Meanwhile, over here.
Other people’s thoughts had become complicated, though it was in a different sense compared to Cassion’s contemplation.
It was Duke Valentine and Damian.
The moment Rosetta shed tears, the formal conversation they were having with Duke and Duchess Carter grinded to a halt.
Quietly observing, their eyes followed after Rosetta’s retreating figure as she left.
Beneath those wordless gazes, the silence that couldn’t be hidden sank further.
Both men were seeing Rosetta cry for the first time.
From the time she entered the household until this very moment, she never cried in front of Damian and the duke.
Perhaps she was crying while she was behind them.
But it was the first time they saw Rosetta shed any tears.
At least, as far as they could recall.
As though they were two people who had witnessed something unimaginable, they both froze in their places, at a loss for words.
Then, Damian became aware of Leo Carter, who was standing in front of her.
The shock of Rosetta’s tears weighed heavily on his chest, but he soon remembered where they were right now.
This was Cassion Carter’s funeral.
It was an occasion in memory of the departed Cassion Carter, the elder son who was also known as the ‘Useless Carter’.
It was a matter within the household, so he didn’t know the details.
From what he knew of Duke Carter’s nature, he could only surmise that the treatment they had given Cassion wouldn’t be too far from that disgraceful nickname.
Damian and Leo Carter had met face to face at some high society events.
This enough meant that House Carter actively let their children participate in these social functions.
However, Damian couldn’t even remember the last time he saw Cassion, who was older than Leo.
His hair was black, and his eyes must be red.
As he thought about Cassion’s appearance, all he could remember about him were these characteristics.
Two sons had been born under this roof, both with the right to succeed the family.
One son showed his face freely, but why was the other son hiding so thoroughly
There was not one nobleman or noblewoman who couldn’t grasp what this meant.
Today was the funeral of that Cassion Carter.
The funeral of someone who had been regarded as the ‘Useless Carter’ both internally and externally.
It was in such a place that he first saw Rosetta’s tears.
Naturally, it was inevitable that Damian would think, ‘Perhaps’.
‘Perhaps, do you think you’re sympathizing because you think you’re in the same position as him’
He didn’t want to admit it, but it’s obvious that Cassion and Rosetta had very similar situations.
There was an obvious attempt at not discriminating between Alicia and Rosetta when it came to their positions in the household as official daughters of the duchy, as well as when it came to the material belongings that they were allowed.
However, the unbiased treatment stopped there.
Hadn’t Rosetta already acknowledged his attitude towards him
Hadn’t Rosetta already pointed out how both he and their father were uncomfortable around her How they still were
When she had asked him to accept Cassion as her escort knight back then, what she said that time was enough to cement this fact.
‘To be honest, I was lonely sometimes.
I… I actually know everything.
Brother and Father are uncomfortable with me.’
It seemed as if Cassion and Rosetta had nothing in common at all.
The Carter son who had been ostracized for not having any powers.
And, the illegitimate ducal lady who had been born through the sins of one maid.
Rosetta was a quick-witted child, so she wouldn’t have been unaware of this.
Even so, doubts and thoughts that started with ‘perhaps’ hardened into conviction as time passed by.
Rosetta’s tears were not shed only to mourn another person’s death, but they were shed to mourn the death of someone similar to herself.
She pretended to be fine.
However, she must have been absolutely torn.
She couldn’t bear to cry for herself, and yet, she sympathized with and cried because of the fate of a young man who was in a similar situation as her.
Feeling his throat tighten, Damian dryly gulped.
But beside Damian, the duke’s expression was blank.
There, a sense of guilt.
None of that could be seen in the expression he had right now.
Just, his pale face made him look as though he’d seen a ghost.
‘She resembles her.’
Rosetta’s side profile.
The distance between them.
Her back as she had turned away.
She resembled the woman he had missed so very much.
It’s been more than ten years, but it was that woman.
The only Duchess of Valentine—his beloved wife.
At that moment, he saw an image of Lilian.
However, no, that can’t be… That’s impossible.
Wasn’t Rosetta the daughter of that atrocious woman
Lilian had cared for that woman as though they were sisters, and yet that woman betrayed the duchess and gave birth to a child out of greed.
And the result of that avaricious desire was Rosetta.
Lilian’s final words made it possible for that child to be entered into the household and thus treated as an esteemed daughter of the duchy.
But that was all.
The duke never once considered Rosetta his daughter.
Even here, he still does not consider her his daughter.
Right, that’s what he certainly felt, however…
Just why was Lilian’s apparition overlapping with that child’s crying figure
Unconsciously, his stiff lips opened and called her.
Hearing the duke call her name, Rosetta stopped.
As though she herself was a rusty machine, she turned her head stiffly.
She was slightly surprised by him unexpectedly calling out to her.
One tearful gaze, one blank gaze.
They met in the air.
Rosetta was the first to speak because the person who had called her wasn’t saying anything.
Only then did the awareness enter the duke’s blank gaze once more.
His lips moved slightly for a moment, but he eventually spoke with a stern expression.
