Derek, the butler, knocked on Dimitris office door.
Dimitri, who was drunk with the scent that Rowaine had left behind, stretched out on the sofa, and as he was gazing up at the ceiling, he asked.
“The Count Larscels aide is leaving.”
“Without putting up a fight”
“Miss Rowaine is in the carriage as well.
When I asked if she would like to say goodbye to the Master, she said she had already finished talking to you, so she just left.”
Dimitri leaned back with his shoulders shaking lightly.
As he smiled like a madman, Derek just stood there with a straight face, like a true professional.
After a while, Dimitri sighed, but then laughed silently again.
“She knows Im desperate, and shes still testing me—that girl.”
He remembered the look in her eyes as she stared straight at him.
Rowaines eyes were quite firm, as if she knew a lot.
It didnt seem to be a ruse.
Derek asked, “What will you do, sire”
What will I do”
Dimitri pressed his lips as he recalled Rowaines confidence.
Just the thought of her made his mouth water because of that sweet and refreshing scent.
Feeling a distinct hunger because of his impatience, he slowly rose to his feet.
“Lets go catch her.”
My carriage passed through the teleportation magic circle at the Blois estate, so I arrived at Count Larscels residence before long at dusk, the setting sun drooping down the mountain.
I didnt just come back without a plan.
While the Duke of Blois ensured that I would be far from Count Larscels grasp, I was planning to persuade Renées lover, Nigel.
‘Now that things have turned out like this, I cant just ignore Renée.
I have to take responsibility.
It seemed like Renée wouldnt be able to take care of the matter herself if I left the task to her.
To be honest, I could just turn away from it all, but if I did, I would feel a bit guilty.
It felt like I was taking advantage of Renée and just throwing her away.
So, I took action, but there was something I was a little worried about.
‘It would be difficult if Count Larscel tried to take me to the Emperor before Duke Blois would make his move.
As I got out of the carriage, trying to figure out how to hold on to the situation, someone violently pulled me.
“Just what the hell are you doing, Rowaine!”
It was Count Larscel, his plump face in a furious bright red hue.
Meanwhile, the Countess, Rowaines biological mother, tried to raise the white flag and stopped the Count.
“Calm down, honey.
Shes already come back, isnt she”
But, the Count still shoved me roughly and knocked me down.
“It seems that Ive spoiled you too much, Rowaine.
I always thought you were a smart girl, but why did you do such a stupid thing”
“Honey! What if you hurt her face Do you intend to provoke His Majestys wrath ”
‘Shes telling him not to hit me not because shes worried about her daughter, but because she was worried about the face that would seduce the Emperor…
‘With a family like this, its no wonder why Rowaine turned out this way.
Her vicious nature of stepping on the weak as a hobby didnt just fall from anywhere.
Its her environment that created her.
As I stared at Count Larscel as he raised his hand against his daughter, my real father suddenly came to mind.
My real father used to beat my mother.
With very patriarchal values imbued in him, he raised his hand if my mother even so much as offended him slightly.
I became his next punching bag as soon as mother got hospitalized.
Then, one day, I fled to my grandmothers house after I was beaten badly.
My father found me in no time.
He said that he came to find me in the distant countryside because there was no one else whod cook for my brother, whom my father feared.
And, what did I do when I heard that
Thinking about that time, I jumped up.
I had never once again surrendered helplessly to violence inflicted on me.
“Dont give in, Eunsoo.
Resist—you dont have to live like me.”
My mothers muffled voice crossed through my mind.
At that moment, it felt as though blood was rushing to my head.
With a swagger to my steps, I approached Count Larcel, close enough that my forehead was just an inch away from his.
“What is it, Rowaine Are you trying to rebel against me”
Am I not allowed”
“What Has your head gone bigger just because youve been so adored by His Majesty Now youre so arrogant that theres nothing beneath you!”
I laughed out loud at those words.
“Isnt that you, father While youve been sucking up to His Majesty, you were beating me behind his back.
Have you forgotten who exactly made it so that youre chummy with the Emperor now”
“Huh You dare talk back to your father!”
Although the Count raised his hand again, I didnt bat an eye.
It was foolish for the Count to even think he could control Rowaine.
Even if I had been the real Rowaine, she, who had become so arrogant, wouldnt have put up with this treatment.
