To The Female Protagonist (2)

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Translated by alyalia


 “Lord Aloken.”


Short hair resembling black silk with eyes that curve softly like a fox.
A man stood neatly in front of the black carriage.
The dark suit he was wearing was no different than usual.
If I had to pick one thing that made this scenery different from the last time, it would be that the man has a cane in his hand.


“I wondered if I would have to wait a long time under the scorching sun again, but you showed up early, Lady Vanora.”


Aloken stepped on the ground, holding a cane made of silk that looked expensive at first glance in his right hand.
His spare hand lifted up and pointed at Vanora.


“Looking at your face, I guess you want to know why I’m here.”




His guess was correct.


To be honest, I wanted to ask why he had come suddenly without prior notice, but Aloken started talking about it.


“I heard belatedly that my fiancée’s birthday is just around the corner.”




“Isn’t it will be your birthday? In the next few days.”


For a moment, I didn’t understand why he brought up the topic of birthdays.


And then…


“I know you don’t have any plans today.
So, let me accompany you to the dressing shop.”




“Did you not understand? I’m here to help you fit into a dress.”


I didn’t even correct my disheveled shawl as I was startled by his words, so Aloken added a few words.


“It’s okay if you don’t want to wear jewelry, but you have to measure your dress, right?”


“Wait, I don’t get it right now… Are you talking about fitting a dress for our engagement ceremony? Or…”


“It’s about a dress for your birthday banquet.
We will also make a wedding dress according to your measurements today.”


I was almost swept away by Aloken’s words.
If you think about it, this was strange.
That he personally will take care of my birthday, an event that has nothing to do with our engagement.
Judging from his duality in treating the Duke, Aloken Jalier was a human being who wouldn’t move unless it was to gain an advantage for himself.


“You won’t get anything from doing something like this.”


I warned him to stop if he hoped to gain something from doing this.
But Aloken whispered softly without changing his expression.


“Vanora, you said you would break up with your ex-fiancé with this deal, didn’t you?”




“Then you would know that it would be a problem if people found out that our engagement was a fake with a set deadline, right? There’s no way you don’t know about it.”

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“That’s right.”


“That’s why I’m keeping the terms of the deal for you.
To avoid suspicion, at least pretend to be my fiancée.”


Is he a man who kept his word more than I thought?


It was a grateful consideration to imitate the behavior that only lovers would do to keep the secret of this fake engagement. 


“If that’s the reason, I understand.
Then, if we show the public that we can interact once a month…”






However, my answer was not satisfactory, so he hit his cane hard on the ground.
As my gaze turned to the sound source, the man began to talk again.


“Tell me who I am.”


I don’t know what he means right now, but I do what he told me to do for now.


“Aloken… Jalier.”


“In more detail.”


“Uh? More details?”


I rolled my eyes for a moment, then tried to hide my anxiousness and continued the explanation.


“That… You’re Aloken, the heir to the Duke of Jalier.”


“Is that the only thing that comes to your mind? What are my characteristics?”


You’re rich, powerful…”

After hearing this, he was still displeased.
The confidence gradually disappeared from my voice.
In the end, I decided to bring up everything I could think of.


“And… handsome?”


Isn’t this the answer?


I tilted my head, not sure of what I said.
Aloken let out a flat laugh when I talked about his appearance.


“Ho, what did you say?”


But his expression finally began to unravel.


Aloken took a step back and placed both of his hands on top of his cane.
Now he looked relaxed.


“I don’t think you know, so let me ask you one thing.
We obviously will break all our relationships as soon as the contract ends.
And you told me that I can announce why we’re breaking up, right?”


“That’s right.
You can tell them that you can’t stand my personality.”


“But even if I made such a rumor at the time of our breakup, what would people think if I was the one who turned a blind eye to my fiancée’s birthday during our engagement period?”

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Aloken picked up the cane that was on the ground and turned it half a turn.


“As you said, I’m the next Duke of the Jalier family.
Even after breaking up with you, I have to marry a new person that I have in mind, so it’s hard for me to lose my reputation.”




“So I will be accompanying you to your birthday, New Year’s Eve celebrations, the royal celebrations, and even the Celcius family tea party.
I’m not going to neglect any event that you will attend.”


“I beg your pardon?”


“Why are you so surprised? You know that the reputation of an ideal fiancé is not built in a day or two, right?”


Aloken tilted his head to the side to examine my complexion, then slowly stretched out his hand forward.
It was a gesture to escort me.


“If you want to keep this deal going, you better keep up with the play.”




“There are some parties where their fiancée must accompany them, so if I send an invitation, make sure to come quickly.
I’m doing my duty here too, so you won’t betray me, right?”


‘It’s getting annoying.’


Things have really become a nuisance.


‘He shouldn’t take this fake engagement seriously!’


I should have known that the relationship between humans is not the same as trades between merchants, where there is only supply and demand…


“Ah, is that person running over here the butler of the Celcius family?”


“He’s a newly promoted butler.”


“I’m going to tell him that we’re going to buy a dress for you.”




I was forced to enter the black carriage after Aloken threatened to break our contract.
However, even when the high-quality cushion was touching my butt, I felt uncomfortable, as if I was on a torture chair.


‘Why didn’t this person go to see Vasago today…’


How could the prediction be wrong?


