< — Damian — > (5)
TN: So I’m sensing a bit of confusion but Lucia and Hugo have reconciled in 29[part 2].
It was only for an instant but Kate witnessed the distorted expression of the Young Lord of Taran.
The boy did not seem like an eight-year-old with his sturdy, huge build but when he heard those straightforward words, he suddenly seemed his age.
Kate turned her head away slightly and let out a small laugh. She felt a bit sorry for the boy’s broken pride.
When they got to the riding field, the noblewomen came up to greet Lucia and she had them greet Damian.
The noblewomen looked as if they had bitten an unripe fruit. Their expressions were sour as they begrudgingly gave their greetings. Some looked at Lucia, unable to understand her actions, some looked at her with gazes that said she was too young to know about the world, while some looked at her with worried gazes.
Lucia was indifferent and acted as if she didn’t notice how they were looking at her. From time to time, Damian gave Lucia a peculiar gaze.
“This child here is Emily.”
Lucia introduced her favorite horse to Damian. Damian took in its entire appearance. In order not to surprise it, he slowly walked towards it then he began to stroke its back.
“It is a good horse.” (Damian)
“You know how to discern horses?” (Lucia)
“I only know how to tell if it’s a good horse or not. I’m not an expert.”
“But I don’t even know how to do that. To me, because Emily is my horse, she’s the prettiest but all horses look the same to me. Kate, isn’t this great? Damian is very young but he knows a lot.”
Looking at Duchess’ face that was filled with joy and pride, Kate simply chimed in with a little smile. She sneaked a glance at the Young Lord who got embarrassed by Lucia’s words and turned away, seemingly occupied with something else. At first, Kate couldn’t understand why Lucia was being like this but eventually, she decided to just accept it since it wasn’t a bad thing for their mother-son relationship to get better.
After a few rounds of circling around the riding field, they ended their light session of horse riding and the two women went into the lounge (break room). Because Damian opted to keep riding, he was still outside on the field.
Every table in the lounge was filled with women, seated in groups of twos and threes. Unlike what it was originally built for, the lounge of the horse-riding field had become an increasingly active social spot for women.
“The way they looked at Damian were much colder than I expected.” (Lucia)
Kate was not sure what to say so she just listened quietly.
“Even though he is the successor that His Grace the Duke personally chose, why are they like that?” (Lucia)
“That is… probably because of the unwritten rules. Although the law states that a son will be recognized as a qualifier once they enter the family register, in reality, there are next to no cases where a son that enters the registry like that inherits the title. The ones that become Counts are barely a handful and there has been no precedence in which they’re titled higher than Marquis.” (Kate)
“I see. I did not know that.”
In the dream, Lucia didn’t have any children so, when she lived as Countess, she didn’t pay any attention to matters concerning succession.
“Then, what happens if an official has no children apart from the one that was entered into the register?”
“Most people adopt a son from their relatives.”
It was the so-called noble pride. It was said that an illegitimate child should be extremely grateful to even be recognized as a qualifier. Although Lucia was from the royal family, looking closer, she was also an illegitimate child so it left a bad taste in Kate’s mouth.
An noblewoman well advanced in age walked up to Lucia and Kate’s table. She was Countess Philia, a woman extremely healthy for her age and she did not lose to anyone in her enjoyment of horse riding. Lucia remembered hearing that when the women-only horse-riding field was created, the Countess had praised the Duke of Taran till her mouth went dry.
They went through the usual courteous motions of greeting each other and sending their best regards then the Countess placed two flower baskets on the table.
“I just got a granddaughter recently. It is a northern tradition to gift yellow flowers as you wish for your grandchildren to grow up lovely and in health.”
“Oh my. Congratulations. I’m sure your granddaughter will grow up beautiful and healthy, just like you, Countess.”
When the Countess left to give flower baskets to other people, Kate spoke up.
“It is a northern tradition, but these days there aren’t many people that do it. Countess Philia seems quite believing of this tradition. The tradition does say to give out yellow flowers but…it is not common to give out this particular flower…the cost of these ones are massive. Countess Philia looks very happy, she must have spent a fortune.”
Lucia glanced at the flower basket and smiled ambiguously. The beautiful yellow roses seemed as if they were flaunting their elegance.
* * *
The servants lined up as usual to welcome the Lady of the House on her return from her outing to the horse-riding field.
The door of the carriage opened and Lucia stepped down from the carriage. When Jerome discovered the basket of yellow roses in her hands, he was frightened.
Jerome let out a strange sound in spite of himself but was quick to cover it up by dryly clearing his throat. The servants that noticed acted like they didn’t hear anything.
Lucia gave him an odd look then she held out her basket of flowers.
“Countess Philia said she welcomed a new granddaughter and gave me this as a present.”
After accepting the basket of flowers, Jerome heaved a long sigh. He didn’t want to see yellow roses anymore.
Lucia and Damian sat opposite each other in the receiving room, drinking tea while Jerome stood at the side waiting on them with more tea.
“Now that I think about it, there are no roses in the garden. I’m thinking of making a rose garden next spring, what are your thoughts, Jerome?”
Jerome’s expression froze.
“For roses…can you reconsider…?” (Jerome)
“Master doesn’t… particularly like them.”
Lucia’s eyes grew round as she looked at Jerome then she spoke to Damian.
“Damian, tell me honestly. Did you know that there were no roses in the garden?” (Lucia)
“I did not.” (Damian)
“See? Jerome, unless a man is particularly interested in flowers, he won’t really know. I doubt my husband is able to differentiate between varieties of flowers. Although, I’m quite sure there is one flower he can distinguish. Yellow…”
Jerome over-dramatically cleared his throat causing a small laugh to escape from Lucia’s lips.
“Don’t worry, even if I plant roses, I’ll exclude that color.”
The color wasn’t the problem. The Duke had ordered that he didn’t want to see any roses. This was serious. Jerome broke out in cold sweat.
When Damian returned to his room, Jerome finally said what he’d been hesitating about.
“Milady, about the yellow rose from the other day. You asked who the last recipient was, right?”
“Yes, I did. I remember that.”
“Under Master’s orders, I sent a yellow rose to the Countess of Falcon.”
Jerome became nervous when the Madam didn’t say anything in response.
‘This useless mouth of mine! Did I offend her?’
“Why so suddenly? Did they meet?” (Lucia)
“No!! Absolutely not. I informed His Grace that Milady was curious about it and… he asked me to send the rose.” (Jerome)
Lucia’s expression was indifferent and she replied as though it was a trivial matter. Jerome grew restless as he tried to comprehend his Mistress’s feelings, even if it was a little bit.
Lucia really did think it was a trivial matter. Was her husband taking care of an old lover so great that she had to jump in joy? However, she did feel as though something had been lifted off her chest and her heart grew softer.
The longing that had been satisfied in the meantime thanks to Damian rose again in her heart.
‘When are you coming back? I want to see you…’
A month after leaving to subjugate barbarians, the Lord of Roam who had been away from his position, returned.
(1) Just in case, a receiving room is a living room. Pretty much, the place you receive guests hence receiving room.
I looked into the meaning of a yellow rose and initially found that yellow flowers in general are supposed to evoke joy, friendship, success, all that good stuff.
But, yellow roses specifically signal farewell, jealousy, infidelity or a finishing love. I also read that more recently (most likely for marketing) yellow roses have been paraded to mean friendship, joy and wt not.
TL;DR: I guess you could say yellow roses have two different meanings.