Chapter 17 - The Prettiest
“Of course, let us go in. My dear Marin. Lumi, Jianne, and Chelle are all waiting for you already,” said Marquis Reclan, my uncle.
“Yes,” I replied.
As soon as the drawing room door opened, a very pretty, doll-like girl with red hair ran towards me. She was Illumina von Reclan, my cousin who was three years younger than me.
Lumi beamed, “Marin! I missed you so much. I was so lonely after you left the capital.” I hugged her and caressed her head. Then, her face melted softly in my hand.
“Hey, Lumi! Don’t play coy because she’s here! Hey Marin, it’s been a long time.”
A boy, who looked just like Lumi, was Jianneen, her twin brother. He smiled as he greeted me. I also smiled back at him, who, as always, was a good boy. Then I asked, “How have you been, Jianne? Are you still aiming to be a knight?”
“Yeah. I’ll be your knight. Just watch.”
“Thank you for that, but I’m sure you can find a much better lady to protect.”
Jianne then shook his head firmly, and as he watched me, answered, “There can never be a better lady than you.”
“My, thank you.”
Gosh, that Harry should learn from Jianne. Look at him. He knows what to say. While I was comparing my mother’s son to my servant number two, I heard a familiar voice.
“Marin! Is my angel truly here?”
A tall red-haired man charged into the drawing room. Before I could even greet him, he came over and hugged me. Although I was surprised, I hugged my other cousin back as well.
“Chelleno,” I said.
“Just Chelle. Marin, my lovely cousin!”
“It’s the same thing. By the way, can we stop this huge reunion now?”
Chelleno quickly released me in response to my threat and, with a frightened look, responded, “Alright, alright! You’re so cold, Marin!”
“It’ll look weird to see two grownup cousins hugging each other for too long.”
Chelleno then pushed his mouth as if he disagreed, “Who cares? You’re not even engaged anymore.”
The air turned cold, and everyone began looking at me warily. Uncle froze on the spot, Lumi and Jianne watched me with their round eyes, and my father looked at me worryingly. With everyone frozen, it was my mother who was gracefully drinking tea who replied to Chelleno’s words.
“Oh, dear Chelleno. You and my daughter are cousins, and there shouldn’t be any scandals between you two. I will be furious if your reckless behavior interferes with my daughter’s bright future. That kid is talented enough to even become a future minister.”
It is an honor that you think so highly of this poor daughter, Mother. I actually thought the same. Hahaha. Chelleno, however, found a way to argue back as if he was the intellectual type.
“It’s wrong for people to think of our friendship like that. Auntie, I do this because I care for my cousin. I never thought of her in such a way.”
“I suppose you’re right, but you still shouldn’t do that. Keep a distance from her from now on. If you still insist on proving your friendship, then you should fight me and win,” said Mother.
That’s my mother! Chelleno had been trained to be my servant since he was very young. But sometimes, he went beyond what I wanted due to him being too loyal, which made me uncomfortable. Mother putting a stop to him was good news.
“Auntie! You can’t say-”
“A man who is allowed to be close to my daughter should defeat me in a duel. So, if that’s not what you wish to do, keep your distance from my daughter. We don’t want a good man to stay away from her because of you. Don’t we?”
Rey or Harry would be terrified of Mother and would have agreed right away, but Chelleno seemed to be disagreeing with what she said. Then he met my eyes and began to get teary-eyed. Wow. He looks like a giant puppy. Then he asked, “Marin, are you really doing this to me?”
As he looked at me, he looked crestfallen. Well… Chelleno was quite handsome actually. I could see some girls admiring him. But still, to me, he was only my annoying cousin, so I replied, “Yeah. You’re too annoying.”
Chelleno became tearful and ran out of the room once he heard my answer. At last, the room returned to normalcy. When will he be helpful? I wanted a hound who would answer my call when I trained him. But now, he’s an annoying attention-seeking puppy.
“Gosh, men. They’re all so childish. Look at our Marina and Illumina. They’re so composed and calm.”
I almost nodded to my mother’s rant. Lumi brightened up at my mother’s words, “Wow, auntie. I’m so honored that you considered me in the same rank as Marina!”
“Don’t mention it. Oh, yes. Illumina, you should take Marina to a dress shop. I am not too keen on female trends,” said my mother.
“I’m sure you follow trends well. But shopping with Marina! I’m excited!”
Mother smiled gracefully at Lumi’s excitement and turned to me, “Marina, go on with Illumina to shop. I’ll be waiting.”
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