Chapter 1. The humble beast
Noah Ashford understood his situation well.
He was an illegitimate child. The result of a dirty, prohibited act in Wieland, someone who is guilty of almost killing somebody without even knowing it
He had grown up and knew his own plight, so Noah knew why Scarlett had come the moment she recognized him.
“Did you think forgiveness would be easy?”
Forgiveness. The more the word came out his mouth, the more his tongue froze from the weight of it.
Scarlett’s eyes were full of cold, burning anger. She asked Noah to attend her 24 hours a day, and Noah responded to Scarlett’s request:
‘If that’s the case, I’m willing.’
‘I wonder if I can be forgiven this way.’
Scarlett White’s health was worse than he thought. The rumors that she was ill due to poor health seemed to be true.
“I’m afraid I’ll make you uncomfortable. If I stay by your side all day… I think it will be harder on you.”
“We’ll see whether it will be hard for me or for you. And the villa I live in is a mansion with 24 rooms. Don’t worry, I’ll give you the top attic, so I don’t see your face.”
Noah’s face was strangely distorted. He felt hopeless trying to understand Scarlett.
The carriage rolled smoothly along the pavement. Scarlett didn’t take her eyes off the window and Noah only stared down at the floor of the carriage.
No matter how hard life is, time always passes. So, he had to accept the hardships of the world in order to move forward. Therefore, Noah could endure this much suffering in order to relieve the deep-rooted guilt he had towards Scarlett.
No, compared to what he’s been through, this is just like pebbles by the roadside
‘What will happen in the future?’
I thought it would be a little better if I lived as Theo Grisham, but it wasn’t.
At the very least, he wanted to finish his studies, but that depended on Scarlett’s mood. She didn’t care about his future. She was dying and her sickness could be seen on her face. For such a person, the life of a wretched person was not more important than an enemy.
Scarlett warned Noah as she sorted her thoughts in silence.
“You better not think about trying to harm me. The will has already been written and the villa is full of professional bodyguards and employees. You can be a faithful servant by my side. You can bring what I tell you to bring and throw everything else away.”
Noah didn’t want anything from the White family. He had no intention of threatening Scarlett. He just wanted to relieve some of her anger by staying by her side. Although the series of events weren’t caused by his actions, it was true that his mother’s sins also were his, and that she was hurt just by his existence.
“What do you think I’m going to ask you to do? Are you going to silently obey it all?”
“It doesn’t matter what you ask me to do.”
“What if I ask you to kill someone?”
“Will your anger be relieved then? Will there still be revenge?”
Noah didn’t want to commit a crime. It wasn’t because it was morally wrong, but because it’s clear that it will create a scarlet letter in his life and cause him to get caught up in the past again and again.
“Then what do you think you should do? What do you think will soothe my anger?”
Noah couldn’t bear to say what he thought.
He was afraid Scarlett might make it a reality at all costs if he said he would have to give up his life.
He did in fact want to pay for his sins, but he didn’t want to give up everything. That was something he couldn’t do.
He was very attached to his life and is full of ambition to be successful in the future. So, he could give Scarlett a part of his time, but he couldn’t give her his very existence.
After hesitating, Noah finally answered.
“It’s okay if you don’t forgive. I’ll do this only for you.”
“Are you serious? For me?”
He didn’t want to say it was because they were family as the White Family was far removed from his life. Since he had lived under the shadow of the White family all his life, he was also resentful of the White family.
However, on the first day in Iodes, the moment he saw Scarlet’s deathly pale complexion, Noah realized what his mother had done.
Scarlett looked so fragile, as if she would break if slightly touched. And he must have contributed to her suffering in some way.
“Yes, you’re my brother So I’m trying to forgive you. If I die, my death and your existence will surely become the seeds of strife. So, I have to forgive you. Get off now because we’re here.”
The carriage stopped. Noah swore it was the first time he had seen such a place in the capital.
Beyond the gigantic lawn and garden, stood a majestic mansion that resembled a castle. The wealth of the White Family, who called such a mansion a villa, rubbed him the wrong way.
“My Lady, you’re early. Are you sick?”
A woman dressed as a maid quickly approached. The woman examining Scarlett’s complexion, paused after catching sight of Noah, who was standing behind Scarlett.
“Does he look like Julia Ashford?”
“My Lady! How can you bring him here!?!”
“This villa belongs to me. Whoever I bring into my house is my business.”
“What if other people find out?”
“That’s why I filled it with new employees. Even if my brothers and sister find out, it’s my business, not theirs.”
“What are you thinking?”
“I feel tired. I want to go in and rest. Wake me up when dinner is ready. I’ll give him the attic to use.”
Scarlett left Noah with her maid, Marie, and went into her room. As soon as Scarlett’s shadow disappeared, Marie muttered.
