“……Know them and be careful on your own. Don’t get hurt while lying around.”
The Duke continued on with what he said, but all the voices were all distant to my ears.
‘……I have a month left before becoming an adult?’
The incident came to a still. I seemed to have been attacked by surprise.
The big episode of the hunting competition was in full swing, so I thought there would be quite a few hard-mode deadlines left. At least, there should be time for emotional exchange.
Now I’m just trying to figure out what Eckliss is thinking and turn it into a good feeling..
‘Only a month.’
I was suffocating. If I don’t get a 100 percent favorability and a love confession within a month, I may never escape from this place forever.
Escape is also an escape, but the bigger problem is that when the “real princess” returns, I’m destined to die as a villain. Because, the story of this fucking game was like that.
The hand on my knees tightly grasped the hem of my skirt. I didn’t want to die. I came out of the house because I studied with a certain heart.
How could I die, how could I?
“…lope, penelope, dear.”
The sound of someone calling me made me came back to my senses.
I looked up with a sudden startle. Before I knew it, everyone at the table was looking at me. The Duke asked in wonder.
“Is there something you don’t like ?”
“What? Oh, no.”
I answered with quite a blank look. Became scared only by the word “birthday,” I seemed to be thinking too much for a moment. I came to my senses late and muttered some awkward excuses.
“I was just thinking for a second….”
“Hey, you’re a little weird today.”
Leonard suddenly opened his mouth sarcastically.
“Why are you staring at a place that’s so bloody from before? You have been quiet for a while, is your body itching again?”
It was enough to ignore his quarrel, but somehow the Duke gave a solemn voice to warn him.
“Ck, what kind of attitude is that for an older brother?”
“She doesn’t even treat me like an older brother.”
The man who was retorting, reluctantly shut his mouth when the Duke glared. The bumpy look and the light pink gauge bar on the head really didn’t match.
I was somewhat embarrassed by the coldness of the atmosphere that began because of me. I struggled to squeeze out a smile and called the duke.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you because I was thinking about something else for a while, Father. Please say it again.”
Said the Duke before softening his rigid expression.
“You can ask if you have anything you want for your birthday.”
“… …something I want?”
“Yes, say anything you want.”
I was told to search the continent right away and find a way back. But I swallowed it with difficulty, looking at the three pairs of blue eyes in my sight.
I spat it out in an indifferent tone.
But somehow the Duke opened his eyes like a shocked man.
“Hey, aren’t you really sick?!”
Instead of the helpless Duke, Leonard shouted, ‘Boom!’ at the table. Even Derick, who had only eaten in silence, looked at me with strange eyes.
“You, I’m sure until last year….”
As he was about to say something, he soon froze his face and shut his mouth again.
I was just puzzled by the unexpected reactions. The Duke, who had been looking at me for a while, soon confessed why.
“Wasn’t there a lot you asked me to buy you this and that until last year?”
I became silent for a brief. If it was the real Penelope, that was extravagant, it would be so.
But sadly, I really didn’t need anything. Besides, that birthday could be my memorial day, so talking about what kind of gift am I supposed to have just…
The Duke looked at me as if he were looking at a stranger and encouraged me again.
“Didn’t you want to match the coming-of-age robe from the late Empress’ tailor?”
“A coming-of-age robe?”
“Yes, this father has specially been invited by the Emperor.”
The Duke spoke with a fine straight chest, saying proudly. It looked similar to when he handed over the crossbow not long ago.
The robes were more useless than jewels. But last year, Penelope had been in a swarm, and even in my quivering manner, he showed few signs of letting it go easily.
“So why don’t you buy new accessories and shoes that match it? Hasn’t it been a while since you called the jeweler?”
I thought for a moment and glanced sideways at the guys sitting opposite of me.
Orange, light pink… It used to be divided into favorable figures, but now it can be distinguished at a glance by color.
No matter how much game money it is, it was a waste to spend my money to check their favorability, too. I decided not to refuse the favour of the Duke, who had asked me first.
“Then, if you’re going to give me a birthday present, just give me money instead of jewelry.”
“…wh, what? Money?”
The Duke’s mouth was wide open.
“Come to think of it, I don’t have any private property. Please set me a personal budget, too. Father.”
The Duke had a puzzled look on my words and couldn’t speak. Leonard shot on his behalf.
“What do you need a personal budget for?”
