Stone Thrown into the Lake - Chapter 14
She couldn’t believe the quiet and happy time she’d spent with Duran in the morning, and the classes in the afternoon, had been disturbed in less than a week. Yvor didn’t want to spend a single second of her future hours on anyone other than Duran.
“I read the letter.”
While this was her newly acquired time, she was only the young lord of Serium, and not the notorious queen anymore. So, she couldn’t cast the painter out without seeing him. As the castle’s master, she was obliged to take the artist in as a guest, and provide them with meals and lodging. Also, as the eldest daughter of Salzmia, and being her father’s daughter, she was obligated to converse with the one who brought the message.
Yvor Adela took the letter with her fingertips. Instead of touching this, it would be nice if she could hold Duran’s hand and read a fairy tale to him. Yvor had recently started reading with Duran, in the name of refining his voice.
This is because she recently learned that Duran couldn‘t read. When she learned about it, Yvor had a burning question. What happened to the letters she had sent all along? In the past, Duran told her that he’d never received her letters. Perhaps his words were true.
Wasn’t it ridiculous that she’d sent him letters that he couldn’t even read? In that sense, Yvor rather wished he had received nothing.
‘A letter… the letter…’
In that sense, the ignorance of her past and the present self were brought together. What she was currently holding was not very pleasant, but Yvor removed her hand from the crumbled piece of paper.
She had also received this letter from that father of hers in the past. It bothered her, like weeds in a wheat field, that such afterimages of the past kept interfering with her new life.
The contents of the letter were also the same as in the past. ‘Send me your portrait’. Her father emphasized that it should be done as quickly as possible. Of course, he didn’t mean to draw a new one.
The time required by the letter was far from enough to paint a proper portrait, and it was only to correct the painting that the artist sent. Essentially, a child, who was almost an adult, wouldn’t have grown that much in just a few years. So, the painter could just touch up the base portrait he’d drawn before.
‘This definitely happened in the past.’
Yvor remembered that she’d obediently followed the letter. She never thought about her father’s intention, nor did she think she should. Thinking of her previous self, wasn’t she a foolish woman, who would’ve given her body to a dog if told to? Yvor Adela thought very coldly.
However, in that context, Yvor at that time was a relatively naive child. She was a good student and a good daughter, who believed that what her parents said was to be followed. That was because she had lived her life like that all the time.
When an apple grew, it eventually fell to the ground. It was natural for Yvor Adela to follow the orders of her parents, just as the night arrived after the sunset. She, who was just like that apple that fell to the ground, had no reason to dislike or refuse those orders.
But was it still like that now? The current Yvor Adela was no longer an apple. She looked at Duran sitting next to her for a moment. The distance between their chairs was like a wide river. Normally, she would have sat closer to him.
Duran turned his head towards her when he felt her gaze. What they did throughout the day was of little interest to him. However, he was a little happy that the embarrassing reading time had disappeared. Duran, who had never learned anything, had only recently discovered the feelings of distaste for his classes.
Apart from his greed, thirst, and enthusiasm for learning, he was also embarrassed when Yvor held his hand, leaned her head on his, and read a fairy tale meant for a young child. To the boy, Yvor’s voice seemed to tickle his ear like a feather.
When their eyes met, Yvor laughed without being self-conscious. The gap, which had been as wide as a river, disappeared in an instant. Feeling happy, she turned her attention back to the letter. The portrait must have a different purpose because her father had no desire to see her.
‘Do you really want a drawing of me to show off?’ Yvor looked at the painter this time. He was a middle-aged man wearing more colorful clothes than Yvor herself.
The painter lowered his head as Yvor’s gaze touched his clothes. He’d shown up wearing fancier clothes than the owner of the castle, which was impolite to do as a guest. Moreover, she was the eldest daughter of the Marquis of Salzmia and the lord of Serium, and although he was a famous painter, he was only a normal citizen.
He desperately hoped that his clothes had not offended her. He didn’t wear colorful clothes to be particularly boastful. He just didn’t know she was living such a frugal life.
‘Of course, there was a rumor that Salzmia was poor…’
A southern-born painter, who had only recently made a name for himself in the capital, thought. Darkened by rumors, the head of Salzmia always dressed in a very flashy outfit, so he dismissed it as just a rumor. In addition, the other reason was the person who’d introduced them was such a great person.
However, unlike the artist’s worries, Yvor didn’t seem to care much about his outfit. The only thing she thought about was the fact that this artist had painted her portrait when she was the queen.
The king always wanted to give her the most valuable things. He gave everything to her, so that she could brag about it to anyone she wanted. The artist he chose was the most famous at that time. His fame would come in a few years, so even if he wasn’t very famous now, he was still more expensive than Salzmia could afford to hire.
Her father, who was trying to build connections, seemed to have received support from someone else. It was probably the sponsor, or his superiors, who desired to see this portrait updated urgently. Thus, Yvor put the pieces of the puzzle together.
She met the king at the age of 19.
On that visit, the king stayed in Serium for a few days, then left for the capital again. Why did the king suddenly come down to her territory, why did he show so much interest in her, and why did he leave for the capital without staying anywhere else? The purpose of the visit was not only to see her.
That’s when Yvor realized that the portrait would be brought before the king, the painting that the artist intended to create would catch his interest, and then he would travel down to meet with her.
“It’s an honor to draw such a beautiful person.”
The artist bowed deeply and said. It was a compliment he said to everyone, but this time it was close to the truth.
“I’ve seen the portrait that was previously painted. It’s nothing close to the person in front of me, who was the painter of this portrait? Oh my, I’ve never seen such a terrible painting in my life. It’s important to show your charm, so that you can express it, even just a little. Let’s start right away.”
As he spoke at length, Yvor waited for him to finish his speech, and then replied.
“You don’t need to paint anything.”
“What are you talking about?”
The artist was taken aback, but Yvor’s answer remained the same.
“I’m going to write a separate letter of rejection, so you don’t need to worry about it.”
Even if she wrote a letter to Salzmia, if he failed his task, problems might arise for him as a painter. Yvor knew this, but she didn’t especially care. She wasn’t someone who cared about the difficulties of others, unless it was Duran.
“Then, why don’t I draw a new one?” said the agitated artist.
One of the reasons he felt that way was because he wanted to paint her as an artist. Secondly, her honest feelings made him feel impatient. Finally, the difficulties he would face in failing this request would be too much for him.
While the request itself came from the Salzmia family, it was paid for by their biggest supporter, the Dunmel family. She didn’t want him to draw her, and he didn’t want to think about what would happen to him if he returned empty-handed.
“I don’t need it.” Yvor answered plainly.
As written in the letter, her growth had already stopped. There wasn’t much that needed to be changed in the portrait that was painted just two, or three years ago.
However, there was something that suddenly came to mind, so she carefully looked back at Duran. Yvor’s own was unnecessary, but she wanted to have his portrait. Sitting, standing, indoors, outdoors, all kinds of expressions, clothes, anything would be fine.
Since Duran was still young, how nice it would be to have different portraits of him as he grew up. Thinking of this, she felt distressed that she didn’t have paintings of him from his younger days.
Sadly, Yvor couldn’t tell him that she suddenly wanted a portrait drawn of him. She was worried if he’d even want one of himself. Would he find it to be a bother? Would it hurt his self-esteem?
The artist, who noticed her gaze, immediately asked.
“How about your brother?”
“I don’t need it either… I think it’ll be annoying.”
“Then let’s make it a family portrait! A painting of a sister and her brother.”
The artist answered immediately.
[Editor: That’s one smart painter!]