It’s Time To Stop Looking For A New Family - Chapter 1
Leticia lifted her heavy eyelids. When she came to her senses, she was tied to a wooden post on an altar.
Under her bruised feet, there were piles of unlit firewood, while on both sides of the altar, an iron furnace could be seen in which flames were flaring up inside.
Leticia saw a strange sight in the chaotic situation.
A row of knights stood outside the altar, while masked executioners were standing in front of the altar.
When I lowered my head weakly, I saw angry expressions from the soldiers’ faces. They were all pointing their fingers at me with a ferocious look.
“She’s a wicked woman that’s secretly working with the devil!”
“Why are you standing there doing nothing? Beat that bitch to death!”
The angry remarks resounded in my ears.
Leticia managed to gain consciousness and looked down at the crowd situated slightly below her.
Once I was able to have a slightly distinct view, I could see familiar faces within the crowd. Seeing that they were the most enthusiastic among all the people gathered here, it seems as though my own family was the one who wanted me to receive the punishment of a death penalty the most.
The maids in the mansion were throwing stones that were directed towards my head. Moreover, knights bearing the insignia of our family in their outfit called me a merciless devil.
They ignored Leticia for being an illegitimate child, but they quickly changed their attitudes and bowed their heads once it was revealed that she’ll be the heir of the family.
It was then that she heard a shrill sound of her shoes, making her turn her eyes towards her.
“Why did you kill Fione, sister?”
A brown-haired woman approached Leticia. She looked up at her, confronting her about killing Fione, as if she wasn’t going to be burned to death soon for her ‘treacherous’ act.
“You said you’d go after my life! If you despised me so much, why didn’t you kill me instead!”
The woman stared at Leticia with tears in her eyes.
Leticia couldn’t answer, let alone say a word because there was a gag covering her mouth which prevented her from speaking.
“You must’ve gone mad after you lost your place to a foster daughter, haven’t you….?”
At Sujin’s words which she said in a low voice, Leticia looked at her silently. The only thing she could do was to lower her head so that she could see her face.
For a long time, the Duke of Maner’s residence belonged to Leticia.
Leticia has been disrespected and abused by her grandfather since childhood for being an illegitimate child.
Then after her grandfather died, she had a chance to replace him even though people think that she lacked the ability to be one.
Leticia started to study classes that would help in shaping her to be the successor in the future at the age of eleven and was thoroughly educated for five years.
Even if she was mocked for being an illegitimate child who covets the position of the head because she was blinded by power, she continued to strive to be recognized as his successor.
At the age of 16, her efforts were finally rewarded when she was recognized as the heir to the family.
Even the Duke, who never smiled, eventually recognized Leticia’s ability.
A year later, when she reached the age of 17, he promised to hand over his position as the head of the family.
So, Leticia did not know whether or not she was being treated kindly because of the wounds she had received as a child and patiently waited for the time she’ll get the title formally.
However, two years ago, the residence of the family became the property of a slave-born foster daughter.
The adopted daughter was neither fluent in imperial language nor capable of excellence.
Before Sujin was adopted by someone else, the Duke of Gaian, owner of a sacred family, coincidentally saw her and adopted her into the family.
So, Sujin became the beloved youngest daughter of the Duke from being a slave.
Sujin got the Duke’s attention by acting cute. If the Duke’s attention turned to Leticia for even a second, Sujin would do anything to regain the attention back to her.
The Duke leaves his real daughter, Leticia, for his adopted daughter, Sujin.
He did not change his decision even though he knew that his beloved foster daughter lacked the ability to become the head of the family.
Making use of the showered love she received from the Duke, she schemed against Leticia, blaming her for the crimes she did.
Earl Euro, who has devoted himself to the Duke for generations, was falsely accused of killing his youngest daughter, Fione.
But, it was Sujin who killed Fione.
Three months ago, Sujin was caught by Fione when she was discussing her plans on killing Leticia with her aide.
