The grandmother stopped in front of the table, took off her winter leather gloves, and smiled softly.
“Come here, Claunia.
Let’s have a cup of hot tea and talk with this grandmother of yours after a long time……”
“What is it, Grandma! Why are you ignoring Anita!”
Claunia stepped in front of Anita who was frozen as if her feet were stuck on the floor.
And she shouted until the veins in her neck could be seen.
“Why are you ignoring her!”
“Keep your voice down.
As the Lady of Edenbair, do not raise your voice recklessly, Claunia.
You need to learn manners again.”
“Call me grandmother.
And I thought you had forgotten, so I’ll say it again.”
Picking up the cutlery, the grandmother moved the colorful pieces of cake and bread onto a plate.
She warned, “You should not pick up anything that is lying on the street as a friend.
Do not forget that we are descendants of the Great Empire Atlante.”
Anita closed her eyes tightly and then opened them again.
My heart doesn’t hurt like it used to.
I am curious.
Claunia, who couldn’t contain her anger, jumped forward.
With the flapping noise, the classical indigo blue cloth was raised high.
It was the hem of the grandmother’s dress.
It was a sight as if the starry night sky was pouring down.
Anita opened her mouth without realizing it.
Leaving the angry grandmother behind, Claunia grabbed Anita’s hand and hurriedly ran away.
The grandmother, who hastily arranged her clothes, shouted in an angry voice, “Stop!”
Why am I running away with Claunia?
I do not know.
As I ran with all my strength, I felt a slight tingling in my heart.
At certain times, I even laughed along with Claunia.
The door closed tightly and we hid behind the bed.
There was only one place for us to hide in this spacious mansion.
Claunia, who was holding her breath, glanced at the door and said, “Don’t take it seriously.
My grandmother has been like that for a long time.
She could only say “Don’t do this, don’t do that!” and always shouted, “Protect Edenbair’s dignity!” right, Lancelot?”
Lancelot, who was sitting on the bed quietly flipping through the book he was reading, turned his head slightly, not caring what we were doing.
“You don’t know? The grandmother is here.
But she ignored Anita’s greetings!”
Anger flashed on Lancelot’s face.
“If she asks about me, tell her that I feel sick.
So I won’t be able to see her for a month.”
“See? Even Lancelot doesn’t like the grandmother.
So you should ignore her too, Anita.”
As I nodded, I heard Lancelot clear his throat.
Stop making noise and get out of here.”
Suddenly, this thought came to my mind.
Without Claunia, I’d be trembling like that day.
Hiding alone in a dark room……
Anita hugged Claunia without a second thought.
“Thank you very much.
I’m glad to have you.”
It was Claunia who shrugged her shoulders as if embarrassed, but I opened my arms wide and embraced her more tightly.
It was the first soft warmth I felt from someone other than my father.
On that day, in a few days, there was a heavy snowstorm.
Anita’s steps while walking through the long passage came to a slow stop at some point.
It was in front of a huge mural hanging on the wall.
‘Was there a picture like this?’
It was a magnificent picture that could only be captured at a glance after taking a few steps backward.
Even though I stood at a certain distance, each grain of paint expressed in detail was captured in my eyes.
A huge dragon was roaring in the picture.
The wise, the elderly, the young children, and the crippled sat in front of it and offered prayers.
Anita knew the dragon.
The golden dragon, Nuaja.
The founder of Atlante, the great empire that dominated an era that has now disappeared.
‘This is a picture I saw in a book when I was young…… So it belonged to Edenbair.’
In a new way, the difference in status between Anita and Claunia, and Lancelot was felt.
The Edenbair Family was descended from the Atlante Imperial Family, so they could ascend the throne if the empire continued.
‘If so, I won’t meet Claunia and Lancelot until I die.’
I have to study harder in the future so they won’t be ashamed to be friends with me.
It was the moment Anita was about to take a step back with a firm resolve.
A voice could be heard above her head.
“Edenbair is one of the three legendary families with Nuaja as the founder.”
