Author: alyalia

For a moment, Duke Kaien’s face was colored with embarrassment. The only thing that moved was his eyebrows.

 

I was proud of myself for making that man’s expression, which was like a stone, change. Perhaps that was the most embarrassing moment in his life?

 

Indeed it was. Duke Kaien had never been so embarrassed in his life.

 

“Lady Arianne, what does that mean? Such a thing…”

 

Something that may never happen and shouldn’t happen.

 

I felt refreshed as I could hear a scream in his head even though he didn’t say it out loud.

 

“Oh, Duke Kaien, don’t worry. The accident before the marriages I talk about are not real. However, my father would never allow me unless it was an accident like that.”

 

“But, still, I can’t.”

 

He was adamant.

 

Look at this man. Do you think I’m doing things because I like it?

 

At this point, I could no longer speak softly.

 

“Oh my, is that so? I guess your friendship with the second prince isn’t as deep as I thought. It is not that we are going to have a real accident. I’m not asking for a real marriage either.”

 

“How dare I do that?”

 

Duke Kaien responded as if it was ridiculous.

 

“Hey, if you really don’t like it, then I understand. Let’s pretend this meeting never happens.”

 

I pulled the ledger from his hand. But the ledger wasn’t pulled.

 

Of course, I don’t think he will just miss this opportunity.

 

In the current Harpion Empire, the crown prince’s power was more dominant. If this continues, it would be only a matter of time for the crown prince to be the next emperor. Then the second prince and Duke Kaien…

 

“Why are you doing this? We have no deal, so the ledger is not yours.”

 

I smiled softly and set my fishing rod down.

 

In response, Duke Kaien wrinkled his brow as if confused and said,

 

“Just give me a moment… to think.”

 

He closed his eyes as if he had a headache and gently pressed his temple with his long, slender fingers.

 

I decided to wait for a while. It must have been an unexpected deal that he had never thought of. But ten minutes had passed, and he remained in that position. Being impatient, I hated this silent moment. Hated it or not, the only way to break this silence is only when he opens his mouth and says something. 

 

“All right. But doing so will not be good for your reputation, Lady Arianne.”

 

It’s over!

 

In the end, I didn’t know why he took so long to come up with this answer. I even felt ridiculed at his words that didn’t even care about his own reputation.

 

This empire is tolerant of men’s conduct. No matter how someone makes fun of men’s lower bodies, the only one who gets criticized is women.

 

“You don’t have to worry about that. My father will take care of it. He’s already got a record for that.”

 

“Record? I’m sorry, I didn’t understand.”

 

I decided to expose my parent’s secrets to make him understand.

 

“I’m sure Duke already knows. The story of my parents, the romance of the century. A love story between the second son of a humble baron and a noble princess.”

 

As soon as Duke Kaien heard my words, he nodded as if he understood.

 

“I understand. To be honest, this is a tempting offer. The book will surely help my close friend, the second prince.”

 

“Then, do you accept the contract?”

 

Duke Kaien’s deep black eyes stared straight at me.

 

“Yes, Lady Arianne. I accept the contract.”

 

That was a relief. Of course, I expected him to accept the offer, but we didn’t know what would happen in the future.

 

“Then, shall we write the contract? It’s good to be certain of anything.”

 

I brought the prepared contract and handed it out to him. He laughed as if he didn’t expect me to immediately bring a contract.

 

“Lady Arianne. You’re well prepared.”

 

“I’m in a bit of a hurry right now. Because I never know when I will be sold.”

 

Duke Kaien glanced at me for a moment, then silently glanced through the contract.

 

[Contract

Arianne Bornes (hereinafter referred to as ‘A’) and Charter Kaien (hereinafter referred to as ‘B’) sign contracts as follows and agree to faithfully fulfill them. 

  1.   ‘A’ and ‘B’ get married.
  2.   The validity of this contract shall be one year from the date of the wedding ceremony.
  3.   ‘A’ and ‘B’ do not interfere with each other during the marriage period.
  4.   ‘A’ and ‘B’ maintain the image of a good couple externally during the contract period.
  5.   ‘B’ pays ‘A’ the living expenses and dignity maintenance worthy of the duchess.
  6.   When ‘B’ divorces ‘A,’ ‘A’ shall be paid 1 million gold or something equivalent to alimony.
  7.   ‘A’ shall pay ‘B’ half of what was promised on the wedding day and the other half on the divorce day.
  8.   Contractors faithfully carry out what is written above, and in case of violation, they will pay a corresponding price.
  9.   If ‘A’ violates the contract, ‘A’ will get a divorce without any alimony.
  10. If ‘B’ violates the contract, the diamond mine owned by ‘B’ will be given to ‘A.’

 

Arianne Bornes signature________ Charter Kaien signature_______]

 

 

Duke Kaien looked up and looked at me with a bewildered face.

 

“You’re a more thorough person than I thought. But why for one year?”

 

“Yes. Under the current law, you have to maintain your marriage for one year to get the right to claim alimony.”

 

And if it’s his family, wouldn’t the alimony be huge?

 

He looked as if he had been beaten, then smirked.

 

I thought it was nice to see the corners of his mouth gently rising.

 

“All right. So, I need to sign here, right?”

