A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke - Chapter 67
“Then, we’ll begin the ceremony by cutting the cake.”
The following procedure was to cut the large, three-tier cake that was placed on the podium. A blade appropriate for the material was prepared beside the plate.
The guests’ applause caused a rumble as they expressed their anticipation. Esther went along with their lively atmosphere.
Judy and Dennis shared the cutter before beckoning Esther to do the same.
“Esther, hold the knife too.”
Dennis’s words resonated into the loudspeaker and throughout the hall.
Esther was momentarily flustered by the sudden call. She pursed her lips.
“It’s my brothers’ birthday.”
“Let’s just do it together. Who cares anyway?”
Judy added in impatiently. The hall buzzed.
Esther hurriedly scurried to their location in case the disturbance grew any more.
The candles adorned against the smooth frosting lit. They flickered red, heightening the ambiance of the atmosphere.
“Okay! Let’s make a wish for 30 seconds and then cut the cake.”
Judy closed his eyes cheerfully. Esther also did the same. She tightened her eyelids at the mention of ‘wish’.
‘What is my wish?’
Her thoughts ceased at the sudden obstacle she found herself facing.
In the past, ‘death’ would have undoubtedly surfaced as an answer, but so much has changed since.
Her desire to die vanished, while her revenge against Rabienne and the temple slowly faded. Her everyday life had become too precious.
‘I want to stay happy with my family as much as possible.’
This was all Esther wished for now.
The appearance of the weak child during long years of imprisonment flashed before her eyes like a bolt of lightning.
Would the child have imagined themselves desiring a tomorrow?
As Esther’s bright eyes slowly revealed themselves, the sight of her family as they waited for her loaded her view.
“Did you make a wish?”
“It’ll come true soon.”
Judy grinned with a playful wink. He then added strength into the hand holding the blade and pressed it down.
The three-tier cake was parted from the top to the bottom in a perfect manner. The whipped cream and strawberries revealed inside.
“The prom will commence. If you have brought a gift, please forward here…”
The speaker entertained the nobles as the music initiated playing once more.
It was then.
Darwin held the large strawberry placed on the top of the cake and set it inside Esther’s mouth.
“You liked strawberries, didn’t you?”
Esther giggled as she munched on the fruit.
As per the previous announcement, there existed a long line of people holding the gifts they prepared.
Everyone gazed as Darwin fed Esther the strawberry.
“His Grace, considerate, strawberries?”
“I can’t believe it. It’s like he’s changed.”
“As expected, it must be due to her birth. Otherwise, he can’t be such a sweet person.”
Despite all the ongoing speculations, there was no hesitation in the way the four Tersians gazed at each other.
The gifting ceremony ended. It was now time for the party’s main characters to dance.
Esther’s face stiffened. The time had come. She was now to dance before all these people.
She was most concerned over the dancing period, but her rehearsing was more than enough. All she had to do was dance the same as in practice.
“It’s going to turn out okay. Don’t be too nervous.”
Esther pulled herself together with Dennis’s encouragement.
The hosts of the ball were the twins, so she would have two partners this time around. Esther slowly hauled herself down the stairs along with Judy and Dennis.
The middle of the hall remained unoccupied as the guests surrounded the area.
‘Let’s not make mistakes.’
As she stood in the middle, clear notes began to resound from the piano. The chandelier shone.
Dennis stood opposite Esther and reached his hand. Esther lightly accepted it while raising the hem of her dress to perform the appropriate greetings.
Dennis held her palm tightly to calm down her trembling body. His familiar green eyes put Esther at ease.
A violin note leisurely added to the piano melody, and the tune advanced.
The dance flowed as naturally as water. Judy swiftly counted himself along with Esther and Dennis.
It was rather infrequent for a dance of three to ensue. However, the steps of the participants were quite skillful.
Their lovely and serene appearance had the crowd cease breathing. Their hearts were robbed of by their harmony.
“Uwah, so cool~”
Many young ladies voiced their admiration towards the twins.
The twins were anointed as the number one grooms by most young, unmarried women. Because of that, it was bound for envious eyes to be directed at Esther.
The dance gradually reached its climax.
Judy, her partner in the second half of the dance, perfectly ended the piece by propelling Esther before receiving her again.
He stepped back and lowered his head. Esther responded by curtsying in return.
People burst into cheers. Applause and whistles poured in.
Esther smiled brightly. She felt relieved as if she had finally lost a sick tooth.
