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It was a gloomy funeral. Of all things, a summer rain was pouring down, and the hem of the mourners’ clothes and shoes were messy with thick, soaking mud.
Maybe that’s why the guests’ faces while putting down flowers in front of the coffin looked particularly depressing. Damia greeted the guests mechanically, thanked them for coming, and guided them to the main building hall.
But even in the midst of her never-ending tasks and busily moving, there was only one thought in her mind:
‘Is it true? Really…… Is Cesare dead?’
His body was found by a fisherman plucking oysters off the shore. When the fisherman saw the lumpy drowned body, he was horrified and found it surprising that the clothes on the body were too luxurious.
According to him, Cesare probably threw himself off a cliff.
It was such a sudden obituary. Upon hearing this, Owen sighed and said:
‘Everything he had done had been exposed, so he must have made a bad choice.’
When he said that, Owen’s expression was complicated. He was irate at what his stepson had done, but he seemed to be confused and conflicted about the news of his death.
When Noella heard of Cesare’s death, she cried and passed out. She was still weak and in a state of being unable to attend the funeral. So Damia unintentionally replaced her at her funeral.
“I’m sorry, Damia.”
Lessid, who had come to offer condolences, approached and bowed his head. Since he was a priest, he wore a white priest’s suit instead of a mourning robe. Thanks to this, he stood out, especially among mourners dressed in black.
“Are you all right?”
Lessid looked worried that Damia might have been shocked. But she was surprisingly well. Because she still doesn’t believe Cesare was truly dead.
‘This can’t be the end.’
She knew him, who had been obsessed with her for a long time. Even if he died, Cesare was not some noble man that would tolerate dying alone. On the contrary, he was like a terrifying water ghost who would somehow manage to drag others down with him.
But what happened to his body? Damia glanced at her pure white coffin. Originally, it was traditional to open the coffin lid after the deceased was neatly adorned. Then mourners were able to say their final goodbyes to the dead.
But this time, it was closed. Cesare’s appearance as a drowned man was exceedingly miserable.
‘His body is bloated; his skin and hair are half-rotted to the point where someone could barely recognize the shape.’
People strongly discouraged Damia from going near the body. It was because it was deemed a sight not befitting a noble lady.
Instead, Owen identified the body in place of Noella, who fainted. After they lifted the cloth for him to examine the body, he vomited a few times and then nodded his head with a grim expression. The body is a mess, but it was Cesare-like.
Her father, who had been in business for a long time, could not be wrong. But she couldn’t figure out why she felt so uncomfortable.
After raking her mind with intense rumination, she broke out in a cold sweat. Damia was just about to wipe it with the back of her hand when a deep and low voice, characteristic of a tall man, entered her ear.
“You look pale. Are you okay?”
Startled, Damia turned around. Akkard, dressed in a black funeral suit, stood there with his silver hair slicked back.
“…… Sir Akkard.”
Recalling their last heartless parting, Damia smiled awkwardly. He was someone she did not want to encounter. However, she could not politely ignore the sincerity of an attending person regarding congratulations or condolences from someone, even if she slept with them.
“Thank you for coming.”
“You’re welcome. More than that, why do you look like that?”
he inquired while raising his eyebrows without giving any formal condolences.
Damia, unable to understand the meaning of his question, blinked. Then Akkard lightly touched her cheek with his black half-gloved hand and whispered softly,
“You should be happy. The day you hoped for, Cesare’s ruin, has finally come true.”
Don’t tell me you’ve grown some affection for the deceased now.
Akkard, who lacked empathy, thought cruelly. At a glance, her troubled expression seemed to be sad or distressed. So, for some reason, he felt a little nervous and uneasy.
Most people were usually generous with the dead. No matter how bad one was during their lifetime, no one dared curse them after they died. This was particularly true of those who died in their youth without reaching the end of their lifespan.
Akkard didn’t want her to have any memories or feelings for a bug like Cesare. Of course, it wasn’t the attitude that a funeral attendee should have. It was even less appropriate for him as a man who pushed her away, but he, who was self-centered, didn’t realize this.
Looking at Damia’s cold sweaty face, he clicked his tongue and pulled out a handkerchief.
Akkard, who was trying to hold out the handkerchief in his hand, stiffened.
It was a beautiful handkerchief embroidered with the Valerian seal and lisianthus flowers on soft fabric. It was none other than the gift that Damia made with her own two hands as a present in return.
‘Why is this here?’
He had obviously thrown it away. Akkard’s eyebrows furrowed slightly.
Before leaving the mansion, he had not checked the handkerchief offered by the butler and had accepted it in haste. Recalling this, Akkard deduced who the culprit was.
“Damn it, Sebastian… … .”
Did this old man go senile?
He quickly shoved it back into his pocket before Damia saw it. And instead of his handkerchief, he casually wiped her face with the hem of his sleeve.
What? After suddenly her face being wiped with his sleeve, she donned a puzzled expression.
Of course, Akkard was also embarrassed. He had committed a clumsy improvisation with the single thought that the handkerchief should not be discovered.
Damia had put on a light coat of powder on her face to welcome guests. So there was a little powder on the cuffs of his black suit.
“Oh. Where should I go to wash my hands?”
Akkard asked naturally, hiding his embarrassment.
The only thought occupying his mind now was that he had to dispose of this handkerchief immediately. No matter how unclingly Damia was, it was apparent that she would misunderstand when she saw her handmade handkerchief in his hands.