While she was strangling her to death, she said that she’ll inform their father that Earl Euro was the murderer.
Subsequently, Sujin ordered her aide to force a powerful hallucinogen to Leticia as a sign to start carrying out her plans.
When the effects of the drug finally wore out and Leticia was able to regain her senses, she had become a murderer at a moment’s notice.
She was furious to the point that she wanted to kill Fione. But, she couldn’t have brought herself to kill her no matter how mad she was. I couldn’t exactly remember because of the hallucinogens.
All the evidence indicated that Leticia was the culprit, and as planned, Leticia was sentenced to death.
The Duke had the power to stop the death penalty.
Nevertheless, the Duke chose to abandon Leticia.
‘How do you feel after seeing your father abandon you completely? How do you feel now that you’ve lost your position to a former slave like me?’
Those were the words I heard directly from Sujin’s mouth in prison.
Leticia closed her eyes and tears started to flow out.
The grief she felt for realizing her foolish self and for being abandoned by her father was more painful than being pricked by a thorn of a rose.
Sujin moved closer to Leticia despite the dissuasion of the Knights.
It was muttered in a low voice but was loud enough for Leticia to hear it.
“Did you think I wouldn’t be able to compete with you because I was a former slave who knew nothing?”
Sujin was smiling triumphantly. She seemed to feel not only pride, but also joy because of the fact that she has beaten the Duke’s biological daughter, Leticia, in becoming the head of the family.
Leticia stopped trying to speak anything with her torn lips.
There was no one here who would listen and believe what I’ll say anyway.
“Stupid bitch. You must’ve gone mad after you lost your place to a foster daughter, haven’t you?”
Leticia has never despised her for being showered with love by their father and even treated her with kindness regardless of her being a former slave.
On the contrary, it was Sujin who had a grudge against Leticia.
Even if no response was heard, Sujin still continued on saying,
“Did you enjoy imitating a noble lady? It was as if you’re telling me that since I am a slave, I should know my place. Do you know how pathetic I felt?”
Leticia never treated Sujin as a slave.
Rather, it was Sujin who made it so that she’ll be the only princess of the Empire.
“Since you’re an illegitimate child, you must’ve tried so hard. Who knew that someone like me would take your place so easily? I was stupid to have admired you for being a noble.”
Leticia did not know the reason why Sujin despised her so much. She never once used her authority as a princess to her advantage.
She only tried to live on and was recognized for her efforts.
“That’s all in the past too. Will I be able to close my eyes comfortably when I die of injustice? What’s the use of having a stunning face anyway? You won’t get to enjoy all the attention of any high-ranked noble either way.”
For Leticia, who was slowly closing her eyes, the last words she said to Sujin was extraordinarily clear.
When I opened my eyes again, I saw Sujin smirking with her red lips.
Sujin smiled broadly when she saw that she was noticed by Leticia. Meanwhile, Leticia didn’t have any reaction upon seeing her.
“The only thing you know is……”
It was then.
Leticia’s lips, which had been shut tightly, slowly opened.
Unlike the slow-witted Sujin, Leticia’s responses were always calm and composed.
Tears started flowing down her cheeks, but Leticia didn’t stop talking.
“….how to flatter the Duke.”
After hearing those words, Sujin bit her lips tightly and glared at Leticia.
Leticia grinned. A low laugh came out of her mouth.
Only then did Sujin realize her mistake and closed her mouth.
It was a furious cry, but wasn’t loud enough to be heard by other people under the sound of firewood burning in the brazier.
Leticia kept her mouth shut right after.
Even an illegitimate child like her wanted to have the title of a Duchess.
The more contempt and ridicule I received, the more I wanted to be the head of our family.
I didn’t dare expect for it to happen because there is no possibility of me being loved even if I was born again.
She survived because she was able to prove her worth. She thought she’d die if she didn’t have that desire.
I wanted to be treated as a human being.
