YCKTML Chapter 21
“Is the Duke of Clifford doing well?”
“He has some difficulty moving. Otherwise, he’s healthy. His Excellency told me to see Madam in person and take care of some things. He also apologized for not attending the wedding.”
“Oh, I see.”
I shook my head, working my brain on where to start on the things I had to say.
Richard looked at me and smiled. “By the way, you look so much like Count Spilet.”
“I-is that so? Did you know my father?”
Although I became Erin, I never really thought much about Erin’s dead father, the previous Count Spilet. I only knew he’s an irresponsible man for leaving a massive debt to his only daughter.
“…Of course. He was one of the Duke’s vassals before he acquired the Spilet territory. That was back when I was young though. How on earth did he…”
I knew that the Duke of Clifford and Count of Spilet were close, but I didn’t know to that extent. Perhaps that’s why the Duke welcomed Rupert and Erin’s wedding.
“But the young master must have gone out.”
Young Master? Ah, he must have been talking about Rupert.
And as if Richard summoned him, we heard horse steps approaching the townhouse.
“Looks like he’s coming over there.”
But Rupert and Chloe got out of the carriage together the way they usually did. So with that, I didn’t have to tell on him.
It was too late when Rupert saw us, but he quickly released Chloe’s hand. Unfortunately, the wind caused Chloe to lose her balance and fall. It must have hurt; she should be more careful.
I looked at them calmly, controlling the corners of my lips that were about to go up. Well, I didn’t have to act, because I honestly didn’t like or hate them.
Richard, on the other hand, snorted and asked me, “Madam, is that woman Baron Verezian’s daughter? Why is she getting off here together with the young master?”
“Well, I felt bad because she had nowhere to go, so I let her stay in the annex.”
Richard strode to ‘Young Master’ Rupert.
As I followed him, I mulled over what the title meant. While society already considered Rupert as a Duke, it seemed that the members of the Clifford family continued to call him ‘young master’ since the real successor has yet to be decided.
“Where have you been?”
“…I had business to attend. Did Father send you?”
“That’s right. He sent me because you didn’t visit him after your wedding. But, when I arrived, Madam was alone.”
Richard acted like Chloe wasn’t there. He ignored her entirely and politely pointed a hand toward me.
Only then did Rupert make eye contact.
It wasn’t the first time he’d seen me since the incident, but I didn’t seek him out on purpose. It was as if fragments of unpleasant memories of that day threatened to leak out again when our eyes met.
“Everything’s fine at home, right?”
Rupert came up to me naturally and spoke as if the question was something he usually asked. But really, he’d never asked such a thing to me before. It must be because of Richard. Did I have to play along?
“The butler doesn’t listen to me at all. I have to dismiss him.”
So I answered according to my needs. It wasn’t the answer he wanted, though.
“If the butler doesn’t listen to Madam, you should fire him right away. Do it.”
“Sir Richard, I am still in charge of the townhouse.”
“Why? When you’re married, you must hand over the management to your wife.”
In my mind, I applauded and cheered for Sir Richard. Yes, that’s it! Well done!
“I wanted to… but she is weak in arithmetic. She hates complicated things. So, I still manage the household.”
At that, Richard had nothing to say and instead looked straight at me. I was stunned. Weak in arithmetic? Me, who majored in accounting?
“Even so, you have to teach her little by little. And the butler, please give him severance pay and send him out. He was already quite old the last time I saw him. Surely by now, he’d have aged even more.”
Rupert frowned slightly, but in the end, he complied. He didn’t seem to care enough for the butler to spare him.
“Then, let’s wait until a new butler comes in.”
Well, up to that point, I thought Rupert had made a lot of concessions, so I didn’t comment anymore.
Rupert headed for the main building as if he always did, and Chloe followed after him.
Where are you going?
I tried to watch, but Richard stopped in front of her.
“This is the residence of Young Master and Madam. You should go to the annex and rest.”
Rupert turned to look at her, and Chloe bit her lip as she stepped back.
“Okay. Then rest well, Your Grace.”
That night, a monster attacked me in my bed.
