Chapter 2

****

 

What in the world was the problem?

 

Was it the mistake of reading the novel again after I had read so many times?

 

Or was it the beer I drank alone before turning on my cell phone?

 

But at that time, I couldn’t seem to fall asleep without the help of alcohol.

 

I joined the advertising company that I had wanted so much since I was in college, and after three whole years, I won the position of deputy manager.

 

My parents were happy with the increase in salary, but all the late night shifts made my face emaciated.

 

Dreams and reality were different.

 

I hated the time that had passed, wondering why I had wanted to join this company so badly.

 

My peers who graduated from the same school criticized me, saying that it was a blessing for me to be able to join the company but I kept complaining.

 

The only thing that understood my mind was alcohol.

 

It got to the point where I couldn’t sleep without it.

 

When I came back from the night shift, I would grab a beer as a habit.

 

My daily routine was to fall asleep while reading a novel on my cell phone with some amount of alcohol in my system.

 

For me, novels were the only thing where I could forget the bloody reality.

 

And so that day marked the end of my corporate life.

 

I was sexually harassed at a meeting to discuss re-signing a contract with actor Song, an official model for the K brand. They usually didn’t like to talk in normal places, and always preferred expensive bars.

 

If there’s a problem, it’s someone who takes a meeting place in a bar to handle extremely clerical work.

 

Not many people were normal.

 

In the first place, we met at a table where I were prepared to deal with anything bad that might happen.

 

However, when such a thing happened right in front of me, I couldn’t think of anything.

 

First, I managed to get out of my seat and reported the incident, and actor Song was taken away by the police in a drunken state.

 

The next day, however, as soon as I arrived at work, Team Leader Kim approached me with an angry face and shouted.

 

“How in the world did you handle the work? I’ve been getting calls from actor Song all morning! Don’t even dream of re-signing!”

 

Despite the fact that I had confided the whole story of the incident to him, Team Manager Kim only nagged me what to do now that I messed up so badly.

 

At the same time, my patience had reached its limit.

 

After silently listening to him, I quickly turned around and walked to the desk in the office. Then I took out a white envelope from a drawer and immediately threw it to him.

 

It was a resignation letter that I had kept in my desk drawer since I first joined the company.

 

Ignoring Team Leader Kim, who was looking down at the envelope with a panicked look on his face, I immediately took my bag and left the building.

 

Finally, it was enough time for me to endure this kind of treatment.

 

If the problem was that I endured the time I had studied to join the advertising company, it would have been enough to give up.

 

I didn’t have the character to endure everything like a pure heroine from the start.

 

As soon as I got home, I took a beer out of the fridge and drank it, as was my habit.

 

It was a disaster.

 

As usual, I fell asleep reading a novel on my cell phone to shake off the thoughts that were boiling in my head.

 

And when I woke up, I found myself in the novel I was reading.

 

***

 

Filina had a firm expression on her face as she strode into the study.

 

Laura, who was following her closely, gazed at her with a look of respect as she moved forward.

 

The Debussy was a noble family famous for its vices.

 

Strict hierarchy and subtle competition.

 

It was a place that one could not enter without a certain amount of courage.

 

Filina had two more siblings.

 

Among them, she was the only one who had the Debussy’s blood in her veins.

 

Amy, who gave birth to Filina, planned to have a son to take over the family line, but the pregnancy didn’t go as planned, so she ended up adopting one boy and one girl from an orphanage.

 

Even though Filina was the only one who had her parents’ blood, she was always turned away because she was not good for the family.

 

Filina, however, never flinched.

 

In fact, she became a nuisance to the family members who talked to her.

 

Even in front of her father, Gabriel Debussy, who was famous for his cold-heartedness, Filina would purse her lips with a look of indifference.

 

This was evident even at this moment, as she faced her father.

 

Unlike Laura, who glanced at her with a nervous expression before stepping into the study, Filina knocked without hesitation with a bored face, and her movements were quite relaxed.

 

“Father, it’s Filina.”

 

There was no sound coming from inside the study.

 

Laura quietly gulped down her spit.

 

Gabriel hated to be disturbed when he read. So when he was in his study, his family avoided approaching him as much as possible.

 

“I’m coming in.”

 

But Filina opened the door to the study without a care in the world.

 

Laura searched the study quickly with trembling eyes.

 

Gabriel was leaning back in his chair with her eyes closed. He seemed to have fallen asleep when she heard faint breathing.

