Author: alyalia

A few days ago.

 

“I can’t believe you came to see me first. It’s really fascinating.”

 

Charter’s mother, Madam Kaien, was happy and saddened by her son, who had seen her after a long time.

 

“I have a favor to ask of you.”

 

As she looked at her son, who spoke to the main point without saying greetings first, she sighed and gestured to listen to him.

 

“You must know that I am engaged to Lady Bornes.”

 

For a moment, his mother’s eyes lit up.

 

“I see. Without consulting about it with this mother.”

 

Charter wrinkled his eyebrows. As expected, her mother had already heard about it. In fact, he couldn’t explain the circumstances of his engagement to her mother, and he couldn’t say that he got engaged because he loved her.

 

Madam Kaien was angry and saddened by his son, who had decided to get married. However, they didn’t usually talk to each other. But such a son like him came to her first and asked for a favor. It made her feel a little relieved.

 

“Let’s hear your request.”

 

Charter hesitated for a moment and opened his mouth, “Arianne… I mean Lady Bornes, I want Mother to teach her about premarital education.”

 

Her mother was astonished. At best, she thought he would be asking for help with his wedding preparations, but for premarital education? His son didn’t resemble her very much. So she wondered whether he was serious about it.

 

“Premarital… education?”

 

“Yes. If you allow it, I will have her come into the mansion by the end of this week.”

 

Madam Kaien stared intently at his son.

 

His son, who drew the words ‘I will never get married,’ suddenly said he would get married. Even before he got married, he wanted to bring the lady into the mansion?

 

What the hell he was thinking… I wondered what kind of person that lady to make him change like this.

 

Well, she will find out when they meet.

 

Before experiencing it by herself, Madam Kaien was a person who didn’t judge people by rumors.

 

“All right, I’ll do that.”

 

Charter got up from his seat as if he had finished his business.

 

“You, don’t you have time for a cup of tea?”

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

When Charter said that, Madam Kaien nodded with a face that she couldn’t help it.

 

Someone with the duke’s position was originally like that. They had to be responsible for their vast territory and numerous residents. Furthermore, they had to constantly think, work, and move for the welfare of the empire.

 

Her husband lived his life like that. Although he didn’t agree about that, there was no objection that he lived a hard life. And now Charter sat in that position.

 

The face of Madam Kaien, who had been tilting the teacup alone, was filled with sadness.

 

I’m worried about Layla. I don’t want to worry about anything, but…

 

Knowing her arrogant and jealous personality, she couldn’t put down her worries.

 

* * *

 

The duke’s mansion was an old castle called ‘Kaien Duchy.’ It was a magnificent, solid, fortified castle like the duke’s family with their long history in the empire. Kaien Duchy, where you can feel the traces of time from the old building, may seem old and shabby, but thanks to good management, it showed off a more stylish appearance.

 

“Lady, we’re here.”

 

“Hu~”

 

I took a deep breath and exhaled it. I was just trying to relieve some tension.

 

Charter is not here now. That meant I didn’t know anyone in the duchy.

 

I wasn’t good at socializing with people. I’ve never made proper friends and barely had social activities. Even at the County, only a few servants looked after me. They only spoke the bare minimum, so I never had a proper conversation or relationship. Except for the tutor, I had never spoken for long. Therefore, I had no idea how to act during our first meeting.

 

Well, I will know after seeing it once. But what should I do?

 

I had no intention of bending over myself just because my opponent was a duke’s family. I considered myself on an equal footing with Kaien on the fair deal, so I thought I should determine my action depending on how they treated me.

 

If I need to get a head start, I have to hit them first.

 

Because I shouldn’t suffer here.

 

Clak. The carriage door opened, and it was finally time to step out in front of them.

 

“Welcome, Lady.”

 

“Greetings, Lady.”

 

I, who got out of the carriage, was surprised. In front of me, there were dozens of people welcoming me.

 

“He…Hello?”

 

I stuttered my words in embarrassment. To be honest, I never thought about situations like this. At best, I expected only a handful of people, including the butler and the head maid, to show up.

 

“You have worked hard to come a long way. My name is Sebastian, the butler of this mansion.”