“How can you bring such a vulgar lineage into your home…”
It was essential to the life of Noah Ashford. Many curses were heard from those who knew about the scandal in the ‘Ashford’ castle.
So, if he receives forgiveness from her, something may change. At the very least, his sense of debt will be relieved, and at the most, his life will be different.
He wanted to change his life. He didn’t want to remain as a lower-class citizen at the bottom of society. Yes, it was a lie that she didn’t have to forgive him. He needed that forgiveness more than anything else.
“Wieland does not recognize illegitimate children. So, if you’re seeking status, you better give up.”
“Ma’am. All I want is for Scarlett to feel at ease.”
Wieland did not recognize illegitimate children. Wieland often erases the existence of illegitimate children. The consequence of being a sin born against the will of God. In particular, Noah Ashford was the illegitimate child of a woman who behaved like a prostitute seeking money.
‘A guy like you should have been wallowing in a pigsty for the rest of his life!’
One of his childhood friends found out that Noah was an illegitimate son and expressed disgust.
Noah lived with the shame of that day. It was a feeling that couldn’t be described in a few words. It was a shame that deeply unsettled him.
“Hmph! Follow me.”
As Scarlett said, Noah was given the attic, which was very spacious. It wasn’t long before the servants brought luggage from Noah’s house. By the time he unpacked his belongings, it was dinner time.
Around that time, a tearing scream was heard from downstairs. It was Scarlett’s voice.
“Does that make sense?”
A sharp cracking sound was heard. There were shards of broken glass on the floor. Marie was staring at Scarlet with a completely different expression than when she was dealing with Noah.
“It’s the same capital, so why can’t he come here? He’s a doctor! Bring him here!! Bring him no matter the cost!”
“He’s elderly, it’s too difficult for him to come back and forth. Calm down, My Lady.”
“Do I look like I can calm down? What if I fall down? The young guy here is a pure quack. Are you sure he’s really a doctor?”
“He’s a well-known doctor. Please, My Lady, please don’t fall down again!”
“Isn’t that what you wanted? Do you want me to die!?” Scarlett began to hyperventilate.
“No, My Lady!”
Noah quickly found Scarlett’s bag, retrieved the medicine, and pushed the pills into her mouth. After swallowing her pills, her asthma symptoms went away. Marie helped Scarlett to her feet and led her into the room.
“You there. Please follow me.”
At Marie’s words, Noah stepped into Scarlett’s room. Scarlett’s room was as colorful as her red hair. The bed with a large canopy was particularly impressive.
Scarlett was lying prone on her bed. She opened her mouth, staring only at the ceiling of her bed, without sparing Noah a single glance.
“How do you feel?”
“… Are you okay?”
“I asked how you felt.”
“… I’m sorry.”
In the past, his existence alone almost killed an innocent child, and now his existence drove that child into hell.
Scarlett was Noah’s past and present. Her hold on Noah’s present was a threat to his future.
“I will tell you what to do. There should be a book on the side table. Read it aloud until I fall asleep.”
A faint look of embarrassment crossed Noah’s face as he read the title.
The book Scarlett spoke of was a storybook for young children. From the look of the printing method, it had to be at least 30 years old.
“What are you doing? Read it.”
Noah opened the book. He cleared his throat and began to read.
“…This marvelous and mysterious adventure took place a long time ago.”
A calm but powerful voice filled Scarlett’s room.
It was as calm as Scarlett’s excitement and as calm as Noah’s undulating emotions. But before long, Scarlett intervened.
“Read it livelier.”
“Because Louisa couldn’t misunderstand Daniel’s words…”
“It’s not ‘misunderstand’, it’s ‘understand’. You can at least read the text.”
‘Why do I have to read a book that she has already memorized, especially one meant for children?’
Scarlett seemed to be having a hard time just being in the same room with him.
In Noah’s eyes, Scarlett wasn’t a very reasonable person. She looked stubborn but weak and wasn’t even rational enough to overcome strong emotions.
“I didn’t understand, so read it again,” she demanded.
Scarlett was as fiery as her red hair. A flame that would extinguish if there was nothing left to burn…
A fire that turns everything into dust and disappears, making its form unrecognizable.
Noah had seen many people like Scarlett in the slums. They all met a similar end.
If her ending was a tragedy, it would be because of him. Then he would be stuck in the past, struggling forever.
He didn’t like that very much. Noah wanted to move forward.
Therefore, Noah read sincerely. He even imitated a theatrical actor to add the vitality Scarlett wished for. He stopped her reading when he heard a faint choking and wheezing sound from Scarlett’s breathing.
“Why did you stop? My mind is still awake.”
“I’m sorry. I thought you were sleeping.”
“If I fall asleep, you’ll know.”
