Chapter 1. From the Breakup of the Marriage
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[The Angellus family suddenly declares withdrawal from military business!]
[The magic stone mine was put up for sale, but no one is buying it…]
[The mines around Bruman fall into the hands of Perdia!]
Various newspapers in the empire scrambled to discuss the Angellus family’s change of heart.
At the same time, Perdia’s purchase of the mines around Bruman made headlines.
Although not openly, they were articles that satirized Angellus while praising Perdia.
It was a perfect victory for Perdia.
“That man must be very angry by now,” I said with a small smirk.
In the original, the Duke of Angellus appeared as the father of the villain, Dorothea Angellus.
I remembered him as being greedy, and a person who kept the Duke of Perdia in check and interfered with everything.
We had no point of contact, so I never had a conversation with him, but on the outside, he was a rather plain-looking old man who acted like a gentleman.
Originally, it would have been much later for an article like this to come out, but it was quickly resolved by my intervention.
‘A good thing must be a good thing.’
It was just a matter of repaying the kindness for raising me.
I searched through the Toinette Weekly magazine and thought hard about whether there was another method to get money, but I realized that I couldn’t do anything because I lacked business funds.
“I should make some antidote.”
When I tried to make it a while ago, I had to go to the dinner room instead of drinking it because the first prince came.
Sitting at my desk again, I scanned the bottles of poison.
But something was strange.
‘Why does it feel like the number of bottles has decreased?’
I couldn’t be sure because I didn’t bother counting the number of poison bottles, but it felt strange.
I’ll have to ask the Duchess later.
Just as I grabbed a bottle with poison, I heard a knock.
At that moment I had a hunch.
“It’s happening today as well….”
I can’t make any antidote today either.
When allowed to enter, the butler with a serious face stepped inside.
“The Lord is calling. Hurry up, miss.”
“I don’t dare to fathom my master’s will, but I think he wants to talk about what happened with the Angellus family.”
Due to Perdia’s personality, it was clear that he wanted to give a reward, just like last time I found out that the aide was a traitor.
However, the resolution of this case was actually tantamount to stealing a solution fom Jansi from the future, so it was embarrassing to say that I suggested this solution.
‘But what can I do? I’ll go if you tell me to.’
After a while, when I entered the Duke’s office, I was a little taken aback.
As he entrusted the solution to his two sons, I thought Jansi and Carlot would be present, but I didn’t expect to be alone with the Duke.
As I hesitantly approached, the Duke, who was reading the newspaper on the table, raised his eyes.
Bright golden eyes stared at me.
“Relax. I won’t eat you.”
It was a joke to help me relax, but my heart shrunk even more.
‘It doesn’t sound like a joke if you say it with such a serious face.’
The Duke, who was still looking at my nervous self, soon began to smile.
As if it’s cute.
‘It can’t be that I’m cute to him.’
No delusions are allowed. Don’t let your guard down, Elodie!
At the Duke’s command, I glanced at the newspaper he was reading. It was the Toinette Weekly I was looking at earlier. There were headlines about the defeat of Angellus and the victory of Perdia.
Seeing that my gaze was on the newspaper, the Duke leaned back and said languidly.
“The editor-in-chief was quite quick to catch on.”
“Did Father put pressure on the newspaper……?”
“Well, I didn’t force them.”
You forced them.
Just sitting still with that face and that atmosphere would have been a threat.
It was because the opponent was Sylvester Perdia, the head of Perdia.
He was a person whose existence itself was a weapon.
That was why I felt uncomfortable sitting face-to-face with the Duke.
I opened my mouth first because I wanted to go back to my room as soon as possible.
“Why did you call me?”
The Duke looked at me instead of answering my question.
“Did you not want to come?”
The Duke asked out of the blue before I had finished speaking.
Don’t you want to come?
Puzzled by an unexpected question, I couldn’t say anything.
If I said no, it would be a lie, and if I said yes, you might hate me even more.
Fortunately, the Duke opened his mouth before I could answer.
“I called to give you a reward. Thanks to Elodie, I’ve been helped twice.”
“It just happened. I was lucky.”
“It can’t be luck.”
What does that mean?
Even if I tried to read his inner thoughts from his expression, there would be no way for it to be possible.
It had always been the case. Since I could remember, the Duke always looked at me with an indifferent face.
But the latest maneuver had been quite strange.
He called and asked for my opinion on his business, when he normally wouldn’t call and gave me extra pocket money for not making purchases while not caring about what I was doing. And it was unlike the Duke to attach one of his sons as my escort.
Because he never cared about where I was or what I was doing.
‘You didn’t want to see me, so I guess you left me in the annex and didn’t even look at me.’
What bothered me the most were the meaningful eyes that I saw whenever I met the Duke after I regained the memories of my previous life.
Those eyes that seem to see someone else through me.
‘Is it my mother?’
But I couldn’t get the question out of my mouth. Because in Perdia my mother’s name was forbidden.
I looked up.
I made eye contact with the Duke who was staring at me the whole time.
“I have a question.”
“What is it?”
“………Why did you ask me for my opinion?”
