A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke - Chapter 45
“First of all, were you truthfully the one who illustrated these drawings?”
Paras pointed to where the four frames Esther had sketched were laid against the wall.
“That’s right. They are my drawings.”
“That’s brilliant. I anticipated it might have been done by someone quite old, judging from the mana performance seen in the paintings.”
“Is being young a problem?”
“Not at all. I am not prejudiced concerning age. To avoid suspicion, being young is actually quite advantageous.”
The Priest savored a sip from his tea.
As the sipping sound resonated, an extended silence took place throughout the room.
Esther didn’t complain and kept quiet. While carefully observing her constant and strong attitude, the priest finally decided to entrust the little girl with his task.
“The reason I sent for you was because I wish to commision a portrait of someone.”
“Who is it?”
Contrary to her indifferent expression until now, Esther’s heart began to pound rapidly.
She anticipated if it were Priest Shin calling for her himself, it wouldn’t be any ordinary person.
Priest Shin closed his mouth. Although it was only the two of them, he cautiously glanced around.
“This is something that should never leak out. Do you understand?”
After receiving confirmation from Esther a few times, Priest Shin began speaking with some difficulty, still not able to get to the point.
“They are the one who are closest to the Goddess.”
Esther’s eyes shook for the first time since she’d been here.
“Yes, the Saint.”
Esther quickly placed the teacup on the plate in case she would accidentally spill the contents.
Her hands were shaking uncontrollably, causing a loud clatter to come from the cup.
“You seem very surprised. That is understandable. It is none other than the Saint.”
“I am, a bit.”
Esther was completely taken aback, but not for the reason Priest Shin mentioned.
She’d never thought of meeting Saint Cespia in person, so it felt like a flash of lightning had penetrated her mind.
‘Right, she’s still alive. Why didn’t I think of meeting her?’
Shortly after Esther’s regression, she had been told that the Saint did not participate in the Temple events a while back. That was why she didn’t expect to meet her. Besides, Esther was already occupied with her plan to leave the temple.
Notwithstanding, she couldn’t believe she could finally meet the saint! It was an opportunity that couldn’t be forsaken.
Esther agreed to the Priest’s request almost immediately.
“I’ll do it.”
“Well thought. As long as you keep this confidential, I will offer to pay you more after you carry out your duty.”
However, this seemed strange.
Esther calmed her beating heart and gazed skeptically at the Priest.
“That aside, no matter how much you favor the paintings, why would you leave the portrait of the Saint to a street artist like me?”
“You are very smart for your age. Indeed, it wouldn’t make sense if it had been an official request.”
Priest Shin smiled bitterly.
“It is but an informal portrait, anyhow. I can’t let you in on the details, but the Saint had chosen you herself.”
There seemed to be a complex reason behind all this.
“The sooner we proceed, the better, so when will you be ready?”
“In two days.”
Although Esther knew she’d have to earn permission from Darwin, she still went ahead and agreed to the contract.
‘Will he allow me?’
The problem was that it was for none other than the temple.
Esther could already imagine Darwin’s expression after she informed him of this.
Maybe he wouldn’t grant her permission.
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The moment Esther returned to the residence, she headed in search of Darwin.
Understanding from the butler that he would regularly observe the weekly training, Esther asked him to lead her to the way there.
She had advanced energetically and fearlessly, but after Esther could make out the training ground, she was startled and apprehensive by the tremendous clamoring from afar.
“What if I suddenly come in and he doesn’t like it?”
“His Grace? That won’t happen.”
As Esther worried anxiously, Dorothy smiled and reassured her gently.
“May I help you with anything?”
The knight guarding the entrance approached Esther hesitantly.
“Oh, I apologize for the interruption.”
“No, not at all!”
The knights blushed as they rapidly struck their hands to their chest. The reason for their abrupt reaction was none other than their adorable lady, who turned out even cuter than they imagined.
“Young lady, you may enter and watch.”
“But you’re still training…”
“It’s okay if the young lady watches from afar.”
Thus, Esther was forced into the training ground by the herd of knights.
The training was large and lively, therefore no one would realize Esther was inside.
‘Wow, he looks so different.’
Esther stared at Darwin as he instructed the training. He wore a much more terrifying expression than when they first met.
His eyes were remarkably cold; it seemed he wouldn’t bleed even if stabbed.
However, even as Esther witnessed him in this state, she could tell how friendly Darwin was.
‘I was really lucky.’
She was overly tired of regressing over and over, but it was worth it if she could meet Darwin.
Watching the training was much more fun than Esther had thought. She was especially amazed by Darwin’s cool appearance.
