A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke - Chapter 86
The second part of the banquet began after Esther’s meeting Noah.
As promised, Esther danced with Sebastian. It wasn’t a solo performance, so there existed no tension throughout the song.
In fact, Esther had no memory of the dance.
Her head was only filled with thoughts of Noah throughout the whole time.
When she regained consciousness, the music had already terminated and the dance ended.
Sebastian turned to Esther timidly and spoke to her.
“Thank you for dancing with me. It was so much fun.”
“I had fun too. Happy birthday, brother Sebastian.”
Esther finished her speech, recalling once more the vast changes Sebastian had gone through.
When she first met him, it was unforeseen that they would spend their time together like this.
However, Sebastian admitted his faults and changed in a positive way, so he was no longer that same hateful child.
Sebastian hesitated as he shyly attempted to convey his following words that were soon cut off mercilessly.
This was because Esther had long turned around and returned to her seat. His voice helplessly scattered like particles in the air.
“Oh no! Is Esther not interested in you at all? Just give up already.”
Judy comforted Sebastian’s despaired self by stroking his shoulder in a motherly way. He was dying from laughter.
“Great job, Esther. You don’t become nervous on stage anymore.”
Dennis lavished praise on Esther as she returned to her seat.
However, Esther only slumped on her chair, unaware of Dennis speaking to her.
Dennis called one more time. It was only then that she raised her head in response.
“You’ve been strange since before. Did something happen? Your face is also red.”
“What could have happened? I’m just a bit tired today.”
Esther smiled and assured him that she was fine.
Meanwhile, Noah did not leave her mind. Noah was all that filled her thoughts since they met.
She searched for Noah in case he was still at the banquet, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Esther continued looking around when she collided with Madame Rose, Sebastian’s mother.
“Are you in need of anything? I will have it brought to you.”
“It’s the Duchess. No, it’s not like that. The food is delicious and everything is well-served.”
“Really? That’s a relief. You don’t know how grateful I am for you to be Sebastian’s partner. It makes me happy to see you two get along well.”
Rose’s eyes overflowed with affection as she looked down at Esther.
She noticed that Sebastian had a crush on Esther, but she was also grateful for the young girl to have helped her child.
“Will you visit for dinner soon? I’ll prepare something even more appetizing for you.”
Esther wasn’t able to concentrate properly even after addressing Madame Rose.
Dennis continuously regarded her dazed self before closing his book and standing up.
“Shall we leave now?”
“Won’t Sebastian be sad if we leave already?”
“It’s fine. You’ve danced with him, so he won’t be sad.”
Esther then nodded vigorously. She also wished to return home as soon as possible. She was grateful to Dennis for recognizing her feelings.
As she called for Judy so they could leave the banquet together, her eyes happened to collide with Duke Brions’s as he stood far away.
Esther perplexedly froze for a moment before keeping her calm and walking outside.
When she peeked one last time before leaving, Duke Brions was looking elsewhere, as if to prove that one second as a coincidence.
Esther, who hadn’t been able to sleep all night, ardently moved from early in the morning the next day in contemplation of what to wear.
She set her selections on the mirror one after the other, but couldn’t decide which was more fitting and called for Dorothy.
“Which one looks better?”
“Hm, they all suit my lady, but… I’d say the purple dress. You seemed very beautiful the last time you wore it.”
“Okay. Then I’ll go with this.”
Esther changed into her garb delightedly and asked the maids to perform light makeup and arrange her hair.
Dorothy was overly suspicious at the effort Esther put into her outing today, in comparison to her absent-minded stance from yesterday’s party.
“Who are you meeting today to pay so much attention to your appearance?”
“Just a friend.”
Esther quickly put down her hand mirror and pretended to be indifferent all of a sudden.
“I think quite the opposite… Perhaps, the one who sent the young lady the diamond necklace?”
“Uwah! How did you know?”
She didn’t inform anyone of her meeting with Noah at the party. It was surprising how she guessed accurately from the start.
“You said their whereabouts were unknown, but to finally have returned! That’s fortunate.”
Although Dorothy wasn’t aware of Noah’s identity, she knew well that Esther had waited for him a long time.
This was because Esther very frequently read the letter in her drawer and mentioned Noah countless times.
“But don’t make it too obvious that you’re happy to see him. He might act cocky if he hears that you’ve been earnestly waiting for him. All men are like that.”
