For the past year, since Sylvia came into the mansion, she had been trying to put on a casual expression every day.
Azela had tried tenaciously to force herself, managing her expression like this was nothing.

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Looking at the ceiling and exhaling, ‘Whoo,’ Daniel spoke again with a more relaxed expression.

“Why are you doing this today? It’s not like you, Azela.”

He comforted her with a soft voice.
His soft voice towards her made Azela barely hold back her tears at that moment.
In this situation, he spoke to her in the kind voice she had longed for and wanted… only when this happened.

Still, she calmed her trembling voice and replied calmly.

“What’s wrong with me, Daniel?”

“You don’t treat people like this.
You’re not the kind of person who walks out all day without talking to me.
If you have something to do, tell me.
I’ll get you what you need.
You used to do that.”

Yes, it was originally so.

…Originally, it was like that.
He used to confine her to this mansion this way.
Her foolish self thought it was his love for her, and she believed it was his protection.

How stupid she was…? He had reduced her world to this mansion and lived contentedly because it was the love he gave her.

“Daniel, you don’t have to do that anymore.
If I have to go out, I will go myself.
I will decline your help.”

“Azela, you really… Are you coming out with that fighting attitude even when I say this?”

What did he mean by fight? His words were so absurd that she didn’t even think of refuting anything.
The words that concluded that all of this was Azela’s problem brought a sigh.

He didn’t change, it felt real again.

Suddenly, a phrase she had read in a book before came to mind.

‘…People don’t change.
You shouldn’t try to change people.’

Although she couldn’t remember who the author of the book was, it was rather accurate.
People don’t change, they just pretend to change.

Azela said, pulling her caught arm roughly.

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“You seem to be misunderstanding something.
Daniel.”

“You might think that locking you up in the bedroom was too much, but that’s because you hurt Sylvia first.
I had a reason.”

“Ha.”

“I thought it would be too much for you, so I spoke to you first.
How long are you going to be so upset?”

His words were truly absurd.

The way he talked about being kind, the way he blamed everything on her, and the way he thought that she was simply upset…

When Azela didn’t say anything, Sylvia, who was standing behind him, stepped forward and rested her head on Daniel’s shoulder, stroking his chest before opening her mouth.

“Yes, Madam.
Stop getting mad at Daniel for talking like this.
He’s holding back his anger right now.
I am also angry that Madam has ridden my carriage, though I will bear it.
So, stop acting inappropriately.”

Inappropriate behavior.

Was it not a mistake to say that they wanted her to stay in the bedroom like a doll, like an accessory in this mansion, without saying anything like she always did?

Biting her lower lip, Azela pulled out the papers she had kept in her arms and handed them to Daniel.

“What’s this? Did you sum up the interior decoration today?”

“Take it and read it.”

“Azela, you were too hasty.
No matter how angry you are, what if you go away without consulting me? Do you know that my uncle will take over the matter of the interior and exterior decoration of the building this time? You say you will help me both physically and mentally, so if there is anything you have decided to do today, cancel everything…”

Silly Daniel took the papers that Azela had handed him and spoke in a natural way.
However, his expression soon turned cold and hard as ice.

“What is this now?”

He growled towards her.
Perhaps, she had expected it countless times, Azela’s mood began to calm down again.

“You tore up and threw away the one I gave you, so I prepared a new one.”

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What she gave him was the divorce papers that he had handed the other day and tore them to his liking.
Daniel gritted his teeth, and he gazed at her with bitter eyes.

“Are you serious now?”

“Yes.”

Azela answered his question briefly and decisively.
She would no longer be an accessory to this mansion, and she also decided to stop being the tool that would make him shine.

“Azela, you really…!”

“Why didn’t you know? That was the kind of paper I could hand over to you first.”

“I have said it clearly last time.”

“I know, I remember.
I don’t want to give up and live with you like this.”

“Azela!”

Daniel roared her name in an angry voice.
A high-pitched voice resounded throughout the mansion.
His anger shook the employees’ looks.
Despite that, Azela, who was standing in front of him, didn’t mind.

After all, this level of bullying and persecution was made inconsequential over the past year.

Taking a deep breath, he tore the divorce papers in his hands.
Even with the papers torn in front of her, Azela was calm.

Daniel, who threw the torn paper on the floor, looked as if he was going to kill her.

“….”

It wasn’t like she didn’t expect him to tear up the paperwork.
Taking a short sigh, she took the papers out of her arms again and handed them to him.

This time, it was divorce papers again.

Daniel, who took the papers, threw them to the floor, blushing in anger, and trampled them with his feet.

“You know that even if you tear up the documents or throw them away, I can get a new issuance at any time, right?”

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Neither Daniel nor Sylvia responded to Azela’s words.
The two of them had their faces full of anger, even though it was the divorce they had been asking for and wanting so much.

‘…That’s right, because I’m going to be their money.’

Azela, who glanced at the two with a dry expression, turned her body and climbed the stairs.
Daniel did not stop her.
They just watched behind her back as she stepped away, quietly at the bottom of her steps.

She didn’t want to waste time with them here.
She wanted to hand out a nicely written and complete report when he returned.

 

 

* * *

 

 

“Did you call me, Your Majesty?”

“Oh, Duke Ferial.”

Upon entering the audience room, Emperor Alberto, who was sitting with his back on the sofa with his hands clasped, welcomed Zagnac with a welcome expression.
He looked a lot older than the last time he saw him.

The old old man had a long life and was still alive without dying.
Zagnac thought so and smiled and sat across from the Emperor.

“I came here because you said you have urgent business.”

“Yes, I called.
It’s an urgent business.”

Alberto laughed, fiddling with his white beard.
His relaxed expression and attitude seemed to be telling him that it was not at all urgent.

“I’m bored because Duke’s not here.
The Imperial Palace is always quiet, and the Empire is always peaceful.”

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“Isn’t it all because of the virtues Your Majesty has built up?”

“Are you down on the outskirts these days?”

Emperor Alberto’s eyes twinkled, and he leaned forward.

“Yes, I am.
Your Majesty seems to be very interested in me.
It’s because you are so quick to notice my news.”

“Of course.
You must not have forgotten that I particularly cherished the Duke.”

As the Emperor said so, Zagnac answered with a faint smile instead.
The two looked at each other and smiled intimately.
However, the calm atmosphere between the two was not so good.

After a moment of silence, the Emperor spoke again first.

“What are you doing on the outskirts, Duke Ferial?”

“I’m not doing anything.
I was exhausted physically and mentally, so I just went to a place with good air for recuperation… Oh, I like it so much that I am thinking of opening a second boutique shop.”

“Not doing anything? Don’t do that, just tell me.”

“It is true, Your Majesty.
When in the capital… Every day, my life was threatened by assassins.”

Zagnac answered with an artificial smile.

In response to his answer, Alberto did not ask any more questions and smiled together.

Life threatened by assassins, that was what he was saying to the Emperor.
Probably because that assassin was the assassin sent to him by the Emperor.
Of course, Zagnac could not have not known that.

Nonetheless, the Emperor was pretending not to know until the end.

Emperor Alberto was a man with a strong desire for power, so Duke Ferial, who suddenly appeared, was a thorn in his eyes.
Although Duke Ferial was a man with enough power and money, he was a man who never wanted to come under the Emperor.

For Alberto, Duke Ferial was just that.

The Emperor didn’t need a dog that he couldn’t leash.
In the end, the Emperor decided to get rid of him, and he was curious as to what Zagnac was doing on the outskirts.

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