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She squeezed her eyes shut.

“Excuse me, My Lord, but children of this age also understand what you are saying.”

Diego’s gaze swept over her, momentarily surprised. He spoke up with an air of incredulity.

“Did I appear to you to be very considerate of my half-siblings?”

That’s a lot of fun. Diego concluded his words with a voice that sounded like he was not amused at all. Estella knew all too well the cruelty hidden beneath his clean-cut appearance. Estella put Cedric down on the ground and pulled Cecilia to join hands with her and Cedric. She spoke with an admonishing tone.

“Master, why don’t you go to the training halls first. You can walk by yourself, right?”


“Hold on to Lady Cecilia’s hand.”

Cedric wore an uncharacteristically pensive expression. Cedric glanced up at Diego with a wary glance. Estella patted him on the back, as if to encourage him, and he took a slow step. As if waiting for a chance to escape, the children scurried away.

Diego turned his head and stared at the disappearing backs for a moment before he spoke, his tone cold.

“I didn’t tell you to let them go…”

It was a reproachful remark towards Estella’s unilateral decision. Estella took a deep breath and calmly shrugged her shoulders.

“Adult matters should be discussed between adults.”

A principle of parenting is to recognise children as adults, but not to treat them like adults. It meant that you should respect the child’s opinions, but not overlay adult responsibilities on them. Estella didn’t want Cedric and Cecilia to grow up early. Estella tilted her head at Diego and said.

“As for Master Cedric’s education in manners, I will be more careful in the future. He was only being unfamiliar to his young self, not disrespectful to the Duke.”

Diego gazed down at Estella for a moment, his eyes indifferent. Then he asked her abruptly.

“Your name?”

“Estella Margaret Montiel. You can call me Miss Margaret.”

“Miss Margaret, I can vaguely see why the butler was relieved of his worries about my siblings. You must be teaching them quite well.”

Estella blinked in embarrassment at the sudden compliment. Diego continued in a nonchalant tone.

“Come to think of it, my mother was going to organise a ceremony to praise Cedric’s brilliance, but I reminded her of my father’s busy work, and it almost became a distant memory.”


“But I think things will be a little easier if I help. I might have some time tomorrow.”

“Duke, what’s that…”

“I’m saying that I’ll be waiting for Cedric’s tricks at tomorrow’s dinner.”

Estella’s mouth dropped open at the thunderous sound. 「The Genealogy of Mesquida」 was a 500-page history book, and today’s lesson was only up to 120 pages. No matter how much she tried to summarise and teach only the important things, she couldn’t do it until tomorrow. Of course, Cedric’s progress was not a consideration for Diego, who dropped the bomb.

“I’ll see you at the dinner, then.”

Diego shook his head and walked past, as if his business was done. His kind smile seemed incredibly unfortunate, could it be directed at Estella, the homeroom teacher?”

Estella stood frozen in place for a long moment. She couldn’t believe the situation at hand. She stopped laughing.

“You want me to teach that book… in one day?”

If Cedric was embarrassed by his inability to answer the question, the Duchess would have Estella fired without mercy. Even before Cedric and Cecilia died, she had already lost her livelihood because of Diego. Estella calculated how much time she had until tomorrow evening, and set off in search of Cedric.

Today is an all-nighter.


* * *


“Master… you need to get up.”


Cedric’s eyes fluttered open, his face groggy. Estella reached out with a shaky hand and removed the paper from Cedric’s mouth. Cedric’s lips were glistening with drool from his sleep. Cedric wiped at the corner of his mouth and looked around.

“What time is it…?”

“We have about an hour left until dinner. Now, you should put on your clothes and reread the summary I organized.”

With that, Estella lifted Cedric out of his chair. Cedric staggered to his feet and nearly hit his head on the floor. He’d been up all night and had only been awake for about half an hour.

It was a good thing Diego had suggested a luncheon, not a dinner, or they would never have been able to finish that thick book in one day. It also helped that Cedric kept up the pace, feeling responsible for his words.

Estella swept her hair with a sigh. Before becoming a homeroom teacher in Korea, she used to make money by tutoring. Her specialty was implanting knowledge through rote memorization.

‘Long live the Korean rote learning education.’

Estella expressed her eternal gratitude to her former homeland and dabbed under her bleary eyes, as it would be quite a blow to her pride if Diego saw any evidence of their struggles.

Soon Cedric emerged, cleaned up by the maids. Estella took Cedric’s hand and led the way to the dining room. Normally she would dine in private in her chambers, but tonight she had been invited to join the Duke of Berta’s family for a feast.

