hands away.
‘Home. My home.’
Something Esther could never dream of, no matter how much she wished for it. A home and family.
Esther struggled with her overwhelming emotions.
This was a golden opportunity for Esther, a person locked inside the temple this whole time until now. Perhaps it was her final chance to meet her death.
However, she wanted to have a family, a home, even for a short while.
If so, a few days would be enough. A few months at the most. Wouldn’t it be alright?
Darwin nodded silently when he witnessed Esther on the verge of tears.
“Let’s step inside.”
Esther nodded and slowly entered the mansion alongside Darwin.
The Sensuous interior and captivating paintings hung throughout the room caught Esther’s eye. She eagerly strived ahead, wondering if there was such a thing as an end to the paintings surrounding them.
The butler Delbert, which had been previously waiting for their arrival, walked forward to greet them.
The polite gray-haired old man seemed to be a part in assisting the Grand Duke’s family, having a lineage stand by them from generation to generation.
“Have you been well?”
As he had received information in advance regarding Esther’s arrival, Delbert was not surprised to see the little girl Darwin had taken in standing next to him.
“Yes. Where are Judy and Dennis?”
“The masters have previously left. They will be back soon.”
Esther wriggled her fingers nervously as she listened to their conversation.
She would soon meet the twin sons of the Grand Duke.
Curious as to what kind of children they would be, Esther turned anxious once more.
‘A family connected by blood.’
No matter how well Darwin treated her, Esther and the real sons of the Grand Duke would remain placed in different levels.
He bought her clothes, spoke to Esther while looking straight into her eyes, and took care of her kindly, making herself feel like his real daughter.
Esther would remain forever grateful, even if she couldn’t dare call him father.
Although Esther had decided not to trust people easily, her heart was already shaken.
‘Like a fool.’
Darwin suddenly stopped walking, sensing Esther’s mood promptly drop.
“It’s nothing. I’m just still unfamiliar.”
Darwin nodded as Esther glanced around to present her unfamiliarity with the place.
“Well, it’ll take some time for you to get used to your surroundings.”
Darwin then accompanied her up the stairs, oblivious to her actual thoughts.
“Let’s confirm where you will be staying first.”
The second floor of the building was used by Darwin, while the fourth floor was occupied by the twins.
The third floor, which used to be his wife’s, was now empty.
In the meantime, several rooms in the floor had been used as storage for artworks. However, Darwin ordered the head maid to have the place tidied up in advance for Esther use it.
If one followed the spiral staircase leading to the third floor, they would witness a long hallway before them. There, five rooms were designed in zigzag order along the corridor.
When they reached the third floor, Darwin pointed to the rooms and replied, “Use the whole floor to your extent.”
“To my extent?”
Esther asked back in a startled voice.
“Yes. As long as you don’t enter the last locked room.”
Although Darwin showed endless kindness, embarrassment and uncomfortness spread through Esther’s face.
It was enough just to give her one room, but now that wasn’t even possible. This was much too difficult and unfamiliar for Esther.
‘What do I do?’
While Esther hesitated, the racket of someone causing a commotion could be heard downstairs.
Everyone’s eyes, including Darwin’s, sailed towards the staircase.
The sound only grew louder by the second. Then, it paused right at the bottom of the third floor.
“Is it Judy?”
Judy was the only one in the mansion capable of causing such a commotion.
As everyone expected, it was none other than Judy who appeared at the end of the hall. He was gasping for breath, conveying how much he had run till this point.
Judy shouted for Darwin the moment he witnessed him. Joy filled his face, as his father had finally returned.
However, he soon halted.
It was because of the girl standing beside his father.
Judy’s head tilted to the side.
Judy folded his arms and scanned Esther up and down.
His gaze was filled with curiosity, mixed with a sense of alertness.
“Father, what is she?”
Unlike Darwin’s low voice, his tone beautifully released. Nonetheless, the way he spoke was just as Darwin, strangely cold.
Esther lowered her shoulders as Judy questioned herself. She felt as if she had been wrongly sinned.
Anyone would think so if their father was to bring a younger sibling from nowhere.
The Grand Duke’s twin sons wouldn’t act the same to her.
Darwin quickly rebuked Judy, aware of Esther’s feelings towards his rude tone.
“What is with that habit of speech? Judy.”
“Then what do I call her? I don’t know who she is.”
Judy pouted, feeling guilty now that he had been scolded by his father. He didn’t favor being around a child of unknown origins.
Judy glared at Esther.
He meant to scare her, but quickly rolled his eyes to the side, successfully caught by Darwin.
Darwin shook his head, swallowing a sigh.
