He didn’t trust or love anyone.
For a person like himself, trust was a luxury.
Nevertheless, it was odd.
Until now, Desian’s life had been completely empty.
He had lived life as if submerged under deep water.
Only the strong desire to live remained.
Duke Pietro had a powerful mage working for him in secret who suppressed Desian’s emotions.
The night of the meteor shower, the mage’s hold over Desian was released.
‘It’s said that bizarre things have appeared, and there have been abnormalities found in the world tree.’
Since the mage’s bindings disappeared, Desian began to feel again, spreading up from his fingertips.
‘So is there really…anyone else out there?’
It was the first time he had ever wondered.
Desian didn’t know what to make of this feeling.
Because of Duke Pietro, peace did not last long in the mansion.
This was because the duke, who was the father of the twins and the master of the mansion, had returned.
After the duchess died giving birth to the twins, the duke withered away little by little.
The duke believed in the curse of twins, which is why he abused his sons.
At dawn, the abuse continued as before.
The duke had returned from one of his frequent night’s out and went straight to Desian’s underground room.
An old and loyal servant of the Pietro Dukedom handed over a whip.
Duke Pietro hit the whip hard on the floor as soon as he entered the dungeon.
“I’ve really been cursed because of you two and your bad luck!”
Duke Pietro ground his teeth as he watched Desian stand up straight.
Duke Pietro took one step forward.
His face that had been hidden in the darkness was illuminated.
He had black eyes like his son, under a forehead with light wrinkles.
In fact, his face looked so gentle that one would never expect him to behave this way to his son.
“Those snake-like eyes!”
The man hit the whip that had been wound around Desian’s wrist on the ground once more.
It made a disgustingly loud sound.
Duke Pietro had invested greatly in trading routes and shipping to the New World, which were not as well known as other trading routes.
This led to many disasters for the duke’s ships.
This caused the duke’s anger to always be boiling over.
Of course, this was all due to the duke investing foolishly.
However, Duke Pietro instead blamed the twin brothers and the ‘twin curse’.
Once again, the whip wrapped around Desian’s arm like an angry snake.
Red spots appeared where the whip had been.
“It’s because of you!”
Desian answered monotonously.
What Desian could see was that the duke was venting his anger.
Nevertheless, the boy let the whip hit him without complaining.
There was never even a moan.
“What a horrible, gross guy!”
No matter how many times the whip hit him, Desian’s expression remained blank.
Desian didn’t say anything.
He didn’t say a word as the whip struck him endlessly until the duke grew tired.
New wounds appeared over Desian’s scars.
His flesh was torn and blood was dripping.
Desian couldn’t feel the pain, as he had become numb to it little by little.
Duke Pietro’s shoulders were sore from the beating.
The duke stared at Desian and teased him.
“Aaron has been living comfortably these days.
Doesn’t that make you angry? The fact that you are being beaten instead?”
Duke Pietro scowled.
The distinction in treatment was obvious.
Desian remained calm despite the taunting.
The duke’s words seemed to have no effect on him.
“Don’t harm him.”
Desian said without raising his voice.
After speaking, he roughly wiped the blood flowing from his arm with the back of his other hand.
The blood on the back of Desian’s hand was an eerie color.
Duke Pietro, who was staring at him blankly, stepped back without realizing it.
“Chh.., both of them are tied together.”
Duke Pietro tossed the whip away indignantly.
The blood and flesh wrapped around the whip became buried in dirt.
Desian watched his father go out the door with an expressionless face.
He didn’t feel anything.
Was it normal for a body to not feel pain even when it bleeds? Was it normal to feel nothing when you’re abandoned by your father?
A small doubt passed through his mind.
The bracelet embedded into his flesh like a tattoo shined.
He had been told the bracelet controlled his mana.
Desian looked down insensitively.
He thought of his foolish father’s delusion that he could control Desian with this bracelet.
It was all funny at the moment.
He could feel his whole body waking up, and everyone was oblivious to this.
Leaving Desian behind, Duke Pietro headed to his office.
It was already the middle of the morning.
