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“Lady Jewelie, I really don’t know what you’re talking about. Lady Venetolia is hiding something?”

Stephanie’s words about Lady Venetolia hiding something made Andra’s heart feel like it dropped. But she decided to play it off with a calm expression. However, Jewelie insisted otherwise, nodding innocently as if she knew everything.

“Listen, Lady Avelin. It’s going to be a very interesting conversation.”

“Lady Jewelie.”

“After the death of Lord Eden, Lady Venetolia has been leading the Duchy for the past few years, right? Unfortunately, the title of Duke Venetolia Duke has not been inherited.”

According to imperial law, Lord Eden couldn’t inherit the title after being recorded in the imperial family. This was to prevent the dispersion of power within the imperial family.

However, Lord Eden’s younger sister, who had previously conducted an early marriage and separated from her family, died together with her spouse in an unfortunate accident.

The emperor, who considered this situation a pity, allowed Lord Eden’s niece, the only surviving relative, to inherit the title of Duke Venetolia. The title was granted not after Lord Eden’s death but after Lady Venetolia’s marriage, for convenience.

From this, everyone could see how much the emperor cherished Lady Venetolia.

Anyway, with this, Duchy Venetolia would disappear from history when Lady Venetolia changed her surname after marriage.

“Well, even if the family disappears, it doesn’t mean the family’s assets will disappear along with it. As I mentioned earlier, the Emperor, who cherishes her so much, has also granted her the authority to handle Duchy Venetolia’s assets.”

Lady Venetolia wielded formidable power, not only due to the Emperor’s favor but also because of the immense wealth left behind by her parents. They knew that only through her could the Duchy’s assets be disposed of. Therefore, no one dared to oppose the Lady’s decisions.

“Perhaps, this is an opportunity for Airak to finally enter the capital. From Lady Venetolia’s perspective, joining forces with Airak might be a better option. So, what I’m trying to say is this, Lady Venetolia never had any intention of retiring from the beginning.”

If Lady Venetolia planned to marry Airak, according to Stephanie, the shares acquired by Avelin could indeed become mere trifles. If Lady Venetolia truly intended to marry Airak, there was no need for her to favor Avelin, who had a strained relationship with Airak. However, Stephanie’s words did not deeply resonate with Andra.

“How about it? Isn’t it interesting? Avelin is eventually betrayed by Lady Venetolia and ends up wasting money.”

Andra stared intently at Jewelie. Did she not know that Lady Venetolia was time-limited? Otherwise, it would be challenging to come to such a conclusion.

Andra chose to trust Lady Venetolia a bit more. After all, the letter from the Princess of Flanders sent to her father was genuine, and she vaguely knew that Lady Venetolia wouldn’t abandon Avelin to such an extent.

“Well, Lady Jewelie, I still don’t quite understand why our Avelin ended up in such a precarious situation. We have nothing to lose. If someone raises objections about the shares of the Duchy that we acquired, it can easily be handled. The amount in question is not a significant sum for Avelin. Isn’t Lady Jewelie, yourself, in a more precarious situation? I believe you were pinning your hopes on this, right?”

Stephanie clearly desired to enter the capital social circle this time. Therefore, even if Lady Venetolia didn’t join forces with Avelin, Stephanie had nothing to lose either. The two of them wouldn’t need to face each other like this if Stephanie’s words were correct.

“If Lady Venetolia doesn’t retire, the position won’t be vacant in the first place. Not just me, even Lady Jewelie won’t find a place to enter. I’m fine. I was prepared to enter the capital social circle to a certain extent, and although it may take time, Avelin will establish itself well.”

Andra spoke to Stephanie with a faint smile. However, Stephanie paid no attention to Andra’s words. Instead, she smiled even more broadly, then neatly folded her fan with a loud snap. When the fan was completely folded, Stephanie’s expression changed again.

“In fact, Lady Avelin.”

Stephanie, now serious, took one step closer to Andra. With confidence and ease, she continued.

“All my previous speculations were just jokes.”


“So, from now on, I’d like to share a truly interesting fact with you, Lady Avelin. I’m sure you’ll be amazed when you hear it.”

In her vivid amber eyes, Andra sensed an ominous undertone. A truly interesting fact? Andra gulped dryly.

Stephanie Jewelie seemed to be even more formidable than Leona Jewelie. Andra was beginning to understand why people who clashed with Stephanie once would shudder when discussing her.

“What, what fact are you talking about?”

When Andra asked, Stephanie’s gaze briefly shifted to Dustin Airak, who was standing next to Lady Venetolia. Andra followed her gaze to Dustin. Then, Stephanie, with a nonchalant demeanor, began to drop hints that, if heard by others, could upset them.

“It’s a fact that, apart from Lady Venetolia, Airak is aiming for an opportunity to enter the capital. It’s just my prediction, but even the Imperial Family might suddenly extend their hand to Airak. Avelin should be prepared. Whether sooner or later, a massive change will start.”

When Andra turned to Stephanie, looking completely incomprehensible, Stephanie casually laughed it off. ‘Don’t look at me like that. You’re giving away the fact that you’re a novice.’ Andra’s cheeks turned red and she quickly composed her face.

Stephanie then shifted her gaze to Ansel, Andra’s brother.