At the dinner with the first prince, I stayed there without saying anything, maintaining the attitude of not being there.
Although I had the surname of Perdia, I was a stranger who could not become a family member.
It was the Duke who brought me into the family conversation while I was standing outside the fence.
“I wonder what you think.”
Was there anyone who knew that I existed there?
I, who claimed to be a stranger, had no choice but to participate in the conversation at the Duke’s question.
There were many things I didn’t understand about the Duke’s attitude, but the most incomprehensible thing was the question.
Wasn’t it a sudden question that surprised everyone else as well?
You never asked for my opinion. Not once since I was born. So, I really wanted to know the reason.
The Duke, who was looking at me, replied calmly.
“Because I thought you could solve it now.”
‘The current me?’
Was it compared to the old me who used to be abusive?
The Duke’s word continued without time to think.
“I’ve always watched you.”
“Isn’t it different lately? You seem to be deep in thought, so I asked for your opinion.”
You’ve been watching me.
That was a fact I would have never dreamed of.
‘Because I was an unwanted illegitimate child…….’
But the Duke’s words sounded as if he had thought of me as his own daughter.
“I thought you weren’t interested in me.”
“As you know, my personality is like this. I just didn’t make it obvious.”
“Especially young children. They are scared when they see me and cry so hard that I tend to not go near them.”
The Duke added a word as if to make an excuse.
‘So because you thought I would be scared; you didn’t look at my younger self?’
There was no reason for the Duke to lie, so he meant what he just said, but it didn’t feel real.
It was because it was such a dreamy story.
I looked down at my hands with a blank face.
The Duke said to me, “Tell me what you want.”
There was something I wanted.
That you won’t kill me no matter what. Because what I desperately want more than anything now is my survival.
A generous generosity to the point of not killing me even if it turns out I’m not his daughter.
No, actually what I wanted the most was–
“Then, praise me.”
I wanted to feel loved even for a moment.
It was okay even if this was the first and the last time. I will be satisfied with the memory of being a family just once.
‘Yes, that’s right. I know my place well.’
Even if the Duke really thought of me as his own daughter and had been watching over me, I wasn’t really his daughter.
What if the Duke finds out? Will he treat me like he is doing now?
The Duke reached his hand out to me, who was trying to control my fluctuating emotions.
As I approached timidly, the Duke reached out and stroked my head.
It was an unfamiliar and clumsy touch.
“Well done, Elodie.”
I felt like crying. But I tried hard not to cry.
It suddenly occurred to me.
‘Why now of all things.’
3-year-old Elodie, whose only companion was her nanny’s daughter, Martha; 10 year-old Elodie, who cried when her younger brother, whom she wanted to be close to, called her a dirty illegitimate child; 14 year-old Elodie, who was hurt by the unkind social atmosphere…….
No, it was always the attention Elodie wanted.
Wouldn’t I have been genuinely happy if it had been the past where I believed I was the Duke’s biological daughter?
But even now, when I learned of my birth, I was pleased with the Duke’s praise.
Because I wanted to be a family; I wanted to be recognized, to be loved.
‘……This much is fine.’
I couldn’t get rid of the thought that I was deceiving the Duke by pretending to be his real daughter.
So, when I’m ready to be independent, let’s leave this family without delay.
Because that was my only goal.
The Duke, who never knew that I was thinking this way, was still indifferent and friendly.
“But this prize is not enough.”
“No, isn’t it a reward for a father to praise his daughter?”
“Think about it.”
The tears I had been holding back burst out as soon as I left the office.
I didn’t want to cry, but there was no way it would go my way.
I didn’t want to show this to anyone, so I was deliberately walking down a deserted path, but Carlot was walking towards me from the other side.
I didn’t want to deal with him, so I passed him without saying anything, but Carlot blocked my way.
“You treat me as someone who doesn’t exist anymore-”
Carlot’s words cut off. I could feel the gaze looking closely at me with my head down.
“……Hey, why are you crying?”
A look of bewilderment was evident on Carlot’s face.
‘Is it your first time seeing someone cry?’
After giving Carlot a glance, I tried to go my way, but he stood in my way and wouldn’t move away.
“Did Father punish you? Did you do something else wrong?”
“It’s not like that.”
“No. Did you say you were breaking up again?”
I hadn’t talked to him lately, and it was very burdensome and annoying to suddenly talk to him.
“Just walk by, Carl. As always.”
After wiping away the tears that were still accumulated with the hem of my clothes, I looked up and saw Carlot with a frown.
I tilted my head as I looked at Carlot, who was staring at me for some reason.
“What, do you have something to say?”
“I–….no there’s nothing.”
“Oh, there isn’t! And what are you going to do if someone watches you go around crying like that? Are you going to take responsibility, if there’s a strange rumor? If it’s Perdia, keep your dignity like Perdia!”
“You’re the only one who saw me cry-”
“I don’t know. I’m busy. I’m going!”
I murmured as I watched the back of Carlot, who stomped away and disappeared.
“What the. He says he has nothing to say, but he says everything he wants to say……”
Tears welled up thanks to you.
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