11. Eleonora’s Stepbrother
After exacting her revenge on Tigras, Eleonora’s heart was uplifted.
“Ohohoho—!! It’s been so long since my heart has felt this joyful! I feel like I can even spare some kindness for the rats!”
Eleonora had no idea that the mafia was pulling the wool over her eyes. She merrily went on with her strict education, while also acting merciful to even the humblest of things. At the same time, she also took care of official duties in the place of the pregnant queen.
After all, Eleonora was the type who got swept away when she was flattered.
Thus, as a result of her efforts, her reputation within the royal palace skyrocketed.
With just a little bit of kindness, Eleonora, who was usually up to no good, easily changed everyone’s mind, making them think. ‘Wow, she isn’t so bad, after all!’
—Something happened to Eleonora, who was in such a good mood.
She had a younger brother.
“Oh, my. Congratulations, Mother. The queen is also pregnant, so they’ll be in the same grade?”
When Eleonora heard the story, her eyes lit-up, but the duchess laughed.
“No, Eleonora. Actually, we’ll be adopting a child from a distant relative.”
Eleonora was taken aback, but the duke glossed over it. Like father, like daughter.
“I’m sorry for not asking your opinion beforehand. You see, I’ve been eyeing the son of a certain vassal of mine. He seems to be quite clever, so I believe that we can entrust the duke’s household to him. I’m sure you’ll adore him as well!”
The duke smiled cheerfully.
Although he adored his daughter, he also wanted a son. The duke started gushing about his dreams of going on long rides with his son.
“But Father, is there a need to adopt a son? Even if I’m the future queen, I’m sure I can manage the duke’s household just fine…”
As a matter of course, Eleonora wasn’t satisfied with just being a queen. She was keen on being in charge of the duke family as well.
However, the foolish couple misunderstood Eleonora’s offer.
“Oh, Eleonora…! Despite shouldering the heavy responsibility of a future queen, you’re still concerned about your household…!”
Consoling the tearful duchess, the duke also shed tears.
“Even though you’re still young, you still think about the people of the fief! There was a time when I was worried about your selfishness, but you seem to have matured!”
‘Actually, I’m after the duke’s fortune.’
When Eleonora saw how touched her parents were, she decided against speaking the truth.
At a time when the Duke of Bazestilma was in a state of dissonance, the adopted boy, Desti, bitterly parted with his father.
His father, Regalio, regretfully spoke with tears in his eyes.
“I’m sorry, but this is the only way for you to escape. If what they said is true, you’ll become the heir of this house…”
“Don’t worry, Father. When I grow up, I’ll be sure to save you.”
Desti spoke to his depressed father. He’d inherited his temperament from his mother, who died young.
After his wife’s passing, Regalio worked hard to raise his son. However, everything changed when his wife’s step sister made an advance on him.
Of course, Desti’s father, Regalio, ran away and refused her many times.
“—No matter how many times you ask, I absolutely refuse! Since I’m an adopted son, I’ll take Desti with me and return to my parents’ home! You should just get yourself a new husband, Daruane!”
“Oh, no need to be shy!! Lord Regalio, I already know that you merely pitied my stepsister!! In truth, you’ve always been in love with me!!”
Daruane, who crept up to him, seemed truly terrifying.
To his credit, Regalio had always been devoted to his wife, and never harbored any feelings towards Daruane.
In fact, he was fed up with her highly stalkerish behavior.
Of course, Regalio tried to resist her, only for her to threaten him.
“—Do you think you can go against me? I’m a direct relative of the Duke of Bazestilma family!”
Regalio had nowhere else to go, not even his parents’ house.
Although he did think of consulting with Duke Bazestilma, he decided against it in fear of how Daruane might retaliate.
If Desti were to be harmed, how was Regalio supposed to face his wife?
In the end, he gave up and married Daruane.
Regalio believed that if her wish was granted, she’d settle down. But contrary to his expectation, Daruane began to torment Desti.
For example, suppose Desti was eating a sandwich at lunch while reading a report.
