Stone Thrown into the Lake - Chapter 19
‘I’m not going to run away, so let’s go in.’
Sidis greeted the owner of the castle before they left. He noted the subtle snow-like temperature from her.
Yvor Adela was once again struck with the realization that their relationship had turned into a clean slate. As she was not the new queen who was vicious to him, how should she view him, who’s no longer her adoptive son?
Sidis smiled brightly as Yvor lowered her gaze without any reaction. He dragged Ziark away with him.
Barely greeting the departing prince, Ranan Elmund, stepped forth like a king returning to his castle. Mrs. Harris ran forward hastily and received his coat. The gesture was so natural that Yvor Adela could only conclude, Mrs. Harris had knowledge of her father’s impending visit.
“I was looking forward to your arrival, My Lord.”
Mrs. Harris said quietly, in a gentle tone different from normal. Ranan’s hand brushed over Mrs. Harris’s as he was passing his overcoat to her. She lowered her eyes courteously.
Yvor Adela, who should have given her greetings first, looked at her brother standing beside her. She was worried that their father’s sudden visit would evoke bad memories, as he was sent to Serium Castle, at the behest of Ranan Elmund who wanted to play with a new woman.
Duran Craig had the same concerns. When their eyes met, it was not difficult for them to realize they were sharing the same concern, with similar emotions within their entangled gaze. She laughed silently, with eyes curved like petals that seemed to say that your sister was fine. Duran shook his head bashfully. The thought that he would be alright if his sister was okay continued to repeat in his mind. He couldn’t meet her eyes anymore.
“Dew.” Yvor called. But at the same time, another voice rang out.
“Yvor. Yvor Adela. My daughter.”
Instantly, Yvor Adela transformed from petals to stone shards, from spring sunshine to winter frost. She turned her head and greeted him. “Father.” Her greeting was delivered without sincerity and emotion. Duran recalled the example he had been taught, and gave his salutations.
Ranan Elmund didn’t look at him, not even sparing him a passing glance. His feelings of hatred, which had been buried mysteriously under Yvor’s warmth and sweetness, slowly reared its head again.
Duran spit out his greeting as soon as he could. Only then, did Ranan’s eyes glance at him, but instead of facing his gaze, Duran stared at the tip of his chin. Their father’s gaze contained derision, as if he had just witnessed a wild animal.
The boy, who grew up like a wild beast, clenched his fist and also rooted himself to the spot. He had no desire to be in the same place as his father. If he left, he wouldn’t have to face Ranan’s stinging disapproval.
Duran looked at Yvor, half a step away from leaving. He chose to rub the soles of his feet on the ground. At Duran’s unmoving form, the lingering smile on Ranan’s lips faded away.
“What are you still standing here for?”
Ranan Elmund said in a hoarse tone. It was, without a doubt, an order of dismissal. Duran Craig bit his lip. Such a stigma was also not unfamiliar. Before he could name the tingling emotion, Yvor reached out. As her hand was placed over his, the warmth spread like magic, from her fingers to somewhere in his heart.
“This is Serium Castle, Father.”
Yvor Adela is the Lord of Serium. In other words, both her father and her younger brother were her guests. It was unbecoming of guests to kick other guests out.
“Yes, this is the castle I entrusted to you.”
Ranan Elmund, who was passionate about his daughter’s education, seemed very willing to remove her guest. If he had shown any signs of displeasure, Yvor would’ve used it as an excuse to kick him out. She squeezed Duran’s hand a little in disappointment.
She did not want someone who dared to despise her beloved brother within her castle. The current Yvor Adela did not love her father, but she did not particularly hate or resent him. It was more accurate to say that she couldn’t afford to do that. The magnitude of her thoughts was insignificant, so it was not enough to channel all of her feelings towards Duran.
Therefore, Duran was the reason she wanted to expel her father. His prior reaction to Dew made her want her father to leave immediately. But a daughter could not expel her father without a valid reason.
“Let’s see, Yvor.”
Ranan Elmund scanned Yvor from the top of her head to her toes, with seemingly affectionate eyes. He suddenly shook his head.
“Wouldn’t it be better to dress a little more gorgeously?”
Yvor remained silent. Instead, Mrs. Harris answered.
“Overly flashy clothes are not worth it, in such a place…”
Ranan briefly motioned for her to shut her mouth with a chin gesture, then strode towards Yvor.
