Chapter 9. Pick one

 

 

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I thought we were going to his office, but to my great surprise, we had a different destination. The place where the Duke of Perdia stopped was in front of his private bedroom.

 

‘Why did we come here?’ I questioned in my head.

 

Ever since my mother brought me to Perdia, I grew up in an annex.

 

There had never been any noticeable discrimination, such as barring access to the main building, but there were some spaces that could not be entered.

 

The first was the Duchess’s greenhouse, the second was the basement of the mansion where Perdia sealed off gluttony from the seven deadly sins, and the third was the Duke’s bedroom.

 

When I only thought that I was an illegitimate child, I didn’t even dare to approach him because the Duke was so indifferent.

 

And now that I know I’m not even his daughter, I had to try even harder to keep my distance from the Duke.

 

The Duke opened the bedroom door without hesitation and went inside.

 

I hesitated, not knowing what to do. The Duke looked back at me.

 

“Come in.”

 

“Yes……!”

 

I hurried into the bedroom and closed the door.

 

The Duke’s bedroom, which I saw for the first time since I was born, was a room with a heavy atmosphere that matched the man well.

 

The bedroom itself was spacious, but the furniture was also very minimalist, which made it look even more spacious.

 

Even though it was still daytime, most of the windows had thick curtains, so the only window letting in sunlight was a small one.

 

It was a bedroom that was very much like the Duke himself.

 

I was looking around the room to the point where I don’t think that it’s considered polite, when suddenly the Duke started taking off his shirt.

 

I stifled the urge to say ‘Oh my’ out loud and simply thought it instead.

 

I slowly averted my eyes. It looked like he was about to change his clothes because blood was splattered on them from when he interrogated the aide.

 

‘What a nice body.’

 

The muscles of his body could not be thought of as the body of a father of two grown sons; it was like a work of art. As he reached a certain level of swordsmanship, his aging of the body became slower, and his appearance was stopped in his twenties. In short, he did not look like a child’s father.

 

(Editor’s note: Okay, Daddyyyy)

 

‘This is why there are so many wives who admire the Duke of Perdia.’

 

I could fully understand that feeling.

 

There were countless large and small scars on his upper body. 

 

It was a side that showed that the power of the shadows went through countless hardships in order to solidify the position as the head of the Perdia family.

 

I waited for the Duke to finish changing his clothes.

 

The Duke tossed his bloody sword onto the pile of discarded clothes and looked at me.

 

“Sit down.”

 

As I sat down on the sofa awkwardly, the Duke sat across from me. 

 

As he sat down, he brought up the subject right away.

 

“How did you know?”

 

It was a question that had neither a subject nor an object, but it was not difficult to understand what was being asked.

 

The question is: ‘how did you know that the aide was working with the second prince?’

 

It seemed better to mix the facts to some extent than to cover them up with lies.

 

“I ran into Sir Arold in the hallway not long before His Majesty’s birthday party,” I began earnestly. 

 

“……….”

 

I hadn’t even said anything false yet, but the Duke stared at me with grave eyes.

 

Even though it wasn’t a reprimanding or questioning look my throat began to feel thirsty.

 

“At that time, Sir Arold had a strange misunderstanding and left.”

 

“Misunderstanding?” The Duke asked, his voice still laced with its characteristic monotony. 

 

“Yes, that I like the Second Prince-.”

 

Crack-.

 

I stopped talking at a tremendous sound; when I lowered my eyes, I saw a distorted chunk of desk in the Duke’s hand.

 

“…….?”

 

‘Does that mean that you will break me like that desk?’ 

 

Frightened, I denied the truth with all my heart and soul, exclaiming, “Of course, it’s not true! There’s no way I’d like that playboy!”

 

When I vehemently denied it, the Duke took his hand off the desk and leaned back on the sofa with a slightly relaxed face.

 

The Duke, who rarely shows his emotions, had lost his mind for a moment.

 

‘It must be because things could go awry if I get attached to the second prince, as I am a means of maintaining solidarity with the first prince.’

