A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke - Chapter 30
Noah’s eyes sharpened as he heard quick steps approaching.
He swiftly turned Esther’s drawing upside down with a satisfied smile. Almost at the same time, the door snapped open.
“…Prince? How did you regain consciousness?”
Rabienne, who had just opened the door and was about to rush in, muttered speechlessly in a startled tone.
Noah, whom she had thought would be asleep, was conscious and gazing at her as she hesitated to enter the room.
Noah stared at Rabienne, not yet permitting her to set foot inside. Unlike when he was with Esther, his eyes remained dry and cold.
“I heard you were unconscious. What happened?”
“I woke up today.”
Rabienne soon smiled brightly.
She wore a very relieved and happy expression, yet Noah didn’t even bother glancing at her face.
“As I am already here, may I enter?”
“Why did you come?”
Noah’s tone was relentless.
He was not openly rejecting her, but there was a clear line drawn in between. The smile on Rabienne’s face slightly hardened.
“I came because I was worried. I heard you haven’t much time left. And, I was your fiance.”
“That engagement, we broke up.”
Noah and Rabienne were engaged since they were young.
When Noah, the Seventh Prince, fell ill from the succession to the throne, she abandoned him faster than anyone else could.
So, they weren’t in a relationship good enough to meet like this.
“I didn’t break up because I wanted to. Why would the prince have to possess such a horrible curse… Ha.”
Rabienne shook her head and sat atop the unoccupied puff chair.
The seat where Esther happened to be a while ago. Noah frowned.
“The High Priest says it’s going to be hard for you.”
“Hm. I see.”
Rabienne opened her eyes wide at the indifferent Noah. It seemed like she was speaking to someone else, not him.
“You can leave it to me now. I can keep you alive. If you’re next to me, you’ll be fine.”
“You can save me…”
Noah chuckled. The smile that seemed to be fascinating, yet ephemeral, then halted.
Noah asked Rabienne, his face straight.
“Are you still sure you’re the next saint?”
Rabienne’s lips curved downwards as she frowned in disapproval.
“What? You know my family.”
“Yes. I know. Your family will somehow make you the next saint.”
As Noah continued to be sarcastic, Rabienne brooded.
Then, she shifted her interest to the piece of paper that was lying upside down on the table. It was an effort for her to change the subject.
“What is this?”
When Rabienne tried to grab the paper, Noah moved rapidly.
He quickly pressed the paper with his palm so that Rabienne wouldn’t see the painting.
“Don’t touch it.”
“What is it?”
“…Something you can’t touch.”
Noah looked Rabienne in the eyes for the first time.
She laughed as if her pride was hurt, but in fact, she didn’t dislike his actions.
She knew Noah held no affection for her, so she was relieved to see him face her like this.
The name he called for the first time was highly anticipated in Rabienne’s eyes. Her cheeks were flushing red.
“I’m saying this for you, but don’t covet anything that’s not yours. Whatever the place. Be it anything.”
However, his cold words completely differed from her expectations.
Rabienne did not hide her expression this time. Her pretty smile disappeared and she glared at Noah with her poisonous eyes.
The eyes of the two intertwined in the air.
They were once engaged to each other, but rather than sweet, they seemed like enemies. The atmosphere was as cold as if walking on thin ice.
“Everything is mine. There’s nothing I can’t have in the Empire.”
“I’ve come this far, so I’ll give you my strength. It’s a little disappointing, isn’t it?”
When Noah gave no response, Rabienne sighed and reached out her hand.
Noah, however, struck her down firmly.
“Ha, let’s see if you still continue that way when it’s time to die. I’m leaving.”
Eventually, Rabienne jumped up in a fit of irritation.
Although she didn’t hide her hurt expression, Noah didn’t care to see Rabienne off.
After Rabienne left, he lay on his back in exhaustion, as if an earthquake had just occurred.
“I miss Esther again.”
Warmth once again filled his eyes as he recalled Esther.
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The next day, dinnertime.
Esther was now used to holding a knife. She ate well without anyone assisting her.
“Today’s main dish is executed by marinating shrimps in oil.”
Esther’s eyes glistened as she listened to the chef’s explanation.
Seafood, especially shrimp, was a food ingredient she had never eaten.
‘What does it taste like?’
As Esther smacked her lips, Judy presented a demonstration.
“Look, it’s even better if you put shrimp on the bread like this and dip it in a lot of oil.”
After imitating him and doing the same, Esther took a vast bite of the bread.
