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It was a short answer, but at the same time it was full of compressed affection. Diego said that and fell silent. Estella finished trimming the flowers, feeling awkward. Diego, who had been watching her hand gesture hesitantly, spoke again.

“What will you do with that anyway?”

Estella fumbled with the hand holding the flower.

“Since I’ve already broken it, I might as well wrap it up nicely. You know, if you pull out the leaves, it will be less likely to fall apart.”

Intrigued by her words, Diego picked up one of the flowers Estella had gathered to her left. It was the one that had been trimmed. Estella glanced over at the purple flower he was looking at, then explained in passing.

“That’s a verbena.”

Diego raised an eyebrow at the straightforward name.

“Was botany your speciality, by any chance?”

“No, I don’t know everything… This is an ingredient I used to use for cosmetics. I remember it had a nice scent.”

Estella smiled embarrassedly. She was familiar with the name because she used to use a body product of the same name.

Even if she wasn’t, she was certainly better at recognising flower seeds than most. It was an area of particular interest to her mother on her past life, who had died a few years before the accident. If her mother saw a flower on the road, she would always tell her the name and botanical description.

After her mother’s death, if she came across a plant she didn’t recognise, she would take a picture of it and look it up. Now she knew the answer to her questions even though there was no one to answer them. Clearly, before coming here, she had lived in a world where it was easy to pretend to be knowledgeable.

“Oh, by the way, where I came from, we had a flower language.”

Estella said, trying to lighten the mood. At the mention of Diego’s mother, she got a little sentimental. Luckily, Diego was quick to change the subject. He was interested in the word Estella had used.

“Flower language?”

“Different flowers have different meanings, and I’m not sure if they’re similar to here… Dandelion means ‘happiness’, pansy means ‘think of me’, and, um, I don’t really remember the rapeseed.”

“Then what is this?”

Diego asked, twirling the flower in his hand. It was a very nonchalant way of showing his curiosity.

Estella thought for a moment. If he didn’t seem particularly curious, was it necessary to tell him the truth straight away, or was it too trivial to turn around and tell him?

Estella blurted out, subtly avoiding his gaze.

“Um… ‘Peace in the home’… or something like that?”


Estella felt that her own voice sounded incredibly foolish. She wished she had come up with a different excuse instead of blurting out something like ‘peace at home.’ It was clear that this household was far from peaceful. To make matters worse, Diego’s reaction was almost mocking.

“That’s what she planted.”

Diego smirked and tossed the flower off the mat. At the same time, his cuffs pulled open, revealing his wrists. At first glance, redness peeked through the bandages. Estella panicked and unconsciously grabbed his arm.

“……Don’t litter, what is this?”

Diego asked, looking down at the hand that held him, his intentions unclear.

“No, Duke, it’s not that, a cut…….”

“It’s nothing.”

With that, Diego loosened his grip once, then clenched his hand back into a fist. His left hand moved back out of Estella’s line of sight. But that didn’t mean she could pretend she didn’t see it. Estella asked probingly.

“Was there an assassin there?”

“He said he’d send one, so they must have come.”

Diego replied in a deep voice. But the more he seemed unconcerned, the colder Estella felt her fingertips grow. “Are you hurt?” she asked, barely dipping her tongue into her dry mouth.

“…We’re you hurt badly?”

“I knew it coming, so I wasn’t too badly hurt. I gave up my wrist, but he was a pretty good opponent for what my father paid for.”

As he said that, he made a short face. Diego was not a man who wore his feelings on his sleeve, so Estella had all sorts of assumptions about his behaviour. Like how he must have felt when he came face-to-face with the killer his father sent.

Diego looked back at her, noticing the change in her complexion. She blinked, looking peaceful at first, then said.

“It’s nothing.”

Estella stared at him for a moment. She’d read his stories, but in truth, she didn’t know much about Diego. The cold-blooded duke in the novel had been two-dimensional, and the process of falling in love with the heroine hadn’t been entirely convincing.

In real life, however, he was far too multifaceted to be described in just a few sentences. And while she didn’t want to define him with a single word, Estella felt that he was like…… a calloused man.

“Good morning, I’m sleepy.”

Cecilia’s voice was accompanied by a tug on her collar. Estella jerked awake and dragged Cecilia to sit in front of her. Her hands and feet were covered in dirt.

Estella wiped Cecilia’s hands thoroughly with the napkins she had brought with her. Cedric, not wanting to be left alone, quickly returned to his seat. The children’s faces were glowing from their long run.

“Are you going to take a nap too, young master?”

“Yeah, I’m sleepy too.”