 

That was the only reason I could think of.

 

But isn’t that a bit too much……?

 

Anyway, the Duke seemed to believe what I said. I took a few deep breaths and then continued the conversation.

 

“I didn’t even bother correcting Sir Arold’s misunderstanding, and then the second prince approached me at the party. As my father saw.”

 

The Duke nodded silently.

 

I remembered the conversation on the balcony where I warned him.

 

“That’s why I told you to be careful.”

 

It was barely a lie. I only intentionally leaked fake information to the Duke’s aide that I liked the second prince, but everything after that was all true.

 

“Okay. I see, that’s what happened.”

 

The Duke did not seem to be suspicious of my words.

 

It was fortunate for me, but I was stunned because I didn’t know that he would trust me like this.

 

There was an awkward silence.

 

If I had tea in front of me, I could drink something, but sadly, there was nothing in front of me.

 

As I was twiddling my fingers and looking around, I asked a question that I had been contemplating whether to ask or not.

 

“What will happen to Sir Arold now?”

 

“Well….he will have to pay for betraying me.”

 

There was no way that the price for betraying Perdia would be light.

 

I knew that if a traitor was discovered, they would be punished according to the family method, but I did not know how exactly they would punish them.

 

“Are you going to kill him?”

 

“No,” the Duke answered tersely. 

 

“Then?”

 

“Death is too lenient for a punishment.”

 

Clearly, his expression and tone were the same as usual, but as I sat across from him, I felt a chill at that moment.

 

I was scared of that face that would give me more pain than death with such a casual gaze.

 

If it was me in the past, I would have asked more questions to get even a crumb of the Duke’s attention, but now I quietly shut up.

 

Because I realized that it was best to stay still.

 

The Duke, who was staring at me, called my name.

 

“Elodie.”

 

“Yes, go ahead.”

 

“For the time being, try not to pass the corridor into the dungeon as much as possible. There are so many rats hiding in the family, so they must be purged on a large scale.

 

“Yes. I’ll keep that in mind.” As I replied with a smile, my heart was pounding.

 

‘Strictly speaking, I’m also a rat hiding in the family.’

 

I’m not even a real daughter, but I’m attached to the family in the name of an illegitimate child. It made my concern stronger for this kind of incident.

 

‘Never get caught!’ I reminded myself sternly.

 

I don’t know if I will end up like the aide if I get caught. 

 

There was no means to protect me now that my biological father, Severes, was in a coma.

 

In addition, before the Duke of Severes fell into a coma, I was told that he had an extremely bad relationship with the Duke of Perdia.

 

The best way was to stay as calm as possible and naturally become independent.

 

It was the moment when I slightly raised my head to say that I would go out now, because I thought the business was over.

 

Our eyes met. His mysterious golden eyes seemed to entangle me.

 

“Elodie.”

 

“……Yes.”

 

“You’ve done a great job in finding the traitor, so let me grant you one wish.”

 

My eyes widened at the unexpected words. I didn’t expect this kind of reward.

 

‘Actually, I want to ask you not to kill me no matter what.’

 

Hah. I’m a Korean who experienced all kinds of hardships in my previous life. I knew that I shouldn’t expect too much from a verbal contract.

 

It means that if you make such a request hastily for no reason, you may face the end of the request rather than ask for it.

 

Then, now that I am in the beginning stage of independence, my request was set.

 

“Then please release the sentence of probation.”

 

It wasn’t bad to spend a leisurely time in the annex like this, but I was starting to feel a sense of crisis that I had to do some outdoor activities.

 

It takes a day or two to ask things through Martha, but now I want to prepare for independence while moving on my own.

 

The request seemed unexpected. The Duke’s expression hardened slightly.

 

“Is that really all?” He asked.

 

“Yes, that’s it.”

 

In the first place, the reason for keeping a low profile was because of the first prince.

 

In addition, I thought he would listen to it because I had been enjoying myself in the annex recently.

 

I think I’ve been really quiet lately.