Her pale lips formed a sly smirk. With her eyes closed, Scarlett laid motionless under the blankets. Her blazing red hair was the only way he could identify her presence.
“Just read it.”
“… furious, Louisa huffed and asked. Why should I have to go on an adventure with Daniel? I…”
The story continued. As the evening passed and hunger subsided, it became night.
Scarlett couldn’t sleep until then. She occasionally held her pillow and sighed a little or tossed and turned to change her position.
In the meantime, Noah read until his voice grew hoarse. Then the first volume of ‘The Adventures of Daniel and Louisa’, ended and closed the book.
Scarlett, who had an exhausted expression, sat up helplessly. She rummaged through the narrow drawers of the nightstand, pulled out her pills, and swallowed them.
“Do you know why I asked you to read that book?”
“It’s like a book you read when you were younger.”
“That’s right. It’s a book my older sister and brothers took turns reading to me when I was younger.”
Her curly hair flowed down her shoulders. Scarlett’s eyes focused on the old book.
“Before I was born, John said our mother and father read this book to him before bed. But I didn’t have either parent, so my brothers read it to me. Today, you’re my father’s substitute.”
Noah realized that Scarlett’s eyes were gray like ashes. She was burned and now only ashes remain. A gray color supported by evil.
Having him substitute the parents stolen from her was truly a terrible revenge.
Noah had a gut feeling that the end of this story would be tragic.
Noah’s mother, Julia Ashford, had an unusual candor.
‘Noah. It is clear that you are Mr. White’s son. No one can shake this fact.’
That fact may not be important to the governments. But Julia Ashford was particularly obsessed with this fact. Then, after Mr. White’s death, she desperately went back and forth between this man and that man. She thought she had found a man to settle down with and she failed each time.
‘You deserve protection under a strong man.’
Was it because Wieland didn’t recognize her illegitimate child, or was she afraid of the White Family?
Whatever it was, Noah felt lonely in that empty house due to his mother, who went back and forth.
It had the feeling of love, but it didn’t take the proper form of love. That’s how Julia Ashford’s maternal love was thus explained.
* * * * * *
Noah thought about Scarlett all night.
Scarlett had no parents and was raised by her siblings. He grew up neglected by his mother, but he questioned who was unluckier, and vaguely imagined their future lives.
After a sleepless night, the morning came. Noah filled his stomach with the dry bread and milk that someone had left in front of his door.
When it was time to go to Iodes, Scarlett visited Noah.
“Your clothes are always ugly.”
“After class, let’s go buy some new clothes. You’re a member of the White family, it’s unacceptable to wear clothes like that. And Marie, be careful with your mouth.”
“Don’t worry. Have a safe trip.”
A carriage arrived at the door. Scarlett proudly climbed up first, followed by Noah, who sat on the other side. As the carriage sped forward, the mansion faded into the distance. Then she opened her mouth.
“What kind of person was your father?”
“He was a good person.”
“How? Where? Wasn’t he just good to you?”
“That’s possible. But what’s clear is that Mr. White… He was very sweet.”
“Hmph. It was so sweet that it was a mask. ‘I’m just having an affair’.”
He thought of Scarlett’s age when she scoffed. The two were only one year apart.
Noah had stolen Scarlett’s father, but Scarlett had a higher social standing. Of course, Mr. White was also Noah’s father, but the two came from different backgrounds.
“When I was young, I thought John was my father. John replaced my father. No, John, Aaron, and Scott were all my fathers. But I don’t know how similar they looked to my real father. I’ve never really seen my father properly.”
“Why aren’t you saying anything?”
“I don’t know what to say… My memories of Mr. White are hazy, too.”
“Do you want to say that this isn’t your fault? No, it’s okay. Don’t answer, I’m tired and I need to sleep.”
Scarlett crossed her arms and laid down deep in the sofa. Noah remained silent while alternating his gazes between the scenery outside the window and Scarlett. Her brothers and sister must pity her as much as she is pitied for herself.
Because he understood her deep feelings, he would bear the weight of the original sin, swallow his words, and act as she pleases.
Noah recalled the murmurs of the employees he heard in the hallway yesterday.
‘I heard the rumors, but she must be out of her mind.’
‘Shh. Quiet. It’s forbidden to talk about those things in this house. That’s why you get paid three times the normal salary.’
‘No matter how much you are dying, it’s too much. Who can handle that temper? Every word she says has a thorn in it.’
‘No way. Scarlett White makes me think it’s better to live as a healthy poor person than to live with a lot of money.’
The servants sympathized with Scarlett, ridiculed her, and used her as a tool to comfort themselves. It was very pitiful. And Noah thought he may also have sympathy for Scarlett.
Scarlett talked in her sleep quietly. She seemed to be in a bit of pain as she dreamed. Only then did he realize what Scarlett meant by him being able to recognize when she fell asleep.
