< — Epilogue– > (4)
Inside a carriage traveling through the complex streets of the capital, sat a young dark-haired boy by the window, staring at the passing scenery. On the boy’s lap, was a fox with bright yellow fur, enjoying his master’s fingers gently combing through its back fur.
Although it was his first time seeing it, the extravagant view of the capital flashed by Damian’s eyes, meaninglessly. The boy wasn’t captivated or interested in his first visit to the capital. But the fact that he would be seeing his mother again, made it special. And today would also be his first time meeting his sibling.
He kept repeating the name of his sister whom his mother had written to him about.
‘What if she doesn’t like me?’
Damian had never seen a baby before, so he could not guess how a baby of just a few months old would look. He was imagining a little girl that looked just like his mother.
When he first got the letter telling him that his mother was with a child, Damian thought that it was only expected but he was a little stunned.
His mother said in the letter that the baby was going to be his younger sister, but Damian was at least, aware of the fact that one couldn’t know such a thing in advance. He guessed that his mother probably told him that on purpose in order to allay his fears or anxiety.
Damian didn’t care whether his new sibling was a boy or a girl. He intended to cherish them and treat them preciously either ways.
However, there was still a slight anxiety in the corner of his heart. He was afraid that his mother might say she didn’t need him anymore because she now had her own real child. Even if his mother loved his sibling more, he was fine with that. It was fine as long as she didn’t hate him.
The carriage arrived at the Ducal residence. Jerome welcomed Damian as Damian stepped down from the carriage.
“It has been a long time, young master.”
“It has, indeed.”
Despite having been trained to conceal their feelings, the servants standing around were unable to hide their astonishment. It was obvious to anyone that the boy who just appeared was the living likeness of the Duke of Taran.
It had been over 3 years since they had been married, and the Duchess who just had a child was no longer childless. A storm was bound to rage in the quiet ducal household. The servants were all thinking the same thing; they had to find a shade to avoid the incoming storm.
Lucia was coming down from the second floor after hearing that Damian had come back. Seeing Damian bowing his head towards her, Lucia quickly approached him and pulled him into a tight hug.
“My gosh, Damian! You’ve really grown a lot.”
It had been three years. The eight year old Damian had become eleven years old. However, he appeared around 3 to 4 years older than that. He was now taller than Lucia, so she had to look up a little. Although he still looked like a child, within a year or two, he would be taken for a youth.
His mother’s gentle embrace made Damian feel warm inside and his heart felt like it was filled with happiness. The way his mother looked at him had not changed. He felt relieved and he was thankful.
“How do you look so much like your father? You keep growing more and more alike.”
“Have you been well, Mother?”
“Of course. What about you? How are you? Was the journey here difficult? Where’s Asha?” 
“I handed her to the butler before I came in.”
“Have you eaten? You must have missed lunch.”
“I’m not feeling up to it. I’ll eat in the evening.”
Lucia asked the maid to prepare a quick snack and bring it to the second floor.
“Come. Let’s say hi to Eve.”
After Lucia went up to the second floor with Damian, the servants looked at each other, their faces filled with questions. They didn’t know who the young master that suddenly appeared was. It didn’t seem like he was the Duke of Taran’s son alone because the Duchess’ attitude was way too familiar and friendly.
However, even though the servants could whisper amongst themselves when they were alone, they couldn’t gossip or repeat it outside. Once the butler came inside, the servants quickly scattered in search of things to do.
Lucia entered the nursery and sent out all the servants inside. She headed straight for the baby’s bed, holding Damian’s hand in her own.
Evangeline was having fun babbling to herself when she sensed someone approaching and turned to look. She giggled at the familiar sight of Lucia’s face and clapped her dainty little hands. Lucia smiled and caressed the baby’s forehead.
Mesmerized, Damian looked at the bumbling baby with wide eyes. A doll was alive and moving. For the first time ever, he realized that a human being could be so small. If she was a little smaller, he might have taken her for a fairy.
Her fluffy honey-colored hair looked soft even without touching it, and her limpid eyes that were just like her mother’s, twinkled with refreshed energy. The baby’s fair, immaculate, plump cheeks moved every time her lips moved.
“Eve, say hi to your older brother.”
“Damian. Eve says she’s happy to meet you.”
Damian broke out in cold sweat. How were those words even interpreted that way? Damian was bewildered by the emergence of a new language he hadn’t known about. He wanted to ask what country it was from.
“Damian, can you look after Eve for a bit? Say hi, get to know each other. I’ll step aside for a bit. If Eve cries, you can just call the maid outside the room.”
“What? Mom, that’s…”
He wanted to say that there was no need for that, but Lucia had already left the room. Damian stood idly beside the bed, unable to do anything. He cautiously shifted his gaze and looked into the bed that held the baby.
Damian met eyes with Evangeline, who was zealously moving her limbs; who knew what she was so urgent about. She stared fixedly at Damian as if she was looking for something. Then her huge, round eyes curved into a crescent and she cackled with laughter.
He didn’t know what he was supposed to do so he gave a clumsy greeting. Then the baby began to babble as if she was answering him. The sounds she was making were unintelligible, but Damian understood that the baby was trying to respond.
He hesitated a few times before stretching out his hand. Then he poked her bulging cheeks.
Suddenly, Evangeline grabbed Damian’s finger. Damian was at a loss for what to do, seeing his finger caught in Evangeline’s small hands. He tried removing his finger carefully, but the baby’s grip was quite strong. When he tried taking it out with more force, Evangeline made a loud noise.
Damian was startled and stood there, the thought of removing his finger gone from his mind. The feeling of his finger taken prisoner in a soft, warm grip was strange. For no special reason, a smile floated onto his face.
“It’s nice to meet you, Eve.”
[I feel…weird. My chest feels a little tingly…]
[Damian, that feeling means you think something is loveable.]
His chest felt much more tingly than the day when he held Asha for the first time. The baby was loveable. Damian felt like he could now fully understand the meaning of what his mother had said a long time ago.
[END OF BOOK 7]
 Asha is the fox Lucia gave Damian.
 I think Asha is female? I can’t quite remember but when I looked at older chapters, I used female adjectives, so I’ll stick with that.
 Chapter 40 [part 1]
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