Author: Missme Editor: Missme

“Marquis?”

The marquis’ attention was drawn to the door as if he couldn’t hear his father calling him.

 ‘Thalia uses her alias, Rhaya, but his reaction……only by hearing her name……’

My father, who was perplexed by the marquis’ unusual reaction, turned to face me.

“Come in.”

Thalia gently emerged from the open door as my father granted permission.

Thalia then entered, greeted my father with her eyes downcast, and turned to close the door.

“Rhaya!”

“……”

And the marquis dashed over to embrace her.

It even surprised Thalia. So she tried to shrug the marquis off, but he hugged her even tighter.

“Rhaya…! Rhaya!” Oh my goodness! Rhaya…!” “Lo-Loui?”

Thalia’s puzzled expression changed when she recognized the marquis’ red hair, which was the same color as hers, and she turned to stare at me blankly.

Thalia’s flowing hair is half braided and decorated with lace, ribbons, and jewelry pins, and her makeup is flawless. But now her hair is messed up as a result of a man who is clinging to her so fiercely.

The feather brooch on her dress had likewise been smashed flat by the marquis’ tight embrace.

And when I stared at Thalia’s perplexed expression, I realized something I’d forgotten for a moment.

That I had forgotten to inform Thalia of the most crucial fact. Marquis Zelude, Louis, had arrived.

I smiled as I glanced at Thalia’s puzzled expression, as if she was wondering if this was a dream or reality.

“Surprise……”

My smile appeared on its own.

Thalia, in my words, worked hard to confirm whether the person who was embracing her at the moment was indeed her brother.

However, the marquis was already wailing.

“I thought you were already dead, Rhaya……”

“How would I die? I thought you’d forgotten about me, Louis.”

“How could I have forgotten about you? That woman told me you were already dead, and that I……”

“That woman? Are you talking about Clara? Did she tell you I’d died?”

“Yeah, that woman. She told me that our mother and aunty were already dead, and I assumed that you were as well.”

Louis talked to Thalia while firmly embracing her, perhaps because he was afraid of losing her again.

The marquis whispered “you’re alive” multiple times, possibly because he couldn’t believe his sister, whom he thought was dead, was still alive in front of him.

When I stared at them, I stood up.

My father also stood up and took my hand in his and led me to the inner chamber of his office.

I returned my gaze to Thalia before entering the inner chamber.

Thalia’s lips parted.

She was saying thank you.

And at that, I replied to her with a smile.

⇺⇺⇺⇼⇻⇻⇻

A long time has passed since I could see the marquis’ face again.

It wasn’t until just before dinner that I could see his face, which was swollen and red from crying so much.

As I stared at his bloated face, I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed.

It must be humiliating for him to display his swollen face to people.

Fortunately, Karpel refused to join us for the dinner.

If Karpel was also there, it would be doubly humiliating for the marquis.

The marquis kept glancing at me, then sighed deeply.

“I’m ashamed to show you this side of myself.”

“It’s fine as long as you recognize the bond between family members.”

My father responded quietly. As a result, the marquis lowered his head even lower in shame.

He was expected to be embarrassed since as soon as he said that he couldn’t grasp the bond and affection between family members, he sobbed and clung to his sister, without caring about his surroundings.

My father then inquired of the marquis.

“But if you already know the girl is a fraud, why would you let her into Marquis Zelude’s family?”

“Because she recognized our mother’s looks better than I did, and Marchioness Zelude matched what that woman said to what she knew about our mother. Marchioness concluded that it was simply me who couldn’t recall it clearly. And, because my opinion was no longer regarded, I assumed that anything I said would be ignored.”

Thalia’s mother fell sick after Louis was taken to the marquis’ family.

It seems like she struggled to bear the misfortune that befell her when she was on her path to pursue her own happiness.

The marquis said that the only thing he possessed was the title, but no one in the family listened to him.

When my father learned about this, he said,

“That is why, Marquis, I invited you to our mansion today. Because it seems that you would require a lot of effort to establish your position within the family.”

“I, too, assumed that was the case. As you are aware, it has been some time since my coming-of-age ceremony, yet there is still nothing I can achieve.”

The marquis’ expression was subtle. But that wasn’t a help-seeking expression.

‘I suppose he needs a certain degree of authority if he wants to get Thalia into the marquis’ family……’

There was a situation that gave the marchioness authority over the marquis’ family.

