Author: arnlian

“If you leave from here now, you won’t see your brother until you are done with the job.” 

 

Seth said quietly. I was a little surprised by the unexpected words, but I asked calmly. 

 

“Is there any reason to do that?”

 

“It’s safer for him to not know your whereabouts. Even if you change your identity, you’ll both be in danger if your brother tries to contact you.” 

 

Well, it wasn’t wrong. By any means, contact will leave a trace. After thinking for a while, I nodded. 

 

“Can you tell me about your younger sister instead?”

 

“You won’t be able to confirm that it’s true or not even if I tell you.”

 

“I need to believe it. You’re not the kind of person who will harass a weak woman or child.” 

 

In fact, whether he is deceiving or manipulating it I don’t have the strength to protest. I just want him to keep his promise. If that’s the case, I’d rather pretend to leave everything to him. 

 

Seth stared at me silently. I was also admiring his handsome face eagerly. After a sigh, he reached out to me. 

 

“I’ll try to repay your trust.” 

 

This is a sign to do a handshake, right? This time not to kiss the back of the hand, isn’t it?

 

I held out my hand timidly. Then Seth held my hand still. He smiled very kindly when I looked at him with a puzzled look on his face. 

 

“Time’s up.” 

 

Before I could ask what he meant, my eyes became dark and my body tilted. A firm arm supported me as if it had been waiting. I dropped with my face buried in Seth’s chest. 

 

“Even if I share my energy, there’s a limit if you stay awake.”

 

Let me know in advance about that, man. 

 

“Good night, Evie. “

 

I felt strange because it’s been so long since I heard a good night greeting. Sleepiness came in like a lie. I fell asleep leaning in Seth’s arms. 

 

* * *

 

Maurice was the leader of the Shadow Knights and the Duke’s right-hand man. 

 

He went through all sorts of things, serving his master who doesn’t mind rough places, but it was the first time today. No, it was his first time seeing a woman like Evelyn. 

 

The young lady, who asked the person she first meets to beat her up. And she’s the one to be called the Duchess in the future. His vision became dark. 

 

“Lord, are you really going to hire her as a stand-in?” 

 

Maurice opened his mouth carefully. 

 

But the Duke walked silently. The pace that was slower than usual seemed to be due to consideration for Evelyn in his arms. 

 

Maurice, who hesitated for a moment, added. 

 

“More than anything, Her Majesty would object.”

 

When the king was mentioned, the duke looked back at him. Maurice paused for a moment in the cold stare. He bowed his head and waited for a reprimand when an unexpected word came back. 

 

“Then I’ll have to hide her well and let her be shown at the wedding.”

 

“Bu, but if that happens….” 

 

Maurice gasped in bewilderment. That means none other than to fight the king. The Duke, who was staring at him, turned his head again. 

 

“I’d like to, but I’ll have to show her in advance, right? I’ll keep it a secret until Evelyn’s new identity is created.” 

 

Maurice realized that the Duke intended to cover the king’s eyes himself. 

 

Did you like her that much?’ 

 

Maurice peeped at Evelyn, who was asleep in the Duke’s arms. She is beautiful, but she is not a beauty that could make eyes wide open. Pink hair and red eyes were a bit unique, but that’s all. Above all, she is so small and thin that it seemed to break when she got hit. 

 

‘No, he’s not the one to be captivated by a woman’s beauty.’ 

 

The Duke was not interested in women. Precisely, not interested in the pleasures of the world. Even after leaving the temple, the king nagged at the appearance of him living like a hermit. 

 

What the hell has caught the lord’s attention?’ 

 

Maurice unknowingly leaned toward Evelyn. 

 

The Duke, who slightly frowned at it, soon returned with an expressionless face and said. 

 

“I’m going to give Evelyn a white rose mansion. Tell the caretaker to prepare for anything lacking.” 

 

The white rose mansion was the Duke’s private mansion, not belonging to the family. No one had ever entered that mansion before.

 

Maurice asked with a very nervous look. 

 

“Lord, you’re not going to take her as your real wife, are you?” 

 

“What are you talking about?” 

 

“To ignore the other mansions to choose that one means…” 

 

It’s a mansion built by the previous Duke for his beloved wife. And it was also the inheritance that the Duke inherited from his mother. It was too much for a stand-in to stay. 

 

“If you want to deceive the enemy, shouldn’t you deceive your ally first?”

 

“The Duke said as if it were nothing. If Evelyn stays in the white rose mansion, even the king will wonder if the Duke is sincere. 

 

Maurice also looked completely convinced. 

 

“Then shall we attach the teacher first? I think for her to act as a duchess we will have to prepare for it from now on.” 

 

“Well, I don’t think she needs any education.” 

 

Maurice was confused again by the Duke’s words. 

 

Evelyn was a huge tomboy. Seeing her kick the merchant excitedly, it was questionable whether she had learned manners so far. And yet he thinks she doesn’t need any education then… 

 

‘Because he’s gonna use her for a short time and throw her away? Or did he also like that kind of behavior of hers?”

