Chapter 43 - The Real Me
It was unfamiliar for him to have the desire to hug and pet someone. The child was small. She was small when they had first met, and she was small even right now. She was so young and weak that he felt he would break her if he put any strength into his hand. How was this little existence breathing the same air and speaking the same language as him?
‘She looks so fragile.’ Miltiades felt that he would kill her if he touched her. It made him a bit nervous. ‘Will she be able to grow up safely?’ Rahel was a cold and unrelenting land. It wasn’t suited for someone like her, who needed sunlight, warm wind, and affection.
Mitlitades sensed an unfamiliar emotion along with this newfound sensation.
Her small and weak hand grabbed onto his. He wasn’t dumb enough to fail to understand the emotions behind her eyes. Her unconditional trust in him was evident in those eyes.
“Ah!” He realized something. This new emotion was affection. It was adoration. As Miltiades recognized these unexpected feelings, a new world opened up for him. And everything had started from this small and soft existence.
Feeling a sudden wave of responsibility, he clenched his big, sturdy hand. Marxen’s words weren’t all lies. Miltiades indeed was unsuitable for the role of a ‘father.’
“Amelia.” It was difficult for him to say her name. Nothing was easy. It was his first time for everything. He suddenly felt curious about something he had never questioned. “Why did you choose me as your father?”
Amelia’s eyes widened. It seemed that she had never thought he would ask something like this. “Because it’s you!” she answered without hesitation.
“Because it’s me?”
“Yep!” Amelia laughed and nodded. “Because you’re you!”
Miltiades couldn’t believe her words. It would’ve made more sense if she had avoided him because of who he was.
Amelia seemed to have realized he was unsatisfied with her answer. She carefully held his hand while smiling. “Daddy, do you remember the first day we met?”
There was no way he could forget. “The day you were stupidly hanging out the window?”
He didn’t know what was so funny but Amelia nodded between her peals of laughter. “As soon as I was in your arms, I got a feeling. This is the person!”
“…” It wasn’t an answer that could convince him, but it made him feel better. Amelia proudly looked at him as if she were a mother who had successfully consoled her child.
“And this is a bit off-topic, but…” Amelia fiddled with her fingers. “I don’t have anything. I’m an orphan, I don’t know who my parents are, and I was lucky enough to be the saintess.”
As she blinked and forced herself to smile, Miltiades felt his heart tear.
“I was an ordinary child, but after I was sent to the Vatican, everyone started looking at and treating me with respect.” She then lowered her voice and continued, “The only person who treated me like a child”—she looked at Miltiades with her clear eyes—“was you.”
Amelia’s tiny voice rang deeply in Miltiades’s heart. “That’s why I chose you.”
A wave of an unknown emotion engulfed Miltiades, and he took a deep breath. With every sensation and every emotion, he felt like he was stepping into a strange world. All he could do was look at her and listen.
Amelia became embarrassed. She giggled a bit and curled into herself. “I thought that you would look at me just the way I am.” She put some strength into her hand after her small confession.
Miltiades’s throat burned with the countless emotions he was feeling. “I will…”
“I will protect you.” He made a promise to himself. It was the only commitment he would make toward this child. He would properly raise her until she could stand on her own feet. He would give up his own life to protect hers.
“I’ll protect you from any harm that comes your way.” And when that day came… “I’ll protect you, Amelia.” When that day came, he would send her away so that she wouldn’t have to suffer for his sins.
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