 

With a polite gesture, Sebastian, a middle-aged, slender, stylish-looking man, put his right hand on his left chest and slightly bowed his head to greet me.

 

“It only takes about an hour. Nice to meet you.”

 

“Ohohoho~ Lady~ It’s nice to meet you. My name is Korel, the head maid. When I heard about Lady, I always looked forward to seeing you. As expected, you’re a beautiful person, as I thought. There’s no way our Duke won’t get married. It’s just that he hadn’t met the right person. Seeing that he met such a beautiful lady and eventually got engaged, I was right.”

 

In an instant, I was dizzy because of Korel, who was talking nonstop. It was Korel who spoke, but I didn’t know why I was the one who was out of breath.

 

“Stop it, Korel. I’m sorry, Lady, this maid is a bit talkative.”

 

“Oh~ Sebastian! I’m not talkative. It’s just that I’m glad to see Lady.”

 

What the hell is going on here?

 

I didn’t understand the current situation.

 

Why are they welcoming me so well? And why do the people behind them have such happy faces?

 

“Oh no. We seem to keep Lady for too long. I will take you inside. Ah, behind us are the servants of the mansion. They came out like this, saying they wanted to see Lady as soon as possible.”

 

At Sebastian’s introduction, the servants looked at me with eyes full of anticipation. It felt like I needed to say something.

 

My face, bewildered by the unexpected hospitality and affectionate gaze, heated up gently.

 

“Nice to meet you all. And… thank you for welcoming me.”

 

The Lady blushed and spoke shyly! With her simple greeting, all the mansion’s servants instantly fell in love with Arianne. How could they not love such a cute and lovely lady?

 

“What should I do? She is so lovely!”

 

“Shh! Be quiet. You will be scolded if you make a fuss about it.”

 

I tried to ignore the small murmur but couldn’t prevent my face from burning red to the tip of my ears. Fortunately, the servants gave me a path to pass by, and I followed Sebastian into the mansion with their warm gaze.

 

“Oh my gosh…”

 

Entering the mansion’s main hall, I was mesmerized by the open-mouthed sight. When I saw the exterior, I thought it was just an old antique mansion, but the interior exceeded my expectations.

 

On the opposite side of the huge main hall, starting in the center and split into both sides, there was a magnificent marble staircase leading up to the second floor. The hall’s ceiling was quite high and filled with a huge chandelier. The space was spread out symmetrically on both sides around the ceiling, where angels, demons, and the creation of heaven and earth were painted. As if expecting my reaction, Sebastian gave me enough time to observe it and began to guide me again when my gaze returned.

 

“Lady, please come this way. Madam is waiting in the parlor.”

 

“Ah… yes.”

 

“Please speak comfortably from now on,” Sebastian said with a kind smile that had an effect on calming my nervousness.

 

My eyes widened at sight seen from the entrance to the parlor. Overall, everything was harmonious and beautiful, even with antique interiors tailored with white and gold, furniture that matched them, and rugs on the floor. I looked around, mesmerized again for a while, then suddenly I heard a voice.

 

“Come in, Lady Arianne.”

 

I, startled, looked in the direction from which I heard the voice. A middle-aged woman and a lady about the same age as me were sitting on the sofa in the antique parlor. Following Sebastian’s guidance, I approached them and greeted them politely.

 

“It’s my first time greeting you. My name is Arianne Bornes.”

 

“Nice to meet you. My name is Dolorens Kaien. This is Layla Rumbojio, the daughter of my best friend.”

 

An elegant-looking madam introduced a woman sitting on a sofa next to her. It was a wavy, brown-haired woman.

 

“Nice to meet you.”

 

Layla’s eyes looked at me, saying she was glad to meet me, but her gaze felt rather cold, which made me puzzled.

 

“Sit down for now. Sebastian, bring the tea again.”

 

“Yes, I understand.”

 

I sat down and thought. Now, what the hell should we talk about?

 

First, I should thank her for agreeing to teach me about premarital.

 

Just as I was about to open my mouth, Layla spoke to me, “Lady Arianne. You’re a little different from last I saw you at the imperial banquet.”

