Author: Nikss



Reukis, who lent his chest with his hands stiff, rolled his eyes without knowing what to do. He stood upright like a living statue and looked down at her.


“More than that, Reukis.”


Reukis, who was breathing quietly so that Merria, who was leaning her head, would not feel uncomfortable, flinched at the sudden call.


Instead of raising her head, Merria hugged him tightly with both arms.


After a moment’s hesitation, Reukis embraced Merria.


Reukis, who rested his chin on her head, answered calmly. “Yes. Merria.”




Merria hesitated as if she had something to say.


Reukis waited for her words like a rabbit with his ears pricked up. Unable to make eye contact with him, Merria organized what she wanted to say.


Where should I start? ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ 


It was difficult to pinpoint the extent of this story, which was hidden in the depths of her heart, as she had never confided in anyone else.


First, let’s start with my first meeting with the old woman. 


It was when Merria was about to open her lips, fiddling with the ring on her left hand.


Knock, knockㅡ


Suddenly, someone knocked on the door of the room.




Just in time, it was Ruben who visited.


Merria slowly turned her gaze away and looked towards the door. Her brows furrowed slightly and she soon nodded.


“Yes. I’ll go.”


Merria slipped her body away from Reukis’ arms.


“I guess the meal’s ready. Let’s go.” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


She said with a soft smile.


I thought it would be better to have a meal before talking. It’ll take a lot of time to explain this ring to Reukis.


But before the two of them could leave the room, the door to the drawing room swung open.




Appearing behind the large door was Themis, with platinum blonde hair just like Merria.


At the sudden appearance of her father, Merria and Reukis were bewildered for their respective reasons.


Merria was surprised that Themis, who had left for the patrol on the territory, was here, and Reukis just felt something was wrong.


“Father?” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


Merria got up from the sofa and called Themis with a surprised expression on her face. ..


Themis walked into the room without breaking his momentum. His sharp gaze deflected Merria and reached Reukis. Behind the open door, Raven and Ruben with puzzled faces stood together.


Themis seemed unwilling to greet Reukis as he approached. Merria could see that he was still angry at something with a stiff expression.


Merria glanced at Raven behind asking for an explanation, but Raven just looked unhappy with the situation.


Themis kept shooting sharp gazes, and Raven didn’t open her mouth, so this was the first thing Merria had to do.


“You’re back.” First, she greeted him as usual.


But she couldn’t stop sighing at the situation.




Themis replied by putting pressure on his wrinkled forehead. Then, Reukis, who was watching, greeted the Duke and his wife.


“The Duke and the Duchess. It’s been a while since we met.” ᴿᵉᵘᵏᶦˢ




Despite his polite greeting, Themis didn’t respond.


“It’s been a while. Your Highness.”


Eventually, when Raven answered instead, Merria’s forehead was distorted.


Something must have happened. Merria hastily decided to exclude Reukis from the abnormal situation.


“Reukis, could you give us a second? I think my father has something to say…” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


She thought Themis couldn’t speak because she had a guest, Reukis.


Despite Merria’s words, Reukis could not easily move. Then Themis beckoned to Ruben, who was standing by the wall, and said,


“Ruben. Prepare Raven’s meal. I didn’t take care of it properly because I was in a hurry.”


“Yes, master.”


Ruben, who was standing like air, left the room. Did something urgent happen to the point where you couldn’t even eat?


Themis’ face was still stiff. “And Merria. Follow me to my room.”


Even before her question was solved, Themis left the room, leaving only what he had to say.


It was an attitude that didn’t care at all about the minimum courtesy towards Reukis or the atmosphere in the room.


The three people who remained in the room had only puzzled expressions on their faces and no one opened their mouths to speak.


Reukis, feeling something unusual, spoke up first.


“Merria. I’ll leave today. Would you like to invite me again next time?” ᴿᵉᵘᵏᶦˢ 


“Oh… I’m sorry.” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


Merria couldn’t hold him and apologize. Reukis nodded his head slightly as if it was okay.


Reukis refused Merria of wanted to see him off, saying he would go alone.


The carriage carrying him quickly left the Rackester mansion.


As soon as Reukis’ carriage disappeared, Merria asked Raven.


“Did the family go bankrupt? What the hell’s going on?” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


Her question contained a great deal of absurdity and a bit of displeasure. Reukis was her lover and a guest who was invited to this mansion today.


But I couldn’t believe they let him go so desperately.


Merria couldn’t understand Themis’ rudeness. Raven shook her head, unable to take Themis’ side.


From her point of view, Themis just before seemed to be a person who had no dignity or manners as a Duke.


“I’m curious too. It’s the first time I’ve seen him acting like that.”


Raven also muttered in a worried tone. To understand this situation, Themis’ explanation was eventually needed.


Without delay, Merria headed to the Duke’s office.


Knock, knockㅡ


“It’s me.” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ




I couldn’t hear his permission, but I just opened the door and entered on my own.


Themis was sitting alone in a large, dark room. His hands clasped together and buried his head above them, seemingly in deep thought.


