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1522-chapter-16

The duke looked at me with interest.

Although I found his gaze burdensome, I didn’t let it show on my face, and continued speaking calmly.

“It hasn’t been long since my brothers went to subjugate the snow monsters. I’m also aware that Josephine was in charge last month. In terms of order, it seems befitting for me to go.”

“Are this and that the same? Don’t push it, you’re getting carried away. Don’t go looking for trouble for no reason.”

Gritting his teeth, Clark snarled.

He seemed quite displeased with the fact that I had volunteered.

I sneered at Clark without even looking at him.

“Who’s looking for trouble for no reason?”

I didn’t even need to look at Clark to know how he would react to that dismissive remark.

『Warning! Fatality risk is increasing』

As expected, a system warning message flashed.

I ignored it as if I didn’t see anything.

After all, if I kept looking at these people, I wouldn’t be able to touch my food.

“I haven’t told Father, but I’ve been researching and finding information about the dungeon on my own. I’ve achieved some satisfactory results.”

‘Of course, it’s a lie.’

After possessing this body, all I did was visit the slums or stay in the corner of my room.

‘They can’t check if it’s the truth, can they?’

To survive in this crazy family, I decided to be shameless.

“I want to see if the knowledge I’ve accumulated can be applied in actual dungeons.”

My voice was firm as I expressed my determination to go.

To an extent, going to that dungeon was an opportunity I couldn’t afford to miss.

There was silence in the banquet hall.

“…”

The duke observed silently while intermittently tapping his fingertips against the table.

Leon laughed as if something were funny, whereas Josephine folded her arms, quietly watching.

Only Clark glared at me with bloodshot eyes as if he were out for my blood.

“I’ll allow it.”

I clutched the hem of my skirt tightly under the table.

“As always, the dungeon raid is an extension of orders. In accordance with the regulations, I’ll have one more person accompany you.”

‘I knew it.’

Apart from conquering the dungeon, there was no way the duke would pass up the opportunity to create a better successor through a family feud.

‘Even if they are the last people on earth, I don’t want to go with them.’

Nevertheless, I had no good reason to refuse them.

‘Wait a minute, now that I think about it…’

Suddenly, Evan, who just stood there like air, caught my eye.

Perhaps trying to get used to the atmosphere, he kept quiet and observed the situation as much as possible.

As I stared at Evan, a thought flashed across my mind.

“Father, there is someone I want to go with.”

I spoke without hesitation.

“Tell me who it is.”

The duke asked me, who was finally willing to take the initiative.

“Please send me with Evan.”

The duke narrowed his eyes at the unexpected name.

I could feel Evan’s stinging gaze on my profile, but I didn’t have time to look that way.

“I cannot allow it.”

“Is it because Evan hasn’t developed his power?”

“Correct.”

If Evan were to accompany me, it would be impossible to keep him in check through ‘predation.’

As such, there was no reason for the duke to allow it.

“All the more reason for Evan and I to go.”

“Why?”

“As a Brunak, our mission is to improve, so wouldn’t it be more beneficial to compete by even one day before Evan’s blossoming?”

My honeyed words were spun based on the correct answer.

As a candidate for Brunak’s successor, that was the answer the duke most wanted to hear and was most likely to understand.

“You sound confident that you’ll be able to make Evan bloom.”

“Yes, I think that the blossoming period can be significantly accelerated through the special environment of the dungeon.”

I answered with strength in my voice.

These weren’t words made up and exaggerated to win over Evan.

I was truly confident that I could hasten Evan’s blossoming.

‘Blind Wolf Den and Evan are a good match.’

It was because Evan’s power was closely-related to animal-type demonic beasts.

If the prerequisites were met, there was a high chance that he would rapidly blossom like in the original work.

“Indeed. As a Brunak, you have an impeccable attitude.”

For the first time in a while, praise flowed from the duke’s mouth.

Yet, I couldn’t relax.

His eyes and expression as he looked at me were sharp, as if he was sizing me up.

“Kiana. Brunak’s words carry a certain responsibility. You do know that, right?”

As expected, nothing ever went over easily.

The duke was demanding that I show an appropriate result as he had accepted my request.

‘I have to endure this much.’

I was scared, but I had no intention of backing down.

Just by not accompanying my half-siblings, my fatality risk would drop significantly.

Plus, it was an opportunity to develop a bond with Evan alone.

For me, it was an opportunity I shouldn’t miss.

“Yes, I’m aware.”

“Take Evan with you.”

As soon as the duke gave permission, a sense of joy washed over me.

Although it was a bit of a stretch, in the end, everything went according to plan.

Then, I felt eyes looking at me.

Leon was frowning with an indescribable expression. Smiling, Josephine was still watching me with interest.

Even Clark glared at me with bloodshot eyes, angry that he had lost the opportunity to monopolize the dungeon and devour me.

Whatever it was, as long as I had obtained the duke’s permission, I no longer had to concern myself with what they thought.

“…”

My only concern was Evan. I looked at him.

Evan was eating steak by cutting it into thin strips with clumsy movements.

He may be a bit clumsy at using cutlery, but I found it surprising that he could eat just fine despite the atmosphere.

‘I guess it means there’s no need to worry about it for the time being.’

It seemed like he was deeply aware that we couldn’t mess with him until his power blossomed.

So, I guess he decided there was no need to feel watched or intimidated.

『Warning! Fatality risk is increasing』

‘H-huh…?’

All of the sudden, a system warning window written in orange popped up.

I blinked and looked at Evan.

He was busy eating and paid me no heed.

‘Scary guy.’

Goosebumps appeared on my forearms.

After all, blood didn’t lie?

Since I had joined the dukedom, I tried to hide my true feelings.

I was shocked to see everyone acting more like a Brunak.

“Today’s dinner will end here.”

After finishing his meal, the duke wiped his mouth with a napkin.

“Kiana.”

I raised my head and made eye contact with the duke.

“Show Evan around the duke’s house.”

“Yes, Father.”

I stared alternately between the faces of the duke and Evan, before nodding.

Having finished his business, the duke left the banquet hall.

Soon, my half-siblings stood up one by one.

Squeak.

With his appetite sated, Leon stood up, causing his chair to make a noise. He stared at us.

“The menu has expanded. Now there’s a main dish.”

Leon stared at me and Evan meaningfully then turned around and walked away.

“Don’t forget to buy me a gift after you leave.”

Then, Josephine left the banquet with a clap.

“I’ll remember this.”

Seemingly upset about not being able to go to the dungeon, Clark grit his teeth and disappeared.

After the three had left, Evan and I were the only ones remaining in the banquet hall.

“Get up when you’re done eating.”

After seeing Evan put down his utensils, I got up.

As I came out of the banquet hall, Tia came next to me as if she had been waiting.

Following me, Evan also saw an unfamiliar maid following him.

‘A personal maid?’

The maid looked me in the eyes, bowed her head and introduced herself.

“Greetings to the young lady. My name is Kasha, and I’m here to serve Lord Evan.”

For a moment, my eyes widened.

Neat bun and a calm look. And yet, unwavering, straight brown eyes.

In the original work, she was also mentioned by Evan as he explained his past.

‘She’s the maid who helped Evan escape.’

In reality, Kasha served Evan as her master for only a couple of months at most.

Nevertheless, Kasha treated Evan as if he were her true master—

—to the point that she betrayed Brunak, who hired her.

‘She had to pay with her life, and in the most excruciating way.’

 

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