Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
Lord, he said.
[T/N: I forgot to mention it in the previous chapter. This ‘Lord’ refers to someone who ruled the territory, not the title for men, so yeah, I’m sorry!]
Of course, there were times when young children mistakenly called me ‘Lord’, but I was perplexed to hear that in front of Philen.
It was even more so because Philen was looking at me with a stiff, rigid face.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not the lord.”
I hurriedly explained to the boy, fearing that Philen might misunderstand.
“The man behind you is the lord.”
It also imprinted the fact that Philen was the lord.
When the boy turned around, Philen smiled softly as if he had become stiff.
“No, he’s not.”
The boy shook his head and looked at me again.
“The Lord is you. You’ve been taking care of us all these years.”
If I said Philen had been away and I just acted as a substitute, would this little boy understand?
As I was thinking about how to make it easier for me to solve it, a woman came rushing from afar.
“I, I apologize!”
The woman hugged the boy and hurriedly apologized to Philen.
“This boy is still young and doesn’t know anything. If he made any mistakes, please be generous!”
“He didn’t make any mistakes.”
It’s better not to say that he mistook the lord.
“More than that, it seems like there is something he wants us to solve…”
Philen cut me off and abruptly interrupted the conversation.
“The Lady must be tired from doing the inspection, so I think it would be better to go back to the carriage and rest.”
I’m not that tired.
“I, the Lord, will take care of the rest.”
It wasn’t my illusion that the word ‘Lord’ sounded emphasized.
…he must have been pretty upset that I was mistaken to be the lord.
Well, I would’ve done the same. I fully understood him and went back to the carriage.
After a while, Philen’s expression was still not good when he returned.
“Did things go wrong?”
When I asked out of concern, Philen turned his head curtly.
“It’s none of your business.”
It was the opposite situation from before.
When we left, I avoided talking to him, and this time he avoided talking to me.
I kept my mouth shut, not feeling the need to continue the conversation with him.
Philen looked at me with discontent, but I ignored him.
While we had a silent fight, the carriage also reached its final destination, the riverbank.
“Welcome, Duke. My Lady.”
We were greeted warmly by the people in charge who had come out in advance.
Philen nodded lightly, then looked back at me.
“The Lady must be tired from walking around all day today. You can rest in the carriage for a while.”
It sounded like he was thinking of me, but he wasn’t.
He was afraid that I might interfere with the affairs of the territory, so he wrapped it up with pretentious words and kicked me out.
From the look of it, it seemed that the riverbank was repaired well, and there’s no reason to stay against his will.
I meekly accepted his suggestion and got back on the carriage.
I was able to spend time without being bored thanks to the book that I brought in case something like this happened.
I started with Chapter 1, and by the time I was almost finished reading Chapter 2, Philen returned.
I closed the book I was reading and asked him with a smile. There’s no one here, so I spoke informally.
“Did it finish well?”
“Of course. They did what I told them to do.”
Philen replied with a very proud face.
It looks like he did a great job.
I completely let go of all the remaining anxiety.
“Were you reading a book?”
“Yeah. Because the official test is just around the corner.”
At my words, Philen’s eyebrows slanted slightly.
“I have something to tell you about our wedding preparation.”
…that story again?
It was inevitable because I had to get married, but I wasn’t happy because we had already had this conversation.
I looked at Philen nervously.
“As you said, asking Cecily doesn’t seem like a good thing in many ways, so I won’t do it.”
For some reason, he listened to me.
As soon as the tight tension was loosened a little, Philen spit out another ridiculous remark.
“That’s why I called Countess Thebesa.”
It felt like I met another vicious beast while trying to avoid a beast.
Countess Thebesa was better than Cecily, but that’s still not a good thing. I hated both.
But unlike Cecily, Countess Thebesa didn’t threaten my position, so I think she’s better.
However, it was absurd to leave the wedding preparation to Countess Thebesa.
“You don’t look good.”
As I looked at him with a frown, Philen smiled and leaned against the backrest.
“I’ve left it to Countess Thebesa as you wished, so why are you making that face?”
“…as I wished?”
“Yeah. You told me before that you would rather leave it to Countess Thebesa than Cecily.”
I did say that, but I said it just to make it clear that I didn’t want to leave it to Cecily.
I didn’t really mean to leave it to Countess Thebesa.
No matter how tactless Philen was, he wasn’t an idiot who didn’t notice this.
I could tell just by looking at the slanted corner of his lips. He did it on purpose to pick on me.
What a childish joke this is.
It was so ridiculous that I couldn’t even laugh.
