The man began to tremble like a trembling aspen tree* when he saw Ethan Ambrosia's face behind Jade.
*Trembling aspen: Its name originates from the lightweight shiny leaves that quake and tremble when moved by even the gentlest breeze.
"Heuk, heuup! Huuumm!"
The man, drenched in cold sweat, struggled and began to sob.
"You've been doing well."
Ethan got on the carriage with a noble smile.
The bound man tried to get away from the Duke by any means but to no avail.
It was because the ligaments in his torn ankle had been throbbing and aching.
Seeing this, Ethan clicked his tongue in pity.
A faint sympathy flashed across his face.
Jade shook his head and got on the carriage.
It was scarier because the sympathy was sincere.
"Take it easy, My Lord.
He has to stay alive until the Imperial meeting."
"He survived through harsh torture.
Isn't his life too pitiful to be killed like this There is that much mercy."
Jade looked at His Lord who spoke of mercy in a friendly tone and soon closed the carriage door as if he was tired of it.
'I think he'll be half-dead by the time he arrives at the Imperial Palace'
As soon as the carriage door was closed, the bound man looked at the Duke of Ambrosia with fear in his eyes.
With a harmless smile and neatly tidying up his collar, he didn't seem to have much interest in man on the surface.
'If I stay like this, as if I’m dead, I might be able to live.'
When a small hope flashed through the man's head, Ethan Ambrosia's mouth opened.
You pay back my trust quite painfully."
The man called Jim Wood shook his head violently and cried, but the gag in his mouth prevented him from speaking human language.
He howled like a beast.
"Since you betrayed Ambrosia and became the First Prince's loyal dog, the First Prince might show mercy."
"One thing though, since you have separated him and his brothers, for the sake of other two princes, he is going to kill you horribly so that he can set an example."
"Eup! Ugh! Hurgh!"
Jim crawled in front of Ethan Ambrosia with his tears dripping down his knees.
Ethan scrunched his brows and dragged his shoes a little more inward due to the man’s clumsy attempt to kiss his feet.
It was a blatant expression that it was unpleasant to touch dirty things.
However, unlike such behavior, Ethan Ambrosia's voice was soft and even friendly.
"I tried to cover up as much as I could, saying that there is no way for you, who have been with me for a long time in my mansion, but it has become unavoidable."
Jim's eyes shook roughly at the voice full of sadness.
How could he cover it up as much as possible What did he mean he couldn't help it
It has been 10 years since he infiltrated the Ambrosia mansion as a spy of the First Prince.
When Jim, who had found out the truth about Ambrosia house's curse, was about to send a letter to his lord, he suddenly lost consciousness.
When he opened his eyes again, he found himself bound with blood on the cold stone floor.
It was the Duke who used his own hands to cut off the ligaments of his arms and legs.
It was also the same Duke who smiled sweetly while listening to his screams when he was brutally tortured, which ripped his vocal cords to shreds.
All for knowing what he shouldn't know.
"You should have informed me first, Jim.
Before you tried to whisper vulgar words to the First Prince."
"The Second Prince and the Third Prince think that their weaknesses are written in the letter you sent to the First Prince.
Since you're here, I hope we can resolve this misunderstanding…..."
Ethan Ambrosia sighed as if he was deeply contemplating, stretching his back.
At that sigh, Jim trembled as if stabbed by a knife.
Ethan Ambrosia made up a letter and sent it to the First Prince, pretending that it was Jim who sent it.
"However, if we resolve that misunderstanding, the truth of the family that has been hidden for a long time will be revealed.
I have no choice but to make an inevitable choice as the head of the house."
"Hmm, heuk, heuuk!"
Tears mixed with blood constantly burst out in Jim's eyes.
His saliva flowed down the gag in his mouth.
Ethan Ambrosia looked at the burden with pity and clicked his tongue.
At first glance, his eyes, which were filled with regret, even looked quite caring.
Being more afraid of that look, Jim felt his own death was coming.
"You'll understand, right"
"Euup! Eup! Euuuup!"
Ethan smiled sweetly and reached for Jim.
His hand caressing Jim's cheek was so tender.
However, as the black energy gradually flowed out from his hands, Jim's struggling body gradually began to lose strength.
His wide-open eyes instantly relaxed, and then his body slipped down.
Jim's ordinary brown eyes flashed black briefly, and soon returned to the original color again.
He no longer struggled, cried, or moaned anymore.
He just exhaled with an expressionless face, like a lifeless doll.
And with a cracking sound, the ring that was worn on Ethan Ambrosia's finger cracked.
"You've held out for a long time."
The artifact was destroyed at the same time Sarah came.
