Even though it was the middle of the night, Douglas stood calmly in front of Tara without a trace of complaint.
“Are you out of your mind?”
Tara asked with a cold look on her face. Still, not a word came out of Douglas’ mouth.
“If you’re not a fool, then you should remember how Evelyn has been these past few days, Douglas.”
“….. I remember.”
“Then say it with your own mouth.”
As if to make it clear that she wouldn’t let it go if he pretended not to know, Tara tightened her grip on the staff in her hand and commanded. Douglas reluctantly lowered his eyes and opened his mouth.
“…..I’ve been locked in my room since the banquet.”
“Yes, locked in your room since the damn banquet!”
Tara shouted at him, her anger not abating. Without stopping there, Tara scolded Douglas in a raised voice.
“Just today I managed to calm Evelyn down and get her to sit at the dining table and pretend to spend money without anyone noticing. And you dared to make Evelyn cry?”
Evelyn, who was she? She was a precious child, more precious than Tara’s eldest son, who was a fool, and Henry, her youngest son. She was the only precious daughter of the Praviche Duke, half like Tara and Henry, the only one of her kind.
Normally Henry would have tried to calm Tara down, but this time he didn’t.
“Douglas, you have gone too far this time. Do you understand?”
Douglas nodded solemnly, but it was unclear if he really understood.
Was he really that out of line?
They had exchanged such harsh words before. Of course, Evelyn had never hit him like she had before. She had never even raised a finger.
‘…He must have done something that was typically considered rude, as usual. Is it because he loved the Crown Prince so much?’
No, could someone really love someone else? Maybe it was just his frustration at not having what he wanted.
But I had no intention of locking him in his room again.
At least Douglas decided to show some courtesy. He wasn’t a child, and he didn’t want to be dragged back to his parents’ room in the middle of the night to listen to their nagging until Evelyn’s mood improved.
Reluctantly, Douglas muttered.
“…Could you give Evelyn some pocket money? From my personal budget.”
“That was the plan.”
Tara’s answer seemed to indicate she was somewhat satisfied, and she gave Douglas a slightly softer look than before.
And the next day.
“Young Master, the young lady has been summoned to the Master’s study.”
As soon as Douglas heard the servant’s report, he hesitated outside Tara’s study. Henry, who had been waiting outside, looked at the dark circles under Douglas’ eyes and muttered disapprovingly.
“If you wanted to be so careful, you should never have done anything wrong in the first place.”
“I wasn’t being careful.”
Making a feeble excuse, Douglas continued to fidget like an anxious puppy. As soon as he felt the door open, he quickly hid.
Henry watched this pitiful display for a moment, then greeted Evelyn warmly.
Douglas watched Evelyn closely as she talked to Henry.
Has her mood brightened a bit?
It seemed that Evelyn’s expression wasn’t that bad. She even shared a hearty laugh with Henry and bumped fists with him.
As expected, sticking to the usual routine was the right choice.
With that thought in mind, Douglas revealed himself to Evelyn. Evelyn raised her eyebrows.
Normally she would just ignore Douglas and walk past him. That would be the proof that her anger had subsided.
But to Douglas’ surprise, Evelyn said, “Don’t try so hard to give allowance to a pathetic child.”
Having said that, Evelyn walked past Douglas without paying further attention to him.
Douglas had a feeling.
With this paltry sum, Evelyn’s mood wouldn’t improve. If he made another mistake now, he would be in big trouble.
* * *
I walked down Boutique Street with Henry. To be honest, I felt incredibly awkward the whole way, but I was relieved that Henry had an easygoing personality.
I mostly just let his banter wash over me, occasionally responding with “Oh, really? I see. Well, it doesn’t matter” three times.
Still, Henry seemed quite pleased for some reason.
Come to think of it, Evelyn always disliked accompanying her parents after she reached a certain age.
She used to say, “How long are you going to treat me like a child?” It just dawned on me.
Maybe it was because she fell in love with the Crown Prince.
Ugh, that Crown Prince is really something. He turned a perfectly good woman into a disobedient one.
And so we arrived at the most prestigious jewelry store in the capital. Henry opened the door for me.
“All right, Daughter, you go in first.”
As I walked in, Henry followed behind me. The clerks recognized us and all bowed deeply, almost folding themselves like flip phones at a 90-degree angle.
Henry smiled like a flower and treated them casually, as if they didn’t exist. He then looked at the jewelry they presented and said,
“As expected, the quality of the jewelry here is the best. And your craftsmanship is commendable.”
It wasn’t just commendable; it was the absolute best of the best. But when I saw the jewelry, I had the same thought as Henry. It was clear how immersed in wealth the Praviche family was.
Should I just start buying everything?
I wondered how much Douglas had given away. With a sturdy purse at my side, I spoke without hesitation.
“Give me everything you have.”
The mouth of the inexperienced-looking clerk dropped open, but the others had familiar faces. If I didn’t have memories of robbing luxury stores in my past life, I wouldn’t have had the courage.
