Ch. 87 Today She Did Not Cry (1)
“Elena, what the hell have you been doing?”
Elena flinched in shock, but she understood what Alphord was trying to ask. He wanted to know about the rumors spreading throughout society. But she had another question.
‘What had he heard?’
It was unclear whether Alphord was asking about the false rumors spread by Helen or a scandal involving Carlisle. However, if he had heard the scandalous rumors about Elena, then he would have rushed to the mansion much sooner than now. Given that this was when he had shown up, it was likely he came after hearing about Carlisle.
‘…He doesn’t know all the rumors, does he?’
Perhaps he was indifferent about the other rumors, but came running as soon as Carlisle was involved. Although her father was blunt and did not express himself well, she still believed he had love for her somewhere. She replied in her usual calm voice, hiding her shaken gaze.
“Why don’t you come inside and have dinner first?”
“That’s enough. I’ll skip the meal for now. I want to listen to you speak first.”
She couldn’t disobey her father. She dismissed the other servants before walking to his office with only her family. No matter how much Alphord, Elena and Mirabelle were the masters of the house, it was not a good idea to have important conversations in the presence of other servants. Anyone could listen in and eventually a terrible story could spread, just what had happened with Sophie.
The family walked towards Alphord’s private office without saying a word.
Alphord opened the office door first and strode in. Elena made to follow, but Mirabelle grasped her sleeve.
“I’ll go with you, sister.”
“This is fine. This is my problem, so it’s better I have a quiet conversation with Father.”
Mirabelle did not miss how Alphord arrived with a stormy temper. She did not know the details, but she had already guessed that Alphord had come back after having heard something about Elena and Carlisle. The chances were high that the conversation would turn south.
“Don’t worry. Just wait outside.”
It was Elena’s turn to smile. Alphord called out loudly from inside.
“What are you doing, not coming in?”
She quickly patted Mirabelle’s head before hurrying inside where her father was waiting for her. An expression of regret passed on Mirabelle’s face before the door swung shut.
Alphord intently watched Elena as she came into the room, and before going straight into the conversation.
“Explain clearly what the rumors about you are.”
“I don’t know exactly what you’re asking–”
Alphord slammed his fist on the mahogany table.
“I’m asking you about Prince Carlisle! If it’s true that you met with him!”
Elena stopped talking at the sudden burst of outrage. Alphord was a knight of discipline who never shouted or did anything violent in the house. Her brother Derek was the same. Elena, a swordswoman in her last life, knew better how difficult it was for people in their profession to maintain a decent personality. For some reason or another, most other swordsmen were eccentric and fierce, and the taverns in the village were always crowded with mercenaries.
At first Elena couldn’t decipher their wild moods, but she gradually came to an understanding as time went by. It was a feeling known only to those who had blood on their hands. The more that you saw death in battle, the more you felt like your mind was falling apart. Even the ever-composed Elena could not cool her emotions and sometimes ran like a madman in the middle of the night. She had witnessed so many deaths, not only of the enemies, but of all the soldiers whom she had greeted only the day before. A multitude of thoughts would torment her mind. Would she die like them? Did the people she kill have families? From the time she held the sword, those words haunted her like a shadow. The dark feelings accumulated in her mind, unsorted and unforgotten. Had it not been for her firm determination to avenge her family, Elena might have been broken. That was her life in the past, and she wondered if her father, the head of the Fourth Order of Knights of the Royal Family, lived like that too.
‘…So don’t get upset.’
She tried not to be hurt at Alphord’s frustrations.
“If you’ve heard the rumor–”
“Which one? The rumor about your conduct? Or that the Crown Prince has cut off the head of another noble because of you?”
“…You know that too?”
Alphord’s comments meant that he knew about the vicious rumors Elena had spread. Still…he was more curious about her relationship with Carlisle.
Elena was forced to sigh. She could feel some long-suffering feeling of anger surging inside her. She had hoped there would be some mention of Helen’s name from her father’s mouth so she could explain where those bad stories came from. Her father didn’t want to know anything about it.
‘…How could he be like this?’
The rumors that Elena went to see a man every night must have been more than a father can bear. But how can he be more curious about the Crown Prince than his daughter?
“Did you hear me? What is your relationship with the Crown Prince?”
When she looked at him, it was like a knife cut a corner of her chest. This sorrow… She wanted to deny what she was thinking, but she also wanted to ask it to her father directly.
‘Do you still love me?’
She had always been behind Derek and Mirabelle, but she always believed that her father felt love for her. For once, she wanted to be in his broad arms and make him smile. Only once…She wanted to lament how hard it was by herself…
Maybe this was something that was not allowed in Elena’s life.
Alphord snapped at her again, and Elena answered in a quiet tone.
“The Crown Prince…”
She felt like she had a hole in her chest, but she soon hardened herself. She could fake this. She had practiced in the mirror dozens of times after hearing that her father was coming back to the mansion. She spoke without the slightest choke.
“We met each other a while ago. We came across each other by chance and loved each other from the start, and we’ve been having a secret relationship since.”
“Then why didn’t you say anything when I said there was a proposal from the Morris family?”
“Back then…I wasn’t sure what you would say.”
She only told her father about her ideal type of man in case her contract with Carlisle was destroyed. Since most political marriages were decided by the head of household, she thought it was better to let him know what kind of man she wanted. What’s more, the original plan was to have the wedding with Carlisle after the ball, but now the situation had changed because of Helen.
Alphord fixed his daughter with a disappointed look.
“Did you not even think about marriage when you met with the Crown Prince? In case you separated from him you should consider a marriage that would elevate yourself.”
Elena couldn’t bring herself to answer at his reproach. She wanted to ask him, “Do I need to marry someone just because I’m in a romantic relationship?” and “Do you know what era it is?”
But she did not. She was always stuck mute in front of her father.
She couldn’t help but ask herself, but then she swallowed down a cynical smile.
‘Because I don’t want to be hated…’
Unbelievably, she couldn’t bring herself to say a word against her coldhearted father. There was Derek, who would succeed this family, and Mirabelle, who must always be protected…
‘…Look at me too, Father.’
Please love me a little, Father. The words she couldn’t say hovered at her mouth. Everything she had done was for this family, her father included. Elena’s eyes turned sorrowful. Alphord was about to say something more, when suddenly, the door banged open and Mirabelle strode impatiently in.