* * *
The butler, who could not come due to the Duke’s sudden visit, came to me early the next morning.
“This is the list of East-South Emerald Mine investors.”
He put some papers down on the desk. As I had received a statement from the Duke about being the owner of the mine overnight, the work was done quickly.
“In a few days, I will also put up a book of the number of ores mined.”
“Please, take good care of me.”
I skimmed through the documents the butler gave me. Other people were mixed up, so they don’t know who was who anyway. All I was interested in was money.
“But how do you usually sell the gemstone?”
“We deliver the inferior goods to the top of the contract. The best items are processed and put on sale at auction.”
“Is the yield good?”
The butler suddenly lowered his voice to my question.
“Those who have succeeded in conjuring up magic through wizards in the family are secretly putting them on the black market. Sometimes it’s more than ten times the market price.”
My ears suddenly perked up with the information given. The Duke had said it before. Recently, emeralds of superior quality were mined in the southeastern mines. But, he handed me the mined emerald before it even started being sold.
I was going to be a rich man, no harm to ‘favorability and numerical quality’ with this, I was going to be a rich man. Pressing down on the corners of my mouth, which was twitching excitedly, I said calmly.
“Sell what the butler used to sell anyway. All you have to do is get the books back on time.”
By all means, no matter how you sell it, it’s fine as long as the money gets into my hands.
The butler said with a subtle look.
“For the time being, it’s hard to go through magic work by the wizards in the family, miss.”
“That’s because the little duke doesn’t know yet…”
I took account in the butler’s words at once. If he found out about it, Derick would probably go after the Duke and asked him why he gave the mine to me. Therefore, they had promised to keep the mine open until it was stabilized.
“The Duke has advised me to pick up the top list of the sorcerer’s employment, contact him, and sign the contract. Then…… what shall we do, miss?”
The butler carefully asked my intentions.
After thinking for a while, I answered calmly.
“It’s not urgent, so we don’t have to go for the top first.”
The fact that I was an illegitimate child of a chaebol family does not seem to be a mere waste of time. It occurred to me at first sight that I had heard several conversations my father had with the first son of a bitch about his participation in the auction.
“First put out a few unprocessed, best-of-breed gemstones at the auction house and watch. If anyone recognizes them, they’ll compete on their own.”
“We can wait and sign with the best terms.”
The butler gave me a vague exclamation and nodded gently.
“……I will do so, miss.”
His eyes on me were very strange. It’s like, ‘How could you think of that..?’ he said.
‘I can see everything, sir.’
With a snort, I whispered it in my heart. After that, I asked the butler on the main point I couldn’t ask yesterday.
“And, to what extent are Eckliss’s clothes finished?”
“It’s almost done.”
“How much longer does it take?”
“I’ve been informed that all it needs is some finishing……Are you in a great hurry, miss?”
asked the butler in wonder. All the clothes made of hunting hide were winter clothes. People would not be able to wear them in this warm weather anyway.
“Should I give the tailor more money to hurry?”
“No, it’s okay. It’s not urgent, but…..”
I shook my head. The urgent thing was my heart rather than the clothes. The one month expiration date made my mind more nervous than ever.
“What time does the knights’ training end today, butler?”
“It’s going to rain in the afternoon, so I know that they only have morning training schedule today.”
“After the training, please tell Eckliss to come to where I am.”
I liked the way the butler answered politely without complaining any more.
* * *
Just after lunch, like a lie, it began to drizzle.
While waiting for Eckliss, I tried to read a book about sponsorship, and changed my venue to the glass greenhouse.
Kee Ik— When I opened the glass door and took a step in it, I was greeted with a mixture of green vegetation and fragrant flower scents.
During the luncheon the day before yesterday, I was busy checking over the heads of the ML’s, so I had no time to look around the greenhouse properly. The glass greenhouse, which I visited again, was beautiful, still and silent.
“…it’s all right.”
I looked around the spacious interior and gradually took a walk in it. There was a cute table in the middle of the pavilion where you could enjoy tea, but I just passed by it. Then, I went to a corner that was hard to see from the entrance and squatted down.
A small group of unknown white flowers was in full bloom around. It was being well taken care of.
‘I must have been thinking about it a bit.’
I remembered what the butler just said before I left the room this morning.
— A lot of rare flowers and vegetation are brought in from other countries, so please visit the glass greenhouse often, young lady. The Duke also instructed us to manage it forever.
After witnessing the absurd mistreatment of a princess in the dining room, the Duke seemed to be struggling in many ways. One such evidence was when he purposely opened the third floor, which had been closed for six years, to allow me to climb the attic once again.
However, I didn’t often the place anymore due to my fight with Leonard. So he seemed to have changed the location and went for the glass greenhouse this time.
‘Penelope would have been in great pleasure.’
I felt a little sorry and gently stroked my slender cheeks.
I appreciated the Duke’s efforts, but I intended to take full advantage of this green and beautiful scene in the greenhouse, not entirely enjoying it.
Eckliss had a limited number of places to meet compared to other Southern states. If I didn’t go out, it’ll be hard to take him for an outing. I couldn’t even walk around the states together with him because of the status difference.
Would you take your slaves to see an opera full of nobles or go to a famous restaurant?
‘Well, it’s a bit difficult.’
I couldn’t bear to see him the day before yesterday. Eckliss, who still hadn’t learn a proper swordsmanship.
“If the Duke had brought him here in the game, would he be in a better position by now?…’
But then Eckliss couldn’t have been so fond of me. I was the one who saved him from the terrible slave auction house.
Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do for him right now. As a “fake princess” with poor position, Derick had to be virtuous just by accepting him as the family’s knight apprentice.
In addition, neither Derick nor the Duke were pleased with the incident in which he strangled an article last time.
‘But they didn’t kick him out right away.’
Although, unlike the original story of the game, it will be a little late for Eckliss to become a Sword Master…
“I will take care of everything when the real princess comes back anyway.’
I thought it rather coolly. The only thing that matters to me right now was favorability. Eckliss needed a sweet and angelic hostess rather than me.
‘It’s all up to the hostess after I escape.’
Trying to rationalize it, I opened the book on my knees.
How long has it been since I read a book? Due to the magical warm breeze inside, my eyelids began to slowly sink. The letters became blurred as a cloud of sleep came in.
I just closed the book and lay bare on the flower bed. It was when I was about to fall asleep with my eyes closed.
Suddenly, I felt someone opening the greenhouse door and entered.
Bark, Bark. I heard the sound of stepping on the grass. After wandering around the greenhouse for a while, it became certain that the target had been set.
The sound that was getting closer finally……stopped by my side.
Until then I still had kept my eyes closed. I didn’t do it on purpose, but because I was really half asleep.
Swoosh— The person who stopped by the flower bed moved. The sound of his breathing came closer. I felt like he was leaning towards me. Suddenly a faint graze touched one side of my cheek. No, it wasn’t completely touching.
It was about to touch… but the warmth that slowly painted the skin gradually shifted from the corners of the mouth to the lower lips.
I wanted to keep pretending not to know, but I burst out laughing unconsciously because of the itch that I can no longer hold it.
“… …just touch it if you want to.”
Slowly, I lifted my eyelids and opened my eyes.
“Because it tickles when you do that.”
Grayish-brown pupils grew widely at my murmur. It was not me who was surprised by the close distance, it was him.
Eckliss called out to me with a hot sigh.
On that shabby clothes of his, the flamboyant pieces of teeth I presented dangled on his neck. My only article, he had fulfilled the role of a faithful slave today.