Chapter 3 - Brother and Strife
Ella didn’t want to go, so she purposely slowed down her footsteps. In the end, there was no way around it. It would have been better for her to take the beatings now rather than later. In the original novel, Ella began taking lessons in preparation for her future role as the future empress. The moment she was selected to marry the crown prince, the number of lessons increased. The current Ella had no knowledge of this. She had no idea what her teachers were going to think when their protégé couldn’t remember any of their teachings. It was especially a concern today because today’s teacher was Viscount Jersone. Viscount Jersone, who taught the history of the Duffespe empire, was known for his harshness. Luciella always found him to be difficult. If there were at least a few days before her lesson with the viscount, Ella would’ve tried to cram basic knowledge. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any time left for her.
Ella soon arrived at the location where she usually studied. After clenching her sweaty fist, she nodded slightly. Smila, who followed her, knocked on the door, and the door opened. The room was filled with many books. There was an older gentleman with so many wrinkles that he looked like a thin dried-up tree. He was waiting for Ella.
“You’re five minutes late, my lady. I was worried that you might have tried to run away from your lessons again.”
Ella was just about to make an apologetic face, but she soon thought of a solution that would help her out of her current predicament. She sighed. ‘Ugh. Why didn’t I think of that before?’ thought Ella.
Ella’s look made the viscount uncomfortable. The young lady was beautiful and elegant compared to any daughter from a noble family. She often, however, startled him with her unexpected silliness. There was a reason why the entire Constance family watched her every move. There was no telling what this lady would do if left unchecked as she was now. Although her silly thoughts were apparent to others, her true intentions were always a mystery. Jersone shook those thoughts away and escorted Ella to her seat.
“Have you completed your homework, my lady?”
Ella became genuinely startled, covered her mouth in shock, and exclaimed, “Oh, my!”
An exclamation and gesture that Ella had never done in her life came from her so naturally. Ella then softly smiled at Jersone, only this time she did it intentionally.
“I’m truly sorry, my lord. I was going to copy the History of Duffespe Empire written by the Great Rillow the Wise, just as you ordered. But the book was so intriguing that I completely forgot to write it down as I was reading it. I do, however, remember everything from the book, so I’m sure there’s no need to copy it anymore.”
None of it was from Ella’s memories, but the words came out of her so flawlessly. As Ella spoke, new memories began to appear in her mind. Ella had read the entire history book on the Duffespe Empire and memorized its contents. The charming story of the heroes and the founding of the empire raced through Ella’s mind. The viscount, however, had listened to similar excuses many times in the past, so he calmly questioned her.
“If that’s so. Then do you remember where the young King Lucas had planted the holy tree?”
“The Dorlan Mountains, of course. I found it interesting that the tree’s fruits were only harvested for his highness, the emperor. When the tree didn’t bear any fruit, there was a drought. Have you ever seen the holy tree, my lord?”
The Viscount found no need to further question the young lady. For the first time since Ella stepped into the room, a kind smile appeared on his face.
“Unfortunately, no. The tree isn’t for someone like me. But maybe, you’ll get to see it in the not-too-distant future,” said Jersone.
Ella knew exactly what he was talking about. When someone formally becomes the crown princess, she is going to be baptized by the holy tree. The baptism of the holy tree was one of the most beautiful moments in the novel. Thinking about that moment in the future made Ella’s heart race with anticipation. Viscount Jersone smiled softly at Ella. The protégé, he was teaching before his retirement, was a troublemaker. She was also someone worthy of being loved by all. Even now, Ella was much more lovable than his own granddaughter.
At last, the viscount gave up on punishing her. Instead, he took out a thick book and placed it in front of Ella. It was a book on the empire’s modern history. The book was written by an author that Ella hated the most. Her face instantly became depressed. Her lovely emerald-colored eyes darkened, and she looked up at the viscount beggingly. Jersone ignored her and opened the book.
‘This book’s so boring, unlike the one written by Rillow. It should be a good punishment for this young lady,’ Jersone thought.
Unlike his expectations, Ella became hooked to the stories. The history that Rillow’s book didn’t cover in detail was in this book. With Viscount Jersone’s explanations, the contents from the book came to life. It even made Ella patriotic towards the empire. Jersone was surprised by Ella’s change in attitude. He still, however, ordered her to copy down parts of the book until their next lesson together.
“Lady, if you want to forget copying down the book this time as well, you should memorize all content of this book,” said Jersone.
