Caville grabbed a small wooden sword, he shifted his gaze towards Elody. She could see his anxiety showing through his trembling hands. To reassure him, Elody would occasionally wave her hand and give him a comforting smile.
While Caville continued with his training, Elody spent her time reading books about magic pills that the maids brought from the library.
It’s surprisingly not difficult to make magic pills. In fact, she was capable of comprehending the contents without complication.
Perhaps, it was all due to Elody’s innate intelligence.
She closed my eyes and tried to recall the procedure of creating magic pills. She brushed through the list of ingredients and procedures.
The key to making magic pills is the amount of mana. It is essential to inject the precise proportion of mana into the pills. Not to mention, the quality of mana is also very important.
Fortunately, Elody’s born with the power to manipulate the earth and wind mana. It is the perfect setup. Alas, she was destined to be a villainess with a horrifying end…. Regardless, it’s still a useful ability, so she could consider it as a gain for her.
Now the real problem is the ingredients. she needed numerous kinds of herbs and berries.
The seeds can be formed with magic, but where will she be able to grow them?
‘I wish there is a greenhouse near the mansion.’
Truth to be told, the duke’s mansion does have a greenhouse, but it has been a long time since anyone has utilized it.
It would require a huge amount of funds to repair the greenhouse. It’d be great if she could expand the size as well.
‘I have to take some of the savings in the vault.’
It originally belonged to Caville, but…
‘I’ll sell tons of medicine and repay him later.’
(Elody continues to watch Caville’s training session.)
After much deliberation, Elody set her gaze back to Caville’s little figure.
Caville was a knight who was known for his swordsmanship skills, he was brilliant enough to make a big impact in the war.
It was described in the novel that Caville was unbeatable in a fight.
He was astounding, either his power or skills, both are formidable. Nevertheless, the Caville in front of her was nothing but a child.
‘I can’t believe he’s growing up so fast.’
Tears welled up in Elody’s eyes when the realizations hit her.
‘Huh? But… Isn’t the training too hard?’
Today was his first lesson.
So, of course, he should be learning the basics, like the swordsman’s stance and how to properly wield a sword.
‘But… how come he’s already learning how to spar?’
Somehow, Sir Vedos’ class seemed to be different from the usual swordsmanship class.
“Stand up, my lord.”
Brien Vedos was very strict and cold-hearted. Even when Caville had fallen to the ground numerous times, he wouldn’t reach out his hand to him. Instead, Caville had to get back up on his own.
Caville raised himself slowly, tears welling up in his eyes.
Seeing Caville’s pitiful face, Elody clenched her fist, trying to stop herself from running up to him.
‘It’s nice to watch my boy grow up… but… still! He’s crying!’
Elody glared at the harsh instructor, but he didn’t heed Elody’s silent protest. He went on with his lessons regardless of the piercing glare.
Caville fell a few more times, and a while later, dirt smeared all over his body.
His clean crisp attire had become an unrecognizable dirty rug.
Halfway through the lesson, Caville looked to where Elody was.
‘When I saw his anxious eyes, my heart ached, yet I didn’t step forward and kept enduring the upsetting scene.’
“You have to grip the neck of the sword. Now, once more!”
Brien pointed the old wooden sword at Caville who’s fallen again.
As time went on, Caville’s expression began to crumble.
“What are you crying for….” Brien muttered with discontent.
Elody jumped up from her seat.
‘I can’t stand it anymore!’
Brien finally shifted his cold gaze to Elody.
Unlike her initial composure, all the maturity in her face had vanished and morphed into an angry expression.
“I told you before. Caville is afraid of adults! Why would you point your sword towards his neck like that? Don’t you know how scary it is for a traumatized child to be held at gunpoint?”
“…I didn’t hit him….”
“Threatening him is the same as hitting him! I order you to train Caville with care until he gets used to it! It is still the first lesson!”
Brien Vedos scratched his head due to the troublesome demand.
He felt odd because his usual training method was through strict and demanding practices.
It was also the first time he’s ever been scolded by such a young girl.
But as Elody said, the student was an abused child and had struggled with trauma.
Brien had no experience of meeting abusive adults when he was young. In fact, he had never been afraid of them. So it was understandable that he could not empathize with Caville’s pain.
Even so, there was nothing wrong with Elody’s words.
It would be more efficient to teach with moderation until Caville’s able to adjust himself.
Caville was such a difficult student that Brien had to reconsider his teaching method.
Even so, Brien had fun teaching him.
Caville’s eyes were full of fear and he always looked as if he was on the verge of crying.
In the eyes of others, he would’ve been deemed as a coward. But Brien knew he was far from a coward.
Brien could see that underneath his fears, he would instinctively look for the opponent’s weaknesses. It felt as if he was looking at an inexperienced young cub that’ll grow into a monstrous beast.
It sent a chill down his spine when Caville gave him such a menacing look. It was his first time to experience such feelings.
Brien expected the upcoming training to be interesting.
“Oh, dear Lord! His knees are bruised!”
If only it weren’t for that overprotective-parent-like duchess.
Elody rushed towards Caville who had fallen to the ground. Caville unwittingly stretched his arm around Elody’s neck.
‘Ah, I’m tearing up again.’
As Elody hugged Caville’s small figure, the dark clouds that had been accumulating in the sky, slowly started to create pitter-patter raindrops around their figures.
“Thank you, Sir Vedos. It’s raining, so let’s call it a day.”
“Get on my back, Caville.”
Elody headed to the castle with small Caville lying on her similarly small back. Brien could only look at both of the figures dumbfounded.
* * *
Elody hurriedly headed to the bathroom where the maid had prepared warm water. Then she stripped Caville of his garments.
