A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke - Chapter 78
“My Lady, it’s time to wake up.”
Esther was startled by Dorothy’s voice as she nudged her to wake up. She didn’t recall when she dozed off.
With the help of the maids, Esther quickly dressed and left for the first floor.
It was too early for breakfast, but she was eager to greet Darwin.
She arrived at his door, wondering whether any news had been delivered to him overnight.
However, the door was locked and there existed no hint of movement inside.
“Is he not here?”
As Esther glanced around nervously, Delbert, who happened to pass through the same hallway, approached her.
“Are you looking for his Grace?”
“Yes, do you happen to know where he is now?”
Delbert smiled softly and met Esther’s eye level.
“His Grace left after receiving urgent news just now. He asked for me to deliver that he was sorry to have left as soon as he came back.”
If all of this happened early in the morning, she would have heard a commotion as he left, but Esther was asleep during that time.
Esther swallowed her saliva and looked at Delbert.
“Does the urgent matter have anything to do with the temple?”
“How did my lady know? Yes. In fact, it is said the Saint passed away last night. It is rather unfortunate…”
Delbert continued speaking, but nothing reached Esther’s ears. Everything felt distant and far away.
‘No wonder. I thought so.’
Esther struggled to stand upright as she held onto the wall. Her legs staggered weakly.
“My Lady! Are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“You have a bad complexion… May I accompany you to the dining room?”
“No. I’ll skip breakfast this morning. I don’t feel well.”
Delbert grew worried as he observed the suddenly pale-faced Esther. Nonetheless, Esther refused his aid and turned around to leave the room.
She wandered the garden aimlessly before stopping in front of the fountain. She fell against the firm stone, unable to walk further.
Victor followed closely behind Esther as she left the mansion. He couldn’t stand watching her lifeless complexion any longer and asked.
“What’s wrong, my lady? If there is anything I can be of help with, I will gladly listen.”
“Sorry. I want to be alone.”
But Esther couldn’t afford to care about anyone else right now.
“Then at least accept this.”
The air was chilly in January.
Victor withdrew his jacket and presented it to Esther, fearing she’d catch a cold in her current wear.
‘Why are you like this?’
He was concerned about how Esther was different from usual, but he complied with her request and withdrew himself.
Meanwhile, Esther stood alone as she stared at the sky blankly before closing her eyes due to the blinding sunlight.
“…You eventually passed away.”
It was due to occur at any moment. She was rather grateful to have had the dreadful event delayed by a year.
But, why was she so uneasy? Esther felt herself drawn back to the time she worried when Rabienne would put her behind bars.
“Saint… Did you leave comfortably?”
She wasn’t pleased with the thought that not one person who genuinely cared for her stood by Cespia’s side at the moment of her death.
Esther closed her eyes and prayed for Cespia’s well-being. That would be the first of her actions.
In the meantime,
Judy tilted his head upon arriving at the empty dining room.
“Is father and Esther still not here?”
“Ah, young master. His Grace left for the temple due to urgent business, and my lady said she would skip breakfast.”
Esther had never skipped a meal since her arrival.
Judy’s expression hardened at her sudden change in habit.
“I do not know. My lady’s face paled after she heard of the Saint’s death…”
“What? You said the Saint died?”
Judy rushed outside, not sparing a moment to listen to Delbert. He had to find Esther.
After hearing from the passing servants that Esther was in the garden, he ran to the fountain at once.
Judy cried out as he spotted Esther lying helplessly near the fountain like a lifeless soul.
Esther ended her prayers and slowly opened her eyes to look at Judy.
Judy stood before Esther and continued, teary-faced.
“You’re not leaving for the temple, are you?”
“The temple? Ah… Brother also heard the news of the Saint. Of course not. Never.”
Judy could only sigh with relief after having been eased of his concerns.
“That’s a relief. You’re the only saint now. I was worried that you would want to go back to the temple.”
Even after having received a definite answer from Esther, Judy secured her hands in his, as if he would never let go.
“Why are you worried about that? This is the only place I’ll ever be.”
Esther smiled brightly. She could feel Judy’s sincerity through his firm grip.
“Yeah, but why won’t you eat breakfast? Everyone is really worried. The same goes for me.”
It was as if the world collapsed when she heard of Cespia’s death.
But as Esther observed Judy worrying over her breakfast, she burst into laughter.
“Brother, is it that important?”
“Of course. What could be more important than the morning in which you start your day? Rice is also crucial. Besides, you like eating the most, right?”
