A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke - Chapter 49
Esther clung behind Victor, hoping she would be able to pass Khalid successfully, the same way she did with Rabienne.
“Wait a moment. Please continue walking like this.”
Victor tightened his arms after apprehending Esther’s request.
Fortunately, Khalid did not cause any inconvenience, thus Esther passed the main gate effortlessly.
Unlike when one entered, it was faster to leave due to the fact no inspection had to be done.
The moment Esther felt relieved she had escaped safely, someone rapidly halted her.
It was just a very slight glance, though Khalid didn’t fail to recognize her. His eyes were already filled with conviction.
Esther bit her lips tightly, striving to avoid Khalid’s gaze as much as she could.
She couldn’t believe she met both Rabienne and Khalid along the way back. It was the worst possible outcome.
“You seem to have the wrong person.”
Victor blocked his lady from Khalid’s view as he noticed her peculiar nervousness.
Khalid’s eyes shined dimly while Esther disappeared from his sight.
“Please back away. I have the authority to check whomever passes through this entrance. If you refuse, the guards will soon arrive.”
Esther stepped forward, realizing Victor wouldn’t listen to Khalid even if he asked nicely.
“Brother, get out of the way.”
Victor, obligated to follow Esther’s orders completely, immediately stepped down.
As soon as Esther’s voice reached Khalid’s ears, his eyes immediately melted. He took a few steps towards her and stared blankly.
“That’s right, so let us leave peacefully.”
As soon as Esther expressed her affirmation, Khalid approached. He motioned with his arms as if he were asking for a hug. Just observing his expression conveyed his feelings fully.
“What happened!? Do you know how much I missed you after you disappeared without leaving word?”
Esther flusteredly dragged the clamorous Khalid to a corner.
“I don’t want to make a fuss. Please let me go.”
Despite that, Khalid seemed to have no intention of letting Esther go easily, only after they had just barely met again.
“Are you back at the temple?”
“No. I had something to do for a brief moment.”
“I see. How are you? Why did you suddenly leave the temple? Are you sick?”
Khalid excitedly blabbered in joy before he exclaimed in astonishment as if recalling something.
“Oh? Come to think of it, you had brown hair, too.”
Esther didn’t miss her chance and asked back, feeling a subtle nuance from him.
“Ah… actually, Rabienne is sorting out those with grayish-brown hair inside the temple. It’s strictly confidential, so only you know of this.”
Esther was bewildered. Cespia stated she hid the revelation, but what was this?
Now she understood why Rabienne was wary of her just a while ago.
Fortunately, she was only searching those residing within the temple.
Meanwhile, many people glanced toward Esther and Khalid’s way.
The conversation between a guard and Esther in her plain-seeming clothing was a perfect display to create misunderstanding.
“I’m leaving now. Take care.”
When Esther unhesitantly attempted to leave, Khalid caught her once again.
“Are you actually just going to leave? If you’re staying around this area for a few days, have a cup of tea with me.”
“I don’t have much time.”
After Esther coldly refused, Khalid’s eyes stained with shock and disbelief.
He stood speechless for a while, then hurriedly grabbed Esther’s arm.
“Then I’ll come and see you. Where do I head to?”
“I can’t tell you.”
Khalid, disappointed by her constant rejection, expressed his accumulated feelings.
“How could you leave without saying a word to me? Even now… don’t you feel any regret about leaving me?”
Esther slowly blinked, observing Khalid who resembled a wounded man.
She didn’t understand why he was so upset, and she wasn’t interested.
So she coldly shook Khalid’s hand off her arm and replied callously.
“Yes, I’m not inconvenienced. I didn’t say anything because there was no need to. We… were we even that close?”
“That’s too much.”
What the hell?
Esther’s eyes sank.
It was Khalid who turned a blind eye to her and stood by Rabienne, not just once but every single time.
She still, until this moment, vividly recalled being stabbed by his sword. Of course, it wasn’t so this time, however, he would always be the one who would attack Esther whenever the chance arose.
Khalid ruffled his hair frustratedly as Esther gawked at him silently.
“Diana! I want…”
Esther intervened before he could finish his sentence.
“Maybe we can meet again.”
When destroying the temple, she would inevitably have to face Khalid, as he would become a holy knight by then.
Although Esther had said so with a dry tone that contained no emotions, Khalid’s eyes glistened with life.
“Really? When will that be?”
“Well, I don’t know if it’ll be next month or ten years from now. I’m not really sure.”
Khalid wanted to hold Esther back and ask her more questions. He couldn’t send her like this, he needed affirmation.
However, he felt all of Esther’s body rejecting him.
