The light seemed to fade away and disappear from her sight, as suddenly, an open space appeared before her eyes.
Even though she was stepping on the floor, she felt dizzy as if she was on a boat.
She covered her mouth and staggered in the midst of her nausea.
Someone held her hand tightly.
“When using the Gate for the first time, people often complain of motion sickness.”
All she saw was a moving mouth in front of her.
The voice sounded distant from her ears.
Diana closed her eyes from the dizziness.
“It doesn’t matter if you rest a little.
Take your time.
Take a deep breath and let it all out.”
Diana inhaled deeply as she held Senir’s arm.
‘If I had used the gate after eating, I might have vomited…’
She was glad she currently had an empty stomach.
Come to think of it, she was so busy that she skipped lunch.
As she rested a little, her condition soon improved.
“I’m okay now.”
Senir carefully arranged her robe once more before finally moving away.
In front of her was a large circular space.
She could see a blue sky with white clouds flying through the dome-shaped ceiling.
Diana was surprised to see the floor.
There lay a weakly lit magic square, that wriggled and changed shape as if it were alive.
“First, let’s get out of the square.”
Diana followed Senir’s lead.
They headed for an arch-shaped passage that had no doors.
A lot of people came and went.
Just like them, there were quite a few people who had pulled over their hoods and covered themselves from head to toe.
Walking on the shiny marble, a set of stairs appeared as they turned around the corner.
From this point on, the number of people decreased rapidly.
As she climbed the spiral stairs she placed her hand on the railing carved in the shape of a flower bud.
Soon, an open corridor appeared.
Under the railing, one could see the circular space where Diana had initially arrived.
The magic square, which shone at her feet, was much more magnificent when viewed from above.
‘So, the shape keeps changing.’
Distracted by the magic square, Diana didn’t notice that Senir had stopped walking.
Just like that, her face hit his back.
“Are you okay?”
Fortunately, she didn’t collide with him hard.
Diana rubbed her nose and nodded, as if saying that it was okay.
“You can go in from here.”
Senir pointed to the arched door in front of them.
The dark reddish-brown door was adorned with gold sculptures.
The door was styled with birds that held branches in their beaks.
‘It’s like the symbol on the gold coins, right?’
Why was this engraved here? This place wasn’t even a bank.
Senir beckoned the servant who stood at the door.
Diana raised her head at the sound of the servant’s knock.
“Little Young Master has come, together with a guest.”
“Let them in.”
A voice was heard from inside the door.
Diana didn’t even notice that she, herself, was very nervous.
Just like that, she entered the room whose door was opened.
It was a place that looked like a resting area.
There were crystal chandeliers on the ceiling, vine-shaped golden sculptures all over the creamy walls, and crystal vases with low saturation flowers on the antique sofa table.
She heard a voice from the inside speak once again.
“To say that she’s 13 years old… She looks like she’s around 10.”
It was the low voice of a middle-aged woman.
She then heard the sound of a drink being poured into a cup.
‘But it’s a voice that I’ve never heard before.’
At the edge of her sight, which was covered by the hood, she could see a wheelchair.
‘Are her legs crippled?’
It was her first time seeing a wheelchair in person.
“Can you show me your face?”
The woman asked in a flat tone.
Diana pulled off her hood.
She shook her head lightly and arranged her hair which rose because of the static electricity.
She might be about 50 years old? The young wrinkles around her eyes and the gray hair near her temple made Diana guess the woman’s age.
Nice to meet you.
However, the reply that should’ve come, didn’t.
Tilting her head, Diana continued.
“I heard that you wanted to see me.”
At the silence, Diana looked back at Senir.
Senir, whose eyes met with Diana, smiled softly.
‘I don’t think I said anything wrong.’
The glass slipped from the hand of the woman who looked at her.
The fallen glass shattered and the red wine spilled onto the carpet, slowly seeping into it.
However, the woman’s gaze didn’t move away from Diana.
Diana said worriedly.
“Oh, oh my.
Oh my God.”
The woman covered her mouth with her gloved hands.
Diana somehow felt the situation was familiar.
“For a moment, closer…”
The maid behind the woman pushed up the wheelchair.
Diana felt that the woman’s wrinkled eyes, that had quickly turned red, were quite familiar.
“By any chance, have we met somewhere?”
At Diana’s words, the woman burst into tears.
The flustered Diana looked around.
Just in time, she made eye contact with Senir.
Senir smiled weakly at her and slightly bowed his head.
“Oh my… Really, really my daughter…”
The other employees in the room stiffened.
It was the first time that the Count, who had always been known to be iron-blooded, shed tears.
The moment they saw the Count’s tears, everyone realized that this girl was the real deal.
(t/n: Count in this passage is most likely a general title.)
‘Just what in the world is going on?’
The woman stretched out her hand, which was covering her mouth, to Diana, before quickly retracting it.
