A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke - Chapter 14
“I had a bad morning because I fell out of bed while sleeping,” Judy complained.
“Father, drink water first,” Dennis urged.
Following Judy and Dennis, Esther greeted Darwin a second late.
“Hello, Grand Duke.”
As everyone took their seats, hot platters were promptly placed over the table.
There were a variety of prawns, bread, salads, goulash, and chicken to try out.
‘How many types are there?’
Esther’s eyes widened as she observed the dazzling cuisine in front of her, her knees weakening from temptation.
All dishes seemed overly appetizing.
Esther didn’t think they filled up as much food during the temple’s event. She was baffled; all this food was for a single meal.
In particular, the chicken meat presented an enticingly glossy texture.
Esther’s saliva moderately left her mouth as she witnessed the succulent chicken placed before her.
“Thank you for the meal. So… I call dibs!”
As soon as Darwin’s words fell, Judy reached out for the chicken.
Then, he tore off one of the two legs.
‘Can I do that?’
Esther, who had noticed his discourteous manners, was slightly curious.
She didn’t dare overlook the delicious and good portions from each dish. Of course, the distribution of such portions was unfortunately never passed on to Esther’s plate.
Judy only picked out the delicious portions from each dish.
After having achieved filling his plate whole, Judy tilted his head to peer at Esther, who hadn’t even touched the food yet.
“Why aren’t you doing anything?”
Then he held one of the remaining chicken legs and placed it on Esther’s plate.
“You have one too. I love chicken legs.”
Esther remained embarrassed when she saw the chicken leg on her plate.
“I’m fine. There’s only one left.”
She assumed it would be for Darwin since only one was left.
However, Darwin held no interest in meat. The same was true for Dennis.
They were enjoying a light breakfast with a combination of salad and bread.
Judy burst into laughter at Esther’s words.
“What? Ahaha. You’re really funny. What’s wrong with only one left? If you need more, just ask the chef. There’s plenty of food.”
Esther bit her lips awkwardly.
She was once again hit with the reality that she was now a part of the Grand duke’s family.
Come to think of it, dozens of dresses could be bought casually, so she wondered if it was the same with food.
She could eat as many chicken legs as she wanted without any concern.
‘I don’t have to worry about starving.’
Esther’s mouth began to water.
She had never eaten a chicken leg with so much meat.
“Thank you for the food.”
Esther nodded quietly and proceeded to pick the fork beside her plate.
There were various types for her to choose from.
She didn’t know which to use as they all seemed approximately the same size.
She nitpicked a fork, reasoning it was the right size.
Esther attempted to slice the meat from the chicken leg and help herself, yet she didn’t know how to as this was her first experience.
When Esther applied force to the fork, it bounced right out of her hand.
The white tablecloth was smeared with the poultry seasoning.
“Sorry. I don’t know how to use it…”
Esther hurriedly tried to fix the tablecloth, but when she wiped the sauce with her hand, the mark only grew bigger.
Esther’s mind turned blank.
In this case, she would immediately be sent back to the temple.
Of course, she thought she’d get in trouble, but the reactions to her mistake completely differed from Esther’s expectations.
“Father, change the tablecloth. It’s too white.”
“That would be better.”
Darwin immediately gave instructions to the butler.
Esther was rather dumbfounded when no one rebuked her.
“Are you not angry?”
“Why would I be?”
Darwin wiped the corners of his mouth as he asked with a face that seemed to imply he was oblivious.
“I ruined the expensive tablecloth.”
“Why would I scold you for ruining a tablecloth?”
Darwin saw Esther’s eyes droop down with gloom and added briefly, “A child is naturally prone to making mistakes. Don’t be impatient, because you’ll eventually learn everything. All you have to do now is eat and rest well. Do you understand?”
Esther nodded, clasping her sleeve.
Small mistakes were not tolerated in the type of place Esther had previously resided.
That was always the case. If she committed a wrong act, she would be punished severely.
But this place was different.
They did not blame her, although she clearly made a mistake. She wasn’t locked up in solitary confinement nor was she punished.
Rather, they were confused as to why she was apologizing.
She was grateful for those soothing words, yet she still felt uncomfortable when he simply let the matter go.
‘Should I just not eat? Then I won’t make any mistakes.’
Esther couldn’t move her hands in fear of committing another mistake.
The sound of Dennis’s cough could be heard penetrating Esther’s ear.
Dennis, sitting opposite of her, was placing food on his plate. The meat on his plate resembled the one on Esther’s.
Dennis moved his hand slowly. He picked up a fork and knife of the second size among the various proportions of cutlery on the table and began to cut the meat slowly.
Before she knew it, Esther unknowingly observed Dennis’s behavior. She soon realized his intentions.
‘You’re telling me to follow your lead.’
