Home Post 896-chapter-4


My mother treated me like a fish being presented before Duke Petros.

“Be as tidy as possible. You must bathe for at least two hours. Even if you can’t match Illyae’s elegance, You must at least look presentable. And bring some food, lest anyone think you’re starving, for heaven’s sake!”

Her tone implied that the fattened pig was a delectable dish.

“Mother, don’t worry too much. I’ll lend all the perfume I have to Sister. With its application, her hair, skin, and nails will exude smoothness.”

“Kind Illyae. Where on earth did you spend the allowance I gave you? Sigh, my dear, who would consider her the Count’s daughter?”

I couldn’t bear it any longer. Despite her shouting, I clenched my jaw shut and endured.

“Did she give you any money?”

“Chloe! This disobedient child…!”

“Mother, no! We have to meet the Duke soon!”

Illyae laughed cunningly and held Mother’s arm. The Countess sighed at her playful behavior.

“You really need to treat Illyae well.”

While such situations became routine, occasionally, a simmering anger would bubble up within me. I wished she would just leave if she’s going to throw such tantrums. Nevertheless, I found myself presented before Duke Petros as they desired.

From early morning, I had to submit to an inspection by Mother’s maidservants to ensure cleanliness, absence of odor from my body, neat hair, and clean nails and toenails. Enduring all those humiliating processes, I clung to the hope of escape.

The reasons Tirannia had brought me along were twofold. One, the fear of losing favor and dignity if I were to be expelled. Perhaps it would have pleased my family to see me expelled without defying the will of the gods or tarnishing their honor. Mother even wore the most expensive hat adorned with Duke feathers. She chuckled at Duke’s birdlike appearance.

‘What difference does that make?’

Thankfully, I had managed to become presentable enough for the occasion. Having been confined to that room for so long, deprived even of proper sunlight, my face had paled to the point of translucence.

In the original, it was mentioned that Chloe is truly beautiful. Despite resembling the protagonist’s pretty younger sister, her personality is described as vastly different. Even Mother remarked, “Hmm, hmm. Not as much as Illyae, but! She’s presentable enough.” Perhaps because of that, Mother was in high spirits.

A signal announced Dante Petros’ arrival at the mansion, causing a stir. Mother pressed her fan against my thigh firmly.

“Behave yourself, don’t look hateful. Do you understand what I mean?”

Her flickering eyes bore an uncanny resemblance to Illyae’s. I prayed fervently not to resemble that figure.

“Yes, I understand.”

Mother seemed somewhat relieved by my compliant response. Shortly after, Dante Petros entered the parlor. For a moment, I thought I caught a glimpse of radiance behind him. My savior who would rescue me from this hell. Even if he resembled the beast from ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ I would still love him. His curse meant nothing to me. In fact, he seemed rather handsome even now, except for the mask covering half his face.

“Thank you for accommodating this sudden request, Lady Illyae. And Countess,” he added with utmost courtesy.

It felt as though he could have been the guardian angel sent by the heavens themselves. Duke Petros’ indifferent gaze swept over me and Mother. Mother’s demeanor appeared oddly excited.

“I heard from my grandmother that a proposal has been made for the Count title. Young Lady Illyae, is that correct?”

Beside me, Mother appeared flustered, nervously swallowing. I kept my lips tightly sealed.

“Well… in truth, my lady hasn’t specified the other party for the proposal… she only mentioned Lady Tirannia…” Mother’s voice trailed off.

“Oh, I see.” Dante arched an eyebrow.

No one mentions Chloe of the Tirannia family.

I was a half-bred noble unable to partake in social activities.

Would his wife even acknowledge my existence?

Surely, when people referred to Lady Tirannia, they meant Illyae.

Undoubtedly, this proposal was intended for Illyae. Mother must have been aware of that fact.

Deal with it yourself.

Despite this opportunity seeming like salvation, it was never intended for me in the first place.

I had no intention of squandering the chance, nor would I grovel.

When Mother jabbed my side with the fan, I swatted her hand away. In response, she cast me a venomous glare.

What’s the point? Are you attempting to strike me?

Finally, after taking a deep breath, Mother spoke. Her voice trembled with despair. How could she entertain such thoughts with her heart fluttering so? She embodied both strength and weakness.

“In truth, this child is Chloe, Your Grace.”

Duke Petros’ eyebrows raised in surprise.

“I heard from my grandmother that a proposal was made with Young Lady Illyae in mind. It seems there was a misunderstanding.”

“But Chloe here has admired Your Grace for a long time. When news of Your Grace’s proposal reached our household, Chloe insisted.”

The Countess trembled with apologies, her performance remarkably commendable despite her fear. Perhaps she managed to deceive the readers with this performance. I even recruited volunteers to kill Illyae, thinking she was tormenting Chloe.

“Is that really true, Young Lady?”

Duke Petros’ intense gaze shifted to me. I answered meekly.

“Yes. I want this marriage.”

I spoke sincerely, with only earnestness in mind. Those eyes, intermittently delving into my soul, carried a subtle mocking glint.

What could that signify?

The Duke turned his head to stare at Mother.

She pretended to be pretty, blinking her eyes vigorously.

Despite his partially obscured appearance, he exuded beauty.

If not for the curse, Duke would have been one of the empire’s finest grooms.

He was not only an outstanding naval officer and war hero but also bore the illustrious Petros name.

“Please give us a moment. There’s something I need to discuss with the Young Lady alone.”

It sounded as if he were confident he could sway me to relinquish this marriage in a matter of minutes.

“Ah, but… Chloe is quite timid and delicate, thus she hasn’t had the opportunity to engage in social activities properly. That’s why she appears so thin.”

Nonsense. I’ve never felt embarrassed in my life. Mother painted my slender frame as a symbol of frailty. Her smooth-talking tongue slithered like a snake.

Seemingly gaining confidence, her voice grew stronger.

“So she can’t even speak for herself properly. That’s why I should accompany her…”

“It’s okay, Mother.”

Sparks ignited in Mother’s eyes as she glanced at me. Despite my cheeks twitching with dissatisfaction, she remained powerless in this situation.

Mother sighed before pressing her fan firmly against my thigh.

The tender flesh was pressed against the hard surface, causing sharp discomfort.

Mother’s lips moved silently, her eyes flashing with a stern warning.

“It’s better to be quiet and obedient.”

Her darting eyes conveyed a stern admonition. After casting me a few lingering looks filled with reluctance, Mother left the room.

Despite being my mother, she was powerless to defy Duke Petros’ will. Her hesitant footsteps gradually faded, leaving silence in their wake.

Duke Petros had maintained his composure and now turned his gaze to me. His crimson eyes resembled crafted rubies, sitting atop a high-bridged nose, with slightly furrowed brows.

His black hair brushed gently against his forehead, and his lips were tinged with red, an unusual trait for a man. Yet, within those beautiful eyes, I could detect a trace of disdain.


“Your Grace…”

Before I could utter another word, Duke Petros raised his hand to silence me, his imposing figure rendering me speechless.

“Before that.”

Dante slowly removed his mask, the action so deliberate it was barely perceptible.

“We need to make sure. Milady. We need to know what kind of monster you are up against. What you must give up and endure.”

Dante’s words were firm, his resolve unwavering.