“I’ll be straightforward. The salary will be twenty times this contract fee. Also, I’ll arrange a private prayer room next to your bedroom.”
Cecille had thought there would be few things that could surprise her after living as a dark mage and being murdered and now was surprised twice in a row.
“Oh my, that’s right! The hiring process, managing the estate and belongings, and handling accounting books—all three were done by Isaac this time! So, Isaac practically proved his ability as a butler!”
Cecille widened her eyes and turned to Isaac, who seemed dumbfounded, unlike Cecille, who immediately understood the Duke’s intentions.
Various emotions, starting from ‘bewilderment’ and progressing through ‘puzzlement,’ ‘surprise,’ and ‘astonishment,’ passed over Isaac’s face.
In no time, ‘astonishment’ turned into ‘delight.’
“If I don’t seize this opportunity here, I’d be a fool! I’ll do it, I’ll do it!”
Cecille couldn’t believe the situation.
‘Wait, does that mean Isaac, who fought me to the death before the regression, is now the butler in our house?’
Now, instead of not seeing each other’s faces, they would face each other every day.
In this unexpected situation, Cecille was confused.
Then, Cecille’s body floated up into the air.
Isaac lifted Cecille up with the happiest expression on his face and embraced her tightly.
“Our lady, you’ve brought me this amazing opportunity. Oh, our lady, you’re so beautiful!”
Being hugged by an adult man with her 8-year-old body was truly suffocating. Her cheeks were squished together, and it was difficult to open her eyes properly.
But… how did this happen?
With her body feeling tight and suffocated, amidst the noise…
The fact that she didn’t have to part with Isaac was, honestly, a bit…
‘…I don’t dislike it.’
“Ah, it’s frustrating! It tickles! Don’t pat my cheek!”
In the end, Cecille couldn’t help but burst into laughter without realizing it.
It was a bright laugh, completely devoid of any trace of the 8-year-old.
Meanwhile, Duke Bartolomeo, who had been observing this scene with a detached expression, spoke up.
“Goldman, put her down. You might accidentally hurt her.”
* * *
And so, Isaac became Duke Bartolomeo’s butler.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I have good news! I wrote a proposal for the staff party, and His Grace kindly approved it!”
Isaac shouted, shaking the proposal toward the busy staff.
“Alright, got it? If we work hard this week, we’ll have the party on Sunday, so let’s all work together!”
The excited staff members responded in unison, as if in a choir.
Isaac worked passionately.
With his excellent skills and friendly personality, as well as taking the initiative to lead, he had a good reputation with both the Duke and the staff members.
“Well, it’s not a surprise since it’s my first official job after working as a freelance troubleshooter due to not having anyone to hire me. Plus, the conditions here are beyond what I could imagine in other noble households.”
For Cecille, who had entrusted herself to the Duke’s household, having a competent butler was incredibly helpful, no matter how you looked at it.
In addition to Anne, three more maids were hired to take care of Cecille, and they were all excellent at childcare and had pleasant personalities.
Isaac made the right choice in selecting them.
‘Come to think of it, with the recent influx of staff members, Anne was offered a promotion to head maid. However, she declined the position, saying that if the caretakers changed too frequently, it would confuse the young lady, and she was satisfied with the role of childcare head maid.
‘I knew that the Duke’s household had enough integrity to sustain the ruins for two years, but I never expected it to be to this extent…
‘I’m not sure if they are trustworthy individuals. I don’t know how they will be needed in the future, so it might be a good idea to gain their favor.’
Cecille made up her mind to treat Anne well for the time being.
‘That aside… I never expected Isaac, who was once a squire to a holy knight, to become Duke Bartolomeo’s butler.’
Cecille thought to herself.
‘Well, it’s because of me that Isaac converted, so in this timeline, there won’t be a situation where Isaac becomes a squire to a holy knight…’
In truth, it was more beneficial for Cecille herself that Isaac didn’t become Valentine’s retainer.
‘Before the regression, my biggest enemy in the alternate timeline was me and Duke Bartolomeo. But in this current life, since I have refrained from evil deeds, I suppose I can consider Duke Bartolomeo as the biggest enemy of the alternate timeline.’
In the end, even for Cecille serving in Duke Bartolomeo’s household, the alternate timeline was a dangerous existence. So, it was beneficial for Cecille to take Isaac away and weaken the power of the alternate timeline. There would be no harm in it, and it would be good for Cecille.
‘Well, anyway, I don’t have any intention of staying in the Duke’s household until that time.’
Knowing how dangerous Duke Bartolomeo is, it was a crazy idea for Cecille to remain in the household for that long.
So, Cecille planned to stay there for a while, preparing for independence and then escape.
Preferably to a foreign country where the influence of the royal family wouldn’t reach.
‘Anyway, that’s a future matter. For now, I have to get closer to the Duke, as much as possible. That way, I can stay here more stably and for a longer time.’
Looking at it this way, it seemed like only good things have happened since Isaac became the Duke’s butler, but that wasn’t necessarily the case.
After everything was settled, Nebula asked Cecille.
“Cecille, why is Duke Bartolomeo here? I-is this his mansion?”
“Yes. Why are you suddenly surprised now when it’s been like this for a while?”
“I thought this was the palace! You never told me this was the Duke’s mansion!”
Cecille absentmindedly played with her hair, lost in her thoughts.
‘Well, I actually knew. I knew that it would become such a hassle if Nebula found out.’
And as she expected, that’s exactly what was happening.
Nebula didn’t seem to have any intention of backing down.
“Cecille, why are we in the Duke’s household? Did you forget? That man…!”
“That man…! Didn’t he try to kill you?”
Cecille’s eyes turned cold, as if she couldn’t believe she was only eight years old.
That was it. The person who ended her previous life.
That person was none other than Duke Bartolomeo.
The reason why Cecille still feared him was because of that.
Just hearing the name Bartolomeo, looking into those cold golden eyes, chilled Cecille to the bone.
“Entrusting myself to Duke Bartolomeo was a decision I made, taking all of that into consideration.”
“Whatever! Entrust myself? Are you even thinking about staying here for the long term? No, Cecille! It’s too dangerous! You don’t know what that despicable man is capable of doing to you!”
“Yes, it is dangerous. But it’s better than staying in that damn palace.”
Cecille spoke coldly.
“Or do you have any other place where I can trust my life? An orphanage? The streets?”
Nebula seemed at a loss for words at Cecille’s remark.
“If you don’t have any reasonable suggestions, then I hope we can end this discussion here. I have no intention of going elsewhere. As dangerous as Duke Bartolomeo may be, it’s still better than the palace or the streets.”
The voice dripping with ice seemed to cause Nebula to hesitate, as if realizing the gravity of the situation.
“Cecille… if that’s the case, then remember one thing. You must always be cautious. Never trust him. Always remember what he did to get his hands on you.”
On the eve of her wedding at the age of 18, Cecille saw Duke Bartolomeo at the celebration.
And she noticed the dark magic artifact he possessed.
Believing it was the only way to escape the palace, Cecille stole Nebula and ran away.
From that moment on, Duke Bartolomeo relentlessly pursued her for an entire decade.
And in the end, he succeeded in capturing Cecille and taking Nebula from her.
And he killed Cecille to retrieve Nebula.