Home Post 788-chapter-50


Carinne took reluctant steps.

In her heart, she wanted to forget everything and go back home, flip the blanket, and sigh before taking a nap, though she had a promise to Duke Lucas.

By now, Iris would have already boarded the carriage.

If the proud Duke had any sense of self-esteem, he would be in his own room instead of waiting for her in the empty office. The sight of the Duke leaning back in his chair, wearing a relaxed expression as if he had everything in the world, would annoy Carinne.

Still, this shouldn’t be a long conversation.

Carinne carried the clothes she received from Archen and yawned, trying to suppress her exhaustion as she walked down the corridor.

The Duke’s office was different from the other rooms in the mansion. The door, reaching up to the ceiling, was adorned with intricate carvings and shimmering gold accents, which seemed excessive for a piece of wood.

‘If you have money to gild the door, you should pay more attention to your aide.’

She thought she should bring up Archen’s treatment soon and turned the doorknob.

“Where have you been, and what have you been doing?”

The scenery inside the room was not far from her expectations. With a lamp illuminating the room on the desk, the Duke sat with his chin in hand, sipping wine.

“I had some business to attend to.”

Carinne sat down in the chair opposite the Duke. The Duke’s curious gaze landed on what she was holding.

“What’s that?”

“Don’t you recognize it?”

It was clothes. Carinne placed the clothes carefully next to the chair so as not to dishevel them.


The Duke’s response was not to her liking, but she didn’t pursue it.

As he widened his eyes and looked at her as if he had something to say, Carinne pretended not to notice the Duke’s gaze.

“So, what are you curious about?”

“First, have a drink.”

The Duke pushed an empty glass towards Carinne. Just as the purple liquid was about to pour out as the wine bottle tilted, she quickly grabbed the glass.

“I don’t drink. What do you want to talk about?”

He gazed at her with an even stranger look.

“Seems like you have something urgent.”


Was she too rude?

Carinne hesitated and put the glass back on the table. Despite the fact that she was indeed concerned about what happened with Archen, that didn’t mean she should be fidgeting in front of the Duke.

She tapped the glass nervously but soon calmed herself down.

“…I’m tired, that’s why. I just want to hear the main points briefly.”

“Fine. Don’t you plan to attend the meetings regularly?”


Carinne’s attention was suddenly piqued by the unexpected suggestion. She only expected questions about the agenda of the meetings, but the idea of regularly attending the meetings hadn’t crossed her mind.

“What did you say just now?”

“I didn’t think I was saying anything difficult.”

The Duke smiled lazily, then removed his hand from his chin and began an elaborate explanation as if he had something to say.

“As the Princess knows, Esmeril is like a lantern in the wind. No one will care if it collapses.”

‘What does that have to do with me…?’

Just as she was about to protest, she closed her mouth. Remembering herself cursing the author while reading the novel, she realized why.

‘Even though it’s a novel, can such a country really exist?’

The noblemen were all rotten, and being in a position between two major powers, unable to go up or down, was unrealistic.

For those who had dabbled in romance fantasy genres, it was well known that the country serving as the backdrop for the novel is usually the largest and most powerful on the continent.

Even if the female lead’s country was a small country, the male lead’s country was usually a great empire or kingdom. The prince or grand duke, regardless of his preferences, could easily destroy one small country, and such the male lead could easily control a country as he pleased.

That was what made Carinne excited.

However, Esmeril was in charge of the ‘small country’ in the example above. Since the two major powers, Radian and Saraha, could easily crush Esmeril if they so wished, the situation of Esmeril being a lantern in front of the wind was not an exaggeration.

“The ones who are supposed to be discussing matters of state are busy looking out for their own interests.”

While she was distracted, the Duke sighed as he rambled on, and it was easy to see why.

‘If that weak spinach were the King, even I would sigh.’

Perhaps the Duke had a similar thought because he showed signs of frustration.

“…It’s frustrating in many ways. Esmeril needs someone talented like you.”

He seemed to be in a hurry. Judging by the way he emphasized the word ‘talent’ and boosted her own image, it seemed that convincing him would require considerable skill.

Carinne crossed her arms defensively and quietly pondered her thoughts. How could she refuse the Duke’s proposal? Judging by this man’s persistent nature, it would take significant tactics to make him give up.

She was deeply absorbed in thinking of an effective way to refuse when the Duke seemed to interpret her silence as a positive response.

“If you receive a delegation letter from Duke Tricia, there won’t be any procedural problems. You experienced it once before, as you know.”

“I went there because I had no choice but to accept the request. But that’s not the important part.”

The Duke’s eyebrows twitched at the mention of going reluctantly, yet that was all.

“Then, what’s the problem? I have a lot to do. Just with the next meeting agenda, there are more than a few issues.”

Whether it was a few or hundreds of items, it didn’t matter to her as long as they were unrelated to her. She was already exhausted with life as it was and didn’t have the luxury to focus on other matters. So, she had no intention of accepting the Duke’s proposal, not even in the slightest.