In the eyes of others, the fight between me and the Count now seems to be a tug of war to determine who it really was who held the most power in this household.
I deliberately imitated Rowaines behavior and provoked Count Larscel without hesitation.
“Sure, go ahead.
The day I become the Emperors mistress just as you wish, I will not let this slide.”
At that moment, Count Larscels eyes flashed with astonishment, and he backed away, staggering.
It was only after he moved away that I relaxed.
I realized that my cheeks were tingling, probably red with rage.
“You dare hold a grudge against your father Who was it that worked so hard to make the Emperor take notice of you!”
I straightened my posture and stared at him with a firm gaze.
Youll regret touching me.”
Count Larscels hand raised high, and I shut my eyes without a hint of resistance.
However, nothing happened because the Countess clung onto his arm and held him back.
“Honey, no! If His Majesty finds out about this, youll be in big trouble!”
The mention of His Majesty seemed to have snapped Count Larscel back to his senses.
He lowered his arm, which he had lifted so vigorously, and tried to catch his breath.
“You! Go up to your room right now!”
I looked at him silently, before lifting my hand and hitting my own cheek.
The resounding clack echoed around us.
Everyone who was watching widened their eyes in surprise, as if they had seen something truly astounding.
“What are you…!”
Nonetheless, I did not stop and I slapped my cheek two more times.
The knights finally came to restrain me when Count Larscels ordered it, terrified by my actions.
“Why are you doing this, Rowaine! Youre out of your mind!”
To be fair, Count Larscels bewildered face was pretty hilarious.
I couldnt help but laugh at the sight of him stomping his feet, not knowing what to do, as he saw the quickly forming bruise on my face.
Wasnt it a pity that a supposedly high-priced product suddenly got a few scratches
To this man, his daughters must have been nothing more than mere commodities.
“If His Majesty the Emperor finds out about this…!”
The Count looked at my face and trembled.
“Hell throw me out because hell think Im crazy, or maybe hell throw me out because Im not pretty anymore.
If you dont want that to happen, you should work hard before your vassals come and see me like this.”
I paused for a moment and smiled at him.
“Oh, but before that, wouldnt His Majesty think that Id been beaten by Father”
Who would believe that when youre crazy enough to do this”
“How would I know His Majesty would believe anything I say.
All I have in my head are memories of that father hitting me and making this happen.”
At that, the Count opened his mouth wide as his eyes shook.
“Youre out of your mind.
Youve really gone crazy.”
So, if you use violence against me one more time, I wont let you go.”
I shook off the dazed knights, adjusted my clothes, and said one last thing to the Count.
“I will sleep and think about whether or not to let my father off the hook, so please behave well.”
With that, I finally went up to my room with a spring to my step.
In my experience, families who treated their daughters this way needed to experience a taste of a crazy bitchs rampage at least once.
It was only then that theyd realized that their daughter was an actual person—a fellow human being.
Of course, knowing about it and actually comprehending this were two completely separate things.
Now, he wont be able to take me to the Emperor until my face is better.
In fact, thats exactly why I slapped my face like crazy.
I bought myself some time.
Now, all I needed was the Duke to come on time.
The next morning, I opened my eyes, rubbing my bruised cheeks.
I glanced in the mirror and I could see my cheeks were swollen.
‘I look terrible.
Still, this was what I wanted.
The fact that it looked horrible meant that Count Larscel would try to hide me from the Emperor until I was fully healed.
The first thing I did after getting ready for the day was to sneak out to look for Nigel.
He was with the other knights in the training hall, looking a little dazed.
Spotting my target, I stood still until he found me, and when his weak gaze turned to me, I beckoned him secretly.
“You called, Milady”
Even if he had a good personality and got along well with others, he really still wasnt a good enough man, no matter how I looked at it.
Nevertheless, the deep longing he had for his lover was clear in his eyes.
I peered at his face to see if he was a man I could entrust Renée with for a while, but I soon gave up.
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Reading people was exactly like looking into water.
You could see only what you could see, but the view from within would be entirely different.
There was a proverb like that, but in any case, there must be a reason why Renée chose him.
“Do you love Renée”
Nigels eyes, which had been wary, opened wide.
Perhaps because he didnt clearly understand my intentions, he averted his gaze as if he was weighing his options.
But before long, he suddenly, desperately hung on to me.
“I was told that she had gone to the Duke of Blois.
Where is she right now”