I looked at the bruise marks in the mirror.
I did well for months, preparing for my debutante, but of all places, I was taken to the basement on the morning of my abduction.
Needless to say, the Count must have heard some bad rumors among the nobility. Fortunately, he sent me back to my room at night.
The thought of all the effort I made would have been for nothing made me shudder. Looking at the bruises, it looked like it would last for at least a week.
I didn’t want Devan to find out before then. I tightened my gown as tightly as I could. It was a bit ridiculous, but better than being discovered.
I followed the old butler’s instructions and hurried to my room. Right at the first crossroads, straight ahead, half a floor of stairs, then right again to the room at the end of the hallway. I remembered slowly and cleanly.
Even that was good, because the bathroom was closer to the room than the hall. Apparently, the room I woke up in after being abducted the first time was my room.
It had a nice view of the window on a fairly high floor, and most importantly, the interior was beautiful. It was a shame there was no goldware to steal and the maze of corridors, though.
Anyway, so what if there were no servants? Washing clothes was no problem for me since I had memories from my previous life, but putting on the clothes was different.
Clothes in this world were impossible to wear alone from the beginning.
Aside from the complexity of the order, it was essential to have someone to help you tie the many strings on your back one by one.
I wondered if the butler would do it.
I imagined him tying the strings with shaky hands, which made me laugh out loud.
It would be a good idea to change to clothes that wouldn’t require such strings. I was going to live quietly as a commoner when I left this country anyway.
I didn’t want to stick to the complicated dresses that nobles wear.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door.
I hurriedly tightened the gown and answered it after a beat of rest.
Carefully, the door opened. Surprisingly, it was not the old butler standing there, but a young woman.
“I’m Hilda, Young Lady. Oh, oh, I’m going to take care of the Lady today.”
She shuddered, her body shaking, and her childish face was full of freckles.
“I thought there were no servants….”
“Well, that’s why His Highness……he suddenly ordered….. .”
I opened my eyes wide, looked at Hilda, and nodded.
“Yeah …… I guess. Did you bring the dress?”
Hilda showed the dress in her hand. The old butler’s taste wasn’t so bad.
“Then can you help me change?”
Hilda was better at her job than I expected.
She looked clumsy in everything, but she had me dressed in no time.
Sehe could clearly see my bruises there and she didn’t say a word. That’s what I liked most about her.
“How did you get here?”
After putting in the dress, Hilda combed my hair. She didn’t stake much like earlier.
“The word that His Highness the Grand Duke was going to get married spread through the territory.”
“I, ha, but, I, I, will never tell anyone!”
Hilda squeezed her eyes shut. I asked, blinking my eyes.
“What is it?”
“Huh? Yes, that’s why the Lady came to His Highness’ house… To marry…….”
At my shout, Hilda dropped the comb.
“I’m sorry, My Lady!”
“My marriage? Tell me in detail.”
I was forcibly kidnapped, but marriage? How in the world did such a rumor spread?
No, shouldn’t the abduction itself be a secret in the first place? If it was known that I was here, it wouldn’t be good for him either.
Hilda, who was avoiding my puzzled eyes, hesitated and spoke.
“But …… His Highness the Grand Duke is an utterly cruel man,………. That’s why he hasn’t married yet……………. Whenever a young woman is seen in this house, we think she is forced to marry…”
Hilda’s story can be summarized as follows.
Devan placed an advertisement throughout his domain to find servants for a Young Lady. Naturally, rumors spread that he had taken a young woman into his castle.
The rumor was soon misrepresented as Devan bought a woman from somewhere and forced her into marriage.
I was too perplexed to continue speaking. Rumors aside, he had the nerve to reveal too brazenly that there was a young woman in his castle.
If this fact were to spread outside the territory, there would be people who would be curious about the identity of the young woman who suddenly appeared.
And what if the rumors of Count Diego’s daughter’s disappearance were combined with that?
There might be a few people who would suspect I was the Young Lady.
Of course, I didn’t think Count Diego would be looking for me.
He saw me as a nuisance and difficult to deal with, and was glad that I was gone. He probably already held a funeral for me.
No matter how much so. I think the Grand Duke was too careless.
He was the one who kidnapped me, so why should I be more worried about him?
