Novel Name : A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke

A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke - Chapter 12

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“Also here.”
Two identical documents had been prepared beforehand.
Ben gathered both the moment Esther finished stamping her finger on the sheets.
One was placed in a gold envelope and handed to Esther.
“Congratulations, young lady.”
Esther smiled bitterly as she accepted the envelope.
The adoption documents wrote 〈Esther had become a member of the Grand Duke of Tersia〉, but it somehow felt a certain proof that she was not a true family member.
Esther looked down at the document, complicated emotions overwhelming her mind.
Darwin stared at Esther with his chin propped over the back of his hand, unaware of her current thoughts.
The sofa seemed towering due to her minuscule appearance. It was overly endearing, observing the tip of her toes scarcely touching the floor.
He focused on the tip of her feet, then came to his senses and offered Esther the sweets placed on the table.
“Why don’t you have some?”
Esther’s gaze then turned back to the sweets.
Her mouth watered over the appetizing display.
However, she didn’t desire to lay ahold of what the Grand Duke enjoyed in his own time.
Moreover, the way he prompted her to proceed and stared at her with such a burdensome gaze caused her to think she should never touch them.
She shook her head, concluding he only offered her so because it was proper etiquette.
“It’s all right. Grand Duke, you have some.”
Darwin laughed as if he had heard something strange.
He disliked sweets and hated the thought of them touching his lips. However, Esther could not have known.
‘Why aren’t you eating?’
In Darwin’s point of view, Esther’s interest clearly continued to turn to the pastries.
She replied she wouldn’t have some, while she kept glancing their way.
He couldn’t understand why she refused.
The chef who prepared the appetizers stated that one must eat them before they cooled down. Otherwise, the taste would drop significantly.
Darwin then picked up a treat.
And pushed it in front of Esther’s face.
Esther blinked as she stared at the cookie, wondering what kind of situation she was in. Her long eyelashes fluttered.
In the meantime, the cookie pulled closer, stopping right before the baffled Esther’s mouth.
“Try it.”
Darwin’s low voice contained a powerful force that made it difficult for her to reject.
Esther was surprised by the seriousness and rebelliousness contained in his voice. She bit the cookie.
She flusteredly thought to hold it with her own hands when eating, but it was after she had already taken a bite.
She stopped thinking.
It was so succulent, Esther couldn’t think of anything else.
The softness that melted away while inside her mouth was an experience Esther had never been through before.
“You eat well.”
Darwin smiled subtly while relaxing his eyes.
Yes. That was the face Darwin desired to see when he asked Ben to prepare the desserts.
He felt satisfied, seeing how well she enjoyed the sweets.
‘Uh… It’s so delicious. I want to stack them for later.’
Esther, fascinated by the taste and feel of the cookie, didn’t feel Darwin’s gaze as he stared at her. She just chewed and nibbled on the sweets bit by bit, feeling a bit dejected as she was aware of the pastry shrinking continuously.
She savored the taste until it completely disappeared before opening her eyes…
Only then did Esther sense it was strange.
Everyone was looking at herself. She belatedly discerned the excessive silence throughout the room.
“Ah, I’m sorry. It was so delicious…”
“Eat this too.”
Before Esther could finish speaking, Darwin picked out a different flavor.
Esther quickly accepted it, stunned. Although she was delighted to have another sweet, her mind was filled with confusion as to what was going on.
Before she knew it, Esther held another cookie in her hand.
While losing her reason for a moment, her hands spontaneously held other treats.
At the same time, she was very careful that the sweet might come in contact with her ink-stained finger.
“This is a strawberry.”
There were strawberries stuck in the cookie.
Esther nibbled.
She then contemplated coming to a stop, yet the Duke encouraged her to continue.
Darwin then noticed something as he observed Esther delightfully enjoying her sweets.
“Why don’t you sit more comfortably?”
Esther’s posture was too straight. It also seemed uncomfortable for her to move.
“I’m afraid the new dress will be ruined.”
“If it’s ruined, we can buy the same style again.”
Darwin spoke as if it weren’t any big deal.
“No, I like the dress I’m wearing now. New clothes are different from existing ones.”
“Do you like it that much?”
“Well… it’s just the first gift I received.”
Esther’s eyes curved beautifully.
The reason for her being careful with the new clothes was not simply because they were expensive.
It was the first time she had received a gift from someone. She didn’t wish to ruin it.
Esther’s face brightened, however, her statement only caused Darwin’s eyes to darken.
At that moment, the sharp glint existing inside his glaring eyes seemed so cold that Esther would have fainted if she came in contact with them.
“Doesn’t everyone receive gifts on their birthdays, New Year’s Day, and Children’s Day?”
“That only applies to the noble families. I don’t even know when my birthday is.”
Esther recited so calmly.
Esther, a child abandoned since birth, did not know the date of her birthday. Of course, the reality was that there would be no one to celebrate such a day even if she knew.
On Children’s Day, only children from families who sponsored the temple received gifts. The orphans were always excluded.
So, from some point on, she didn’t look forward to any gift. It had become natural to remain unbeknown of her birth date.
“You don’t know your birthday… Then let’s do this.”
Darwin spoke in a low tone, causing Esther’s head to lift.
