Meanwhile, the silence that ensued behind the face was like a brewing storm.
They continued to listen to the men for a while now, holding their breath, as David spoke up,
‘Well, it’s no surprise with her.
A street rat punk like him and a girl like her could date just like that, and suddenly, it’s rags to riches.’
The moment he said this, the group of four had differing reactions.
Diana clenched her fists.
Cassion’s expression became distorted.
Even Logan’s gaze became icy.
Only Rosetta, the topic of those words, still continued to watch with a disinterested face.
Then, the jabs at Rosetta flowed as it was.
One word after another, it was astounding how uncouth it all was.
As the jabs continued, the anger that the other three felt deepened further.
Diana was this close to jumping at them.
She let out a heavy sigh through clenched teeth.
Inhaling with difficulty this time, Diana whispered to Rosetta.
“Shall I kill him”
“I can help.”
Logan added, nodding as he heard Diana’s hushed suggestion.
He still looked composed, but his hands were already reaching into his coat pocket.
You’d think that he was just trying to fish out his work gloves.
Rosetta glanced at the pair and shook her head.
At Rosetta’s concise dissuasion, Diana tried to answer back and express how sorry she was, but she trailed off.
‘Our Young Lady has such a big heart.’
It was a thought that would cause Rosetta’s jaw to drop if she had heard it, but Diana was absolutely sincere.
She clicked her tongue in regret, then she glanced back at the other group.
There, at that hugely self-important, pathetic bunch who thought they were the main characters of the world.
At the silence that ensued, only David’s husky voice continued to ring out.
‘Yeah, that Princess.
My parents never liked her from the start.
She’s the daughter of a maid—no, the daughter of a criminal, and yet she’s considered a ducal princess and has even inherited the family name…’
The moment the phrase ‘daughter of a criminal’ was uttered, Rosetta’s expression—which was calm all this time—slipped very slightly.
She blinked slowly as her head moved barely a centimeter.
It was all to stifle her anger.
Her face was still the picture of relaxation, and at first glance it even looked like she was indifferent, but there was one person who noticed her anger.
It was Cassion.
‘You look angry…’
He was trying to gauge Rosetta’s mood this whole time.
The reason why Diana and Logan didn’t take any further steps was because Rosetta still looked really calm.
Cassion was also immensely enraged the moment Rosetta had been mentioned, but he zipped his lips because the person in question had been unaffected.
If she was calm throughout something like this, he wondered what could possibly turn that tranquility into chaos.
However, it wasn’t like that now.
In those bright, golden eyes, a frosty rage could be seen.
An icy gaze like that would only belong to someone who was trying to swallow their anger.
It was strange.
It’s as if Rosetta’s anger was what allowed him to feel his own emotions.
And so, as though her anger was contagious, his heart also began to beat harder in his fury.
The emotions he was trying to press down were kindled—it was as though scorching flames were burning in his chest.
He felt a twinge of pain in his fists as he clenched them.
Earlier, when the target of that group’s derision was him, he felt nothing.
He just watched their mocking.
He just listened to their insults.
So, what was this.
Words could turn into a weapon to others, but that wasn’t the case for him.
Perhaps it was because, throughout the years, he lived with real weapons constantly aimed at his throat.
However, when those words poured out and were pointed at Rosetta, to him, they felt like real weapons.
Sharp and pointed, capable of mutilating a person.
His chest burned as though there was an active volcano inside him.
It made his head dizzy.
However, instead of being swayed by emotion, Cassion chose to press it all down.
The Rosetta he knew wasn’t the kind of person who’d stay still in this kind of situation.
She would get up, look that man dead in the eyes and laugh at his face.
Then, she would strangle her opponent using only a poisoned tongue.
However, Rosetta right now had chosen to hold her breath.
This meant that she had something else plaguing her mind.
As Cassion tried to control his emotions, he blinked.
Just as she did.
At the same time, the words of the man who took a jab at Rosetta repeated in his mind.
‘Daughter of a murderer…’
Truthfully, there were hushed rumors going around about Rosetta’s biological mother and how she had died.
Most people in the nobility knew about this story.
Besides that, the sudden appearance of a duke’s illegitimate child was something that would surely attract the public’s attention.
Just as they said, her mother was, quite literally, a criminal.
‘What’s with that.’
Being born and the parents they were sired by, that wasn’t the choice of the child.
She was born, and her mother happened to be a criminal.
When she was born, his father said that he didn’t want her.
How could that be Rosetta’s fault
People tended to point fingers at those who were left behind.
‘Daughter of a criminal.’
These words were pointed not at her deceased mother, but at Rosetta herself.
Just like Cassion, who had to live his whole life with fingers pointed at him because he was born without any mana.
It was something that couldn’t be overcome by effort.
Other people would continue to laugh and mock someone else for a supposedly inherent trait.
For Rosetta, it was a lack of an ordinary mother.
For Cassion, it was a lack of mana.
However, he now had mana thanks to Rosetta.
It became possible for him to wield magic.
To escape the fate of a dog’s death, he continued to struggle.
“Don’t mind them.”
At Cassion’s low voice, her golden gaze, which previously sank to the ground, looked up at him.
When she asked back, Cassion reached out.
His hand headed for Rosetta’s slender shoulder, patting her a few times.
As if he was encouraging her.
Even that was an extremely cautious touch, so rather than a pat, his hand just brushed over her.
