Esbaden's Prodigal Son (2)
Esbaden’s Prodigal Son (2)
“You don’t look happy.”
A beautiful young girl with red hair reached out to the face of the man sitting next to her.
The beautiful man, who resembled an unknown young god in a myth, was staring at her, expressionless.
“My dear, relax your face.
Are you saying that you left Daniel alone in the library earlier and ran away?”
“But if you get caught doing such a thing, it is the woman who suffers, you know.
Feel better, okay?”
The man, Daniel, left the lady, who was touching him casually, alone.
He opened his mouth as if he had come to his senses.
“Stop it, Amelia.”
It was the moment he uttered the woman’s name.
The red-haired lady’s face became terribly distorted.
“I am Diana! This d*mn playboy!”
She jumped up and slapped Daniel’s cheek as if it was out of reflex.
With a light hitting sound, the woman sprinted out of her seat.
But Daniel didn’t even think of grabbing her and just sat there.
This was nothing.
This scene always happened.
Either way, neither he nor his partners never truly liked each other.
It was just a play for those who had a lot of time and could not find a place to put their hearts.
Most nobles had a fixed marriage partner anyway, and it was enough to enjoy each other until then and break up after.
Daniel was the most popular diamond of his kind; he didn’t turn down any of the women who approached him.
But despite being this way with the girls every time, he was always popular.
There was one reason.
Externally, he was a friendly, kind, and elegant “Prince of the Esbaden family.”
No matter how much he hated it, it was easier for him to smile and do a favor than to drink cold soup.
Daniel frowned, recalling her words.
[You don’t have to try to be liked by the people you hate.]
She was a brightly colored woman that caught his eye.
Her slender-looking body was overflowing with power, and she had the blade of a sword hidden in her noble tone of voice.
Besides that, those eyes of hers saw through the mask that he was wearing at once.
Daniel mumbled quietly to himself and placed his hand on the nape of his neck.
He had always had a woman by his side, but this was the first time he had let a woman dominate his mind.
All of a sudden, his mind was filled with things related to the new Duchess.
‘What the hell was he thinking?’
At the same time, Dooha returned to her room and thought for a moment.
She remembered Daniel, the man she met at the library.
Even though she could see the difference between what he shows on the outside and what was actually on the inside, she was annoyed by the appearance of him pretending, so she felt uncomfortable.
His expression, which had become empty at every word, continued to stand out.
‘Well, it doesn’t matter.’
Dooha immediately turned her attention elsewhere.
Her gaze was on the Duke’s family tree which she had borrowed from the library.
On the gold-decorated family tree, there were not only portraits of the previous Dukes, but also drawn were the portraits of their siblings, wives, and children.
Dooha carefully traced the tangled family tree with her fingers.
Finding Leonhart’s name was not difficult.
Next to his name was Dooha’s name, which they had just written down.
[Dooha von Esbaden]
She felt strange when she saw the names written next to each other, but Dooha quickly turned her attention elsewhere.
Because what she was looking for wasn’t their names.
“…I’m sorry, Mother…”
Dooha vividly remembered Leonhart’s drunken words.
She also remembered how Nate emphasized and put in “again” for having low blood.
Her finger, which found the name of the predecessor, stopped moving.
She could not see the portrait of the Duchess, who should have been beside the Duke.
In the empty space, only the name was briefly written.
It was just a name, one without the family’s surname or title.
There was only one case in which a noble wife did not receive a title.
The wife’s original origin was too lowly to be recognized as a member of the family.
Dooha quietly closed the book.
The clues that she searched for out of simple curiosity revealed the weakness of the Duke too clearly.
‘This is what she meant by saying he was a lonely person.’
She leaned back against the back of the chair without a word, recalling the words of the maid the other day.
For some reason, it felt like a corner of her heart was getting heavy, as if it was getting filled with water.
“We meet again, Madam.”
Dooha frowned as soon as she saw a man appearing in front of her.
The man who appeared with a bright smile was none other than Daniel.
Today, he wore a dark purple overcoat with colourful embroidery over his shoulders.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence.”
Coincidentally, the place where the two had met again was at the library.
She stopped by to return the family tree she borrowed from the library, but Daniel’s purpose was…
She frowned and glanced behind him.
“Fortunately, I don’t think there’s a party today.”
Daniel saw her reaction and burst into laughter.
“Haha, unfortunately, I broke up with that young girl two days ago.”
“…You broke up?”
Two days ago, it was the first time Dooha and Justin had met at the library.
So it meant that he said goodbye to the woman who ran out alone that day.
