But the guilt of deceiving the Grand Duchess was still heavily entrenched in her.
It was even more so because she had come to know firsthand by staying with Anne that Anne was a good person.
She was terrified how the Grand Duchess would see her if she found out that Marie was watching her every step of the way.

“Did she ask anything about the family and the Master today?”

“I don’t know anything, so I don’t have anything specific to tell her as usual.
She asked about the wounds on his body, so I just answered yes.”

Today too, Marie answered the questions that were not so common.

His hand, which had been lifting the glasses as usual, paused for a moment.
What the Grand Duchess asked about was usually trivial information such as habits to be careful about in consideration of the Grand Duke’s tendencies or points to be aware of as the Grand Duchess.
There was no direct mention.

“Wound?”

“She asked how he got the wound .
.
.”

“Tell me, just as the Madam asked, without omitting a single word.”

As Ashton’s voice, which had been calm, subsided, Marie cringed, wondering what she was doing wrong.
The Grand Duchess did not respond to her reply, so there must have been no mistake .
.
.

Marie looked at Ashton with a timid face and opened her mouth.

“She asked why there was a wound on his stomach.”

“.
.
.
Stomach?”

Ashton’s pupils trembled slightly.

“.
.
.
Yes .
.
.
So, I remembered how the Master had been hurt when the beasts came down before, and I answered that way.”

“Did you say that it was the abdomen exactly?”

“Yes .
.
.
But why?”

As Ashton wrinkled his smooth forehead, Marie knew right away that she had made a mistake.
Her heart was already pounding.
What did she do wrong .
.
.

Ashton, who had a disappointed look, let out a long sigh.

“No.
You’ve never seen the master’s body .
.
.
Stand by for now.”

“Yes, I understand.”

Ashton made her more uncomfortable than the chief handmaiden did, so Marie answered quietly and left the place.
Ashton glanced at her back for a moment as Marie moved away, then narrowed his eyes.
He then opened the door to the office from which he had left and entered again.

When Ashton, who had done his job, returned, the Grand Duke glanced at him and lowered his  gaze.

“I think I told you to deliver the documents right away.”

“Your Grace, I have something to report to you.
I think Her Grace has noticed that Marie is not your mistress.”

“.
.
.
Right.
The woman who is surprisingly quick-witted.”

Even though the fact that he was hiding a secret was revealed, the Grand Duke’s face was composed.
As if it didn’t matter that it was known.

“May I ask why you ordered Marie to attend her in the first place? This is something that the Madam would be bound to discover at some point.”

As Ashton saw, the Grand Duchess was a clever woman, and as she continued her conversation with Marie, he thought she would one day notice something strange.
If it had been him, he would have tried to reduce the contact point between the two as much as possible, but rather, the Grand Duke gave the order to attack Marie and report the Grand Duchess’ actions in detail.

The Grand Duke responded to the question-filled gaze indifferently.

“That woman, as soon as she arrived, cheekily offered me a deal.
She made a pretty bold offer on a subject when she doesn’t even know what her situation is.”

“.
.
.”

“It’s pretty fun now.
I can hear her pretending to be smart to get away from me and using her head hard.”

The Grand Duke, leaning on his back languidly, smiled and tapped his ear.
The face of a mischievous husband playing a prank on his wife was quite eerie.

Ashton swallowed in surprise.
He had seen the Grand Duke for over thirty years, but it’s the first time he had seen the master so happy.
He couldn’t believe the light smile that crept across his lips, which had always been hard and cold.

“But that arrogant woman was very polite in front of Luciel.”

With a face that hardened for an instant, the Grand Duke gave a dangerous smile.
The slightly stagnant energy in the slightly smiling lips were terrifying.

Ashton swallowed a gulp and opened her mouth carefully.

“With all due respect, I am concerned about Madam’s knowledge.
She also confirmed the marriage.”

“Therefore .
.
.?”

“.
.
.
Your Grace, will you not see a successor?”

The Grand Duke who tilted his head slowly lifted his gaze.
An insidious light dwelled in the pupil between the long eyelids.

“Ashton.”

“Yes, Your Grace..”

He spoke in a soft voice, and Ashton, who was waiting, answered his call.

“You will never know if you are not careful with your mouth.”

He raised his lips softly in a warning.

* * *

“Marie .
.
.
was not the mistress.”

Anne got up from her seat after emptying the cold tea at once, standing around the room and talking to herself.
She looked at Marie, hoping that she would know something, but she really didn’t know anything about the Grand Duke’s wounds.

Was it a mistake? Anne shook her head vigorously.
She had been the mistress for half a year, and she could not have mistaken the wounds on the Grand Duke’s chest.

Why .
.
.

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