Natashi’s pupils suddenly contracted, her hand clutching the hem of her skirt, trembling violently.
She instinctively looked left and right:
But she didn’t see Louis, who had always been by her side.
Even she herself didn’t understand why, at that moment, she felt more fear than joy.
Chapter Ten: Oath
Ten days had passed since the examination for the Seekers of the Soren Academy.
During these ten days, the declining Fergus family seemed to have regained vitality.
Lady Fergus, once a peripheral figure at social gatherings, had become the darling of society, entering and leaving every day in her old carriage adorned with golden iris motifs, becoming the guest of honor among other noblewomen.
However, on the day of departure for the Luminous Academy, she unusually stayed indoors, shaking her feather fan vigorously with her sharp voice and absolute authority, turning the entire Fergus household upside down.
“Maggie! Be careful! This is Bellia’s favorite cup. If you break it, you can’t afford to compensate!”
“Is everything packed? I heard there’s a large lake in the academy, filled with water grass. Don’t forget to bring the ‘insect repellent powder’…”
“…Oh, and velvet pillows, blankets, aroma lamps… Bellia is not accustomed to things outside…”
The servants were kept busy by her commands.
By the time the three large wicker chests belonging solely to Miss Bellia were packed and loaded onto the carriage, it was almost noon.
At this moment, the arrogant Miss Bellia arrived leisurely, carrying a birdcage down the stairs, wearing a striking red puffball dress, her skin as white as snow.
The servants stood respectfully aside; they knew that Miss Bellia was no longer the same.
She was no longer the fallen noble miss but the noble Seeker, about to enter the Luminous Academy to study divine arts, and perhaps, in the near future, enter the temple to become a noble Light Acolyte—
No, perhaps even more than that.
The servants still remembered the grand occasion at the Soren Academy ten days ago—
The name “Bellia Fergus” resounded throughout the city-state, and they all said she was the “Chosen One,” born under the favor of the gods.
She was destined to become a saint, journeying to the holy land of the Luminous Temple, as a saint, far more noble than a divine messenger:
If luck favored her, perhaps she would even become a saintess, called into the divine palace to serve by the side of the gods.
The servants no longer dared to gossip behind her back about the Fergus family’s downfall; they looked at Miss Bellia passing by with reverent eyes, bowing their heads meekly, convinced of her innate nobility. Her golden hair and azure eyes were symbols of divine favor.
Lady Fergus cried as she accompanied her daughter to the door.
“My dear Bellia, the thought of not seeing you until a month later is breaking my heart…”
The Luminous Academy had strict rules for accommodation and meals; no visits were allowed, only one monthly family visitation—
The founder of the academy believed that those who studied divine arts should not be too entangled by worldly matters.
Wiping her sleeve dampened by tears, Lady Fergus said, “Mother, I must go.”
“Oh, Bellia, my poor child…” Lady Fergus gathered her daughter’s scattered golden locks, gave her a big hug with tearful eyes, “I will always love you.”
“Remember to write.”
“If there’s not enough money, send a message through someone, I’ll have Maggie deliver it…”
“Mother, I’m leaving.”
Natashi interrupted the impending round of conversation, lifted her skirt in a curtsey, a gesture respectful enough yet with an underlying aloofness, conforming to all the arrogant and reserved standards of nobility.
After speaking, she boarded the carriage with the assistance of the servants.
As the red skirt disappeared behind the carriage door, Lady Fergus, holding the handle of her black feather fan, walked back. Passing by Natashi, she didn’t even glance at her.
Natashi still bowed respectfully to her, then got on the carriage with both hands and feet, carrying only a small bundle.
The carriage rattled away and soon disappeared at the end of the road.
The servants then withdrew their gaze, all secretly happy for the Fergus family.
This time, the Soren Academy produced three Seekers, but two of them were from the Fergus family.
One was the noble Miss Bellia; the other was the gentle Miss Natashi.
Unfortunately, Miss Bellia’s radiance was too dazzling, causing many to unconsciously overlook Miss Natashi.
At this moment, the overlooked Natashi sat against the bumpy carriage wall, hugging her knees.
She looked towards Bellia in the middle.
“I envy you, Sister Bellia.”
“They all love you. You were born noble, with unparalleled beauty. They chase your light, enamored by your figure. You have the most love in this world. The servants love you, Lady Fergus loves you, even…” She bit her lip, “the gods, the deities love you.”
What should she say?
A blasphemer desperately trying to drape herself in a piece of white skin and pass it off as her own could be misunderstood by others, but she couldn’t deceive herself—