Even though he didn’t have to do it himself, he demonstrated himself and was applauded for his moderate movements.
It was too late, Esther had unconsciously brought her hands together.
On the other hand, Darwin swiftly turned his head as he glared towards the direction of the sound.
“Some rats aren’t training…”
The fierce gaze that was searching for those who were hiding disappeared the moment he spotted Esther.
Darwin had never before concluded his training earlier than the given time, but today was a different matter.
He handed his equipment to the Commander of the Knights.
“You take care of the rest.”
“Where is your Grace heading?”
“My daughter has come.”
All Darwin could see was Esther. She was much more important than his daily discipline.
The Commander of the Knights suddenly placed in charge of the training was confused whether or not those were genuinely Darwin’s instructions.
“T, take a quick rest!”
It never happened before when their training was postponed.
Everyone proceeded to ramble on about the unusual incident.
“Commander, are we going to war?”
“What’s the deal?”
The Commander smiled and shook his head when asked expected questions from his knights.
“The lady has come.”
After he finished speaking, all eyes turned to Esther, who remained standing by a tree.
‘You’re saying that girl over there is the young lady?’
‘Right. So it was true His Grace adopted a daughter.’
‘Ugh, she’s way more lovely than I heard about. Look at that smiling face.’
Their curious gazes that lingered towards Esther only lasted for a brief moment.
Darwin’s burning eyes headed for the knights, causing them to flinch and avoid eye contact.
They were thoroughly frozen, so they couldn’t turn their eyes to look at Esther.
“What’s going on here?”
Darwin successfully blocked Esther’s view of the knights in case she would see them.
“I have something to tell you.”
Esther wiggled her hands, and soon held out a bouquet she had been holding.
“Before that, I made this.”
Since Esther had been worried about whether or not to bring something with her, she ended up making a bouquet of yellow freesia flowers.
Something bright would suit Darwin well.
“You made the bouquet yourself?”
Darwin stared at the bundle of freesias, his face perplexed.
It was his first time receiving such a cute flower gift.
He was embarrassed to see the flowers, but he thought that since it was Esther who made it herself her sincerity could not be ignored.
Thus, Darwin accepted the bouquet. He placed them inside a space near his chest that was covered in armor.
Esther laughed bashfully as she saw him do so.
‘He’s so sweet.’
Although he didn’t have to, Darwin accepted the flowers from Esther and placed them on his armor.
The way Darwin looked at Esther was markedly different from when he was in training.
Esther looked up at the flowers and said she liked his appearance before recalling her main purpose of coming here. She was to seek her permission from Darwin.
While Esther couldn’t bring up the matter easily, Darwin reassured her kindly.
“It’s alright, tell me.”
Esther cautiously opened her mouth.
“I want to go to the Central Temple.”
However, as soon as she finished her sentence, Darwin’s forehead crumpled. He failed to control his facial expressions.
Esther did not hide anything and thoroughly explained the situation with Hera and her recent visit to the temple.
“What is the maid’s name?”
“I said I wouldn’t tell you. So please overlook the matter.”
“How could I overlook such a thing? How dare she think of selling your paintings. I’ll throw her in jail, torture her, and…”
Darwin glared as he recited fiercely.
Esther interlocked her arms with his and looked straight into his eyes to relieve his anger.
The effect was immediate. As soon as he noticed Esther’s gleaming eyes, his mouth closed regardless of his will.
“But thanks to her, I now have a chance to meet the Holy Saint.”
“You always wanted to leave the temple. You’ve been through a lot of misfortunes because of it.”
Darwin sighed as he stared into Esther’s eyes.
“To be honest, I hate it. I don’t want to send you back there.”
Darwin recalled the Priests.
He still grew uncontrollably angry whenever he thought of them, those who did not hesitate one bit while revealing their greed for money in exchange for a child.
“Nevertheless, I can’t help but permit your leave if you wish to.”
Darwin peered into Esther’s soft eyes.
He thought of the day they had first met. Her eyes now were packed with resilience, compared to the time she had begged to be killed by his hands.
At that moment, Darwin realized he’d been helpless to her since the first time he had looked into those very eyes.
“Until now, I thought it was me who had chosen you.”
Darwin clutched Esther’s hand. His hands were so large that her tiny palms instantly disappeared into his.
“However, I don’t think that’s the case at all. That day, it might have been you who chose me.”
Tears swelled Esther’s eyes as she recalled the longing memory. The time Darwin saved her from her prison and cage.
“Will you return?”
And as soon as she heard his tender yet sweet question, Esther’s tears immediately left her eyes.
She now had a place to return, and people waiting for her.
“Absolutely. This is my home.”