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Chapter 142 - 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

The story of the Vladina family spread from noble to noble. Then, from painter to painter.

Soon, it reached the ears of general merchants, merchants, their wives, and even their children.

Before long, the entire capital was buzzing with a poignant tale of a woman's love.

"Have you heard about the beautiful lady who fled an unwanted marriage and ran to the Black Mansion?"

A story of a beautiful noble young lady and a duke with cursed red eyes, unable to leave his home.

It didn't take long for the story to be linked to the Vladina and Eseled dukedoms.

As if someone had orchestrated the rumor to spread far and wide.

* * *

Sapid Lake, a place seldom visited except by those needing a clandestine meeting.

The lake was unusually crowded with people, all there because of a recent love story that swept through the capital.

"Is this where the lady was said to have appeared?"

"There's no silver hair anywhere..."

Then, something caught everyone's gaze.

A tall, slender figure, with hair black as a crow and an intimidating presence, dressed in a neat coat, and most strikingly, red eyes.

A man who, by his mere existence, commanded attention and forced people to look at him involuntarily, as if bewitched.

Beneath his long eyelashes, his red eyes incited fear, yet also made hearts race.

"Such a dangerously beautiful person, who is he?"

Then, a child like a white flame appeared beside the man.

With hair shimmering like pearls and a fluffy white fur coat, the girl contrasted sharply with the man, except for her red eyes.

The man lifted her in his arms, his previously cold expression now warm and tender, like the spring sun.

His gaze, full of affection, and the playful way he pinched the girl's cheek overflowed with tender love.

The sight of the girl whispering into the man's ear with her tiny hands clasped together seemed to warm even the winter lake.

People wondered who they were. Then a noble recognized the girl's face.

"Huh? She looks just like Lady Vladina."

Someone correctly identified the girl.

"No, that's Navia Eseled, the young lady. Wasn't she recently known as Lady Agnis?"

"But why does she look exactly like Lady Vladina? I have her portrait at home."

Then, realization dawned on them.

"Could it be..."

Then, someone voiced their doubt.

"Then, who is that man?"

"If he's holding Lady Eseled, who else could it be?"

"...Duke Eseled?"

Their widened eyes turned again to the striking man and the pure, snow-white girl.

Another common feature was noticed.

"They both have red eyes..."

The puzzle pieces were fitting together.

The picture was becoming clearer.

This story rapidly became the talk of the town.

People love a love story, especially one involving beautiful men and women, and a child born between them as enchanting as an angel.

The story of the Eseleds, as striking as a masterpiece, caused an uproar in the capital.

"They're real! A true father and daughter!"

Then, news spread that Camilla was being sought in Eseled.

This sparked a new trend in the capital.

"Find Camilla!"

A search for the silver-haired beauty, Camilla, began.

The story between the Eseled and Vladina families spread like wildfire across the capital.

The sudden surge of this tale raised no suspicion.

With the discovery of a cure for magical reflux disease and the opening of long-distance railways, the capital was already in a festive mood.

Thus, the story of Count Alvin being beaten to death by thugs while attempting to write a loan was pushed to the backburner.

Such a story couldn't compete with the mysterious Black Mansion, inhabited by a man as magnificent as a god.

Even Marquis Vladina himself, a bachelor of remarkable beauty, stirred the capital by making a public appearance.

Interest in them grew day by day, and the social circles were abuzz.

"Shouldn't the royal family host something? Maybe then, both the heads of Eseled and Vladina would attend!"

It was a scandal among the high nobility.

Naturally, the nobles were on edge about this high society scandal.

Especially intriguing was Duke Eseled, who had never stepped out of the Black Mansion.

The curiosity about him grew almost fanatically.

"It's been said that Duke Eseled and Marquis Vladina are now visiting the royal palace!"

* * *

Lark and Erkin were summoned to the royal palace as honored guests by the emperor.

Ulrich's reason for calling them was clear.

To capitalize on the wildly popular love story between the two noble families sweeping the capital.

To officially acknowledge their union, and to recognize Navia as their child.

In the main lobby of the mansion, Helen addressed them.

"During your audience with His Majesty, Lady Eseled will be hosted in the state guest reception room."

There were others invited today, including Lark and Erkin, apart from Navia.

