Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
The indoor training ground was in the basement.
It had been raining continuously for the past few days, so the air in the basement was damp.
I’ll have to tell the servants to ventilate. And do some cleaning again.
After checking that there’s nothing else to worry about, I entered the training ground.
Philen was wielding a wooden sword half-naked. Thick drops of sweat dripped down on his hard muscles.
It was somewhat of an obscene scene, but it didn’t make me excited. Because it’s a scene that I saw often in the past.
So I looked at him calmly, and the same goes for Philen.
He showed me his bare skin and didn’t falter in the slightest.
“What’s the matter?”
“I’m here because of the problem of the preparation for the rainy season.”
I put down the documents I had brought on the table near him and held out the new document he filled out.
“I checked the document you filled out and found that you canceled the wizard’s employment and changed the stone used to build the riverbank from Doreseok to Ahnam.”
This time, I presented the report on Quan.
“As you can see here, there’s Quan in our territory’s water vein…”
“Why do you call it ‘our territory’?”
“You’re not Leila Williot yet. But why did you call this territory ‘our territory’? It’s ‘my territory’.”
What kind of childish pun is this?
As I stared at him without saying anything out of absurdity, Philen put down his wooden sword and approached me.
“Perhaps, you want to be the Lord?”
“If not, why are you doing this when I told you not to?”
Philen slammed the document I held out. The papers fell to the floor like snow.
“I’m sure I have told you not to get involved in the duke’s work, so why did you meddle as you pleased?”
Philen’s face hardened terribly. He also looked like he was hurt.
The servant’s words, telling me to be careful because he seemed to be in quite a bad mood, echoed in my ears.
I should have come later.
I felt regret that came too late.
“I couldn’t help it if you were talking about what happened in the office at that time. People’s lives are in danger if we don’t act quickly…”
“Then you shouldn’t have stepped up, you should have told me!”
His voice echoed loudly in the indoor training ground that was closed off from all sides.
“That’s the rule, you’re not going to say you don’t know, are you?”
“Of course I know. But sometimes you have to put people first rather than sticking to rules. That was the case back then.”
I calmly faced the fierce Philen’s gaze and explained it as easily as possible for him to understand.
“As I said, it had to be dealt with as quickly as possible. So, I thought it would be faster to step up than to report to you…”
“It’s not that. You probably wanted to show off your skills to people.”
Philen’s lips tilted obliquely.
“Isn’t it because you want to show that you’re more competent than me and that you fit the position of the lord?”
“That can’t be true!”
“Well. I’m not sure I can believe you. How can I believe you when you spread that rumor?”
“Last warning, Leila. Don’t do as you please.”
A voice as cold as ice pierced my ears.
“Get your hands off everything.”
Philen tapped me on the shoulder and walked past me.
“If you ignore my words one more time and do as you please, I won’t let you off anymore.”
His footprints were clearly engraved on the paper that had fallen to the floor.
I didn’t know with what mind I left the training ground. I was in my room when I came to my senses.
“My Lady. You are here.”
Misa found me and rushed to me.
“Now in the annex…”
I held my throbbing head and waved my hand.
“If that’s the case, discuss it with the Duke, not me.”
“The Duke said he’d do it himself. So, talk to the Duke about it.”
When I spoke firmly, Misa nodded as if she couldn’t help it.
“More than that, Misa, are there any strange rumors circulating among the people?”
“What strange rumors do you mean?”
“Hmm, like I’m more competent than the Duke… rumors like that?”
Misa’s expression darkened in an instant. There really seemed to be a strange rumor circulating.
“What exactly is the rumor?”
“It’s just a rumor. It’s not something My Lady should care about.”
“It’s up to me to decide. Tell me.”
After sighing softly, Misa told me the rumor that was circulating among the people.
Starting with the story that I was more competent than Philen.
Then the whole story about the people that want me to become the lord, not Philen.
That’s why Philen reacted like that.
It was only then did I understand Philen’s reaction. But it was ridiculous for him to think that I was the one who made such a rumor.
Spreading rumors like that wouldn’t do me any good. It just made me lose all my face.
But, even if I told Philen this now, he wouldn’t believe me.
When the deep emotional gap between him and me was clearly visible, I thought it was an opportunity to go to take the official test.
…in many ways.
