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Chapter 85 - Can We Become a Family?

Forced to be Empress, Navia craves acceptance, but faces betrayal. She pursues revenge and new life.DBT,Korean,Novel,Translations,CWBF,Shoujo,Fantasy

Charlotte quickly made herself at home, having already finished introducing herself to Margaret, Suleiman, and even the timid Minerva.

By the time they arrived at the dining room, she had even followed them into the kitchen to help prepare the meal.

She fit in so effortlessly, as if she had always been a maid here.

After the meal, Margaret brought over the cake she hadn't eaten yesterday, saying it amusingly.

"Just right, there are exactly five pieces of cake and five of us. What a coincidence."

Navia thought quietly.

'Is the Duke not included...?'

Then she wondered how the lemon cream cheese cake she had made and sent had been received.

'I should have asked when I cut my hair last time, but I was too preoccupied to even think of it.'

Navia imagined the fierce and wild Lark picking at the sweet cake with a fork.

'...Maybe he didn't eat it.'

It was hard to imagine.

While Navia was lost in her thoughts, Charlotte was chatting with Minerva.

"Oh my, you're only twenty-three as well, Ms. Minerva? I'm also twenty-three!"

"C-Could you please just call me Minerva, not 'Ms.'...?"

Minerva initially seemed intimidated by the straightforward Charlotte but soon appeared to take a liking to her.

Already perceiving Navia as an ally, Minerva's guard was down.

"Let's have Navia eat with some milk."

Navia gazed at the cake in front of her, loaded with jam and cream.

The only real cake she had ever eaten was the lemon cream cheese cake she made last time.

'I usually just follow famous pastry chef recipes and rarely taste them.'

Navia cautiously took a small bite of the cake's corner with her fork.

The cream's richness, the fragrance and sweet-tartness of the jam, were intensely delightful, almost overpowering her taste buds.

And the moistness was exceptional.

"Do you like the cake?"

Margaret asked, smiling pleasantly, to which Navia stopped mid-chew and answered formally.

"Yes. It's very delicious."

Though she answered modestly, her sparkling eyes and flushed cheeks couldn't be hidden.

"If I knew you'd like it so much, I would've bought an entire cake."

At this, Navia's eyes widened, and she shook her head.

"This is plenty."

It wasn't an exaggeration; her stomach could hardly handle dessert after the meal.

Even after eating just a small corner of the cake, she already felt full.

While everyone felt pity for her eating so little, Navia herself felt immense satisfaction.

This sweet taste seemed to assure her that she was in a safe space.

'That's right. This isn't Agnes or the royal palace.'

This wasn't like the places where she was treated like a dog or a bug.

'I never thought I'd have peaceful times again.'

The threat to cease all her activities hadn't yet lifted.

But Lark had moved her room to the third floor and even had her disowned by Agnes.

'Maybe... it's okay to have some hope?'

With that thought, courage surged in her.

Navia had grown up among people who despised and loathed her.

But Lark's actions seemed different. Annoying as she might be, his actions always seemed to protect her.

'To revive Eseled, I must confront it at some point.'

The fear of being labeled a nuisance and being cast out was terrifying.

But if she did nothing out of such fears, she would just die in the clutches of the royal family and Agnes.

'The time for a decision has come.'

Navia said with a certain gravity.

"I'm going to see the Duke."

At this, those in quiet conversation stopped and looked at Navia.

"I need to inquire about Charlotte's stay and discuss the poplar tree."

Margaret, sensing the tension in Navia's calm demeanor, asked.

"Shall we go together?"

"I'll go alone. I don't want to give the impression that I'm trying to disrupt this place."

Navia was, after all, an outsider.

She judged that giving the impression of having already won over Eseled's vassals was not favorable.

The head of a household would not welcome such a situation.

Navia hesitated for a moment before saying.

"…Then, I'll be back."

'Is it okay for me to say such things?'

But it seemed like everyone would be happy to hear me say it.

Fortunately, it seemed my thoughts were not wrong, as everyone smiled brightly and told me to have a good trip.

Navia felt as if she was riding on clouds as she returned to her room.

'My body is definitely hurting less.'

The wounds that had appeared only recently were not too severe, and the other injuries seemed mostly healed, although they were likely to leave scars.

It felt like a miracle, a single ray of sunlight shining into her life that had been clouded with never-ending gloom.

The golden fragrance she felt while watching someone else's shining life from the shadows she always hid in now felt like a gentle breeze blowing into her own life.

Without realizing it, Navia had a soft smile on her face as she began to get ready.

She couldn't meet Lark in her pajamas.

When she looked in the mirror to fix her hair, she noticed she was smiling.

Navia deliberately changed her expression to a more sullen one.

'Don't get too excited, Navia.'

And don't smile like a fool.

Even as she admonished herself, the smile didn't fade easily.

'...How do you hold back happiness?'

She was familiar with enduring sadness, but she had never tried to hold back happiness. She couldn't even remember many happy days.

Navia rubbed her cheeks, trying to calm her heart.

It was easier to control herself around others, but being alone made it harder to suppress her uplifted mood.

'I need to hurry and get ready.'

Navia focused her mind and began to neatly comb her hair, then wondered about its length.

'There's no need to grow it this long, especially since the Duke dislikes silver hair.'

Lark had cut his long hair, and she wondered if she should do the same.

'It's hard to cut my own hair.'

Navia had learned barbering skills to stop Wood, who often killed barbers for messing up his haircuts.

Thanks to her hard work, Wood always had Navia trim his hair before meeting Lady Lucia.

Navia tied her hair with a black ribbon, slightly on both sides.

The hairstyle Margaret had done for her had become Navia's favorite.


She then noticed one of the ribbons was slightly torn. It must have happened during yesterday's commotion.

It was too thin to be repaired, which saddened her.

"But it's not too noticeable."

Navia liked this black ribbon.

It was a gift from Margaret, and it felt like a way for her, who had no black anywhere on her, to blend in this place.

'Ah, there is the Black Moon.'

But since the Black Moon wasn't visible to others, maybe it didn't count? With this thought, Navia sighed deeply.

She found herself wishing to belong somewhere again.

She wanted to have red hair and green eyes, and now, she longed for black.

She really had no right to complain about being called a fool.

"Even here, I'm not really a foster child."

Navia wasn't Agnes or Eseled. She just existed as 'Navia,' isolated like an island.

She wasn't unhappy about it. She was glad to have left Agnes.

'But, just...'

If she could belong to another house.

"Navia Eseled."

Navia muttered unintentionally, then covered her mouth in shock.

'I must be crazy, Navia.'

Her heart raced, as if she was coveting something she shouldn't.

But it was also true.

Eseled was not her place. It belonged to Creed.

Navia thought of Creed's appearance.

Hair as dark as the night sky like Lark's. A stature as tall as Lark's. Although different in appearance, he was also a handsome man.

'Anyone would see that he truly belongs to the family.'

Navia was like a drop of oil that couldn't mix with the water of Agnes, and it was the same here.

'But still...'

Navia stared deeply into her own eyes.

She had never seen anyone else with red eyes, except herself, until she met Lark.

She only realized how overwhelming red eyes could be when she saw Lark.

'Could I look the same?'

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