“Hey, young lady. By the way, um, is His Highness the Grand Duke really that cruel?”
Hilda shuddered, but it seemed to be curious.
Now that I looked at it, she was so curious about the rumors that she applied for the servant job.
‘Yes, she did.’
I stared blankly at the mirror.
Cruel. I knew that such rumors were spreading throughout the empire.
There were also rumors that he was trying to drag his brother down from the throne.
“Don’t you think so?”
All I knew for sure was that it wasn’t my business.
I would be leaving this place altogether in a short while, and all I needed was money.
Devan Lantimos’ nerves were on edge.
It was partly because of the hope that perhaps the curse that had tormented him for so long might disappear, and partly because of the fear that this time his hope might be shattered.
He thought of my voice, which was bold, not unlike the dry wrist he held in one hand. He thought of Evelyn, Count Diego’s daughter, who smelled like daisies….
Devan was convinced that I was the hero of the prophecy. I was raised in the temple with immense divine power and adopted as a Count’s daughter.
He was sure of everything, from the fact that the seal of the Count Diego symbolized the Sun Goddess to the scent of daisy flowers wafting from my body.
He was not one to move without certainty. All the clues were pointing to me.
Certainly I was the main character of the prophecy.
Even though he thought so, he was still somewhat suspicious.
Devan slumped deeper into his chair and slowly stroked his chin.
It wasn’t just a rumor that I had lost my divine powers. It had been that way from the beginning. The young lady was somehow different from what he imagined.
Of course, he couldn’t see my appearance, but he could hear my voice and the way I sounded somewhat regal.
Moreover, even though I was kidnapped, I proposed a deal to him. It became wildly ridiculous when he remembered that time.
Money and status to leave the empire.
In fact, some people had demanded him for money and power in return for lifting his curse.
But they were all dumb. They all claimed they were confident in their divine power, but could not even pour divine power into Devan’s body, let alone cure him.
Those who really believed that Devan would later take the throne. There were those who just wanted a lot of money and Devan’s power.
Evelyn, however, was different. She was the daughter of Count Diego, a wealthy and famous man. She didn’t need to make a fortune or rise in status. Yes, that was the most ridiculous point for Devan.
Money enough to leave this country. It was too little money for Count Diego and for him. It was too little for the price of releasing him from a curse that had caused him a lifetime of pain.
Devan shook his head after imagining one thing or another for a while.
What was certain was that it was none of his business.
As long as she released the curse, Devan could give her anything she wanted. Even if all she wanted was his entire fortune.
Even if it was, he was ready to pay.
Devan shook his head, deeply buried in a chair.
He didn’t need to waste his thoughts. He decided to concentrate solely on fixing his curse. He was waiting for Evelyn. To be exact, Evelyn’s treatment.
She washed and was fed as she asked, so it was time for the cure.
He also instructed the butler to tell Evelyn, so she would be here soon. He finally calmed his nervous, throbbing heart.
Just then, he heard a strange sound in the air.
It sounded like a mischievous laugh. Devan’s eyebrows wriggled up.
<Are you having fun? >
Something continued to talk to him. But Devan couldn’t see anything around him.
He tried to ignore it.
<What do you think about her?>
Devan snorted lowly, unable to stand it. But the voice didn’t stop. He covered his face with his hands.
It had been five years. Something unidentified was talking to him.
He didn’t know its identity or what it wanted.
He just knew that it was invisible to people.
Sometimes he thought he was crazy. Or maybe this was part of the curse. If the curse disappeared, would the voice also disappear?
I heard a knock at the door. At the same time, the presence he felt in the void disappeared in an instant.
“I brought the Lady.”
It was the voice of the butler. Devan quickly raised his head and took a deep breath .
Carefully, the door opened.
The familiar footsteps of the old butler were followed by light footsteps.
Devan slowly focused his mind. Soon things and people began to appear very faintly.
Only the frames of objects and people in the midst of all the blackness appeared to be dark blue.
This was another ability that was created five years ago when the strange voice appeared.
He couldn’t say that he could see perfectly, but he could see a minimal shape.
This ability kept him from falling and bumping into things in an unseemly manner.
“I’ll be outside.”
The old butler left the room cautiously. Devan said to Evelyn, who stood placidly in the middle of the room.