Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
Unexpectedly, I stayed in the mansion longer and had read all the books I brought with me.
Countess Thebesa, who said she would come early in the morning, didn’t come even when the sun was rising in the middle of the sky.
Tired of waiting, and a bit bored, I headed to the study to find a book to read while waiting for Countess Thebesa.
After the death of the former duke and his wife, I was the only one who used the duke’s study.
The real owner, Philen, returned, but he didn’t even come near the study.
He did go to the study in the capital’s mansion, but that was only once. After that, he never went there anymore.
So when I opened the door to the study without much thought, I stopped when I found a big, elongated silhouette standing in front of a bookshelf.
It was then did he realize I was here. Philen looked back at me, slightly surprised.
“What are you doing here?”
“What about you? What brings you to the study?”
“I was looking at the document and there was a weird part, so I tried to find it.”
I glanced at the book Philen was holding. On the outside of the thick book, the title ‘Understanding Welfare’ was written in large letters.
Philen Williot and books. It wasn’t a good combination. It was even more awkward because I rarely saw him holding a book.
“Isn’t it your turn to answer now?”
“I was bored waiting for the Countess, so I came here to pick a book to read in the meantime.”
Philen stood aside from the bookshelf without saying a word.
I thanked him with an eye gesture, then glanced through the books.
I had read almost all the books in the study, so it was harder to find books I haven’t read.
I managed to find a book I hadn’t read, but it was in a high place out of my reach.
As I was looking around to find something to climb on, an arm stretched out and pulled out the book I wanted.
“This is right?”
“Oh, yeah. Thank you.”
I trembled a bit and reached out to receive the book.
But Philen stared at the book without giving it to me.
“The philosophy of essay. I don’t think such a difficult book is suitable to read to pass the time.”
“Is that so? I don’t really know.”
“Come to think of it, you brought a bunch of similar books.”
Philen asked in a tone as if he suddenly remembered.
“What about all those books that you’re looking for new ones?”
“I’ve read it all.”
“All of that?”
“It’s not a lot. There are only four books.”
In the past, when I was busy living with work, I wouldn’t be able to read a single book, but not now.
I still even have time after reading the 4th book carefully.
“You’re going to be a duchess now, so why don’t you read a book about the social world rather than a book like this?”
“Of course I will. But before that, the official test comes first, so I’ll read that first.”
Philen’s brows narrowed.
“You still haven’t given up on taking it?”
“There’s no way I’d give up after it’s notarized.”
“You don’t want to apologize to Cecily for doing something wrong?”
“If it’s you, would you want to apologize if you didn’t do anything wrong?”
I snapped back, and Philen shook his head.
“You needlessly have high self-esteem.”
“That’s what I learned from the former Duchess.”
A lady should always be proud.
When you shouldn’t yield, even if you had a knife on your neck you should never yield.
‘Uphold your dignity as a Duchess.’
It was something that the former Duchess told me habitually when she was alive.
“I’m just doing it faithfully, is there any problem?”
Philen didn’t say anything and kept his mouth shut.
Well, if there’s any problem, it meant that his mother’s teaching was wrong, that’s why he couldn’t say it.
“So, what are you going to do?”
“About the official test. If you pass, what are you going to do?”
He said I would never pass, but he was thinking about it.
It was a little surprising.
“What am I going to do? Of course, I’ll take it.”
“Then who does the Duchess’s work?”
“Of course, I’ll do it too.”
Philen tilted his head as if it was ridiculous.
“You’re going to do two things at the same time? Do you think that’s possible?”
“I did the Duchess’s work while doing the Duke’s work, so why do you think it’s impossible?”
“It’s all possible because it’s the work of the same territory, not the official’s work.”
Philen sighed deeply as if he was frustrated.
“Furthermore, it’s the aide of the Emperor. It must be quite a lot of work. Can you handle it while doing the Duchess’s work?”
Hmm, I guessed he’s right…
What should I do then?
I hadn’t passed the test yet, so it’s too early to think about it, but it was enough to make me think about it.
“Should I hire an aide too?”
“What kind of aide, who would work on only the Duchess’s work?”
Philen chuckled and smirked.
For a moment, I almost said something harsh because I became emotional, but I pressed it hard.
Not as much as the duke’s work, but the duchess’s work was quite a lot too. It’s not to the extent that he could ignore it.
I didn’t know why he’s talking like that. He should have known it as he’s been working on the duchess’s work.
“The former Duke also hired aides to take care of the estate while serving as the Knight Commander. Why can’t I?”
“My father was a duke, and you’re going to be a duchess. It doesn’t make sense to think about it the same way.”
Philen replied as if I was asking what was so obvious.
“I think you’re misunderstanding something. Your job is to support me, take care of the family, have and raise children, just like a mother did.”
