After mulling it over for a while, I decided to give up on trying to figure it out.
What’s good is good, anyway.
‘Besides, if it’s really because of the Duke…’
Well, this was certainly a plus.
It meant that if I showed how much I’ve changed myself to other people and managed to move their hearts, then my reputation will rise.
However, one question still remained.
About the special stat and coin rewards that I received along with the reputation points.
‘How the heck am I supposed to use those’
As if the system took that as a question directed at it, another notification came up.
〈 These features are currently not available.
‘Is it because I still have a low reputation’
Then, it seemed like my reputation directly correlates to my missions.
That’s how important it was for me to build it up.
I thought for a moment about how I should improve my reputation even more, then I took a step forward.
In any case, I felt my lips tug up into a smile.
This wasn’t a bad start.
Drunk with the joy of her mission success, Roella did not notice.
That, behind her, there were two maids passing by.
“Hey, did you see Her Ladyship smiling just now”
Watching Roella’s back with pity, Mary, a maid, quietly commented.
At Mary’s observation, Jane—who was also looking at Roella pitifully—responded.
“Yes, I saw it, too.
Since Charlotte admitted that it was her fault and got taken away like that, it must have made Her Ladyship feel happy.”
She must have had such a hard time until now.”
Thanks to the recent spread of rumors around the ducal residence, the image that some servants had of Roella changed a little.
From a mad dog, to a yapping chihuahua.
At first, they thought that she was a terrible and scary ducal lady.
But as it turned out, there was no one by her side as she had collapsed, so she was only putting up a strong front and pretending to be fine.
Her reputation around the manor gradually rose, and people would say, ‘Oh, how hard must it have been for such a timid person to carry the burdensome titles of Ducal Lady and Saintess Isn’t that why she pretended to be stronger and lived the way she did like that’
Both Mary and Jane especially thought that way.
Actually, the two of them were the one’s in charge of cleaning the hallway outside Roella’s room.
That’s why they often encountered Roella, who had seen just how much she’d been suffering lately.
In the past, they could do nothing but tremble with nervousness whenever they faced her, but these days, all they did was cover their mouths with their hands while saying how much of a pity it all was.
“Let’s take care of Her Ladyship more from now on.”
“Yeah, let’s do that.”
The two of them continued walking down the corridor, rubbing their stinging noses as they held back tears.
Then, a few days later, Mary and Jane volunteered to be Roella’s personal maids.
“Yes, Your Grace.”
“What do you think”
“You mean about Lady Roella, sir”
That child, these days, she’s…”
The duke trailed off.
But Graham smiled knowingly.
“Yes, it also seems to me like she has changed a little.”
“Yes, that’s how it seems to you…”
The duke rested his chin on one hand.
Without realizing that the corners of his lips started secretly turning upwards…
But he quickly schooled his features and let out a dry cough.
Unconsciously, the duke felt pleased, but then he stopped this at once.
‘Let’s not raise any hopes for nothing.
She might just be pretending to have regained her senses through this incident.’
Several times already, he had his hopes up when it came to Roella, but each and every time, he was met with only disappointment.
And whenever that happened, the relationship between them only soured further beyond his control.
Some time ago, his daughter had been a precious child who would never harm anything at all.
But now, she had become a child who was difficult to trust.
In his bitterness and regret, the duke had no choice but to keep his heart closed.
Strangely enough, however, Roella’s face lingered at the forefront of his mind for a long time today.
Perhaps it’s because it’s his first time seeing his daughter after so much time.
Or, perhaps it bothered him more than he thought to see her gaunt cheeks and dark circles under her eyes…
In his hand, which wasn’t cradling his chin, the fountain pen split in half with a dull sound.
Graham let out an exclamation, though pleased to see the duke’s reaction.
The duke’s eyebrows knitted together, then he threw the snapped fountain pen into the bin.
Then, he spoke coldly.
“Yes, Your Grace.”
“Put a bounty on the swindler who tricked Roella.”
“Count Siever’s second son, sir”
The duke’s eyes flashed dangerously.
‘How dare you, towards my daughter… No, how dare you deceive the esteemed daughter of House Brietta’
It was absolutely unforgivable.
It was only right to find and punish that fiend in the name of House Brietta’s honor.
“Make him a wanted man and bring him in front of me as soon as possible.”
What shall be done to him after he’s been caught”
“Make him pay back the money he took, on top of settlement fees for fraud and other damages.
And apparently, there’s a shortage of workers at the Wilhelm coal mine.”
At the mention of the Wilhelm coal mine, Graham gave the duke a subtle glance.