“I don’t want to.”

When Cherryl refused at once, Natasha’s face contorted with contempt.

“You’re such a rude girl!” Her stepmother stomped her feet towards her and pointed an accusing finger in her face.
“Don’t show that same attitude to the Duke and be nice to him.
Get up right now and go to the ground floor.”

Cherryl shook her head in disagreement.

She still had manners left in her, but her ugly stepmother had been the rude one.

“I told you I don’t want to.
I don’t have to show him around.”

“Are you doing this because you don’t know? Are you as brainless as a worm that you have realized nothing from the conversations we just had today?”

Cherryl laughed out loud at her dramatic nonsense.

“Don’t cross the line.
I do have a mouth.
I can say anything I want.”

“You were groomed to the fullest so I’m telling you to do this instead.
It’s your fault that you couldn’t attract that man.
I had already taken months worth of accounts from our living expenses to buy you all these jewelries and gowns.”

To Natasha, Cade’s indifference didn’t seem to interest Cherryl at all.

The gift she and her husband had  prepared oh-so-carefully was returned before it was even unraveled.

In addition to that, her stepdaughter never failed to drive her mad every time she talked back to her in a straight face.

“I never asked for those pieces of jewelry.
You’re going to take them all back anyway, am I right?”

Cherryl had never received any gifts from her father and stepmother and even if she did, she could sense early on that it would always come with a terrible price.

Natasha held out her hand shamelessly.
“Give them all to me while we’re at it.
You didn’t deserve these pieces of jewelry anyway.”

“Then, please take these accessories to the one who deserved them, mother.
Unfortunately, it isn’t you.”

Just as Natasha did during her bath, Cherryl collected the tacky pieces of jewelry in her hands and dropped them on the floor.

Her stepmother’s eyes went as round as saucers the instant she heard the crash of the expensive metal on the hard surface.

However, Cherryl did not stop there.

“You shout at me every time you don’t get what you want from me.
Your behavior is just ugly as mine.” She shot back.

Having lost all of her reason, Natasha spoke hoarsely, “Are you out of your mind?”

“I thought that tonight’s dinner was worth seeing, but I guess it wasn’t.
You incompetent thing! His Grace hadn’t even shown the slightest interest in you!”

Natasha must have been so dull not to notice the strange atmosphere during the dinner party.

It wasn’t her obligation to explain, so she didn’t respond to the scathing statement even if it shredded her insides.

“It’s none of my business.”


“I said, it’s none of my business.”

“This… You are really—-”

Natasha raised her right hand as if to slap her.

“No! No!” Lucy shouted lightly and threw herself between them.

She managed to intervene just in time.

Lucy might have a small frame but she was strong enough to throw her weight around if needed be thanks to her, working day and night as a maid.

She could separate Natasha from Cherryl without breaking a sweat.

“My Lady! Please calm down!”

“Get off of me! I’ll fix that habit right now!”

“You can’t slap her, My Lady!”

“Let go of me!”

“They can hear you were shouting downstairs, My Lady.
If you don’t stop this disturbance, you will put the Marquis in a lot of trouble!”

Natasha stopped upon mentioning Marquis Milose.

Sometimes, Cherryl blamed her father’s avarice for remarrying Natasha.

She remembered her father groveling to Natasha in the early days of his second marriage.

How did her father, who had a virtuous ex-wife like her mother, fall for such a shallow wealthy widow and remarried her?

It was ridiculous to see the Marquis, who was deeply concerned about his status as an aristocrat above all else, marry the second daughter of a poor baron.

If Cherryl thought about it, Natasha either had no regrets about this second marriage.

Of course, she adored playing the excellent hostess in an elegant mansion with dozens of employees at her beck and call, but as the years passed, Natasha had a lot more to lose since she was still submissive to Cherryl’s father.

She couldn’t deny that Lucy’s words had hit the nail on the head.

Natasha braced herself but she didn’t rush forward to slap her like she planned to.

She stared at Cherryl while tidying up her disheveled, dull-colored hair.

Cherryl fearlessly met her gaze as well.


Lucy looked distressed, almost hugging Natasha as she blocked the two of them.

It was difficult for her to see a dear girl fighting to the death with her stepmother.

“You! This your last chance.” Natasha pointed at the door.
“Go downstairs right now and show His Grace to the guest room.”

Cherryl sighed and got up from her seat since she didn’t want to see Lucy have a hard time due to her stubborn nature.

‘Leading the Duke to the guest room… shouldn’t be that big of a deal.’

As she trudged forward, Natasha thrust a verbal dagger behind Cherryl’s back.

“The Duke had traveled a long way, so I hope you untie them well so they don’t get lumped together.
Do you understand?”

She was not foolish enough to understand such words.


Her stepmother wanted her to assist the Duke during his bath?

What are these people treating her like?

Cherryl slammed the bedroom door with all her might.

People must have heard it downstairs, but she didn’t care.

Soon, the door burst open, and a furious Natasha ran out.

“How dare you slam the door!”

“It had slammed due to the strong breeze.” Cherryl recited obvious excuses as she continued to walk.

When she reached the ground floor, Duke Blkanov and Marquis Milose were still talking in the dining hall.

It seemed more like a one-sided chatter on her father’s side rather than a discussion.

Cherryl noticed that Cade’s men were nowhere to be found while her father smiled slyly the instant he saw her.

“You must be tired, Your Grace.
Why don’t we continue this conversation tomorrow? We’ve taken special care to make you feel comfortable in the guest room.” Then, the Marquis winked at her.
“My daughter will take you there.”

Cherryl’s mouth had snapped like a wooden doll.
“I’ll show you around, Your Grace.”

Cade, who was smoothing his empty wine glass, lifted his golden eyes and looked at her.

The sudden eye contact made Cherryl’s heart sink in surprise.

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