As soon as Noah tried to wake Scarlett up, the carriage stopped. They had arrived at Iodes. Scarlett reacted instinctively and opened her eyes as he drew near. She clutched her chest and scrutinized her surroundings with a terrified expression.
“What about you?”
“I’ll take care of it.”
Reluctantly, Noah exited the carriage alone.
He headed to the Economics Department building. Upon entering the classroom, the students gathered by the window stared at Noah. Edwin whistled and shouted.
“I can’t believe you two were riding the White’s carriage together!”
“It’s not like that.”
“It’s not like that. Everyone has the same eyes.”
Edwin praised Noah for his handsome looks, saying Noah knew what to do, while others chimed in, arguing that Noah intentionally became Scarlett’s helper.
Their teasing ended only after Noah gave a serious warning.
“Don’t say things like that. It is a great insult to tie me up with White.”
“More than that, Grisham. Someone is looking for you at the school gate.”
“Well. He didn’t look like a good person. Be careful.”
Noah’s mother loved her son in a strange way, but she wanted to ensure his safety even at the risk of her life. She must have caught his tail the last time he went to her house.
But this was bound to happen. Throughout his class, Noah devised a number of measures to solve this problem. However, when the situation occurred, everything was in vain. As he was heading to his next class, a familiar voice called out to him.
It was a loan shark with a mustache and a cut over his eye that called out to Noah.
“Gosh. I didn’t expect it, but I hoped I was right.”
“You were alive.”
After Mr. White’s death, Julia Ashford, obsessed with the idea that his children might kill her son, purchased expensive security gear. His mother said that her home was stocked with magical self-defense items from Natalia, the magical powerhouse, and she sometimes invested directly.
Her struggles and efforts were in vain, and her investment came back in debt, and she came back. She disposed of all of her fortune she owned, but the loan shark’s interest wasn’t easy to pay off.
“It’s this wretched bastard. He should have sent us a letter if he was alive.”
They tapped Noah and continued.
“We almost paid a visit to your incompetent mother. You know your mom, right? What an idiot she is.”
“You have to answer, Theo. No, now that you’re an adult, it’s Mr. Grisham,” one loan shark said while the others laughed.
“Grisham… Who is that?”
“… Just some acquaintances, Edwin, you go first.”
Noah thought it was fortunate that Scarlett had gone to the infirmary on the pretext of not feeling well.
Noah led the loan sharks to the back of the school. As soon as they arrived in a sparsely populated area, he was grabbed by the collar.
“You have grown taller, Noah Ashford. It means that you have been thinking a great deal about how incompetent your mother is and whether you should continue with this project because you have not been able to receive a penny.”
“You mean you did that to me and then went to visit your mother?”
“Then? How much debt is left in your name?”
“Ha. Debt? Don’t say such nonsense. I don’t have any more debt, I have no reason to pay it back, and no money to pay it back.”
Noah’s voice grew harsh. The loan shark, who had shoved Noah against the wall, squeezed his neck and growled.
“You really will have to die to come to your senses. Do you want to die? Yes, even that useless body should be sold to repay the debt.”
“Philip, you have to say it right. You can be sold as a slave even without knowing it.”
“You’ve already sold me without telling me. How much did you get from selling me? If I had done that, the interest would have at least been paid,” Noah said as pushed the man who had a hold of his neck.
He couldn’t hide his anger because he was still a bit angry that he had been sold into slavery in the past. The loan sharks cackled as if they found Noah’s anger funny.
“How much does it cost to sell a bastard like you? An old mother or a son with no bloodline, doesn’t make sense anyway.”
“Ha. It’s been a long time since I paid back the principal, you f**king trash bastards. If it’s so unfair, file a lawsuit.”
One of the loan sharks punched Noah in the stomach. Noah grabbed his stomach and bent over.
“Hey, if you keep messing with me, you could be in big trouble.”
Noah, who seized the arm that was holding his neck, clenched his teeth and spoke.
“Let’s settle this according to the law. Which is the bigger crime? Trying to sell an innocent person into slavery or falsifying your identity?”
His fists flew towards Noah and there was a popping sound. Noah slumped to the ground, spitting out blood. Scarlett appeared in the direction he turned his head. Noah’s eyes widened. But he quickly turned his head, pretending not to see her.
Noah, who cursed, looked like a completely different person from the calm and docile figure he had shown Scarlett. He didn’t show any sense of guilt, and he didn’t have the restraint to be courteous.
Scarlett, who came to find Noah after hearing he was meeting suspicious people, stood at a distance, and watched Noah get beaten.
Wilhelm, who came looking for Scarlett, found them and ran to stop them.
“Stop it. Stop.”