“—How unbecoming! Look at you, acting all high and mighty! Know your place! I allowed a refuse like you to remain in this place, so have some manners!”
“Mother is right, you know!?”
Daruane would point finger at Desti, subjecting him to verbal abuse alongside her own daughter, Bertiana.
“Haa… As the legitimate heir, I’m responsible for half of the territory’s management? A refuse, you say? You’re one to talk. Aren’t you ostracized by social circles? Also, I have to work during lunch time. There’s nothing high and mighty about it.”
Even when Desti tried to reason with them, they’d just become more flustered and refused to apologize.
Sometimes, even though there were servants, Desti was forced to do the cooking and laundry.
“Desti, stop lazing around!! Hurry up and clean the house!! You’re my stepson, so listen to what I say!”
“That’s right!! Mother is right, you know!? Stop messing around!!”
“Isn’t Mrs. Almer supposed to be in charge of cleaning? Also, I’m not playing around. It’s customary for a noble to learn how to play the piano. Don’t tell me you don’t even know that?”
When Desti played the piano, the scene looked so mesmerizing, as if it were a painting.
In fact, Daruane was stunned momentarily, but quickly regained her composure and insulted Desti.
“O-of course I’m aware!! But in case you forgot, Bertiana will inherit this house!! A refuse like you should just become a servant!!”
“Like I said, I’m the heir. Besides, it’s not like she can play the piano or dance. Moreover, she’s infamous in social circles for her uncouthness. If she wants to inherit the house… Well, she has to study hard.”
Even when Desti gently admonished them, they merely turned pale and didn’t even say thanks.
Furthermore, they would devour all the snacks intended for Desti, empty the oil lamp so that Desti couldn’t study at night, and even vandalize his office one time. To make matters worse, the vandalism happened at the end of the fiscal year, right when things were getting hectic. They even soaked important documents in coffee.
As expected, Desti didn’t let this pass and handed them over to the local vigilante group. But they returned the pair to him, saying, “Your family, your business.”
Thus, Desti was tormented by his stepmother and stepsister.
Worried about his son’s predicament, Regalio swallowed his pride and asked Duke Bazestilma to adopt Desti.
“I truly apologize for the personal request, but could you please hire my son?”
Duke Bazestilma was surprised to see the haggard Regalio and learned of his situation.
“If that’s the case, I’ll hire him as Eleonora’s personal attendant. Your son is a strait-laced and proper youth, so I’m sure he’ll be promoted to butler in no time.”
The duke offered to help his promising vassal, but the moment he laid an eye on Desti, he was fascinated by the youth.
—To be clear, by Desti’s talents.
“I can’t let him be a servant!? I’d love to adopt him as my son!!”
Regalio was shocked at Duke Bazestilma’s announcement, but he was glad that Desti was so highly regarded.
Thinking that Desti might be happier if he was adopted by the duke, he agreed without telling his son.
“—Rejoice, Desti! You’re adopted by the Duke of Bazestilma family! Now you won’t have to worry about Daruane or Bertiana!”
Desti’s eyes widened when Regalio burst into joy.
Desti, who was thinking of taking legal revenge on his step family, was greatly surprised.
“…The conditions are pretty good, but Lady Eleonora of Bazestilma is known for being magnanimous. If I went to a place like that, my movements would be greatly restricted.”
After all, kindness alone wasn’t enough to run a territory.
There were many difficult situations—and oftentimes, tough decisions had to be made.
In that kind of situation, he’d prefer being splashed with coffee rather than being told that he had to make a decision based on kindness.
At first, Desti was reluctant, but after the duke’s relentless invitations, he finally relented.
—Thus, Desti became a member of the Duke of Bazestilma family.
As a side note, Eleonora began devising various strategies, ‘In order to make the duke’s property mine, I have to get rid of this boy!’
…Unfortunately, she was too busy with the queen’s education and official duties, so she couldn’t do much about it.
With his brilliant intellect and keen eyes, Desti won over the hearts of the servants and magistrates, steadily solidifying his foundation as the next head of the family.
…I wanna see Desti’s interaction with Eleonora.
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