 

“Young lady, I think master is sleeping, why don’t you come back later?”

 

Filina ignored Laura’s words and walked slowly over to Gabriel’s desk.

 

All that could be seen in the large space was a single book open on both sides and a pocket watch.

 

With a relaxed gesture, Filina lifted the round-shaped clock.

 

Laura looked at her holding it with curious eyes and asked,

 

“The time isn’t right. Is it broken?”

 

It was now no later than 9 am. However, the minute hand on my pocket watch was pointing to 12:35.

 

“It’s not broken.”

 

Filina said as she put the watch back. She stared quietly at the sleeping Gabriel.

 

“My father must have set it for twelve o’clock on purpose and then gone to sleep.”

 

The reason why he stopped by the study every morning was simple.

 

It was to get rid of some of the insomnia he had before. Reading books can help him fall asleep.

 

“Is that so? I had no idea.”

 

Laura looked at Filina with an astonished expression on her face.

 

Laura’s reaction was not particularly strange.

 

Perhaps it was because the only person who knew about this fact was Filina at the Debussy’s residence.

 

In the original story, Gabriel explained that the reason why he was particularly more nervous than the others was because he was always suffering from insomnia from dealing with mountains of work in the ducal mansion by himself.

 

It was not an unreasonable statement.

 

Because the dukes of the five families in the Alvar Empire, most of them had a difficult personality.

 

Although it was not clear if their personalities naturally changed when they held the position of duke, or if they inherited that aspect from ancient times.

 

At least Gabriel belonged to the latter.

 

Filina smiled softly and walked over to Gabriel.

 

“It’s been more than half an hour since my father fell asleep, so he won’t say anything to me if I wake him up.”

 

 

The pocket watch acted as a kind of timer.

 

The minute hand returned to a constant noise and a very minute sound clicked as it pointed to exactly thirty minutes. Gabriel used his pocket watch as an alarm.

 

From the very beginning, it was a terrible thing to wake up to that fine clattering sound, but anyone who knew his temperament, which was sensitive enough to notice small changes in this area of silence and stillness, could understand it.

 

It was always the same time when he went to sleep in his study.

 

Normally, he woke up on the half hour mark, but today it was five minutes later.

 

And even though there were two people in the study, Gabriel closed his eyes with a blank look on his face.

 

Apparently, he had fallen into a very deep sleep today, which was different from usual.

 

His constant breathing was the only thing that came and went in the quiet space.

 

He closed his eyes peacefully, but the deep wrinkles between his brows didn’t look too comfortable.

 

‘Why does he have such an angry face even when he’s sleeping?’

 

Filina stared at Gabriel’s face and cautiously opened her mouth.

 

“Father.”

 

Filina’s small hand lightly tapped Gabriel’s shoulder.

 

Laura’s face was tense as she watched.

 

It wasn’t long before she had a vivid picture of him opening his eyes and yelling at her.

 

“Get out!”

 

Filina shook Gabriel once more. Soon, his eyebrows seemed to wriggle a bit, and then his eyes slowly opened.

 

Gabriel, who had the same red irises as Filina, stared at her.

 

“An hour has passed since I came to the study.”

 

He spat out a rough calculation of the time he had spent reading and sleeping.

 

Filina didn’t know what to expect, but she was well aware of Gabriel’s bad habit of getting angry.

 

Gabriel dropped his gaze and checked the clock on his desk. He wanted to make sure that Filina was telling the truth.

 

“What brings you here?”

 

He said in a low voice with his hand propped up on his forehead.

 

He looked somewhat tired as he checked his watch.

 

Filina, who’d been silently watching him, opened her mouth with a soft smile.

 

“I’d like to ask father a favor.”

 

“…A favor?”

 

Gabriel stared at her, frowning.

 

Never before had Filina come to him to ask him for something.

 

And even more so to interrupt his time with something as private as today.

 

Gabriel put his hands on the table and stared at Filina.

 

Looking at the heavy gaze leisurely, a wistful smile escaped Filina’s lips.

 

“Please send me to that swordsmanship school.”

 

The air around them sank quietly for a moment at the sound of Filina’s voice.

 

Laura, who was standing beside her, stared at Filina with a shocked face. Gabriel stared at her with a stiff expression, then quickly gave a twisted laugh.

 

“So you’re finally going crazy.”

 

Filina, who raised her lips slightly as if she knew he would say so, calmly recited.

 

“I’m serious, father.”

Notes

N/A

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