“Oh my gosh, a young master who doesn’t know anything is here.”
“Do not interfere, Hoffman. This is my business.”
“Did you hear that, young master? Our debtor says don’t interfere.”
Meanwhile, something in Scarlett’s eyes stimulated Noah. Maybe it was her sarcastic attitude. His pride was wounded, and his stomach was in pain. He bit the inside of his cheek harshly.
‘Why am I living such a pathetic life?’
This was not what he wanted. It was unbearably upsetting.
“Let’s give it a try. I can take a leave of absence, but a life like yours…”
Noah chuckled and smiled. The madness of the world was shrouded in the smile of the man who was driven to the ground by the weight of his life.
“Crazy bastard. Do you want to be sold to Natalia as a human subject? Hmm?”
“Sell me. You dogs. “
The low voice was as bleak as the atmosphere of a graveyard. Goosebumps climbed up his arms.
“Grisham!” Hoffman exclaimed.
“Because I have nothing more to lose-”
“That debt, I will pay it.”
Scarlett intervened between them. She didn’t seem to find it surprising or interesting.
Approaching with her expressionless face, she took the ring from her hand and threw it at the loan sharks. The ring flew through the air and was caught by their blunt hands.
“That’s a deposit.”
“Did you come all the way to a prestigious school to seduce a rich girl?”
“Shut your vulgar mouth. How much is the total?”
Scarlett took her wallet from her pocket and threw checks in their faces. The bundle of checks fluttered like petals as they fell to the ground.
The inside of his cheek burst open, and he tasted blood. Noah’s blood was like the essence of the world.
A wild world of eating, killing, and dying, it was survival of the fittest and he was at the pyramid. No matter how low the bottom of the pyramid was, there was still pride.
And Noah was a man of particular pride.
“What you need to care about-”
“Shut up. Noah Ashford.”
Scarlett glared at the loan sharks and spoke.
“I paid Noah Ashford’s debt. Bring the paperwork. You bastards.”
When the loan sharks, who were frowning, exchanged glances when they saw the amount on the checks. They hurriedly took the check. A sly smile appeared on their faces.
Scarlett was so arrogant that she took it as a great insult to be in the same space as a loan shark.
“Our debtor has a good friend.”
Among them, the bearded loan shark pulled a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket and threw it at Noah’s chest.
“Thank you for using our services. Sir. If you’re ever in urgent need of money, please use our services anytime.”
The loan sharks laughed loudly as they left. As soon as they disappeared, Scarlett slapped Noah’s cheek. The slap echoed through the vacant lot. Wilhelm’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Is this the only way you know how to live? Why did I have to deal with that trash because of you?”
Noah stubbornly clenched his lips together and fixed his gaze on the ground. Noah looked very miserable because his pride was hurt.
“First of all,… Let’s go somewhere else and talk.”
Wilhelm proposed to Noah and Scarlett as he searched for a suitable empty classroom.
“I’ll go buy some snacks. You two… … Just talk, okay.”
He had also heard of the ‘Castle of Ashford’. It was thanks to Scarlett appearing at Iodes, that the rumors about the past scandal spread.
As soon as Wilhelm disappeared, Scarlett spoke up.
“Is this all you owe? Tell me if there’s more.”
“I will pay you back gradually.”
“Will you pay me back after I die? Do you think you can pay me back?”
“It’s okay to go get your money back.”
“You are declaring that you will be sold into slavery. Before I die, you have to pay for your sins and be forgiven. No, you have to be patient until I can forgive you.”
‘I feel a lot of pity for you, but I don’t want to be complacent.’
The words that climbed up to his throat were swallowed down the moment he saw Scarlett’s pale lips. Cold gray eyes stared at Noah.
“What are you thinking about? “She asked.
“Why did you pay off my debt?”
“Is it wrong to reach out in the first place? Don’t you think doing evil acts because you have regrets is the same as looking at people with black and white logic?”
“But it was too much money.”
And Scarlett was a person who deserved to see herself in black and white.
“For you, it probably is. When Wilhelm arrives, tell him that I headed to the classroom first.”
Scarlett passed Noah with a look of displeasure as if she was offended. Not long after, Wilhelm returned. Noah looked at him and shrugged.
“Keep it a secret, please.”
Wilhelm said no more. He didn’t ask anything. Noah stood still, swallowing a sigh, while trying to figure out what to say.
“Let’s go to class. It must have already started.”
“Just a second.”
Noah’s deep blue eyes carefully examined Wilhelm. There was not a single sign of evil in Wilhelm’s gaze.
“Don’t worry. I’m Scarlett’s friend. I’m prepared to be silent about whatever happens between you two.”
* * * * * * *
The events occurred behind the building, but it seemed that there was someone watching the three by chance.
