A story not in the prologue.
The Duke’s family was excited about the unprecedented banquet preparations.
The atmosphere was even more exciting than usual.
The workers seemed so busy that even Suren was mobilized.
Still, I thought that there would be no work for me, sitting in a shady scribe position…
“Why are you asking me this?”
The maid held out a piece of cloth.
It was a sample carpet for the hallway.
“Originally, the hostess should do it… The only lady from an aristocratic family staying here is Miss Leoni.”
“Don’t you know noble tastes better than we do?”
In fact, I don’t even know if you ask me.
Although Leonie’s perspective, coming from a humble noble family may have been mediocre, my perspective was aligned with the preferences of modern people.
No matter how hard I try to explain, I don’t know if the gold thread symbolizes the prosperity of the imperial family or what these stripes mean!
“All… Are pretty?”
That was all the advice I could give.
“Is there anything more appealing?”
“Isn’t this a bit more luxurious?”
“Doesn’t this fit more northerly? White stripes on the blue carpet…”
The maids rushed out pieces of cloth.
As I hesitated for a long time, they laid a small piece of carpet on the table.
“If it’s difficult to decide now, you can leave it and think about it slowly.
We’ll come back to pick it up tomorrow.”
“Try touching the sample! This side is definitely softer.”
They reassured me until they closed the door and left.
Suddenly, I found myself in charge of the final judgment for the reception at the mansion.
I stared at the samples they left behind, but nothing seemed to change.
Straight and curved lines.
No matter how much I look at them, I can’t tell the difference.
The pen holder rolled and stopped at number two.
Alright, this is number two.
“Pick one quick.
I’m asking even though you already know.”
Viter said to me as I was spinning the pen holder.
“If you decide on your own, it’s ambiguous.
If it’s evenly split in a vote, it’s easier to ask an upper-class lady.
That’s what the noblewoman usually decides.”
Sighing heavily, he continued, “I hope a desirable lady appears on this birthday.”
Unexpectedly, Viter wildly shook the ink and scribbled away.
Black blots splattered onto the dry paper.
“We chose all noblewomen of Viscount rank or higher for this invitation, but please put some effort into it.
We’re also requesting a dance.
Well, there’s no need to request a dance, but it would be good if they responded to the conversation.
We’ve even prepared materials to help him choose a good lady…”
Bitter turned his head to me, muttering to himself, as if talking to himself.
“Wouldn’t it be helpful if the Lady recommended some good ladies to the Duke? Isn’t Lady the one who is most often with the Duke these days? She listens well.”
Oh, this was a chance for me to owe something to Viter.
I leaned back on the chair with a haughty air, crossing my arms.
“What will you give me?”
“What do you mean, give you? Isn’t this all about the stability of the noble family’s succession? It’s a significant issue.”
But Viter, his current worries were in vain.
The duke was scheduled to have a century’s love a few years later.
He didn’t read it to the end, but he would probably have several children.
He was worrying unnecessarily.
Although there was no guarantee that the duke would change his mind if I recommended someone, I could at least pretend to make an effort.
“What’s in it for me if I make a recommendation?”
“… What do you want?”
“If I succeed, let me leave the Duke’s castle.”
“That’s not possible, you know that, don’t you?”
He firmly shook his head.
It’s not that I want you to let me move out permanently, but even for a short outing?”
“As for Lady… She has a premonition that if she goes out, she won’t come back.
Just like what the Duke said, he feels like you might end up going somewhere unpredictable.”
Oh, what a sharp child.
Viter, who had a furrowed brow, opened his mouth.
“I’ll do my best.
It should be okay to go out for half a day with a guard.
Then… can you do it? Just listening in won’t be enough, we need to have results.”
“Getting the marriage arranged is out of the question.”
“I don’t expect you to do that.”
Viter wrote something on the empty paper.
“So, for the first step of success… If you introduce a lady and look at the ladies standing in the center of the hall for more than 20 minutes, just like the Duke shows his favor, I’ll consider it half of the success.
I’ll give you permission to go out for half a day.
He handed a paper titled “Excuse for going out.”
“If he dances that day and asks a lady to dance with him, I’ll consider it a complete success.
