Lucia - Chapter 33

< — Damian — > (4)


TN: I was about to ship it then I remembered the age difference *cough*. You’ll understand when you read.


Anna returned from her outing with her hands full of books tied up in a string. These days, she’d been working on finding a cure for the Duchess.


She’d combed through the bookstore and collected all the books related to medicinal herbs and asked the owner of the bookstore to definitely contact her whenever a related book came in.


As Anna walked through the castle gates and entered the castle, she saw Dorothy, a middle-aged woman that she was usually close to, some distance away.


She wanted to raise her voice and greet her but because Dorothy was holding onto a man and acting fussy as she subserviently bowed her waist, she just watched blankly.


‘Just looking at his attire, he doesn’t seem like someone in a high position…’


When they separated, Anna approached Dorothy.


“Who was that? Seems like someone I’m seeing for the first time.”


“The first time? Well, He is indeed someone full of wanderlust. He’s the Duke’s doctor.”


“The Duke’s doctor? Why have I never seen such a person?”


“You haven’t stayed long in the castle. We didn’t hear any news from him for a few years then he returned, stayed for a few days and left again. This time, he’s stayed for almost two or three months. I don’t know when he’ll be leaving again.”


“Is it okay for a doctor to just leave like that?”


“Because our Duke is such a strong person, he doesn’t really need a doctor. It’s often joked that the most idle person here is the Duke’s doctor. But there is no one here that doubts his ability after all, our youngest had almost died but lived thanks to him.”


Even though Anna was having a conversation, she kept glancing in the direction Philip had disappeared in.


The next day, Anna went to find Philip at his residence. It was wooden house nestled at the corner of the outer walls. There was thick tree near the house making it seem even more remote.


A primary physician should be able to arrive as early as possible if there was an emergency which was why Anna stayed inside of the castle.


Although it was said that he was the Duke’s primary doctor, he always left his position to go on vacations, never looked for the Duke, and his residence was far away.


Somehow, there seemed to be an inside story to all of it. Just in time, Anna finally found Philip sitting on a chair in the backyard.


“Hello, Sir Philip. I am Anna, the Duchess’ doctor. I heard the Duke’s doctor was around so I came meet you and at the same time, give my greetings.”


The old man with a somewhat odd air around him watched Anna slowly, as though he were searching her face, then displayed a good natured smile.


“Nice to meet you. You can just call me Philip.”


“For me too, just call me Anna.”


“You’re a precious guest, come in. I will bring out some tea.”


Philip’s friendly response caused Anna’s heart that was little nervous to relax and she followed him inside the house.


They drank tea, exchanged a few meaningless pleasantries and after a few words, the conversation became increasingly more about topics related to medicine.


Because they were both doctors, it was a common topic that they could talk about for even a whole day. During the conversation they had, Anna admired two things.


Philip’s polite and elegant attitude and his medical knowledge. It was an occasion where the occupation of a doctor and the status of a noble Baron were impeccable.


Although, as a doctor, Anna was more focused on Philip’s medical knowledge.


‘This person is skilled.’


Anna couldn’t keep up with Philip’s intelligence. Doctors usually have a unique treatment method that only themselves know about or have some understanding concerning diseases but when Philip began to speak, there was nothing he didn’t know.


Or rather, he would even suggest an easier treatment method.


‘If it’s him… he might know about her Grace’s symptoms.’


From the start, Anna’s original purpose was to seek advice regarding the Duchess’ symptoms. However, unlike the general sicknesses, her Grace’s symptoms were a personal secret.


It continuously bothered her conscience as a doctor because a patient’s secret must strictly be protected.


환자의 비밀을 엄수해야 한다는 의사의 양심이 자꾸 걸렸다


Even if they were doctors that worked in the same place, she couldn’t readily talk about the symptoms.


And if Anna looked at another patient, she was still the primary doctor of the Duchess. It wasn’t something that she could just close her eyes and deny.


Anna eventually decided on just studying as much medical books as she could then departed from Philip’s residence.


As Anna was returning from meeting Philip, she was summoned by Jerome.


“I called you because I have something to say. It seems you met Sir Philip today.” (Jerome)


“I…Are you monitoring me?”


“Ah, don’t misunderstand. The one under surveillance isn’t you, Anna but Sir Philip.”


In the past, the Duke had appeared quite displeased when he’d heard of Sir Philip living within the castle. It was very rare for his master to reveal his feelings.


Jerome didn’t know the details but he could tell that there was something so Jerome placed more eyes around Philip to watch him closely.


Jerome’s tight surveillance started some time ago, from the moment Philip arrived at the city of Roam. But Jerome did not know that there was another set of eyes monitoring Philip.


They were hidden guards at Damian’s side and one of their missions was to block Philip from approaching Damian. Because Damian had returned to Roam, Philip was now under double monitoring.


