A deeper silence came than before.
Everyone’s mouths clamped shut like clams, their eyes darting from side to side in confusion before finally settling on the father, Duke Phaeraton.
Duke Phaeraton glared at Aphelia like he was going to tear her apart.
Although he sensed Aphelia’s presence while showering, she seemed harmless enough that he dismissed her as his maid.
Above all, he had security measures in place since Ruatisha’s last incident with the slave.
So he felt relieved and didn’t expect such an intruder.
A chilling sound broke the silence.
“Dad, why is there an old lady here? And why is she wearing such torn clothes? I’ve never seen someone dressed like that before. What kind of clothes is that?”
His daughter looked at him with sparkling innocent eyes.
For the first time in his life, Duke Phaeraton realized what it felt like to break out in a cold sweat.
He was bewildered, but at the same time, an intense murderous rage surged within him like never before.
In front of his innocent, pure, naive, and innocent daughter, he wanted to immediately eradicate the woman who was displaying such a vile and wicked appearance in this world.
That’s when it happened.
“Oh my, Miss! You shouldn’t see something like this!”
“Eek?! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
“My lady, you need to wash your eyes!”
Ruatisha’s maids, who arrived late, approached tremblingly.
“Hmmng? What’s going on?”
The maids’ gazes sharpened at those words.
“Could it be that His Excellency called for her to spend the night with him?”
“No, His Excellency never entertains women.”
“What should I say about this? The madwoman, no, in more polite terms…”
Ruatisha tilted her head as if she couldn’t understand and then raised both arms in a flash.
“Ah! I know!”
People looked at Ruatisha’s lips with faces full of fear.
“Sneaking in secretly like this at night and getting into the bed!”
“No, no, Miss. Where did you hear such a thing?”
“G-get the tutor! What did they teach her?”
Amidst the chaos, Ruatisha cheerfully shouted.
A brief silence.
A quick assessment of the situation.
“That, that’s correct!”
“That’s the only thing there is!”
“Indeed, miss! You recognized the assassin at once!”
Of course, nowhere in Lady Aphelia’s attire was there a place to hide knives or blades.
The most revealing outfit in the world, hiding nothing.
But everyone wrongly accused her with one heart and one mind.
“That woman’s human rights are less important than preserving our young lady’s purity!”
Duke Phaeraton commanded with a flash in his eyes.
“Lock up that assassin immediately!”
“Yes, Your Excellency!”
And so, Aphelia was locked up in prison.
Ruatisha rejoiced, saying, “We caught the assassin!”
Everyone petted Ruatisha’s head and said, “Oh my, oh my, our young lady caught an assassin too!”
They laughed brightly, relieved.
No one knew that the owner of that childlike innocence was burying her face in her father’s chest and smiling wickedly.
* * *
‘Fool, do you think I’m going to let you get away with this?’
If Aphelia wasn’t locked up in prison, she would pack her bags and leave the castle even if it meant being caught.
I couldn’t even save Dana, so I wouldn’t let her get away like this!
Then an alert popped up.
[Quest ⟨Save Dad!⟩ has been completed.]
It was a quest I received after overhearing a conversation between Aphelia and Cynthia and completing the quest ⟨Three Slaps For A Bad Matchmaker⟩.
It was about saving Dad from Lady Aphelia’s flesh attack.
[You will receive 3000 cash lottery tickets as a reward.]
[Your influence within the Duchy of Phaeraton has increased slightly.]
[The Duchy of Phaeraton’s employees pledge to cherish the young lady’s precious innocence.]
[The Duchy of Phaeraton’s knights pledge to protect the lady’s purity.]
[Employee and knight loyalty increases!]
[Right now, the castle is almost full due to the presence of vassals, bureaucrats, knights, and their families!]
[Population density is above a certain level! Rumors are spreading quickly!]
[The horse without feet travels a thousand miles!]
[It’s only a matter of time before this incident spreads to the system!]
‘Wow, is this possible?’
I deliberately made sure the vassals stayed in the inner castle.
But that was only because I wanted to keep them on their toes by letting them know about Lady Aphelia’s affairs, in case any of them were in contact with the Empress.
Even if they hadn’t had contact yet, this incident might make them reconsider joining forces with the Empress.
‘But rumors will spread throughout the system in an instant.’
Both Lady Aphelia and Cynthia would find it difficult to face the social circle from now on.
‘As for the remaining quests…’
— Ongoing quests:
1. ⟨Save the Baby!⟩
2. ⟨Education is All About Character Education⟩
⟨Education is All About Character Education⟩ was a quest I received after completing the quest ⟨Three Slaps For A Bad Matchmaker⟩.
Cynthia was not just a girl with no sense or manners, so she quickly gave me the cider.
‘That’s what I thought.’
I looked at Laura.
Laura nodded gently.
At that moment, Dad looked at me with a serious face and mumbled.
“Did it shock you? My daughter has been silent since earlier. Should we wash your eyes again?”
Dad gently touched the corner of my eye.
It’s okay, Dad.
Your face is a remedy for my eyes.
Dad hugged me tightly as I burrowed into his chest.
He was big and warm.
Feeling relieved, I involuntarily let out a big yawn.
“Oh my, the young lady seems tired.”
The employees smiled contentedly, turned off the lights, and left the bedroom.
Dad held me in his arms and lay down on the bed.
“Dad, I wish you a very happy birthday. Did you have a happy day?”
“Thanks to you, very much.”
Being able to congratulate my parents on their birthday was a very, very happy thing.