Rosetta blinked in a daze, looking alternately between the place where his hand and her shoulder touched, then at Cassion’s face.
Awkwardly averting his eyes, Cassion murmured again.
“Don’t mind them.
It’s something you had no choice about.
It can’t be your fault.”
Just as usual, it was a clumsy consolation.
His ears and his neck were all red, and his expression was tinged heavily with embarrassment, looking as if he didn’t even know what he was talking about.
‘There’s a serious look in your eyes though… Do you think that I feel hurt’
All of a sudden, she recalled that day.
The day she went to the dungeon to confront Katie.
The day Cassion had comforted her when she had been as pale as a sheet.
And the funny thing was that, both that day and this moment now,
This man was comforting her under his own misunderstanding.
But oddly enough, the unusual consolation worked like a charm.
Even if he was slightly off the mark about what he’s comforting her about.
Rosetta stared wordlessly at Cassion’s side profile.
As she felt the urge to reach out and touch his delicately pink earlobes, Rosetta looked away.
“You’ve got a talent for misunderstanding things.”
It was a murmur only to herself, but a smile soon graced her lips.
Cassion asked her, but Rosetta didn’t answer and pretended not to hear.
As if she never even said anything either in the first place.
The only evidence to her musings was the lingering shadow of a smile.
* * *
The group of men chatted for a long time after that, and it was only after they moved elsewhere that we stood up from our spot.
Each one had a certain expression right now.
Was it because of the sun’s heat, or was it because of fury’s inferno
Whatever it was, it’s quite amusing to see.
I smiled casually, turned around and walked away.
The other three soon caught up to me.
“Are you going to leave them just like that”
Huffing, Diana asked.
She seemed angry that those men were allowed to leave as they were.
As she looked back at them, the image of a hunting dog overlapped with her figure—one that regrettably missed its prey.
I paused and reflected on this comparison.
A hound, huh…
Somehow, it feels like I was surrounded by people who had the characteristics of dogs.
Despite the sudden realization, I was brought back to my senses as I looked into Diana’s sparkling eyes.
She seemed to be under the presumption that I’d do something about this.
Unfortunately, I had no plans to do so.
With a smile, I started walking again.
“Yeah, I’ll leave them alone.”
And the sparkle in her gaze dimmed in disappointment.
“I can’t believe Milady is letting those disgusting things go… I’m so upset, I don’t even think I can sleep tonight.”
You’re a ducal princess, so isn’t it that you shouldn’t let them off like that”
Logan added under his breath, and at this, I glanced at him.
Beyond the pair of glasses he was wearing, the righteous gaze he had was unexpected.
“Someone who won’t let them off.
Isn’t that Blanca though”
The Madam would have just gone with the flow and laughed.”
Indeed, Blanca would have laughed, just as he said.
She was the type of person who would never stop finding delight in a situation, even as she was being cursed at to her face.
Even so, for me, the incident a while ago was neither delightful nor angering.
Whatever it was that they said about me, it’s no different than an ant biting the tip of my toe.
It’s just a little itchy.
That’s all there was to it.
Well, actually, it’s a bit refreshing to hear someone curse at a ducal princess right inside the ducal household.
I wondered if anyone would ever dare to do such a thing, and this incident was a confirmation that, yes, there was at least one person.
‘Besides that… someone from the branch family’
David boasted that he was part of the branch family while badmouthing me like that.
As if saying that the blood in my veins was fake and his was real.
People would think that he’s the duke’s biological child.
However, even after I searched through Rosetta’s memories, I couldn’t find anything about David.
And he didn’t even appear in the novel.
Apparently, he’s nothing but a distant relative with very little importance.
In modern times, he’s probably like… a second cousin, twice removed.
No, even more distant than that, perhaps.
‘They do say that a fox lives like a king when there’s no tiger in the cave…’
And in a cave where there’s no fox, then would the rabbit be the king
It’s all just amusing to me.
Believing that the faint blood in his veins was stronger than it actually was, the rabbit became the leader.
Or rather, the rabbits gathered together and bickered amongst themselves to presume their supposed ranks.
Was that all, I wonder.
I got affected when they were cursing at Cassion, but when they started cursing at me, I just stayed quiet…
It felt like I was seeing it in action, that instance of ‘the strong for the weak, the weak for the strong’.
‘Even without personally seeing punks like them, it’s obvious.
Whenever Cassion came in for training, they wouldn’t have treated him with respect.’
As I arrived at that conclusion, I suddenly felt dirty.
I felt so dirty and unpleasant, as if I had suddenly dipped my feet into rotten water.
My chest felt heavy as I thought about how Cassion must have swung his sword alone in that place, silently in one corner.
“Are you alright”
Whatever feeling this was after hearing them speak ill like that, I kept walking forward, then a quiet voice asked a question.
As if it was a probe into my emotions, I hesitated to answer.
When I turned my head slightly to the side, I was faced with his black irises.
Within those eyes, genuine concern, or something like that, could be seen.
Instead of answering verbally, I gave a surreptitious nod of the head.
No, well I tried to answer with just that, but my lips opened to speak.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
Rather than keeping it to myself, I thought it would give more relief to just spit it out.
Of course, that relief was directed not at me, but towards the person beside me.
In my head, I continued to see Cassion standing there, swinging his sword all by himself.