Taking off her gloves, the woman reached her hand out again.
The heat of something neither warm nor cold touched Diana’s cheeks.
“Are you alright Madam?”
Diana said carefully.
She was groping the face of the person whom she had only met for the first time today.
Diana deserved to feel that it was rude, but somehow she didn’t have any thought of taking the woman’s hands off.
“I’m saying this but… by any chance.
By any chance…”
The woman’s voice was so small that Dian wouldn’t have heard it if she didn’t concentrate.
“Is your mother Phi, Philli, Phil…”
The woman stuttered several times as she couldn’t bear to say that name.
The woman shook her head first before Diana answered.
The hair on the woman’s head became disheveled as she turned her head.
It’s impossible that your mother isn’t Phillipa.
Your mother is Phillipa, right?”
It was a confident voice.
Diana nodded carefully as she stared at the woman.
“Do you know my mother?”
“Of course, of course I know.
How can I not know.”
The woman gently grabbed Diana’s hand.
The lukewarm temperature returned and the tears that dripped on top of it were hot.
“You, you don’t know? I’m… I’m your…”
She wanted to listen to the woman but for some reason, she also didn’t want to listen to her.
There was no reason, but her heart started beating faster.
Diana’s eyes, which were looking at the tear marks on the back of her hand, slowly looked up.
When the woman gestured, a maid brought a small frame on the table.
“Here, this, look at this once.”
The frame she received showed a black-and-white picture.
The quality of the old picture was not good.
But it was enough for Diana to recognize the face on it.
The young face in the frame was familiar.
Diana’s shaking eyes faced a mirror on the other side of the table.
Then, she looked at the frame again, looked at the woman, looked in the mirror, and simply repeated this several times.
“This, what is this…”
Diana, who stumbled, pointed at the table, covering her gasping mouth.
“…Are you really my grandmother?”
It’s really the truth.”
“Really? Are you seriously telling the truth?”
I’m telling you it’s real.”
So… the person in the picture was her mother.
Her mother in the picture was a little younger than what she remembered, and the woman next to her young mother was a young Madam, the person in front of her.
“Ha… Haha, ha.
It was so ridiculous that she burst into laughter.
“Why now? No, I mean, really? Why….”
Diana grabbed the woman’s arm and asked pitifully.
“Are you really my grandmother?”
Tears formed in Diana’s eyes too.
Diana shook her head.
She burst into tears and laughter.
It was too unrealistic.
“Why? Just why now…”
“One day, Philippa disappeared.
I tried every means, but I couldn’t find her.”
The woman’s cheeks were wet with tears.
“However, not long ago, Phillipa’s inheritance was given to someone.”
“Don’t tell me…?”
The inheritance that Hermann handed over?
“We found the owner of the inheritance.
And I was told that the person looked exactly like my daughter.
I also heard that the child’s mother was already dead.”
The woman bent down and grabbed the hem of her clothes.
“I didn’t believe it.
That my daughter died, and that I have a granddaughter.
But… By any chance, just by any chance….”
The woman bowed her head, biting her lips.
It was suffocating.
She couldn’t believe it.
She didn’t believe it.
The sound of her heart pounding thumped painfully in her ears.
She had dreamed countless times after her mother died.
That maybe, by any chance, another family member would come to find her.
For the first time, she also wanted to find her father.
Father, or even if it wasn’t him, maybe a relative.
Somewhere, wouldn’t there be at least one person who would protect her? She wanted to rely on someone, anyone was fine! As long as there was someone…
But, day after day passed.
In her tiring life, her hope soon died down and crumbled like faded paper.
“It’s true that you’re my granddaughter.
It’s impossible for you to not be my granddaughter.”
Diana opened her lips to deny it, but her voice didn’t come out.
‘You’re asking me to trust this?’
Diana, who was panting, looked down at the frame in her hand.
However, her eyes were blurred, so she couldn’t see the face in the picture.
Before she knew it, her cheeks were soaked with tears.
More than anyone else, she wanted to believe it and also at the same time didn’t want to believe it.
What if it turned out to be a lie? It was better to not have hope from the beginning.
Diana, who repeatedly cried and laughed, pinched her cheek.
It hurt, but it still seemed like a dream.
When she tried to pinch again, someone grabbed Diana’s hand.
“Don’t be like that.
It hurts, right? It’s not a dream.”
Diana’s face distorted, she could feel the hand of the woman who grabbed her, shaking.
There was only a crying sound like that of a wounded beast’s moaning.
“Diana, don’t… don’t cry.”
Eventually, Diana collapsed to the floor and buried her face in both of her hands.
“Raise your head.
Let me see your face.”
Diana continuously shook her head.
“If you don’t want to, it’s fine not to raise your head.
No matter what the woman said, Diana just kept shaking her head.
She really wanted to believe it.
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