I thought Philen would tell Countess Thebesa to stop preparing for the wedding right away, but strangely enough, he didn’t.
I never heard of that from Sarah. But rather, I heard he urged her to prepare for the wedding as soon as possible.
Are you going to marry me in this situation?
What on earth are you thinking, Philen?
I really wanted to look into his head.
In the quiet cold war, time continued to flow, entering the 7th day since the rainy season began.
From the 5th day, the rain gradually became thinner, and by the 7th day, it had hardly rained.
People cheered for this, but I couldn’t be happy.
It was because there were only five days left until the official test.
There’s no time for further delay. I have to go to the capital quickly.
I packed a simple bag and hurried to find the coachman with Sarah.
“We can’t use the carriage?”
“I apologize, My Lady.”
The coachman bowed his head to the ground.
“There is only one carriage available right now, and that carriage will be used by the Duke today.”
It was the result of using carriages to save the people.
I had no regrets because I was able to save a lot of people thanks to it, but it still was unbearable.
“I don’t mind if it’s a luggage carriage.”
“I apologize, but we don’t even have a luggage carriage available right now.”
Oh my, not even a luggage carriage?
I wish I could ride a horse.
It was regrettable that I couldn’t learn horseback riding because I was so busy with other things.
Then the only option left was to ask Philen to lend me the carriage.
I didn’t want to run into Philen as much as possible, but… there’s no other way.
Because I couldn’t give up the official test.
There’s no time to lose.
I went to see Philen right away, and I ran into him while on the way.
Philen wasn’t alone. There’s Cecily next to him.
Cecily, who made eye contact with me, tried to bow lightly to greet me, but Philen wrapped his arms around her shoulders.
“You don’t have to greet her like that when your body is heavy.”
Cecily looked me in the eye and blurred her words.
“Your body is heavy, I’m sure even Lady Thebesa will understand.”
Philen pulled Cecily further into his arms and looked straight at me.
“Because she values people more than rules. Isn’t that right, Lady Thebesa?”
…that’s what I said before.
I never thought he’d return it sarcastically like this.
When I stared at him, Philen smiled the winner’s smile.
“Do you have anything to say to me?”
I had nothing to say. What could I say?
Why would I be mad at him for returning the words that way? or grumbling over it?
Either way was futile.
I was just going to offend him for nothing, and I didn’t want to do that as much as greeting Cecily.
“What the Duke said is correct.”
So when I acquiesced, Philen’s face was subtly wrinkled.
Philen looked at me intently, as if trying to gauge my intentions, and opened his mouth.
“What brings you here?”
“I want to go to the capital.”
Philen turned to Sarah behind me. To be precise, to the luggage she was carrying.
“The flood victims issue is not over yet, and you’re going to the capital already?”
“Not already. There are only five days left until the official test. Even if I leave now, I’m running out of time.”
I took a moment to catch my breath and then added.
“And thanks to the Duke’s good handling of the flood victims, I don’t need to stay here as I have nothing to do.”
“Are you being sarcastic now, Lady?”
Now, even if I compliment you, you think I’m being sarcastic?
I sighed deeply on the inside but smiled on the outside.
“That can’t be true.”
Philen clicked his tongue as if he didn’t like it and turned away from the topic.
“If you go to the capital, We’ll see each other in two weeks at the most. Have a safe trip, Lady.”
“I have a favor to ask you about that, Duke.”
From now on, it was the main point.
I thought I should ask him, but when I was about to say it, I got nervous and squeezed the inside of my sleeve.
“There is only one carriage available in the mansion now.”
“So, are you asking for that carriage?”
“I won’t use it for long. When I get to the next town, I’ll rent another carriage…”
Before I could finish my words, Philen cut it off and flatly refused.
I thought he might be nasty to me, but I didn’t expect him to refuse so firmly like that.
“Just one day, I only need to use it for one day. I’ll give it back to you as soon as I get to the next town…”
“What’s more important to the Lady, saving people or taking the official test?”
I was speechless at the sudden question.
I didn’t know why he’s asking such a question, but if I had to choose between the two, of course…
“I’m going to go do that now.”
Philen wrapped his arms around Cecily’s shoulders and passed me by.
As they approached, the coachman hurriedly opened the carriage door.
Philen let Cecily in the carriage first and then looked back at me.
“So, My Lady, who values people more than anything else, please understand with a great generosity.”