 

Ah… she must have seen me then. Then Madam must have seen me too.

 

I, who recalled my outfit at that time, slightly got annoyed.

 

Now. She brought it up on purpose, didn’t she?

 

I couldn’t believe she’s been like this since the first meetings… It was the moment when I confirmed the fact that Layla didn’t like me, just like the way she greeted me earlier. No, should I say she was being hostile to me? So, she came out like that, right?

 

“Ah, I’m sorry, Lady Layla. I had no idea you were there. I remember almost everyone who was there, but I think it’s the first time I’ve seen Lady’s face.”

 

Instead of making excuses for my outfit, I replied with the lack of her presence that I didn’t even notice her. Layla’s face frowned as she understood the hidden meaning of it, whether she was a fool or not.

 

I could not engage in social activities, but I was familiar with the basic information about families and influential figures of the empire. But, my tutor didn’t mention the Rumbojio family, so it was clear they were just countryside nobles. However, if she came out like this, it meant that either she believed in the power of the Madam or just looked down on me, who came from the Count family. Or it could be both.

 

You picked the wrong person. How dare you touch me?

 

The eyes of the Madam, silently watching this situation, filled with interest.

 

That’s pretty good. Madam’s first impression of Arianne was frankly not good. She showed up in embarrassing attire at the imperial banquet and drew attention. After a moment, she ruined her attire and returned in haste, making Madam think she was an immature lady. Madam couldn’t understand why her son fell in love with such a woman. But seeing her again today, she was quite impressed.

 

Aside from her angelic appearance, she was not swayed by another person who revealed her disgrace but rather saw through another person’s weakness and broke their pride. I heard she never engages in social activity. But she’s pretty good.

 

Arianne looked like she couldn’t say hateful things but was like a snake inside. Is it because she takes after her father? Madam Kaien liked Arianne. The hostess of the Duke shouldn’t be easily swayed by other people’s words. In that sense, Arianne passed.

 

Then her eyes shifted to Layla.

 

Layla is my best friend’s daughter, but she didn’t suit the position. It didn’t matter where her family came from, as long as people were okay with it. Since she was her best friend’s daughter, she once wondered if she could have her as her daughter-in-law.

 

But Layla’s capability was small. She had a sense of inferiority in her low status. Still, it didn’t matter if she could win a higher position. Despite her lack of ability, she was greedy, and her self-esteem was high, so she believed in the power of the Duke, who was living with her and acted arrogant.

 

I didn’t say anything bitter because she was my best friend’s daughter… But I didn’t expect her to act like this to Duke’s fiancée.

 

Madam Kaien glanced at Layla biting her lower lip as if her self-esteem was hurt. Then she let out a small sigh, turned her gaze back to Arianne, and said, “Layla is the daughter of Viscount Rumbojio in the South. Their family is my relative. As you know, Southern is in the countryside, so she came to the capital because she wants to get an education. Our family is taking care of her.”

 

“I see. In the capital, you can receive a variety of education,” I replied with a smile, agreeing with the Madam.

 

Then, we drank tea and talked in a friendly atmosphere about the capital’s education and fashion. Only Layla was staring at me without saying a word. While we were chatting for a while, the butler came in.

 

“Master has arrived.”

 

“Is it already that late? All right, let’s get out of here.”

 

At the words of Madam, Layla and I got up from our seats and went out to the main hall to welcome Charter.

 

The central front door opened, and a handsome black-haired man came in.

 

“I’m home, Mother.”

 

“You did a great job. We were having a chat with Lady Arianne.”

 

As soon as Madam’s words were over, Charter turned to me.

 

“I’m sorry I couldn’t pick you up.”

 

After the words of apology, Charter grabbed my hand, bowed down, and kissed the back of my hand politely.

 

“Gasp!”

 

“Oh my gosh…”

 

Everyone in the main hall was shocked, including me.

 

Charter raised his head, looked straight up at me, and said, “Arianne, welcome to the Duchy.”

Table of Contents
Reader Settings
Font Size
Line Height
Font
Donation
Amount
alyalia

Ko-fi Ko-fi

Comments (2)