As a child, Vincent went on a picnic in the woods far from Arya with his mother, Elba. It was a famous cherry blossom viewing spot, and in spring the flowers would bloom brightly. Count Vincent was very busy at the time, so he was not present. The two of them had a good time. They spread a mat on the floor, ate delicious food, or played on a boat in a nearby lake.
On their way back, Elba and Vincent found the site of a charred house and a well.
I don’t know exactly what happened there, but I knew there was a big fire. Just then, a middle-aged man who appeared to be a local resident appeared. He approached the two and talked to them.
– Are you lost?
– Well, that’s good! I thought you were lost in such a bad place!
– Bad place? What do you mean?
The man started talking about what happened here. This place was originally a house where a woman lived alone, and he said that one day, the stove she was using broke off and the fire broke out. The woman, who barely managed to get out of the house, crawled up to the well to put out the fire on her body, and she died, he says.
– It is said that the spirit of the dead woman still resides in this place.
Vincent was very frightened. As he was about to leave the place and go back to the flower viewing site, he was distracted by the terrible story and stumbled at the root of a tree. Vincent’s knee was swept to the rough ground and was badly wounded. His blood dripped from the wounds that appeared to have been scraped by the beast with his claws. Looking down at Vincent anxiously, Elba left her seat, saying that she would bring water to wash his wounds. But even after a long time, Elba did not return. Vincent thought she had gone to the lake side and started back the way he had come.
As Vincent passed the burned-out ruins, he heard a strange noise.
– Please… I… die… don’t… please….
Help me. Help me. I don’t want to die.
The painful voice of a woman is heard along with the sound of water.
Vincent immediately recalled a story he had heard from the man.
Maybe it’s the woman who died here a long time ago? Could it be that she is resentful that the woman died alone, and that she is trying to catch herself too?
Vincent’s face turned blue. The child trembled with his legs in fear, then quickly ran away. He limped and arrived not at a lake, but at a place for flower viewing. Vincent asked the maid who was guarding his mat for help. The maid, along with Vincent, was looking for Elba, but when he realized that it was something he could not solve on his own, he began to ask the people around him to do him a favor. Please find our madam. Please.
The missing Elba was found in a well. The cause of death was drowning. He poured water to wash his son’s wounds and fell into a well, and after surviving for several hours without a rescuer, he lost his strength and sank into the water.
Vincent, who had shared an incident from the past, muttered bitterly.
“If I hadn’t run away then, if I had known that it was my mother’s voice… Mom wouldn’t have died…! I killed my mother.”
Isley furrowed his eyebrows.
“What are you talking about? It’s not your fault.”
“No. It’s my fault! It’s my fault! That’s why my dad doesn’t want to see me. Because he hates that I killed my mother!”
I won’t be resentful.
Isley couldn’t finish his words and kept his mouth shut. Because when he saw Vincent’s face, he realized that whatever he said wouldn’t work for him.
‘Even if I comfort you, it will be of no use. Unless the boy’s father himself says it’s not your fault, he’s not going to listen to anyone.’
Vincent continued crying.
“Dad, he came to me to scold me if I had an accident. But Dad doesn’t come to see me no matter what I do… I don’t know what to do now. What should I do so he would look at me again? How can I stop him from avoiding me?”
Vincent looked like he was about to cry.
The water in the eyes is hard to get, and it sparkles white. Seeing this, Isley felt his chest throb. It was so painful that his breathing was choking him.
‘It’s just like me.’
Trying to get my parents’ attention.
Isley kept looking at himself in Vincent during his time at the mansion, so he thought he would help.
It was because of that reason that he dared to speak out of his wounds.
‘I didn’t expect to hear such a deep story like this.’
Isley now knows that the words ‘It’s not your fault’ and ‘It was just an accident’ don’t work for Vincent. So instead of offering meaningless consolation, he said:
“… If you want your father to be interested in you, you shouldn’t be acting like this now. If you keep joking around like that and treat others badly, you can get attention for a while, but it won’t last long. Everyone will be tired of you. Who likes a boy who only makes accidents?”
“I know… So what are you going to do with me? What should I do, so my Dad is looking after me again? I mean, I don’t know anything. Should I apologize? If I said sorry, would he smile at me again? What if he’s actually angry with me? What if he hates me and tells me to die? Since my mother went to heaven, no one tells what happened. Therefore… I’m afraid to apologize. I’m afraid to put into words what everyone is asking. What am I supposed to do?”
“I will help you.”
“I will help you get along with your father.”
“What are you going to do?”
Vincent snorted a little, then glanced at Isley.
‘He thought it was just a word to comfort you….’
Isley had a very serious face, as if to prove that it wasn’t empty words.
“… How can you help me? Is there any way?”
