Fabian didn't intend to drop the fork twice, but his mother still got annoyed.
She glared at Fabian with a sharp gaze, which she would have usually given only slight attention.
“How many times will you drop it?!”
“I'm so sorry, Mother.”
No matter how much he asked for forgiveness, his mother's mood was not relieved.
Mother rose from her seat and forcibly pulled him from the dining table.
You don't deserve to eat.”
His mother strode down the hall, grabbing Fabian by the back of his neck.
Fabian almost fell over several times because it was too fast for a seven-year-old child to catch up to his mother's strides.
But she didn't slow down and soon, shut Fabian inside a closet.
After the door slammed shut, complete darkness pervaded the tiny space and surrounded him.
Fabian, who had already been trapped several times, was startled into a panic and realized he was being punished again.
“Mother, I'm sorry! I won't do it again!”
“Be quiet and reflect on your mistake until I'll let you out.”
Young Fabian welled his eyes with tears but forced it back.
He shouldn't cry to prevent Mother from getting angry any further.
On the other side of the door, the mother wasn't looking at her lovely son.
She was looking at someone else through Fabian's eyes.
“How can you resemble your father so much? It's disgusting just looking at you.”
She would pace back and forth, muttering these lines as always.
She was merely talking to herself, but the volume was never low.
Fabian could hear it and took a moment to breathe in his mother's harsh words.
Again, Mother thinks he's disgusting.
That harsh word struck a painful chord in his heart.
The eyes of Fabian, who held back his crying, filled again with tears and he cried silently.
Every time his father came back, the family wouldn't become peaceful.
Fabian hated the moment when his father and mother ran into each other.
“You call yourself a Duchess, but why aren't you behaving as one?! You're already taking care of internal affairs, yet you want to interfere with mine?”
“How can I not care if I don't know who you're meeting up with?!”
His parents' quarrels would echo through the walls and never goes away.
Every time he hears something snapping, Fabian flinched.
Nanny would wrap Fabian's ears by then.
“Don't listen, little man.
Go to sleep.”
The parents who always fought whenever they're behind closed doors were seemingly a perfect couple in the eyes of the public.
His mother dressed her hair beautifully prior to being disheveled, and his father would act as a loving husband extravagantly embracing his wife.
Fabian hated their duplicity.
They looked normal on the outside but their insides were festering.
Even until the end, they attended a gathering of other aristocrats and showed off their affection before his mother committed suicide that night.
* * *
As an adult, Fabian sometimes thought of his parents.
Those two were not meant to be.
That's why they hated each other and quickly engaged in conflicts.
He would rather not get married to avoid experiencing something akin to that.
So Fabian tried to endure the demands of this person in front of him who wouldn't leave him alone.
Baron Stuart, one of the duchy's advisors, was the most persistent tormentor to Fabian.
“You're already 24.
Others are already old enough to get married.
Your Grace should go out and make a successor!”
Do I look like a breeding horse to you?”
That's how he shut the baron's mouth from then on, but Fabian himself knew that he could not break the long-standing legacy of House Harrison.
“Do as you please.
If it isn't an obligation, then I wouldn't even give it a single thought.”
In the end, he handed over the authority to his trusted advisors to take care of finding his marriage partner.
But deep inside, it bothered him.
Fabian didn't want to wear a mask just to please others.
He wished he could be with someone who's on the same wavelength as him.
One day, one of his advisors' words moved him.
“I heard there's a unique fountain in the Marquisate of Nelson.
If you go there, you'll see the face of your fated partner.”
The advisor dismissed it as a joke, but Fabian didn't.
He became intrigued.
'Let's visit the Marquisate.
It wouldn't be a bad idea to find out my fated partner there and then propose to the esteemed lady.'
That's how the Duke's secret visit to the Marquisate began.
There, Fabian was able to meet two noble daughters.
Fabian's particular concern was not the bright and cheerful Count's daughter but the calm and graceful Marquis's daughter.
However, she was a bit odd sometimes.
She's quite mature for an 18-year-old young lady and was somewhat detached as if she was listening during a conversation but her mind was elsewhere.
Oddly enough, she mostly remained calm, but her words occasionally made the atmosphere between the three of them strange.
The two were too different to be close friends.
“Logan, why don't we go see the fountain of magic together? I want to go there and see.”
It was an invitation from the Count's daughter who wouldn't give up persuading him.
On the other hand, Fabian could keenly sense the Marquis's daughter persistently staring at him as if she also awaited his reply.
However, she only anticipated that he would refuse because sometimes she dissuaded the other one from going.
But Fabian had no intention of refusing.
'I traveled a long way just to get here, how can I give up and not see it?'
The closer to the magic fountain he got, the more Fabian's heart pulsated.
Will a person be able to identify one's fate? Somehow embarrassed, he purposely took a spot far away from the two young ladies.
And with Fabian's trembling heart, he carefully showed his face to the fountain.
But all he could see was his face.
This wasn't what he wanted to see.
Was it all a lie? He was about to withdraw in disappointment until…
The water rippled away his appearance on the surface.
The Fountain of Magic slowly created an image of a woman's face.
“I can't believe this…”
It was not long before the image became crystal clear.
Fabian, who identified the woman's face, froze unknowingly.
He already knew the woman reflected on this fountain.
Sienna Nelson, the woman who's been with him all day.
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