How old was Vincent now?
Livia quickly calculated his age.
If Cardien was 26 years old this year…..
“….10 years old.”
She looked at the window again.
In the meantime, the rain became thicker.
There was a whipping sound as the wind drove sleeting rain against the glass.
An ominous feeling crept into her bones.
When she came to her senses, she had already packed her coat and run out of the room.
‘I hate rainy days.’
‘Vin, I’ll definitely come and pick you up again.’
‘Mom, don’t go.
It’s my fault.’
‘Just wait ten nights, okay?’
She left the clinging Vincent in front of the orphanage and disappeared into the pouring rain.
Vincent had no choice but to stand helplessly and watch the rain swallow his mother.
Vincent believed his mother’s words.
She said she would be back after ten nights to pick him up again…..
However, even after ten nights, twenty nights, and even a year after that rainy day, his mother did not return.
‘You’ve been abandoned too.’
‘All the kids here are abandoned.
You’re abandoned too!’
The child who casually uttered cruel words was the longest-staying child in the orphanage.
They said that he would be locked up here for the rest of his life, just like the others.
Vincent was so afraid of those words that he cried every day.
And when it rained, he began to suffer from nightmares.
In his dark dreams, his mother let go of Vincent’s hand and disappeared into the rain.
No matter how desperately he chased and clung to her, his mother never looked back at him.
After that dream, he always suffered from a fever.
It was like a curse for Vincent.
The curse did not disappear even after meeting his “adoptive father” Cardien and entering the residence of Duke Mercedes.
He hated rainy days.
And on a rainy day, he hated being alone in his room even more.
As he sat alone in a dark room listening to the sound of the rain, past nightmares and memories haunted Vincent.
So, Vincent recklessly left the mansion.
The west hill was a place he found by accident.
There was a huge tree at the top of the western hill.
The place where no one came to was Vincent’s hideout.
The beautiful tree that supported his back was the only thing that comforted Vincent.
So today, as soon as the rain started pouring, Vincent ran towards the western hill.
But today was more disastrous than usual.
It was because he heard from Winston a little while ago that another tutor would be added.
He promised to hire only one tutor.
‘After all, Winston is just like my mother.’
Nobody kept their promises.
As the traumatic memories of being abandoned and lied to came back, Vincent closed his eyes tightly.
Every time he kicked his feet, water from the ground splattered and stained Vincent’s clothes.
However, Vincent was not in the mood to pay attention to clothes.
Vincent covered his ringing ears with both hands.
‘That’s the one, right? The young child that the Duke of Mercedes brought.’
‘It certainly looks like the duke, but…His Excellency the Duke is 19 this year and he has a three year old son…..’
‘He said he was his own son, but honestly, it doesn’t make sense.
Even if it makes sense, it’s disgusting.’
‘He doesn’t even know who his mother is, right? He doesn’t even know where he came from…..how dirty.’
‘Because of the kid, it’ll be hard for the duke to get married.
Who wants to be a duchess when the heir is already announced? He ruined his marriage because of that kid.’
The day Vincent was first revealed to the world after getting the surname of Mercedes.
What struck the three-year-old Vincent was contempt and a look of disgust.
On that day, Vincent felt keenly that he was a being who could never be proud of himself.
‘I am your father.’
This was all Cardien said at their first meeting.
But Vincent knew it, too.
The fact that the father who came to pick him up wasn’t really his father.
He was an existence that shouldn’t be here.
Nevertheless, he turned a blind eye to the existence of a father who showed up for the first time after he was born because he liked the warm house, delicious food, and the people’s affection.
However, the vague disregard came back as a cruel reality after entering the academy.
‘The kid who doesn’t know where he came from.’
‘There’s no way that something like that could inherit Mercedes.’
‘I’m sure His Excellency the Duke must be regretting having brought that in.’
‘It’ll be thrown away soon!’
Students who already knew about Vincent pointed their fingers and spat out contemptuous remarks whenever Vincent passed by.
All of those words turned to daggers and flew towards Vincent.
Increasingly unable to breathe, Vincent ran away from the academy.
‘He will scold me for being selfish and not being like Mercedes.’
