“They have arrived.”
The butler reported to the old man who was looking out the window.
The old man looked up to the sky, his back still facing the butler.
“It has been 7 long years.”
The old man, Marquis Bell, sighed as he stared at the sky.
It has been over 7 years since he sent his daughter away after her marriage.
Her voice still echoed in his ears.
The old man ordered the butler.
“Tell them to prepare it grandly.”
When the butler left, Marquis Bell took his seat.
On one side of the desk was a small portrait of a little girl.
“I’m finally going to see your face again.”
What kind of expression would she make?
Marquis Bell remembered the face of his eldest daughter, the face that had never left his memory for 7 years.
“But this isn’t going to be a good time.”
Marquis Bell looked at the small portrait again, his expression stiffer than before.
The carriage had finally arrived in Apton.
It didn’t even stop for security checking.
When they saw the crest of the Welton family, the soldiers opened the gates without asking any questions.
“Is this Apton!!”
Ricky leaned onto the window and looked at the landscape.
“I want to see it too!”
“You will be able to see soon!”
As Anna puffed her cheeks, Ricky patted her head and comforted her.
Since the main church of Pyro was in Apton, the darkness that was blinding Anna could be lifted soon.
Sarah was excited as she jumped up and down, shaking Venna back and forth.
Having been suffering for a whole week, Venna felt like she was on the verge of death.
But Jamie didn’t even care.
Sears asked Jamie, who seemed indifferent and kept looking out the window.
“Jamie, aren’t you excited?”
He didn’t show it, but Jamie was the most excited among them.
‘This is where Pyro is.’
His purpose of coming to Apton.
It was to have a conversation with Pyro, one of the 12 Gods.
He wasn’t sure what the outcome of the conversation would be, but what was certain was that he was going to step closer to his goal.
Besides, the place called Garmon mentioned in Canon’s diary was also highly likely to be near Apton.
‘Maybe I will gain a lot from this visit.’
This could be a big turning point for Jamie and his future plans.
The carriage stopped at a forked road.
There, the road to the Marquis mansion and that to the Pyro church were divided.
“I will get going first.”
Lars put Ricky and Anna’s luggage on his horse and spoke to Sears.
“You have worked so hard.”
“Hard? No, I am the one who would like to thank you. The grace that Count Welton has shown me is enough. I was able to have a comfortable trip because I was included in this party. I will never forget your grace.”
“It was nothing. I will see you in the church later.”
“Yes. You should say goodbye too, right?”
Lars brought a crying boy and girl who were behind him to the front.
Ricky’s face was wrinkled as he kept trying to hold back the tears. However, since Anna was wailing for so long, he couldn’t hold them anymore.
“Why are you crying?”
Sears squatted down and hugged the siblings.
“It isn’t like we are parting forever.”
“T-thank you. Definitely! I will never forget this…”
“Thank you, euhhh!”
Sears patted the children and lightly kissed them on their cheeks.
“If you need help. You always have this Aunt. Okay?”
She comforted them and then called Jamie and Sarah.
“You guys should say goodbyes too.”
Jamie and Sarah approached the siblings.
Unlike the dull Jamie, Sarah was already crying.
Sarah walked over to Anna.
Anna grabbed Sarah’s hand.
“Can’t you not go?”
“I will definitely meet you again.”
Being the sister, Anna hugged the sobbing Sarah.
The two girls remained embracing each other.
Jamie looked at them and turned to Ricky.
“Sarah doesn’t seem interested in you.”
“Why are you crying?”
“… you emotionless jerk.”
Jamie smiled as Ricky wiped his nose.
“See you again.”
Jamie raised his fist.
Ricky smiled, and they shook hands.
Like it or not, the two shared a secret.
As long as misfortunes didn’t occur, they will certainly meet again.
Sarah waved her hand vigorously towards Ricky, Anna and Lars as they went away.
Of course, she was shaking Venna’s short arm too.
Jamie shook his head as he looked at Sarah treating Venna like a doll.
He even felt bad for letting her come with him.
“We should get going too.”
Sears stroked her kids’ heads and led them into the carriage.
The Welton carriage set off again.
The destination was the huge castle-like mansion, the grand mansion of the Bell family.
Sarah was exhausted from crying, so she ended up falling asleep.
-Do you feel alive now?
-… I thought I was going to die earlier.
Just after separating from the two siblings, Sarah burst into tears.
Even Sears couldn’t stop her.
It seemed like she was overwhelmed with the first breakaway with her first friend.
The one who suffered the aftereffects was Venna.
Venna’s fur was covered in tears and runny noses.
-I am sorry. I didn’t think that It would turn out like this.
-You thought it wouldn’t turn out like this, so you left me unattended for a week?
Jamie coughed at that.
What could he do?
It was impossible to take Venna from Sarah.
In fact, thanks to Venna, Sarah was less obsessed with Jamie.
‘What a headache.’
He was feeling sorry for her, but she will have to suffer on their way back too.
Jamie smiled and looked out of the window.
In the distance, he saw a group of soldiers gathering.
‘What is happening?’
A normal person wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, but Jamie, who had a great insight, could notice the minor details.
The soldiers had serious expressions.
But he wasn’t sure why.
‘Something must have happened.’
In a great estate such as Apton, big and small crimes happen every now and then.
Jamie calmed his nerves and closed his eyes.