A chewy texture. She spontaneously admired the savory taste that popped in her mouth.
“How is it? It’s delicious, right?”
Esther nodded violently and chewed what was in her mouth.
“Give more to Esther.”
Darwin ordered for more as he was pleased with Esther eating properly.
The meal continued in a friendly atmosphere. By the time they were somewhat full, Darwin threw forward a topic.
“Well, I hired a tutor.”
Esther’s hand, which was faithfully focused on placing the shrimp on the bread, flinched.
“He graduated from the Academy at the top of his class and is now working as a tutor to build his skills. He isn’t too experienced as of his young age, but I’m sure you’ll have a lot to gain with his competence.”
“Wow, can’t I learn, too?”
Dennis was the first to show interest. He was the type who preferred to study alone. However, the thought of taking classes with Esther raised his interest.
“It doesn’t matter, but… Esther’s learning comes first.”
One of the biggest reasons for finding a tutor was to prepare her for the birthday party, so it was only natural.
“I know. I just want to take a class with Esther.”
“What, then I also want to!”
Even Judy, who avoided taking class, burned with competition.
“Judy, you’re going to enter a short-term swordsmanship camp soon.”
“That’s that. We can do it together when we get back.”
Darwin grabbed hold of his throbbing head and banged the table.
“First of all, we are going to demonstrate the class the day after tomorrow morning, so let’s see first then decide.”
No matter how well he could teach, it was useless if it didn’t fit with Esther.
Esther nodded. Although it was a burden, private tutoring was necessary to avoid embarrassment at the party.
As soon as the meal finished, the dishes were cleared and dessert was served.
“I’m going to begin preparing for the party, so check the list.”
Darwin beckoned Ben.
Ben, who had been waiting for instruction, brought the paper and handed it to Judy and Dennis.
“This is an invitation list. If you want to invite anyone else, tell me.”
Judy swept the paper and tossed it.
“Hmm. Not really.”
“I don’t have any either.”
Dennis wasn’t much different.
Countless people were approaching the twins, including antecedents of the Grand Duke. The more they approached, the more the twins closed their hearts to people.
Few to no people faced the twins with honest feelings, nor did they feel sorry for it.
“Esther, If you want to invite someone, please let me know. I can invite friends who you were close to from the temple.”
Esther, whose face had darkened, laid down the fork she was holding.
Just thinking about the lonely life she underwent during her stay at the temple made her lose appetite.
“It’s all right.”
“Yes, then I’ll send the invitations as it is.”
Ben nodded and left with the papers.
“Father, how are you going to introduce Esther?”
“It’s your birthday party, so why don’t we introduce her right after?”
Darwin also contained many worries regarding the matter.
It was a birthday party for twins, but it was also the first time they would introduce Esther in public.
“Why don’t we just make Esther the main character?”
“That would be nice.”
Esther, surprised at the twin’s suggestion, shook her hands hurriedly.
Darwin also thought it wouldn’t be that bad an idea, but when he observed Esther completely against the approach, he withdrew.
“Let’s talk about the details later.”
Esther fiddled with her napkin, trying to imagine a party in the Grand Duchy.
However, she couldn’t as she had never been to one.
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A few days later.
Esther dressed neatly as soon as breakfast was over.
“Are you curious about who will be coming?”
“Yes. What if I can’t keep up with class?”
She had been anxious after learning that the tutor was arriving. She was also worried that she might stain the Grand Duke’s reputation as she lacked confidence.
“You don’t have to. No one is good from the beginning.”
Dorothy tied Esther’s hair beautifully, assuring her not to worry.
Her neat ponytail somewhat boosted her confidence.
When she proceeded down to the first floor after having finished with preparations, Darwin, Judy, and Dennis were already waiting.
Everyone gathered together on the sofa and waited for the tutor.
“Please drink some tea.”
Ben handed out coffee and tea to ease the tension, but Darwin stayed silent.
“Father, why are you so nervous?”
When Judy noticed him, he giggled and asked naughtily.
“Nervous. Who’s nervous?”
“Esther will do fine. Don’t worry.”
Even Dennis, who was quietly reading a book, replied while turning a page.
Darwin wasn’t the only one who was nervous. Esther was also parched with worry.
She met people who hated her more than those who liked her in all her lives.
She couldn’t help worrying every time she met a new person.
“He’s coming in now.”
By the time of the appointment, there was news that the tutor had entered the main gate.
At the same time, the eyes of the four sitting on the sofa flashed.