I clearly thought Aloken would leave me alone if he had already achieved our contract deals.
But I can’t keep rejecting him.
His justification for his reputation is not so wrong.


‘Well, it would have been weird if I didn’t accompany him on a day like New Year’s Eve, so it’s already bound for him to ask me to be his partner someday.’


We had a contractual relationship, so if something happened, we had to be sure to look like a couple.
After completing the calculations, I waited for Aloken to return to adjust the contents of our deal.


After a while.


“Why don’t you go inside?”


“Are you sure you’re going to join me? You brought two carriages.”

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“The other one is to carry the things we’re going to buy.
Come on! Coachman, let’s go.”


After talking to the butler, Aloken entered the carriage where I was without hesitation.
Even if it was a luxury carriage for nobles, it was cramped when the two young people boarded it.


So, how did I, as his fiancée, feel when I skipped my meals and got into the carriage in this early morning?


I expressed my infinite gratitude to him.


“You took care of my birthday… I’m so moved to tears.”


“Your expression doesn’t look happy at all.
Are you sure you’re feeling like that?”


Soon the carriage rattled and moved, so I changed the topic.


“By the way, you said that you’re going to call for me when there is a party that needs a fiancée as the partner.
I’m sorry, but I also have my own schedule…”




“I will try to meet the schedule as much as possible, but I will decline it depending on the situation.”


I thought I was making my claim too proudly in front of the future Duke, but surprisingly, Aloken accepted my request.


“I don’t want to lose an astrologist that is capable enough to save the Duke, so do whatever you want.”



‘What do you mean by astrologist? You don’t even believe in it.’


At this moment, I felt that calling me an astrologist was a way for Aloken to mock me.


‘When will we arrive at the boutique? Come to think of it, I was in a hurry to come out, so I was wearing an ugly indoor dress.’


Clip-clop, clip-clop.


The carriage was silent for a while.
I looked out the window as I straightened the shawl that hung over my shoulder.


As soon as I woke up, Cecil brushed my hair so my hair avoided looking messy.
However, when I looked at the reflection in the window, it was not so neat.


‘Maybe people in the world will not believe how such an ugly woman like me became a Duchess.’


Black curly hair gets messy like tangled threads, dull skin caused by frequent insomnia, and dark lashes.
In addition, people with thin lips, which is far from the standard of beautiful women these days, were often criticized for looking mean.


I looked at my appearance in the carriage window for a long time, which looked like I had been cursed all my life.
Even though I came back a few years younger than before, I didn’t look pretty.


“We have arrived.”


“I can get off by myself…”


“Count’s daughter will reject the escort from the little Duke?”


Aloken, who touched the ground with his cane with a light sound, reached out his hand.
I felt awkward and uncomfortable with his escort.
Still, I had no choice but to respond because of the passerby’s eyes.


And then.


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“What kind of cane is that?”


Perhaps because I had been reading the atmosphere for a while, Aloken’s cane suddenly came into my gaze.
So I asked a question to soothe the awkwardness before entering the clothing store.


It was a cane with a dragon’s head at the tip.
Even if not now, it seemed that I would have noticed it sooner or later.


“Cane? Ah, in the North where I was, beasts popped out of the carriage from time to time.
That’s why I always carry a sword.”


“Does this have anything to do with it?”


“In the royal capital, if someone other than a knight carried a sword, people would label them barbaric.
I can’t walk around as I did in the North, and my hands feel empty if I don’t carry anything.”


I didn’t know the details of the human being called Aloken Jalier.
So this little information felt new.


‘He knows how to wield a sword.’


Perhaps Vasago or Naverius had also completed their swordsmanship classes.
That’s why I thought I should also consider my revenge target’s martial arts skills for a better plan.


And after a few seconds.


After getting off the carriage and walking a few steps, I saw a huge boutique in front of us.


‘I’ve never been to such an expensive store in my life.’


A sign with the name ‘Romang Boutique’ stood out.
This boutique created a new product inspired by priests’s robes around the time when I was an adult.
Soon I remembered that the clothes made at that time had been sold like hot cakes.


“Welcome to the Romang Boutique.
What kind of clothes are you looking for?”


“I would like to see some dresses for my fiancée…”


“Then I will take you this way.”


Although this boutique is not number one in the industry now, the boutique was neat as a high-end clothing store with a reputation among nobles.


I felt some strange glances as I looked around the glamorous boutique.


“I came at this time on purpose because I didn’t want to disturb others, but there were no customers.”


The strange glances came from a group of nobles who were enjoying shopping early in the morning.


I couldn’t figure out who they were.


“Over there… people with black hair, aren’t they a bit familiar? Aren’t they them?”


“I’ve met Lord Aloken Jalier in person, so I’m sure it’s him.”


“Oh my, are they here to get a dress for their engagement ceremony?”


The whispers of nobles couldn’t be heard clearly, but I thought about it as I received the gaze of the unfamiliar ladies.


‘They must be looking down on me.’


That’s because I’ve been living for nearly 20 years as a person who had been labeled with blemishes, shameless, gloomy, and strange lady from the Count Celcius family.
Due to these circumstances, I reflexively think like that just by seeing other people whisper.
Moreover, those labels were not so wrong. 


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