 

Maurice, who was agonizing over his master’s intention, soon gave up his judgment. 

 

“But she still needs at least etiquette training. Or she would be a big disgrace in society.” 

 

If Evelyn was left like this, the Duke will be the one more criticized. Maurice couldn’t let that happen. 

 

“All right. Send an etiquette teacher to the mansion.” 

 

Fortunately, the Duke gently allowed it. Unlike relieved Maurice, he added, who was agonizing over something.

 

“And I’d like three shadows attached for her just in case.”

 

‘Pardon?’ 

 

Maurice unknowingly asked back. 

 

The shadow that the Duke spoke of meant the Knights of Shadows, who were mainly responsible for something like rescue or espionage. He can’t believe that all top-notch people were used for just a mere stand-in. It was a ridiculous waste. 

 

‘Even the real Duchess was not escorted by shadows.’ 

 

But the owner of the Knights is the Duke, and it is up to the Duke’s mind to where to use them. Maurice tried to swallow his discontent. 

 

“Except for the rough-tempered one. Keep it a secret so that she doesn’t get scared.”

 

“Yes, I will choose well and attach them.” 

 

Then the satisfied Duke turned around. Maurice began to agonize again. 

 

‘Is she really a stand-in? I think he really thoughts she’s cute though.’

 

* * *

 

The Duke of Seth Elmeier was a famous figure in the kingdom. 

 

He was a knight praised as the king’s sword and a hero who led the seven-year war to victory. But a few years ago, an incident brought down a great honor.

 

The Duke returned all his privileges without any excuse. Since then, he does not show his face unless it is an important event such as a grand ceremony or a new year’s celebration. 

 

However, public interest in the Duke is not expected to diminish. Because a loss of reputation does not mean a loss of value. 

 

An unmarried man with noble descent and wealth.

 

There were countless women who desired him. For a young lady about to make her debut in society, it was common to roam the palace imagining chance encounters. 

 

In such a situation, the story that began to circulate secretly shocked everyone. 

 

“Is, is it true?”

 

“Yes, it is. He left her in his private mansion and secretly went to see her.”

 

It was a rumor that the Duke has a hidden lover.

 

The first place the rumor began was in the shopping district. It was when the famous boutique of the capital and the jeweler were suddenly called by the Duke. Through their mouths, information about the Duke’s lover was conveyed little by little. 

 

“She’s not pretty, she’s like a skinny donkey.”

 

“I heard she’s a hillbilly with a strong southern accent.”

 

“Perhaps she’s from low birth because there’s no dignity in her even when they try to find it.” 

 

People criticized the Duke’s lover with jealous words. The grumpy even bet when she would be kicked out. 

 

However, the rumors that followed dampened their spirits. 

 

“Did you hear that? The Duke gave her the heart of the sea.”

 

“No way! It’s a necklace that only the Duchess can wear.”

 

“I’m telling you. He called in a family craftsman and ordered him to fix the line to suit her.” 

 

“Oh, my God, that woman won’t become a duchess, will she?”

 

“That’s impossible.” 

 

Those who looked at each other with anxious faces left with excuses. And began desperately investigating the Duke’s lover. 

 

The buzz reached the Sun Palace, the noblest place in the kingdom.

 

“How can it be such a mess just because there is a woman hidden by the Duke? It’s ridiculous” 

 

The king said with a scornful look. The wry-smiling chancellor received the words. 

 

‘Isn’t he famous for not being interested in women?’

 

‘Was he interested in anything else? I don’t know what he’s thinking about living.”

 

“I’m apologies, but you two are very similar.”

 

“You’re talking about something gross. Aren’t you afraid of death now that you’re old?”

 

Despite the king’s rebuke, the chancellor only smiled. The king gave up scaring the old servant and asked. 

 

“So, what kind of woman is she?”

 

“I heard she is a bright and lively girl. Her weak body is a flaw, but she is said to be the right person for this job because she has a bold side.”

 

“It’s a generous evaluation. I don’t think that’s enough to cover the shortcomings of slavery.” 

 

The king knew that Evelyn Gran was a slave. And it was really not like the duke’s attitude to using slaves as a stand-in among many women. 

 

“Even if I restore her identity, she will be just a minor aristocrat from a vassal country, Tyrone. I’m sure there will be someone who bites her by citing her origin.”

 

“For her origin, if we let a good family adopt her, that will be enough. I heard that he had already chosen the right family and completed the procedure.”

 

The awkward-looking chancellor said as if to appease the king. The king snorted coldly at him. 

 

“If he had chosen the right woman in the first place, he wouldn’t have to go through such a hard time.” 

 

“Because the Duke likes her very much, so he will have to take some difficulties.”

 

“That wooden stone?”

 

“Yes, he knelt down and offered a handkerchief at the first meeting.”

 

“What?”

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