Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
When I held out the fan, the man looked over the fan and looked at me.
His eyes were wondering, ‘how is she going to defeat the enemy with this?’
As I brought the fan closer to him and said, the man looked carefully at it.
Soon the man, who found a pointed acupuncture point on the tip of the fan rib, let out a small exclamation.
“It’s a needle with paralysis poison. It’s not life-threatening, but you can’t move for two days.”
I lightly pressed the handle of the fan. Then, the needle disappeared into the fan rib.
The man whistled interestingly. “This is my first time seeing this kind of fan.”
“Of course it is. I made this myself.”
The position of the next duchess was more life-threatening than I thought. In particular, when the Duke couple died, the mansion was in danger. Numerous people attacked Philen with me aiming for Duke Williot. When Philen went to the war, the attack became more severe.
There were escort knights, but they couldn’t keep protecting every minute. And I couldn’t trust them completely. In fact, there were times when they attacked me under the guise of a servant or an escort knight.
There were also times when those who I believed betrayed me, and I realized it then. I couldn’t trust anyone. I had to protect myself.
I thought about learning swordsmanship, but it was unacceptable in nobility society for the noble Lady to learn swordsmanship. The noble lady in their heads was like a flower in a greenhouse which had to be protected.
Above all, I wasn’t good at swordsmanship at all. I thought it would take at least 10 years to learn swordsmanship enough to protect myself.
I was wondering if there was another way, and what came to mind was carrying self-defense goods. But, the self-defense goods sold on the market were just too inconvenient and useless to carry around.
“So I made it myself. Something that’s easy for me to use.”
“Amazing.” The man’s eyes glistened with genuine admiration.
I didn’t mean to hear that answer. I was shy for nothing, so I turned and coughed. “Anyway, I want you to get rid of the prejudice that women can’t protect themselves. I can protect myself enough.”
“I didn’t mean it that way, but I apologize if it sounded like that.” The man lowered his head lightly with his hand on his chest.
I shook my head at the impeccably polite apology. “I didn’t mean to ask for an apology either.”
I handed the fan to Sarah, grabbed the hem of my skirt, and bent my knees lightly. “And thank you. Thanks to the Lord, I was safe.”
“It was nothing.” The man replied with a cheerful smile.
Unlike the overbearing atmosphere, he was a gentle man. It would have been nice if Philen was this polite and kind.
What am I thinking now?
Comparing your fiancé to another man. It was a stupid thing to do. It was tantamount to self-painting my face. I quickly erased the delusions that came to mind.
“Then I, may the glory of the empire always be with the Lord.”
“I hope the glory of the empire will always be with you, too.”
I said goodbye to the man and turned around. Sarah followed me with a regretful face.
“He was really handsome and beautiful, the Lord.” In a dreamy voice, Sarah shared a review of the man she had just met. “It would be great if I could have such a beautiful person beside me.”
“So you want to go to that man?”
“No way!” Sarah shook her head in surprise at the joke I threw. “I will serve My Lady forever! So if you become the duchess, please don’t abandon me. My Lady.”
I laughed awkwardly instead of answering Sarah. Then Sarah cried and wept. “Are you going to abandon me?”
“That can’t be true.”
“Then why don’t you answer me?”
That’s because I’m not sure I’ll be the duchess.
Just a while ago, I thought I would be the duchess, but doubts arose after Philen brought Cecily in.
I wonder if I can become the duchess.
But if I were to really become the duchess, I had no intention of abandoning Sarah.
“I won’t abandon you, Sarah.”
“Really, My Lady?”
“Yes. I like you.”
At my answer, Sarah smiled and shouted. “I really like My Lady too!”
I stopped by the capital guard to report the affair of the loan shark before going on a full-fledged tour of the capital.
The guard was crowded with people. On one side, I heard a wailing sound.
As I approached the reception desk, the man sitting at the reception desk looked me up and down. Soon, a businesslike smile appeared on the man’s face who realized that I was a noble.
“What brings you here?”
“I’d like to report.”
“Can you tell me what’s going on?”
I told the man what happened with the loan shark, except that the loaner deliberately acted disrespectfully or threatened me. It was because I didn’t want to be talked about by people for nothing.
“Ah, is that so?”
The man who heard my story nodded as if it was a little annoying.
