Translator – Zimming, Editor – Sasha
Seeing as there was no one in the corridor, LeBlaine ran into the greenhouse.
She dug out the soil under the newly planted cedar seedlings.
She dug quite deep and peeped through the soil-filled cloth.
When she rubbed the cloth with her fingertips, she could feel the bluntness of the dirt smearing against her skin.
This was half of the bounty from Seria.
A friend of Seria, who dressed up as the gardener, came to plant some seedlings, and buried the money here.
While squatting, LeBlaine had a happy look on her face.
‘Now, all I have to do is to get Seria back safely.’
There was a lot of preparation to be done.
She also had to help Seria track the ‘customer,’ but that wasn’t the difficult part.
The Duke was also tracking the customer.
All I had to do was to sneak the information from the Duke to Seria.
A moment later, LeBlaine decided to leave the greenhouse, while walking down the hall she heard someone calling her.
“There you are! We’ve been looking for you,” said the maids who were all dressed up.
“You have to attend the conference.”
It was a meeting held by the Duke of Dubbled.
“Why do I have to attend?” LeBlaine questioned as she tilted her head.
At her response, the maids laughed and exchanged glances.
“Today is the day where you introduce yourself as part of the family.”
That was the reason why Lea had been dressing me up fancily since yesterday.
The maids took her and decorated her with jewels and beautiful accessories.
They dressed her in colorful clothes, combed her hair, and attached a ribbon on top of her head. LeBlaine ended up looking very pretty and cute.
After they finished dressing her up, LeBlaine left the room with Lea and proceeded to walk to the conference room. They were greeted by the knights when they arrived and as they were about to open the door, LeBlaine couldn’t help but feel nervous.
She gulped hard and as the door opened and began to look around the attendees.
There were familiar faces, but most of them were people she had met for the first time.
They were the ones who had the most influence, power, and status in the entire kingdom.
However, it was the Duke of Dubbled who had the most intimidating presence.
It was her first time seeing the duke so dressed up.
He wore a shirt with delicate embroidery of gold thread and a luxurious tunic with several medals of merit. On top of it was a robe with a black lion pattern symbolizing the family of Dubbled.
‘His appearance, is truly unrivaled.’
His fancy clothes did nothing to hide his firm chest and broad shoulders. He had an amazing figure.
Also, his calm expression made him all the more stunning.
‘I can see why he was still able to attract the ladies with that cold personality of his.’
Sitting beside the duke, were Henry and Isaac.
Henry had a mature appearance while Isaac looked cool.
They also had an intimidating aura around them.
’As expected from the children of the duke…’,
“LeBlaine,” the duke called out and drew everyone’s attention to me.
I carefully walked towards the Duke so that I wouldn’t fall and then he put me in his lap.
The nobles who saw me for the first time had a look of surprise.
“Your name is now LeBlaine Risette Dubbled.”
‘You adopted me, gave me the family name, but you’re also going to give me a middle name?’
She was surprised at his words, her eyes blinked, and the other attendees muttered to each other. They seemed as surprised as she was.
“What do you mean Risette, Duke?” Asked one of the attendees.
“That’s the name of the late Duchess!”
LeBlaine stared at the duke in shock.
‘Is he crazy?!’
Usually, middle names are named after parents, grandparents, or honorary ancestors.
But that’s only for the offspring of the family!
This was a declaration that she would be treated as if she was his real child.
The right to access all information and to the right to manage the estate if the Duke is away from the mansion.
Even the vassals who were close to my faction hardened their faces.
Suddenly, some of the vassals raised their voices.
“The right of the Dubbled is only given to those of pure blood! Not to a baby from the church!”
Everything was a mess and LeBlaine was terribly embarrassed.
‘No, I’m just gonna get some food and live a quiet life.’
Of course, she’d have to build up power so that no one in the church can mess with her when she’s exiled, still… this is too much.
LeBlaine wanted him to take back his statement, but she was far too embarrassed to say it now.
The duke shifted his gaze towards LeBlaine and his expression turned dark.
“Who dares frighten my daughter?”
“Hurt my daughter and I’ll twist your limbs.”
Then, Henry and Isaac rose from their seats with a menacing look.