Unaware of Carinne’s inner thoughts, the Duke made an effort to persuade her.

“Monsters are rampant in the north, tax issues are always a headache, and unexpectedly, they say the Prince of Irita is visiting… “

“The Prince of Elita?”

The familiar phrase caught Carinne’s ear, causing her to nearly jump out of her seat.

She had completely forgotten about it while focusing on saving Archen. Winter was coming to an end, which meant it was time for the Prince of Erita, or rather, the Crown Prince of Saraha, to come to Esmeril.

It wasn’t mentioned in the original story that it would be discussed at the meeting… Well, it would just require a simple approval process for the royal visit.

She quickly understood.

Since the ignorant nobles didn’t know that the Prince of Irita was the Crown Prince of Saraha, the prince’s entry would be easily granted. Then, the Crown Prince could freely wander around Esmeril as an honored guest, and she would have to run around sweating to keep him out of the way.

Ah, what a choice.

The Duke looked at Carinne with a puzzled expression.

“What’s the problem?”

“Ah, it’s nothing. I’ll go to the meeting.”

Going to the meeting didn’t necessarily mean she could completely block the Crown Prince’s entry. She wasn’t a regular member of the meeting and had little influence in politics.

Nevertheless, considering that, going to the meeting was much more advantageous. Even if it were a small possibility, if she managed to prevent the Crown Prince’s entry, she wouldn’t have to reluctantly follow him around.

It was like not touching the nose when we were about to sneeze. Upon hearing Carinne’s answer, the Duke smiled satisfactorily.

“Good. Then, I’ll see you at the next meeting.”

“Just at the next meeting.”

Carinne preemptively set a limit, fearing that he would bother her to continue attending.

“Why? If you’re going to come anyway, wouldn’t it be better to come regularly?”

“I tried it once. After trying it, it’s not to my taste, so I won’t go again.”

“Well, we’ll see about that. You have the potential. Once you attend the meeting, you’ll realize what your calling is.”

“I’ve been there once before, but I didn’t feel that way.”

“That’s something we can discuss when you go there unexpectedly. Your perspective will change if you prepare and participate properly. I’ll send you the agenda for the next meeting, so please take a look at it.”

“Yes, yes.”

There was nothing more to say, and Carinne retorted dryly as she picked up her coat. Now, she thought she should just go, though the Duke was looking at her as if bewildered, not wanting her to leave.

An awkward silence hung in the air with the unspoken question.

“Are you leaving already?”

“Do you have something to say?”

Annoyance welled up within Carinne, but she didn’t want to leave things like this. Already feeling uneasy after her failed confession to Archen, she didn’t want to add to it by leaving with a sense of discomfort.

She forced a smile and replied.

“If there’s something you want to say, go ahead. Yawn…”

Her earlier claim of being tired was not a lie. She kept yawning, having to cover her mouth with her hand.

The Duke, observing Carinne’s behavior, finally blurted out.

“No, I have nothing more to say.”

He seemed to have more to say, but if not, then it must be nothing. Exhaustion overwhelmed Carinne, and even with the bright lamp light in front of her, she felt her eyes closing. While she struggled to keep her heavy eyelids from drooping with her remaining mental strength, it was reaching its limit.

“Can I go then? I had a nice dinner tonight. See you at the next meeting.”

“I’ll accompany you.”

Unexpectedly, the Duke tried to get up from his seat. Carinne turned her body and shook her head.

“No, I can go alone.”

“It’s dark outside.”

“You’re saying the same thing as Archen.”

“You still call him by that name.”

Due to her sleepiness, her brain wasn’t functioning properly. Half-jokingly, she laughed at the Duke’s bewildered expression.

“We’re close friends.”

“You’re close?”

The Duke had a completely dumbfounded expression. With a cartoon-like sound effect and the image of bulging eyes coming to mind, Carinne smirked.

“Seems like you didn’t know, though Archen and I are really close friends.”

They were so close that they exchanged banter. Thinking about that, a mischievous thought suddenly surged within her.

“Well then, I’ll really go now. I’m really tired.”

At those words, Carinne nodded her head slightly and turned her body completely, closing the door. On the other hand, the Duke stood there, swaying, and then sat back down in his chair.

“Close friends…”

That was possible? The Princess had changed a lot lately, but for his aide to become a friend…

It was a hard thing to believe.

Did she really become a different person? Even if that were the case, it didn’t matter to him. Even if someone else was inside the Princess’ body and the original Carinne had disappeared somewhere, it wasn’t his concern.

In fact, it was something to be happy about. It would be nice if other idiots could be replaced like that.

…However, it was a useless thought.

Wasn’t the idea of a person’s body changing just nonsense?

The Duke dismissed his strange thoughts and finished his drink. He was disappointed that the Princess seemed tired today and couldn’t bring himself to say what he needed to say. He would have to seize the next opportunity.

The chance to say what he hadn’t said would come soon enough.