At that time, I’ll give you permission to stay out overnight with a guard.
Give this paper to the Duke and get permission then.”
It’s no big deal to try.
They say that knowing your enemy is the key to victory.
To conquer the mission, I need to know the young ladies.
I handed over the list of attendees that Viter had prepared.
Next to each small portrait was the name of their family.
The eldest daughter, the second daughter…the size of their family’s wealth and the ancestors who held important government positions.
Everything from the family’s intentions and history to the meaning of their sentences was thoroughly and meticulously researched, just like Viter.
Furthermore, their individual tastes and hobbies were also recorded below.
“Michele Kleiner, 19 years old.
My favorite flower is the yellow freesia.
Had experience studying abroad in the Kingdom of Kodan at the age of ten.
Likes the brand accessory shop in front of the royal street and visits twice a week.”
“Wow, is this almost like a civilian investigation? Where did they get this information from?”
As I flipped through the pages, I suddenly became curious.
Could it be that my information is also here?
I turned the pages that were listed in order of rank – Marquis, Viscount, Baron, and then to my information listed at the very end.
So, it seems that only those with the rank of Viscount or higher were invited.
As expected, I am the person with the lowest rank.
‘Leoni Sien, the second daughter.
Oh, so Leoni has older siblings.’
Hobbies include reading romance novels…?’
Furthermore, her financial status was negative.
There were no exact numbers, only the word “negative.”
Suddenly, her credibility dropped.
Come on, I like surfing and traveling abroad too, you know? Everyone has at least one hobby that costs money.
It just seems like it’s not a hobby if you can’t afford it.
If I went to the capital, I could go to a brand shop and say, ‘Give me everything from here to here!’
I’m so sick of it.
All I do in this dull northern province is read romance novels in my study.
Reading romance novels is hardly a hobby.
The word was like a stamp, and it put me in a bad mood.
I gulped down the water next to me.
Think about rewriting your financial books when you go out, Viter.
I’ll show you what real money is.
I calmed my mind and started reading from the beginning, carefully.
I wondered if any of the main characters or familiar faces in this world would appear.
The heroine also had reddish hair.
But even after flipping through it several times, there was no heroine.
The person with reddish hair in the photo was me.
But I remember it being a fairly well-known family.
Did they not invite me because I was too far away?
Or… did they refuse the invitation because I was from the pro-vice faction?
That couldn’t be it.
She tilted her head.
During this time, the duke, and heroine don’t normally meet.
So there’s no difference from the original story… but suddenly, she became curious.
They sent invitations to almost all unmarried women above the rank of a viscount, so why did they decline to attend?
I wonder why.
Is there a separate story here that’s not written in the prologue?
Late at night, I pulled off the covers and got up from bed.
I checked that she was deeply asleep by gently waving my hand over her face and then picking up the key bundle.
It was the set of keys to the storage units of the employees I had obtained through Suren.
There were about 40 keys attached to the bundle.
I wasn’t sure if the key to the Duke’s storage was among them, but I had to try taking advantage of this chaotic opportunity.
The window was closed, but walking down the chilly hallway in my night clothes made my legs shiver.
The ambitious plan to manipulate the Marquis and try to open the warehouse door ended in failure.
To escape without any clothes, she needed a heating stone, but no matter how much she tried to bribe him, Deon did not show her the warehouse.
Even if she asked for the keys to verify if all the items belonging to the Duke were properly recorded…
If you say you want a certain jewel, and it’s probably in the warehouse…
If you need cash when you go outside, and you ask for it in advance…
It was insane.
I couldn’t ask too actively or raise suspicion… It really gave me a headache.
So I made up my mind.
Late at night, I groped the hallway walls, relying on a single candle.
In the distance, I saw the warehouse door of the Duke’s house.
I made my way to the warehouse, trembling with the sound of rattling in my hands.
My hands shook with cold or fear of getting caught, I couldn’t tell.
The keyhole didn’t fit.
I brought the lamp closer to the keyhole.
The first and second keys weren’t right.
I clenched the wrong key with the other hand.
When I tried the third key and turned it, a chilling voice came from behind me.
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