As I received Dad’s comforting touch, I fell asleep soundly.
* * *
Cynthia pressed her pounding heart.
‘Mom must be doing well, right?’
If she succeeds in today’s task, she can become a Princess of Phaeraton.
She still felt a surge of anger as she thought about what happened at the party earlier.
She wanted to be officially registered in the household and sort out her rank as soon as possible.
‘But what’s all the fuss about?’
I know there are a lot of people staying here today, but it shouldn’t be this noisy, right?’
If they want to have more fun, they can enjoy the party that’s still going on.
Cynthia put on her shawl and went outside.
People were coming in and out of rooms, or gathering in the lounge area, chatting away.
‘What, did they think they were alone…’
Cynthia frowned and then her eyes widened as she spotted someone.
“Ba, Baroness Eutra Felia!”
She ran up to Eutra and clasped her hands together.
“Wow, I’m a huge fan. I have all the design books you’ve published so far. They’re all so amazing! It’s my dream to debut in society in one of the dresses you designed!”
Eutra smiled broadly. She was used to hearing such words as she was admired by many young ladies.
“Thank you, young lady. A new design book will be published soon. The previous designs were filled with new and special things to the point of being comical.”
“But Miss Cynthia may not be interested. They are all designs for 4-5 year old girls’ clothes.”
“4-5 year old girls’ clothes?”
Cynthia’s face froze slightly.
“If Miss Cynthia grows up and raises a little girl later, it might be helpful to refer to them. I’m sure they’ll still be stylish and impressive.”
“It’s all thanks to my muse who inspires me! You know how important muses are to artists!”
“A muse. Baroness Eutra has never been inspired by anyone until now, right? In your autobiography…”
“Never before! But now it’s different. Just looking at her inspires me infinitely!”
Cynthia clenched her fists.
It was her dream.
To become Eutra Felia’s one and only muse.
But someone like that already existed.
“…Who, may I ask?”
“Of course, it’s Princess Phaeraton! She’s so cute… no, elegant!”
It was her.
Her vision went white.
“I’m so busy making her clothes that I honestly don’t want to make anything else. Men’s clothing and adult clothing are different areas, so I keep making them, but especially for girls’ clothes…”
Cynthia couldn’t hear Eutra Felia’s words as she muttered to herself.
‘What on earth are they all saying!’
At that moment,
“She snuck into the Duke’s bedroom completely naked?!”
A big man’s deep voice pierced her ears.
It was a voice so loud that it echoed through the corridor.
“Shh, shh! Your voice is too loud!”
“No, isn’t everyone talking about this? Why are you lowering your voice? We all came out of our rooms because of that story.”
Cynthia’s gaze trembled.
What on earth are they saying…
“Wow, jumping into His Excellency’s bedroom while naked.”
Eutra Felia shook her head with a disgusted expression on her face.
“I don’t know what kind of crazy woman she is, but it’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard.”
Cynthia’s face turned bright red.
Her idol, whom she respected and admired.
To hear such words from that person!
Cynthia abruptly got up and stormed into her room.
Seeing the door slam shut, Eutra scratched her head.
“I haven’t finished my muse story yet.”
* * *
A gentle touch gently brushed through my hair.
I smiled and enjoyed that touch.
“Are you awake?”
Hearing the low voice, I slowly opened my eyes.
Blink, blink. As I shook off drowsiness, a sharp and handsome face filled my vision.
Phew, I managed to protect this precious handsome man from the swamp of decadent R19 novels!
I’m really relieved!
“Hmm. Good morning, Dad.”
Dad lay on his side, propping himself up on one arm, and looked at me.
When I hesitated to get up, Dad lightly poked my cheek as if disappointed.
“Should we sleep a little longer?”
“Weren’t you already awake earlier, Dad?”
“But you want to sleep more?”
“I wanted to watch you sleep.”
What’s so interesting about watching someone sleep?
I got up with a puzzled expression.
“You should sleep more, Dad. I have a lot of things to do.”
“It’s a sad thing to have a busy and smart daughter like you.”
“Even a busy daughter like me should have time to have breakfast with my loving dad!”
With those words, Dad smiled and got up.
“That’s very kind of you.”
So we had breakfast together.
The oranges that Dad peeled himself were incredibly sweet and delicious.
* * *
The production facility for black gold had been secretly remodeled and was running smoothly.
Thanks to that, we had secured a considerable amount of inventory, enough to be sold immediately without any problem.
In addition, I established a paper company to handle the sourcing, and the upper management team for the paper company was also established.
Now that we were about to start distribution in earnest, I was really busy.
But I put aside all the work and went to Dana.
The moment Dana raised her head, I was taken aback.
“Dana! What happened to your face?!”
Dana’s face was swollen and her lips were torn.
It was clearly an injury inflicted by someone.
It was obvious who the culprit was without having to ask. With Aphelia locked up in prison, it was even more certain.
‘They didn’t just verbally abuse you, but also physically hurt you?’
Continuous harassment, verbal and physical abuse.
Even if it happened between classmates, it was a serious problem. And especially since Dana was not the same age as Cynthia, but much younger.
Even smiling would’ve hurt, but she still smiled.
“You can tell me, you know.”
Dana lowered her head and remained silent.
“I asked if you’re hurt every time we met. But you always said you were fine.”
“Do you know how shocked I was when you collapsed and started bleeding from your nose?”
“Now, tell me honestly.”
“…It’s just that Cynthia wasn’t in a good mood. That’s all.”
She hit a child just because she was in a bad mood?