At his approaching figure, Duran was about to flinch away, but stopped when he saw Yvor’s hand still holding his. Sister, he mouthed. As she was always looking at him, to the point where all her senses covered his whole body like a cloak, she would likely answer his silent call.
But Yvor did not turn towards him like she would usually. As if she was oblivious, Yvor lifted her chin slightly to meet Ranan’s gaze, who towered over her. Duran felt his sternum ache vaguely, as he looked at Yvor’s side profile that was tilted upwards. Instead of Yvor, Ranan spoke first.
“There isn’t any makeup on.”
Ranan Elmund stroked his daughter’s cheek. At his father’s hand covering Yvor’s face, Duran yelled.
Yvor turned towards Duran right away, as if the invisible string pulling her head to face Ranan was cut with scissors. Duran Craig opened his mouth as if he wanted to scream, but swallowed it in. He had no idea what he wanted to say. The only thought running through his mind was that he was angry. But he wasn’t sure what he was angry about either.
Yvor leaned towards him and called anxiously. Her voice released something like a goldfish, swimming inside him. Its fins tickled the unknown emotion within him. He released her hand, more confused than ever.
“Dew?” Yvor Adela called again. Duran Craig responded without looking at her.
“…I will be returning to the annex.”
Duran’s voice echoed through her mind over and over again. However, Yvor could not catch up with Duran’s retreating figure. It was because her father grabbed her chin and turned her face, as if he was appraising his beast. Undecorated blonde hair in braids swayed as a result of his actions.
“Aren’t you being too modest?” said Ranan.
“Call the seamstress. The jewels selected should match with the dress. It has to look pretty.”
Yvor blinked slowly and pushed his hand away. All she had in her mind was Duran.
‘Why did he leave? Was having Father here that inconvenient for him? If so, she will throw him out with any delay. If he walks so fast, will he fall? Is his heart breaking?’
As anxiety fell and began to settle, the swaying rope she seemed to stand upon shook. She wanted to be rid of Ranan immediately and follow Duran. However, Yvor could not do that. Yvor Adela couldn’t. Her future, as she knew it, was escaping her control and flowing into an unknown place.
Ranan Elmund’s visit to Serium Castle during this period of time was also unprecedented. Wasn’t he eagerly preoccupied with seducing another high-ranking woman, with the expectation that they will throw a piece of profit for his family?
“How have you been, Father?”
Ranan laughed, commenting that the flowers should have been purple to match her eye colour.
“It is not strange for a father to come to see his daughter.”
Yvor didn’t respond. Actually, it was strange. At least between Ranan Elmund and Yvor Adela.
Yvor Adela couldn’t understand Ranan again.
His attitude was normally one that of ‘Let’s see how well the animal he’d raised to sell off at a high price has grown’. It has always been like that.
Yvor stilled for a moment. An unexplained feeling suddenly caught her by the ankle, a sense of incongruity that could not be expressed properly. But instead of thinking deeply about it, Yvor Adela focused on a more realistic, pressing matter.
Why was Ranan Elmund here? Two successive events have occurred, things that had never happened before. The prince, Sidis Murka, arrived in Serium Castle. Ranan Elmund followed after. It was natural to conclude that they were interconnected.
But how did her father know that the prince had arrived here, and why? Just to establish an acquaintanceship with the prince? It wasn’t entirely impossible, but the man named Ranan Elmund wasn’t someone who would make a trip to the countryside just for that reason. If so, then…
“I asked you why have you come, Father.”
In the past, there was a scene very similar to this. She barely remembered. After all, it did not occur around this time, so she couldn’t remember this incident at once.
Ranan Elmund looked at her with an empty smile. Looking into his shining eyes, it triggered a vivid memory from the past of his blue eyes. It was bright and filled with hope like none other. They were insect-like eyes. It resembled his current ones. Ranan Elmund opened his mouth.
“For our honor, the glory of Salzmia.”
He spoke in a very friendly voice. ‘That’s what you should do for your family, my daughter.’ It was something he talked about frequently. Yvor Adela lowered her eyes down. In the past, she always gave him the same answer.
‘Yes, Father. That’s right.’
Now that she was neither the wicked queen nor the submissive child, she was at a loss of how she should respond. Nonetheless, the voice of Duran lingered.
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