Flora stopped short at the sound of the quarrel as she was just about to enter the dining room.
“So, you basically want me to coop myself up in the room and stay out of Flora’s sight.”
Such a sarcastic grumble came from no one other than Flora’s second brother.
“That’s because I feel stifled by the smell of alcohol, which your body is reek all over with! All I asked you was to make yourself unseen before Flora comes down shortly, as you are unsightly right now.” retorted Flora’s mother.
“That makes no difference at all. Is Flora your only child? Am I just a freeloader of this family?!”
“Quiet down this instant!”
“Let me ask you since the topic is out. What are we to you? Do you really think Flora will be grateful if you only favor her? Don’t be mistaken into thinking that she will. Flora is an Anika. She’s not yours but Sang-je’s daughter who just happened to come into the world through your womb, and that’s all. Do you really think she considers us as her family?”
“And what do you think you have the right to say all this? Especially when you should be more than just grateful for having an easy life while basking in your sister’s reflected glory.” Flora’s mother retorted, now seething in anger.
“So that’s what you’ve been meaning to say all this time. That the black sheep of the family is not worth to you in the least.”
“Y-you ingrate! While we’re on the subject, why didn’t you open up the shop again yesterday? You spend most of your day hanging around doing nothing! How can I possibly think better of you when you always come home at the break of dawn, all tipsy and drunk?”
Flora turned around while a sigh escaped underneath her breath. It seemed to her that the dispute would not likely end so easily. However, she was sure that they would clamp shut their mouth if she went in now. She was long before fed up with their responses were very much presumable.
[Do you really think she considers us as her family?]
Cynically, Flora murmured what his brother had just said as she recalled.
‘So, he figured.’
Flora wasn’t sure when it began, but she just knew that it’s been long since she realized that there was a wall standing between her family and her. Her parents found her especially difficult. They acted all cautious around her, in a worry that they might get on her nerves, while her two brothers grumbled behind her back. The distance between them was so conspicuous to be closed, that it was hard to call themselves a family.
As Flora came out through the door, the guard, who was taking up stations outside, bid his greetings to her.
“Anika Flora. Are you heading out today? Shall I call for a carriage?”
“Yes, I’ll appreciate that.”
“Please wait here for a moment.”
To ensure the safety of a noble Anika, guards stationed all around the residence of an Anika and escorted her to wherever she went.
According to a senior Anika, it wasn’t always this strict about security in the past. It was all in the wake of the kidnapping incident which happened twenty years back that Sang-je gave out special commands to tighten the guard and secure all the Anika’s safety.
While waiting for her carriage, Flora turned around and looked upon the house she’d just come out from, over her shoulders.
It was a double story house which stood alone in the neighborhood. As far as Flora remembers, she lived in the very house ever since she was very young.
However, the house Flora was born in was located somewhere in a remote suburb from the town.
She had once traveled to have a look at it out of curiosity, and only returned shocked by its seemingly old and shabby exterior, which was beyond her expectation. If it wasn’t for Flora’s birth, her family wouldn’t possibly be living in such a grand house right now.
From the moment of birth, Anika was provided to live in plenty until the day she died. And of course, there was compensation for the family as well. Flora’s parents were provided a lifelong pension where they needn’t worry about earning their living, as well as a right to reside in the very same house. It surely was a prerogative that only Anika’s parents could enjoy throughout their lives.
Besides the second floor, which was entirely for Flora’s use alone, the house was occupied respectively by her parents, her eldest brother, his wife, two of their children, her second brother and also two of the servants who resided with them.
Although it wasn’t particularly grand, it was just big enough to have more than ten people living together. The house came with a fine looking little garden as well. Such houses of their size, which were located in the center of the Holy City, were indeed very much highly valued.
However, it was far from enough in the eyes of Flora. Every one of her acquaintances were wealthy and lived in their private grand mansions. For this, she desperately wanted to leave the house and even found the place too shabby to invite any of her acquaintances over. And most of all, she was fed up living in the same house with her graceless family.
But despite all that, she was not capable of owning a house of her own. Not even the ones which were shabbier than her current house. The monthly grants which were provided for Anikas were just as good as an abundant allowance which would likely be gone after buying a few outfits from the boutique.
Still, there was one way for her to get hold of a seemingly large sum of money. Flora heard that Sang-je would give out marriage payments to Anikas once they got married. However, she couldn’t think of marrying any man just for the sake of money. Flora’s standard for her future spouse was fairly high.
So, that left her only with the second way.
‘I’m sure His Holiness will find me another house if I plead with him…’