“It’s about the cancellation of the Duke Cecilion’s engagement.”
It was a sunny noon, during the height of lunchtime.
Rasha’s hand, wielding a knife and fork, paused while cutting a large piece of meat. Although Rasha generally preferred a vegetarian and fruit-based diet over meat, ever since she became pregnant, she had been craving meat more and more. It was undoubtedly the baby’s desire to eat, not hers.
Rasha lifted her head in that state, sending a sharp gaze towards the head seat. Whether he pretended not to notice her gaze or truly didn’t know, Kaim casually continued to move his hand as he added.
“I heard that Duke Cecilion exercised one-sided violence against Count Robeni. Something about hitting him on the head with a teacup or punching him… Anyway.”
“For such a reason, it’s been quite a fuss lately. People are buzzing about it whenever they gather.”
At least in Rasha’s eyes, her half-brother seemed no different from those pompous people. Now that she was spending more comfortable time with him, he didn’t even bother to respond and just continued talking on his own.
It wasn’t recent news for Kaim to bring up the topic of Chedev. Occasionally, as if trying to observe her reaction, he would mention it. Through that, Rasha knew that he had gone to Tigris, and now that he had returned safely, he was attending to his duties as a duke.
When she first heard about his departure to Tigris, she couldn’t help but be surprised once again. Wasn’t that the foreign land she was planning to go to? Or did he go there to find me, walking all the way to that distant place? For a moment, she had a suspicion. It was a somewhat valid suspicion when considering that he had aimed directly for Tigris, one of the existing empires in the world.
However, it turned out that he had left for the sake of state affairs, and upon learning that he had visited not only Tigris but also the neighboring countries, she realized that she had another misconception.
Well, it had been several months already, and he hadn’t been looking for me. As a man who had everything, he would easily forget someone like me.
Rasha chewed the finely sliced meat with a bitter taste and swallowed it before responding.
“Why do you keep telling me about him?”
Hmm, she took a deep breath and his scrutinizing attitude didn’t align with the answer ‘just’ at all. It felt strongly that someone was prying, so Rasha let out a deep sigh. If she was initially afraid that Chedev would actually barge in here, now it felt more like a joke. Perhaps she has become more comfortable.
Setting down the fork and knife in her hand, she gently stroked her round belly, which had taken on a curved shape.
“Sweetheart, I think your uncle is teasing your Mommy.”
“When did I tease you…? Instead of making baseless assumptions about the child, why not say something nice?”
“If the Count doesn’t bring up his topic, naturally it will happen.”
Rasha had nothing to say in response to his straightforward answer, so Kaim coughed lightly and turned his head after removing his gaze from me. After his gaze shifted away from her, Rasha, too, let out a sigh. A few days ago, Kaim had delivered the news of his cancellation of the engagement, and today he brought up various inquiries related to the cancellation.
Cancellation of engagement….
The marriage arrangement between Chedev and Lady Robeni was broken. Although it was uncertain whether the accusation against Chedev, the duke, was true, rumors circulated that the blame was on his side.
Despite promising not to let it bother her anymore, her mind quickly became chaotic. That’s why Rasha had planned to leave this place early. News about Chedev reached her no matter where she was. Of course, she never dreamed that the news would be about the cancellation of the marriage, not its realization.
“Oh, they say the rear garden has finally blossomed.”
Kaim suddenly changed the subject to liven up the atmosphere. Rasha nodded, concealing a gentle smile.
The decision regarding her admission had not been made yet. Therefore, she tried to stay in the bedroom as much as possible, as it seemed it would be a burden to Kaim to wander around the mansion. However, as time passed, she began to feel somewhat restless.
In the meantime, Rasha discovered a desolate atmosphere in the rear garden, which contrasted with the splendid garden.
Count Lippe’s rear garden was quite charming and beautiful. Rasha felt sorry to see such a neglected area, which was no different from the backside of that garden. She decided to decorate it once. Since the rear garden was rarely frequented by people compared to the main garden, it was a unique idea. Of course, she sought Kaim’s permission before proceeding. He asked if it wouldn’t be better for her to take it easy and seek stability due to her pregnancy, but he soon changed his mind upon hearing the doctor’s advice that it wasn’t good to stay still all the time.