 

Duke Kaien said so, finished his signature, and handed the contract to me. I also signed without hesitation.

 

There were three contracts in total. Each of us has one, and the other would be given to the lawyer. When I looked at the contract signed by the two of us, I almost cried.

 

Finally, I can get out of this hellish place. I’m freed from my devilish father, who sees me as a tool.

 

It has been three years since I decided to copy my father’s secret ledger as insurance against unforeseen events. I went in and out of his study like a rat for three years. I managed to copy all the secret ledgers involving the nobles in the capital. There was a time when I almost got caught by my father and felt nervous watching the servants come and go.

 

Drenched in emotion while holding the contract as I remembered the dark things from the past, a voice broke my sentiments.

 

“Lady Arianne. So what should I do from now on?”

 

I feel offended. As if it was not enough to break my feelings, he wants me to tell him what to do from now on? I already fed you rice, but you want to be fed dessert too? Not even a five-year-old kid act like that.

 

“Now, the Duke should take care of it by yourself, right?”

 

I then added, “What the hell are you talking about? If I’ve done up to this point, you should do the rest on your own, right? Don’t you know that much?” in nuisance.

 

Because we had already signed the contract, I did not need to be careful not to offend him.

 

Duke Kaien raised the corners of his mouth as if having fun with my bold words and opened his mouth.

 

“All right, Lady Arianne. No, from now on, I will call you ‘Arianne.’ Wouldn’t it be right to omit formalities between lovers?”

 

“Yes. From now on, I will call you ‘Charter,’” I replied coyly.

 

He was still staring at me with his mouth open at what was so funny

 

Hey, your gaze is going to pierce my face.

 

“Then, Arianne, I will excuse myself.”

 

“Yes. Goodbye.”

 

In the end, Duke Kaien politely said goodbye. Then he smirked at my coy attitude, quietly opened the door, and left. Shortly after he left, I stretched out on the sofa and felt relaxed.

 

“Hu. It’s finally over. I’m going to take a nap… huh? What? Did he just go out from that door? Right now, at this time? No way… That crazy man!!!”

 

I bounce off the sofa.

 

Apparently, Duke Kaien went out the door. That was something very bold.

 

* * *

 

Shortly after leaving Arianne’s room, Charter looked for Count Bornes. No one has ever notified the guest, and the sudden appearance of that man caused a stir among the servants. Count Bornes had to face an utterly unwelcome face.

 

“This is so embarrassing. What brings you to my house?”

 

Charter didn’t seem to care at all when he saw Count Bornes’s pale face. He opened his mouth as he watched Count Bornes.

 

“Please allow me to marry Lady Arianne Bornes.”

 

Count Bornes’s eyes widened as if they were about to pop out.

 

“What… What are you saying now?”

 

He seriously thought that Duke Kaien was drunk because of last night. Otherwise, there was no way that someone who had never made eye contact with him would come here without an appointment and show such arrogance.

 

“I will pretend I didn’t hear it. Please go back.”

 

Count Bornes had no intention or reason to listen to Charter, so he immediately ordered to send him back.

 

Before long, the talk of handing Arianne as the crown prince’s concubine had ended. There was no reason for him to hand over his only daughter for free unless someone paid the corresponding price.

 

The reaction of Count Bornes was as expected.

 

“I was with her last night,” said Charter.

 

Technically speaking, it was dawn, not night.

 

As if to say, ‘I had chicken soup this morning,’ Charter’s tone was so dry that Count Bornes couldn’t understand what he meant at once. It was only after a brief silence that he was able to grasp the situation properly now.

 

“Now, are you saying that you were with my daughter last night? You shameless!”

 

Count Bornes, unable to contain his boiling anger, slammed the desk with his fists and shouted. Contrary, Duke Kaien showed no sign of shame. He was merely receiving the bitter gaze of Count Bornes with an expressionless face.

 

“Huh.”

 

Count Bornes lamented.

 

He’s doomed. He couldn’t send his daughter, who had been unchastity, to the crown prince. He couldn’t even put the matter to rest by asking Duke Kaien for the duel. His opponent is the best swordsman in the empire. His opponent was not only good with a sword but also at archery and many others.

 

How dare my naughty daughter misbehaves. How did I raise her all this whole time! Count Bornes’s irreplaceable anger turned to Arianne. He was just a man who thought all he had to provide for his daughter was food and clothing. The woman’s happiness he knew came from the fancy dress, fancy carriages, delicious foods, and jewels.

 

What to do? What the hell am I supposed to say to Duke Krow?

 

It was a position that was barely earned after months of hard work. If he said he couldn’t send his daughter, it wouldn’t end up simply being trampled by Duke Krow. Arianne was a chance for him to solidify his position in the crown prince’s faction…

 

Count Bornes was distracted by his daughter’s betrayal and forgot about Charter’s proposal.

 

Just how can I get over this? Should I cover up Duke Kaien’s mouth by bribing him?

 

Charter had been staring at him indifferently, who was grumbling for a long time on his forehead.

 

It’s annoying. He wasn’t kind enough to repeat what he had said. 

 

As Count Bornes seemed indecisive, Charter spoke again.

 

“I will marry Lady Arianne Bornes.”

 

Count Bornes’s head lit up. 

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