Moments later, Aria felt someones presence behind her.
And as she turned her head, she squinted into the light rays, shielding her eyes against the bright sun – trying to discern the figure that stood underneath the intense blaze.
He was a boy with blonde hair.
“Ive heard a lot about you.
I guess this is our first encounter.”
Most of the Valentines wives had no second children.
They usually died of illness even if they had only given birth to one child.
However, since the current grand duke did not have a concubine or an illegitimate son, there was only one possibility left.
‘He is the Grand Duke of Valentines relative and was probably adopted because he was a genius…
Aria stared at Vincent.
Recognizing the meaning of her gaze, the blonde boy smiled and introduced himself.
“His Grace has acknowledged my ability, thus he decided to adopt me.
I am, of course, eternally grateful to him.”
The genius of the century, but he was jinxed with ill luck.
He was a symbol of the reversal of life, adopted by a person with the highest authority, one that even the emperor would not dare to look down upon.
But in the end, he was completely expelled from the estate before the great massacre.
“The grand duke raised a poor orphan who had lost his parents, and, well, it didnt turn out pleasant.
The kid turned out to be a spy from the gutter!”
The aristocrats who liked to talk about others often chewed on rumors about Vincent at social gatherings.
The Valentines were the center of all gossip.
Everyone swore and cursed at them, calling them pure evil, but ironically, they still wanted to know more.
About their secrets, their wealth, how they were unable to find the grand duchy…
In fact, they tend to fantasize about them as if they were charmed by their mysteriousness.
‘Vincents story must have spurred their engrossment.
Aria had listened to it so many times that shed even ended up memorizing it.
‘I heard that he ended up relying on liquor and drugs, and ended his life miserably after wandering around the gutter.
A spy… Was it true Aria had doubts.
‘If one were able to spy on the Valentines, then theyll have to be exceptionally influential in the gutter and have rats to cover for them.
Aria looked into Vincents clear blue eyes.
His eyes were almost translucent, glossy, like the palest blue glass.
Yet, at the same time it caught the beauty of a perfect summer lake, shining underneath the gentle sun.
Indeed, they were the eyes of a scholar seeking the truth.
“It seems that sister-in-law is very interested in epistemology,” Vincent said, pointing to Arias book.
Only then did she examine the title of the book she was holding.
「The Theory of Knowledge」
‘…a philosophy book
Her knowledge was actually quite limited.
She didnt know anything unless it was related to music or art.
‘Because I was trapped all my life and had never had the chance to learn.
Of course, it wasnt that she had no intention of learning.
She wanted to learn if she could.
But philosophy was a huge no-no.
She wasnt interested in it at all.
“It is said that humans can only make assumptions about the form and nature of things that exist in the social world.
It is concerned with whether or not social reality exists independently from human understanding and interpretation.
In that sense, ontology and epistemology are like two sides of a coin.”
“Are you interested in phenomenology Simply put, phenomenology as a discipline is distinct from but related to other key disciplines in philosophy, such as ontology, epistemology, and others.
It is the study of phenomena: appearances of things, or things as they appear in our experience from the subjective or first person point of view.”
‘What was that, an alien language
“To think that my sister-in-law is a person with such interest in knowledge! Im truly glad.”
“Shall I tell you more about the book that youre reading”
Aria looked up at the boy and gave him her best smile as if she was really eager to learn more about philosophy.
How his eyes shined, those blue hues like the envy of any summer sky, it did not resemble the grand duke at all.
Rather, his orbs were bright and warm.
At that time, Vincent caught her staring at his eyes.
He looked slightly disappointed and it made Aria feel uncomfortable somehow.
“Haha, youre probably wondering why my eyes look so different from the grand duke.
Ive been able to survive here because Im considered a genius… ” He said, smiling brightly with an innocent look on his face.
“I cant handle being uneducated.
The only thing Im good at is being smart…”
“If Im ignorant, then whats the use of living Ill just become a waste of oxygen.”
Vincent continued, “I would rather die than to live my life as a failure.”
Aria watched the boy, who was still smiling.
As she kept observing him, she finally figured it out.
‘Ah, so he was banned because he was unlucky.
* * *
“See you again, sister-in-law.”
Aria ran into Vincent at the library every day after that encounter.
