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Before Elisha could get up and open the door, Nanny Marin already showed her face.
There was a smile with dimples on her chubby face.
Elisha, who was dumbfounded by the sight, said.
“Marin, why did you knock on the door if you were going to enter as you like?”
“Oh, can’t I just walk into your room? Aren’t you hungry? Come out to eat.”
“……can’t I eat later?”
“What do you mean? The Lord is here, so you should go and sit down with them.”
“He doesn’t care if I’m there or not…….”
As Elisha pouted her lips, Marin said excitedly.
“But an empty seats can be seen quickly! I don’t want you to look bad before the Lord.”
“Isn’t that the case already? Because I wasn’t born with red hair?”
“Young Lady, so are you sure you’re not going to eat? How heartbreaking it would have been if the lady saw you like this…….”
Marin muttered in a voice that looks like she was about to burst out in crying.
“Phew… I see. I’ll go and eat.”
Among the Family’s servants, the only one who treated Elisha as a noble is Marin, the nanny.
One of the reasons Elisha stayed here was because of her. Elisha sighed and went down to the Grand Hall, where the dining room was located.
In the middle of the spacious dining table was Count Leonard, Cornelia, and his eldest son Klaus.
Faced with the Count’s blunt face, Elisha greeted with a bow while holding the tip of her dress, but the count refused to give her a glance.
Cornelia, too, pretended to be noble, raised her head and smirked.
Sitting next to her is Klaus also with red hair. Unlike the two, he greeted Elisha normally.
He had been learning the sword for a year now from Marquis William.
“Welcome, Alicia. It’s been a while.”
Thanks to that, Elisha managed to breathe in this icy atmosphere.
Klaus at least didn’t ignore Elisha, and he treated her better than the other red haired family members.
Elisha sat in a corner relatively close to Klaus.
There were grilled lamb and turkey on a silver platter, stew seafood, mixed vegetables and fruits, fragrant wine, walnut pie, and grain bread.
There seemed to be a feast, but Elisha didn’t even look at it more than a second.
After a while, the maid brought Elisha’s food separately.
Corn, potato stew, and dry bread were all her food.
“Ugh, there seemed to be a harsher difference than usual today. ”
Cornelia, who heard her tried hold back her laughter.
“Come on, let’s eat.”
Everyone began to eat at the count’s words.
Klaus took a lamb cut from his portion and pushed the plate towards her.
Elisha was actually uncomfortable with Klaus’ attitude but didn’t show it up to him.
She just wanted to stay quiet and get out of this house.
She will be going to get a job at a textile factory once she turned 20 years old.
Until then, she wanted to live like a mouse.
“I heard Klaus has improved his swordsmanship these days. Lord William praised you.”
“You’ve been scolding me many times before, I’m surprised…… I will continue to make good progress in order to impress you more, Father.”
Cornelia, who was quietly listening to the conversation between Count Leonard and Klaus, meddled in.
“Oh, Father, what happened to your visit to the Imperial Court? Have I been invited to the Crown Prince’s birthday party?”
The count said with a loving look at Cornelia, who has her eyes full of expectations.
“Of course, Cornelia was invited. I’m sure you’ll be an eye-catching lady among the young Lads. You’d better get ready in advance.”
“Really? I love you, Father!”
Cornelia said with a big smile to the count.
“Hey, are you so happy? I feel good because you like it…… by the way, are you learning sewing from Mrs. Meldre?”
“Well, of course……. I’m doing my best. I’m learning how to stich these days.”
Cornelia, who was smiling, replied, sneaking a glance on Elisha. In fact, it was Elisha who was doing her best instead of Cornelia.
“That’s good to know, your mother’s sewing is terrible.”
Among her classes etiquette, history and sewing, the last one, which requires labor or skill, was something Cornelia would never want to do.
She was scooping up a dry potato stew, and she felt that someone looked at her. The count’s dark brown eyes were directed at Elisha.
The owner of those cold, emotionless eyes, is his father from which she never felt any affection from.
“Elisha, you come to my study room after your meal. I have something to tell you.”
It was very rare for the count to call her separately, so Elisha chewed up the leftovers with a nervous face.
‘Why the hell is he calling me for? Did he notice that I was learning sewing from Mrs. Meldre instead of Cornelia?’
