On a dark night, Angie hurried past the mansion’s front door.
“That… Young Master. Without a message…”
“Is Mother asleep?”
“She is still awake. “
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The young butler of the Ruber family hastily greeted the young master who had returned without contacting him first. Angie handed him his coat and headed straight to his mother’s room.
“Mother, it’s me.”
When he knocked on the door, the woman’s voice rang.
A woman with a shawl wrapped around her pajamas appeared behind the door. It was a lady with a graceful impression, Marchioness Ruber.
“Did you just arrive?”
“At a time like this… Did something happen?”
The Marchioness asked, stroking her son’s cheek.
The original Ruber family was in the north, but they also had a mansion in the capital. It was a mansion with a long history that had been refined since the time when the Marquis was still a viscount.
It took only half an hour by carriage from the Imperial Palace, so the Marquis and Angie stayed at the Imperial Palace, only stopping by occasionally.
Angie paused for a moment at his mother’s concern.
“Mother, have you ever seen the representative of the South?”
It wasn’t a question, it was a confirmation.
Even on Founding Day, during the opening ceremony of the expedition and the victory ceremony, the representative of the Southern region was in the most spotlighted position. So she should have seen that person whose name was Rena Ruber.
At Angie’s question, the Marchioness opened her eyes wide as if surprised.
“That person’s name is Rena Ruber. And she looks a lot like Sister.”
“Mother has seen her, right?”
“Angie, about that…”
“Don’t talk in the hallway. Come in.”
At that moment, a deep voice overshadowed the Marchioness’ voice.
Angie was startled by the unexpected voice. A man was seen getting up from the bed over his mother’s shoulder.
It was Marquis Ruber.
“What if you cough again?”
The Marquis spoke anxiously, and the Marchioness, who had stiffened, also stepped aside from the door belatedly. She meant to invite Angie in.
As it should have been, Angie faltered without realizing it.
“I thought you were in the Imperial Palace.”
“I returned to take a break. You should get going.”
The Marquis answered calmly and ordered the butler who was still behind Angie. The butler, who hid his expression and overheard the story, hurriedly retreated under the order of his master.
Angie hesitated and entered the room. He wondered if he should ask his father how he was doing, but now he didn’t really want to.
So, when he kept his mouth shut, the Marquis spoke first.
“I heard the news. You did a good job at the conference hall. You did well.”
At the Marquis’ praise, Angie felt his chest tighten.
Even while resting at home, his father was still enlightened with the news. Still, he didn’t say anything about the Southern Duke’s assistant, Rena Ruber.
So thinking that it would be better, Angie opened his mouth.
“Today, I saw the Southern Representative up close.”
“That is natural.”
“Why is that person’s name Rena Ruber? Does she know anything?”
“How can I know the situation in the South?”
“That person looks like Elder Sister.”
Angie said unconsciously.
It was confusing, but it wasn’t solely because of the appearance of the Southern Representative. That was just one of the many things, as Angie already had deep-rooted doubts in the first place.
The year his sister died, Angie was eight years old. There was a lot he didn’t know yet, but he was old enough to watch and remember everything.
To him, his elder sister, Rena Ruber, was rude and didn’t play with him a lot. She was a natural enemy who ostracized him from time to time, but in any case, a companion with whom he spent the most time with during his growth.
But one morning he heard that his sister was ill.
Surprised, he went to his sister, but the servants stopped him. The butler told him not to get too close because the disease might spread.
Angie believed it, so he peeked through the garden and looked only through the window of his sister’s room. He thought he’d see her tomorrow.
However, four days after it was announced that she was ill, his sister died.
At the news that the butler carefully delivered, Angie ran to his mother and asked if it was real. He cried begging to see his sister.
But Angie could not see his sister in the end.
He asked desperately why he couldn’t see her, but the grown-ups just turned away with a sad expression on their face. The servants explained one thing or another, but all of them were strange excuses even in the ears of a young child.
In the end, Angie sent his sister away without accepting anything, and he was suppressed by the strange atmosphere of tabooing the name Rena Ruber.
“Sister really died of an illness?”
At that time, the locked heart was motivated and he opened his mouth.
“Now that I think about it, it’s all so strange. Nobody knows what kind of an illness it was, the doctor has never come, and nobody has ever seen Sister.”
“Hold on, Mother. I want to hear directly from Father. What the hell happened? Who the hell is the Southern Representative? She has the same name, age, and face as Sister. Do you really not know, Father?”
Angie asked again and again.
His reasoning was very clever and he spoke with his chin up. In fact, he was told a lot that he was smart. He was not physically strong, but he was smart, so everyone was looking forward to the future.
‘But he is still so naive. ‘
Then the Marquis looked at his son, finding him amusing.
Why did he not think that he should keep his mouth shut because his sister’s death is questionable?
‘You will be used if you just push without any countermeasure.’
The Marquis smiled softly at his clumsy son.
It seems that as he was raised as an only child who grew up without any obstacles, he couldn’t even tell the difference between heaven and earth.
This was all possible because he firmly believed that the people around him, including his father, could not harm him.
The Marquis looked at his son’s youthful face and pretended to lose.
“Yes, she is your sister.”
“If that’s the case, then what?”
“Why the hell were you asking that?”
Angie, who raised his eyebrows at the Marquis’ question, hesitated and blinked his eyes.
“You came in the middle of the night to wake up your mother and question your injured father. That’s all you did.”
The Marquis’ voice was still as usual. But there was a deep sense of disappointment. Angie was surprised and made an excuse.
“I was just trying to check, because it’s so strange…”
“So you have to ask for an explanation just because it’s strange?”