“The love story of a young man and a young woman is short and intense, isn’t it?”
“How long have you been dating?”
“I don’t know.
About a week?”
Dooha was deeply embarrassed inside while listening to his nonchalant answer.
Was there a custom in the Empire for men and women who had never been married to meet and break up so easily?
“We weren’t sincere to each other anyway, so there’s nothing to be disappointed about.”
“If you didn’t even really like each other, why were you dating each other?”
Daniel paused for a moment at her question and then smiled softly.
His smile, like the one she had seen the first time, was an alluring but empty-looking smile.
“I have too much time.”
After rebelling against his ambitious father, all that was left was time.
And Daniel has been trying to displease his father only with the long time given to him.
Even if he got pointed at for debauchery from behind, even if he was called useless by his father.
Meanwhile, Dooha frowned as though she didn’t like his answer.
“If you have such time, why not try doing something more productive?”
“If it’s something productive, aren’t I doing it now?”
Daniel rolled his eyes and smiled.
“Spending time with Madam.”
Dooha looked disgusted, as if she was bloated, and stepped away from him.
If you show me that you hate me so openly, I’ll get hurt.”
I’m not used to that kind of talk.”
Dooha quickly walked towards the library to put the family tree back in its original place.
Daniel followed him like a duckling.
In the end, Dooha became annoyed at him, who was chasing her.
“Why do you keep following me?”
“Actually, I have a question for you, Madam.”
‘If you have any questions, ask quickly!’
Dooha looked quite annoyed.
“What are you curious about?”
“That day, what you said to me two days ago.”
Daniel was not very motivated, he even looked a bit nervous.
“You said that ‘I didn’t have to try to be liked by people I hate.’”
What’s wrong with that?”
“Why do you think I hate the Madam?”
“Because I felt that you hated me.”
“Then why did you feel that way…?”
“I told you.
I’m good at reading feelings.”
Dooha briefly answered and moved on.
“Then how about now?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Do you still think I hate Madam?”
Dooha turned her head at his question.
Daniel stood still, right behind her.
His hair shone like gold as the sunlight shone through the window and on his hair.
In the midday sun, he seemed so transparent that somehow it was as if he was going to disappear at any moment.
And the emotions flowing through him were surprisingly not hostile.
It was closer to those of liking, curiosity.
His sharp antagonism toward her that he had until the day before yesterday was gone.
Replacing it was something like a springtime breeze, filling the gap between her and Daniel.
Dooha looked at him blankly, unable to find any words to say.
“What do you think?”
She opened her mouth to see Daniel, who seemed somehow happy.
“…I’m curious why you like me all of a sudden.”
“Because you’re my first.”
Daniel leaned against the bookshelf and smiled.
“The first person who was able to see my true feelings.”
The fact that no one had ever seen his true feelings so far meant that no one had been interested in him.
Or maybe, instead, it was that he had never shown his true feelings to anyone.
Either way, unfortunately for him, it had little significance for Dooha.
“I will take that as a compliment.
But in the future, I hope that there will be no intentional pursuits of me like this.”
She jumped up, inserting the family tree into an empty space on the shelf.
“I am used to being the chaser, but I am not used to being chased.”
“Then what is Madam pursuing now?”
Daniel sat down across from her.
He continued to talk as he saw where she got up from.
“Is it the Duke?”
Dooha felt like she was being stabbed in the gap of her carelessness.
Instead of answering, Dooha stared at him quietly.
“It seems that I also saw through your true intentions.”
“It’s not very pleasant.”
“I was happy seeing you suffer, but I’m sorry.”
It wasn’t pleasant, it wasn’t like he was a pervert who enjoyed seeing others in pain, but Daniel smiled as he looked at Dooha frowning.
“So, has your question been answered? Why are you wondering about that?”
“I thought I could help solve Madam’s curiosity more than a paper book like that could.”
“There is no one in this castle who knows the Duke better than I do.”
At his answer, a long wrinkle appeared on Dooha’s nose.
The Duke and Daniel had a bad relationship.
At least, it was clear that the Duke hated him.
However, it was suspicious for him to talk as though he knew everything about the Duke.
“Are you close with the Duke?”
At one point in time, we used to live together like brothers.”
Dooha’s eyes grew wide at the unexpected answer.
[Ed./N] Not too sure what the exact meaning is, but it’s more of doing something that is unpleasant or unenjoyable.
In Daniel’s case, it could mean “actually showing the world his real personality, damaging his reputation” or something along those lines.
Or, you could take it literally, and think of him getting punished by eating cold soup for not acting princely
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