You Can Keep the Male Lead Chapter 44

YCKTML Chapter 44

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As soon as I arrived at Clifford Manor, I was blown away by the tremendous hospitality. From outside the gate to the carriage, the people of the estate waved their hands as they greeted us.

Moreover, when the gate opened, all the knights and the vassals of the territory came out to greet us.

As the carriage door opened, Rupert got down first and reached out to me. When I looked up, I accidentally made eye contact with the people outside the door. 

The moment the heartfelt hospitality in their eyes, I avoided them and looked away.

It was burdensome. Burdensome.

Those words kept repeating in my head.

Their hospitality was burdensome, especially to me, who was leaving soon. Was it wrong of me to come here? I even said I didn’t care if the Duke died or not. 

Meanwhile, Rupert, who was standing next to me, nudged me with his elbow. I turned to him to see him speak without barely moving his mouth, “Why don’t you smile?” 

I had no idea if he was aware that more than half of the reasons why I couldn’t smile was because of him. However, I couldn’t just ignore such warm hospitality. 

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I tried to think of the happiest memory I could think of. 

‘The magic stone mine. I’m rich now. I can divorce this man once I sell the stones.’

Thanks to this, I was able to effortlessly put a smile on my lips. 

I had to maintain my image because life would not end after divorce. 

If I had a neat and graceful exit from this family, it wouldn’t haunt my life as a divorced noble lady in the future. 

Even if this world did not consider divorce a flaw, there was no way to avoid the speculations and rumors that were sure to spread in the social world. 

As we made our way forward, someone on horseback rushed to us.

Instead of the butler, Rupert looked at him and asked, “What’s the matter with the Imperial Knights?”

The Imperial Knights were recognizable from a distance. They were all wearing uniforms with blue roses on a silver-gray background.

The man jumped off the horse and saluted Rupert. He said, “His Majesty told me to deliver this letter. He was very concerned about the health of the Duke, who is one of the great leaders of this country and the aristocracy. And so he sent the Crown Prince precious medicinal herbs to give His Grace.”

The knight handed the letter to Rupert, whose expression hardened the instant he saw it. 

Seeing his expression, I nudged him the way he did a while ago. Rupert turned to me, his face still sour. 

I faced him with the brightest smile I could muster and whispered in a small voice only he could hear.

“Smile.”


Another man greeted us inside the castle– the Duke’s younger brother, Count Melaton[1] Clifford. 

When Rupert saw him, his expression softened slightly. “Uncle, since when have you been here?”

“Oh, Rupert. How long has it been? How could I not come after hearing that my brother was ill? By the way, I heard that you were married. Why did you do it in such a hurry without telling me?”

Melaton gave me a once over and smiled. Rupert moved to stand in front of me and said, “It just happened.”

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I observed Melaton’s face as I stood behind Rupert. Of course, I already knew through the novel that he wasn’t a good person. 

I stepped out from behind Rupert and curtsied. “I am Erin Spilet.”

“So you’re the remaining member of the Spilet family.” 

Melaton looked curiously at me, but Rupert once again blocked his view. 

“We’ll go to Father first.”

“Of course.”

On the way to the Duke’s quarters, Rupert stopped and spoke to me in a low voice, “It’s better not to get close to Uncle.”

“Why not?”

“A person who has never visited after the separation of families but suddenly appears now surely does not have good intentions.”

I found it surprising that Rupert told me this. It made me realize that while Rupert was a fool in his relationship with Chloe, he wasn’t a fool at all.

Knock, knock–.

Rupert stood in front of the heavy door and knocked, and I waited behind him, suddenly feeling nervous. 

I knew the Duke and Rupert weren’t on good terms, but I didn’t know to what extent. 

But if he came to see his sick father, maybe it wasn’t that bad? No, he hasn’t inherited the title yet. That was an important issue. 

Did Count Melaton Clifford’s sudden visit have something to do with it? 

Soon someone came out and opened the door. “Welcome, Young Master, Young Madam. His Grace is expecting you.”