“Let’s set your favorite day as your birthday.”
Darwin decided at this very moment.
He would hold Esther’s upcoming birthday with great success.
He was going to present her everything she hadn’t received till now.
Being the daughter of the Tersia family, she of course deserved special treatment.
“There isn’t really any day I like…”
Esther fell into the past for a moment, her face wearing a blank expression.
It was such a painful life, she would never undergo a happy memory until the moment of her death.
Her mind constantly overflowed with times she didn’t wish to remember in the least, while there wasn’t one pleasant memory for her to recall.
Because even the pleasant memories Esther had lived were stained with betrayal.
Esther raised her head after concluding her thoughts.
“Then today.”
She smiled awkwardly, somehow embarrassed.
It was a clumsy motion that did not bloom properly, a both lovely and pitiful smile.
Esther’s smile clashed directly into Darwin’s heart.
He felt like he was being stabbed in his vital organ after entering battle unprepared.
‘What is this feeling…?’
An unknown force deep inside his heart felt the urge of doing anything for the little girl.
He had never before felt the joy of presenting anyone a gift, but Esther’s reaction caused him to feel a sense of worthlessness.
It wasn’t any big deal to buy one piece.
He could have brought all the dressing rooms on Lille Street.
“Hm. If I had known this would’ve happened, I’d have bought all the clothes in the… No, I should’ve just bought the whole dressing room.”
Esther opened her mouth reflexively, surprised by Darwin’s murmur. It was the loudest voice she’d ever heard before now.
Darwin replied it was a joke as she fiercely protested, but he meant every word he spoke.
It wouldn’t be a problem to buy Esther anything if he could make her laugh.
Wasn’t it money that was overflowing in the Grand duke of Tersia’s residence after all?
“Determining a day right now isn’t a good choice. If there is a day where you wish to celebrate more than now, let me know.”
“Will such a day come?”
“I’m sure. You will enjoy every day from this point forward.”
Esther only raised the corners of her mouth as she chuckled silently.
It was a burst of fake laughter, indicating she didn’t believe such a day would ever form.
Seeing her smile which completely differed from the time she had been eating cookies, perplexion ran through Darwin’s mind.
“Aside from that. Attend breakfast tomorrow. You will have to formally greet your brothers.”
“Yes, Grand Duke.”
Darwin didn’t hold Esther long, aware of her tiredness after coming such a long way.
He concluded the private meeting so that she could rest comfortably.
“You must be tired. Head back and get some rest.”
Esther shook off the cookie crumbs from her dress and clutched the adoption papers into her hand.
She nodded to excuse herself before heading to her new room.
However, before she could leave, Ben requested Esther to wait a moment.
He soon began to place all the sweets from the table to a basket.
The cookies were stacked neatly in the basket by type. Eventually, the basket filled with the desserts was handed over to Esther.
“Please take it.”
Stupefied Esther turned to stare at Darwin, her eyes blinking confusedly. Nonetheless, Darwin didn’t comment anything about the desserts.
“Aren’t these a snack for you, Grand Duke?”
“Why would I eat such a thing? I dislike sweets.”
Darwin buried his face under a pile of papers at the end of his words. Esther couldn’t disturb him, so she proceeded to leave the study silently.
‘Why did he prepare so many sweets when he didn’t like them in the first place?’
Esther became troubled as she glanced over the basket filled with treats.
Although she critically contemplated it over, no answer circulated. In the end, Esther could not have known what Darwin was thinking. She laughed mindlessly, wondering what was wrong with this situation.
It was the first time in her life that she had received so many sweets. Even if she ate three a day, there would be enough to last for a week.
Although she worked to hold her smile, she couldn’t help but curve her lips upward.
Esther couldn’t believe she was smiling like this. All her past lives, she hadn’t anything to be happy about as of those painful memories, therefore she had always felt empty.
Nevertheless, there was nothing she could do in front of food.
Esther walked up the stairs wearing a look of cheerfulness as she cherished her basket.
** ━━━━━━━⋅•⋅⊰∙∘☽༓☾∘∙⊱⋅•⋅ ━━━━━━━ **
In the evening, a family meeting was held without Esther’s knowledge.
The participants were Darwin, Judy, and Dennis.
Darwin had called the twins to let them know what they had to be aware of hence this point forth.
He was bothered with the perception that the twins who grew up as only children would improperly treat Esther.
“Understand? You shouldn’t speak hurtful things.”
“Can I ask how she had been living before now?”
“Don’t ask her that, either. Don’t speak of anything personal until Esther chooses to.”
Judy sulked as Darwin warned them not to act in any appropriate manner.
“Judy, especially you. Don’t play tricks.”
“If I don’t do anything at all, will I still be childish?”
There wasn’t much change in Darwin’s expression.
Instead, he placed his large, strong palms on each of Judy and Dennis’ heads.
“Let her laugh.”
He recalled Esther’s awkward expression as she tried to smile.
“I hope this house will be filled with laughter.”
“Pff. I always laugh, don’t I?”
“I look forward to meeting Esther.”
Judy answered casually, while Dennis’s voice was filled with simple curiosity.
“Don’t forget. Esther is the one you two wished to bring.”
The reason for adopting Esther.
Darwin confirmed once again that this was the children’s wish.
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