The marquis’ family was not caught in the current emperor’s purge since, according to the vassals, the former marquis had already severed relations with Duke Ceres’ family and married the present marchioness.

That is why Louis would have a difficult time gaining influence inside the marquis family.

“I wanted to talk to you today to decline your offer. But I never expected to be so blessed today……”

“It’s because you didn’t want to be under my shadow. That much I understand, Marquis.”

“Thank you for your understanding, Your Excellency.”

“But I’m not sure which is preferable. Being shadowed by me or Duke Ceres.”

The marquis hesitated, as if taken off guard by my father’s remarks.

Just as Karpel gathered the previous emperor’s forces to rebel, the marquis must gather his forces of Duke Ceres to make his comeback.

The way he referred to the missing duke as the shadows made it clear.

The marquis appeared confused that my father was aware of this, as he couldn’t say anything for a while.

But he looked good even when he was blank like this.’

It was unexpected because his eyes were still red from crying too much.

Anyway, instead of the puzzled marquis, Thalia, who sat next to him, calmly responded.

“Even if they were shadows, they could still be different, so how can I treat them the same?”

The marquis seemed to return to his senses and clear his throat after hearing Thalia’s words.

“Your Excellency, I desire to earn my power on my own. I will certainly repay you for saving Rhaya.”

“It appears to be a meaningless promise, yet…… What are you going to pay me back with?”

My father smiled. It was a chilly smile.

‘I had no idea my father could make a face like that.’

My father often smiles like a fool in front of me and buys me expensive jewelry, so I was curious how he looked when working at the palace.

In my head, I know my father would be competent at his work, but because he constantly shows his foolishness in front of me, I can’t see him being good at his work.

My father and Marquis Zelude had a gazing battle for a time.

My father was just looking at him, but the marquis appeared pale, as if he had been driven to the edge of a cliff.

I think I need to help him somehow.

“I’ll be upset, Daddy, if you tell the marquis to repay my goodwill.”

“Oh no… daddy sorry if daddy upsets Ina.”

“It’s all right, daddy. I didn’t mention anything about daddy being wrong, so there’s no need to apologize to Ina. It’s because I want to be friends with Rhaya, and I hope the marquis doesn’t mind.”

“Then……”

Still, refusing when he stated he wanted to pay me back wasn’t courteous.

“Ah, if it’s not too much trouble, why don’t you do me a favor later?”

“…… I will do it.”

The marquis accepted my offer with an unclear expression, whether because I cut him off before he could finish his words or because he couldn’t finish what he was about to say.

Of course, I was only trying to cut off his words before he said he would give me anything.

I wasn’t trying to aim at anything when I helped Thalia. It was only a little goodwill. Furthermore, I couldn’t afford to neglect even a single straw in order to avoid a bad ending in the future.

Clara is now under the protection of the marquis.

However, in the original account, Thalia deposed Clara and became Lady Zelude a year later.

It implied that Marquis Zelude had already gained some power for whatever he was planning now.

“Thank you!”

With a wide smile, I said. Perhaps my father thought I was so adorable that he wanted to cuddle me straight immediately.

He gestured for me to come over and I immediately hugged him.

But I simply smiled and pretended not to notice.

The atmosphere became somewhat warmer. Whether we were aware of the intense push and pull that had occurred between us a little while before.

Thalia exhaled gently as the atmosphere improved.

When her gaze met mine, she grinned.

“As predicted, I’ll stay with Ina-nim a bit longer, Loui.”

“But, Rhaya……”

“I want to do the task that Ina-nim has assigned to me.”

“Are you referring to tutoring a young lady? However, it may be too much of a bother to Krenberia……”

The marquis looked at my father, as if he wanted my father to send Thalia to Zelude right now.

However, my father smiled and shook his head.

“Rhaya is my daughter’s guest, thus I have no say in what happens.”

“Ina-nim, you don’t mind if I stay here for a little while, do you?”

“Of course.”

The marquis couldn’t help but nod when I responded in this manner.

Then he stared at me with resentment in his eyes.id he just became jealous of me……?

At that age!?

To a child like me?

I knew it hadn’t been long since I’d met and spoken with him, but I knew this for certain.

That he’s a fool for his sister.

⇺⇺⇺⇼⇻⇻⇻

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