There was nothing faulty with Judy’s words. In fact, Esther realized something.
The fact that there was no need for her to feel threatened because many things have changed from before.
Standing next to Esther were her reliable brothers, father, and people with whom she had formed bonds with.
Her current daily life was the most important certainty. Having breakfast, conversing with loved ones, and just enjoying her life.
She slapped her cheek, regarding herself as a fool for forsaking her current happiness and worrying about the untold future.
Although she didn’t strike herself roughly, Judy flusteredly reached to wrap his hands around Esther’s cheeks.
“Hey! What’s wrong with you? What will you do if your precious face gets hurt? Let me see. Are you sure you’re fine?”
Esther smiled brilliantly towards Judy as he created a fuss over her well-being.
“I’m back to my senses now. Let’s go have breakfast.”
“Huh? You’re gonna eat breakfast? Good thinking.”
Judy, puzzled to see Esther’s sudden change in mood, soon laughed along with the bright atmosphere.
Esther approached the worried Victor. Her eyes were smiling, her steps unafraid.
The weakened mentality had become stronger than ever.
Esther returned to her room after breakfast.
Nothing would happen as of now, but she would have to prepare for future circumstances.
“The fact that I am a saint will be discovered sooner or later.”
Esther sighed as she swept the back of her right hand.
As the seat of the succeeding mother of the temple was inhabited by Rabienne, she would be unable to accessibly seek the true saint.
However, it was impossible for Esther to thoroughly conceal herself as a revelation was bound to reach the temple.
“It’s okay. I’m not scared anymore.”
During the time she visited the temple, Esther was more scared someone would realize she was the Saint and drag her back to the temple.
However, no matter how great the temple stood, Esther, the daughter of the Grand Duke, could not be taken at will.
She grew to realize how great her status was as the Duke’s daughter. She had no intention of running away now.
“…Shall I attend the funeral?”
She thought it would be better for her to observe the situation in person, rather than be immersed with all sorts of thoughts here.
Above all, she wished to thank Saint Cespia for buying her time.
It wouldn’t matter if she ran into Rabienne. She may have already forgotten Esther, or even perhaps knew of her adopting into the Grand Duke’s family.
Thanks to her accompanying Darwin over the past year, she had made her appearance public in many places.
Even if it weren’t for that, Dolores informed her of the rumors that she had been adopted from the temple.
She cleared her mind and stood from the chair when a loud bang came from behind her.
Surprised, Esther turned around to locate the source of the sound.
The decorative sculpture placed over the drawer fell from its position.
Beside the statue was a snake blinking his eyes, frozen. Perhaps he realized the accident he caused.
“Sorry, Shur. I was so busy that I couldn’t play with you today.”
Shur was the baby born from BamBam. The baby animal was very small and white.
BamBam disappeared quietly after giving birth to Shur. That was why Shur followed Esther like she was his mother.
“I’ll be away for a few days. I’ll ask Dorothy to take good care of you. So don’t be too sad. Deal?”
Esther stroked Shur’s head and conveyed so he could understand.
Following this, she visited Delbert and asked to send a carrier pigeon to Darwin.
Fortunately, the pigeon arrived quickly, so Esther was able to leave for the temple half a day later.
Since the saint’s funeral was a state matter, numerous people visited the temple to pay their condolences.
There was a limit to the number of carriages the temple could accommodate, so carriages were prohibited from entering the temple during the funeral.
“We’re almost there, my lady. We will have to walk from here.”
Esther was no exception, so she left in front of the main gate of the temple. She had arrived late.
“There’s a huge crowd.”
Victor clicked his tongue as he helped Esther from the carriage.
So many people huddled around the temple that there was no opening for Esther to enter through.
The commoners were unable to enter the temple, so they mourned the death of the saint outside.
“Yes. Because the Saint was an agent sent from God. Still, I didn’t know they would cry that much… I’m a little surprised.’’
The sobbing did not stop. Esther’s eyes reddened as she observed the sorrowful crowd.
It was the moment she realized how influential the Saint truly was.
Esther gazed at the crowd with sad eyes, then revealed her identification card to the gatekeeper and entered.
“The place seems completely different from the last time I was here. How should I explain this feeling… It seems more lively.”
“I know. The saint has passed away, but it exudes an air like that of a festival.”
Esther recited bitterly.
Seeing the expressions of the passing High Priests and the overall atmosphere, the place seemed rather aloof.