There was silence for a moment in the hallway.
Outside, there was only the faint chirping of insects in the spring.
After a moment of silence, Sophia swallowed a dry saliva and spoke in a groan.
“Do, do you have any evidence How dare you drive us down with such fake ledgers without any evidence…!”
She was desperately trying to find a way out.
‘Every time Coco informed me about the information, I kept a thorough inventory check.’
All evidence was collected.
Nevertheless, even if I did not have to confirm that, among the people present, they would have known how much embezzlement each other had done.
So, seeing that I knew a lot of information accurately, without an inch, they resigned, realizing that there was no point in arguing like Sophia.
The employees, who had come in hopes of going on strike, looked frightened and were at a loss for what to do.
I opened my mouth towards them.
“Now, I want you to stop and leave Blois.”
It was then.
“Madam, that’s not how you handle things.”
Suddenly, Duke Blois’s voice was heard from the other side of the hallway.
With silent footsteps, he had already reached quite a distance.
I did not know from where he had heard, though he looked displeased.
“No matter how much you delegated personnel authority to the wife, you should have discussed this with me.
You seem to have done a bigger job than I expected.”
Sophia rolled her eyes at the voice that seemed to bruise me and looked at the Duke.
She must have used her head, wondering if this could have fizzled out since she thought the Duke was neglecting me.
“Master, the wife misunderstood and framed us! It’s clear that she’d never done inventory management before.”
Then, with a pathetic face, she knelt in front of the Duke.
“It has been six years since I have been here, working with loyalty to Blois.
Would I have committed embezzlement because I was blinded by small immediate gains, having promised to devote my life to working for Blois”
Adversarially, she pleaded with tears in her eyes.
“That is not fair.
Please, investigate and reveal the plight, Your Excellency!”
The Duke stared down at her indifferently and slowly opened his mouth.
You said you wanted to work for Blois for the rest of your life.”
“That’s right! I was born and raised here.
I’ve been living in Blois since I was very young…!”
“Remembering that, did you act like a mouse in this mansion that was just like your hometown”
Contrary to the sharp content, it seems that Sophia’s cognitive dissonance has occurred in the Duke’s elegant and quiet tone.
He then continued to speak in an indifferent tone without even getting angry.
“Catching rats is trivial and boring.
I mean, if you just stick your fingernails in, it’ll die on its own.
Do you know what it takes to have a really enjoyable hunt”
The corners of his lips rose long.
“You’ll have to hunt them down when they’re plump and ripe to delightfully play with.”
Then, he chuckled with a mischievous face.
The gaze staring at Sophia as if he was watching an interesting prey made me even feel intimidated.
‘After all, he knew it all and let it go.
Did he wait until the sins piled up and then pretend he didn’t know so that he could blast them all at once’
Cats often trick their prey, playing with it and slowly killing it.
They enjoy the terrifying game of losing, missing and driving the prey into a corner, and when the excitement cools down, they will take its life.
Only then did Sophia realize that the Duke of Blois knew everything and cornered her through me.
The Duke turned his head away from the trembling Sophie and gazed at me.
“It’s a little disappointing.
I thought the wife would do things in a more fun way.”
‘…Did he expect me to punish the employees in a way that befits Rowaine’s notoriety’
`He shrugged his shoulders and spoke as if he was teaching his disciple to hunt.
I’ll show you clearly what to do in this case.”
At that moment, he snapped his finger—Snap. Then, as if waiting, several knights approached and grabbed Sophia from both sides.
Seeing that, the Duke looked back at everyone who had gathered here and said softly.
“I will hold all employees accountable for the embezzlement of every employee so far and confine Sophia Hersen in the dungeon for the same length of time as she worked for Blois.”
Although his voice was not very loud, there was no one who could not hear him in the hallway that was as quiet as a dead mouse.
‘She said that she was born and raised here, so how long is that…’
It seemed that I was the only one who was surprised to guess Sophia’s age.
As the Duke of Blois waved his hand, “Take her,” the knights took Sophia away.
“Master! Master, please…! This is a misunderstanding! Master!”
Sophia’s desperate voice pierced my ears sharply.
As the Duke frowned his brow as though it was noisy, the knights covered her mouth with a dirty handkerchief that might have come from someone’s pocket.
Some of the weakest employees saw the sight and fell to the floor.
Everyone had a blue complexion.
Looking at them, the Duke took the ledger that I had handed, glanced over, and opened his mouth.
“Everyone gathered here is dismissed.
Of course, there is no severance pay and no letters of recommendation for those whose names appear on this book.”
Then, he ordered knights to line up the employees and take them away.
They were kicked out of Blois with their bare hands, with no time to pack up.
For a while, the mansion resounded with cries and pleas.
The Duke stood with his arms crossed at the scene, looking indifferently before eventually turning his head to me.
His eyes were shining a little differently than before.
It was as if asking, ‘Did I not do well’
“This is how you do it, Madam.
If you had consulted with me in advance, I would have given you a more stringent way to punish the employees, but you have a soft side, unlike how you look.”
“It’s because I’ve never dismissed anyone before.
After watching the Duke do it, it seems like I was too soft.”
Even if the punishment seemed to have been imposed by the Duke, embezzlement is a crime, but I even tried to send them out by giving severance pay as well.
‘…After seeing the Duke’s solution, I think I was too timid.’
Even though it was an excuse, it was burdensome to release even one person, although trying to fire several people at once like this was rather intense, so I could not even think that far.
Quite a lot of my concentration was wasted just by pretending to be relaxed without showing any discomfort.
Besides, I had never given any punishment to anyone, so I did not even think that it was necessary.
I was just buried in the fact that I had to completely get rid of Mrs.
‘If the Duke had not been listening, I would have wasted his fortune.’
But, how did he know to come here in such a timely manner
‘Was he coming to see me’
I asked him, thinking he might have something to say to me.
“Duke, what brings you here…”
The Duke paused for a moment.
“That… I was walking around.”
“With the knights…”
“To train them.”
“But, you said you were just out for a walk…”
Knights need that as well.”
Because I am not a knight, I would not know so I just nodded my head.
However, it seemed that he interpreted my reaction differently.
“I never said that I didn’t believe you, Duke.”
His pupils instantly enlarged and contracted.
He seemed to be flustered.
Well, he was worked up for nothing.
“The employees were disrespectful to the wife because of my title of the duke.
Even if it’s a contract marriage, please pretend to be close.”
“Pretending to be close…”
“Call me Dimitri.
Of course, just because you’re calling my name doesn’t really mean we became close.”
Somehow I laughed.
Why does it not feel like a line was being drawn at all even though he drew a straight line
“Dimitri calls me Rowaine, too.
If you want to pretend to be close, we have to do it together.”
He just nodded his head without saying a word.
Then, he asked, looking down at the ledger in my hand.
“By the way, I can’t believe you even made a ledger like this.
How did you do it”
I praised Coco proudly like a big sister.
“Our Coco had a hard time.
He was so quick-witted and tenacious that he caught all the suspicious behaviors of the employees.
Coco made my job easier.
That’s truly amazing.
Dimitri stared at me with his wide-open, wary eyes before cutting off my words.
“I’m not curious.
I’m not curious at all.”
“You asked me how I did it just now.”
“I never did.”
“Still, Dimitri is definitely…”
Rowaine is mistaken.”
He quickly turned his head.