Apollonia didn’t probe any further.
She could see Tanya hiding behind the woman.
The girl avoided her eyes.
Maybe because she was crying.
“What does the lord do with all that wealth”
“Isn’t it obvious He goes to the capital city to waste it.
For example, he can play with prostitutes to his heart’s content.
Oh, that reminds me – he has another nasty hobby.
He’s been snatching virgins from town–”
“That’s enough.” Apollonia glanced at Tanya.
A 13-year-old child shouldn’t need to listen to such a horrific story.
But the old woman ignored her, and continued to explain as if it were nothing.
“I’m lucky I still have my one and only granddaughter, healthy and strong.” Tanya nodded as she listened to the story.
“Has Tanya met Viscount Diaman” Apollonia remembered Tanya’s reaction when Apollonia had first mentioned the viscount.
“We had a hard year last year.
We couldn’t pay the taxes… so my eldest grandson was dragged away.
Diaman publicly flogged my grandson in the town square to set an example.
When the whipping was finished, he forcibly poured poison into his mouth.
The second the poison touched my grandson’s lips, he fell to the ground, writhing and screaming in excruciating pain.
Tanya couldn’t bear to see her brother like that, so she ran into the square and bit the viscount’s arm.” The old woman sighed.
Tanya looked away regretfully.
“She somehow managed to escape with only a few hits.
Ever since then, that bastard has been hunting for Tanya.
If he catches her, she’ll die.
That’s why she’s scared of him.”
“Wait.” Apollonia interrupted the woman’s story before she could get any further.
“Are you saying that he hasn’t been able to find this Bella child, even in such a small town” No matter the size of a population of Bellas in an area, the majority of other residents would be ordinary people.
Even at such a young age, she would stand out in any crowd.
People couldn’t help but notice her beautiful face.
“Well, I’ve tried to find a way to hide it.” The old woman pointed at Tanya– at her eyes.
Her eyes had been glimmering a bright purple only a moment before.
But now, they’d changed into a murky grey.
“She could’ve covered her eyes instead, I guess, but I thought it’d be better just to change the color altogether.
That’s what this medicine is for.
The problem is that this brat keeps forgetting to take it.”
Tanya stuck her tongue out at her grandmother.
“Then, don’t tell me…”
“I heard people might give you money for directions.
The moment I heard about that, I had only one thought.
Forget the money! Just for anyone to get her out of here… somehow… I’m willing to give anything.
Even my life.” The woman’s voice shook slightly.
Apollonia could see what her life, which wouldn’t last much longer, was focused on.
But she still had questions.
“Do you know who I am” The old woman was desperate, but clearly armed with reason.
She didn’t look like someone who’d accept just anyone in her house and confide everything about her family situation.
“Did you take me in because I look rich Because I was attended by people who aren’t easily conquered by those trivial bandits”
The old woman wasn’t offended by Apollonia’s question.
Rather, she took a step closer.
“During the decades I’ve been trapped here, the rich people who’ve come to Lishan always stayed in Lord Diaman’s residence.
Miss, you’re the first one who’s actually seemed to care about our lives.”
It was a sharp insight.
Sid frowned slightly, and Uriel seemed nervous.
The old woman smiled.
“With these old Bella eyes, sometimes I can see a person’s hidden image.”
Apollonia made eye contact with the woman.
She had a hunch.
The old woman’s eyes, which seemed to pierce through Apollonia’s robe, demanded an answer from her.
“Are you sure” The woman’s voice was heavy with disappointment and sorrow.
“Tanya is still too young to live far away from her family.
And I don’t have the capacity to take care of a child.”
“If you say so…” The woman’s shoulders drooped.
She seemed to have aged 10 years.
The woman flinched and looked up.
After I return from Mt.
Calt, you’ll never see Diaman again.”
“What did you say–”
“What do you mean by that”
Tanya’s brothers were stunned.
The old woman simply blinked.