A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke - Chapter 39
“No, it’s not like that…”
“I can stay here alone for the rest of my life without any friends. That’s fine with me. Really.”
His sudden words weakened Esther’s heart. She knew better than anyone else how isolated he would feel, isolated.
‘What should I do…’
Wouldn’t she have to visit often if they decided to be friends?
As much as Esther knew how lonely it was to wait for someone who would never come, she was worried that Noah would have to go through the same.
However, the word ‘alone’ stuck in her memory throughout all her lives. In the end, Esther sighed and surrendered to Noah.
“Is there anyone else who’ll be visiting other than me?”
“Hm. No one.”
“…Then sure. We’re friends starting today.”
After Noah received Esther’s approval, he linked their hands and raised them happily. Then he smiled deeply and replied.
“Since we’re friends, shouldn’t we drop the honorifics?”
*TL/N: In Korean, there is the formal way of speaking and the casual. They’ve been speaking formally to each other until now.
“Huh? Uh… Yeah.”
Esther was so flustered she ended up stuttering her words. Noah was the first friend she had that was the same age as her.
As Esther finalized the painting with her swift hand gestures, Noah rattled on.
“Esther, how are you these days?
“Why are you asking?”
“Just because. I wanted to know how you are.”
Esther tilted her head at Noah’s peculiar inquiry.
It was strange for a child his age to ask such a question. She couldn’t figure out Noah’s thoughts.
“It’s fun because something different occurs every day.”
Still, although Noah was someone she most likely would not meet in the future, she wanted to be sincere.
After he heard her reply, Noah smiled so broadly that his mouth seemed it would attach to his ears.
“That’s a relief.”
He laughed so excitedly that Esther became embarrassed.
She then asked, thinking about the reason why Noah would react that way.
“I’ve been wondering since last time. Do you happen to know me?”
She felt the familiar feeling somehow. The strange feeling that he knew her well. It was suspicious, although Esther perceived it as impossible.
“I know you.”
Noah leaned forward. As he pulled closer, Esther stumbled backward.
“How? What do you know?”
“You’re Esther. You’re really good at drawing. And you’re my friend starting today.”
“What is that?”
Esther blanked out for a second and soon laughed.
“Other than that, please let me know more about yourself in the future. I want to know more.”
She pretended not to hear what Noah muttered to himself.
It was just amazing to hear Noah say something so shameless.
“Alright! The portrait’s complete.”
It didn’t take much time because it was a picture Esther had completed previously excluding the eyes.
Finally, after Esther filled the empty eyes, she thoroughly produced a portrait that exactly resembled Noah.
“You did an amazingly good job. I really like it.”
Noah gazed at the painting with his deep eyes, smiled, and reached out to Esther.
“I’d like to pay you back.”
“Come on, there’s nothing free in this world.”
Although Esther insisted she was alright, Noah persisted that he could not just accept it.
“But I don’t want anything?”
“Then I’ll show you a stunning scene.”
“Yes. My secret garden in the backyard.”
Esther was intrigued by the word secret garden but suddenly felt strange.
“Can you move? Can you walk?”
“Yes, it’s possible now.”
Esther crossed her arms as she observed Noah answering casually.
Noah seemed more and more suspicious by the second. She wondered if he was genuinely sick.
‘Isn’t he lying?’
As she agonized seriously, Noah couldn’t hold back his laughter as Esther’s cheeks swelled from her deep thought.
“If you have anything you want to ask me, ask. Don’t think about it alone.”
Esther, ashamed of having been read, coughed vaguely.
“Hmm, okay. What kind of disease do you have?”
“The disease is called the Curse of God. You know of it, right? A disease that causes death if you don’t receive a specific amount of mana.”
Esther was perplexed by the name of the condition. The illness that Noah possessed was terminal.
Even the temple went above and beyond to find a cure for the disease, only to no avail.
She couldn’t believe Noah caught that infamous incurable disease. She belatedly pitied him.
“So that’s why you were like that.”
Esther felt all the pieces of the puzzle had been put together. She understood why Noah was in the sanctuary and why he woke up whenever she held his hand.
He used her powers.
It may not have been Noah’s will, but his body naturally absorbed and recovered using Esther’s strength.
“It must have been hard.”
Esther, who had resided in the temple for an extended time, witnessed countless people suffering from the disease and passing away.
It was a pity to think Noah would die like them. She felt uncomfortable, even though it hadn’t been long since she found out.
“It’s a disease that doesn’t contain a cure.”
“It’s not that there’s no cure.”