Merria sat quietly near Themis.


It was Themis, who had been lost in thought until she came around, so Merria knocked on the table with her right hand a couple of times.


“Oh, you’re here”.


Themis then raised his head and looked at Merria. The bright crimson eyes that symbolized the Rackester’s blood stared at her.




Merria felt at ease seeing his tired-looking face.


Until just a moment ago, she only wanted to let it go. Seeing him face to face, I thought there must be a good reason.


‘Let’s say it’s okay if the mansion was sold tomorrow.’ ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


Merria, who had prepared herself, asked back. “What’s wrong?” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


What came out of his mouth was not an answer, but another question.


“It’s like that at the vassals’ meeting. That the Grand Duke and you are… lovers. That you have a relationship?”




Merria thought there would be shocking news like at least one of mine was eaten. Merria tilted her head without immediately grasping the intention of the question.


Themis asked the same question again, urging her to answer. “I asked if it was true that you’re dating the Grand Duke.”


“That’s right.”




“Did you come back early to ask this question? So was that why you treated Reukis with a straightforward attitude?”


Merria said with all her heart that she didn’t understand his actions. Some of Rackester’s vassals were about the age of Merria’s grandparents.


They regarded Serinia and Merria as cute granddaughters, as they had only a son and a grandson.


But Merria had already grown up without being engaged. Their vassals, who were already interested in Merria, often talked about her marriage or her engagement.


Meanwhile, they must have heard that Merria had a lover.


‘The source was probably my mother.’ ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


It had been a while since Merria had announced her relationship with Reukis, and she had no intention of hiding it anymore.


She was planning to introduce him formally to Themis and her family when the time comes.


When Serinia first announced Miles’ existence, Themis scolded her to bring him right away, saying he should check it out personally.


So when he heard that Merria had a lover, it was not at all impossible for him to run to her in surprise.


But the attitude he had just shown was too much. It was not a huge incident enough to omit both the planned patrol of the territory and the courtesy in front of the Grand Duke.


Themis rubbed his throbbing temple with his right hand.


His dissatisfaction with this situation was revealed in his wrinkled forehead.


‘What? What’s with that reaction?’


It was Merria who was rather puzzled by the more intense reaction than expected.


Of course, Reukis didn’t look like he’d get a free pass at a family meeting.


Objectively, he was a perfect groom. Wasn’t he a person who handles not only status and wealth, but also strong force and darkness?


Besides, he was very sweet to Merria.


‘Do you just hate me dating?’ ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


Themis was not as great as Raven, but he also cared very much for his two daughters.


Although Serinia was considering the son-in-law Daryl because of the successor’s position, Merria didn’t have a huge problem even if she didn’t get married.


It wasn’t even stipulated by law that a princess must get married.


Merria, who thought of the most likely side, shrugged her shoulders and continued. “Don’t worry, I won’t get married right away.” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ




Themis slammed the table and gave a stern look.


Merria, startled by his action, shuddered and shrugged. As she blinked and stayed still, Themis sighed, sweeping his disheveled hair.


“I’m sorry to startle you.”


“It’s okay, but I didn’t know you were so opposed to my marriage.” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


“I’m not just saying this because I’m against your marriage. That doesn’t mean you have to do it.”


What do you want me to do? Merria was able to bet on Eriene’s cake that Themis himself probably wouldn’t know what he was talking about.


While his daughter was thinking rebelliously, Themis gently closed his eyes.


Then, wondering what the problem was, Merria shook her head.


“Do you like a son-in-law like Miles? Reukis is pretty good, too…” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


I don’t think it’s because he likes a gentle son-in-law, but I asked just in case.






“You can’t tell the Grand Duke.”


“Marriage is a long way off.”


“Stop dating him.”


Merria’s face crumpled by the coercive appearance of Themis for the first time.


In an era where free relationships are prevalent these days, parents oppose them. There was no skit like this. It’s not like Themis, who always persuaded reasonably, to force without explaining the reason.


Resentment rose in her heart, like a teenage middle school student.


“…What are you talking about all of a sudden?” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


“Even if you break up right now.”


“Father!” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


When Merria, who was angered by his unreasonable coercion, raised her voice, Themis, unable to bear it, confessed the reason.


“The Grand Duke’s too dangerous for you!”


Merria’s face turned cold at Themis’ bomb-like remarks.


She asked with a grin around her lips. “No way. I didn’t know my father would

believe in rumors.” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


“It’s not a rumor.”


Themis shook his head and quickly continued with a low voice. “The Grand Duke’s power was so strong. He’s like a glass bowl filled with hot water. It looks fine now, but you’d never know when it would crack and break.”


“What’s that?” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


Themis, who thought Merria was embarrassed, sighed deeply.


“To be around such a dangerous person. How could you not understand this father’s heart?”


Themis wasn’t just opposing the love of her daughter, nor was he sensitively responding to vain rumors of a curse.


He thought that Reukis’ power was dangerous. As if someone knew that the death of the Grand Duke and his wife was due to Reukis’ runaway.


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