Chapter 4

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When Lora came back into the room, she waved to her maid with a broad grin.

“As I can see you have completely lost your mind. When I left the room you were close to tears and now you’re grinning like a little child at Christmas.”

Celia was far too happy to care about this comment, and after all, she was not entirely wrong. “I’ve found the man I’m going to marry!”, she exclaimed enthusiastically and handed the picture to her maid. She took a look at it and then raised an eyebrow. “Lady Celia, have you read the information about this man already? Or were you too busy planning your wedding?”

“Well … he won’t be as bad as the others,” she said with an embarrassed face.

But Lora just sighed and poured her the tea. “You are absolutely right about that, he is even worse.”

That made Celia a bit nervous and she glanced into the folder. The stranger was the Grand Duke Alek Cassian Domain. Thanks to the name, however, he was no longer a stranger and Celia began to understand what her maid meant.

Grand Duke Dumain was the king’s nephew, and with only 20 years old, he became an officer in his own unit. However, there were never any rumors that his uncle helped him with this. Grand Duke Dumain was far too talented. But his talent could only be topped by his brutal nature.

Allegedly, he is said to have killed his own father when he was just 11 years old. He was also known for killing people for the slightest mistakes. His nickname wasn’t the Devil of the North for no reason.

It should have seemed suspicious to her that such a handsome man was still unmarried at the age of 27. Would she even survive with him for a single day if he was so easily irritable? Doubts crept into her and the euphoria from before was gone. No matter what she did, death would await her every time.

Barone Falone: ​​she would probably kill herself out of desperation

Duke Kreel: she would die at her own sisters hands

Prince Caius: here she could be killed by absolutely everyone in the fight for the place as the next Queen

Grand Duke Dumain: Death by her own husband

She glanced again at the picture of the Grand Duke. If she will die one way or another, wouldn’t it be better if it was done quickly and painlessly by the hand of an attractive man?

“Lora, have you ever heard good things about the Grand Duke?”, she asked, slightly hopeful.

Her maid thought about it seriously. “Well … I guess not all stories about him can be that bad, but … I can’t really think of anything.”

“Nothing at all?”

“Hmmm. Oh, I think I heard once that he was supposed to have only half-killed the son of Earl Caldwell instead of killing him.”

… did her maid even know, what *good* meant?

“Ah! No, scratch that. I think that was just because he thought he was already dead. But at least he didn’t try to finish it,” said her maid lightly with a shrug.

Yes. What great luck. Hopefully he would be really quick and painless with her. It was sad, but she didn’t hope for anything more. Instead of thinking about it any longer, she decided to make short work of it. So she got up and went over to her desk to write a message to the Grand Duke.

With narrowed eyes Lora stepped next to her and watched her write. “What are you doing there?”

“You see it. I am writing to Grand Duke Dumain that I am interested in forming a connection with him.”

Lora looked at her briefly in silence and then turned away to leave. “I’ll take care of a suitable tombstone.”

Rolling her eyes, Celia reread the letter and then thought for a moment. What if her father refused to let her marry the Grand Duke? She was not allowed to get engaged without her father’s consent. That is also the reason why he knew that her rejection letter to the Crown Prince could be made invalid. But if she were to put her father’s seal on the letter … “Do you know when Father goes to bed?” She asked her maid curiously, who, however, had taken a pad unnoticed and was writing something on it.

Celia stood up and glanced over her shoulder. “Is that a gravestone inscription? And what does *existing daughter for 20 years, wife for 2 days* mean?”

“Hm?” Apparently she had heard her mistress this time. “Oh. Well, it usually says beloved daughter, but that would be a bit exaggerated in your case.”

“Aha. And if this wasn’t enough you also think that my days as a wife are numbered after two days?”

“That is of course generously estimated,” Lora replied with a straight face.

Well isn’t she precious?

Since there was no point in responding, she focused again on her real goal. “Is it possible that you know when my Father goes to bed?”

Her maid shook her head. “Why should I?”

“It is really important. I have to go to his study to get his seal.”

“A lady does not steal,” came back immediately from her maid.

Since when was she treated as a lady in this house? She was about to start a counter-argument when Lora raised an eyebrow again. Then I’ll just do it alone. If she watched her father for a few days, she surely would find out when the best time was to get the seal.

Lora pulled her out of her thoughts again after she roughly pulled her hair out of her braid and combed it. Well, she could let it rest for today. Only now did she realize how exhausted she actually was. At least she didn’t have to worry about not falling asleep.

The next day she woke up with a headache. Lora wasn’t in the room, but there was a glass of water on the desk. So she struggled out of bed to empty the glass in one go. When she put it back down, her eyes fell on the letter she had written yesterday. In disbelief, she took it in her hand and examined it more closely. At that very moment the door opened and Lora came in with her breakfast.

Celia held the letter so that her maid could get a good look at it. With raised eyebrows, she tapped on the last line, where her father’s seal had magically appeared. “I thought a lady does not steal?”

Unimpressed, Lora poured the tea. “I don’t know what you are talking about, Lady Celia. Your father’s seal is where it always is.”

A smile crossed Celia’s face. How I love this rude maid sometimes.

Only allowed on

A few days later

Knock Knock

“What is it?”, answered an annoyed voice.

Baron Merton entered the room, only to find his employer covered with blood. The meeting with his steward did not seem to have gone well. Hahhh, and I have to clean up his mess again. “A letter has come for you, Grand Duke,” explained the Baron and handed him a handkerchief with which Grand Duke Dumain wiped the blood from his hands.

“Since when have you bothered me with such trivial things?”

“It appears to be a marriage proposal.”

The Grand Duke paused in mid-movement and raised his eyebrows at him.

“It is a mystery to me too,” replied the baron with a straight face and handed him the letter.

Grand Duke Dumain scanned it quickly and a small, amused smile formed on his face. “Well, now that’s interesting.”

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