Felix Cervantes was the illegitimate child of Duke Cervantes. When the Duke’s eldest son died from an illness, the Duchess was already unable to conceive another child.
Instead of seeking another wife to bear him an heir, she demanded that the Duke choose Felix, a maid’s child, as his successor. Judging by her near-obsessive temperament, she believed that Felix alone was enough to rectify the flaws in her life.
Everyone praised her merciful decision. At least, that was how it appeared on the surface. However, the nobles secretly sneered at the Duchess’ unhappiness whenever Felix appeared in high society. Even she, who had noble blood running through her veins, couldn’t ignore their gazes.
“You still behave like an uncultured brat. You resemble your mother.”
In the end, all the arrows always returned to Felix.
“If you dare tarnish the name of Cervantes, don’t even take a single step outside.”
Whenever he needed to go to a social event, he was locked in his room for days on end to learn his manners. The same applied when guests arrived or when there was a displeasing aspect in the eyes of the Duchess.
Felix, the half-noble.
Looking back, Sarah Abbott was a girl he didn’t like from the start. He first met her on the day of a banquet at the Duke’s estate.
She was a well-bred girl. She was born two years later than Felix, so she must have been about eight.
She carried an expensive doll and wore dresses more extravagant than those of a grown woman. Childishly, she clung to the Marquis’ arm but handed the doll over when it was her turn to greet them.
“Greetings, Duchess Cervantes. I am Sarah Abbott, daughter of Marquis Abbott.”
However, the moment her feet touched the ground, she spoke such a perfect noble greeting. Felix had practiced it hundreds, thousands of times, and yet the greeting still received criticism.
It was a gesture that came naturally to her, as if it was innate.
“Oh my, how adorable.”
“She’s quite charming.”
“Marquis, you must be happy to have such a lovely daughter.”
Praises followed one after another, as if they had been waiting. A girl who had grown up receiving abundant love was adorable to everyone. More precisely, she knew how to perform cute actions.
She always dressed up like a doll, wore a large ribbon on her head, and made cute greetings, and there was no one who disliked her. Everyone admired Sarah Abbott. Even the Duchess Cervantes, who was constantly cold towards others, was no exception.
“Could my mother have been as beautiful and graceful as the Duchess? I’ve never seen her face.”
Sarah Abbott asked and looked up with her large eyes. It seemed as though she sensed that the stiff woman was the leader of the group.
“That’s too bad. Come here.”
Those words touched the Duchess Cervantes’ heart. She wouldn’t mind molding her. Sarah Abbott nestled against her.
“I’m always lonely, so come visit often, Lady Abbott.”
“Yes. Let’s have tea together and chat.”
“I’m so happy. It would be an immense honor if you do that.”
She was truly excited.
“An honor, you say? If a cute little guest like Lady Abbott comes, it will be a joy for me as well.”
“Um, may I make a request to the Duchess?”
“What is it?”
“Call me Sarah.”
To be fair, Sarah Abbott was a clever bitch. Felix didn’t like her because he had to walk on eggshells whenever she was there.
* * *
After that, the unfortunate girl from Abbott frequently visited as if she had made a promise. How did she manage to charm the Duchess of Cervantes? Before anyone knew it, she had become Felix’s fiancee and began to visit his room.
Sarah held out her small hand. It was filled with colorful candies.
“What is this?”
“Sweet candy. Here, have some.”
Sarah playfully peeled off the wrappers and handed them over to him. The sweet scent filled the air. Without realizing it, Felix swallowed his saliva.
“Go ahead. My father bought them from far away, so I only eat one a day.”
Why was she showing her this pointless kindness? What for? What can he possibly give to this well-dressed girl? It seemed like she was sharing something dear to her, but it was a trap.
“I don’t need it.”
“What? But it’s really delicious.”
“I said I don’t want it.”
Felix snapped, feeling irritable. But when he saw Sarah’s eyes become teary, he felt a little bad.
“Um, I mean. Cervantes doesn’t eat these kinds of things.”
“Is that so?”
Sarah surprisingly agreed easily.
“But, young lord, there’s only the two of us here.”
After looking sullen for a moment, she brightened up again. She was desperate.
“Since no one else will see, try just one, please? Pretty please?”
“Let’s keep this a secret for today. So….”
“I said no!”
With a jerk, he flung her hand away and the candy fell to the floor.
What should he do? Would she burst into tears?
His heart was pounding.
How could he get so angry? It was an unbecoming, shameful behavior for a noble. If word got out that he had made a girl cry, he would be locked in his room again and punished.
He was at a loss. While pretending to be indifferent, Felix anxiously watched Sarah’s reaction.
After a moment, Sarah looked up with a pitiful face and immediately bent down to pick up the fallen candy. What a pitiful act. She was the precious daughter of Abbott, who never had to bow to anyone.
“What…what are you doing?”
“I’m trying to clean up.”
“But something like this should be done by the maidservants…”
“If you get caught, you’ll be scolded.”
“How dare you pity me?”
“No, I don’t pity you.”
Sarah confidently lifted her head.
“I’m afraid of angering the Duchess too. Since she’s someone even my father can’t contend with.”
While speaking, Sarah picked up all the candy. Then, as if nothing had happened, she put it back into her pocket.
“Well then, I’ll take my leave for today. Rest well.”
Claiming to be a noble since birth. Doesn’t she have any self-esteem? It was absurd how she endured such insults without any complaint. It was unbelievable.
Felix called Sara back as she stood in front of the door.
Her face showed no sign of concern, which irritated Felix even more.
“I hate you.”
Sarah hesitated for a moment at his straightforward remark before exhaling softly.
“I see. I just thought you were shy.”
“Well, that puts me in a difficult position, because I like you.”
“Why?” Felix spat out a hollow laugh. “I don’t think you know that I’ve got common blood running through my veins.” Read ahead here.