Vincent was worried, fearing Cardien’s wrath when he returned.
Cardien didn’t even pay attention to Vincent.
He just glanced at him with a cold gaze and then passed by.
The indifference dropped Vincent once again into deep despair.
‘You’ve become less attached to me.
That’s why you don’t even want to look at me.’
Like the academy students said, he might regret bringing him here.
Vincent suffered from anxiety and self-doubt towards his imperfect self, beginning to wonder when he would be thrown out.
Winston was in a hurry to hire private tutors, not knowing Vincent’s condition.
‘What if you can’t even do this? This is a basic skill a noble should have! Even a five-year-old could do this, tsk.’
‘You grew up without being able to watch it, so it must be difficult to adapt.
I didn’t even expect anything.’
‘Does it make sense to explain again? You won’t get it anyway.’
‘Again, again, again-!’
The private tutors who grew up in prestigious families that valued bloodline openly looked down on Vincent, and gave him a sense of humiliation and contempt under the guise of teaching him class.
Unable to stand their criticism, Vincent ended up skipping class, and the tutors stopped the classes, saying that Vincent was a problem child.
Vincent was sure that he would be scolded by Cardien this time.
At least he thought he would hear not to lower the prestige of the family.
However, Cardien only glanced indifferently again this time, and said nothing.
No reproaches, no accusations, no words.
‘I’m sure you regret bringing me here.’
Vincent ran away again with new open wounds every time a new tutor came.
As time went on, the attention he paid to Cardien became dull over time.
‘Because the duke doesn’t think of me as a son anyway.’
Even if he behaved badly or skipped class and ran away, Cardien didn’t show a single piece of interest.
Climbing up the hill in a trance, soaked in the rain, Vincent gasped as he saw the giant tree waiting for him today.
Vincent’s only haven.
An abandoned place that no one remembered.
‘Just like me.’
Vincent felt kinship with the lonely giant tree standing alone, like himself, so Vincent leaned on it and found comfort.
He was going to do that again this time.
He planned to hide until the rain stopped, and then go back.
Until he found a strange intruder hiding in his hiding place.
It wasn’t hard to find the west hill.
Not only did Livia read the description of the place in the original book, but it was really simple facing west from the main building.
The problem was.
‘I forgot to bring an umbrella!’
She forgot to bring an umbrella because she was in a hurry.
Thanks to that, she looked like a shipwreck victim, slogging through the pouring rain with only one coat on.
For a while, she thought about going back and grabbing an umbrella, but she was already wet, so she decided to just press forward.
The rain was getting stronger and stronger, making it difficult to see even several meters ahead.
In addition, the road to the western hill was not properly laid out, so she had no choice but to go through the bushes, which also consumed a lot of stamina.
Livia wondered how long this would go on.
Suddenly, the bushes, which seemed like a jungle, stopped and a garden full of weeds and wildflowers appeared in front of her.
She tilted her head and looked at the summit of the hill.
A huge, beautiful tree was standing there.
She could tell right away.
After discovering the destination, her stamina that seemed to have run out rose again.
She put strength in her legs and climbed the hill vigorously.
“Hah, Hah, I’m dying.”
When she had barely reached the top, she slid down while leaning on the giant tree.
And she stared blankly at the scenery in front of her.
‘I can really see the duke’s mansion at a glance.’
Although it was difficult to see far because of the heavy rain, as if a curtain had been set up, the mansion was still clear and spectacular.
Livia could understand why Vincent always visited here whenever he was in pain.
Because looking down at the mansion and the duchy from above it felt like it became nothing special.
Although there was no Vincent.
Livia laughed in vain.
It was okay; it was a relief if he was not here.
“Let’s take a break since I’m here.
I’m already wet.”
She wiped the mix of sweat and rainwater from her forehead with her sleeve and tilted her head back.
Fortunately, thanks to the huge tree blocking the rain, she didn’t have to get rained on until the break time was over.
Livia thought about Vincent Mercedes.
The terrible ending wasn’t just set for Cardien.
Destruction was scheduled for Vincent, too.
Later, Vincent would kill his adoptive father, Cardien, with his own hands.
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