“Then what should I do?”
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Esther’s ears perked as she gazed at Dorothy cluelessly.
“Don’t ask as many questions as possible… Also, it’s better to only listen. Act aloof and take the
“Lead the initiative? Okay. Then I won’t ask as many questions as I can.”
Esther’s eyes glimmered as she made sure to keep Dorothy’s advice in mind.
She noticed the sunny weather as she exited the mansion.
While Esther proceeded climbing the wagon prepared for her ride, Judy could be seen approaching from far away.
“Where’re you going, Esther?”
One could tell from the way he was sweating that he had been running around.
Esther’s mind blanked out for a moment. She then shifted her head and strived to come up with a plausible excuse.
“I-I’m heading for the mine.”
“Dressed like that?”
Judy eyed Esther suspiciously and looked her up and down.
Although the heels were of the lower kind, it was still unsuitable for working at the mine.
“About that… I was thinking about stopping by the dressing room on my way…”
She should’ve claimed to be heading to the dressing room from the beginning. Why did ‘going to the mine’ pop out first?
Esther stamped her feet internally, but that couldn’t change what had already been said.
“Is that what it was? Have a safe trip.”
Judy, whom she thought would ask more questions or decide to accompany her, was unexpectedly easy to fool.
It was strange, but Esther quickly stepped onto the wagon after Judy waved her way.
‘Should I have told him the truth?’
She felt uncomfortable at the blatant lie, but Esther couldn’t afford to tell her brothers about Noah just yet.
Esther scraped her guilt, resolving that she would talk to them after Noah’s ban was revoked.
The wagon carrying Esther began to move smoothly.
Victor, who followed as escort, observed the neatly dressed Esther and contemplated earnestly before asking,
“The destination is that place again… Has he truly returned?”
“Right. We met at the party yesterday.”
Esther’s voice could not hide her innocent cheerfulness.
“That’s why you’re so happy.”
“Me? It’s not like that.”
She couldn’t believe both Dorothy and Victor guessed so accurately on the first try. Esther was embarrassed at her obvious self.
Approximately thirty minutes after their departure, the carriage reached Noah’s old cabin at last.
Esther jumped from the carriage heartily.
The house that had been empty since Noah’s leave for the Imperial Palace. She had been here a few times in case he returned, so she knew.
Seeing the smoke rising from the chimney of such a house ascertained the fact that Noah was truly back.
“Um, Victor. It’s a secret that we’ve been here before. Got it?”
Victor followed after the adorable Esther as she asked him to keep quiet, just like a younger sister.
Noah also left the house when he heard the rumbling of the carriage. His hands were both occupied with something.
Esther smiled broadly as soon as she spotted Noah, but then quickly managed her facial expression. She wondered if she laughed a little too much.
“Esther, shall we take a walk by the river? I even made sandwiches.”
Noah shook the basket he brought in front of Esther, boasting that he had packed everything himself.
“Did you decorate the lace?”
“Ah, I was in a hurry to borrow this. It’s not exactly my taste.”
A fluttering white lace hung around the basket.
Noah hurriedly hid the basket behind his back, embarrassed that he had not considered the fact beforehand.
“Let’s go for a walk.”
Esther burst into laughter and smiled as she walked alongside Noah.
A while after they strolled along the sidewalk behind the cabin, a stream gradually appeared as Noah claimed.
Noah guided Esther to make a turn, and as she passed through the finely-paved road, an open landscape suddenly unfolded before her eyes.
“Here. This is my favorite place. What do you think?”
Noah meticulously introduced a spot by the open riverside.
Esther advanced as if possessed. Her eyes glimmered; after all, this was her first time seeing a river at such a close distance.
“It’s really nice. I already feel at ease.”
A beautiful place, where the sun reflects brilliantly over the surface of a calm river, a site where you could hear the sound of flowing water while in peace.
TN: Wow, that actually sounds amazing. Peaceful nature, to just calm yourself from everything
Just by silently looking at the river, all Esther’s worries seemed to disappear; it calmed her mind.
“I thought you’d like it.”
Only then did Noah relax and open the cloth he had brought to provide a place for Esther to rest.
“If you lay down on the ground, your clothes will get dirty.”
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Esther sincerely thanked him and carefully sat herself down beside him.
A pleasant breeze blew between the two. Her hair fluttered softly, their eyes intertwined.