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Chapter 104 - Can We Become a Family?

Lark, with an expression of great satisfaction, twisted one corner of his mouth upward in response.

Theorban stood up abruptly, pointing and yelling at Navia.

"What nonsense is this! Adopting this girl of unknown origin as your child? Are you mad?"

At these words, Lark kicked Theorban mercilessly.


"Watch your mouth. That's someone's daughter."

Lark, not appeased by just one kick, then stomped on Theorban's leg.


"What are you doing to my father!"

Masha, intimidated by Lark's imposing figure and thug-like behavior, still held a deep-seated belief that he was beneath her.

"Are you doing all this for a girl who's not even of your bloodline?"

Lark, about to magically fling Masha away out of annoyance, paused when Navia spoke calmly, as if taming him. Masha looked at Navia with a venomous face.

Again, Navia looked down at her from a higher position, as if it was her rightful place.

"I believe I've already explained that what you're doing is an overstep of your authority and a challenge to the head of the house."

"What does it matter to you what I do!"

"Shall I use the same logic? How dare a mere Countess have the audacity to act so presumptuously in front of Duke Eseled, who sits at the very top of the noble hierarchy?"

Navia's stark reminder of the social order not only shook Masha but also contorted Theorban's expression.

Meanwhile, Lark listened to Navia's words intently, his lips tightly shut, thinking, 'It would be great if she added, "Shut up, you barbarians."'

Navia, looking sad, then addressed Theorban.

"I'm not well-versed in Eseled's family laws, but even if that's the case, nothing has been decided yet, has it?"

"Where do you get off...!"

"Count Theorban Alvin."

Navia gazed at Theorban with a cold look that didn't seem to belong to a child.

"So, my question is, who is the head of the Eseled family right now?"

Navia's words were all valid, but Lark had not engaged, and the vassals, caught in Theorban's grip due to their weakness, had never said such things to him.

Theorban was clearly overstepping his bounds, and if word of this got out, his social standing would be severely damaged.

'Ha! Even the trash of Eseled wouldn't dare defy me. It's not me who should be worried, but Lark, that bastard!'

Theorban was fuming when his aide rushed in.

"Master! There's a big problem!"

"What's all the fuss about!"

Theorban snapped at his aide, but the aide, having heard really bad news on his way, hastily relayed the message.

"It's the poppy farm, there's a problem..."

As soon as poppy was mentioned, Theorban's expression changed dramatically.

He shouted at his aide to shut up and glared at Navia and Lark.

"I won't let today's events go unnoticed. You'll regret this!"

With that, he stormed off with Masha.

Navia was worried that Lark might handle things brutally.

Lark looked on, seemingly amused by the situation.

Navia then asked cautiously, looking at Lark's profile.

"Are you alright?"

Lark frowned slightly and replied.


Frankly, it was quite embarrassing to collapse in the rain with his physique. Of course, the poor condition was due to a fracture, but no one knew that, so how strange must it have looked?

Navia, feeling that Lark's body was not burning like a fireball, nodded reassuringly and murmured in an even smaller voice.

"I'm sorry, Duke."

Instead of asking "What for?", Lark just silently turned his gaze to Navia.

Navia, facing his displeased look, lowered her eyes.

"You said you hated thinking."

Her words were logical, right. It wasn't to defend Lark.

Navia clearly used Lark to provoke Theorban. She thought he must know it.

"And you don't have to strain yourself because of me."

Lark's adoption would improve her standing and increase her opportunities, which was undoubtedly good.

But if it further aggravated Lark's mood, it might be worse than not doing it.

'I shouldn't let the Duke make a decision he might regret later.'

She had to be cautious in everything. That was Navia's survival strategy.

"I'm satisfied with how things are now."

Although he wasn't her real guardian, when Lark protected her and punished Theorban, she felt truly refreshed.

The way he held her in his arms as if she were a treasure and called her his daughter... it was enough to make him seem like the savior she had been dreaming of her entire life.

But that was it.

Navia excluded her excitement and thought rationally.

'He might reject me again for an unknown reason.'

So let's keep a reasonable distance.

With two experiences, Navia had her own judgment on how to treat him.

Navia finished speaking and raised her head slightly.

Lark was still looking at her.

But it was a subtle expression that she couldn't tell what he was thinking.

When he had an expressionless face, he looked very cold and chilly.

His appearance was distinctly different from Erkin's, marked by lines as if powerfully drawn with a brush, each stroke seeming to rip through the canvas.

