Thank you raw provider: Laylie
When she first heard Louise’s warning, Damia shook her head that it was impossible.
Her father was the owner of the old noble Primula house in the north. Who would dare brand her father like that?
Not only that… … .
‘No. If he had been branded in by the High Temple, why would Cesare have drugged my father?’
There was no reason to put two leashes on one person. It was simply inefficient.
But hearing her objection, Louise smiled bitterly at her.
‘Hey, Damia. Did I tell you? The reason Cesare gave the Count the drugs had nothing to do with the High Temple.’
Cesare worked for the High Temple but they did not necessarily have the same goals. Damia’s face turned pale when she understood her words.
‘That doesn’t mean—maybe… … .’
‘Yes, regardless of the temple’s will, Cesare did it. You can make Count Primula shut up with the seal, but getting his hands on you is another matter, isn’t it?’
It seemed like life had suddenly turned into a prison that was closing in on all sides. Damia felt choked, feeling that her body was about to explode at any moment.
But even worse, her struggles threatened her precious loved ones as well.
‘He wants you, Damia. He’ll probably never stop until he possesses you—’
Or until one of you dies.
Louise, unable to complete the sentence, swallowed her words. She gently pushed Damia’s back.
‘It’s just a warning for the old man. He may not have it, so don’t get too hung up on what I’m saying.’
Damia also hoped so. Her father had already been a victim of Cesare. It seemed too horrible to also have the “Forbidden Stigma” engraved on him.
However, Damia’s earnest prayers were left unheard.
“Father… … .”
Tears fell from Damia’s blue eyes. She wanted to sit down and weep right now, but now was not the time.
She tied the cravat around her father’s neck as he slept. But the sweat beading around his neck was so heartbreaking that she had no choice but to tie her knot loosely.
At that moment, Owen opened his dazed eyes, intoxication.
“Ummm… … Damia. Is that you?”
“Yes, father. It’s me.”
Damia held back her tears and answered his call calmly. Then Owen narrowed his eyes as if it was hard to see clearly.
“Is it morning? I am very tired.”
“It’s still night, so get some more sleep.”
He seemed very drunk. Her Damia gently covered him with the blanket on the sofa.
But suddenly Owen opened his eyes and grabbed Damia’s hand. And even though his tongue was clumsy with drink, he asked feverishly,
“Child, you… … Do you really want to be my successor?”
It was the second time he had brought it up.
The first time was when her father was being manipulated, so she soon forgot about it. But this time she took it seriously.
“Of course, Father. If not me, who else would?”
Damia was firm in her decision. Then she noticed that Owen’s face clouded and shook his head.
“But …. Sweetheart— If you didn’t… … hiccup! That would be better.”
Not knowing what to say, she lowered her gaze. Meanwhile, Owen’s drunken lament continued.
“It is a very, very difficult road. Dami…I—I’m— it’s so heavy… I don’t want to hand over such burdens. You just… … I just wish you to be happy.”
He rubbed the nape of his neck in pain as he muttered helplessly. The moment she saw it, Damia realized it.
Owen never wanted her to be his successor.
He delayed the timing of letting his daughter join his business, and instead entrusted the family internal affairs to her instead. He wanted her to marry, living as a normal lady, just like an ordinary aristocratic maiden.
Her husband could come into the family, adopting and taking on the family name and becoming her shield. He would take care of all the hard work.
Then… … Damia will just live peacefully and comfortably under his protection.
This had nothing to do with Cesare. Owen just cared for Damia in his own way.
He feared that his daughter might go down the arduous road like he had. He feared her also being branded and enslaved by the seal so she could never disobey the High Temple.
Damia realized his heart and wanted to sit down and cry. Her father thought of her like a child who would be ruthlessly thrown into a merciless world. She understood his sorrow, and could not blame him.
“I’m sorry, Dad. I can’t be a good daughter.”
Damia whispered as she put the blanket over Owen’s shoulder as he fell back asleep.
She was no longer an innocent lady that could hide behind her ignorance. She went to his desk and pulled out the papers that he had been studying earlier.
“I found it.”
Damia began to memorize the names and quantities of the items he had delivered to the High Temple.
* * *