“I’m not saying that you cannot meet. You also don’t have to say what you’ve talked about. But you cannot allow Sir Philip meet her Grace or mention him to her. I have been instructed to not allow her Grace to learn of Sir Philip’s existence.” (Jerome)


Anna wanted to ask why. There was many things about this that she couldn’t understand but Anna was just a doctor. If the ones above say so, she had to follow.


“If you don’t mind us meeting then…Sir Philip is a competent doctor. Is it okay for me to ask for advice on treatment methods for her Grace?”


Jerome thought about it for a moment.


“If it’s just that, then it’s fine. But, her Grace can only know it as your treatment.”


“…I understand.”


As being under surveillance from the ones above was an extremely uncomfortable thought, Anna did not go to find Philip for a few days.


But when she began to think that if Philip were to go on another trip, the day they meet would be in the distant future, she grew nervous. Eventually, she went back to see Philip.


“Anna, welcome.”


Philip looked happy to have a guest and his expression was very kind. All the way here, Anna had been full of anxiety.


What kind of person was he that he had to be monitored? Did he commit a great evil?


She was nervous and worried that she might be dragged into this pointlessly but in the face of Philip’s hospitality, she felt unnecessarily guilty.


‘If he did something evil, then surely he wouldn’t just be under surveillance. Sir Philip is a doctor but he’s also a baron, therefore it’s probably some kind of political issue.’


And so, afterwards, Anna steadily visited Philip. A doctor’s knowledge was practically their property so Anna grew to sincerely respect the Philip that taught her freely.


As for Philip, since he was always alone, having a friend that he could have a conversation made his life much more enjoyable.


He folded his thoughts of leaving soon and spent his time conversing with Anna or sometimes going outside the castle with her and offering their medical services to the poor.


The relationship between the two was very similar to one between a master and his disciple.


< — Damian — > (4)


TN: Ha-ha, sorry bout the mobile theme. Was tweaking the site a bit but it should be up for good now.


After Damian arrived, the serenity in Roam remained the same as usual. Lucia’s life did not change either.


During the day, she would take care of the garden and in the evening, she would read books in the study.


Since the Lady of the House was the same as usual, the employees that were a little nervous went back to normal.


Meanwhile, Damian was busy studying hard. He spent the most of the day alone in his room looking through books.


For the boy, the Academy was the only thing that could prove his existence. He could never relax on it.


The boy who had been completely absorbed in his books lifted his head to the sound of knocking coming from his door.


A while after, a servant came in, stood by the door and spoke.


“Young master, dinner is ready.”


“Okay.”


He didn’t realize that much time had flown by. Damian close the book without any hesitation and stood up.


He walked out of the room and his steps towards the dining room were light. Twice a day, he had lunch and dinner with the Duchess.


It was just sitting down, facing each other and having a meal but as time passed, Damian began to look forward to this time.


When Damian arrived at the dining room, no one had arrived yet. He sat down and waited for a bit then Lucia came in. Damian quickly got up, took out a chair and helped Lucia into her seat.


“Thank you, Damian.”


Lucia smiled, greeting him and in response, Damian bowed his head slightly then returned to his seat. It was quiet throughout the meal.


There was usually next to no conversation between them as they ate. There were even more times when they didn’t utter a single word.


Damian was unlike a child as he was reserved and Lucia was also not the talkative type. But neither Damian nor Lucia felt the silence was uncomfortable.


While they were eating, Damian accidentally dropped his fork and a maid quickly approached to replace it with a new fork. This minor mistake passed smoothly as though nothing had happened.


Damian glanced at the maid that had moved to serve him. He could feel that the attitude of the employees that attended to him were very careful.


It didn’t mean that there was an employee that was rude to his before he left for boarding school. Even though people said all sorts of things about his illegitimacy or what not, from the point of view of the employees, he was in a very high position.


However before, they seemed like a sturdy robots that only fulfilled their duties. In comparison to that time, they showed a bit more enthusiasm as they served and complied with his wishes.


Damian knew all about the Duchess’ favor and the Duchess did not conceal her goodwill towards him. And since the employees watched and listened as they served them, they acted a lot more careful with Damian.


The amount of time that Damian met the Duchess in a day did not amount to much. Most of the time, he studied then it was meal time and after which they would take a walk.


The Duchess’ favor was not excessive and she did not try to stir up his mind or pull it down. As time passed in this manner, Damian’s boundaries relaxed.


If Damian was even a little bit older, the door to his heart would have been tightly shut but he was just eight years old. He was a young child that missed affection but had never even learnt what it was.


After dinner, neither of them said a word about going to the garden together for a walk but they naturally began to walk there together.


“You are eagerly studying most of the time, right? I find that admirable.” (Lucia)


The tips of Damian’s ears grew slightly red.


“That’s because…I don’t want to lag behind when I return to the Academy.”


“You said this wasn’t a vacation but an outing, right? Can you go out at any time?”


“You have to receive permission and there is a limit of 30 days per year. I didn’t know his Grace wouldn’t be here. I have no way of knowing when he will be back so I’m not quite sure if I will be able to return within the 30 day limit.”


