Oliver is the young master of the Elderidge family which is one of the most prosperous noble families in the Nearyn kingdom. He was born to Mikel Elderidge, the current head of the family, and Mia Astor, a beautiful lady of a second rate noble family. Mikel and Mia met at an art exhibit held in a border town where both cleverly hid their own identities to enjoy the event peacefully. Coincidently, both set their eyes on an exquisite painting and almost fought head on to take it. They ended up revealing their noble status with Mia reluctantly stepping down as to not provoke the Elderidge family and dig a pit for her own. Seeing her pitiful expression of wanting to object but dared not speak, Mikel's heart softened. He ended up buying the expensive piece of art and gifting it to her as an act of goodwill which was the start of a blooming romance between the two.
Their engagement set a wave of controversy amongst the nobles of the Nearyn kingdom. Since Mikel was a very desirable bachelor, it was to be expected that most would oppose to him marrying someone below his status, especially since there was talk of his betrothal to the princess. There was no need to mention how much hate Mia got for allegedly seducing the fine gentleman to climb up the social ladder. She was treated as a manipulative commoner who whored her way to the top. The entire Astor family got scorned and bullied for being a bunch of 'shameless social climbers'.
Since the king got wind of the happenings in the kingdom, he invited both of them to the annual spring ball to publicly inquire about their situation in hopes of putting an end to the ridiculous drama.
What happened that evening was out of everyone's expectations. When Mikel and Mia showed up, the huge palace hall quieted down instantly. They both looked blindingly gorgeous. They walked hand in hand, their unmasked intimateness didn't overshadow their elegant demeanor and noble temperament. It was a picture-perfect couple that none dared find fault in ever again.
Mikel's handsomeness was already well known in the capital so the noblemen weren't as surprised to see his appearance as they were Mia's. Because she belonged to a second rate noble family that resided in one of the farthest bordering towns, she was unknown to the present distinguished guests. Her parents weren't keen on exposing their daughter to a world full of lecherous creatures, so she grew up relatively sheltered. Her somewhat naïve and innocent personality was the icing on the cake that dragged Mikel deep into the pit of love, unwilling to extricate himself for a lifetime.
Mia had a sculpted figure which was twine-thin. Her waist was tapered and she had a burnished complexion. A pair of arched eyebrows looked down on sweeping eyelashes. Her delicate ears framed a button nose. A set of dazzling, angel-white teeth gleamed as he smiled giddily at her beloved's reassuring hand squeeze. It could jolt you like an electric current when that megawatt smile gave you her full attention. Her hair was a glorious tumble of star beam-gold and her enticing, constellation-blue eyes would set any heart a-thump. There was a beautiful pinkish hue tinting her cheeks, perfectly matching the alluring color of her heart-shaped lips.
Guests aside, even the king himself was charmed by Mia's beauty and his eyes gleamed with obvious lust. He feigned nonchalance as he asked about the nature of their relationship and Mia's origins under everyone's expectant looks. Not oblivious to the king's lecherous gaze that every so often would set on his darling's frame, Mikel didn't think twice before admitting to eloping with Mia back in her hometown and that they're officially married. He apologized for not inviting anyone and promised to prepare a proper wedding banquet for everyone to attend. They even showcased their matching wedding rings and left shortly after an uncomfortable round of insincere congratulations, leaving a very vexed king and shocked nobles.
Everything after that was smooth sailing for the two, they held a proper wedding ceremony and got everyone's blessings. Sadly, their happily ever after didn't last for long, as Mia got sick right after falling pregnant. She was diagnosed with deathbell disease and died giving birth to Oliver.
The thing is, deathbell disease is a congenital disorder, which means you either get born with it or never acquire it in your life unless it was purposefully induced by the malefic venom contained in the stems of the deathbell flowers. The priest they invited to cure Mia said that it must be because the fetus has the disease and transmitted it to his mother and even aborting it won't save her life. There is no cure to the deathbell disease, after all.
Of course, it's not that Mikel didn't think that his wife was poisoned but the deathbell flowers have been extinct for close to a hundred years. As such, the priest's explanation was more probable.
After Mia's death, Mikel entrusted the newborn Oliver to the wet nurse and busied himself with work. He didn't bother spending much time with his child because he couldn't possibly stomach losing a loved one again. Mikel made up for his lack of affection by spoiling Oliver rotten. He got everything he asked for without proper supervision which resulted in his bratty behavior and ill-temperament. Oliver did everything he could think of to get his father's attention but to no avail. Later he just stopped caring altogether and became gloomier and reclusive.
Oliver reached fourteen years old last month all because of the nutrient concoctions bought at an astronomical price from the high priest of the Nearyn church. But even so, he looked no older than ten. His short thin limbs barely supported his equally thin body making him look very unkempt in the oversized clothes he deliberately wore to hide his scrawny frame. His beautiful features were washed out by his pallid complexion and constant scowling expression. He was known as the ghost kid in the manor and outside of its walls. Since no one with deathbell disease usually lived past four to five years after birth, he was the first of his kind to reach adolescence. The lonely kid's appearance kept everyone at bay. His only companion was butler Walter who didn't mind his temper and served him wholeheartedly. Though Oliver never expressed his gratitude, he was very moved by his attendant's attentiveness and meticulous care. Even if he was paid to do it, Oliver didn't mind and would often act spoiled and bask in the butler's unusual kindness.
Oliver's life is just a heartbreaking tale of a lonely kid awaiting death.
Wang Shu finished absorbing Oliver's memories, sighed in lament, and got out of the tub. He toweled his body dry, dressed up, albeit clumsily and headed out to face his new life. Since he escaped death once, he could do it again.
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