After two months of hard work, her efforts paid off. Flowers began to bloom one by one.
Rasha imagined the rear garden filled with various flowers, starting with her favorite lisianthus. The withered grass gradually transformed into the scenery of a small forest. Thanks to the magical ingredients that allowed them to grow vigorously regardless of the weather, the rear garden quickly became abundant.
Her bedroom was adorned with vases containing flowers grown there. And she had also placed one in Kaim’s study yesterday.
After finishing lunch, Rasha headed to the rear garden as usual.
The rear garden, filled with the scent of nature and colorful flowers, provided her with emotional stability. Stepping on the lush grass, Rasha instinctively placed her hand on her belly. The baby had already started to show, and Kaim had arranged a maternity dress for her. Due to her petite physique, her protruding belly was not too big, and she could hide it with a dark-colored dress, just like the deep indigo dress she wore today.
Before the stability period, the baby was showing a very unstable emotional state. However, Rasha was having a fairly uneventful pregnancy, with no morning sickness or other symptoms. The life inside her was sitting quietly, never causing her any distress or difficulties.
“Unlike with Daddy.”
Rasha gently stroked her belly as if praising or showing more affection, contemplating the ‘cancellation’ Kaim brought up during lunch.
……Wasn’t that the marriage you were going to have while turning your back on me?
Why did he suddenly make that decision? And what is this uncertain rumor about causing harm to Marquis Robeni?
When Rasha first arrived here, Kaim, who occasionally showed signs of anxiety, gradually found his stability, confirming that Chedev had finally acknowledged her absence and stopped pursuing her.
His love for her, too, had sunk like a grave.
Having rooted this conviction in her heart, Rasha had been unable to sleep well for a long time. Despite preparing herself to some extent, she felt a piercing sensation in her heart. Unlike him, who had forgotten about her, her love still remained intact, causing her to overflow with self-pity.
She hoped that the restless unease would subside quickly, but it lingered for quite a while. However, she did not show it. The moment she expressed it outwardly, she felt it would be too painfully palpable. That is, her separation from him. Although she had told herself not to dwell on it, fearing it would be harmful for the baby, in reality, Rasha was simply avoiding the possibility of enduring even greater pain.
Today was no different.
After diverting her thoughts about Chedev to the side, Rasha leaned forward. The faint scent of lisianthus reached her on the breeze. Her long black hair fluttered in the cool wind.
And then it happened.
A loud noise suddenly came from beyond the mansion. It reverberated through the peaceful Count Lippe’s estate.
Startled, Rasha’s spine straightened. Since there was no sign of anything amiss in the scenery of the garden, the noise seemed to have originated from the invisible side of the estate. After a moment, the she regained her composure as if nothing had happened. Seeing the calmness, it seemed like nothing important had occurred.
Rasha turned her head back to its original position. And as she strolled along the grassy path again, thump!
She jerked to a stop once more. The noise didn’t cease, it happened again. Once might have been a coincidence, but twice indicated that it was not.
A chill ran down her spine, and an inexplicable sense of dread enveloped her. If something had happened in this count’s estate, it wouldn’t be a pleasant discovery for Kaim if she were to find out. Moreover, considering that she had not yet made her entrance, it could become quite troublesome in various ways.
With that thought in mind, she turned her steps away from the afternoon walk and headed in the direction of the bedroom.
Passing by the row of white sculptures, she entered the path leading to the main building. The dense shadows gave way, and suddenly, the wind that had felt gentle under the sunlight turned eerily cold. It disheveled Rasha’s black hair.
It was the moment when she brushed her hair behind her ear, blocking her line of sight.
She felt a piercing gaze directed towards her from somewhere. It was unmistakably explicit, perhaps even blindly pleading, asking her to look at this place just once.
Rasha’s gaze, which had been directed towards the ground, naturally lifted to the front.
Someone stood still at the end of the path. In the intense sunlight pouring in from behind, backlighting was cast, causing Rasha to instinctively furrow her brows as she recognized who it was.