Chapter Three: A Mere Fool

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The little boy in front of me was no doubt going to grow up into a ruthless man and assume the position of the Duke of house Valerio in the near future. My whole body trembled at the sight of him. Terrifying memories of the future flooded my mind. As I stared into his jade coloured eyes I remembered the occasional glares he gave me, looking down at me as if I were some disgusting creature. He was not as awful as Raelia but that does not mean he treated me as a human being. I was thrown into the dungeon for days under his orders. Apparently I had hit Raelia in a fit of rage and I don't know how she faked the injury however that foolish man, like always, believed her words. Well, I did too once. Even breathing the same air as him was sickening. I wanted to leave. No. I needed to leave before I threw up all over the lavish carpet my father had acquired recently after many troubles. Before I knew it I was running, out of the study, through the corridors, ignoring my father's distressed shouts and into my washroom.

I turned on the faucet and washed my face with slightly cool water which helped me calm down. I looked to the mirror and gazed into my amber eyes.

Eliza, you can't back down. You have not returned to the past to let the future events play out as they have. You need to stay strong to take down Uken but more than that to have your revenge on Raelia. Now lets walk out confidently with your head held up high and show them who is the one in control here.

I slowly walked into father's study where the atmosphere was strange. Both Duke Orion and my father were still in shock because of my unpredictable actions.

I approached Duke Orion, bowed and said in a pleasant voice with an aura of elegance, "I am Eliza Arielle Rosario. It is a pleasure to be acquainted with you, Duke Orion. How do you do?" and then added, "I apologise. You had to see such an unsightly behaviour. I am not in the best health. I hope you understand."

"Of course, my dear. You don't need to address me with such formality. Just call me uncle. I always wanted a sweet daughter like you. Brandon sure is a lucky man!" said Duke Orion with a huge grin across his face.

My father wrapped his hand around my shoulders, as if protecting me, and said, "She is my daughter, you better not get close to her Orion," then he shifted his eyes to me and said, "Eli, how about you and Uken spend some time together while Duke Orion and I have a talk?"

"Haha as overprotective as always about your daughter, Brandon. Well, it's true the kids will get bored listening to adult talk. I hope it wouldn't be too much trouble to ask you to accompany my son for a while, Eliza?" the duke asked laughing.

I bowed down and replied, "It is my absolute pleasure."

My father called for Aaron and at his arrival, Uken and I both exited the study.

I faced Aaron and ordered, "Ask the servants to prepare tea and cookies in the Rosen Garden."

"As you wish, Miss," Aaron replied.

When we reached the Rosen Garden, there was already a table set with an assortment of various kinds of cakes and cookies.

Ahh...I want to eat the cakes but right now I am supposedly not "in the best health"...

Sir Aaron maintained a proper distance from the table to not eavesdrop on our conversation as we settled on the chairs around the table. As seconds turned into minutes, neither of us two talked. I stared down at my tea, which had grown cold.

Suddenly Uken cleared his throat and asked hesitantly, "Your tea is growing cold, won't you drink it?"

Its none of your business you arse , is what I wanted to say to his face but I had to act like a refined lady. I can't lose my cool.

I looked up to him and replied with a gentle smile, "Oh yes. I apologise, I haven't been feeling well as you must have seen from the past events. I hope you understand if I cannot be a good hostess today."

"Ah no. It is also our fault. You weren't expecting a guest today I am sure. My father always visits out of the blue. I apologise for that," he said, flustered.

"Duke Orion is always welcome at our estate. He is like family so apologies aren't necessary," I said maintaining the same fake smile across my face.

Another heavy silence fell over the table. We both didn't know how to make conversation and frankly I wasn't even interested in talking to him, making the situation all the more better for me.

As I was starting to enjoy the silence, Uken broke it, "Your hair..."

I stared at him, waiting for him to continue and he did, "Your crimson hair, it reminds me of the majestic red dragon from the legends and your shimmering amber coloured eyes resemble the sun. They both are quite bewitching."

Normally, any girl would be on cloud nine if they were to receive such high praise from the heir to the Valerio Dukedom however that wasn't the case for me because it brought back some painful memories.

What disgusting hair. This strange red colour gives me the chills. And how dare you look at me with those revolting eyes? Where do you get this confidence from? Be grateful Raelia allowed you to stay in the estate. She is kind and has patience with you but I am not the same. You should mind your actions from now on.

Raelia had only let me stay to torture me bit by bit everyday. See me suffer and cry in misery. Everyone was fooled by Raelia including this little boy, innocently sitting in front of me, who was the bearer of these cruel words.  And to think I loved this man once without knowing his true personality and intentions. What a fool I was!

I stood up from my chair in a fit of rage, startling both Uken and Aaron and was moments away from slapping him when I heard a servant's voice calling out from the distance, "Duke Orion has called for young master Uken."

I looked at the still startled Uken and with a courtesy bow, said, "I apologise, it seems like I cannot escort you back to the study. I am feeling rather under the weather. I hope you forgive me for my negligence."

"It's fine. Please rest and I pray for your good health. I hope to see you again soon Lady Eliza," he replied.

Good health my foot. You were one of the reasons I fell into depression and starved myself, falling sick as a result.

Although I had much to say, I responded with a simple thank you and made Sir Aaron escort him back while I returned to my room with Mariah.

I have a tiring day ahead of me tomorrow as I am going to the town. Even with all the bad events of today, I am looking forward to tomorrow and my visit to the town after such a long time.

Exhausted, as soon as I hit the bed I entered the world of dreams.

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