Elena had been surprised by the sudden contact. But after a while, Grand Duke Franches swept down the back of his hand.
“I couldn’t bear to miss your warmth.”
“Thank you, for letting me feel like I’ve met my dead daughter again.”
I want to applaud Grand Duke Franches’ disgusting performance. It was amazing to see how shameless he could be about the living Veronica.
“I couldn’t take care of her because I was only concerned about the outside world. I lost my wife and daughter. I’ve lost my precious people, and now I have no power or wealth.”
Elena stood silently listening to his confession, that didn’t have a speck of truth in it.
At the low call, Elena slowly raised her head.
There was invisible contempt in Grand Duke Franches’ eyes. It must’ve been disgusting to him, who valued the nobility of his birth, that an insignificant girl was excited to pretend to be a noble princess of a Grand Duke.
“In fact, when I first saw you, I didn’t feel like a stranger. I will definitely become a daughter to be proud of. Father.”
When Elena had the strength to add the word ‘father,’ Grand Duke Franches’ face was distorted for a moment.
Grand Duke Franches was a man who clung to the pride and power of the nobility. He was insulted and ashamed of bringing in a shallow woman who openly coveted his daughter’s vacancy in his noble family.
“You’re late. You must have had a hard time coming a long way, so go up and rest.”
As Elena nodded, Liabrick gestured to follow her. When Jane, the head maid, opened the door at the corner of the floor, there was a bedroom decorated with high-quality wooden furniture.
“Get some rest. If you need anything, have her do it.”
“Yes. Good night, Liv.”
When Liabrick disappeared from sight, Elena waved her hand and told Jane to move away as well. She didn’t have anything to ask her to do, so she wanted to be alone now.
Elena, who was left alone in the room when the door was closed, burst into the grin she had been holding back. When she recalled Grand Duke Frances’ distorted face, she felt as if her body’s congestion had gone down.
In her last life, Elena had been desperate to be noticed by Grand Duke Franches. When he looked at Elena, who was inadequate because she had not received proper education, with a disapproving look, she couldn’t make eye contact with him and bowed her head as if she were a sinner.
Oh, why did she do that? If you thought about it, the things that were held in Elena’s hands were as good as theirs were. She had just been stupid and hadn’t been able to handle them properly.
“Look forward to it. How I’ll hold your breath with this name and status you have given me.”
* * *
Despite the fact that Princess Veronica’s reputation was in the mud, the reason why she brought Elena to this house instead of going straight to the Grand Duke was because of education. To build basic skills to pretend to be Princess Veronica.
In the morning, she learned mainly about the attitude of aristocrats, manners of meals, speech, walking, and greeting.
In the afternoon, the focus was on understanding and learning the identity of the nation, starting with the Imperial language, as well as its history, literature and culture. The official class was over before dinner.
“Don’t think about relaxing. Review and familiarize yourself with what you learned today. Too much? Then memorize it all even if you cut back on sleep.”
Elena was forced to stay in the study until late at night. No, it would be right to say that she was stuck in the study by the will of that person.
“I know the future, but I don’t have the ability or the capacity to make full use of it.”
Elena took advantage of this time to fill in her lack of knowledge.
<The History of Famous Paintings>
<Art and Philosophy>
<A Merchant-Dominated Continent>
<The Value of Money in Motion>
<Alchemy in Disguise>
The books Elena selected were mainly concentrated in the field of arts and commerce.
“Soon, there will be a change in the art world of the Empire.”
Elena took note of the renaissance that would blow across the Empire. This was because if you made good use of the revival period—when cultural innovations such as ideology, literature, art, architecture, natural science, and music took place—you could accumulate great wealth.
Times change, and was bound to be accompanied by such labor pains. Elena wanted to be a leading figure in this era.
One might say that it had nothing to do with revenge, but the Grand Duke was not a Korean-American family that could easily collapse. If so, it wouldn’t have been the Empire’s greatest family for hundreds of years.
“You have to use the flow of the times to shake the Grand Duke from both the inside and the outside.”
First of all, she intended to divide the Grand Duke’s interior by playing Princess Veronica’s role.
She would cut off the funding line and find a weakness that could be turned into a public achievement. At the same time, she planned to apply pressure from the outside. She planned to lead the era as a woman with the third name L, and become a person whom the intellectuals and nobles of the Empire looked up to.