As the Marquis muttered in disappointment, Angie was speechless. In an instant, he felt like he was being punished.
As Angie bowed his head, the Marquis reasoned with him.
“You’re my only child, of course, I’ll help you if you need help. Have I ever done anything bad to you?”
“I understand that you are surprised to see the Southern Representative. They have the same name and look alike. But do you have to visit out of nowhere because of this matter?”
The admonition of the Marquis was a way of adding to the guilt. Naturally, Angie’s head gradually lowered, and his mother, who was watching, whispered.
“Apologize to your father.”
“…I’m sorry for coming unannounced in the middle of night.”
Angie finally lowered his eyes and muttered. The attitude of asking fiercely was overshadowed by the shabby ending.
The Marquis thought to himself that such a son was pathetic. He wondered will this child be as much as Rena’s half?
The Marquis looked at Angie, remembering Rena he had seen in the Tomb. Unlike Rena, who was a straight blade, Angie was like a stuffed toy.
He was already fourteen years old, but he had only soft hair on his face and was as small as most girls.
He had a soft personality and a softer body. A son who was clever but not clever enough to cut his own price.
‘Should I have been more careful?’
Looking at Angie, the Marquis belatedly felt sorry for Rena. Had he known his son would look like this, he would have raised his daughter to the very end.
The Marquis looked at his ungrateful son and said in a lower tone.
Angie turned with a pale face.
The Marquis looked distastefully at his son who was retreating.
Angie kept that unhappy face until he came out into the hallway. But immediately after closing the door, the boy’s expression changed.
Angie narrowed his eyes and bit his lip. It was never an expression that could be called soft.
Early in the morning, Uni wiped away the hanging curtains and drapes with her wild hand.
The sun shone from the window, shining on Rena’s face, who was sleeping deeply.
Rena felt the light and hid under the pillow. It was an unspoken appeal that she wanted more sleep, but her maid was merciless.
“My lady, wake up!”
“Come on! We have a lot of work to do today!”
“Don’t cry! Get up!”
Rena reluctantly got her body up as her hand rubbed her shoulder.
Her sleepy face and her shriveled hair were quite a spectacle. But, as if already familiar, Uni brought cold water in front of her. Then, the water droplets bounced back on Rena’s face, who was nodding off again.
“Other people should see this.”
Rena moaned in a sleepy voice as Uni murmured towards the ignorant Rena.
The usual Rena had no flaws, but the Rena in the morning was nothing but flaws. It was Uni’s job every morning to wake her up, polish her up, and make her a proper person.
“Come on, come on. Come on, wash up, you have three schedules.”
“Here. The servants brought it to me at dawn.”
Rena forced her eyes open, still squinting, and Uni took cards. All three cards were calling Rena, and the senders were different.
Rena turned over the cards one by one, then suddenly narrowed her brows.
“I have an unwelcome invitation.”
“Is it the old man?”
“No, someone else.”
Rena looked at the card with an expression that was not clear whether it was a smile or a frown. Then, releasing her hand, she stretched with all her might. The sleep seemed to have run away thanks to that unwelcome invitation.
Rena, who came to her senses, said as if she had suddenly remembered.
Uni’s mouth was shut by Rena’s confession. Uni blinked several times and soon asked back seriously.
“Are you pregnant?”
“…Aren’t you being too hasty?”
“I was taught to see the world with an open mind.”
Rena struggled to laugh at Uni’s excessive precociousness. But as brazen as Uni was, she was even more quick-witted.
“Is it with Mr. Lynn?”
“Then are you dating Mr. Lynn?”
To the successive questions, Rena immediately affirmed and denied. She drew the line, especially on the dating topic.
“You know that’s not the case.”
“Then how can you get married without being in love?”
“It’s just like being unique to someone.”
Rena shook her head at Uni’s small protest. She then added as if trying to help her case.
“It’s right not to start something you can’t take responsibility for.”
Uni pouted her lips at Rena’s assertion. She wanted to say something, but stopped.
Rena read that expression and spoke her words lightly.
“And it’s really an alliance. Engagement is just a cover.”
“Either way, the old man will grab the back of his neck.”
Uni chuckled wickedly before asking with an excited face.
“If it is a cover engagement, you have to be friendly externally, but what if Mr. Lynn really likes you?”
“You don’t know people.”
“You’re right, but not on this matter.”
Rena waved her hand at Uni’s difficult hypothesis. So Uni looked at Rena in a way that asked how she was so sure.
“Really, Mr. Lynn doesn’t want to see anyone either.”
“Why is that person so sober?”
“I think there are personal circumstances.”
Rena pretended not to know and hid Lynn’s secret. Then, before Uni asked more, she got up.
“I must be busy today.”
“It’s obvious that you’re changing the subject.”
Uni was quick-witted, but she was also very generous with Rena only, so eventually she quietly got up with Rena.
It was, after all, a busy day. She had to hurry now to fulfill the schedule.
Uni took care of Rena and prepared her to go out.
After the young lady left safely, Uni worked diligently again and headed for the underground laundry.
Unlike the squirming lady, Uni was the type to finish her work first.
‘I’m just going to change the bed sheets and play!’
Uni was excited to roll around on the soft bed and hurried her steps.
However, a child she had never seen before stood in the way of the excited Uni.
It was a strangely familiar boy, wearing a white priest’s uniform. Uni glanced at the boy up and down and responded bluntly.
“Who are you?”
“Uh… Umm. Are you Rena Ruber’s maid?”
The boy, Angie Ruber, said so and smiled broadly.
Because of that, Uni, who was quick-witted, had no choice but to notice the identity of this guy who looks similar to her lady.