Perhaps because the detailed conversation wasn’t heard, Noah was labeled as a “problematic student being chased by a loan shark” and became an insecure person on campus.
Bullying started from trivial things.
“Don’t sit there. I hate having you around.”
Scarlett hated Noah being in a position where he could watch her from behind. In addition, she said that she was reluctant to draw the professor’s attention because of having an honor student sitting next to her.
When the students saw Scarlett’s attitude towards Noah, they realized she had ill feelings towards him and began to sympathize with her behavior.
Scarlett was the youngest and most beloved in the White family, the most respected family in Wieland. She had everything including wealth, fame, and power.
So, it was only natural for them to try and please and get her attention.
“Maybe he’s the son of a prostitute or a courtesan.”
“Hey, Grisham! You said you’d do anything for money? I’ll give you 10 million bergs. Will you lick my toes?” (TL: Eww wtf, beat his a** Noah!)
Noah, who grew up in the slums, was accustomed to this kind of insult. Because there were lots of sewers, worse things happened. Scarlett had an unreadable expression when she heard their insults, but she didn’t take any special action. But Wilhelm was different.
“Stop it. Your words and actions are so vulgar.”
“Where the hell did you learn the Wieland language? So now you can use words that your people couldn’t use a hundred years ago?”
The war of words continued. About the time the fist-fighting atmosphere was forming, Scarlett stepped out.
In a few words, the commotion was settled. With that, both Noah and Wilhelm realized the enormous influence the White family had on Wieland. Railroads, mines, banks, mines, armaments and even parliament. There were few places where the White family had not infiltrated.
Meanwhile, Wilhelm was furious. Scarlett, who leads a school life with the help of Theo Grisham, caused a scandal against him and wouldn’t come forward to clear the air. The more Wilhelm thought about it, the meaner Scarlett appeared to him..
It wasn’t right. The least Scarlett could do was the bare minimum for Theo Grisham.
Not only was her behavior not justifiable, but it went against his values. Above all, she showed no respect or gratitude towards her helper.
“No matter how bad you are, it’s cowardly to stand still when Grisham is insulted like that. Everyone treats Grisham badly because you ignore him.”
“Those who treat him like that are wrong. I introduced him as my childhood friend, so they should line up to show off to him, he should be standing proudly. If he’s still being treated like that, then there’s something wrong with Theo,” Scarlett stated in an uninterested tone.
“And it’s his responsibility to quell the half-truth and half-false rumors that he was hit by the loan sharks with extra debt.”
“Because it looks like you gave in with money.”
“That is true.”
Wilhelm kept his mouth shut as he was disgusted with her arrogant attitude and languid gaze.
Then Scarlett’s eyes showed a flicker of emotion. But she pressed her pale lips together and turned away from Wilhelm.
Theo Grisham. No, Noah Ashford was a line she could never yield.
Unable to stand it Wilhelm raised his voice.
“Anyway, he’s your half-brother!”
“Do you think we’re family just because we have the same blood? If you don’t know anything, shut up and get out!”
A fire flared in Scarlett’s gray eyes. She went to find Noah in her fussiness. He was eating a meal of cheap sandwiches at the Iodes’ cafeteria.
Scarlett made sure that Wilhelm was following her, and before she approached Noah. Then she opened her bottle of milk and poured it on Noah’s head.
“Look Carefully. This is what cowardly looks like. Even if I do this, he won’t say anything to me.”
Wilhelm quickly took out his handkerchief and wiped the milk. Noah raised her hand to gesture that it was okay. Then he handed the handkerchief he had received from Wilhelm to Scarlett.
“There’s milk on your skirt.”
Scarlett took her handkerchief as if it was natural and wiped the hem of her skirt. The gap between them was clear. Wilhelm could not contain his astonishment.
“I think I misunderstood you. If I had known you were such a cruel person, I wouldn’t have gotten close to you.”
“Your friendship is not needed.”
Scarlett pretended not to hear anything else and left the cafeteria. She then returned to her home, not her villa, where she left Noah.
The White Mansion, where her brothers could not be seen, felt very lonely. The silence that filled the large space was even emptier. It was the deepest emotion that resided in Scarlett’s heart. A feeling of emptiness that could not be filled by anything was now combined with fear as she prepared for death alone.
She was afraid that she might be killed. And of death itself.
As she had just entered the house, she ran into Susan, who had come out to drink her tea for a while working from home. Susan approached Scarlett and asked.
“Isn’t this the time you attend classes?”
“I came because I missed Isaac.”
“He’s taking a nap. What about classes?”
“Can’t you ask me how I’ve been?”
“You stopped by the house a few days ago and I saw your face. You looked pretty good then. You were like a girl who had looked delighted to have moved away from her family.”
