“Oh my God…!”

Lea covered her mouth in disbelief.

Henry, who received the Duke’s suffocating gaze, turned his head away. He stubbornly tightened his lips.

“I hate a liar. Even more so if it’s my son.”

“….”

“Tell me.”

“….”

“Henry!”

“Dwon’t!” (Don’t)

The Duke’s voice became louder and louder, until I shouted and slipped in between them. I ran to the Duke’s arm, shut my eyes tightly and hung on his arm.

“Henly is scawed. He is scawed of you.” (Henry is scared. He is scared of you.)

‘I am scared too.’

‘I must be crazy. Hanging onto the Duke, a monster invoking mana, without thinking.’

It would be less scary to crawl into a lion’s mouth. My whole body was shaking with fear. The Duke’s grips slowly loosened. Henry, who was released by the Duke, gritted his teeth and ran out of the room. I trailed behind him.

Although I managed to grab his hand, Henry shook it off as soon as my grip touched him.

‘Agh!’

I almost fell because of the sudden force. I hurried back up and walked to Henry’s side.

“Henly it’s ok to be afwaid.” (Henry it’s okay to be afraid)

“….”

“I’m afwaid of sharp objects. I’m scawed of fwogs. It’s not bad to have something you awe afwaid of.” (I’m afraid of sharp objects. I’m scared of frogs. It’s not bad to have something you are afraid of.)

“….”

“I’ll pwotect you. Let’s go to dyuke.” (I’ll protect you. Let’s go to the Duke.)

“Who asked you for help!”

Henry’s yell echoed sharply in the dark corridor. I was stunned and my outstretched hand retracted. Henry gritted his teeth and glared at me.

“….”

“Do you still fantasize us as a happy family?”

“….”

“Do you really think that you’ve become my sibling just because you’re in the family register? Don’t make me laugh. There’s no one who really considers an orphan without a drop of blood as a family.”

Henry poured out those hurtful remarks and sneered.

“Don’t mess around and keep your nose out of my business.”

At the end of the warning, he turned his back.

‘Stubborn,’ I thought.

I stood in the same place and looked at his fading figure.

***

When I came back to the Duke’s side, I told them the truth without leaving anything out, except the part where I set a trap for Teramore.

“…When I went to the study woom, I saw Henly and Gwandpa Tewamowe. Gwandpa was bweating Henly, I was scawed.” (When I went to the study room, I saw Henry and Grandpa Teramore. Grandpa was beating him up, I was scared.)

Nos and Viscount Dubos were so upset when they heard my story, that they uttered unrestrained curses under their breath.

“Die bastard.”

“You son of a bitch!”

Nos, frowned and muttered.

“Why on earth would Henry not tell me that Teramore laid his hand on him?”

“He’s still a child, so he must be afraid that if he said it, something bigger would happen.”

Viscount Dubos sighed deeply.

“What shall we do, sir?”

“Let Teramore be locked in an underground prison.”

“This wouldn’t have happened if the senate didn’t push Teramore to become Henry’s teacher. They should also take responsibility for his deed.”

“Keep it a secret that Henry has been assaulted.”

“Alright…What?! I know that today’s incident alone is enough to charge Teramore for imprisonment or worse death sentence, but why would you keep Henry’s mistreatment a secret?”

Viscount Dubos was bewildered, but the Duke didn’t reply. When the Duke left the room, Dubos and Nos spoke in a low voice.

“I had hoped for the Duke to dissolve the senate through Teramore’s crime, but it seems that I was too whimsical.”

“The consequences are too big. In the worst-case scenario, dissolvement of the senate could lead to war.”

“I know, but as a father of three children, isn’t it too cold-hearted to just dismiss the incident as if it doesn’t exist?”

Everyone kept chattering, saying that the Duke had no affection for their children, but I thought of the opposite. Before the former Duke passed away, Dubbled carried his order without a fuss, even the most dangerous one. His obedience might have contributed to the fact that the former Duke was in charge of his three children. Perhaps because his children were taken hostage, he took all the order at the risk of his life.

‘The Duke even hid the fact that Henry was abused, as if to protect Henry.’

Despite the consequence that a war may break out if the Senate disbanded. In the long run, the war will eventually be cleared up, even if it took a long time to achieve.

The reason why he gave up the opportunity to deal with the slippery senate was to keep people off Henry. If he kept the charges, countless people would use this chance to pry into Henry’s weakness.

‘He noticed that he was traumatized by the former Duke.’

Children in a powerful household with weaknesses always become the target, so they had to hide their weaknesses.

“Shall we go, little miss? I have warm milk ready for you.”

I glanced once more at the Duke’s direction before I held Lea’s hand and followed her.

***

<Henry’s room>

Nos came to check on Henry’s condition. When he confirmed that the child was asleep, he turned his head to Dubbled’s elite knight.

“Make sure the news about today’s incident doesn’t get out, issue an emergency order, and tighten security in the castle.”

“Shall we put a guard by his side?”

“No. It’s just going to remind him of this nightmarish incident.”

The dark gray-haired knight shrugged.

