14.
Let’s Talk about the Preparation Money

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 By Antoinette Vanessa July 13, 2022

“…Duke, by the way, I haven’t received my wedding preparation money.”

“…what?”

“My preparation money.
As we’re going to be married, I wonder what happened to it?”

In an instant, Avril thought of a way to divert the topic.

Be it Dylan or Grace.
Or Chris who had accompanied her to the store.
Or even the cook who boiled some water for her—upon imagining their faces, Avril couldn’t find it in herself to falsely accuse them.
Incidentally, Carol had totally slipped from her mind.

However, that seemed to be the correct answer.
Dylan soon gave up on questioning Grace.
After he had set down the bucket, Dylan took out a notebook and pen from his chest pocket.

“You’re right.
I’ll arrange a check right away.”

“Oh! There’s no rush, so take your time.
As long as I know that you’ll eventually give it to me, I…!”

“…No, forgive me for the tardiness.
I need to prepare everything for the marriage.”

The intense aura that had been directed towards Grace until a while ago turned into a calm one.
Dylan’s silvery hair, akin to moonlight, cast a shadow upon his face.
In the meantime, his sky-blue eyes were staring intently at the pen tip.
Truly, it was a glorious sight.

…Somehow, the duke—

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“—As I thought, you’re a kind person.”

“What?”

“No, it’s nothing…”

Dylan’s expression, which seemed apologetic until a while ago, turned suspicious in an instant.
Avril decided to convey her hope.
She had an idea as to how she would receive the preparation money.

“Can I receive the preparation money along with the compensation when I leave three years later?”

“Well, you can, but that contradicts the meaning of preparation money…”

“Rest assured, both my parents and I have penchant for spending money when we have it.”

By that, she meant her father, stepmother, and Corinna.
They’d totally splurge the preparation money.
In addition, Carol, the maid who was accompanying Avril, was also on Corinna’s side.
Therefore, having a large amount of money at hand was risky.

“…I understand.
I’ll give it to you whenever you need it.
Of course, the Duke of Lancester will also bear all the costs related to you.
Due to that, there may not be many opportunities to use said preparation money.”

“Oh, then may I request something of you?”

“…Sure, what is it?”

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…I’m glad.

From the moment Avril had decided to get married, she had been thinking about it.
Since it looked like it might work, Avril felt relieved.

“Well, I’d like to ask the academy to send an assistant to the Count Allingham family.
I’d love to pay for it myself, however, if possible, I’d like to borrow the duke’s name.”

“…Of course, but why?”

“Due to circumstances, the Count Allingham family and its territory will be experiencing confusion for a while.
As such, I’d like to hire a competent person from the academy.
Hopefully, it can spare my family a lot of effort and money.”

“So, instead of giving the preparation money to your parents’ house, you’d like to give them an actual form of aid.
Why is there need to do so?”

…Not good.

Because Dylan had readily accepted her request, Avril ended up talking too much.

“Uhm, it’s …because I want to spend the preparation money lavishly.
It’s my money, now.
I’d like to use it to invite someone to mansion, or go out to have some fun.”

In a hurry, Avril tried mentioning Corinna’s daily life of.
While it might contradict what she had spoken earlier, she hoped that he wouldn’t notice and leave it alone.

Dylan, who had finished listening to Avril’s story, nodded after some contemplation.

“…I understand your wishes.
I’ll arrange everything right away.
I shall send a messenger to the academy.
Leave it to me.”

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“So, the duke will arrange everything?”

“Yes, since I’m your husband.”

Dylan spoke so casually that Avril could only blink.

‘Your husband’, he said… Previously, didn’t he tell me that it’s only a contract marriage?

…Then, why does he look so gentle right now?

I know that he’s a kind person, but, somehow…

While not knowing what to think, Avril spotted Grace who had remained frozen at the landing of the stairs.

That’s right.

Avril smiled, remembering what she felt a while ago.

“…The duke remembers his servant’s full name.
Just now, you called her name.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“No, I just thought that wonderful.
By all means, I’d like to experience that, as well.”

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“…What the hell are you—”

Dylan seemed taken aback.
Avril also didn’t know what else to say.

…I wonder what it is.

“I mean, back in my parents’ house, everyone referred to me as an incompetent person.
Considering that I’m also a villainess, that’d make me an incompetent villainess, wouldn’t it?”

“…An incompetent villainess?”

When Avril smiled as she went on, Dylan’s skeptical voice echoed off the marble walls.

***

On the other hand, around that time.

At the residence of Count Allingham, Corinna was terribly angry.
After all, Avril hadn’t transferred anything!

“Hey, what the hell is going on? Avril should’ve arrived at the duke’s house, already! So where’s the preparation money!?”

***T/N: Gyah–!!!!! “Since I’m your husband.” He said–!!!!! That’s some crazy sneak attack on my kokoro, Duke!!!!

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