I wanted to live like a human being.
I wanted to breathe freely.
So I tried to hide the pain I felt.
Maybe, my last glimmer of hope ended when I was caught in despair.
“In the end……”
The grief-stricken breath dispersed between the embers of the air.
‘If you were just going to throw me away like this, then you shouldn’t have given me this chance.’
Even at this moment, I resented the tears falling from my eyes.
Because I didn’t want to cry because of the reason for my foolish death.
A stream of regret grazed her bruised heart.
‘Be happy, Leti.’
That was what her mother told her before she passed away while holding her hand.
‘I cannot be happy…..I guess I don’t deserve happiness.’
When those words came to her mind, Leticia couldn’t raise her head.
When I was young, I was always happy whenever I sat on my mother’s lap as we drank flower tea together. But, after she left and I had no one to spend my time with, I never once smiled.
Sujin looked at Leticia with ‘tears’ in her eyes.
“Atone for your sin of killing Fione and regret it even after you die.”
I didn’t say anything because it was not a sin I committed.
I wanted to ask my father why he killed his real daughter. Was there a reason for you to do such a thing, or was it just because of your foster daughter?
But so far, even if my death was about to come, I still haven’t figured out why.
Whether it was her father’s choice to keep Sujin instead of her, or if it was his judgment as a Duke.
“Execute the sinner, Leticia, under the death penalty!”
Once the executioner shouted those words, a burning wooden rod was brought to Leticia’s feet.
The flame soon reached the firewood. The fluttering fire, like a snake’s tongue, climbed up the tip of Leticia’s shoes.
The red embers slowly spread and grew in size.
At that moment, the last thing Leticia saw was her family.
Sujin, crying, hugged her youngest brother tightly, as if she was in pain for the death of her sister.
Her father watched Leticia with an expressionless face. No guilt could be seen in his eyes.
Everyone present during her execution shouted,
And, there were some people who threw stones at her furiously.
Everyone was hoping for the death of the madwoman, Leticia.
The flames quickly spread to Leticia’s feet.
Even when she was feeling immense pain, she couldn’t close her eyes.
No one prayed for the wicked woman to rest peacefully after. She shouldn’t have expected to ask for salvation for she was considered as an abandoned object.
The flames that reached her ankle quickly had ripped the hem of the old dress she was wearing.
Then, an incredible sight came into the slightly distinct view of Leticia.
There was a man who mourned with his head down.
He was the only one.
In a place full of people waiting for the abandoned princess to die including her own family.
A man covered with a robe had his hands together and was praying. He slowly raised his head, which was slightly lowered earlier.
Leticia’s gaze fell on the man.
Since the man was wearing a white robe, I couldn’t see his face clearly. But, I was able to see his sharp, deep eyes.
His dark purple eyes looked at Leticia with pity.
Leticia begged him to kill her quickly. The pain of her flesh being burned seemed to have made her unable to think.
The man covered in a robe took out a bow containing mana. Leticia looked at him with eyes full of desire.
The beautiful golden bow looked like her only salvation.
The arrow was aimed at Leticia’s heart. Only then would she be able to breathe freely.
The arrow that had flown by a parabola hit the heart of Leticia.
The moment the arrow thrust into her heart, Leticia felt relieved.
As the wind blew off the man’s robe, his short dark black hair moved by the wind.
It was not until the moment of Leticia’s death that she realized the identity of the man who knew her.
The young Marquis of Nervad, who was the mortal enemy of the Duke of Maner. The new owner of the Tower.
Eli offered peace to the dying Leticia.
The man aimed calmly at her heart.
– May the princess rest in peace.
Seeing her only consolation, Leticia closed her eyes.
If I am given the chance to live again, I hope I’ll meet Eli.
Why are you the only one who wished me peace?
Only at the end of her life did she give up her long-cherished desire to be the head of their family who had turned themselves away from her.
Soon, a dim relief came to Leticia.