Time flew by quickly.
Duke Pietro kneaded his stiff shoulders and thought.
When he was in the same space as ‘that’ cursed guy, his whole body felt sick.
Upon arriving at his office, Duke Pietro received a report from the butler.
“Your Excellency, the Duke.”
“As you ordered, I’ve found a companion for the two young lords.”
“You must have chosen someone reliable.”
“Yes.” I chose someone who would not gossip, was quick witted, had few acquaintances in society, and of low social status.
She was carefully selected.”
“Is it right to choose a companion this way? This is quite different from the general practice.”
“Huh, you may know the customs, but this is something else entirely.”
The duke responded to the butler’s concerns by sniffing.
“I planned it this way on purpose.
This is to avoid gossip.
Let me see the personnel record.”
The butler handed over Citrina’s record.
The duke slowly read through the entirety of it.
His gaze became a bit scathing.
“Citrina Foluin of the Foluin Barony, the baron’s daughter.”
“Hmm…” The duke smiled while he held his chin, deep in thought.
“They have no land, have sold their castle, and are on the brink of selling their nobility…she’s a good pick, and if it doesn’t work out, we can cover it up with a scandal.
Butler, have her stay at the annex.”
His mouth slowly curved into a smile.
The butler carefully opened his mouth.
Ah! And… the time has come to replace the young lords’ bracelets.”
In fear that his cursed sons would rebel against him, the duke had restraining devices on the pair.
Nevertheless, there was a limit to how much he could restrain them.
The two boys’ mana was becoming unstable.
Toloji, the wizard who created the restraints, had to have constant contact with the boys, especially Desian.
And his opinion was that the restraint could at some point explode.
“Yes, I suppose…as they grow up, the restraint is no longer functioning properly…”
At the butler’s words, the duke rubbed his forehead with an unhappy look on his face.
“Hm…, let’s invite him for the moment.
Toloji is a trusted wizard.”
“Ah, and the shipping company has contacted me.”
Unlike a minute ago, the duke’s response was pleased.
His eyes twinkled and shone.
“That… the ship docked in the northern Leticia harbor, but the crew were wiped out….
They are dead.”
“What? Do you have more to say?”
“Things keep going in a circle!”
“The scale of the incident and the damage seems to be greater than expected.”
Seeing the duke’s distorted expression, the butler bowed his head cautiously.
The tension continued.
“Alright, I’ll have to go personally.
Let them know I won’t be attending the state affairs meeting.”
The duke replied with a displeased expression.
The butler handed him his jacket with an adept hand.
The duke pulled on his jacket and rubbed his shoulders.
The ache from the whipping stayed longer than before.
Meanwhile, Citrina also felt the atmosphere at the duchy gradually changing.
She recollected her vivid memories.
It was as if someone had delicately carved her past life’s memories and the novel’s contents into her mind.
‘The duke will soon leave to deal with the shipping problem.
Then there will be no one else in the annex.’
These days, she had been meeting with Aaron once a day after lunch.
She and Aaron enjoyed slowly talking over friendly matters.
Aaron was slowly beginning to trust her.
When the duke leaves, everyone but Desian and Aaron will begin to trickle out.
Duke Pietro tried to separate the ducal annex completely.
He believed Desian and Aaron were perfectly neutralized, and didn’t allow them to focus on anything.
Therefore, when he was away, he would minimize the number of people at the annex.
He left only a few people and the butler Harold, who knew of the duke’s misdeeds.
“I absolutely won’t die.”
She bit her lips as if determined.
She didn’t want to die.
Even if she died, it would be after doing everything she wanted to.
What was clear was that the duke would leave and her salary would be paid regularly.
For Citrina and Aaron, a few days went by little by little.
The week seemed longer than it should have been.
As the wind got a bit chilly outside and summer edged towards autumn, there were changes every day.
While Citrina was enjoying a leisurely tea time in her room, Harold called on her.
“Today, you will be meeting Young Lord Desian.”
Harold said, looking a little bewildered.
Citrina caught on quick.
A rushed meeting with Desian.
This wasn’t expected.
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