༺ Villainess? Esteemed Daughter (4) ༻
Most people my age were already married or at least have a fiancé. In this world, you’re considered an adult when you turn 17. So a noble that’s 21 years old was at an age for marriage. Speaking frankly, I was already past the age of getting married.
Before reincarnation, I hadn’t gotten married because of my age. After coming to this world, it was the war. After the war, I kept pushing it because I didn’t intend to get married yet. And that’s how we got to today. Because the Lord had faith in me, he didn’t pressure me to get married.
But still, the marriage proposals didn’t stop coming. And the Lord just sent every single one they received directly to me. It was quite hard working as a Prosecutor’s Executive Manager while refusing the proposals.
But an incident happened during last year’s new year celebration when all the Empire’s nobles reunited.
“She’s my daughter.”
The celebration was held after so many battles and problems regarding the succession of the throne, among other incidents, were settled, and I was finally able to catch my breath. I started presenting myself as the new Executive Manager, and while doing that, I met the Iron-blooded Duke. Next to him was Marghetta.
As the Iron-blooded introduced us, Marghetta bowed her head. And I also bowed while greeting her.
“I was worried that she doesn’t have many friends her age. Thankfully, you’re both of a similar age. Why don’t you try to hang out with her while she stays here?”
It was only possible to accept the Duke’s proposal. I accepted it to get closer to the Iron-blooded Duke. But after that, I felt something was strange.
Marghetta often came to the Prosecutor’s office. Not only that, but she also invited me to the Valenti’s residence, which was near the office. Although it was hard, I resisted. After all, I thought I had to resist until the New Year’s Ceremony.
But Marghetta ended up staying after the ceremony was over. Around then, the Iron-blooded Duke mentioned marriage, and I refused while sweating. The Iron-blooded Duke said while frowning.
“Tell that to Marghetta yourself.”
He was trying to make me tell Marghetta, who’d just become an adult, that I did not want to marry her.
Ah, what a cruel person…
But I had no other choice. If I refused, the Duke would probably cut my belly, and I barely managed to calm down. When Marghetta came to the Prosecutor’s office a few days later, I told her.
“You’re going to regret this, Sir Carl. There’s no other person like me.”
Unexpectedly, Marghetta didn’t get angry or depressed; she just smiled and left. I trembled in fear for a while because I took the ‘You’re going to regret it’ as ‘I’m going to kill you’. But thankfully, after that, I had no reason to contact the Iron-blooded Duke or Marghetta.
But now that I think about it, I understand the Iron-blooded Duke. He needed to get Marghetta married, and if he tried to get someone at the same level, the age gap would be too big. And among people of her age, there were only people with whom there was too much of a rank difference.
In a situation like that, I suddenly appeared with the support of the Imperial Family. Although I wasn’t good enough to be his son-in-law, I was far better than the other options. Although, he probably never imagined that I’d refuse.
But now that I think about it, I’m thankful to him for not expressing his anger toward me.
I was being thankful…
“I never expected to be rejected by a kid…”
After contacting me for the first time in a year, he caused a buried bomb to explode.
“I wasn’t thinking straight back then. I apologize.”
– Haa, does that mean you’d accept if I proposed it to you now?
The Iron-blooded Duke snorted after seeing my reaction.
“Giving another chance to someone who’d let it go is too much.”
“Yes, you’re right.”
“Now, if you want to get married to Marghetta, you’ll have to come to my castle and kneel down to beg.”
“I’ll remember it…”
I didn’t understand why he was talking about marriage again. But I had no choice but to lower my head.
The Iron-blooded Duke just silently looked at me. He was someone with a strong aura, so simply staring at me was enough to make me tremble. He was clearly older than the other Dukes, so why was he so vigorous? He had the appearance of someone middle-aged.
“The Valenti don’t have much patience.”
The Iron-blooded Duke’s sharp words came flying toward me.
“If you just keep dodging, you’ll be devoured.”
“I’ll remember it.”
After snorting another time, the Iron-blooded Duke cut the call.
I wouldn’t be able to sleep easily tonight as I would just dream of being tortured in front of the Iron-blooded Duke’s castle.
This time, instead of being gibbet, I dreamt of my neck being cut by a guillotine.
“Oh, father. Even if he likes Sir Carl, it’s rude to call suddenly.”
Margheta’s laugh spread through the room.
After the forced meeting with the Iron-blooded Duke, Marghetta dragged me to the Student Council’s Vice President’s office. I mentioned the call with the Duke because there wasn’t anyone else in the room. And after that, she’d been laughing like that. My life was put in danger, yet you’re laughing…?
“There’s no way the Duke likes me.”
He probably disliked me. But Marghetta shook her head.
“How many people do you think my father cares about enough to call them himself?”
There were very few people, but the problem was that he cared about me for the wrong reasons. The person at the top of a killer’s hitlist is also someone the killer cares about.
Marghetta burst into laughter after seeing my reaction. As expected, she can’t understand how a Civil Servant feels.
“If you’re so afraid of my father, you can solve everything by marrying me, right?”
“Please don’t joke like that.”
“Fufu, is that so?”
I sighed and got up. I’d finished everything for today, so returning was probably okay. Marghetta also stood up as I got up from my place.