When Susan spoke disappointedly, Scarlett smiled helplessly. She walked over and put her arms around Susan.
“It’s my first time living alone, so there are times when I’m scared.”
“Are you afraid of being robbed?”
“Afraid of not being able to capture my family in my eyes the moment I die.”
Susan lightly pinched the back of Scarlett’s hand. She was displeased with Scarlett’s talk of dying because she believed spoken words had the power to come true.
“There is nothing wrong with you.”
“You never know what’s going on with people.”
“If your health is like that, come home right now.”
“By the way, what did you get on your skirt?”
“My classmate accidentally spilled milk.”
“Oh no. He must be clumsy.”
Not all the single parents felt this way, but Scarlett had been on the verge of dying several times as she grew up, and her siblings felt a sense of guilt because they were clumsy with her parenting. Because of that, they are particularly gentle with Scarlett.
In fact, Scarlett White wasn’t a very docile person. On the contrary, the anxious and hysterical Scarlett was the most docile of her siblings.
Since each of her brothers was the executive director of a large corporation, there was an awful lot of tempers flaring.
Susan alone was the largest shareholder of White Bank, and on the day of the shareholders’ meetings, she would relentlessly push those who were old enough to be her father over her interests.
So, Scarlett had to keep it an even bigger secret that she was with Noah at school. If they knew, they wouldn’t let it go.
“How’s your school life?”
“I thought Kravitz knew everything.”
“Kravitz is Scott’s intelligence network. And I don’t want to dig into your private life.”
“Yes, you promised not to do that. Classes aren’t fun, but the way people live is fun. How pathetic it is for everyone to look at me and rant.”
“I don’t think Isaac should grow up like you.”
“You didn’t even raise me. And Isaac will grow up very honest, just like his father. But Sue, there is something I want to ask you.”
“You meet all kinds of people at the general shareholders’ meeting. There are times when you have to unite with those you don’t like very much, how do you deal with them?”
At the unexpected question, Susan stared at the naive Scarlett, trying to figure out what was behind her parable. But she only shrugged her shoulders and grinned. Susan raised her lip to one side, knowing that Scarlett didn’t want to elaborate.
“In that case, think about the benefits you will gain and the things you need to protect through unity. They wear masks for the same purpose as each other, so no matter how foolish it is, you can only look at the purpose.”
“I see.… I want to see Isaac; I miss him so much.”
“Don’t wake a sleeping child.”
“Seeing Isaac gives me strength.”
If there was any benefit in killing Noah, it was Isaac’s safety. Didn’t she approach Noah with that purpose in mind? Scarlett had a secret she couldn’t tell anyone.
Her brothers would send her to her hospital If she told them she went back in time.
And if she tells Noah about her revenge, he may intercept her chance of revenge by saying that she dips her feet in dirty things.
If revenge had its own shares, Scarlett wanted to secure her share no matter how her brothers reacted. Because the loneliness firmly entrenched in her reputation was due to Noah Ashford.
“I have to be nice to him.”
“Nice to someone you don’t like?”
“Yes. They give me something money can’t buy.”
“Can I ask you what it is?”
“Well… I will explain later.”
When revenge is over, she would confess some of it.
Scarlett thought that as soon as she went to Iodes tomorrow, she would clean up those who were tormenting Noah.
When I see that face, I will only say sweet words, I only have 200 days left, it was time to be rational for revenge.
She eventually found Isaac sleeping and kissed his curly hair. She carefully laid down next to Isaac with her complicated heart.
“Isaac. Auntie will protect you.”
For Isaac, Scarlett would even hold Noah’s hand and dance. She could do anything for Isaac.
Now if only she could hold back her simmering emotions and act rationally as Susan said.
This is a play that would take a long time. An act to deceive Noah, wins his favor, and then reveals that everything is a lie, dropping his life into the abyss.
Starring Scarlett White and Noah Ashford. And the finale would be the death of Noah Ashford.
Scarlett vowed once again. She would stop harassing him and try to win his favor. The time had come for her to control her anger and sharp words.
The next day Scarlett went straight from the White Manor to Iodes, and she contemplated the words she had been repeating all night long.
‘I’m sorry for yesterday.’
It was a simple apology, but it meant a lot to her.
However, when she saw Noah entering the classroom, she struggled to suppress her urge to be mean.
Dozens of pairs of eyes alternately watched Scarlett and Noah. As if nothing had happened, Noah sat next to Scarlett and opened his book. Scarlett’s lips twitched when Noah wore a nonchalant expression. Another girl from the Economics Department approached Scarlett.
Scarlett was wary but accepted her with an attitude that she wouldn’t be friendly.
“Hi. What’s up?”
“Well. I’m Jane Floyd.”
“I’m Scarlett White.”
“There’s a girl group meeting. I was wondering if it would be okay to invite you to join.”