*TL/N: When someone has a sick tooth, it hurts and they want to desperately get rid of it along with the headache. Imagine how you would feel after that pain all subsides. That’s Esther’s emotion right now.
The three ascended the spiral staircase as the guests continued their cheers.
“Yeah. It was the best.”
Judy and Dennis praised Esther until their mouths dried.
“My brothers too.”
Esther shyly exchanged affectionate glances between the two.
She sat herself down on the chairs prepared. Esther couldn’t recall any of her dancing or how she did it.
Even as she glanced below, there were many people. She couldn’t believe the fact that she performed before such a quantity.
“Esther did way better than before. Wasn’t she born to be on stage?”
“Right. Judy, you should learn more from Esther.”
She felt like she could finally laugh at Dennis and Judy’s rambling.
Esther faced the hall with a proud heart. Every moment of this day seemed like a dream.
Since then, the party continued swiftly. Esther stood next to the twins as she greeted the guests.
“It’s a relief she seems to be adjusting well.”
“Yes. You don’t have to worry.”
Ben and Darwin nodded proudly as they observed Esther elegantly greeting the guests.
Darwin had been trapped by the nobles the whole time. The moment he had a while to himself, he motioned to Ben.
“I heard the paintings at the exhibition site are very impressive. Does it make sense that I am the only one who hasn’t seen it?”
“The guests haven’t left, so there is nothing we can do.”
It only took a short amount of time for a person to visit the exhibition hall as it neared the main event.
Therefore, most people strolled back and forth between both lobbies.
Those who came back from the exhibition praised the paintings until their lips shriveled.
Darwin was both proud and displeased that he had yet to enter the exhibition hall.
He wished to see the painting Esther mentioned as a gift as soon as the time was given.
“It seems I’m free for a while, so I’ll leave now.”
“What? Your Grace will leave the party hall?”
“It will take 10 minutes. The greetings have mostly ended.”
Ben’s words were of no use. Darwin rushed past the doors.
He was close to entering the building when people who withdrew could be heard praising Esther.
“Is this truly a drawing by the young lady we saw earlier?”
“It’s spectacular. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I look forward to the next exhibition.”
As Darwin heeded the conversation, his shoulders broadened. The comments raised his delighted mood.
Delbert greeted his master upon entrance.
“You have arrived.”
“Yes. How were the people’s reactions?”
“They were very optimistic. The results seem to be far more exceeding than most exhibitions. There have already been requests to hold the next exhibition altogether.”
Darwin seemed pleased to death upon hearing Delbert’s words.
“I’ve been waiting for your Grace’s arrival. There is a painting you must see.”
Delbert smiled and guided Darwin to the painting Esther prepared as a gift.
Darwin’s eyes shook as he observed the canvas. He stopped in front of the art and spaced out.
“This is the picture you said was the present.”
His low-pitched tone contained a jumble of emotions.
Esther’s drawing consisted of special meaning. It was heartwarming to see that she was now sincerely accepting them as family.
“I think the young lady wished to deliver this message.”
Ben shed tears as he noticed the title ‘Family’ hanging beside the painting. He discreetly brought out a handkerchief.
“Yes. Family. We’re family.”
Darwin took in every section of the painting. He was overwhelmed. His emotions were mixed in all different ways.
“This anniversary seems to be much better. Is it not?”
“Yes, I agree.”
Darwin stood as he emotionally gazed at the picture. He called for Ben.
“The twins should see this right away. Bring them now.”
“That’s… I am also very touched by my lady’s drawing, but I think it would be better for the young masters to arrive after the ball ends.”
“No. This is more important. It’d be nice for us all to gather and watch it together.”
Ben’s persuasion was of no use. He wouldn’t be able to get it through Darwin that it wasn’t acceptable for the hosts to leave midway through the prom.
Darwin retorted stubbornly and never removed his eyes from the painting until the twins eventually arrived.
Esther was held captive by Darwin for a while after the painting incident.
She couldn’t tell until when he would leave her be. He seemed truly touched.
Although people who wished for a conversation with the Duke attempted following him, he remained glued to Esther.
She eventually snuck past him. The party wouldn’t proceed at this rate.
‘I really can’t stop father.’
Esther smiled and shook her head. Nonetheless, she was proud and happy that they favored the painting.
As she took a brief rest, someone suddenly jumped beside her.
It was the boy she witnessed at the very beginning.
“Esther, your dance earlier was very good.”
He even blocked Esther’s path and called her in a friendly manner.