No matter how much I tried, the carriage journey was indescribable.
The Cartina’s carriage was constructed by a top master cartwright within the Empire.
Nothing cheap was used to assemble the wagon, from the wheels to the tiniest of decorations.
The main reason for this terrible ride was due to the rainstorm.
The drenched roads should have been restored properly; however, all the road workers in this Empire were too idle.
‘This is an issue.’
I grievously shook my head.
Every time the carriage rebounded, my body shook along with it.
I wished I could immediately stop this carriage, step on the earth, and take a couple deep breaths of fresh air.
I want to escape this wagon …
Outside the window, I witnessed a lengthy, lined up line of wagons.
It suddenly became too much of a wish to arrive quickly.
“Estiya, how are you feeling?”
Ether asked as she peeked her head through the carriage window.
“Will you be able to stay in the carriage a while longer?”
Kaylan, Eyla, and Ether rode alongside the wagon, as if their job was to protect the carriage, despite their capabilities to sit with me.
“I’m a little tired, but it’s alright.”
It’s not like there’s a specific appointed time.
At least, I don’t think so?
Usually, when a rich and powerful family appears in a novel, there would be a scene in which the carriages would part to the sides and create a road, just like the miracle of when the sea was splitted in half.
“Actually, it’s a little …”
“Just let me know.
There’s a bomb positioned right under the chair.”
Kaylan presented a bright smile as he pushed his face in.
I immediately straightened my posture and sat upright.
“I’m not tired.”
The Cartinas were beyond my imagination, really.
Instead of using your authority to remove the wagons, you decided to just solve everything by blowing a bomb.
I’ve just saved dozens of people I don’t even know, my God.
I quickly closed the window before Kaylan could tenaciously ask more questions.
After that, the time period following was overly tedious.
Silence passed throughout.
As I observed the dust drifting from the ground from the horse carriages, I recalled the characters in the novel who passed away, just like this flowing dust.
Could I recognize Rodrigo?
That was my concern.
Soon, I smirked.
There was no way I wouldn’t recognize him.
He was the male protagonist; his face would mystically glow or have a halo surrounding him.
Even so, I recollected Rodrigo’s characteristics just in case.
It might have been because I had a fateful love for him in the original story that it wasn’t too difficult to think of Rodrigo, the male protagonist.
Rodrigo Develi Erhardt.
The Grand Duke of the Empire.
Known as the swordsmanship genius of the era, he mastered his sword skills at the age of five and began his first battle at the age of ten as a common soldier.
He started off as a common soldier and rapidly advanced to war with his distinguished talent.
It was when Rodrigo was twelve years old that he was positioned as the head of a one hundred member Knight’s Order.
Since then, all the wars he fought ended with a victory.
At the age of fifteen, he was given the title of Knight Commander, after he successfully got rid of ten thousand enemies.
Was he only accomplished in swordsmanship?
Swordsmanship was only one of the fundamentals.
Just as financial power was essential for a male protagonist in any romance novel, swordsmanship was just one of the principles.
He was very resourceful, and his appearance … What’s the point of saying this? He was simply the greatest man throughout the whole continent.
According to the description in the novel, he was a man with a dangerous charm.
This was also insignificant, but he acquired knowledge of how to utilize magic.
In short, he was a well-rounded character.
Pretty much a *munchkin?
*TL/N: Munchkin is often used in Korean to refer to someone with superhuman powers and/or abilities.
However, that very same rationale was the seeds to Rodrigo’s misfortune.
This was mainly because Emperor Tereo made sure to keep Rodrigo in check.
Tereo was like a snake.
He was a man filled with endless greed and wickedness.
Considering how the Cartina family enjoyed carrying out the bad deeds themselves, Tereo took advantage of that fact.
Swallow if sweet and spit if bitter.
Tereo’s belief, in a way, was like this.
If miso and shit were similar in appearance but completely different in use, so was Tereo and Cartina.
He did everything for money, power, and women.
My arms shrunk, showing how uncomfortable it was for me to say that if Cartina was miso, Tereo was the manure.
There was only one human aspect to Tereo, and that is he loved his son terribly.
Emperor Tereo tormented Rodrigo for the sake of handing Detheus a stable Imperial power.
Rodrigo won’t realize just yet, however, it was none other than Emperor Tereo who drove his parents’ death and threw the young him on the battlefield in accordance to his talent.
In addition, whenever Rodrigo had someone he cherished, the Emperor would use a Cartina or another dark force in order to get rid of them.
Rodrigo seemed perfectly purified on the outside, yet he was very rotten internally.
Despite the fact that the novel was a male-oriented, R-19, hardcore novel, it was able to secured a large number of female fans because of Rodrigo’s development throughout.
Still, Rodrigo held back.
Emperor Tereo used another family other than the Cartina’s to corner him, yet he survived all the attacks and forgave them.
Nonetheless, Estiya was the problem.
The first day Estiya caught sight of Rodrigo during a banquet, she fell for him immediately.
A Cartina’s affection was dangerous.
They would be madly obsessed over their loved ones and constantly wish for their affection.
The same was true for the original Estiya.
Bit by bit, she went insane for Rodrigo after he refused to accept her affection.
Eventually, she killed the heroine, whom he loved.
It was the beginning of the hardcore novel, awarded R-19 for its horrific cruelty.
I didn’t want to remember my end.
Actually, I couldn’t recall it.
The descriptions were so devastating, I ended up skipping that part.
Thus, the world perished.