“I’ll cut their necks,” Isaac snarled.
“Leave it to me,” Henry added.
‘What’s wrong with them?’
The vassals were scared and decided to shut their mouths.
The vassal’s face, who was about to protest, flushed red in embarrassment.
‘What should I do if you keep treating me this nicely?’
* * *
After the meeting finished, LeBlaine returned to her room. Then, she sprawled on the sofa and started to ponder.
‘How did this happen?’
“It’s a disaster, a disaster!”
‘Wasn’t the door closed before?’
It’s now open.
There were unfamiliar maids standing inside her room, but they had a much higher status compared to Lea by the look of their uniform.
“Young miss, are you tired?”
“I brought you milk.”
“Oh, dear lord, the rug’s all worn out. Why didn’t Lea report this?”
Lea and the other maids, who followed them, looked dumbfounded.
Lea reported that the rug was too old, but it was that maid who told her to let it go because it was still useful.
LeBlaine was usually favored by the servants.
‘Thanks to the vassals, the servants became interested in me. But these servants were those that used to work for aristocrats of high status. So they don’t give me as much attention.’
The only superior employee who was kind to her was the butler.
This was the aftermath of her getting a middle name.
“I’ll have to buy some clothes and accessories.”
“I’ll take your measurements.”
“What is your favorite food?”
The senior employees were smiling, but LeBlaine knew that those smiles were fake.
They saw her as a disgrace.
Of course, it’s good to be loved by your father.
However, if the father is the Duke of Dubbled, it was different. How could she, an adopted child, be treated as if she was of the same blood as the Dubbleds?
It was clear that all eyes of the Empire would be on her.
She tried to pull herself together.
One of the measures the monarch took was to maintain strong power and to put a strict criteria on the Dubbleds successors.
Wasn’t that how the predecessors were handling power alone?
‘That could be it! If I could do that…”
But the chances were low.
“Now we’ll move all of your furniture. If you move to the west wing, we could serve you.”
Lea and the maids were agonized by her words.
“It’s our job to serve the miss!”
When Dahlia, the most quick-tempered of the maids, shouted, the head maids frowned.
“Your job is to serve the nobles in the East Wing.”
“She is no longer a mere noble, but a blood relative of the Dubbled. Which is why we were assigned here.”
The maids argued back at the remark.
“But we’re the ones who have been taking care of her!”
“They never said to replace the original maids in the first place!”
“Yes! If you change the servants so suddenly, the young miss will be confused and…!”
The head maid folded her arms as if she could no longer hear their absurd remarks.
“You raised your voice in front of the miss. Where did you learn to act like that?”
LeBlaine was dazzled, she continued to look at the maids with empty eyes.
‘Can’t you guys just leave me alone?’
She grabbed her head with both hands, laid on her bed, and groaned.
* * *
Inside the duke’s office
Viscount Dubos said, “That was a rash move that you made today, your grace. The eyes of the nobles will be on the young miss.”
The Duke gave his jacket to the butler and gave him an answer, “So?”
The Duke of Dubbled, sat in his chair, crossed his legs, and said, “It has not been revealed yet whether the ‘customer’ came from within or from outside.”
“If they’re an outsider, they’ll try to save themselves when all eyes are on LeBlaine.”
“But if they’re an insider, they’ll suffer a bigger backlash.”
“What’s the real reason behind Duchess Risette’s death?” said Viscount Dubos
The Duchess was a nameless aristocrat with no parents or relatives.
The Duke kept her in complete secrecy to protect her.
Not only at social parties but also inside the mansion, only a few had seen her face.
Her escort was also thorough. A man who was the leader of the current Dubbled’s elite knight and the most powerful magician at the time was assigned to protect her without a break
Unfortunately, she passed away.
Her death, which everyone knew as a natural death, was actually murder.
It was as if the Duke wanted to declare that he would not fall for the same tricks twice by giving his new daughter the name of the Duchess.
No, but that’s not all.
There was no place within the land, where the eyes of the Duke could not reach.
The same could be said on the day the wanted criminal, Seria, escaped the mansion. The Duke knew that LeBlaine had sneaked into an underground prison.
He hated that he knew a lot, yet, there were still some areas that were out of his control.