“If you fill out the report here, we will review it and take action.”
“Aren’t you going to strengthen the patrol?”
“We want to do that too, but we’re short on manpower…”
Lie. It was a red lie. It’s just commoner affairs, so it’s bothersome to deal with. I couldn’t believe this kind of guard was the one who took charge of the capital’s security.
If it was Williot’s estate, I would visit the official in charge right away, but this was the capital. I couldn’t do that, so I took a deep breath and controlled my feelings that were a little bit intense.
“Oh, there’s something I haven’t said.” And so, I told all the stories I didn’t mean to tell.
The man shouted in excitement when I showed him the crest of Duke Williot on the fan.
“No, oh my God. There’s such a b*st*rd. You! I’ll catch you right away!”
The man’s attitude completely changed from before, and a smile came out of nowhere.
I’m sure it’ll be fine now.
At last, I was relieved and went out to look around the capital with Sarah.
While looking around the capital for a long time, I realized that someone was following me.
Who is it?
I glanced back with great vigilance.
There was a man who stood out among the crowds. He was wearing a hood, but his presence couldn’t be hidden.
“My Lady, the one who wore the hood over there. He’s the one who helped us earlier, right?” Sarah also found the man and asked me.
I nodded lightly, stopped walking, and looked at him. He also stopped walking and pretended that he wasn’t.
“Why are you following me?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The man smiled brilliantly.
The reason why it didn’t look nasty was probably because of his appearance of a dazzlingly beautiful man.
“I’m just on my way.”
“Is there a reason for me to lie about this?”
“Then go ahead.”
I stepped aside to tell him to go, but the man didn’t even move. He just looked at me with a troubled face.
With that expression, I immediately noticed that the man had lied, so I twisted my lips and asked him. “Aren’t you the one who said that there’s no reason for you to lie about this?”
“…I’ve lost my tongue.”
The man put his hand on his chest and politely bowed his head.
“I will correct it. I have something I want to ask the Lady.”
“What is it?” I asked nervously.
It wouldn’t be an ordinary question seeing he followed me along just to ask the question.
“How did you know that the rude would get 60% interest?”
The question that came back after being nervous was absurd. I looked at the man with absurd eyes. “Is that all you want to ask?”
“No. I wonder how you knew that the empire’s interest rate for the loan business was 30%, and how you knew that the fine to be imposed on that rude was over a thousand gold.”
At first, I was wondering why he was asking me these things, but soon I realized why, and burst into a small laugh.
“To the Lord, it’s amazing that I, who is a noble lady, know these things well.”
“Yes. Usually noble ladies don’t even study these things.” The man, who told the truth without hesitation, looked at me. “Did you feel bad?”
“No. It’s natural.”
As he said, there were very few noble lady, who studied these things.
There was no way I would study these things that could give me a headache when I wasn’t going to be an official or someone who was going to rule a territory.
But I had to. I had to rule the estate on behalf of the irresponsible Philen.
I could leave it to the aides and stamp the documents just like a scarecrow, but I didn’t want to do that, so I studied everything. Tax laws, administration, politics, and everything you need to govern your territory. However, it was a fact that was not known to the public.
If the fact that I, who’s not the real Duchess of Williot, was in control of the duchy and estate was known, the duke’s prestige would fall to the bottom. So people only knew that most of the aides worked, and I only stamped them.
“I’m interested.” Because of that, I made a rough excuse. It was true that I was interested, so it wasn’t a big lie.
The man looked at me with his eyes narrowed, wondering if he could believe what I was saying.
I was stabbed by my conscience for no reason. So I looked at him sharply, facing the gaze. “Why? Is the Lord dissatisfied with my interest as a woman?”
“No, it’s not like that.”
The man smiled and shook his head without any signs of embarrassment.
“It was just a little strange. As the Lady said, most women usually don’t care about this.”
It didn’t seem like he was simply lying to escape the situation.
I wasn’t really angry, I didn’t say much because it was simply an act to avoid a guilty conscience.
“Is everything you’re curious about solved?”
It was a dubious answer, but I didn’t want to talk to the man anymore, so I passed it lightly.
As I said bye to the man and turned around, he suddenly shouted.
“I look forward to seeing you again next time. Lady Leila Thebesa.”
How, my name…?
I looked back in surprise, but the man had already disappeared without a trace.