His perfectly sculpted, frighteningly beautiful features exuded a lethargic, yet irresistibly captivating atmosphere, making it impossible to look away.

His appearance was entirely different from Navia’s, whose every feature was fine and graceful.

Their red eyes reflected each other’s images.

Lark looked into the deep darkness in the child’s eyes.

The darkness looked back at him.

Navia felt that she did not resemble him, but Lark thought otherwise.

The child resembled him. Strangely, inexplicably so.

'If she were my child, she couldn't have lived to this age.'

Lark was part deity. Thus, his offspring, being born into the divine realm, would inevitably die soon after birth or not long after, absorbed into the existence of an external deity.

That’s why he couldn’t shake off the thought that he resembled Navia, even though they should have no connection.

This impression had been consistent from the first moment.

"I don't hate thinking."

Looking at Navia, painful emotions surged within him. Memories of despairing happiness emerged.

He thought, or rather was certain, that keeping Navia close would surely make him foolish. His unstable mind would crumble even faster.

With less than a year left for him, Navia might even shorten that time.

But still, he felt it was okay.

'After all, it’s the end.'

He thought it might be nice to raise a child in the remaining time.

Lark added, explaining.

"I actually dislike it, but not you."

Navia slightly parted her lips, pondering. So, does this mean it's okay for her to think, but not others?

As Navia still didn't respond, just blinking, Lark decisively stated.

"You can think."

Navia then asked a question she would never normally have asked.


She was curious why it was okay for her to think, why his opinion had suddenly changed. So she asked, and Lark answered.

"Because I'm fine with it."

His response was arrogant yet irresponsibly accurate. But that was probably the real answer.

"Of course, I understand if you can't trust me."

"No, it's not that..."

"I won't make excuses for my faults. You don't have to forgive me. But."

Lark took a short breath and met Navia’s eyes again.

"I want you to be my daughter."


"If you're okay with it."

Without realizing, Navia had grasped Lark's cloak tightly.

She had immediately agreed to his earlier question, swept up in the moment.

It had been chaotic, with no time to deeply ponder or think.

Navia looked into the red eyes that quietly awaited her answer.

An unusual tension lingered in those endlessly tranquil eyes.

He was nervous, just like her, awkwardly reaching out his hand.

But Navia couldn’t find the courage to take it right away.

'I should keep a proper distance from the Duke.'

But her foolish heart kept making noise.

Actually, I too would like to have a family.

Suleiman, Margret, Mina, Charlotte - all were good to her. They gave her what she needed. But she needed more.

'Family is an illusion. You said you didn't need such a thing.'

Navia’s face contorted in pain. She struggled to breathe, her eyes burning.

"...Is it real?"

Her voice rose, choked with emotion.

"This time, is it real?"

Could she trust? Would she be abandoned again?

This was Navia's last life.

She wanted to live differently than before, even if not spectacularly.

She was battered by numerous betrayals. With her weary body, she had barely made it to Eseled.

Navia had built high walls around herself, trapped within, guarding against the outside world.

No one would be allowed in. Never, no one.

But she hadn’t expected that what would conquer her wasn’t an invader breaking through her walls, but sunlight gently descending from the sky.

The land touched by sunlight smelled of clean, dry earth. Her heart, always shadowed and damp, was now touched by the scent of sunshine.

She should be satisfied with just this. This alone was already more than enough.

But her true desire was different.

She wanted to become Navia Eseled.

"You hate me."

Navia sobbed quietly, her face twisted.

"No. I don't hate you."

But if he told her this story, he would come to hate her.

"I am a commoner."

Navia said up to there, then couldn’t hold back her tears, wiping them with her sleeve.

Stop. There's still something important left to say. You shouldn't cry like a fool.

"Sob, sob... I, I come from an orphanage. The Duke Agnes, he, he bought me..."

Navia had braced herself, thinking she would be thrown to the ground, and tightly closed her eyes.


But Lark did not cast her away, deeming her unclean.

"I just wish you were my daughter. That's all."

Navia opened her eyes again. Through her tear-blurred vision, she saw Lark's calm expression.

"Is there another problem?"

Of course, there was. The existence of Navia was quite special.

Her being a regressor, the Black Moon on her right wrist, and even excluding these, the political situation was far from ordinary.

Lark shook his head.

"It doesn't matter if there is."


"From today, you are Navia Eseled."

Navia Eseled.

For a moment, she murmured the name as if it were a dream, then was shocked to realize it truly had become hers.

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