She had to practice singing inside the library, so she had to be extra careful.
‘It was nice and quiet until he came.
This place was built solely for those who had the blood of Valentine.
Usually, nobody would come here except for the librarian who kept going back and forth to organize the books.
However, Vincent would be inside the library before Aria could arrive, and he would leave later than her.
‘At least I know that he isnt intentionally chasing after me…
He was a scholar from an academic institute who loved learning more than anyone else, so it made sense as to why he kept staying in the library.
‘The soundproofing is perfect, but my singing might leak out by accident.
The possibility was tiny but it could not be completely ruled out.
Aria peeped at Vincent, nervously hiding behind the edge of a bookshelf.
He was reading a book on a sofa.
“You wont choose a book”
Aria stared at Vincent with a sullen look.
He often argued with her over the simplest, most unnecessary things.
He would belittle her if she chose a useless book, and he would give his own opinion about each book he recited afterwards.
“You dont know this either”
“Come on, theres no way that you dont know what this is!”
“What You have no idea about this”
“I dont know how youve survived when youre this dumb…”
Her conversations with Vincent had always been like this.
‘Even if I ignore him, hell continue to blabber about his so-called area of expertise.
She didnt know why he was so interested in her.
Aria, who used to be sensitive to insults and provocations, couldnt even care less anymore.
She didnt know how proud she would feel if she was also a genius, but she knew that if she did the same things as him, she would have made tons of enemies.
[Then recommend a book to me.]
She decided to respond in a dry manner.
He was so annoying.
Then, after pondering for a while, Vincent handed her a book.
「Basic Arithmetic That Even Monkeys Can Do!」
Aria glared at Vincent while looking at the contents of the book that read1 1=2.
His eyes were a perfect spring sky, his mind was filled with curiosity, and his blond hair and gentle smile brought more golden sunshine into the world.
‘Golden sunshine my ass!
He might look like an angel.
But he certainly had the ability to make Aria want to spit on his smiling face.
* * *
“… Milady, did you have a bad day” Diana couldnt help but ask.
Aria seemed to be in a bad mood these past few days.
Diana was scared because she looked like a volcano that could erupt at any moment now.
And as Diana had guessed, Aria was on the verge of explosion.
It didnt matter if he insulted her openly for being ignorant.
But at the same time, it couldnt be helped as she had never been properly educated!
‘Thats right, Im stupid! So what
She finally admitted.
However, the library was the only place where she could practice singing without other peoples knowledge.
‘I cant stand him! He keeps disturbing my singing practice!
She needed to learn the song of healing as soon as possible to treat the grand duchess.
If Vincent interfered with her and she missed the time of the grand duchess treatment…
‘Didnt the ancestors say that if I can endure him three times, I should save him from the massacre
But what would happen if he crossed her more than three times
‘Will it be okay for me to kill him
She had been patient because he was Lloyds younger brother.
There was a limit to her patience, and the little patience she had was waning fast.
But in the end, things happened.
One day, Vincent was waiting for Aria in the library.
“Youre a little late today.”
Aria naturally turned her back and reopened the door to visit another library.
This library, which Vincent spent his time on, used to be her go-to-place.
It was the largest library in the entire palace, and she used it because it was perfect for sound insulation.
But still, it didnt mean that the other libraries werent soundproof.
‘I guess hell be planning to read books here from now on.
Aria tried to pass it that way.
Suddenly, Vincent shut the library door shut.
The boy leaned obliquely by the door with his arms crossed and looked down at Aria.
He struck her cold gaze with an innocent smile.
“Since youre from the House of Cortez, you should know a lot about music.”
“My sister-in-laws grandfather, Maestro Cortez, was a genius musician and mathematician who will never be born again.
He was the one who invented the 24th note in music.”
“No way!” He covered his mouth, mocking her, “You do know the history of your own family, right”
“Really You dont know this either” Vincent muttered as if he was openly disappointed.
Arias patience wore thin.
“Oh, excuse me.
Ive been talking about things that only I know,” he chuckled.
She couldnt take it anymore!
Aria pushed the book that she was holding into Vincents arms in the harshest way possible.
“Argh!” The boy groaned.
Aria walked straight to the piano on one side of the library.
Then, she sat down and ran her fingers along the pure white keys of the piano.