That meant she might have to watch with her own eyes as Cedric made a mistake. A shiver ran down her spine as she imagined the Duchess glaring at her as soon as he gave the wrong answer.

Standing in the dining room doorway, Estella took a deep breath. Cedric spoke to her comfortingly.

“It’s okay, I’ve been studying hard.”

“Young masteeer…”

Estella looked back at Cedric with a sad expression. She was almost moved by Cedric’s mature comfort. If only it had not been followed by what came next.

“If I make a mistake, we’ll just get a little scolded, so what.”


Only Cedric doesn’t know that it’s not just a matter of a slap on the wrist. Estella glared at Cedric and spoke up.

“Who’s going to hit you? I’ll get fired.”

If I get fired, you die!

She glared in warning, but Cedric didn’t notice her and opened the dining room door. Fortunately or unfortunately, Diego was the only one seated. Cedric naturally sat down across from him.

Estella stared for a moment at the seat next to Cedric that would normally have belonged to Cecilia. Thanks to the Duchess’s contempt towards his half-sister, Cecilia was able to avoid being in this position.

“Good evening, Little Duke.”

Estella greeted Diego as she sat down on the chair. Cedric, who had been watching, followed suit and stammered.

“Hello… brother.”

“Yes, Cedric. Your father has high hopes for you. I hope you don’t let us down today.”

Cedric’s already pale face turned blue with pressure. Diego, who had defeated Cedric in one fell swoop, turned to Estella this time.

“The teacher looks quite tired.”

“Oh, I slept well last night, why do you ask?”

Estella replied nonchalantly, spreading her napkin on her lap. Diego’s eyes narrowed as he watched her.

“I hear the lights in your study didn’t go out last night…”

“Looks like the maids caught up on their cleaning.”

Estella flashed him a harmless smile as she replied. Diego leaned back in his chair with an amused expression.

Estella could tell. She didn’t know what had touched his feelings, but he despised himself. Or perhaps his character was such that he hated all human beings in general.

‘I’m afraid he might be a heartless murderer who doesn’t shed blood or tears.’

The tension did not last long. The Duchess and Duke had arrived. Estella took a small, deep breath, the outcome now out of her hands.

“Cedric, my dear boy.”

Duke Berta stepped inside and placed a quick kiss on Cedric’s forehead. Cedric immediately rubbed the spot where his lips had touched, and Duke Berta let out a hearty laugh. As he and his wife took their seats, Duke Berta never once glanced in Diego’s direction, which revealed a stark difference.

Estella looked back at Diego reflexively, which didn’t last long as the Duke Berta soon struck up a conversation.

“I heard that the newly hired private tutor was getting a lot of compliments, and I can see why. He’s a gifted child, but he’s never been interested in academics. Cedric must have met his match, Teacher.”

“You’re too kind.”

She replied nonchalantly, but Estella felt uneasy inside. The Duke and Duchess wouldn’t particularly try to verify Cedric’s progress, but Diego from across would.Unsurprisingly, before the appetizer was even served, Diego broke his silence.

“Cedric, I hear you’re making good progress in history.”


“How about this, Father. I want to check in on Cedric to make sure he’s learning well.”

Diego suggested with a gentle smile. Duke Berta was wary of his biological son. He looked reluctant, but he had no good excuse for refusing. Duke Berta picked up his napkin and turned to Cedric.

“Cedric, can you tell me how Regent Teriosa disposed of the migrants during the Great Famine?”


Cedric trailed off and rolled his eyes. Estella tensed up and gripped her thigh with the hand that rested on it. It was in the notes she’d compiled. She had to guess.

Luckily, Cedric seemed to get the hint and opened his mouth to answer.

“The migrants had nowhere else to go, so they usually turned to illegal paths like theft and prostitution. Regent Teriosa ordered a crackdown on this, so most of them became slaves, the lowest class. This eradicated the plague of crime and made Mesquida even wealthier.”

Estella breathed a sigh of relief at the smooth response. Duke Berta shrugged as if to say he already knew the outcome. Diego slowly chewed on his dish before asking again

“But a few generations later, the royal family reversed course and advocated for the abolition of slavery. Why?”

“Because the slaves were having more and more children. The nobility wanted to enslave rather than hire free people, which cost more in the long run, and it made it very difficult for the common people to make ends meet.”

This time, Cedric had no trouble answering. Diego wasted no time in asking.

“Who was the king who made it his mission to reform slavery?”

“Brante… II.”

Cedric rolled his eyes for a moment, but finally came up with the right answer. As Estella watched him nervously, she sang a happy tune. It had been worth it to teach him the genealogy of the kings of old in song. Even the most difficult words are easier to memorise when they are set to a simple, catchy melody.

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