Damian’s expression got a little darker.


The 30 days limit was not going to be a big issue. The Duke would be able to deal with any problems of that sort but the semester would have already flown by.


“Why don’t you call him father? Did he say you have to call him that way?”


“…It’s not like that. I just…thought he’d dislike it…”


“Why do you think so? That’s just your presumption. Try calling him father, he definitely would not dislike it.”


“…”


“And Damian, you haven’t called me by my name. Did you think I wouldn’t notice you were deliberately omitting my name? When you call me, will you go, ‘hey’, ‘you there’. You aren’t doing that, are you?”


The red eyes of the boy shook.


“No. I don’t do that…”


“Then you can say it. I call you Damian, don’t I?”


“…Yes…Lucia.”


Damian grew silent then spoke abruptly.


“May I ask you a question?”


“Any time.” (Lucia)


“Don’t you hate me?”


“I don’t hate you.”


Without any pause, Lucia responded lightly, as though it was an everyday conversation.


“Do you think I should hate you?” (Lucia)


“…I think if you must, you should.”


“Where is there such a saying? The feeling of hate hurts one just as much as it hurts one’s enemy. Why would I bother myself with such an unnecessary emotion? I don’t hate you and I don’t have any plans of doing so in the future.”


“…”


But if the Duchess gave birth to a child and he becomes a roadblock in the future of her child, from that moment onwards, her goodwill towards him would change into hatred.


Damian couldn’t believe the words of the Duchess.


“Damian, ever since I got married, I’ve known about you. Your father married me on the condition that I acknowledge you.”


Damian couldn’t believe it.


“That man is probably not an affectionate father but don’t think that he hates you. He is a man clumsy at expressing himself. If he hated you, he wouldn’t have bothered to make you his successor.”


Damian couldn’t believe it but he wanted to believe. Nobody’d ever told the boy something like this before.


There was contempt and disapproval towards the crude illegitimate child and faced with the indifference from his father’s cold gaze, he’d clenched his teeth and worked harder. So, Lucia’s tender comfort squeezed into the gaps in the boy’s heart.


“Do you hate your father?”


Hate. He’d never dared to think that way. Damian knew just how much what he had was beyond his means. He was just an illegitimate child with a non-noble biological mother but he was given recognition by his high ranking noble father and was appointed as his successor.


[Just graduate. Then this place is yours.]


The Duke sent Damian to boarding school with only this condition. It was a ridiculously easy condition.


And because of his scary father, even though there were many hateful gazes, nobody tried to harm the boy directly.


Of the Taran bloodline, excluding the Duke, there was only Damian so there were no competitors. So, harboring complaints was something Damian wouldn’t do.


“No. He is…someone I admire.”


The boarding school where the boy was attending was a prestigious academy where nobles and those of royal blood gathered from various countries.


Because the school system was personalized for each student, there were students like Damian who boarded long term and while the shortest course of study could be two years, it varied greatly.


There was no one among the people that came from all over the world that did not know of Xenon’s Taran Duke. His remarkable prowess in the war that ended not too long ago was more famous in other countries, especially in enemy countries, than in his home country.


Damian had heard that his knights were revered almost like gods. That his father was so great, no one could surpass him.


In the Academy, Damian lived without revealing who his father was, as well as his country of origin. It wasn’t that the Duke had asked him to conceal it.


But that Damian was afraid of the gazes that might follow. Gazes that would say, ‘Ah, an extraordinary person like that merely has son like this.’


The boy’s goal was to safely secure his status as the successor and one day, succeed the Duke.


But he’d never thought about why that is or what he would like to do after he became the Duke. He only feared he would be abandoned if he wasn’t useful because his father just needed someone to inherit his title.


Damian never hoped for his father’s affection. He was satisfied with even a little recognition.


That way he knew he wasn’t completely useless. If he was accommodated that much, then he had nothing more to ask for.


“I see. It is a desirable thing for a son to admire his father.” (Lucia)


Lucia seemed to have something pressing down on her chest the entire time. The tragic case of the Taran family was an unpleasant incident and it seems like the relationship between father and son wasn’t very good, so she was inwardly worried.


“What part of him do you admire? That he’s a great Knight? Or that he’s a powerful lord that rules over the vast North?”


“…Because he’s strong.” (Damian)


It was a statement that sounded like pure nonsense but Lucia agreed. He was correct. To Lucia, it didn’t seem like there was anyone under the sky stronger than him.


He was a man that made one want to lean on him, both physically and mentally.


“Yes. He is indeed strong.”


Like a colossal tree, standing firm and unyielding; enough to make one want to lean on its base and seek refuge in its shadows.


“Damian, do you wish to become strong?”


“Yes.”


“You could be. You are your father’s son.”


“…Yes.”


The wind blew softly, lightly brushing past the two of them. The scent of flowers carried by the wind was so sweet, it filled Damian’s heart with pleasure.


There were no words but there was a smile on their faces as they continued to walk. It was another peaceful day.