House Kraus existed back during the days when the empire was founded. The Count’s Kraus’ manor stored a long history, which was shared through various anecdotes.
The Isilia Pavillion had been built at the same time as the manor; it also contained many stories. The most known was the origin of its name, Isillia.
Isilia Pavillion was an annex named after the first wife of House Kraus. Subsequently, the place had been used by the wives of House Kraus for generations. Over the long period of time, there were many reconstructions, but traces of the previous housewives remained in various forms.
The flower garden we were strolling through was one of those traces.
This garden was a mark left by Arwen Kraus, mother of Damian and Alphonse, and spouse of the current Count Kraus.
The scent of the swaying hyacinths made me recall memories of her. I used to walk here with her often when I was a child. After she passed away, I was the only one in my family who visited at times. Father did not step foot into the Isilia Pavillion after mother was gone, and for some reason, Alphonse was reluctant to enter this place. As such, I was always alone when I walked through here.
The servants kept it well-maintained. They were employed so it would’ve been difficult for them to enjoy the scenery. They were always busy rushing out of the garden after work, and as a result, I was the only visitor.
However, a new guest had entered after a long time.
She looked like a painting, her beauty coupled with the flowers in the background.
Elena had gently clasped my hand as I guided her.
The garden was a space for admiring the flowers. There was no need for us to exchange words.
We walked slowly, smelling the flowers change as we navigate through the different areas.
The spring blue sky and the flowers swaying in the wind put my mind at ease.
Walking together with her felt different from when I walked alone. The garden also had a different scent to it. It felt like a void in me was being filled, making me feel strangely satiated.
Perhaps it’s because it’s been a while since I walked through this path with another person.
I shook off the itch that kept trying to crawl out from me, then looked at Elena.
The hyacinths blooming behind her were violet, just like her eyes. Her beauty naturally blended in with the flowers. It sometimes blows a person’s reason away.
I’d felt this many times, but she truly possessed an unreal beauty.
Does the heroine’s beauty have to be on this level for it to be considered a romance fantasy?
She gazed at the world with calm eyes, captivated by the landscape. I quietly turned to where she was looking.
There was a scenery before us which no artist could ever hope to paint. It was quiet. The sounds of the birds chirping and the bees buzzing were buried in this green world.
We stopped walking and stood there to watch the view.
How many minutes have passed?
Somewhere the wind moved the clouds to cover the sun. As a shadow was cast on the world, we took the cue to start walking again.
When she came out of the garden, she was completely composed. Eyes as calm as a still lake and an expression of indifference, this was the same image I had of her while reading the novel.
But why does this side to her look so new? This was the Elena I knew, so what is this strange feeling?
I had seen her smile, cry, and turn red from embarrassment.
Why does she have such a range in emotions?
I could see that Elena Edelweiss had turned into quite a mess when I recalled what happened until now.
Be that she may, I wasn’t as confused as before.
“Yes, Damian? What is it?”
“Nothing, I just wanted to call your name.”
A smile spread across her face. Only then did I feel as though I had found my place. I felt some sense of satisfaction and the corner of my lips rose up on its own.
Elena tilted her head, slightly perplexed.
It would be nice if the ending could change as easily as Elena’s expressions. It’s a shame it wouldn’t. Even so, she was more relaxed now. I don’t know if a weight had been taken off her shoulders or if she completely let go of her inhibitions, she wasn’t fretting or being anxious like before.
“How was the garden?”
“Oh, it definitely was different seeing it in person. Thank you, Damian. For letting me experience this.”
“Rather than viewing flowers in a small private room, one should experience them in a wide and open space to fully enjoy them. You can’t capture nature’s beauty entirely through artificial means.”
Elena agreed with a small smile.
I did not see Elena’s maid. Ken might’ve brought her out.
Was her name… Hailey? In the original story, Damian continued to hide Elena’s abuse by threatening her. I remember she was the one who helped report Damian’s wrongdoings at the end.
Perhaps they left out of consideration for the two of us.
I was planning to escort her anyway.
Elena was still looking at the garden.
“The weather sure is nice.” I said.
“Shall we go out next time too?”
“Let’s bring a basket with desserts.”
Stop eating sweets… You’re going to get sick.
Then again, Elena was a magician, so she’ll manage.
“Yes, let’s also bring a mat then. It’ll continue to be sunny for the time being. It won’t be that bad to go a little further out since there are many scenic spots in Sarham.” She replied.
“Melloheim doesn’t lose when it comes to their view…”
“Well, I suppose. If you want to freeze to death by sitting out there with a mat.”
Melloheim. The climate was the same as Russia’s.
One could build an enormous snow castle when it snowed. It was fortunate that House Edelweiss were a family of magicians. If they had been a martial household like us, they would have fallen to ruins long ago unless they had an abundance of resources.
“Let’s do it at Melloheim someday. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to sit on top of the ice with a mat. In the meanwhile, let’s take a look around the Isilia Pavilion.”
Rather than survive in the Arctic, they had to first survive the 500-year-old ancient castle first.
“Who is this?” Elena asked.
“She’s my mother.”
She stood in front of a portrait hanging on the wall. Although there were rows of other portraits next to it, she managed to find Arwen Kraus’ portrait.
The Isilia Pavillion served as the home to the all wives of the past counts, as such all their portraits were hung there. Therefore, it wasn’t so strange to find my mother’s portrait there too.
In fact, it wasn’t really surprising that Elena picked Arwen’s portrait. She had already met someone who looked very much like the woman in the portrait.
I picked up the white cloth which had fallen on the floor. Originally, it would’ve been covering my mother’s portrait.
My father sent my mother’s belongings to the Isilia Pavillion, everything that made him miss her. My mother’s portrait was the only one which had a white cloth over it. It was so that he couldn’t see her face when he visited.
It wasn’t because my father hated her. No, it was because he loved her so much that he would burst into tears just from seeing her face.
And yet, the cloth had fallen onto the ground.
If the servant had made a mistake, they would have covered it, so why didn’t they?
I’m certain there’s no one here who didn’t know about the hidden portrait.
The cause was immediately revealed.
A child came out of a room full of his mother’s belongings, a child who was the splitting image of the woman in the portrait.
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