He was planning to introduce the twins to Esther after Dennis arrived, but it seemed like he had no choice but to have Judy be known of her arrival first.
Darwin opened his mouth.
“Say hello. This is your younger sister.”
Judy’s grip on the firecracker he had been holding loosened, and the firecracker dropped to the floor the moment he heard such words leave Darwin’s mouth.
He rubbed his ears, not paying mind to the firecracker which freely rolled on the floor.
“Strange. There’s nothing wrong.”
Judy hardened the moment he confirmed nothing was wrong with his ears. He then moved his head to face Darwin.
“That’s right. She is your sister.”
Darwin confirmed the truth to Judy and nodded calmly.
Judy, flustered by Darwin’s calm attitude, snorted while wearing a grim expression.
Judy’s eyes narrowed. His eyes were filled with doubt.
“Did you set up another household without our knowledge? Since when?”
“I mustn’t stay still with such an attitude. I will have to call Alex this instant.”
Darwin frowned at Judy’s question.
The Alex he spoke of was Judy’s most feared etiquette tutor.
“It’s a joke, a joke.”
Judy raised both hands as if to surrender. Then, with a sullen expression, he continued to question Esther more politely than before.
“How old is she?”
“No one has a tiny twelve-year old sister like this. I wouldn’t have known if you didn’t tell me.”
Darwin’s anger subsided for a moment, as he observed Judy pointing out his reasonable doubts.
He held pure admiration towards Judy, who detested studying, to hold such a mind.
“I have decided to adopt her.”
“Didn’t you in reality give birth to her elsewhere and kept her hidden till now?”
“Even if that is the case.”
Darwin answered firmly to prevent Judy from spreading his useless imagination to the extreme.
As a result, Judy’s suspicious glances directed towards Esther lifted a bit.
‘Her eyes aren’t green.’
Esther’s appearance clearly showed Darwin had nothing to do with the girl. Her hair and eye color, including the atmosphere omitting from herself seemed very different from his father’s.
However, that made it even more strange. A cold-blooded father, adopting a child which doesn’t share a single drop of blood?
‘Is it because she resembles mother?’
Esther resembled his mother’s features in the portrait. Perhaps it was because her hair and eye color were the same.
Judy continued with his reasoning, converting from his father to attack Esther.
“Where are you from?”
Esther, who had been silently listening to their conversation, was startled by the question that abruptly directed at her.
Judy’s eyes still held their doubts.
Her heart throbbed as she witnessed his alertness, not able to willingly respond.
Esther’s voice shrank.
“From the temple…”
Judy jumped at her words.
“The temple? Father, you’ve brought a child from the temple?”
Darwin shouted for Judy to stop, aware of Esther’s sensitiveness when it came to the temple. His low voice which resonated at a raised tone seemed so intense, it caused everyone to stiffen.
“If you’re going to keep talking nonsense, get downstairs right now.”
“No, I understand now.”
Judy quickly lowered his tail, realizing Darwin’s mood had gone to the edge.
Last time, he underwent the experience of being banned from leaving the mansion for a week.
Judy glanced at Esther as the fleeting thought passed by.
In fact, it didn’t matter to him who his sister was.
Judy only needed a sibling to press Sebastian’s nose.
He didn’t know his request would be resolved so soon, but the result was good nevertheless. As he thought so, Judy felt his mind loosen and felt conditionally better.
It didn’t take long for the casual Judy to brighten up and face Esther positively.
He smiled playfully and waved his right hand towards Esther.
“You know me, right? I’m Judy.”
Esther was flustered by Judy’s sudden change of attitude, but quickly bowed her head and returned the greeting.
Judy’s endless streaming energy contrasted sharply with Esther’s calm appearance.
Esther silently glanced at Judy.
He held characteristics and an appearance which made him seem to be the younger twin of the two.
His green eyes twinkled like jewels, and confidence overflowed throughout his body. He seemed likely to be a leader wherever he chose to head.
Judy had already prepared to leave as soon as he finished greeting Esther. He pulled his feet and turned around quickly.
“Then I’ll meet Sebastian… Ah, why!”
Darwin caught Judy as he attempted to make a run for it. His strong hand caused Judy to float in the air.
Judy, struggling to be let off, glared at Darwin. He shook his arms and legs recklessly in order to be placed down. It was only after Darwin struck his forehead that he calmly stood on the floor.
“Where are you leaving so early?”
“Ugh, I have a previous meeting.”
Judy grumbled and scratched his forehead, the area which had been attacked by Darwin.
Either way, Darwin did not intend to send Judy away. He pushed Judy to Esther with his large hand.
“You show Esther her room.”