“Okay, then I’ll… wait. Let’s meet again. Then, we’ll calmly converse.”
Esther nodded silently.
She ignored Khalid’s mournful utterance and swiftly turned away.
Khalid blankly observed Esther move farther away.
Her face seemed exactly the same, however, the atmosphere and aura surrounding her had completely changed.
He couldn’t hold on to her anymore. She didn’t seem to be the Esther he previously knew.
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Esther did not look back once until she thoroughly escaped the main gate.
She held onto the wall and leaned feebly after barely escaping Khalid’s persistent gaze.
When her tension was relieved, the strength on her legs released as well. She had no more strength to move her limbs.
Victor, alarmed, quickly stood beside Esther’s side.
“Shall we call a doctor?”
“There’s no need. I guess it’s because I was so surprised.”
Esther shook her head as she reassured Victor.
“Then, I’ll give you a piggyback ride.”
Victor turned around and showed his back. Unlike Judy’s, his was large and wider.
“You seem exhausted.”
Victor smiled and tapped himself on the back. It wasn’t a huge feat to carry someone who was barely half his size.
‘What should I do?’
Esther’s cheeks swelled as she was put in a troubling situation.
She had no intention of being carried on his back, but it was a better decision than wasting time since she couldn’t walk properly anyway.
Esther slowly moved and leaned against Victor’s back after she’d finalized her decision. His back was spacious, so she was lifted at once.
“If you’ll allow it, I will carry you on my back until we arrive at the Tersia residence.”
Victor leaped upward, his hands swiftly going in place. Even with Esther on his back, he didn’t falter one bit.
“But Victor, do people usually give their siblings a piggyback ride?”
As Esther observed Victor’s back, Judy naturally overlapped with his figure.
“Usually. The bigger the difference in age, the more likely it is.”
Esther nodded in agreement as she thought the same.
“However, the little lady is different.”
“Because I’m the daughter of the Grand Duke?”
“No, it’s not like that…”
Victor stopped talking for a while before clearing his throat and asked solemnly.
“What would you do if you found a stray kitten?”
Esther instantly grew serious and shouted sternly.
“My lady is pretty and cute, so if anyone saw you struggling, they’d want to give you a piggyback ride.”
While Esther’s ears were perked the whole time, she slowly turned beet red.
“I’m cute? You’re lying.”
“I’m serious. My colleagues envied me when they knew I would be the one to escort my lady.”
Embarrassed, Esther buried her face against Victor’s shoulder. Then she covered her ears tightly with both her palms.
Victor deliberately raised his voice and continued praising Esther, who in return shuddered behind his back so adorably.
Then, he suddenly stopped walking.
“Now that my lady has completed all her requirements, shall we take a break and then leave?”
“That sounds like a better idea.”
Esther nodded slowly.
It was too much to ride a carriage to Tersia while like this.
TL/N: Carriages tend to be bumpy, and since Esther is really tired, it would be a hassle for her in that condition.
It’d be problematic to return in a hurry and suddenly collapse. She decided to take a half-day rest.
“There is a hotel I know close by. It’s not in the best condition, however, it’s clean enough for my lady to sleep in for a few hours.”
“It doesn’t matter where it is.”
“Then I’ll take you there. We’ll arrive in ten minutes, so please rest in the meantime.”
Esther was in desperate need of a break, so she willingly closed her eyes.
It was an unpleasant day for her, now that she had met those she didn’t wish to and recalled countless painful memories.
Victor’s humming suddenly reached Esther. Her eyes opened after she’d heard his sweet voice.
“What song is that?”
“Isn’t this a lullaby my lady’s mother would have sung for her?”
“It’s nice. I’ve never heard a lullaby before.”
However, all of a sudden, Esther felt like she’d previously heard this hum while in someone else’s back.
At that moment, the appearance of being over someone’s shoulder, in addition to a woman’s clear singing appeared in Esther’s mind.
She concentrated on recalling the memory in detail, however, her surrounding area suddenly adapted into a noisy atmosphere.
It was because they had entered the central market while passing through the main street.
“Hang in there.”
Victor frowned as he crossed the crowded market, which was filled with countless traders and spectators.
If he had been alone, it wouldn’t have been so challenging to pass through. However, this time Esther was on his back.
To make matters worse, a few kids ran at a fast pace from the opposite direction.
“Catch them! Thieves! Somebody stop them! Stop them!”
“Mister… if you don’t want to get hurt, get out of the way!”
It seemed as if they had robbed a shoe store, as a few pairs of shoes were held by one hand, while the other clutched a dull knife.
The store owner was struggling to catch up to them, but it seemed to be in vain due to the wide distance between both sides.