“I hope you don’t forget that.”
Every single word he said was right.
The former Duchess also told me the same thing, and I took it for granted that I should do so.
I did, but why?
Why did I feel more annoyed and upset now than when I took it for granted?
Even though I knew there’s no justification to refute his words, I wanted to refute him. I didn’t want to concede it.
But I couldn’t find the right word, so I ended up saying nothing and shut my mouth.
Philen looked at me and smiled triumphantly.
I didn’t know if I could think like this, but… he was such a jerk.
I looked at him as if wanting to hit him with crude words.
And it was a pity that I couldn’t.
There’s a subtle silence between Philen and me.
It wasn’t heavy, but it wasn’t light either. Still, it was awkward.
When I was about to say something, I heard a knock.
It was Misa who opened the door and came in. She bowed politely and said her reason for coming.
“Countess Thebesa is here.”
Was she finally here? What a relief. If I had kept talking to him, I would have been embarrassed in many ways.
For the second time in my life, I was pleased with Countess Thebesa’s presence.
“The book, please give it to me.”
I reached out to Philen again because I needed a book to read after Countess Thebesa left.
Philen looked alternately between the book and me, then put it higher than where it was taken out.
What is this…
As I stared at him with disbelief eyes, Philen smiled provokingly.
“Why are you looking at me with those eyes, Lady Thebesa?”
Are you asking because you really don’t know?
“Countess Thebesa awaits. Don’t do this here, let’s go.”
Philen held my shoulder affectionately and walked away.
I thought he was pretending to be friendly because there was anyone around, but there wasn’t.
I could tell by looking at his mischievous twinkling eyes.
They said eyes are the window of the heart.
I didn’t know why, but Philen looked very happy.
The reason Countess Thebesa was late was because the wheel of her carriage was missing.
“Oh no. When you go back, I will lend you the mansion’s carriage.”
“Thank you for the favor, Duke.”
“You are the mother of the person who will become my wife. Of course, I have to do this.”
It was a pretense remark, but Countess Thebesa smiled with satisfaction as if she liked it.
Then I spoke to Countess Thebesa right away about the wedding preparation.
I was leaving for the capital soon. If I had to hear the result of the test before going back, I would stay in the capital for 3 weeks at least. That’s why I wanted to do what I had to do in the meantime.
I hurried and Countess Thebesa laughed out loud.
“You seem to have come to your senses now!”
“Don’t say weird things and please look at the dress quickly.”
“Okay, okay. We have to match the dress.”
Countess Thebesa nodded her head proudly.
“The saying ‘All people are useful’ is just right. The day has finally come for you to help our family!”
You’re free to think what you want, but it seems to be on an abnormal level.
I tried to cut her off and said that it would never happen, but I didn’t say anything.
Because I didn’t want to give her such advice.
My heart was like a chimney, wanting to finish quickly and go back to my room.
After talking with the Countess for two days about the wedding preparation, it was pretty much settled.
The things that I hadn’t yet sorted out could be done after returning from the capital and the rest would be done by Countess Thebesa.
If something didn’t work out, they could send me a carrier pigeon or ask me through the magic communication tool.
Anyway, this was all I had to do for now.
“Sarah, we’re going to the capital tomorrow.”
“I’m already ready!”
Sarah answered vigorously.
After stroking Sarah’s hair as a sign that she did a good job, I sat on the sofa and opened a book.
I had already read the book, but since it was interesting and there’s nothing else to do, I thought I would go to bed after reading it.
Sarah, who was cleaning up the surroundings, spoke as if she had suddenly remembered.
“My Lady, do you like candy?”
“Candy? Why all of a sudden?”
“I made candy with the kitchen staff during the day.”
Sarah took out a small glass box and showed it to me.
Inside were colorful candies. It looked pretty appetizing.
“Would you like to try it?”
I wasn’t a big fan of sweets, but just one.
“Thank you for the candy.”
I picked the red candy and ate it. The fresh and sweet strawberry flavor spread in my mouth.
As I ate the strawberry candy, I suddenly remembered the strawberry candy that Kalian gave me.
That strawberry candy was really delicious.
“Is it delicious?”
“Yeah, it’s delicious.”
“Would you like to try a different one?”
I shook my head. I wanted to keep the strawberry flavor that spread in my mouth for a long time.
After reading the book moderately, I laid down on the bed.
It’s still too early to go to bed, but I had to leave early tomorrow, so I decided to go to bed.
Pitch darkness fell comfortably. As I closed my eyelids, the darkness grew thicker.
Soon, drowsiness came and I was sucked into the deep and comfortable abyss.
I fell into a deep sleep without knowing the passage of time, but then I woke up startled when I heard a loud bang.
Due to my busy schedule, I won’t do any extra kofi chapters at the moment.