Isley nodded slowly and began to suggest a way. Hearing this, Vincent agreed with a dissatisfied expression on his face.
“Okay. I’ll give it a try. To be honest, I don’t believe it, but you’re being deceived because you keep asking me to trust you. But, wait… .”
“Yes? what’s the matter?”
“Did you say mother before? It’s weird when I think about it. You said you were an orphan. But how can you talk about your mother?”
“I remember clearly what you said while introducing yourself.”
Isley noticed his mistake and widened his eyes.
‘Ugh. I lied about not having a last name.’
Vincent interrupted Isley, who was just about to start making excuses.
“No need to make excuses. I won’t tell anyone. If you can help me properly.”
“… …hank you so much.”
From the next day onwards, the boy who had been in trouble turned into a docile child. He didn’t play harshly, and he didn’t use words that hurt others. He listened obediently, so he stayed up all the way through the class without making a fuss. The way he handed the handkerchief to the maid who had fallen and was injured or behaved according to the etiquette was like a little gentleman. On his round face, where his smile had not fallen out, instead of the mischievous smile he always had, a lovely smile appeared. The child showed a favorable attitude toward everyone. The method Isley suggested was to do the opposite. He didn’t have any accidents, and he told the Count to come and see him in a way that would make him like anyone.
Although Vincent was reluctant to approach his father who turned away from him, he had courage. He even brought a book and asked him to read it himself, and suggested that we drink tea together. The Count and his servants welcomed the change positively. The Count, through his servant, told Vincent that he was happy that he had changed or praised him.
However, it did not mean that something had changed between the Count and Vincent. As usual, he avoided his son. He took the attitude that it was difficult even when asked to read a book, and refused to visit, saying that he had a job even if he asked to have tea with him.
Vincent struck the desk with both fists. The shocked desk shook slightly. The child shook his head and lifted his head. And he looks at Isley with resentful eyes.
“It’s no use. What does he only compliment me? Barely, barely, I managed to muster up the courage, but it’s no use. I didn’t believe you.”
Vincent reached out and pointed to Isley.
“Stupid idiot! Ugly Pumpkin! Fluffy hair! Eup, Eup…!”
Isley placed the bread in Vincent’s mouth.
“Ugh… no use….”
The child cried while eating the bread.
The sight of him lying on his desk and sobbing was enough to show the pity of others. Isley sympathized with Vincent’s appearance, but remained calm.
“Then we will have no choice but to talk directly.”
Vincent asked in surprise.
“… Dad, a conversation?”
“Yes, Vincent. Have you never asked your father why he was avoiding you?”
“… How about you ask? Of course, he’s not saying he’s avoiding you because he doesn’t like you.”
“Why are you so sure?”
“No. He would never say that. Don’t be afraid to ask why you are avoiding me. When you talk to each other, sometimes things turn out for the better.”
But conversely, it could come back with the worst results. Facing the truth doesn’t always work out for the better. There are truths you don’t need to know, and white lies that don’t hurt others. But Isley was convinced. He said that if he asked the Count why he was avoiding him, he would never get a bad answer that would make Vincent hurt.
Vincent shook his head.
“Are you saying it so easily because it’s not your business? You have no idea how difficult it is.”
Isley looked at Vincent. An unpleasantly vivid red. The child sometimes thought that those eyes looking at him felt eerie. Maybe it’s because there are times when you don’t know what a man named Isley is thinking. The pupils were gradually covered by the eyelids. Isley said with his eyes closed.
“Okay. Then we will find another way.”
“I really hate it… Huh?”
Vincent looked up at Isley in surprise. Because he thought Isley would force his offer.
The child thought that he was lucky, but he couldn’t shake the feeling of disappointment. Was it because Isley suddenly said that he was going to sleep in the mansion today? Was it because he had already received permission from the Count and his smile was strangely ominous? As of now, I don’t know.
And that night, Isley summoned Vincent.
Even though Vincent grunted that it was annoying, he went out to the place Isley had called.
‘Why the hell are you asking to see me tonight? really… I don’t know.’
The meeting place was the hallway on the first floor. It was a place close to the garden, and the side was open. So, if I turned my head slightly, I could see the winter garden and the starry night sky. At night, the mansion becomes quiet. No one is passing by and footsteps are ringing. The sound of slippers being pulled on Vincent and the sound of clothes rubbing against him could be heard clearly. The child leaned against the wall and waited for Isley.
Then someone came from afar.
It was covered in the shadows of the night and painted black, so her face could not be seen properly. Vincent thought that the man was Isley and opened his mouth.
“Isley, what the hell did you call me to talk about….”
As the distance from Vincent got closer, the shadow that covered the person lifted.
It begins to gradually brighten in the moonlight. His face lit up white.
Not Isley, but Vincent’s father, Count Wheeler.