When Scarlett showed interest in her, Jane’s cheeks turned red as she explained.
“There are few female students in Iodes. So, a sorority was formed a few years ago. Of course, club students aren’t the only ones attending. Any female student in Iodes is eligible to attend the regular meetings.”
“What time is it?”
“It’s at 4pm., in the A-26 building.”
“I’ll go if I’m feeling well.”
“Good! Then see you later!”
Jane returned to her seat with a smile, while Scarlett clenched her jaw and scribbled in the corner of her book.
She didn’t have any attachment to Iodes, so she wasn’t very interested in sorority clubs or anything, but she envied the ordinary activities enjoyed by her peers. Noah was also avoiding her gaze on herself and acting nonchalant, so there’s no reason why she shouldn’t be herself.
However, the class was an exception.
Scarlett was not at all interested in what the graph was like and what the demand was. Those were the things Aaron and Susan loved.
What Scarlett loved was the changing seasons, eating dinner with her family, and playing card games with Isaac.
As she sat there absent-minded, Professor Diego watched Scarlett again and again with a disapproving face. However, he weighed the fact that Scarlett was Aaron’s sister and his position as her professor. This allowed Scarlett to rest comfortably and doze off throughout the class.
“Next time there will be a note test, so it would be better to thoroughly review and prepare.”
Professor Diego left the classroom with a face blue in anger.
Scarlett finally got up and called Noah, who was organizing his things at his seat.
It was a tone in which the usual hostility had disappeared. It was the result of hard work for Scarlett.
Scarlett thought of Isaac. His warmth and playful voice. Then her heart calmed down. She felt confident that she could bear anything when she thought of the fragile being she needed to protect.
“Let’s sit together next time.”
“Are you sick?”
“There are things like that, but I don’t want to sit alone anymore … I promise I don’t mean to bother you.”
There were no suspicious glances in her eyes, but Noah’s inner doubts and curiosity toward Scarlett were reflected in his eyes as he stared at her.
Scarlett raised the corners of her lips. Noah looked at that smile and thought he couldn’t understand Scarlett anymore.
Wilhelm apologized for the spilled milk yesterday. He was at a loss, saying that he seemed to have provoked Scarlett to take her anger out on him.
However, Scarlett’s anger was not Wilhelm’s fault, because his very existence was the source of her anger. He understood her anger but was confused by her capricious behavior.
He wasn’t sure if Scarlett wanted to do something to him or if it was something else.
After all, Scarlett was his half-sister and was unhappy because of him.
“Don’t worry about yesterday.”
What kind of world do you see through those gray eyes?
The world reflected in Noah’s blue eyes was literally blue. The cloudy sky had subsided and had become a sunny day, a subtle hope arose along with the freshness.
‘Someday I will get out of the slums, and in the future, I will be able to regain my identity. If I succeed to obtain wealth and honor, no one in the world will be able to shame me or my mother…’
But when would Scarlett forgive him and wash away his debts?
“I’m sorry.” Scarlett spoke loudly again, as if she wanted everyone to hear.
“I’m sorry about yesterday. You know how hysterical I am.”
“… It’s okay… Are you okay? I couldn’t find you yesterday and was worried.”
“I went to visit Susan. I wanted to see Isaac because I missed him.”
‘Who is Isaac?’
Noah decided to go along with Scarlett’s act. Looking at the heat in her gray eyes, the situation seemed too precarious to do anything else. If he went against her mood, not even his ashes would remain.
“Let’s go. Give me your books, I will hold them for you.”
Scarlett handed Noah her books as if it was natural to do so. The fingers of the two touched. Scarlett flinched and frowned for a moment. Noah checked her body temperature, which was cooler than he thought.
“Are you cold?”
“No, I’m sleepy.”
“Sleep in class then.”
“You’re so sincere. Don’t tell me what to do.”
It was a sarcastic fight as usual, but Noah didn’t care.
“Why do you like studying?”
For Noah, Iodes was the last bastion that would change his fate. Noah really wanted to get out of the slums. But that wasn’t all he wanted. He wanted to be a man with money and honor.
He was only a little over nineteen, and while he was still standing on the border between boy and young man, he was full of ambition. It was different from the defeatist attitude he had when dealing with Scarlett.
Noah’s ambitions were as aggressive as Scarlett’s dealings with Noah, and it was constantly overwhelming.
And the kind of fire that fueled his ambitions was the resentment of being an illegitimate child, the mother’s love for herself, and the denial of his existence.
It boils down to a still, hot, unknown darkness.
Therefore, Noah wanted to be a perfect gentleman to Scarlett, even for himself. Scarlett’s wrath was an aria that would comfort him forever.
Noah simply laughed.
In fact, Scarlett’s existence was terrifying to him.
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