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Chapter 109 - Can We Become a Family?

Lark stood still for a moment before turning around. Despite looking at him, his steps were nearly imperceptible.


When Lark pulled the doorknob, suddenly, a thudding sound of running footsteps came from behind.

He turned around with a puzzled expression, only to be rushed at by something.


Navia clung to his leg, grabbing a handful of his robe.

Her grip was urgent.

Lark covered the child's hand with his own. A tiny fist was engulfed in his palm.

"Just not right now, but please, give me a little, just a little time."

"You don't have to force yourself to talk. I told you, it doesn't matter to me if you have any problems."

Navia said in a faintly trembling voice.

"I'm scared."

Navia originally intended to logically explain why she couldn't speak. But she stopped.

Yes, this was similar to saying 'please help me.'

"I'm scared, that's why I can't tell you right now."

"……Okay. I understand."

Lark sighed deeply and picked up Navia.

"So please don't cry. I really don't know what to do."

Navia realized with his words that she was crying again.

"I'm sor……."

She stopped mid-sentence and closed her mouth.

Lark chuckled at the sight of the child, who, even in tears, was carefully avoiding taboo words.

"Such a funny kid."

Navia couldn't retort and just wiped her tears.

Lark flicked his finger while looking at the child, whose lips were stubbornly sealed and tears were being swallowed.


Then, thousands of thin beams of light sprang up from the black floor, soon blooming into leaves of light and forming buds.

Pop! Pop!

The buds burst open like popping, scattering light dust.


How could one not be amazed by this mystical sight?

Navia's eyes widened as the black corridor turned into a path of white light flowers.

Lark touched the corner of his eye unconsciously, seeing Navia's red eyes dyed with bright light.

Could his own eyes be shining as beautifully?

"Duke, can you put me down?"

He awkwardly averted his gaze from Navia, who suddenly looked up at him.


He gently placed the child on the flower of light.

Navia, with her silver hair and white nightgown, looked like the largest flower among these light flowers.

"Wow, I can touch the flowers!"

Navia raised her voice excitedly before covering her mouth.

She had acted like a real child, carried away by the wonder.

"I could even make such flowers bloom in the garden outside."

"That would be beautiful."

Navia felt surprisingly good, considering she had just been shivering palely.



Lark's tone was still brusque, but Navia was no longer afraid of it.

"Can I… hold your hand while walking?"

Lark was momentarily speechless.

As he remained silent, Navia rambled in embarrassment.

"It's okay if you don't want to. I just thought, since it's a flower path…"

He looked down at himself.

'It should be okay for a while, right?'

It won't suddenly crack, will it?

"……It's not that I don't want to. You're just too small, so your hand won't reach."

That was a stinging comment for Navia, who was already self-conscious about her small stature.

"That's mean……."

Navia pouted at him but then was startled.

She had said what she only meant to think.

Lark held Navia's hand and admonished her.

"So don't be picky and eat well."

Navia had never been picky, just unable to eat much, but she enjoyed Lark's scolding.

'……Just like a real dad.'

It felt like a dream to be walking this path of flowers, hand in hand, and being scolded about eating habits.

The things she had so desperately wished for were happening one by one in this last life.

Navia cautiously broached the question she intended to ask today.

"Duke, if I may ask, are you ill?"

Lark, holding Navia's hand and walking the path of flowers, suddenly stopped.

He had much more secrets than this small child holding his hand.

And he was much more of a coward than her.

"…It's just a sudden illness."

How could he possibly tell a child, barely eight years old, that he had less than a year left to live?

'I have to find it. A way to live just a little longer.'

The black-haired boy who had invaded his territory today seemed like he would be the key.

He had to be.

Navia looked quietly at Lark, then stretched out her arms.

Lark interpreted the child's unexpected actions and lowered his posture.

Then, Navia hugged him. Not only that, but she also patted his back, diligently following what she had learned from Margaret.

"What are you doing?"

Lark was incredulous, forgetting his momentary depression.

"Hugs are the best comfort."

"Why do you do that to me?"

Navia didn't say that his expressionless face, illuminated by the flickering light, looked painfully strange.

"Maybe you need it."

Lark chuckled.

But, absurdly, he felt genuinely comforted by this small warmth.

"You're really a funny kid."

Lark gradually furrowed his brow and closed his eyes.

If this life was this happy, surely the next life would be engulfed in even more terrible and bitter loneliness.

But how could he let go of this warmth?

Lark spoke in a slightly restrained voice.

"That's enough, little one."

"I'm still young, I can grow more."

"Are you kidding? Even if you grow, could you be taller than me?"

Navia simply accepted his absurd statement and stood up, taking Lark's outstretched hand.

"Let's go to bed now."

Lark walked back and forth with Navia in the corridor ten times before he opened the bedroom door and led her inside.

Navia wanted to see more of the flowers of light fluttering with each of her steps, but she didn't insist.

"Yes. Goodnight."

Lark frowned at his newly adopted daughter's first goodnight wish.

"Have sweet dreams, Navia."

Navia smiled broadly, pleased and shy, as he tried to speak like a kind father.

"You too, Your Grace."

Lark felt a strange sense of déjà vu at that moment.

'But I'm sure I've never seen this child in his life.'

Navia was definitely a new face, but for a moment, he thought of someone else.

Before he could examine it further, Navia bowed and slipped into the bedroom.

He gazed at the closed door and muttered.

"Is it because of the silver hair?"

There was a time when silver hair always reminded him sharply of his mother, making him more sensitive.

Now, with both his mother and that woman added, Navia's silver hair no longer evoked any thoughts.

'Ah. That woman.'

Lark realized exactly whose face he saw in Navia's.

The woman, Camilla, her face appeared in the child.

"It doesn't make sense."

The woman had left nine years ago.

That would mean Navia was either born between him and Camilla or that Camilla married someone shortly after and had a child.

He dismissed the light flowers while muttering.

"That woman wouldn't abandon her child in an orphanage."

So, Navia was just Navia.

Lark returned to his bedroom, snapped his fingers, and summoned his work desk and various research materials.

Then, a chilling sensation struck his wrist.


He rolled up his sleeve and looked at his arm.

His body was in a very unstable state now.

Normally, a simple short-distance spatial movement, a low-level magic, wouldn't affect his body, which should have been as if he had used a massive spell.

But now, only a thin crack appeared, which quickly healed.

"As I thought."

He had dared to create a plethora of light flowers earlier, confident that he would be fine.

"A human mana hole, indeed."

He thought of Creed, frowning.

'The son of Empress Estelle...'

Had there been a past where her son survived?

Usually, in the cycles where the Eiles Duke's house was destroyed, she was pregnant and committed suicide.

'That woman had the ability to foresee the future.'

Then, it wasn't entirely coincidental that Estelle's son came here.

It was reasonable to think that the seer had seen the future and arranged for her son to come here.

"We'll see."

More importantly, was the resonance between Creed and himself.

'At this rate, I might be able to double the strength of the mansion's maintenance restoration magic.'

By doing so, it seemed possible to extend its life span by up to 15 years without causing worse fissures to occur here.

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