I watched as she bowed to Rupert and me. Was it this maid? 

And there was a woman by the Duke’s bedside. As soon as she saw us, she jumped up and bowed her head carefully.

“I’m Eliana.”

I tried to recall who she was. She didn’t say her surname, so she probably wasn’t a noble lady, but based on her attire, she didn’t seem like a maid either. 

“You… Weren’t you the maid who served Father before?”

Oh, so she was a maid.

“Yes, that’s right, Young Master.” 

When Eliana blushed, I finally understood the situation. 

From working closely with the Duke as his maid, it looked like Eliana had become his lover. Her polite manner might be a habit ingrained in the past from when she was a maid. 

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I couldn’t help but frown. The novel never mentioned Eliana. Would her presence affect the flow of the story? 

Just then, the Duke gestured for us to approach him. The Duke looked like a powerless old man from up close, but he didn’t seem to be at death’s door just yet.

Eliana, who came next to me, said, “He could sit up fine until yesterday, then all of a sudden yesterday, he started having a hard time. The doctor just said it’s because he’s weak, and we thought we should call for a priest…”

Looking genuinely concerned for the Duke, Eliana turned to Rupert. A priest’s healing ability was certainly superior to normal doctors, but it was difficult for just anyone to meet them. 

Of course, it was possible for the Imperial family, but ordinary aristocrats had to wait a month to see a priest. 

I was able to receive treatment from a priest in a hunting contest before was only because Enoch was the Crown Prince. As I recalled the privileges I had received, my chest fluttered.

Still, since Duke Clifford wasn’t the average nobleman, he might be able to see one sooner than later. However, Eliana, a commoner, couldn’t make such a request.

Rupert listened and nodded. “I’ll think about it.”

The Duke looked at Rupert and me, then made eye contact with me. He licked his chapped lips and said, “It’s you, Erin. I saw you when you were very young, and you’ve become such a pretty lady.”

I felt an indescribable feeling toward the Duke, who welcomed me even in the midst of pain. It was like a grandfather treating his beloved granddaughter.

I responded by curtsying and politely greeting him. “I’m Erin Spilet, Lord Clifford.”

“How much I would have liked to see you if the former Count Spilet had not died.”

The Duke expressed his pleasure at seeing me, but his only son only stared at me and didn’t say anything.

The Duke gestured towards me again. I glanced at Rupert and moved close to the bed to sit next to the Duke. 

I held the Duke’s stiff hand when it hovered in the air like an old tree. “Dear Erin.”

“Yes, please speak.”

The Duke’s eyes were wrinkled, but his eyes were so blue that it was hard to believe that he was unwell. 

“You must be going through a lot. I know everything.”

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The heart that was overwhelmed by what he said belonged to Erin, not to me.

I didn’t love Rupert, and I didn’t feel heartbroken, though sometimes I got angry at Chloe and Rupert because of it. Anyway, I was somehow comforted by the Duke’s words, perhaps because Erin was now a part of me. 

“Get well soon, Father.”

Although I had decided to divorce Rupert, the Duke was a man who cared for Erin. I’m glad I came to visit him. It would have been regrettable if he died and I didn’t see his face once.

The Duke closed his eyes once more, obviously feeling weak. I carefully placed his hand under the blanket.

Eliana moved next to the Duke and wiped his face with a towel. I looked at her for a moment and came out the door with Rupert.

“Please go ahead, Young Master, Madam.”

I looked closely at the maid who greeted us and closed the door.

After the Duke’s death in the novel, Rupert became the Duke of Clifford and looked for the maid responsible for his death.

Although the duke was seriously ill, there was another decisive reason for his death– the poison that the maid sneaked into his food.

So I tried to find out who the maid was, but I couldn’t tell just by looking at them.

And as expected, the Duke didn’t say a word to Rupert until he left.

What kind of secret was hidden between the two?


[1] His name is 멜라톤 클리포드, and while I’m kinda sure it’s Melaton, I still wanted to put it here in case someone could read it better? I just keep thinking of melatonin. 😴  


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