While Sophia was listening to an old story from Duchess Rose Levord, upstairs in another salon, Randall and Kyle, Duke Levord’s son, were both playing the chessboard.
The Duke was smoking a cigar at a distance.
“Sophia has become much more beautiful again.
She has lost her childishness and now looks mature.
I’m envious of you being able to marry such a beautiful woman.”
He and Kyle, who were the same age, had studied abroad together when they were both in their teens.
‘I’m not sure she has lost a lot of her childishness, wasn’t she playing in the fountain just the other day?’
It was true that Sophia’s appearance today had stunned him, and Kyle was right that she was beautiful, but Randall had not married Sophia because he liked her..
“I thought you were going to take Princess Keira as your wife.
I envy you, you have so many choices.”
“Keira is not like that”
“Then what’s she like?
“She’s like a …… sister.
If you are so envious, why don’t you ask her to marry you? It’s a good match in terms of status”.
“Princess Keira? No, I’m going to pass.
I’d rather go for Princess Sophia.
If you had married her a little later, I would have come forward”.
Randall’s brow wrinkles further as he moves his black rook.
Kyle also advanced the piece and nodded loudly.
“It’s not a lie.
My father and mother agreed.
it was disappointing, I didn’t expect you and Lady Sophia to get engaged so soon.”
“… What’s so good about Sophia?”
“Oh, come on, how can you say that. She’s cute, isn’t she? I’ve only talked to her a few times, but I like the way she looks people straight in the eye and talks to them.
Those big emerald eyes of hers are so absorbing”.
“…… this is ridiculous.”
Randall felt a knot in the pit of his stomach, and he moved on to the next piece in frustration.
Kyle looked at the chess board and grinned.
Thanks for putting the piece in the wrong place,” Kyle said.
“Two more moves and it’s checkmate”
Randall instantly frowned and Kyle laughed aloud, “I guess even you get upset sometimes”
Sophia’s mother, Riserte, lost her mother Anne at the age of fifteen and was taken in by Mrs.
Rose, who knew her shortly before Anne’s death.
Riserte, however, apparently chose to live on her own instead of staying with Mrs.
Roze tried to persuade Riserte many times, but Riserte remained firm, so she was forced to find work at the castle where she felt safe.
“When Riserte was chased out of the castle, she disappeared without a word, and I wonder why neither Anne nor Riserte ever tried to rely on others.
I wanted them to depend on me.
…… Maybe she couldn’t tell them because she was carrying His Majesty’s child.
I wonder if she thought it would be taken away from her.”
“I don’t know, but maybe.
My mother wouldn’t talk about herself or my father”.
She wrote to me shortly before she died ……, before you were taken in by His Majesty.
In the letter, she wrote about you and that she did not have long to live and that she wanted me to take care of you.
But I was in my husband territory at that time for my husband’s medical treatment, and when I noticed the letter, you had already been taken in by His Majesty.
It was the first time she turned to me for help, but I couldn’t help her.
I am sorry.
I’m sure His Majesty loves you, because he is like that, but you were not very comfortable in the castle, were you ……?”
‘It was indeed uncomfortable, but that was not something that the duchess would be bothered by.
I am sure that she has been concerned about me ever since my grandmother’s case’.
Sophia felt like she could see why her mother didn’t want to rely on the duchess until the last minute.
She didn’t want to bother her because she was kind to her.
When she stood up, she moved next to Sophia and gently clasped Sophia’s hand.
“I don’t have a daughter.
I’d be happy if you could come and visit me again.”
“Yes, by all means, I would love to”
Sophia squeezed her hand back.
For her, it might be a way of making amends for not having been able to do anything for Anne and Riserte.
But Sophia was happy.
She was happy to be able to talk about her mother, whom she had not been able to ask her father, because she felt that it was wrong to do so, and she was happy to know that her mother was so dear to her heart.
She enjoyed chatting with her as if they were mother and daughter for as long as time allowed.
“Please do come again”
With a hug from the Duchess; Lady Rose, Sofia left the Duke of Levord’s mansion.
The carriage was parked outside the gates of the ducal residence.
The rain that had been falling when they left the Duke of Voltio’s house had stopped before they knew it.
Walking the short distance to the carriage, Sophia quietly steals a glance at Randall.
(…… something is wrong, he’s in a bad mood.)
Somehow, she feels that Randall is irritated.
He has never been one to smile when he’s with Sophia, but he’s even more crestfallen than usual.
Did something happen when he was with Duke Levord and Kyle? But those two are so good-natured and calm that it is hard to imagine them saying or doing anything that would make people uncomfortable.
Sophia had met the Duke of Levord for the first time today, but she and Kyle had talked a few times at the castle.
They had only exchanged a few words of greeting, but I had the impression that Kyle was always smiling and seemed to be a kind man.
‘Yeah, it must have been my imagination.’
There was no way Randall would be in a bad mood with those two.
She stopped worrying and was about to get into the Duke of Voltio’s carriage with the help of her servants when Sophia heard a voice calling, “Sophia!”
Sophia looked up at the sudden voice and gasped as she saw a man running toward her as if he were a wild boar charging toward her.
The man rushed to Sophia and tried to hug her, but Randall seized him before he could.
She looked at the man, whom she had never seen before, and twisted her head.
The man had dull blond hair.
He was of medium height.
He was probably around 40 years old.
She asked, “Um, ……, do I know you from somewhere ……?”
Sophia had no idea who he was, but when he called Sophia’s name, she wondered if she had met him before.
The man seized by Randall looked up, his eyes moist with moisture.
“Sophia! I’m sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable!”
Sophia tilted her head, becoming more and more confused.
But the next moment, the words the man said made her head blank.
“Don’t you understand, Sophia! I’m your father!”
–I’m your father!??
Riserte is Sophia’s dead mum’s name,This is the name I will be using from henceforth
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