It would take longer to get to Marquis’s Mansion.
Until then, he decided to close his eyes.
The carriage had finally arrived in front of the mansion.
The door was opened by Zach, the leader of Pier Knights, who was in charge of the escort.
“I miss this.”
Sears opened the door.
She smiled very faintly.
“This is where your mother used to live. It has been around seven years.”
A slightly excited voice.
Jamie looked at Sears.
There was a deep longing on her face.
This was the home she used to live in 7 years ago, it was a natural expression.
The carriage crossed the mansion gate and started to move towards the mansion.
Looking at the huge mansion, Sears spoke to Jamie.
“My son. Your mother used to play a lot over there.”
“See that big tree over there? Grandmother used to read books to me over there.”
“The lake is still there. On hot days, I often played in the water.”
“The garden is still so beautiful. I think my father paid a lot of attention to the management.”
“The maids house looks like it was newly rebuilt. It used to be very old in the past.”
At first, she spoke about her childhood, and then it gradually changed into minute details that only she knew.
Each time, Jamie just smiled awkwardly.
‘She must have missed this place a lot.’
Jamie wasn’t sure why she never went home.
She didn’t talk about it, nor did Jamie ask. He wasn’t even curious to know.
If it wasn’t for the conversation with Pyro, he wouldn’t even have asked to come here.
“We are here.”
At Sears’ words, Jamie looked out.
The huge mansion was right in front of them.
When he looked at Sears, he could see that all her excitement had drained as she wore a stiff face.
The carriage stopped.
An hour after sunset.
“Father must be getting old.”
Sears mumbled before getting out.
When Jamie looked at her, she awkwardly smiled at him.
When the Marquis’ servant opened the door, Sears sighed.
She then got down with her sleeping daughter.
“Have we arrived yet?”
Sarah, who wasn’t fully awake, held Venna in one hand and rubbed her eyes with the other.
Sears smiled while looking at the mansion.
Coming here after 7 years.
Nothing changed in the mansion.
She felt like her heart would burst. She ended up hugging Sarah tighter and looked at the people who came to greet her.
In the centre stood a face she knew well.
“Welcome back, My little Lady.”
An old butler with white hair and a wrinkled face greeted her with a smile.
Sears forced a smile while holding back the tears.
“… it has been very long, Mister. You have turned old.”
“What children and elderly have in common is that our appearance changes with each day.”
The butler of the Bell family, who was an old man seven years ago, was even older now.
That fact broke Sears’ heart.
Phil, the butler, smiled and looked at Sarah and Jamie.
“The children have grown up really well.”
“Yes. I tried to give these children as much as I had received.”
“You did a wonderful job.”
“It has been so long since I heard mister’s praises.”
Sears’ eyes reddened. She wiped away the tears which were on the verge of flowing.
“Greet them. They are the ones who have taken care of me since I was a baby.”
“Mother was a baby?”
“Yes. Mother was a baby too, just like Sarah.”
Sarah seemed shocked.
She was surprised to learn that her mother, who has always looked like an adult, was once a baby.
Jamie left Sarah behind and bowed to the butler.
“I am Jamie Welton.”
“My name is Phil, the butler of Marquis Bell. Nice to meet you, young master Jamie.”
“Please look after us.”
Phil nodded at Jamie’s greeting.
“Sarah needs to greet too, right?”
“Hello. I am Sarah Welton.”
“Yes. Greetings to Miss Sarah too.”
Phil grabbed Sarah’s little finger and then shook it, making Sarak smile.
“She looks very similar to when our Lady was young.”
“Yes. Sarah resembles me a lot, and Jamie takes after him.”
He stood a step back and then pointed to the mansion.
“Please enter, the Lord is waiting for you.”
They hadn’t seen each other since she got married.
Only Count Welton had visited Apton.
They could have come together, but somehow that never worked out.
Because it didn’t seem like she was doing her responsibilities.
She wasn’t sure why she was thinking that way, but she thought that she didn’t have enough time to visit, especially as she needed to pass love to her children.
1 year went by, and then 2 and 3. Before she knew it, 7 years went by.
‘The bad daughter has arrived.’
Phil guided them to the Marquis’ office.
Looking at the familiar yet unfamiliar door, she recalled the old memories.
She played a lot of pranks in front of this door. Each time, her father smiled and hugged her.
‘An old memory.’
The feeling was unfamiliar.
She realized just how long it had been.
And Phil knocked.
“We are entering, Lord.”
Sears flinched at the voice.
The door opened, and Phil guided them inside where an old man was standing.
Proud looking and straight shoulders, but grey hair and wrinkled skin. A man different from what she knew.
She couldn’t say anything, so she stayed silent.
The old man, Marquis Bell, looked at his daughter with a loving face and called.
At her father’s call, the daughter ran into his arms without looking back.
She was held very warmly in his arms.
She was crying as someone’s daughter and not someone’s parent.
The guilt she had accumulated over the past 7 years.
“Sorry… I am really sorry, father. The most horrible daughter has arrived… I am really sorry.”
Sears kept on apologizing to her father.
The marquis gently patted on the back of his daughter.
“No, this is fine. You are finally here now and that is what really matters.”
Sears fell to the ground at her father’s forgiveness.
As if to show the end of a long separation, they hugged each other silently without caring about the others’ gazes.
Everyone looked silently at the daughter and father, who were reunited after 7 years.
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