2 Dahlia

"Milady! Where have you run off to again? The Count has been looking for you!" the maid anxiously said to the lady who is atop her horse.

"I didn't go far. You know I follow the trails right? I just got immersed in riding Hue. I forgot to check the time." the lady reasoned out with an apologetic smile.

Seeing it was almost sunset, the household grew anxious about the lady's safety. Especially now that there a lot of men that stalk her.

The lady thought that they were overreacting. She knew how to protect herself and she was following the trail anyway. She didn't wander off far.

The maid carefully help her get down the big stallion. As she removed her cap, her strawberry blonde hair cascaded and flowed to her back until her waist.

She gently combed it and looked at the maid, waiting for the towel to be given to her. When she glanced at the maid, she couldn't help but chuckle.

Her mouth was agape and she looked at her like an awestruck puppy.

"What's with the stare Nana! I didn't seem to grow another head, did I?"

The maid blushed. It was embarrassing since she was caught staring at her lady. She still could not help herself wonder how her Lady grew beautiful each passing day.

She cleared her throat and handed the towel to her lady. It was supposed to be her job to wipe her sweat however the lady thought it was bothersome since she could do it herself.

After resting for a while, the two went back to the mansion.

Dahlia immediately went inside her room to take a bath. She was very exhausted since she went horseriding the whole day.

It was her favorite hobby since there aren't a lot of things that entertain her.

Dahlia wasn't the sociable type. All her life she was confined in the mansion and rarely went outside. It wasn't because she hated people, it was because she hated the nobles that would only look at her with lust.

She was aware that she was beautiful but she wasn't proud of it. She hated the idea of people being superficial. For her, there are a lot of things than what meets the eye.

That's why when she attends balls or parties she only sticks close to her father. She didn't want to mingle with young girls her age that only care about their looks and marrying rich men.

And she hated men. Of course. They never gave her a favorable impression. Each time she encountered men, it was as if they would pounce on her. It was disgusting.

The only man that she admired was her father who dearly loved her.

She stared at her reflection in the mirror while combing her long wavy hair. She could see gray eyes staring back at her. It had a silvery shine to it. Making it seem like stars that twinkle.

Her plump lips that have a red tinge. And when she moves her mouth one can see her deep dimples that add more charm.

She had a narrow nose and her features were very soft. Paired with her milky white complexion which gave an ethereal feeling.

She didn't look like her age. She looked like she was two years older. That's why many mistake her to be at least at the age for marriage.

She furrowed her defined brows. Everytime she hears the word 'Marriage' she always wanted to barf.

She didn't like the idea of marrying someone to obtain status. For her, living life to the fullest is what one should do,regardless of gender.

She always wanted to be a Knight. She wanted to weild a sword and fight. It was her dream. But being a woman was an obstacle. Being beautiful, was a curse.

People always had expectations of you. Like spreading your darn legs just to satisfy a man. Having children and creating an heir for these wretched men was only women's purpose in society.

Attending tea parties and balls to show off. It all seemed —'Tch'.

She clicked her tongue and readied herself to go down and have dinner. Her dear father was at his study waiting for her. The maid said that he had something he wanted to discuss with her.

After finishing her dinner she went to her father's study. When she opened the door she her father seating on his chair deep in thought.

"Father. " she approached him with a hug.

"Dahlia." her father hugged her back.

She sat oppite her father. She noticed that something was bothering him.

"What's the matter Father? You look troubled." She asked worriedly.

Her father looked at her with trembling eyes. He held her hand.

"Listen Dahlia. I—No. I just don't want you to get hurt. If there was another option, I would've...."

Tears started to form in his eyes.

"What's wrong Father? Are you alright?"

"The King will come after us. He will destroy everything. He will kill everyone. He might kill you. I can't. I can't lose you." he said frustrated.

"What? I don't understand Father. Please explain to me everything."

The Count explained everything to his daughter including his meeting with the Duke Arsheid.

"I'll marry him." she said with determination.

"You don't know what you're saying Dahlia. You are not even of age yet. Maybe there's another way. Maybe, we can—"

"No Father.. I don't think there is any other way. Don't worry about me. As long as you are safe and our household will remain. I'll marry the Duke."

Her father immediately embraced her as if he was holding onto her with his life.

"I'm sorry Dahlia. I promised your mother that I'll protect you. I'm such a failure as a father."

"That's not true. You are the best father one could ever have. You never forced me into anything and you always gave me what I wanted. That's far from being a failure."

She also began to tear up. Her father was her weakness. Ever since her mother died, her father doted on her so much.

He gave her anything she wished for and was always supportive in what she does. If she were to find a man to love she wanted that man to be like her father.

"I'm sorry Dahlia. I'm very sorry." he kept on murmuring.

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