 

After a while the Duke kindly accepted my request.

 

“Alright. I’ll release you from your probation.”

 

“Thank you, father.”

 

On the outside, I thanked him politely, but on the inside, I was delighted.

 

‘Done!’

 

However, the Duke opened his mouth in a serious manner.

 

“There are conditions instead.”

 

“Conditions….?”

 

I looked at the Duke for these unforeseen circumstances. If you asked me, I would do it, but it was not a Duke’s act to put conditions on me out of nowhere.

 

The Duke, who didn’t care at all whether I was troubled or not, opened his mouth indifferently.

 

“Pick one.”

 

“…….?”

 

“Jansi or Carlot.”

 

‘All of a sudden….’

 

I was even more embarrassed when I was told to choose between his two sons.

 

It was even more absurd because the Duke commanded me to choose a son in a strange tone, as if he was requesting that I pick an item in front of a market stand.

 

“What about those two?” I asked, hoping to somehow escape this condition.

 

“If I release your probation, wouldn’t you leave the mansion?”

 

“Yes, of course. I have to go outside.”

 

“So, take one of the two as an escort.”

 

‘What’s wrong with the Duke?’

 

Do you even care where I go? Do you not know how vain it sounds to say that I will only use his sons as my escort – seriously?

 

Anyway, it’s ridiculous to carry Jansi or Carlot around with me.

 

I was already looking out for those two to avoid them to the best of my ability, but I did not see any results.

 

‘This condition must be stopped………!’

 

I began to make all sorts of excuses to revoke the condition of the Duke desperately.

 

“Older brother Jansi is busy helping father, and Carl is busy practicing swordsmanship. Neither of them will have time to accompany me on my outings. Even if I ask, I’m sure, they will refuse it–.”

 

“Dare they?”

 

I quietly agreed to the arrogant question without a single hesitation.

 

Ah, of course.

 

They can’t help but to obey the orders of their father, who is the head of the house…..

 

But if Duke Perdia had eyes, he would know.

 

That Jansi and Carlot hate me.

 

He was a very wicked and inconsiderate father who did not consider the feelings of his sons. If he had thought about that in the first place, he wouldn’t have told me to choose one of them as my escort.

 

“Then I’ll take the knights belonging to the family instead of these two.”

 

“That cannot be done.”

 

Why do you insist on these two people?

 

“Even if I´m alone, I can go quietly and safely. I’ve been good to the maids all this time….”

 

At first glance, it seemed like a quarrelsome tone, so I slowly looked at the Duke.

 

The Duke’s gaze lingered on my face for a long time. It was a piercing gaze.

 

The Duke, who frowned as if it was annoying, swept down his eyes and sighed.

 

“The Second Prince might approach you. The knights from the family cannot stop him from approaching.”

 

I didn’t think that far.

 

Because to me, the second prince was just a means to get rid of the aide, I didn’t expect that he’d come again.

 

But if you think about it carefully, it was quite possible.

 

I would be the best way to keep the first prince in check, and outside the mansion was the best place to have access to me at any time.

 

I could understand why he told me to take either Jansi or Carlot with me.

 

No matter how royal the second prince is, he won’t be able to easily approach me with Perdia´s immediate family.

 

I understand that, but I didn’t like the thought of going with Jansi or Carlot.

 

“But still,” I protested, “The two of them–”

 

Just as I was about to euphemistically refuse again, the Duke frowned and cut off my words, perhaps because he was running out of patience.

 

“Just take them both.”

 

I replied decisively, repulsed by the remark.

 

“I will choose.”

 

Let me choose….

 

If I have to choose anyway, one is better than two.

 

When I clenched my fists and answered firmly, the Duke who was more relaxed now, asked again.

 

“So who are you going to go with?”

 

Jansi or Carlot. Who the hell should I have as my escort? Whichever one was chosen, it was clear to be a landmine.

 

After a brief reflection, I came to a conclusion.

 

“I’ll take….”

 

PHOTO

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