Stone Thrown into the Lake - Chapter 20
“Okay, how was the meeting with her?”
‘To the extent of doing crazy things.’ Ziark said in a very twisted tone. Sidis Murka smiled mysteriously in response. For a moment, Ziark continued pulling at the rope in the tug of war that he was bound to lose. Not once in his life had he ever beaten the prince in keeping the other in suspense.
“I won’t pester you, so tell me. Honestly, I am curious.”
Eventually, Ziark surrendered. Gracious in his victory, Sidis replied.
“The impulse isn’t that bad.”
It was an answer that failed to satisfy his curiosity. “What does that mean? How did the meeting with that woman go?” Ziark eventually added with a nagging voice. But instead of answering, Sidis Murka asked.
“Ziark, what do you think?”
Ziark Dunmel looked at his master with a grimace. Sidis had a smile on his lips as per usual, but there was something strange about it that made Ziark perplexed. It was odd as no matter how he looked at it, Sidis Murka seemed quite happy.
“…Did you like her that much?” he asked shakily. Ziark Dunmel was aware of his master’s innocence toward women, to the point that he couldn’t relate with it at all.
But Sidis ran out to meet the girl, and after meeting her, ended up with a happy face? Nothing went normally in any of the matches that ended up benefiting them both.
At the sign of the absurd scenarios that piled up like a mountain in Ziark’s mind turning into reality, he worried over the side that the sun would be rising from tomorrow.
“Where are you feeling unwell?”
Ziark finally asked again. Sidis pushed the window open and turned to look at Ziark. “What’s so weird?”
Ziark wanted to say that the entire situation was weird, but he didn’t answer. It was only natural that he couldn’t say, ‘It’s strange that you look happy.’
Ziark sighed and closed the door that Sidis had opened with his own hand. Wasn’t this the job of the castle’s maidservants? Sidis sat on the window sill.
“It doesn’t seem to be a very wealthy estate.”
“Did you also inspect the territory?”
“I just noticed it after arriving. There aren’t many people working in this castle.”
As such, she couldn’t send a maidservant to attend to his needs at his sudden arrival. This was Sidis’ fair evaluation. He was aware of the unfavourable position of the three families combined, but it was worse than he had imagined.
He called out, “Ziark Dunmel.”
Ziark quickly noted that Sidis wanted the response to his question to be given in the position of the second son from the Dunmel family, and not as his friend and his first knight.
“Yes, My Lord.”
He dared to answer as a knight of Sidis. At Ziark Dunmel’s minor act of rebellion, Sidis laughed.
“Why was she chosen as a candidate?”
Although he had given into his impulses for the first time in his life, and came all the way here, he was raised to lead a country. Therefore, habits such as assessing people, observing and predicting the flow of things, were cultivated into a level as natural as breathing. As such, Sidis Murka was well aware that the Salzmia family was not suitable as the family of the future queen.
In the first place, it would have been impossible to become a candidate, if it weren’t for Dunmel’s recommendation. Hence, this led to the discussion of Dunmel’s intentions. At Sidis’s query, Ziark had an expression of bewilderment on his face.
“Why was she nominated? That’s what you wanted to ask?”
Sidis nodded his head seriously. It wasn’t something a man who ran out of the castle just to see her face would say. However, it was a question appropriate for a prince mindful of his position.
“Are the Dunmels going to adopt her?”
Sidis asked briefly. The simple question was heavy with implications, but Ziark Dunmel, who thought of himself as Sidis’s first knight instead of Dunmel’s second child, answered the question simply.
“I do not know.”
“You don’t know?”
“What do you know?”
Sidis smiled, with a face that was no different from a tree outside the window. Sidis Murka was nonetheless like a quiet forest, even if he did things he never would have thought of before. Ziark sighed inwardly. He had wondered what kind of madness prompted Sidis’s sudden impulsive decision, but he wanted to see Sidis fall in love and flounder at least once.
“Wouldn’t it be better to just avoid it, if you’re concerned about that?”
‘Daring to cause such an accident, perhaps your rebellious period came late?’ Ziark smirked internally.
Sidis replied, “That’s right”
That was really true. If the loyal servant Dunmel had plans to plant a seed that will only sprout in time, digging up said seed would be the duty of a good owner. But even if he was aware of this principle, Sidis Murka couldn’t.
Sidis, who was gazing out the window, glanced at Ziark. Ziark hesitated for a moment. Although his green eyes were relaxed, there was something hanging over them, something he could not imagine seeing, even on Sidis when he was younger.
Sidis Murka smiled very happily.
“But I want to get to know her.”
Ziark Dunmel grabbed the back of his neck and left the room.
‘I guess I’ll have to drink some alcohol before going to sleep.’
◇ ◆ ◇
Due to the late hour, conversation between the family members ended easily. Yvor Adela left to find her brother, after arranging for Mrs. Harris to escort her father to his room. The image of Duran turning his little back, as well as his voice, was all she could think about.
She also had to ponder over her current situation. Ranan Elmund wasn’t a person that made his intentions obvious, but Yvor was able to guess his purpose to some extent. In the past, he came to Serium after the king. Perhaps this visit was for the same purpose as then.
But why has the prince come to visit instead of the king? Yvor guessed that her portrait was the main reason the king came to Serium in the past, but as a result of refusing the portrait, the king did not visit. Why was the prince here then?
Moreover, why did the visit take place much earlier than before? The time period, the details, and even the main characters of the meeting had changed. The possibility that her refusal would attract the prince’s attention did not cross her mind, thus, everything else was being questioned in her mind.
Yvor Adela did not like the current situation. All she wanted was to live quietly in her castle, with her only brother and manage her estate. That was her wish, the future she envisioned.
For the sake of her younger brother in the past, she sacrificed not only herself, but also the lives of other people countlessly. She wrote things that did not belong to her as if it was hers, and looking back, it was deplorable that ignoring her pride came naturally to her.
Such a woman cared only for the happiness of her brother and gave up everything, hers and not hers alike. Asking her to change her character overnight was impossible. The current Yvor Adela was capable of doing anything for what she wanted, even giving up on her desires.
However…The lamp in the hallway flickered slowly as Yvor’s steps slowed down. There was just one thing. She was Yvor Adela, and she did not want to deny herself the life she currently has.
‘So what should I do?’ She thought as she descended the flight of stairs.
Considering how she was educated as a child, Ranan Elmund wouldn’t have raised his daughter with the intention of dedicating her to the king from the very beginning. According to her memories at eighteen, she has yet to learn how to entertain a man, or the wifely virtues of yielding to and obeying her future husband. The bridal lessons she received were only to the extent that she deserved as a daughter of a noble family.
It was certain that Yvor Adela was groomed to govern the family. She was in possession of family secrets and knowledge only the heir would know of, particularly the secrets of Gremory…Yvor suddenly realized.
‘Why is it only of Gremory?’
She returned to the spring of her eighteenth year, and had yet to fully familiarize herself with the situation around her. But she was of age, and was eligible to be officially named as Ranan’s successor.
While it was unprecedented for a woman to become a Marquis, her family that was on the brink of ruin had no males fit to inherit. She would not be surprised if she was bestowed the symbolistic title of Count to denote her position as the successor.
Therefore, it is the point in time where all secrets are disclosed to the heir of the family, so that in the event of the head’s sudden death, the heir could assume his position smoothly.
However, from some point onwards, Yvor Adela had only studied Gremory’s affairs. All three families have been around for a similar number of years, so it could not have been due to Gremory having a richer history than Salzmia and Wundt.
◇ ◆ ◇