Unable to contain her excitement, Riersha, who was lying on the plush bed, burst into giggles. It felt like she was living in a dream.
The changes weren’t just about material possessions.
As she moved through the estate, servants and knights, regardless of their gender, greeted her respectfully.
In addition, in the Duke’s castle, servants and knights had distinct roles. Those who directly guarded the Arachrene lineage were called knights, while others involved in miscellaneous tasks were categorized as servants. Knights were generally selected from the Arachrene family connections and had a certain proficiency in handling magic.
“Feel free to enjoy, Miss Riersha. It’s all yours.”
Sona uttered with a pleased smile, noticing her evident delight.
However, her expression soon darkened. It seemed she had glimpsed the mistreatment Riersha had endured within the family.
‘…I can’t believe she doesn’t know what to do with these kindnesses.’
As Sona gazed at Riersha, who was taken aback by the courteous greetings from those of lower status, her heart ached when she hid behind her.
“Miss Riersha, I’ll have snacks brought to you. Is there anything you would like to eat?”
Riersha, who had been exploring the room, perked up her ears and quickly turned around. Her red eyes sparkled brightly.
She shouted joyfully, raising both arms.
It was the snack she loved so much lately. The sweetness that melted in her mouth was exquisite. Since the maids had been stealing the expensive treats, Riersha felt like she was tasting a whole new world.
“All right. Then, I’ll tell them to prepare the pudding.”
Shortly after, as Sona brought a generous amount of pudding, Riersha promptly climbed onto the chair and sat down. Her small feet were dangling excitedly in the air. Her plump cheeks, now rounder due to Sona’s dedicated care, looked like they could bounce.
“Here, ah, Miss.”
The pudding slid into Riersha’s mouth. Her lips kept moving, and her cheeks went up and down.
Unconsciously, Sona tightened her grip on the spoon, almost committing the impoliteness of poking those plump cheeks.
As Riersha opened her mouth again, signaling for more, Sona continued feeding her pudding as if entranced. It was only when the empty bottom was revealed that she cleared it away and cautiously changed the atmosphere.
“Miss Riersha, do you remember in detail what happened during your awakening?”
“Awawening…? No, no remember.”
Riersha furrowed her brows, tilting her head gloomily.
The situation during her awakening had been so urgent that her memories were sporadic. She didn’t even know how she had awakened her abilities or how she manifested her powers. She didn’t know if she could recreate the soap bubbles.
She felt disheartened at the thought. Despite trying secretly, she couldn’t replicate the miracle of that moment.
“It’s quite normal, Miss. Awakening is accompanied by a strong shock.”
Sona hurriedly reassured her.
“…Still, when you meet the Duke, try to tell him everything you remember.”
Sona nodded with a worried look.
In fact, the biggest obstacle awaiting Riersha was precisely this—a private meeting with Duke Arachrene. Although it wasn’t a procedure every successor had to go through, due to Riersha’s unique circumstances, it was an unavoidable situation.
“…I weally awawen?”
“Yes. The Duke is waiting for Miss to fully recover.”
“Waith for me? Gwanpa?”
Riersha muttered in disbelief.
Despite Sona asking her to believe her, the feelings were not conveyed. She sighed deeply, feeling like the ground was crumbling beneath her, unlike a four-year-old.
“Gwanpa musht hathe me.”
It was because of her that her father had to leave the castle, and the family’s security was put at risk.
So, even though he was her grandfather, there was no way he would still have any good feelings left. In fact, the Duke couldn’t hide the discomfort in his expression when he looked at her. That was why Riersha felt her body stiffen whenever she stood before her grandfather.
Even now, the thought of meeting him was daunting.
“The Duke does not hate Miss Riersha at all. He may have a somewhat fiery demeanor, but…”
She couldn’t finish her sentence. It was because Riersha’s eyes seemed to silently convey that she knew everything. The quiet intensity in her gaze made it impossible for Sona to continue with comforting, sugar-coated words.
“…There are complicated situations with adults that may be difficult for Miss Riersha to understand. The Duke absolutely does not hate you.”
Riersha nodded only after some time, finally understanding or at least accepting Sona’s words.
* * *
Early in the morning, Riersha was getting ready to meet her grandfather.
She wore a cute yellow dress adorned with lace and yellow shoes with round toes. In accordance with the Duke’s preference for neatness, her hair was tightly wound into a round bun to prevent stray strands.
“Oh my, this is the first time I’ve seen someone sitting so quietly.”
“That’s right. Usually at this age, they get bored quickly and want to go down. You’re very well-mannered, aren’t you?”
When compliments from the maids continued one after another, Riersha felt a ticklish sensation from hearing praise she hadn’t heard before. Finally, as she made eye contact with the maid, who was finishing up her hair and gave a big smile, the maid covered her mouth, exclaiming, “Oh!”
“Miss Riersha, you’re undoubtedly an angel.”
The maids nodded in agreement.
They praised Riersha continuously, their eyes sparkling. Their eyes seemed to say, ‘A pure creature like this could be born in the Arachrene family!’ Meanwhile, Sona, who had been watching this with a pleased expression, regained her composure and sternly gave a warning.
“You certainly have no shortage of words in front of the Miss. Have you forgotten your manners as a maid?”
“I, I apologize, Miss Riersha. Please forgive my rudeness.”
Only the Duke and from the Arachrene direct lineage could call Riersha cute. It wasn’t something a lower-ranked person would dare to say. The maids, realizing their mistake, bowed their heads in reflection. If it were in front of any other member of the family, they might have lost their heads despite any apologies.
“I’m okay, Donna.”
Riersha reassured the maids, but Sona, after contemplating for a moment, firmly shook her head.
“You shouldn’t accept all of this, Miss Riersha.”
“I wike it, it’s okay. So, okay.”
Sona’s resolve weakened again at Riersha’s words.
“I worry so much because you’re so gentle and kind.”
Sona genuinely feared that Riersha would not easily adapt to life on the estate. t was because life in the Arachrene family was not easy.
The moment they saw her vulnerable side, many people would seek to take advantage of her weaknesses. Qualities like kindness and innocence never helped in Arachrene. Those with the Arachrene name were expected to create their own people, build power and dominate others.
However, Riersha was too gentle.
‘When the Young Duke returns, he might have a tough time.”
For a moment, Sona seemed to have glimpsed into the Young Duke’s future.