“If you’re not feeling well, you can go back first.”
It was a constrained voice.
With a tone like that, you wouldn’t be able to guess that it was a father speaking towards his daughter.
Even so, the words itself expressed concern.
Rosetta was perplexed by this.
Whether kind or unkind, just the word ‘concern’ itself did not suit Duke Valentine.
She nodded woodenly.
“…Thank you for your concern.”
Feeling the eyes of others on them, she answered awkwardly and turned her back on them once more.
The duke and Damian still had their feet rooted to that place, and so they watched the two sisters walk away.
The duke’s fingertips were weak, but they were shaking.
When Lilian had passed away, he thought that he had cast away all of his emotions.
But as he felt his fingertips tremble, he thought that this wasn’t the case.
He never thought that Rosetta’s tears would ever cause such a stir within him.
* * *
‘If you’re not feeling well, you can go back first.’
…What the hell was that earlier.
This was what Rosetta thought as she lightly wiped her tears beneath the veil.
It’s good that she could leave with Alicia, but she felt a strange sense of discomfort.
It felt as if there’s something holding her ankle back.
Far from worrying about her, she knew that she’s lucky enough that the duke did not loathe her.
She couldn’t believe that such a person said something that remotely sounded like concern.
No, never mind.
…Just stop thinking nonsense.
Truthfully, what mattered right now was not this strange feeling of discomfort.
〈 This person.
It’s the first time I’ve met such a woman.
This clichéd beginning.
It’s gone now.
That’s what’s important.
The original work did not even begin.
Firstly, it’s obvious that they’d jumped over a hurdle through this.
“Are you alright, Sister”
Just in time, Alicia asked her.
Rosetta nodded as she struggled to keep the corners of her lips down.
I’m fine now.”
That voice was ever so sweet.
Soon, Rosetta caressed Alicia’s golden hair with a soft touch.
She was truly satisfied that she was able to protect this blonde girl, the novel’s main character.
Rosetta stroked Alicia’s hair for a while, then she looked around them.
Through her veil, all she could see was this huge crowd of people.
Indeed, this was a funeral for House Carter’s eldest son.
For the nobles, today’s funeral was not being held just to pay respects to the dead.
It was a ‘high society event.’
Besides that, it wasn’t just some ordinary aristocrat’s event, but one that’s held in a duke’s house.
It’s natural that everyone had scrambled to come through the gates.
Still, not one person in this crowd truly felt any sorrow for the deceased.
From a distance away—haha, ohoho—laughter could even be heard.
In any case, it was a cruel thing to do.
There were so many things in this human world that were not humane.
But what use was there to question such a world.
It’s like this, that’s why Leo had been interested in Alicia in the original.
〈 For someone else… And for a complete stranger, too.
The first person who’s shown such remorse was this woman.
How rotten the world must have been for a man to feel novelty in a woman who cried only a little at a funeral.
Rosetta let out a small sigh, her lips twisting underneath the veil.
The golden eyes that looked around were cold.
‘For now… Let’s go.’
She was worried about how Cassion was hearing laughter at his own funeral.
She couldn’t see his facial expressions through their veils, but it was clear that he wasn’t in the best of moods.
This should be enough motivation.
Excessive provocation would only cause anger, that’s why this much should be enough.
Just in case, she was worried that today’s success would turn into a failure.
She made an effort to eradicate the first scene.
However, it was a fact that couldn’t be changed—that this was a dangerous place.
Cassion’s funeral was the setting for an intense first meeting.
She couldn’t waste her efforts thus far.
She wanted to leave this place after a successful start.
At least, for today.
Some would say that the beginning was half the battle.
The duke had also told her that she could go back first if she wasn’t feeling well, so that’s a good enough reason to leave in the middle of the funeral.
It was awkward, but fortunate.
Rosetta thought far ahead, then, one after another, she glanced at the two people standing next to her.
“Let’s go back first, Alicia, Maxwell.”
Hearing the weak voice, Alicia nodded.
It seems like you’re still not feeling well… Let’s go back so you can rest.”
Alicia was also relieved by this because she also felt uneasy having to be amidst this large crowd.
Of course, the biggest reason she wanted to leave was because she was worried about Rosetta.
“Then, I shall be escorting you back.”
Cassion replied without any hesitation.
The trio soon headed towards the west gate.
The east gate was still very crowded, so they chose to go through a gate that was meant only for people, not vehicles.
It was so loud that they continued to hear this and that, and it was tiring because they kept getting stuck in the middle.
There’s a saying that the more you’re in a hurry, the more you’ll be pushed back.
As a result, the choice they made turned out to be the wrong choice in that regard.
They chose the west gate because they wanted to leave this place even a moment faster, but in the end, they were still held up on their way there.
What stopped them in their tracks was the voice of a stranger from some distance away.
The garden they were passing through was empty.
There was no one there, but it was definitely the voice of a man—a person.
Rosetta turned her head towards the direction of that voice.
But the place where that voice came from was none other than a tree.