Cedric said and rubbed his eyes. His behaviour with Cecilia was like that of a brother and sister. Estella quickly pulled blankets over the laying children. Diego said in a tone of interest.

“It seems like a lot of things are coming out of the basket.”

“I feel like I have to go through a war just to go outside. For a house like this, it may not be difficult for those who can afford to hire helpers, but for people like me who don’t have the financial means, it’s a different story.”

“Aren’t evenings your free time?”

It took her a moment to realise the reason for the odd question. Estella threw up her hands.

“Oh, I was talking about when I was raising my own children.”

Diego gave her a look that said he hadn’t expected that answer. Somehow, she seemed to know what he was thinking now. There is a huge gap between those who live with the expectation of having a family and those who take being alone for granted.

He asked.

“Do you have a fiancé?”

Estella couldn’t help but let out a small laugh. It would take her all night to describe the breakup. Estella shook her head and gave me a brief summary.

“If that were the case, I wouldn’t have come here. It’s been a while since my father had an accident and we broke it off.”

“I see.”

He replied through gritted teeth, but his voice was too flat to point out the fact.

Estella hesitated, then spoke up.

“Does the Duke have a fiancée?”


“Oh…… why?”

She don’t recall any mention of the Duke’s fiancée in the novel, and she’s not sure why a man of his status wouldn’t have a pre-arranged marriage. When she expressed her confusion, Diego gave a fairly sincere explanation.

“Marriage is a transaction. I don’t think my father would have done anything to empower me, especially since I’m the first-born and he couldn’t marry me off to a lesser family.”

“Still, this doesn’t seem like a reasonable situation…….”

“It’s not like I had any desire to start a family in the first place.”

Diego interrupted, cutting her off. He turned to Estella suddenly, his eyes studying her for a moment before opening his mouth.

“I think you would make a good caregiver.”

“…… That’s a good assessment, thank you.”

Estella replied in a somewhat shaky tone. She’d learnt that handsome men with backstories weren’t good for the heart, and even though she had no rational interest in him, or anyone else for that matter, the mood sometimes felt strange. Maybe it was just her delusions.

Estella stroked Cedric’s brow wordlessly. Diego, who had been watching, spoke up.

“Sleeping in the middle of the day like this.”

“Isn’t it called a nap because it’s the middle of the day?”

Estella retorted in a playful tone, before finishing with a warm smile.

“Children do get sleepy easily.”

Diego rested his chin on the back of his hand. It was a pouty posture. He touched Cecilia’s chubby fingers and muttered.

“Children are so weak.”

“I’m sure there were times when even the Duke was as weak as these children.”

“I suppose so.”

Diego replied dryly, his gaze darting to Cedric and Cecilia, though he didn’t seem to be looking at them. Diego muttered something unintelligible.

“They’re so small…….”

It wasn’t hard for Estella to guess what he meant. She knew a man who would treat a child this small with such disdain.

Estella suddenly tilted her head and looked up at the sky. The afternoon with Diego had been much more peaceful than she had expected. The day was clear, and she could hear the soft chirping of birds near the bushes. Even the smell of natural grass like this was foreign to her after the memories of her previous life in a city.

Estella spoke up.

“Can we do something like this again…… next time?”

Diego slowly lifted his head to face Estella. He didn’t answer right away, just stared at her nervously.

Diego thought he got it now. She had dared to pity him. She had hoped to awaken in him some sense of family ties by arranging a meeting with his half-siblings, and the thought explained simply why she had wasted her time in this way in informing the traitor.

She has nothing to gain from him. To her, a child deserves to be loved, and a family deserves to be united.



“Miss Margaret, please don’t.”

But he can’t. Diego had already recognised that he was a broken human being in some way, and yet Estella’s snide remark didn’t offend him. Perhaps because it was the lack of family unity that was actually his deficiency.

Diego stood up from his seat. Perhaps reading a young determination in his voice, Estella had no reply. She did not hold onto Diego, and he moved forward, leaving them behind. There was nothing more to gain from getting deeply involved with them. Diego was about to make a big move, and Estella was sure to get in the way.

If she were to intervene when the children were removed from this mansion, what would he do? The thought of her becoming a cold corpse made him feel uncomfortable somewhere in his chest, as if the tea he had just drunk was stuck somewhere. Come to think of it, he had heard from the butler that she was from the north. If he could find an excuse to take a short vacation and go back to her hometown…

Diego stopped dead in his tracks. He couldn’t help but chuckle at the absurdity of it all. She’s not a woman worthy of that kind of attention from him.

Shaking the thought away, Diego resumed his steps. His face was expressionless as he made his way back to the mansion.

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