“If you want a dress, you can call a designer. If you want jewelry, you can call a jeweler. The butler does everything for you, doesn’t he? By the way, Father! I heard you gave her a blank check last time!”
The man who was giving me a hard time suddenly turned the arrow to the Duke.
“Why are you only giving her? When I asked for it because I needed it, you said that our financial situation was in a difficult position!”
“Hmm, hmm! Some guy just…….”
How it was known that he secretly delivered it through the butler, he pointed at me and cried out.
‘Oh, such a kid.’
The Duke turned away from him in a hurry while coughing in vain.
“But all of a sudden, why are you asking for private money? You’ve never said that before.”
“I’ve changed my mind. Cash, not accessories.”
“What about the prize?”
“I can’t use it because it’s such a waste. It’s the first money I’ve earned. I’d like to keep it safe.”
“Well, that’s true.”
The Duke nodded. It was the first money earned by his daughter, who won the first prize in a hunting competition.
I added with a momentum.
“It’s to prepare for any unexpected situation. Could you give it to me as a gift?”
“What do you mean by an unexpected situation? What is there to prepare for the one and only Eckart’s princess?”
“Well, maybe we can prepare for a future marriage, or a marriage fund, or…..”
At that moment three men shouted at the same time. My eyes were wide opened and I looked at them alternately. The Duke roared in a disapproving voice.
“Are you saying that again? A noble lady, who hasn’t even had a coming-of-age ceremony yet, is not getting married!”
“I’m about to reach adulthood. So……”
At the sight of the Duke kicking his tongue, I eventually shut my mouth.
“No private property.”
Then, Derick, who had kept his mouth shut, decisively cut off the last bud with a cold voice.
“Just take in your allocated spending. And what more money do you need when you’re buying your stuff beyond the budget that’s always been allocated?”
“You haven’t done any business before so give me a convincing reason why you’re going to have a business property.”
As a part of his work, Derek was deeply involved in the financial situation of the mansion.
In fact, I had no other reason to say if it weren’t that. I just wanted to keep as much cash as possible just in case. I can’t exchange jewelry for money every time I check the favorability.
It happened that the Duke had a big heart and gave me something, so I just screamed.
“Yes, no private property.”
But the men in the house agreed one after another to Derek’s words.
‘Ck, if you’re going to do this, don’t ask then.’
I smirked. Honestly, I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have any complaints about not having a personal budget. So far, I haven’t spoken so much, and I looked like a temporary princess who will be kicked out when a real princess comes back.
‘You can’t give me a penny or something like that.’
After swallowing a sigh and gave no more answer, the Duke persuaded the child once again.
“This time, the best diamond had just came out of the southern mine. I’m going to process it and make you a tiara……”
“No, that’s okay.”
I was rather rude enough to cut the Duke off like that.
“I’m pretty old enough to covet in that.”
And. Dreuk- I slipped the chair and try to get up.
The Duke’s voice quickly became cold.
I found out that many people in this house have been watching over my insolence these days. And that it was the aftermath of my trial at the hunting competition.
However, as long as I had a good feeling on the track, I didn’t want to bow my head down any more.
“Thank you for the meal. I’ll get up first.”
I could hear the Duke calling me in an angry voice, but I didn’t care.
* * *
Upon returning to my room, Emily, who was just finishing up the bedding, opened her eyes widely.
“Lady, you are here already?”
“Emily. Go get the butler. Right now.”
I flung myself down at my desk, reciting urgently.
“Yes? Yes, yes!”
Emily, who had a look of surprise at my sudden orders, quickly left the room.
Tak, tak, tak— I stared blankly at the desk with my fingers. The reason I asked for the butler was to ask how far the clothes I had previously asked to be made for hunting prey have progressed.
“……I’ll have to hurry up and give the remaining gifts soon.”
That’s the only way to raise Eckliss’s favorability right away.
Come to think of it, I was so distracted by the change in favorability system that I forgot to take off the choker and just hung it on the necklace.
Tak, tak, tak— How long has it been since I patted the desk nervously? Quite a long time passed, butler showed no sign of coming.
“Why aren’t you coming?”
I mumbled nervously to myself with frowns all over my face.
Loud knocks finally sounded from the other side of the door. Sensitive as I was, I checked the visitor bluntly.
“Who is it?”
“It’s your father.”