he didn’t even go out to socialize properly.
I’m sure she was relieved that someone as friendly as Louise, who was also well-versed in the ways of high society, took care of her.

“I’ll pick your dress, ma’am.
You can’t look tacky.”

Alyssa thought Louise was considerate to her since she grew up in the countryside and didn’t want her to be teased for wearing an out-of-style dress.

“Ma’am, you don’t know where to go, do you?”

She always picked a party for her, who wasn’t familiar with the ways of high society.

“It’s all for your sake, ma’am.”

She was always straightforward when saying something to her, an incompetent duchess.
If Louise orders her to go, she will comply.
If she told her to wear something, she’d do it.
That has been the case for a year. 

It seemed like Alyssa never expressed her dissatisfaction, but right now, the duchess is no longer who she used to be. 

‘I don’t have to do what Louise tells me to do, do I?’ 

It wasn’t because of the duchess’s position that the maid was like this.
She kept suffocating me with the malice underneath her voice.
If I had to stay with her, it seemed necessary to talk about what kind of attitude she should have going forward.

“Louise.”

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She raised her head at my call.

Just then, knock, knock.

A knock was heard on my door.
Who is it? The doctor came and went earlier, and no one would come to see me at this hour.
Is it Madam Ronan, the head maid, or the butler? 

 

I tilted my head in confusion.
Louise, who approached the door, appeared to be taken aback by the person standing outside the door.
She knelt down to show respect to my guests.
If Louise acted in such a way, it must be… 

The sudden, unexpected situation sent a chill down my spine.
Of course, I thought we’d meet one day, but not now.
No! I’m not ready yet!

“Your Excellency is here, ma’am.”

I rushed into my bed as soon as Louise finished speaking.

* * *

ALYSSA Pennon was considered to be a fortunate woman by many.
However, behind it lay malice, implying that she was just fortunate to have the opportunity to become a duchess.
That’s not wrong. 

How could an ordinary lady from an unknown count family become a hostess in Pennon’s family? Isn’t that entirely because of luck? However, is that really true? Is it true that it was something that people should be jealous of? 

I stared at the ‘luck’ God had given to me suspiciously.
He’s a handsome man.
He has the look of an elegant black leopard, and his appearance could capture our attention at first glance.
He’s the most powerful duke in the empire and is an unparalleled sword mage in history.
He was indeed a man who had everything.

Because of Alyssa’s memories, I was already familiar with his appearance, but when I saw him for the first time, I was rendered speechless by his overwhelming presence.
I sat down and stared at him while blinking.
He was looking at me too.
His black hair resembled the darkness of the night, and his golden eyes glowed like a full moon in the sky. 

The first person to speak was him.
My husband, Duke Rashid Pennon, the male lead of the story said,  “I thought you weren’t feeling well, but you seemed well.”

“… Well, many days have gone by after all,” He looked at me and said calmly.

I also replied in a similar manner, “Thank you for your concern.
I am also relieved for your safe return.”

I said formally.
I wonder if Alyssa would have answered the way I did now.
I wanted to imitate her as much as possible, but it was difficult to be exactly the same.
I can’t help it.
Even if I had Alyssa’s memory, I wasn’t really Alyssa, so speaking and acting exactly like her was difficult.

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“You feel relieved?”

Rashid frowned slightly.
No way.
Did I choose the wrong answer? But that was a standard answer. 

I felt nervous and replied cautiously, “Yes, I’m worried that something might happen……”

“You’re worried about me?”

He glanced at me with a cold expression on his face.

It reminded me of the moon I had seen when I first came into this world.
He gave me a terrible and piercing stare.

“Why?”

Rashid inquired once again.
A look of contempt pierced me sharply as if he wanted to find out my true intentions.
I was suffocated by the pressure he exuded.
Does he doubt me? 

Did he wonder what the woman he married because of the emperor’s command was up to? Or did he even notice that I wasn’t Alyssa? 

I answered cautiously, trying to suppress my anxiety.
“Why do you ask that… I’m your wife after all.”

“Wife…”

Repeating a word I said, Rashid smiled somewhat suspiciously.
Even though he smiled, it didn’t always mean something positive.
The emotions in his expression were obviously distrust and doubt. 

“You could tell me the truth.
I wouldn’t blame you if you said you didn’t care about my return.”

“Huh?”

“My wife is very nice.”

1.
A 1907 novel by O’Henry, famous for its tragic, unexpected ending.

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