It was dark, and I couldn’t see, and the intruder muffled my mouth so I couldn’t make a sound. Then, in terror, I felt hands groping me.
It didn’t look like he was big, but Erin’s body didn’t have much strength, so I couldn’t push the intruder away.
As I resisted, he began to strangle me. I tried to see who he was, even if I was losing my breath.
And at that moment, something flew through the window and hit the assailant’s head straight.
He passed out on top of me without making a sound. Shuddering, I pushed him off of me and hurriedly turned on the magic lamp. Looking through the open window, I could tell that this was where the intruder had entered.
But what was the thing that flew inside? And who threw it?
Anyway, I grabbed the lamp and ran straight out the door.
Where was I going? Who should I turn to for help? Who do I trust in this house?
“Richard! Sir Richard!”
My cry echoed through the quiet mansion. And surprisingly, it was Rupert who found me first.
“What is going on? And in the middle of the night. Why are you looking for Richard?”
Even though he saw how terrified I was, he still questioned me, obviously suspicious. What a disaster.
I didn’t want to appear weak, at least not in front of Rupert. But I couldn’t help it.
Rupert was the only one in front of me. I finally fell down, unable to support my shaky legs, and held Rupert’s arm.
“Erin,” Rupert called me, his voice softening, and supported me.
“Someone came into the room and choked me…”
Richard, who came late, heard what I said and ran into the room immediately.
The other employees in the townhouse woke up and looked out the window. My legs didn’t have any strength, so I couldn’t shake off Rupert, who was supporting me.
I followed Richard into the room and saw a man lying under the bed. Even without looking at his face, I could somehow guess from his uniform.
Richard pointed his sword at him and took off his mask. As soon as he saw his face, Rupert growled.
It was the butler.
“How dare you…”
“But then, madam, why is this person down?”
I slowly came to my senses and removed Rupert’s arm that had been holding me. Then I approached the butler who had fallen.
“Something flew through the window. It hit him in the head, and then he passed out.”
“By the window? Are you talking about this stone?”
Richard picked it up, and Rupert took a closer look.
“It’s just an ordinary stone. If it flew from that window, it means someone was watching.”
Rupert looked sharply towards the window. It was dark, of course, and whoever was there would be gone by now.
He pulled me behind him as if trying to protect me.
“Wake up the butler. I have something to ask him.”
“I do, too.”
Instead of hiding behind Rupert, I came forward again and crossed my arms.
Rupert had his servants and enlisted men tie up the butler in case of any danger, and Richard slapped him on the cheek without mercy.
The butler wriggled a few times before finally opening his eyes. Whether he was drunk or sleepy, his eyes looked glassy.
“What were you going to do to her? If you’re fired, you should have quietly left instead of doing this.”
Richard had already drawn his sword and was holding it. But the butler, who should have trembled in fear like any normal person would when faced with a sword, looked at him blankly and opened his mouth.
“Rape and kill her… or I’m going to die…”
“Who? Who said that?” Rupert asked.
At that moment, the butler suddenly rolled his eyes and foamed in the mouth.
I stepped back in surprise. Tied to his chair, the butler trembled and spasmed, then suddenly his neck snapped back. His face was purple.
“What…” The sudden situation left me speechless. I looked at Richard and Rupert, and they seemed just as shaken. “Did he..?”
At my question, Richard quickly put a hand on the butler’s neck and nodded. “He’s dead.”
“So suddenly? Why? Why is he dead?”
“You go to my room and rest. It might be dangerous to keep using this room.”
“What do you mean? I don’t have the mind to rest right now.”
I tried to approach the butler, but Rupert grabbed my shoulder and stopped me.
“Calm down. The butler is already dead.”
“Then you have to tell me why!”
But then light came in through the window. During this commotion, the annex, which had been quiet, came to life.
And the maid who was there rushed to where we were.
“Your Grace! Milady has fallen.”
Rupert looked at me for a moment and hesitated, but eventually ran toward the annex. I wasn’t really shocked by that. However, I thought the timing was too perfect to be a coincidence.
I looked at the stone lying on the floor and wondered who threw it. Whoever they were, they were probably someone who didn’t want me to die.