A glance to my side showed me Henry had an excited expression on his face. Now he raised his eyebrows as if to ask if I was satisfied and nodded eagerly.
Not only his actions, but even his face looks very youthful.
Who would see this man as middle-aged? My future seems very bright.
“Thank you, Duke. Duchess.”
“Now, let’s go to the next shop.”
I accepted Henry’s escort and left the jewelry store. From the jewelry store, we explored Henry’s Boutique Street. The cost of a single building flew away easily.
“Daughter, are you hungry?”
“I knew it, so I found us a nice restaurant.”
Henry led me to a restaurant, which, once again, wasn’t just nice, but took reservations and was considered the best in the Empire.
And when the food arrived, I immediately understood why it was considered the best in the Empire.
It was incredibly delicious.
Even in my previous life, I hadn’t tasted anything so delicious, even if it was the same barbecued meat. But I couldn’t lose my dignity as a villain. I calmly continued eating with my fork.
“I’m glad you like it, Daughter.”
But with Henry’s comment, it suddenly dawned on me. I snapped to attention and realized that I had one last bite left. I quickly finished it and cleared my throat.
“Well, it’s fine.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen my daughter eat this well.”
Puzzled, I looked at Henry quizzically at his sudden comment. With a misty, moist look in his eyes, Henry continued.
“We used to shop together and eat outside like this. Do you remember?”
I turned my head. I remembered because he had mentioned it.
After started chasing the Crown Prince, Evelyn had tried to avoid going out with the Duke and Duchess altogether, and she even refused to eat with them at home.
Ah, Mom and Dad don’t understand anything! Mom and Dad don’t know how amazing Julius is, that’s why!
Thinking of the faces the Duke and Duchess must have made, I felt unreasonably guilty.
I couldn’t say anything, and Henry came over and held my hand tightly.
“To see our daughter looking so happy… You have no idea how happy that makes your father. Thank you, our daughter. Evelyn.”
I just ate and spent money.
I didn’t feel like I had done anything to deserve such warm thoughts, but for a moment I wondered if it was okay to hear them.
If what they wanted was to see Evelyn Praviche in good health, I could grant that wish. Life is about give and take.
“Being overly picky wouldn’t be the Evelyn Praviche way, would it? Don’t worry, it won’t happen in the future.”
If they were hoping for a dutiful and healthy daughter, they had come to the right place. After all, I was also looking for a wealthy and loving family.
* * *
We resumed our pilgrimage to the boutique. Realizing that the best way to be a dutiful daughter was to spend money, I became even more unrestrained.
“My feet hurt. I should buy new shoes.”
“Give me everything on display outside.”
“All the clothes here, too.”
Even though we spent money like water, both Henry and I looked perfectly good, thanks to the enormous wealth of the Praviche family.
They call it boundless wealth.
The fleeting thought of whether I could even wear all these clothes was only momentary.
People are the same; we buy clothes and never wear them.
Especially as the mistress of the Praviche household, Henry’s face remained as cheerful as ever, so I didn’t think much of it.
And then, as we were about to head back home, a certain shop caught my eye.
What had caught my eye was the most popular boutique among the women of the Empire. As much as it had caught my eye, the place naturally carried luxury items, and the prices were exorbitant as well.
Henry stopped and asked me curiously, “Daughter? Why here?”
It was natural for Henry to be curious. This boutique was even more popular with married women than with unmarried women. That was the reason I had stopped.
I wanted to buy a gift for the Duke.
The reason I could spend so much money was because of the Duke’s favor. Spending money freely without buying a single gift would be rude.
“I’m thinking of getting a gift for Mom. Mom likes clothes from here.”
“By the way, I’ll get something for Dad later, too, okay?”
At that moment, a touched Henry hugged me.
“Our daughter… How can she be so good-hearted?”
There’s a limit to how cute a baby hedgehog can be; only the Praviche family would say that Evelyn has a good heart. I quickly patted Henry on the back a few times and told him to let go.
In my previous life, I gave money and was still called a disobedient daughter.
The life of Evelyn is too comfortable. Even when she spends money, she’s called a dutiful daughter.
If things continue like this, of course I’ll cut the connection with the original story.
I plan to keep shopping like this for a while. Once the worries of the Duke and Duchess have eased a bit, I’ll just stay at home.
In that case, of course, I’ll disappear from the story.
After tidying up the facial muscles that had been relaxed during this pleasant shopping spree, I finally let go of Henry. Henry opened the door and bowed dramatically.
“Please, after you, our princess.”
Not a bad feeling at all.
I smiled as I closed my eyes and brushed my hair aside.
And the moment I stepped into the shop.
I opened my eyes. And I froze.
Sleek silver hair, sparkling golden eyes. A pure face.
“….Young Lady Hebe.”
I whispered the name softly.
The name of the heroine, Dahlia Hebe, from Oh, My Dahlia.