While Roel was dealing with Nora’s sudden aggression at the highest balcony of Seyer Tower, Charlotte Sorofya was sitting in the midst of another battlefield, facing what could arguably have been the toughest challenge she had ever faced in her life.
She was currently having dinner in the Sorofyas’ second estate, Kairos Manor. However, unlike the light-hearted dinner between Nora and Roel, it was much more solemn over here.
There was only one guest here tonight, and that was the patriarch of the Ascart House, Carter Ascart. The invitee was Bruce Sorofya, but this wasn’t a secret meeting between the two of them since they were accompanied by a third person.
Charlotte dined gracefully into her dinner as she listened to the light chatter between the two patriarchs. They had been chatting since the previous day, so it was only natural that they were much more familiar with one another now. As such, their conversation took a much more casual tone than before.
“Marquess Carter, it looks like the weather over on your side is much better than in previous years.”
“Indeed. It’s gladdening that this year’s winter isn’t as cold as the previous years, but the snowfall is still as heavy as ever. It’s good that Rosa has a much stabler climate. Your agricultural harvest should be decent this year.”
“Haha, indeed. Our agricultural department estimates that we’ll have a good harvest this year.”
Bruce took a sip of wine as he replied with a smile. He discreetly glanced sideward and saw that Charlotte was much more nervous than usual, and he sighed softly in his heart.
So far, since the start of the dinner till now, the serving of the desserts, the three of them had been mostly engaged in idle chatter. After spending a great deal of time padding and building up good relations, Bruce finally began making his move.
“Marquess Carter, I’m really apologetic about this incident. Charlotte was simply too concerned about Roel that she acted rashly.”
“Hahaha! Mister Bruce, there’s no need to apologize. Our Alicia is at fault here too. She’s too devoted to Roel that such a ridiculous incident ended up occurring. We should be the ones apologizing here instead.”
“Marquess Carter, you’re too courteous. Speaking of which, it’s thanks to Miss Alicia that we were able to treat Roel’s affliction. Roel and Charlotte have visited a ruin and retrieved many of our missing technology and heritage from the Sofya Kingdom. He’s the benefactor of our Sofya House, and we’re relieved that his affliction has been resolved without a hitch.”
The two fathers chatted with another amidst laughter whereas Charlotte’s face grew even paler. Marquess Carter was explicitly showing his support for his adopted daughter, Alicia. Most importantly of all, throughout the conversation, not once had Carter mentioned anything about the engagement contract at all.
Under Nora’s interference, the engagement contract between the two houses had been practically rendered meaningless. Charlotte might still be holding onto the title of Roel’s fiancée, but in truth, it was just an empty agreement now that it no longer wielded binding power. In comparison, Nora and Alicia, who had Carter’s acknowledgment, were clearly in a more advantageous position.
It was an uphill battle for her here.
She knew that Roel wasn’t the type of person to be too concerned about this—he tended to be more concerned with the immediate feelings of those he was with—but dating and marriage were two different things. If she wanted to discuss marriage with Roel, Carter was a mountain whom she couldn’t circumvent.
For that reason, she dared not to move carelessly out of fear of making a mistake. She decisively sought Bruce for help over here, but up till this point, Carter’s attitude still showed no signs of changing at all.
“Roel has helped us recover important historical relics of our Sorofya House, many of those we have searched for centuries but to no avail. I believe this to be a sign from fate that the friendship between both our houses has reached its moment of reckoning, and it’s time for us to pull our ties closer than ever.”
“Hahaha, Mister Bruce is too kind. Roel is just heeding the calling of his bloodline; it’s an unexpected surprise that he was able to find the relics of the Sorofya House. However, I do agree that we should pull our ties closer. Our Ascart Fiefdom still requires much help and support from Rosa for its economic development.”
Seeing how Carter humbly diverted the topic elsewhere, Bruce maintained a smile on the surface, but he felt a little helpless on the inside. At the same time, Charlotte was also put at a loss as to what to do.
Even till now, Charlotte still couldn’t figure why Carter was so opposed to the relationship between her and Roel. She was the successor of the Sorofya House, displaying a great talent for governance even when she was still nine. Despite her small profile then, she was already respected by the leaders of the Rosa Merchant Confederacy. Be it her talent, standing, and capability, there was not a flaw one could pick from her, but all of these seemed to mean nothing before Carter.
Just how am I insufficient? What did I do so wrong for Roel’s father to detest me so much? Is it because I forcefully brought back Roel with me? No, that’s not it. Carter’s interference traces even further back than that…
Charlotte clenched her fists tightly as she began biting down on her lips. There were so many doubts and grievances in her heart, but facing the father of the man she loved, she dared not to voice her feelings aloud and question him.
She, who had never shied away from any setting, actually found herself frightened and intimidated. This was the first time she was fighting a battle without any information to work on, as if she was fumbling blindly through the dark. To make things worse, this was a battle she absolutely couldn’t lose. The price of losing her precious love was too great for her to bear.
“Well, it’s getting quite late now. Mister Bruce and Miss Charlotte, it’s about time for me to take my leave.”
After an impeccable casual conversation over dinner, Carter bade his farewell with a polite smile. Bruce shot a sideward glance at Charlotte, who had been quiet the whole dinner, and noticed that she had stiffened up upon hearing Carter’s words. Both of them realized right away that this dinner had been in vain.
It’s truly a pity. This should have been a good opportunity for us to further the matter, but Carter is simply too adamant on his stance. I’m afraid that it’ll be hard to push through with Charlotte’s marriage…
It was impossible for Bruce not to pessimistic after Carter had made his attitude plenty clear, and Charlotte’s unnaturally poor performance tonight also left him feeling deeply anxious on the inside. Her heart had been shaken due to her love for Roel, resulting in her fumbling before Roel’s father. The cowardice she had shown before Carter was likely to be viewed as a flaw.
To show her true, outstanding self to win over Roel’s father; this was what Charlotte should have done. However, it’s all too late now.
With such thoughts in mind, Bruce stood up to see Carter off.
Meanwhile, Charlotte also stiffly rose to her feet as well. She felt like her head was fuzzing out. She knew that this private dinner was the best opportunity for her to win Carter over, but her performance was more horrendous than she had expected. Looking at Carter’s departing profile, she suddenly thought.
If I let him leave just like that, what I’ve shown thus far will become Marquess Carter’s impression of me. I-I must do something! But… what can I do here?
Her mind was a blank, and her breathing reflected her erratic thoughts. Her strung up nerves made it hard for her to make a move at all. She struggled to figure out a solution in order to turn things around, but at this moment, she suddenly remembered the instant the terrifying black monster arrived before them, when she pulled the trigger and fired the final defensive curse into Roel’s body.
Her love transcended life and death at that very moment, triumphing over the primal fear plaguing all humans.
This is nothing at all compared to what we went through back then. Even the terrifying Sire Darkness couldn’t sever the feelings we have for one another! Am I going to surrender my love just like this?
“You must be kidding me…” murmured Charlotte softly.
She raised her head as her emerald eyes reflected the courage of a soldier determined to fight against all odds.
Carter’s impregnable defense was built upon his skillful dismissal of the hints constantly dropped on him. In the circle of nobility where pride and honor were of utmost importance, it was almost impossible to pierce through his defense.
However, Charlotte wasn’t out of options just yet.
In this desperate moment, under Bruce’s gaze, she nervously walked up to surprised marquess and bowed deeply.
“Uncle Carter, I know that it’s abrupt, but I hope that you can spare me a few moments. There’s something I would like to tell you.
“I’m in love with Roel, and I plead with you not to hinder our love. This is the only request I have in my entire life.”
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