“Even Young Marquis Avelin should be cautious. No matter how loyal Avelin is to the Emperor, in the end, Her Majesty is someone with a beating heart. Her Majesty cares for her niece and children very well.”

‘Ansel should be cautious?’ Andra found it increasingly difficult to understand what Stephanie meant. Why was Stephanie sharing this information? Was it all just lies fabricated to instill fear and control her? Or was it a revelation about a similar pitiful situation she experienced with Lady Venetolia? Andra looked down at Stephanie, who was slightly shorter than herself.

Stephanie remained confident and undeterred. Holding a fan in one hand and casually tucking the other hand into her trouser pocket, she seemed more like a seasoned businesswoman who came to trade than someone who came for the coming-of-age territory.

In contrast to her sister, Stephanie appeared to have good color and a lightness about her. Confidence continued to radiate from her.

‘Airak is aiming to enter the capital?’

Andra turned her gaze from Stephanie to Dustin Airak once again. The ignorant man with nothing in his head except for swords and brawling in the capital? Ridiculous. The Dustin Airak she knew would never willingly engage in such troublesome matters. For that Airak to enter the capital, this capital’s social circle! It would be fortunate if he didn’t run away within a day.

‘More importantly, what is Lady Venetolia thinking?….’

Why did she suddenly appear with Airak as if they were lovers, when she had no relationship before?

From a distance, Lady Venetolia had a distinct impression and spirit that resembled the late Lord Eden. It was quite a contrast to someone who did not have long to live. No one would suspect that she was a terminally ill patient.

‘Is she reconsidering her retirement plans? Or could it be that she has truly fallen in love with Airak?’

It wasn’t an entirely implausible story. Lady Venetolia was well-known for treating her lover exceptionally well. Perhaps Lady Venetolia had met Dustin Airak by chance and fallen in love, and promised to give everything to her beloved like many others do.

Objectively, Dustin Airak had the appearance that could tempt anyone. Although Andra found it difficult to admit.

‘But did she like Airak so much that she abandoned her promise with Avelin? Could it be that I… I was pushed aside by him?’

Andra couldn’t believe the situation she found herself in, being pushed out by Dustin Airak. Her fingertips trembled, and anger surged from within as she looked at him even from afar. Could it be that he was interfering again? Why does he keep interfering at such a crucial moment?

Andra felt a chill in her head at that moment.

Then, Stephanie, who had been momentarily forgotten, spoke up.

“We’re on a boat, Lady Avelin. And soon, a storm is going to hit. One person on this boat is destined to fall into the water.”

Stephanie looked like she knew something. She casually pointed at Andra in a cheerful tone.

“I’m sorry, but the person destined to fall into the water is Lady Avelin.”

“….How can you be so sure of that?”

“Lady Aveline lacks experience. And no sense of desperation.”

Desperation. Andra flinched at the word. Stephanie hit the nail on the head. Because of this, Andra couldn’t say anything.

“I’m always a desperate person, so I know it well—whether that person is desperate or not. When I look at Lady Avelin, I don’t see the desperation you mentioned. In that case, naturally, you won’t survive. Throughout history, only desperate people have found a way to survive.”


“Not only that, Lady. I’m always intoxicated with victory. It’s the driving force behind me. Do you know why I gave up my position as Jewelie’s successor to my sister?”

Andra remained silent. She didn’t know. However, she was curious.

If the ambitious Stephanie could easily secure the position of Jewelie’s successor without her sister, why did she willingly give up the position to Leona?

“The position of the head of the family is indeed attractive, but there is a lot you have to deal with. Above all, I can’t easily leave the South where the roots of Jewelie are. I don’t want to stay only in the South. I’ve always wanted to conquer the capital.”

Andra listened attentively to Stephanie’s straightforward words.

“I’ve played with money a lot in the South, so I know. Lady Avelin probably knows too, but you can’t win big money with small money. Small money can’t beat big money. That’s the allure of money. I want big money, a big game. The South has become too small a stage for me. I don’t want to make myself small.”

“….Then, what do you ultimately want, Lady Jewelie?”

Stephanie tilted her head and locked eyes with Andra. She smiled mysteriously.

“I want to become someone who catches the flow of a big game and moves with it. That’s my desperation.”


“There’s one thing Lady Avelin overlooked. Do you have a bigger desperation that can beat my desperation? Do you know how long I’ve held onto this day? Lady Avelin, who grew up preciously, won’t be able to beat my desperation. I’ve always won, and in the end, I’ve always got what I wanted.”

A daughter raised preciously. That evaluation shook Andra’s heart. Stephanie’s words were, honestly, entirely correct. Andra knew well what people were saying about her in society. The princess from the East. The lady wgi grew up preciously in Avelin. All these voices reached Andra because she kept her activities outside to a minimum.

In reality, even now, Andra thought she could somehow make it without inheriting the position from Lady Venetolia. The nobles connected to Avelin in the capital were considerable. With their help, although it might take some time, Andra believed she could steadily enter the capital social circles. society. This confidence in a certain belief allowed Andra to maintain composure even when it came to Lady Venetolia’s matters.

Stephanie Jewelli spoke coldly and firmly.

“Lady Avelin, find what you truly desire. Keep in mind that with weak intentions like stepping up for the family now, you can’t defeat me. You don’t belong here.”