Based on public respect, reputation, and justification, she would reveal the evil deeds committed by the Grand Duke and isolate them through condemnation and pressure. Only Elena, who was pretending to be Princess Veronica and was deeply involved in the affairs of the Grand Duke, could do it.
Of course, it was not as easy as it sounded. But Elena was confident. The plan had been completed after hundreds of verifications, and the detailed plan was already sealed in Elena’s mind. She was already looking forward to it.
She only had three weeks to stay in this safe house. Already, she was filled with the desire to go to the Grand Duke as soon as possible and complete this revenge scheme. And three weeks passed like a lie.
* * *
The dining room with a high ceiling chandelier was quiet. Sitting at the end of the long table, Liabrick and Elena sliced the steak into their mouths with graceful hand movements. There was no sound of chewing food, and the jaw did not open for more than a certain period of time. Four forks, each with a different purpose, were used alternately to pick up the dishes. It was flawless dining etiquette.
“Now you look quite aristocratic.”
Liabrick commented on Elena’s table manners, wiping her mouth with a napkin.
“It’s thanks to Liv who taught me with all her heart.”
“You’re also good at speaking with praise and affirmation to other people’s compliments.”
At first, Liabrick’s comments had been consistent, but Elena looked noble enough that she could no longer find fault in her actions, which didn’t look like it was being forced.
“Is that so? I’m glad to hear you say that, Liv.”
Liabrick stared at Elena, who gracefully took a sip of wine. Etiquette only came out when you had learned it so naturally that you were not aware of it. That was why the aristocrats put their best efforts into etiquette with their tutors, straightening their posture since they were young.
‘In just three weeks… She made it her own, not imitating it. Just like a lie.’
Although she was a noble by nature, she was a fallen noblewoman who had led the life of a commoner. Considering that even her basic manners should’ve been clumsy, Elena was now a completely different person. She wasn’t just good at etiquette; she did it in a way that her physical charm would stand out. It wasn’t too much and just came out naturally.
Such elegance was hard to find even in high society. It should be said that she was well versed in the etiquette of the Empire.
‘The only flaw is that you’re not very smart compared to your etiquette.’
Unfortunately, Elena was not brilliant. It was all about meeting the level of learning required by Liabrick.
‘Well, even just following this much, it’s honestly more than I expected.’
It had only been a month. It was far from enough time to transform Elena—who had, as the daughter of a fallen noble, lived as much as a commoner—into a real aristocrat. Considering that, it was okay to assume that Elena had become quite aristocratic.
“Let’s go up when you’re done.”
Following Liabrick, she passed through the main hall and went up to the second floor. They walked on a high-quality carpet all the way to the library, but for some reason, walked past it.
“You passed the library?”
“We’re going to the drawing room today.”
Elena, who was following her, easily guessed the meaning of that word.
‘Oh, today is the day to memorize the portraits of the nobles and the details of their personal information.’
Looking at portraits of aristocrats who are influential in social and Imperial politics, memorising their faces, and grasping their identity meant that there was not much time left before she would face them.
As far as I remember, I memorized the personal information for two days, and then left for the Grand Duke.
When she arrived in the drawing room and sat down on the sofa, Liabrick laid her hands on the piled-up portraits and personal details. The thickness was over the span of her hand.
“This is a list of Imperial and capital aristocrats who are active in the Empire’s high society.”
“This, isn’t this too many?”
“I skipped this list and filtered it out, of course.”
Liabrick’s words were true. The number of aristocrats officially crowned by the Imperial family accounted for nearly half of the country’s total population.
“Memorize everything. From the names and faces written here, to the family line, family relations, and history. Whenever you meet someone, you should feel like a friend or family member who had been away for a long time. You can do it, right?”
“Yes, I’ll try.”
Liabrick brought a portrait of a middle-aged man with a mustache and his personal specifications from the top of the pile of documents, and added an explanation.
“This man is Duke Whit. He is the Duke of Buckingham, one of the four great families of the Empire. He is very close to the Grand Duke and has cherished Princess Veronica as if she were his own daughter since she was a child. Do you understand me?”
“Yes, I’m putting it in my head.”WuxiaWorld.S i t e Only
“No, I don’t understand at all right now.”
Liabrick’s eyes sharpened.
“Listen carefully. The longer Princess Veronica and her family live apart, the more wary people will be. If you ever run into this person, he may find out that you are a substitute, so stay alert.”
“Oh, I see what you mean. I’ll be careful.”
As if she liked Elena’s attentive appearance, Liabrick did not repeat the same words anymore.