It was the voice of the grandmother.
Anita hurriedly turned her head.
It was the first time that the grandmother, who had been ignoring her presence all along, came to her like today.
“Nuaja’s blood still flows in Edenbairs, and there are few people who can manifest the dragon power.
People here have long regarded Edenbairs as the guardian deity of Chavalron.”
The grandmother admired the picture with an ecstatic gaze, and spoke in a voice full of pride, “Lancelot is the only heir of our generation whom we can expect to the manifestation.
It can be said that the Duke and I are admired him so much.”
It was the first time the grandmother had spoken to her so friendly.
Anita had no choice but to harbor a small expectation of her.
Is she now admitting that I am Claunia and Lancelot’s friend?
Anita answered with courage, “Mmm, that’s great.
Lancelot is loved by the Duke and grandmother……”
It was a sharp voice that could pierce the eardrums.
Her eyes stared at Anita displeased.
“This vulgar thing.
How dare you call Lancelot by his name!”
“If you’re born lowly, you have to be smart or self-aware, but you’re just talking nonsense without knowing the subject.”
It was not just a gaze of dealing with insignificant things.
It was a gaze full of hate and hatred.
The eyes of a rat corpse floating in the sewer seemed to be like that.
It was a gaze that made her feel sinful even to look at it, so Anita lowered her head without realizing it.
It could be said that the feeling of burning hot inside her chest was familiar.
“Völlen, are you going to use my granddaughter to taint the Edenbair bloodline with your dirty bloodline!”
Although her heart was pounding and her hands trembled at the swearing that smashed her self-esteem,
“My, my father……”
Anita no longer wanted to be dumbfounded in front of those who ridiculed her family.
“My father is not dirty…… he is not dirty.”
This time I said it clearly.
Although she avoided her gaze, her voice trembled less.
The grandmother’s eyes still seemed to see something dirty.
She clicked her tongue and said, “What a shame to have a stuttering daughter.”
She added, “Never mind.
It was funny to be mad at a little girl.
Go and tell your father: the lowly and stuttering girl was……”
But the grandmother’s warning could not be completed.
Her eyes that stared behind Anita’s back for a while opened wide in bewilderment.
“Oh my God, Lancelot!”
Anita, startled, turned her head.
Lancelot, with a pale complexion, as if he was about to collapse, was walking slowly in the direction they were standing.
“Sweetheart, why did you come all the way here in the cold? What if the cough gets worse!”
Her expression was so different when she said good things and bad things.
“You are a child who listens well, right? Only a good child can be the master of Edenbair.”
I could smell the warmth of the warm flame and the scent of the sun-kissed bed on Lancelot who suddenly approached me.
“Anyway, your father is the problem! Don’t ever take after your father.
Lancelot, if you feel sick……”
It was a very small whisper that only Anita could hear.
At the same time, her shoulders were pushed back and Lancelot stood before his grandmother.
Anita stared blankly at the boy’s back.
Compared to her, he was skinny.
The nape of his neck, which was slightly exposed above the collar, looked pale as if it had never been exposed to the sun.
His wrists as well as his knuckles were so thin that he looked like a girl rather than a boy.
Shouldn’t he, not me, be the one to protect?
“Come here, Lancelot, with this grandmother……”
But Lancelot had no intention of going towards his grandmother.
Then Anita stepped back very slowly.
She then ran from the place as if running away.
Did Lancelot help me?
I do not know.
I just instinctively ran towards the only sanctuary in this place.
To Lancelot’s room, my hideout.
The unoccupied room was quiet.
‘And it’s warm.’
Lancelot’s room is always warm.
Although the real owner of the room, Lancelot, was cold-hearted and sometimes even scary.
‘But he never said he didn’t like me.’
He didn’t say that I shouldn’t talk to him because I was lowly.
She closed the door and sat still.
She felt sleepy.
She woke up when she heard a small cough.
I could vaguely feel Lancelot’s presence.
But, if I’m not mistaken, his cough sounded more hoarse than usual.
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