“Then I’ll be going. Are you coming tomorrow at the same hour?”
“Yes. I’ll come tomorrow too.”
I just wish this exhibition ended as quickly as possible. I feel like I’m just going to work twice a day. Was there any other Civil Servant like me?
* * * *
After checking that Carl had left the Vice President’s room, I sat on the sofa and hid my face behind my hands.
If I see my face in the mirror, it would probably be completely red. Being in front of Carl is already too much; this is what happens as soon as he leaves.
“You dull person.”
I mumbled with resentment. There’s no way a woman would just mention marriage as a joke. On top of that, with someone who she had been in marriage talks with. I don’t know if he’s really that dull or if he’s just pretending to be.
If it was the first option, it was too frustrating. And if it were the second, it would be a massive blow to my self-confidence. Because of this situation, my resentment towards him only grew. That’s why I asked my father to call him and poke him a bit yesterday. Thinking about how Carl struggled in front of Dad made me feel better.
I sighed and walked toward the window. They say that the one who falls first is at a disadvantage. But this is a too-hard fight, so I’m glad I met him again at the Academy.
‘I didn’t expect things to turn like this.’
The first time I heard about Carl was two years ago. The youngest Executive Manager in the Empire’s history was born, so it was inevitable that I’d heard that name before. Not only that, he’s been growing thanks to the Imperial Family, and he also seemed close to the ‘Invincible Duke.’
That’s when I realized something. If I had to get married, it was probably going to be with someone like him. After all, I knew what my father was worried about. That person, Carl, seemed worthy of marrying into a Ducal family.
I was able to meet the husband candidate only a year after. It would have been pushed even further without the New Year Ceremony. Because of my dissatisfaction, I went to see him often and even said some harsh things.
Now that I think about it, I’m a bit embarrassed.
After that, I became busy. Since he was someone who would become my future husband, I was planning to get close to him. However, it was too bad that they were one-sided feelings on my part.
It wasn’t that some tremendous dramatic incident happened. I just enjoyed hanging out with Carl, talking with him, and laughing with him. And this is how my feelings towards him ended up becoming like this. There were many reasons to like Carl, and there weren’t any to hate him. If it wasn’t with Carl, who else would I get married to?
“I’m sorry, but I’m not ready to get married to someone.”
As I remembered the time I fell for Carl, I couldn’t help but bite my lips at the memories that followed. I thought that he was for sure going to accept it, but he ended up rejecting me. I escaped to the Duke’s castle as calmly as possible, acting as if the rejection didn’t affect me in the slightest.
I felt so embarrassed and humiliated that I kept hitting the pillow while crying. I could only calm down only with the help of my older brothers and sisters. They calmed me down as if they were dealing with their child and it was too much of an embarrassing memory.
‘It’s all Carl’s fault.’
I wasn’t at fault. After all, if Carl hadn’t rejected me, this wouldn’t have happened.
Because of the shock, I stayed locked in the Duke’s castle. But because of the Academy’s entrance, I couldn’t help but step outside. At that moment, I didn’t care about the Academy or whatever. Still, I didn’t want a rumor that the Duke’s daughter had locked up herself inside the castle after being rejected by the Prosecutor’s Executive Manager to spread.
Hearing about the Student Council when I entered the Academy was destiny. The Student Council was considered a stepping stone toward becoming a Civil Servant. It was an organization I wouldn’t have considered, but now I had a reason to stick close to a certain Civil Servant.
He isn’t ready yet?
Then I’d stick to him until he was ready. After I pass the Civil Servant exam, I will enter either the Ministry of Finance or the Prosecutor’s Office.
If I entered through a recommendation, I could bypass the exam. But if the person in charge of that sector refused, I’d be recommended to another.
One might ask who would refuse the Duke’s daughter, but that person had already rejected a marriage proposal.
‘I was lucky.’
But without me having to take the Civil Servant exam, Carl came to the Academy. I was really happy after hearing that news from my father. Although things happened in the middle, I could still meet him again.
Since he couldn’t escape, I could now get close to him step by step. I want to change that nickname, ‘Sir’, first. Although he’s calling me Mar, he makes me call him formally.
But thinking about how much I struggled because of him makes me want to pick on him a bit.
Yes, I will make him fall for me and make him beg me to call him informally. I will act like I don’t want to but then accept.
I couldn’t help but be surprised at my perfect plan. In a place like the Academy, there was no way I’d lose track of Carl. It’s as if he were already in the palm of my hand. The Valenti always obtained what they wanted; it was just a matter of when.
‘Ah, it’s Carl.’
While I was laughing, I saw Carl walking out of the building. While covering my mouth with a fan, I watched Carl walk away. He might look back; if that happened, he might see me laughing awkwardly.
As I saw him walking toward the Pastry club, I remembered the esteemed pink-haired daughter. Carl seemed to care about that girl. And she seemed interested in him. However, it didn’t seem like one directed to a member of the opposite gender.
‘It doesn’t matter.’
Once again, the Valenti family always got what they wanted. Although Carl seemed to be a bit pushy at the moment, in the end, Carl’s place was next to me. I could forgive him for walking around while lost; I was generous enough to overlook that.
It didn’t matter what happened in the middle.
The one that would laugh in the end will be me. Marghetta Valenti.