Apparently, Philen wanted me to give in and apologize for what happened that day.
Such a hilarious intention. I didn’t even have the slightest thought to go the way he wanted.
That was the last pride I had left with nothing.
“Let’s leave it to Countess Thebesa.”
The corner of his lips, which had risen gracefully, were hardened as it couldn’t regain its original track.
Philen looked at me with cold eyes.
Do you think that would scare me?
I wasn’t scared at all. I met his gaze with a nonchalant smile.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“…you really don’t know why I’m looking at you like this?”
No. I knew it. It’s a problem because I knew it too well.
“Yeah. I don’t know.”
Philen chuckled and raised his eyebrows. Discontent was etched on his face.
He couldn’t control his emotions. What was he going to do with his social life in the future?
“Cecily said this before.”
Is it about her again?
If I said I didn’t like her that much, he wouldn’t have said it. But he was really tactless. Or… he didn’t care about me.
“It’s not that you’re tactless, it’s that you’re pretending to be tactless.”
“Other than that, you must have something to say to me.”
“What do you mean? Do you want me to give you an excuse if I deny it?”
Judging from the lack of words, it seemed that the answer was correct.
That fact was even more ridiculous, so I laughed a little.
“If I give you an excuse, will you believe me, not her?”
“We don’t know about that.”
“No, I know.”
I firmly denied Philen’s words.
“Because you don’t believe me since you said that to me in the first place. Am I right?”
I said this, but I really wanted him to say no.
Even if he didn’t believe in me, I just wanted him to confirm that he didn’t believe what she said unconditionally.
Philen mercilessly got out of the carriage without fulfilling my wish.
Since the inspection of the territory was over, there was no reason to remain in the estate anymore.
“Sarah, we’re going to the capital as soon as the sun rises tomorrow, so get ready.”
“Yes, My Lady.”
Sarah left to get ready. I was sitting on the couch reading a book when the butler came to see me.
“My Lady, are you going to the capital tomorrow?”
At my answer, the butler put on an awkward look.
What’s wrong with him?
“What’s the matter?”
“Tomorrow, Countess Thebesa will come to prepare for the wedding.”
“Count… No, mother?”
“Yes. The Duke said he would deliver it to My Lady. Did he not say anything?”
I said yes with a slight nod. The butler let out a low sigh and said politely.
“I’m sorry, but could you postpone your schedule a little bit? Because it’s rude not to let anyone come all of a sudden and we don’t have much time.”
Well, what do I do?
I didn’t have much free time, but it was difficult to firmly refuse him who spoke so politely.
Moreover, it was my wedding preparation. It didn’t make sense to me if the party fell out.
Let’s hear him first then decide.
“How long should I postpone my schedule?”
“I think two days will be enough.”
Only two weeks left until the official test.
Excluding travel time to the capital, my free time was about 10 days.
I think it’ll be okay if I take about two days.
After completing the calculation in my head, I nodded.
“I’ll do that.”
Ver and the scholars had to work overtime for a week to prepare for the official test.
It’s all because of the needlessly picky Kalian.
Without doing it himself, they had to put up with what he wanted over and over again, such as do this, do that, and so on.
When he pointed that out like that, the words ‘You should do it yourself!’ had stuck in their throats hundreds of times.
Still, they felt good because the result came out well.
Kalian was also satisfied.
Now that they had done all the test questions, they were going to go home.
“Where are you going?”
Kalian stopped them. Ver stepped forward on behalf of the bewildered scholars.
“We’re going home now that we’re done.”
“You can’t go.”
“I said you can’t go.”
An eerie smile was drawn on Kalian’s lips.
“The test questions should not be leaked. So, stay in the Palace until the official test is over.”
What kind of bullsh*t is this!
Ver opened his mouth wide in bewilderment. The scholars’ reactions weren’t very different.
“A soft bed and delicious meals are guaranteed.”
As Kalian clapped his hands, the servants appeared and grabbed their arms one by one from each side, as if waiting.
At the same time, Ver, who was grabbed by the arms by the servants, screamed.
“This is confinement! Confinement!”
“Confinement, so disappointing.”
Kalian smiled brightly.
“I’m protecting you because I’m afraid that you’ll be bribed by other nobles who took the test.”
“I don’t ne…”
“You need it. “
When Kalian clapped again, the servants dragged the scholars away and quickly disappeared.
The scholars, who realized that Kalian’s will was firm, were quietly dragged away, but Ver was different.
“I, I want to go home!”
Ver’s scream echoed desperately in the corridor.