Esther’s ears pricked. A cure for an untreatable disease that no one knew of… This, she couldn’t help but wonder about.
“You’re curious, right? I’ll let you know once we go outside.”
Noah rolled up his blanket and placed his feet on the floor. It had been a long time since Noah last left his bed.
Thanks to Esther, he contained enough strength, but as he hadn’t gotten accustomed to walking for a while now, he only stumbled pathetically.
Esther also noticed this and held Noah by the shoulder. He grasped Esther’s hand with a cheerful smile.
“I think it would be easier if you held my hand rather than my shoulders. I’d be grateful.”
Esther grabbed Noah’s hand tightly and headed for the backyard.
It was a bit uncomfortable, but she couldn’t shake off the hands of someone in need.
They walked to the opposite side of the entrance connected to Noah’s room and passed through some vines before the backyard appeared.
“What do you think?”
Esther felt her heart throbbing so much that she couldn’t answer.
The air, trees, flowers, wind, and even birds here felt like they were talking to her.
It was her first time visiting this place, yet it was warm and cozy as if it were her own hometown. Esther opened her arms wide.
A cool breeze began to blow nearby. Petals gathered and spun around her endlessly.
She did not intend for it, but the sanctuary was fully responding to Esther’s gestures and breath.
Esther detected this sense of unity for a while. She soon attempted to break off the flow, as she felt her strength growing uncontrollably.
However, it didn’t go as she desired.
‘It won’t stop.’
Her strength kept slipping away. She decided to try and forcefully cut off her energy, even if it would harm her.
It was then.
Esther perceived certain eyes gazing straight through to her.
With that, the power that had been escaping madly completely ceased. As if nothing had happened, her surrounding area became peaceful once again.
Esther gasped for breath as she glanced around her. All the flowers in the field were now in full bloom.
Esther desperately looked for the person she had just made contact with.
“Noah! Who else was just here besides us?”
“Someone else? No one, it was just us.”
It was weird. It certainly felt like she made eye contact with someone foreign. All the same, it felt like she’d met them somewhere before now.
Esther shook her head, wiping her sweat with her sleeve.
“No, I guess I was wrong.”
She glanced around the garden, forcing herself to shake off the strange feeling.
Esther slowly turned her head toward Noah. He kept gazing at her with unshakable eyes.
“Why don’t you ask me anything?”
In an instant, flowers had bloomed and the wind rose. Anyone could tell that Noah was too calm for this situation.
“I expected it roughly. Last time you held my hand, I woke up immediately. As I’ve seen today, it seems you have tremendous strength.”
In fact, Noah already knew of Esther’s ability, but he couldn’t say that, so he only mentioned it indirectly.
Of course, his explanation convinced Esther, so her doubts about Noah resolved.
“Yes. Speaking of which, Esther, I would like to ask you a favor.”
“What is it?”
Noah grinned as he looked into Esther’s eyes.
“Can’t we meet regularly? Actually, this is the cure I was talking about earlier. I need to keep seeing you.”
He shamelessly confided about using her openly. Nevertheless, she strangely didn’t dislike it when he asked so confidently.
Still, it was hard to promise for regular meetings. She didn’t want to have too deep a relationship with anyone.
“That’ll be a bit difficult…”
“Instead, I’ll help you later.”
“Help? What do you mean help?”
Esther’s eyes were filled with questions.
“Anyhow, just trust me. I’m sure I’ll be of help later.”
Noah clasped his pinky finger with Esther’s.
His determination filled Esther’s confused eyes.
When Esther couldn’t turn her eyes away, she nodded.
It was a small promise confirmed between the two in the sanctuary, amidst the flowers that bloomed brilliantly.
It was then.
Esther could hear the voice of Palen searching for her from afar.
“Lady Esther! Sir Noah! Where are you!!”
She didn’t realize since she had been with Noah, but the meeting time was already over. Esther turned away, startled.
“I’ve got to go.”
“We’ll see each other again soon, right?”
“…Yes, see you again.”
Noah regretfully let go of Esther’s hand.
Still, after receiving the desired answer, his expression turned noticeably brighter.
Esther turned around and attempted to call for Palen. However, before she could, he had already entered the garden where Esther and Noah were.
Palen glanced at Noah and froze in place. His shocked eyes had grown as if they were about to pop out.
“Lord Noah… how the?! How can you walk…”
“It just happened.”
Noah placed his finger over his lips and ordered Palen to quiet down.
Then he lightly pushed Esther’s back with his palm.
“Good-bye. Be happy.”