Ella was about to cry at his firm declaration. Although the book was interesting, there was still something about it that she wouldn’t dare to read without the help of Jersone. Luciella’s memory was quite clear. It was Viscount Jersone’s lectures that were interesting and not the books. Even when Ella came out of the room, she couldn’t take her eyes off of the thick book in Smila’s hands. Then a charming young man approached Ella.
The man had faint purple-colored hair like Duke Constance and teal-colored eyes that resembled the duke and the duchess. The young man was waiting for Ella with both arms wide open. Ella immediately recognized him.
‘Wristlet Corsage and Boutonniere of Destiny‘
Ella smiled brightly as she saw Evan for the first time in a while and ran into his embrace. Ranhee never saw him before today, but Luciella hadn’t seen him in over a month. Her body had once again moved ahead of her thoughts. Evan held Ella up in the air and spun her, and then hugged her. Ella’s warm welcome delighted him. He felt like he was finally home at last. When he held her up, Evan noticed Ella had lost some weight since the last time he saw her. This worried him a lot.
“My sister, I know it’s a once-in-a-lifetime party, but aren’t you going too far for it? My heart’s broken from all the weight you have lost in just a month,” said Evan with a worried look.
Evan’s loved-filled worried look urged her to give up trying to lose weight and on wearing the corset. Instead, Ella wanted to dive into a big feast with her brother. But that wasn’t an option.
“Oh, brother. It’s been three years since I’ve met him! I want to look great. The other girls from the capital are on a much stricter diet than I am. I’ve only started dieting recently. The world of women is much more complicated than you think.”
Evan laughed at Ella’s lecture on womanhood as though she was a grown woman. It only felt like yesterday that Ella was still a young girl who followed her brother around everywhere. He was proud to see Ella all grown up. Part of Evan didn’t want to see Ella grow up and leave the household. Suddenly, Evan’s expression changed. Ella suddenly saw the world upside down.
Evan locked Ella’s head using his arm. Ella never expected an attack from Evan at such a time, and she screamed.
‘This man’s crazy! A 24-year-old man shouldn’t be doing something like that to his 16-year-old sister!’ thought Ella, but those words only remained in her head. Instead, all she could do was try to escape his grip while also trying to persuade him to stop. The warm greeting from her brother was rapidly becoming a wrestling match. As Ella tried to escape from Evan’s iron grip, Smila placed the thick book in her arms onto the floor and ran away. There was only one person who could resolve this situation.
Ella looked around to call for help but all of those working within the house already disappeared the moment this occurred. Although it wasn’t a common sight to see in an ordinary noble house, this was a common occurrence in the Constance household. The best way to react to this was to run away and not watch. This was a disaster for Ella.
“You’re still too young to try to act like a grownup. Come back when you’re older.”
“In three months, I will be a formal lady!”
“And that still doesn’t make you a grownup.”
“I just need one more year then!”
“Don’t you think one year is a long time?”
Evan laughed as Ella argued back at every word he said. The strange, grownup-like lady finally looked like his sister. His satisfied smile, however, had to move aside pretty soon.
“My god, young master! Young lady! What’s up with you two?” shouted Maylin as she ran up to them.
Evan flinched as Maylin yelled at them and immediately released Ella. He pretended as nothing had happened. Maylin cared for Evan until Ella was born, so Evan was obedient towards Maylin. Ella slumped down as she was freed from her evil brother’s grip and panted. She wouldn’t have gone down easily like this if it weren’t for her month-long diet. She simply had no energy to fight back. Ella, at this point, had a dilemma. She wasn’t sure whether or not she should continue to lose weight or build her energy up to save herself from any potential danger. When Ella had read about this scene from the novel, she thought that Luciella and Evan were really close, but it was like a threat when she experienced it first-hand.
‘I’m going to pay you back for sure!’ Ella thought as she promised to get revenge. Now she understood wholeheartedly why Luciella promised to get revenge in the book. ‘Ella… so you got through all this. I’m so proud that you were already such a perfect lady even with a brother like this.’
To think that such a perfect lady had such a back story. It was a time of suffering and pain that could not be read without tears. Ella promised to get revenge for Luciella’s sake. At the moment, she had no power. ‘Maybe I should start eating again?’
Maylin came in with a furious look and hid Ella behind her back. Ella instinctively held Maylin’s arm with eyes filled with tears. Maylin’s face became even more furious.