Elisha was somehow nervous.
The air sank heavily as she pushed through the wooden door. The Count’s study was full of books and it smells ink.
Sitting on the velvet sofa, the count looked at his commoner daughter with a serious face.
As the count looked carefully at her, Elisha, who was slowly walking in, gradually stiffened.
The face-to-face encounter with the count was not very pleasant.
She felt more comfortable when he treat her like she didn’t exist.
Soon the count looked at Elisha and said,
“It’ll be fine if you dye your hair red.”
The way he said things. It was very unpleasant.
Does that mean he didn’t want to see her pink hair that much?
No, she thought there was a more unpleasant reason to the point he waited for her.
When the count lifted his chin and looked through her hair color, Elisha asked.
“Is there a problem on my hair?”
“Yes, it’s the color of your hair. Why don’t you change it?”
The count shook his head and had other thoughts in his mind.
“That’s the problem.”
Suddenly, Elisha wondered why she was so generous with her hair color.
“What do you mean by changing my hair color?”
“There’s something I need you to do…….”
The count paused for a moment, lifted a letter, and opened his mouth.
What’s that letter? It was not long before Elisha’s purple eyes opened wide at the words that came out of the count’s mouth.
“You would be Cornelia’s substitute”
* * *
“Master, a letter and a painting have arrived from Duke Penblen.”
It was the day before he left for the Imperial Palace.
Anxiety flashed across Count Leonard’s face.
When he received the letter and unfolded it, his concerns were written in elegant handwriting.
It was time to marry her daughter, due to a long-standing promise between both families.
This letter was a proposal for Cornelia from the Rubitz family.
It was late at night, but the count hurried and called his daughter Cornelia.
“Conelia, the Duke of Penblen has asked you to marry him. What should I do?”
Cornelia said with a small voice.
“……I want to say no. I don’t ever want to get married to such an ugly duke, father.”
“……but we can’t break a promise between families without any reason.”
“If I marry a man with such a scary face, I’ll bleed to death! Can’t you just say I’m sick?”
Count Leonard was in agony and speechless at the words of his immature daughter.
It was a marriage that Cornelia had even before she was a baby.
The previous Duke Penblen had a good place in politics and society.
The Duke was famous and made a brilliant contribution as the Empress’s Brother and war hero. He had always been a celebrity amongst the society.
After their sudden death and their young son became heir, the Penblen closed the gates tightly and did not interact with the outside world.
Decades of years of building walls like that, many rumours started about the young Duke started.
Like a den of demons who do not live amongst the human beings, the duchy seemed to be left as it was.
Few people came in and went out from the castle.
People said that ghosts lived there because of the black and bizarre citadel.
The more people talked about it, the more naturally the image of the mysterious duke incresed.
There have been many unpleasant rumors about him being a blood-crazy killer, an ugly-looking looking man, which resulted him in staying behind the gates.
“But what is that?”
Cornelia’s gaze reached the count’s desk. It was a frame covered with a black velvet cloth.
“They say it’s from Penblen.”
As she casually stripped off the cloth, Cornelia screamed at the top of her lungs at the exposed picture.
It was a portrait of the Duke.
Under the frame, the artist’s name was written with the signature “Louzark Penblen.”
Cornelia, who was shaking and rollingher eyes, held her father’s as if she had a good idea.
“Why don’t you send Elisha instead of me?”
The Count asked her daughter once more.
Elisha also has the noble blood of the Rubitz, so if only her hair was dyed red, she would look like a legitimate child.
The count’s eyes narrowed.
“It won’t be bad. They know you only by name at Penblen Family, so I’ll send her as your substitute.”
“Right? Isn’t it too much to ask for a full-blooded daughter? I feel bad for Elisha that will substitute me, but there is no other choice. By the way, are you going to put my name as Cornelia to the imperial court? Two Cornelia won’t be a problem in the future, will be?”
“That shouldn’t be a problem. Sometimes family members use the same name. Why don’t we say you are both named Cornelia?”
“Oh, I see!”
“And the Duke is the Empress’s nephew. This could be a stepping stone for you to rise to the throne in the future.”
“My father is right.”
The red-haired father and daughter smiled at each other.
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