༺ The First Letter (59) ༻
Celine had been cooped up in her room since the sword fight. She hadn’t left her room until that night.
It seemed like she still had a few lectures remaining, but it was something that didn’t matter to her at all. Upon hearing the news, some of her friends came knocking on her door asking how she was doing, but not a single answer came back.
It was unusual considering her gregarious personality. How could she not welcome visitors?
However, it was also something Celine couldn’t help. The shock Celine received was extremely profound. She was constantly reminiscing about the past as she pulled her blanket over her.
The repeating scene was Ian witnessing Seria’s fight with Celine.
The face reddened with anger, the cold golden eyes and voice filled with irritation pierced her brain like an electric shock. Celine’s body trembled severely.
It shouldn’t be like this, I shouldn’t fall out with Ian.
Celine was just repeating those thoughts. She had been like that since her childhood. Celine pretended to be confident, but deep down, she was very dependent on Ian. It was someone whom she had a crush on for over 10 years.
It had been a long time since feelings of love had sprouted in her heart. After all the tragedies, he was the boy who willingly held her hand when her life required a new light.
She couldn’t help but love. Despite knowing that Ian only considered her as a friend. Her wit was outstanding after all.
On the day the Haster family collapsed due to a dispute over the concession of high-ranking nobles, Celine had to shoulder a heavy mission.
The silvery eyes which stared at her father, who received the bill, causing veins to bulge from his neck were indelibly imprinted in her mind.
Alpenhauser, one of the five most prestigious families in the empire. Silver eyes that were unfocused, like a blind man’s, were distinctive to the Alpenhauser family. They intervened in the Haster family’s business interest.
All the tragedies began with the discovery of a gold mine in the Haster fief. The Haster family owned a mine that had been mining iron for a long time, and gold was suddenly discovered in a vein that had been trouble-free for over 100 years.
The news of the discovery of the gold mine was celebrated by the Haster family. Not only the family, but the entire estate was ecstatic. Baron Haster was a lord beloved by the people of his territory. And he did not begrudge sharing the land of the nobility with the commoners.
It was clear that the land would develop rapidly along that path. Until the intervention of the high nobles, led by the Alpenhauser family.
The Alpenhauser family was known for producing successive chancellors and holding the keys to the empire’s strongholds. Their methods were secretive as well as subtle.
The Hasters incurred tremendous debts for the development of gold mines as they monopolized the market in the Haster territory by cutting off supplies and mobilizing connections.
It would have been impossible to develop the gold mines without the support of capital. When the high nobility intervened and began to impede the growth of the gold mines, the final result was obvious.
It was bankruptcy. Upon seeing the tremendous debt, Celine’s father collapsed on the spot. Not only the Haster family, but the capital market of the land itself had fallen into the hands of the Alpenhausaur family.
They couldn’t even secure the iron that was originally extracted there, let alone a gold mine. That day, Haster territory’s economy was ruined. It was because the mine was one of the few holdings supporting the modest country estate.
The man from the Alpenhauser family declared with a cold voice as he glanced at Celine, who was biting her lips and staring at him with teary eyes.
“One gold coin.”
Even without that, her father had already fallen, gasping for breath. Celine, who was already on edge at such a young age, had no choice but to respond sharply, knowing how high of a noble the opponent was.
The man from the Alpenhauser family didn’t even seem to care. He adjusted his monocle and spoke in a voice that didn’t show any interest.
“That grudge, I will buy it with one gold coin. Isn’t it better to just forget it neatly? Personally, I like to put a price on things.”
“No, what nonsense……”
“If you don’t forget, what will you do? The world is not so kind that we will collapse just because a poor young lady from a rural nobleman’s house holds a grudge.”
Celine thought that his words were meant to ridicule at first. It was an insult that the winner generally hurled at the loser, but the man who said it was composed.
Celine shuddered a little. She had heard that there was a huge struggle over the gold mine. In the end, it was the Alpenhauser family who ultimately took control of the gold mine. It was normal to feel elated, frustrated, to experience any change in emotion.
However, the man was simply calm. She couldn’t even feel a snippet of feeling. He was like a man made of paper.
“This is how the world works. Even nobles are ranked according to their power. No matter how hard Haster tries, they can’t come anywhere near the Alpenhausers. Not just the Alpenhauser family. Any high-ranking noble families…”
The man’s story continued for a while. Celine, who was not even yet ten years old, had to listen blankly to the cruel reality of the chain of society.
His story was too hard for her to understand. However, one thing was for sure. The conclusion of that long story was as follows.
The resentment of the Haster family is meaningless.
He was a man of the Alpenhauser family. He would have had more than enough gold coins. Among them, the fact that he offered a gold coin indicated that he was just too lazy to take out silver or copper coins.
Irrational. Celine thought so despite her young age.
Baron Haster was a respected lord. The commoners of the territory also lived a life without hunger, even if they were not affluent under the territory. The Haster territory was that of such a happy and comfortable place.
He made everything a mess and even forbade resentment? This is the world?
At the end of the story, whether it was advice or mockery, the man offered one last recommendation.
“…..So, in other words, it would be more beneficial for you to forget your resentment with a gold coin. They say it’s a rational choice, and I really like that word ‘rational,’ haha.”