I don’t know how many nobles fought fiercely only to perish, nor did I know how much damage in total was made.
The end of the novel only held a description of Rodrigo smiling as he stood atop a pile of dead bodies made of the Cartina family, the Imperial family, in addition to the rest of the evil households.
Somewhere in that pile of dead bodies, my body was there, right?
Such tragedies were a dead end.
I do not wish to either be murder nor to depart from this life.
So, Sir Rodrigo, let’s work together well.
I lifted a corner of my mouth, determined to change my fate.
“Lord Kaylan, Lady Ether and Lady Eyla, and the youngest sibling, Lady Estiya, have arrived in the stead of Count Cartina.”
Silence flowed throughout the banquet hall, as if freezing water was poured throughout the room.
People were flabbergasted at the sudden appearance of all the siblings in the Cartina household.
Also, amidst a banquet held by none other than Duke Gloria nonetheless!
The Duke of Gloria had a deep connection with Rodrigo.
He was one of the few sane people existing in the novel that acted as a supporter alongside him.
Considering the bad relationship existing between Erhardts and the Cartinas, it was natural to be taken back by the sudden arrival of all the Cartina siblings.
However, most aristocrats in the Empire knew that none other than the Imperial family had been using Cartina for generations in order to restrain Erhardt.
People glanced our way.
Although Kaylan, Ether, and Ayla passed the people’s gaze lightly as they were overly familiar with such things, I wasn’t.
I felt uncomfortable with their gazes, not being able to distinguish enemy from foe.
“May the Goddess’s protection reach you.
You’ve had a hard time coming this far, Lord Kaylan.”
Rodrigo’s supporter and right-hand man, Duke Gloria, reached out with his wrinkled hand.
“May the light of the goddess shine upon you.
It wasn’t too difficult a path, Duke Gloria.”
Kaylan politely grabbed Duke of Gloria’s hand as they exchanged greetings.
“This is the first time I’ve seen such a face?”
After receiving greetings from both Ether and Eyla, Duke Gloria’s eyes stared directly at me.
I lifted my fresh green dress.
“It’s a pleasure meeting you.
I’m Estiya, Cartina’s fourth daughter.”
My greeting was overly elegant.
The exclamations of the visitors who witnessed my impeccable figure resonated all over.
“Oh, that Estiya!”
Duke Gloria’s voice was quite booming.
It was more than enough to draw people’s attention.
Unlike the time I was announced during the entrance, the curious, explicit eyes immediately focused on me.
Silence fell for a brief moment.
Soon after, chattering and utterings spread everywhere.
It’s understandable why she was constantly pampered by the Cartina family.”
“The rumors that went around a while ago turned out to be true.”
“It was said that the Cartina’s youngest daughter would be making her debut soon, and rumors are that we should never make eye contact.”
“So it’s …”
The following words were too harsh for aristocratic wives to discuss.
Cruel utterances that did not present noble gestures at the least bit.
I could bet my entire fortune that Count Cartina spread such a rumor.
My ears flushed red.
The reason wasn’t because I was being talked of, rather, it was a setting in the novel.
A setting that the members of the Cartina household will develop physical hints when their emotions reach a high level.
It was thanks to such a setting that my ears were bright red.
Sometimes it was for a positive thing, and sometimes it was for something negative.
Once in a while, I heard things I didn’t wish to, like now.
Whenever something like this occured …
“Estiya, I believe they’re a bit too loud.
Should I silence them?”
Kaylan whispered close to my ear.
“Brother, I don’t want to see blood.”
In the past, when I was very young, he grabbed the tongue of a maid who mocked me … I was so terrified I fell down, watching the commotion go on.
I ceased thinking more.
Kaylan flinched, as if he had intended to do the same as that time.
“Haha, Count Cartina has sent you all to brighten up my banquet; I will have to send him a thank you gift later.”
The Duke of Gloria was genuinely pleased.
The success of the banquet was determined by the level of participants.
Cartina’s title was not very high; however, our family was the ruler of the underworld.
And I, a Cartina, was veiled until now as I didn’t enjoy many social activities.
The appearance of the Cartinas was a pleasing notion, yet he was more pleased that his banquet was secured with the appearance of the youngest daughter that was hidden away until now.
“My father will be very pleased.”
Kaylan replied swiftly.
The Duke of Gloria attempted to speak with Kaylan of different matters, yet he only responded briefly and openly expressed his discomfort.
Duke Gloria also noticed this and didn’t remain any longer.
He soon excused himself, telling us to enjoy the banquet to the fullest.
Kaylan and Ether also dispersed under the guise of socializing.
All that was left were me and Eyla.
However, not soon later, I was the only one standing.
“Don’t speak with anyone.
I’ll be right back.
You said you wanted to come to the banquet, didn’t you? You don’t have to dance, just enjoy.
Eyla wrapped her hands around my cheeks and notified me seriously.
I gave Eyla an unconfident answer, my mouth compressed.
Eyla fiercely cuddled me.
How can your face look so cute even when it’s already so cute? For a while, my sister constantly threw love attacks at me as she stated how can my sister get cuter as she grows, how is she different from the other members, my sister is truly a mystery.
“Estiya, this is a very dangerous place, filled with bears.
You must be very careful.”
People who could tear bears with their bare hands say bears are much more dangerous.
I could barely hold back the laughter that was escaping from my mouth.
“Don’t worry, sister.”
I lied in order to reassure Eyla.
After a while, Eyla would be positioned and ready for action.
By the way, where’s Rodrigo?
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