He rubbed the ring bitterly and looked out the window at the Duke's mansion as the carriage moved away, hoping that Sarah’s magic, who would be with Claude by now, could suppress this power.
After Duke Ambrosia left the room, Sarah slowly lowered Claude in her arms onto the bed.
Claude, who was looking at his father's back until the end, realized that he had been hugging her all the time.
Claude thought so blankly, wondering if he had ever been hugged by someone for so long.
Then his face became gloomy and he pulled the blanket over him.
Sarah raised her hand over the shaking blanket, patting and stroking his back while talking to him affectionately.
"Are you sad that I reduced your time to spend with your father by another hour"
"Then what are you upset about"
Claude removed the blanket and glared at Sarah with his puffing cheeks.
He hated his nanny, who pretended not to know the reason.
As expected, the smile on Sarah's face was the same as when he first saw her.
No matter how much he stared and complained, Sarah was not shaken at all.
Claude eventually gave up and answered bluntly with the blanket tightly wrapped around his small body.
"Nanny made Father in trouble."
Claude chose his words for a moment, then stubbornly bit his mouth tight.
Claude may have expressed his desire of not wanting to talk, but in Sarah's eyes, he was like a chick.
A little, angry, puffy baby chick.
Sarah quickly smiled and replaced the words Claude was unable to say earlier.
"Are you worried that the Duke might be in trouble"
Claude, who was exposed of what he wanted to say, turned his back to her and answered meekly.
Sarah clicked her tongue sadly.
How much such a young child had to grow up to be like this.
At 6 years old, he was the age to be pampered by his parents.
Compared to other peers, the difference was even more pronounced.
Unlike other noble children who have yet to know how to take off their shirts, Claude was clearly more mature.
According to Sarah's investigation in advance, she had already begun to read and write the Imperial language and was trying to learn noble etiquettes on his own.
She knew very well that it was all to impress his father, Duke Ethan Ambrosia.
The Duke was still indifferent, but it was evidence that he tried to be loved by his father with all his might.
There was no way that the Duke would not feel any feelings for such a sincere and lovely child.
She could tell by thinking of the Duke who thought something had happened to Claude and rushed into the room frantically.
No matter how much the Duke avoided the child, Sarah thought so.
"I think Young Lord can act a little more spoiled to the Duke."
"I can't do that."
Claude's voice trembled weakly.
His voice broke as if he was trying to hold back his tears.
"Why do you think so"
Sarah's hand, which was stroking the child's back on the blanket, stopped for a moment.
Sarah soothed Claude with a soft voice, trying to suppress her sadness.
"That's not true."
However, he could not hide the faintly trembling voice.
It was as if a burning heart was buried deep in his throat.
Sarah's gentle touch continued to fall on the blanket.
It was so warm, a touch he hadn't felt in his 6-year-old short life.
Although everyone either hated him, feared him, or hated him, oddly enough, Sarah didn't.
Claude clenched his teeth and bit his lip, feeling like he was about to cry.
"Don't get me wrong! I still hate Nanny!"
"Aren’t you happy that I make some time for you to be with the Duke"
"No! Father is busy.
Why am I happy that Nanny bothered me"
"Oh my, then I made a big mistake.
I'll go to the Duke right now and ask for forgiveness for the rudeness, and I'm going to pretend this story didn't exist."
As soon as Sarah finished speaking, Claude, startled, got up and quickly pulled off the blanket.
The eyes of the child, which had widened as much as possible, were very tearful.
Seeing Sarah burst out laughing because he was so cute, Claude realized that he had been deceived. He couldn’t believe he was fooled by this joke!
Claude, whose pride was damaged, blushed and put on his blanket again and turned around.
"I hate Nanny so much…..."
"I really like Young Master Claude.
Because you are lovely."
Sarah's calm reply made Claude's eyes flutter.
When his name came out of her mouth, Claude unknowingly thought the echo of his name was pleasant.
However, Sarah, who did not notice it, still stood up with a smiley face.
"My goal was to say hello briefly today, so I'll go back now.
I have to get ready to join the Duke’s family.
You'll have time to be with me in earnest, so prepare yourself."
It's no use even if Young Master Claude doesn't like it."
Sarah laughed softly even though Claude made a grumbling sound.
Smiling as if it didn't matter, she put on her gloves again and picked up the cane she had put on the bed.
Sarah patted Claude, who was still covered in blankets, a couple of times and soon turned around and walked out.
As the sound of her heels gradually receded, Claude peeked out of the blanket and stuck his head out.
Both of his cheeks flushed brightly.
"What a strange nanny."
Despite muttering like that, Claude's heart was beating with a pleasant beating sound.