Even his laugh was empty. Although laughter flowed from his mouth, his eyes and mouth corners did not even twitch. Celine finally came to her senses at that moment.
A gold coin? Although she was a noble, the amount was large for Celine, who was not even ten years old. Despite this, she was not at all drawn to this proposal.
Quivering, Celine dropped a tear. Her father was sighing heavily and seemed to be just breathing with narrowed eyes.
Perhaps it was because a knight of the Alpenhauser family was guarding the door, but even upon hearing the commotion, the servants did not dare to enter the room.
Celine was only let in because she was a noblewoman. Celine’s brown eyes were filled with resentment and tears.
“…..Never, I will never forget.”
Hmm, the man swallowed his murmur with a sense of pity. He then stood up from his seat, as if nothing had happened. His suit and fedora white, just like his sclera.
He was a man covered in white. He was about to leave the room without bothering to say goodbye.
Until the voice of a young girl held back his footsteps.
Though he glimpsed, he didn’t look back. It didn’t matter though. Celine warned him with a boiling hatred.
“My name, it’s Celine Haster… Keep it in mind, bastard. Because I will get revenge someday.”
Finally, the man’s silvery eyes fluttered towards Celine. Seeing the sweet girl holding back tears and glaring at him, he put on a blurry smile.
It was a new expression on his face.
“Well, three gold coins…ah, and my name is Dalton. If you ever feel like making a deal later, find Dalton from the Alpenhauser family.”
After that day, Celine endured desperately. The Haster family collapsed and their territory devolved into chaos. The Haster lady, unable to provide adequate support, decided to send Celine to her older sister.
That older sister was Lady Einstein, and it was the beginning of Celine and Leto growing up as close siblings from a young age.
But despite the dedicated efforts of the Einstein family, Celine never regained her smile. She only scowled and swung her sword.
Because she naturally had high magical capacity, her body managed to survive somehow, but it was a time when she seemed to have completely forgotten the thrill of life, living as if everything had been lost.
And the person Celine met at that time was Ian.
Celine still treasured the memories of the overflowing flower garden.
She loved him, she continued loving him, and she would love him in the future. She desired to spend the rest of her life with him. She wanted to date, get married, and start a family.
She wanted roughly three to four children? With a son and a daughter. She sometimes daydreamt about having a sturdy son as the firstborn.
Despite that, the reason Celine couldn’t confess to Ian was because of Ian’s attitude.
Ian thought Celine had to marry a worthy person and revitalize the Haster family. Without Ian, Celine might have seriously considered such a future as well.
However, that was no longer the case. Even so, Celine endured for a long time. She assumed that as the years went, Ian would have to look at her.
Suddenly, there was a woman who was sticking around Ian’s side. She was even a high-ranking noblewoman. Celine bit her lip and sobbed every night.
They took away Father and the future of the territory, and now they were aiming for Ian Oppa?
She couldn’t let this happen. Maybe that was why she was enraged. Though the result was, more than anything, miserable.
Tears welled up in Celine’s hazel eyes. She buried her face between her knees. The pain of being hated by the man she loved was indescribable.
And she was also disappointed. By Ian, who blindly took Seria’s side without even asking for Celine’s circumstances.
It was then when a note arrived to her, who was sobbing alone in the room. The note that came under the door flew like the wind.
Looking at the handwriting, it was clearly from Ian. So Celine urgently took a shower, dressed up and generously used the perfumed toiletries Ian had praised before rushing outside.
Beg for forgiveness. For now, that was the first priority.
Nothing could begin if she couldn’t mend her relationship with Ian. It would also be good to remain ordinary friends as before. Celine’s only possession was Ian.
As she ran towards the vast forest, she saw Ian’s back. The dim moonlight was gleaming on the man’s back.
“I, Ian Oppa…..?”
She called out to Ian with a trembling voice, but there was no response. Celine felt a fear growing within her.
Was he really that mad? She tried to initiate a conversation, but she couldn’t even get a word out. What if Ian had made the decision to end the relationship after much contemplation.
Because he was disappointed. Yes, because I made him disappointed.
She would have begged for forgiveness on her knees. If only she could get his forgiveness, she had the will to do anything.
A teary voice escaped from her mouth.
“Uh, the incident today…I-I’m sorry. I-I will take any punishment. W, wait look at what happened to me! I never intended to do that, Ian oppa…. Please?”
There were so many things she wanted to say, such as being a little sad about him blindly taking Seria’s side, or that she also had things she felt was unfair, but when she stood in front of Ian, the only words that came out were a request for forgiveness.
It was not too late to make excuses after being forgiven. That’s why Celine begged for forgiveness in a pitiful tone.
Only then, when he turned around, Ian’s heavy mouth opened. Celine’s face grew red.
Only if they talked it out. After that no matter how, if she could just get forgiveness from Ian, it would be enough. Celine believed that just hearing that would make her so pleased that her heart would burst.
However, the words that Ian spat out were more than she had imagined.
“Let’s have a duel.”
Her brown pupils widened in bewilderment. Regardless, the sword Ian pulled out and swung at her only grazed the ground.
Celine muttered to herself unknowingly.
Is he out of his mind?
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