Thanks to his courteous leading, Esther memorized how to use each tableware. She also learned how to slice the chicken meat.
Esther was quick to learn anything from the years of accumulating her senses, thus she was able to learn some table manners during this dreary meal.
She didn’t know whether the indifferent Dennis intended to help her or just focused on his meal.
And so, breakfast time passed by smoothly.
Darwin finished his meal and stood up to head for work. Soon after, Dennis concluded eating and stood up, stating it was time for him to read.
Esther emptied a few more dishes before placing her spoon down.
She felt content, having eaten to her heart’s content without worrying about any consequences.
“You’re still hungry?”
Judy chewed on his baguette.
Esther patted her belly and gently shook her head.
“I had a lot.”
“Tsktsk, you don’t gain any weight because you eat like a bird.”
Esther stared back at her plate, puzzled.
She finished eating a total of four plates. She ate until she felt like vomiting because this was her first time taking in such delicious foods and there had been no restrictions.
She couldn’t fathom how more could enter her stomach.
Judy clapped his hands as he left the bewildered Esther behind.
“Right! You didn’t forget what you promised me yesterday, did you?”
“Yep. I’ll see you later at two.”
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‘Why is time so slow?’
Esther laid in bed as she gazed at the clock.
She had been in this condition ever since retiring from breakfast.
It frustrated her to the extreme how the hands of the clock barely moved; she had the desire to forcefully turn them around herself. She glared at the clock as if they were having a snowball fight.
Esther stood from her bed at 1:20, with about forty minutes left.
She circled the room and waited for it to reach the half.
As soon as the clock struck exactly 1:30, Esther clapped her hands.
The appointment was set for two o’clock, but she thought it would be better to head down and wait with half an hour to spare.
‘Is it that pleasing?’
Dorothy thought Esther was rather endearing.
She seemed to have been unaware that her excitement was so transparent.
“I’m going down now.”
“My lady, would you like for me to pack a few cookies before you head out?”
Esther halted and turned around at the mention of cookies.
“Of course. No one will blame you for this.”
Dorothy placed the cookies in a prepared picnic basket for Esther.
Esther held her basket dearly and strolled down to the first floor.
There was no sign of Judy yet.
Esther stood by the door, anticipating whether she should return since it wasn’t time yet.
“Lady Esther, you may sit down and wait.”
“No, I’ll just stand.”
Although she pretended to be indifferent, Esther’s feelings remained bright.
She was excited as this was the first promise she had made with someone.
Just having someone to wait for was special enough.
It was scarcely two o’clock.
When the large horologe on the wall of the living room struck two, the church bells rang loudly.
Esther’s eyes filled with anticipation.
Esther stared, thinking Judy would open the door at any time.
But even from five to thirty minutes, Judy didn’t arrive.
As time passed, Esther’s complexion darkened.
‘Why aren’t you coming?’
Esther made an appointment with someone like she never before and was left to patiently wait for their overdue arrival.
As much as her expectations were high, her disappointment was also immense.
‘You don’t think Master Judy will arrive?’
‘I think so. It’s the whim of the master. It happens every day…’
Butler and Dorothy whispered as they made eye contact.
Dorothy stepped in, unable to keep Esther waiting any longer.
“My lady, aren’t your legs aching? Why don’t you go up to your room and wait there?”
Esther smiled vaguely, somehow sensing Judy would not arrive.
It was a grim smile.
After having arrived in this place, Esther was so very elated that she foolishly let go of her wariness.
She decided not to trust people, yet she was delighted enough to come all this way and wait for him. Esther liked to speak with Judy. He seemed to have easily opened up to her.
‘Stand tall when you know you’ll get hurt, even when you’re anticipating the outcome.’
Esther’s eyes were filled with sorrow as she glanced at the picnic basket.
Esther stepped back, slowly retreating to her room.
But then, the doorbell abruptly rang.
When the butler opened the door, one of Judy’s escorts ran inside.
“Lady Esther! Master Judy told me to deliver this to you.”
He seemed to have been running for so long that his hair struck backward.
What the gasping knight delivered was a sloppy managed note.
[I’m late because something happened. You go to the Havel Garden first!]
The writing seemed crooked as if he had scribbled it in a hurry.
However, upon reading it, Esther’s expression turned more carefree.
‘I can wait a little longer.’
She didn’t prefer the one-sided delay but decided to be understanding.
At least she hadn’t been abandoned.
“Thank you for the message.”
Esther thanked the knight and called for Dorothy.
“Where is Havel garden?”
“We must walk up the hill that is west of the castle. It’s complicated to explain just with words. I’ll show you around.”
The road outside the mansion was strange and unfamiliar to Esther.
She briefly witnessed it when observing outside the carriage, but walking over the area was different. It was so complicated that Esther felt like she would have gotten lost immediately without Dorothy’s assistance.