Navia, clutching her beloved rabbit doll, Cesare, nodded in response to the words of Helen, looking very adorable.

'The state guest reception room is a place used by people of Edward's stature who have discovered a cure for magical reflux disease. It's definitely something to boast about.'

That it was being simply offered to an eight-year-old girl without any accomplishments or promising talent was definitely a privilege.

It showed just how important this matter was to the royal household.

Lark, in his formal uniform, which felt tight, fiddled with his cravat and asked,

"Why can't my daughter meet His Majesty the Emperor?"

"A formal invitation will follow once Lady Navia Eseled's identity is officially sorted out."

It was a glossy excuse, saying that now was not the right time for Navia to meet the Emperor directly, but the reality was different.

They just didn't want to give the honorable title of meeting the Emperor to a mere eight-year-old girl.

That honor seemed to be reserved only for Agnes, from a very wealthy and powerful family, and Lucia, the Empress's own family, as if to differentiate the status of the Eseled family.

That's why Lark snickered at Helen's response.

"What nonsense."

His impertinent remark instantly stiffened the atmosphere around.

"You want to meddle in our family affairs, but you don't want Navia to receive any more special treatment than necessary, right?"

Normally, a politician would have kept such calculations to themselves and planned their next move.

Unfortunately, Lark was not a politician. He was a scholar and warrior who utterly despised political machinations.

The courtiers were overwhelmed by the intimidating aura he exuded and dared not criticize him directly.

"Dad, I'll wait in the reception room."

It was Navia who diffused the tense atmosphere.

Lark's threatening demeanor softened, and he looked puzzled.

"But I don't like the idea of our daughter being here alone. What if it's dangerous?"

Initially captivated by Lark's great beauty, the courtiers were intimidated by his threats, and now they were taken aback by his affectionate, protective behavior towards his daughter.

Moreover, him mentioning 'danger' in the palace? His remarks could be considered an insult to the royal family, worthy of reprimand.

Navia shook her head.

"You remember our promise, right?"

Lark frowned even more unhappily.

They had made a promise before arriving at the palace.

"You can't throw a fit if you get upset at the palace."

"A fit? Where did our daughter learn such bad language?"

"From you, Dad."

"Ah, I see..."


"Alright. I understand."

Lark looked unconvinced as he glared at the courtiers.

If anything even slightly untoward happened to Navia, he would tear this place apart, his eyes warned.

Helen courteously hurried him along.

"His Majesty the Emperor is waiting."

Navia hugged Lark tightly and then also hugged Erkin, who looked worriedly quiet.

"Take care."

Erkin, not expecting to be hugged, was initially startled but then embraced Navia back with a deeply moved expression.

"It's really not easy to leave you here, Navia."

The courtiers, touched by the affectionate scene, forgot the sharp atmosphere from moments ago and clasped their hands tightly.

Lark grimaced and pulled Erkin by the nape of his neck.

"The Emperor is waiting."

Erkin, quite accustomed to Lark's lack of manners, shrugged off the rudeness with an incredulous expression.

"Alright, let go now."


The courtiers, noticing the closeness between them, sharpened their gaze.

Soon after the two left for the audience room, Navia, guided by the courtiers, moved to the guest room.

Navia knew, even without seeing, that many eyes were scrutinizing her as they pretended to treat her with the utmost respect.

Appearance, attire, gait, attitude, speech... The courtiers were constantly evaluating Navia against well-defined standards.

Thus, they would appraise her like fruit in an orchard.

Flawless top quality, promising top quality, mediocre, waste.

Navia, always just an adopted daughter, was always deducted points no matter how impeccable her manners were.

She could never be considered top quality due to the limitations of her birth.

What about now?

Even though Navia, once a commoner orphan, had become the sole heir of Eseled, she felt no different.

How ludicrous was the bloodline elitism they so fervently believed in?

The very premise of bloodline elitism was flawed.

Their criteria for appraisal were inherently unreliable.

"Oh dear."


A voice tinged with mirth, fresh and lively. Navia turned to look at the person approaching her.

"A lady of your birth seems to suit the ground well. From now on, in my presence, kneel on the floor and eat like a dog."

The Empress Diana, who despised Navia's lowly birth as much as Agnes did.

It was the first time Navia encountered her in the ninth round.

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