“Well… Teramore is in the underground prison and the chairman of the senate was called, so who could possibly harm him?”

“Watch your mouth.”

Nos frowned when he heard the knight’s careless remarks. Soon Nos and the knight left the room. The sleeping child behind the closed door was once again buried in suffocating darkness alone. His feeble breath sank into silence, and only silence rose to the room.

‘Creak-’

A small frictional sound was heard. LeBlaine’s small shadow was formed by the light coming in from the hall. She slipped into the room with a light step and closed the door mutedly.

LeBlaine then crept over to Henry’s bedside.

“Asleep.”

He had refused for a doctor to check up on him and had stayed in his room ever since, but he seems to have been sleeping all along. LeBlaine carefully raised Henry’s sleeve. The bruises she saw during the day had darkened once more.

She took out a small bottle from her pocket and applied the ointment inside gently over the dark bruises and wounds. All of a sudden, Henry’s body tossed and turned.

“Gasp!”

She pressed her racing heart with her small hands and looked at Henry’s face again, to make sure he was sleeping.

‘Let’s just go back. If he wakes up and sees me, his mood is going to plummet.’

She put the little bottle back in her pocket. LeBlaine turned to the door, but paused in her track and looked at Henry’s sleeping face. She gently patted Henry’s hair and whispered.

“It’s all wight, child. It’s all wight.” (It’s all right, child. It’s all right.)

When she was abused by the Duke of Vallua and tortured because of the attempt on Mina’s life, she had wished for someone to pat her head gently and assured her that everything was going to be alright.

It’s okay.

Tomorrow will come and everything will be fine.

LeBlaine just hoped that this simple pat would be able to take away at least a little bit of Henry’s pain.

After LeBlaine left the room, Henry slowly raised his eyelid.

“Who’s older to whom?”

Henry’s mind flashed to his previous actions. Even when he showed dislike towards her, she would keep chasing after him foolishly without giving up. Was she really that stupid?

“Foolish….”

“Do you really think that you’ve become my sibling just because you’re in the family register? Don’t make me laugh. There’s no one who really considers an orphan without a drop of blood as a family.”

He vented his anger to her.

Henry bit his bottom lips. He didn’t mean what he said to her. He was embarrassed that she found out about his fear, so he shouted out hurtful remarks to cover up his embarrassment.

… Actually, it was scary. When Teramore raised his hand to hit him, he would always remember his grandfather’s cruel words…

‘Why can’t you live up to your expectations? You’re not my grandson if you’re defective!’

… and soon the illusion of Teramore and grandfather overlapped.

But-

‘I’ll protect you, Henly.’

Henry buried his face in the blanket and cried silently.

***

The castle was in uproar. Two out of the three seniors who recommended Teramore were removed from their post and they lost their jurisdiction. The establishment of an advisory body, which had been opposed strongly by the senate, was authorized.

Trapped inside the underground prison building, Teramore’s appearance was terrible. However, he did not give up and begged the patrolling soldier. He reached his hand out through the iron bar’s gap.

“The chairman…. Please deliver a message to the chairman. I know the secret of the Child of Fate!”

If the chairman finds out that she was actually a demon, he could turn the situation upside down. Previously, he was cautious because of his precarious position, but the chairman is different. His position was secured and stable. Unfortunately, the soldier didn’t heed his gibberish words, the soldier kicked his hand away.

“Always saying nonsense. Who would believe a madman’s words?”

“I’m not crazy!”

“Ha! If you’re not crazy how did you find the guts to raise your hand to the young master?”

The soldier shook his head and said, “When the chairman sees you, he’ll cut your throat right away instead. If you want to live another day, don’t talk nonsense.”

Soon after the prison guard finished his advice, the door that led to the underground prison opened and someone descended down the stairs.

“Young master.”

The soldiers bowed over towards Henry.

“…!”

Teramore’s face lit up with delight and hope when he saw Henry’s figure.

‘The heavens have not abandoned me!’

Henry ordered the guarding soldiers.

“Go outside until I call you.”

The soldiers looked at each other, but soon bowed deeply and left the door.

Teramore, who was left alone with Henry, cried out, holding the iron bar.

“Henry, get me out of here.”

“….”

“I won’t divulge your trauma. So, let me meet with the chairman. “

“What are you going to do when you meet him?”

“I will surely take my revenge on that little bitch, —Agh!”

The surge of mana emanating from Henry’s body strangled Teramore’s neck.

“Wha-what are you doing….!”

No way.

Something’s wrong. Henry would never dare to look straight at him, let alone possessed the guts to strangle him.

“Thi-this defective-….”

In the past, even Teramore’s voice could drive him off the cliff, but now the tables had turned. Henry pierces his gaze straight at Teramore’s eye with an indifferent look.

“I’m not a defective product!”

Teramore’s trembling hand reached towards Henry. Henry, who normally would cower from the sight of Teramore’s wrinkled hand, kicked his hand away.

For some reason he was no longer afraid.

Henry said with a sneer.

“And my sister is not a bitch, her name is LeBlaine.”

LeBlaine, who was fast asleep in her room, did not know that such a big thing was happening in the underground prison.