Caville was still afraid of adults, so she washed him herself.
Even though he has been well fed, his figure was still scrawny and frail. He looked as if he were only about four or five years old.
“Is the water too hot?”
Caville shook his head silently.
She saw deep cuts as she scrubbed his back gently with a soft sponge.
The first time Elody washed Caville, she was shocked to find countless wounds marring his body…
The director of the orphanage often locked up the children in a room and abused them.
Recalling the odious man, she swore to avenge Caville’s wounds.
She gritted her teeth. She used to have similar scars across her body.
Count McClaire, Elody’s father, was a violent man. Whenever he was in a bad mood, he would beat up his wife and children, creating scars on Elody’s body.
The marks on his thigh looked the same as hers.
“Caville, do your knees hurt a lot?”
Caville’s eyes welled up again as he recalled what had happened earlier, yet he didn’t let his tears fall.
‘Now that I closely observed him, he doesn’t cry that often.’
It was admirable to see him trying to contain his tears.
Suddenly, an awful thought crossed my mind.
“Caville, did the orphanage’s director and his friends scold you if you cried?”
Caville nodded slowly, affirming her suspicion.
She felt sorry for him. It may be commendable to see a child holding back his tears. But to force someone to stop crying is just… inhumane and wicked.
Suppressing one’s emotions does not eliminate them, rather, it makes it more difficult for the person to manage their feelings when other challenging situations may occur in the future. Worse-case scenario, the pent-up feelings could manifest into escapist behavior and give rise to physical and mental illnesses.
“Caville, you don’t have to hold back your tears.”
“You can cry. There’s no one here that will scold you.”
“Of course, I may scold you sometimes… but I won’t force you to stop crying.”
“Yes! I’ll listen to you, wife.”
“Then you have to keep your promise.”
Elody continued to scrub Caville’s body with care.
Honestly, she could ask for the maid’s assistance, but she’d rather wash him herself.
She didn’t want anyone to find out about the bruises on his poor body.
After the bath, Elody clothed herself with silk garments.
She left the bathroom and saw Caville, he was dozing off in front of the warm fireplace and his head fell to the side every once and then.
She laid out a blanket and wrapped it around him.
Feeling the soft blanket wrapping him, Cavill woke up. He looked up to me with his eyes wide open, blinking, trying to rid his sleepiness away.
“Caville, come, sit here. I’ve told the maids to bring you some vegetable soup.”
Caville’s hand peeked out from the blankets. He picked up the utensil and spooned the hot vegetable soup that’s been brought in by the maids. Watching him eating attentively, Elody called out to him.
“Caville, when the instructor pointed his sword towards you. Were you frightened?”
“Yes…it was scary.”
“Have you ever been hit before?”
“Yes. It hurts a lot.”
Caville answered with a nod. Elody held Caville’s hand and said, “The instructor won’t hit Caville.”
“Yes. He will not hit you.”
“But it’s still scary.”
“Don’t worry, I will never allow him to hurt you.”
She clenched her fist with determination, then she looked at Caville.
“Caville, you know. Those people who’ve been bothering you.”
“The adults who’ve hurt you, they’re worth nothing,” she said firmly.
“You, on the other hand, are worth more than you think. Those adults? They’re nothing. You don’t need to fear them anymore.”
“Still, I’m scared.”
“Don’t be. I’ll make sure to punish them for all the bad deeds they’ve done to you! You don’t have to be scared anymore.”
“But… what if my wife gets in trouble too?”
Caville bit his lips, hating to ever imagine the chance of his abusers laying their hand on Elody. Elody, who was looking at him, chuckled because of Caville’s adorable reactions.
Elody snorted at him pretending to be tough.
“Ha, come on. Don’t you know how strong I am, Caville?”
“Yes, I’ll punch them all later. Like this, look.” Elody said, punching the innocent pillow beside her. Caville grinned at her remark.
She was serious though.
‘Someday, I will punish those people with my own hands.’
A thought crossed her mind, and she quickly fetched a paper and pen from her desk.
“Caville, do you remember their faces? Say whatever comes to your mind.”
Caville hesitated for a moment, but he began to describe the faces of his abuser. While speaking, he seemed a little scared, but he was relieved to see Elody’s relaxed expression.
“Really? How big is his nose? Thick lips?”
She listened to his explanation attentively and began to draw on the paper. Though she had poor drawing skills, she was still able to get a rough sketch of those guys.
‘The guys who dared to bully my baby… I’m gonna kill them all!’
After finishing the soup, the two fell asleep while talking in front of the fireplace.
They could’ve gone to bed, but the warmth of the fireplace was too comfortable to move away from.
The rain was sliding down the window glass. The sound of raindrops knocking on the window felt like a gentle lullaby, cradling both of them into a deep slumber.
Not long after they both fell asleep, a maid came in to pick up the dirty plates. She smiled as she saw the two children who fell asleep in front of the fireplace.
“Oh, how lovely…”
The maid leaned carefully and carried Caville to bed.
“Huh? What is this?”
As she was about to carry Elody. She saw a piece of paper next to the child. It was a sloppy drawing of several individuals.
“Did they draw this? Oh my god… How cute….”
The maid smiled lovingly and moved the children to bed.
The room was filled with the soft scent of gentle, powdery, and light fragrance.
And the paper with pictures in it was placed well inside the book.
The maid, who left the room, told her fellow maids about the lovely scene she had just seen.
Even Elody’s cute drawings weren’t left out of her story.
“Oh, drawing pictures? How cute!”
“Who did they draw? Did they draw the butler? I’ll have to ask them to draw me, too.”
Contrary to the thoughts of the maids, those drawings were actually Elody’s murder list.
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