My Sister Took My Fiancé and Now I’m Forced to Marry the Ugly Duke - Chapter 12
Prelude to Ruin
“That man is actually quite fond of women in glamorous, feminine attire.”
Lucrezia blinked her eyes in suprise. That was completely different from what he just said.
“But he is also extremely afraid of being disliked. After all, he has had six engagements broken off. He thinks that a beautiful woman is a mirage, a Fata Morgana, which he cannot touch even if he reaches out to her.”
“I see,” Lucrezia thought. He was just trying to be nice because he didn’t want to be disliked, but his true feelings were probably different.
“Master, though he likes women, is extremely inexperienced with them. If Madam were to appear in front of him in a trendy, feminine clothes and smiled at him, he would immediately fall in love with you and become your admirer.”
Lucrezia was a little embarrassed at the thought.
“ …… I wonder if my husband will like it.”
“Oh, yes. I hope you will wear a glamorous dress. The color should be soft, such as blue-gray, pistachio green, or light pink. It would also be nice to include ruffles and lace to emphasize your feminine curves.”
It took a little courage for Lucrezia, who had been imbued with God’s teachings of poverty since birth, but she had after all married into the family and wanted to be well thought of by Ramilio.
“Then, let’s make a dress with a fuller silhouette, according to the latest fashion. The colors will be the three colors mentioned by the aide, and we will arrange for one dress at a time. And also……”
The tailor showed me the catalog and drew a simple picture, promising to finish it in a hurry.
She looked back and saw that Ramilio’s aide was no longer there.
“Oh, I feel bad that I left him alone. What’s his name?”
“Bosco. He is an attendant who has served since his father’s time. He’s not someone that the Madam should be particularly grateful to.”
“But it was very useful advice! If my husband really likes it, I’ll have to thank him. And you too, of course.”
“You don’t have to thank me.”
Lucrezia’s impression of the butler, who laughed softly at her, kept rising.
‘Now that I’ve got clothes, it’s time to get accessories. I’d need to bring extra underwear, corset, and socks, as well as a change of hat and shoes…….’
Lucrezia spoke with the butler and set up a series of appointments.
The Duke of Serravalle’s house had fewer servants at once.
“Hey dad, isn’t the food getting really bad lately?”
Rosa remarked at dinner, causing the butlers and waiters who were listening nearby to scrunch up their faces.
“I thought so, too. Hey, what’s going on?”
“That’s…. It’s because the cook happened to quit today…. We will look for a replacement as soon as possible.”
Even after such an exchange, the food situation had not improved at all.
Apparently, while they were struggling to raise money, rumors of financial difficulties spread throughout the mansion. Resignations were never-ending, and before long, the mansion was empty.
The Duke of Serravalle wanted to bring in new employees, but unfortunately, he had none at hand.
‘They’re all so reluctant to lend me money! We are a ducal family. There is no more meaningful finance than lending money to the royal family!’
The Duke of Serravalle had never been short of money. Merchants would arrange for anything they wanted as soon as they asked for it, and servants would always come to them asking to be hired. No matter how low the wages were, there were always a certain number of people who felt honored just to be a servant of the duke’s family.
Even if they didn’t have enough money on hand, some banks would lend them money on their own, and they always managed to somehow pay their bills.
The Duke of Serravalle was completely frustrated by the hardships he was facing for the first time.
In response to several persistent money debts, he was so overwhelmed that he told them to turn the bill over to Lucrezia. The agent immediately notified him of the rejection, so he turned the bill over to the Ugly Duke, but he hadn’t heard from him, as if he hadn’t received it yet.
Anyway, it was an infuriating day for the Duke of Serravalle.
“Miss Lucrezia was a good person, but the Duke and Miss Rosa…”
When he heard a servant saying this behind his back, he was so stressed out that he became enraged and beat the servant until he bled.
The servant became so agitated that he swore at the duke.
“Curse you, you presumptuous scumbag! I know what you did to Miss Lucrezia!”
The duke was so angry that he wanted to throw him in jail, but he escaped before he could.
Since then, the servants in the mansion seemed to be somehow spreading bad rumors about the duke. The duke fired them all as soon as he found out, but thanks to that, the mansion has become a dump.
Bad things happened one after another.
In addition to the servant problem, the Duke of Serravalle had to face many other problems.
Handling letters was one of them.
The Duke of Serravalle was troubled by the mountain of letters in his hands.
Until now, Lucrezia had handled it on her own, but now they were coming to the Duke.
Most of them were invitations to dinner parties and tea parties, and the duke, who had been away from domestic affairs for some time, had a hard time deciding which were important and which were to be ignored.
‘Damn it! It would have been easier to let Lucrezia do it.’
The Duke of Serravalle, taking into account his tight budget, decided to leave two invitations that he deemed truly necessary and skip the rest.
Because of this, he had also unknowingly turned down an invitation from a friend of Rosa’s.
“Hey dad, I haven’t been invited to any tea parties lately, what’s going on?”
He finally discovered this when Rosa complained to him.
“Sorry, which ones are from your friends?”
As the duke showed her the letters he had sifted through to the absent ones, Rosa stared at one.
It was a letter addressed to Lucrezia.
Madam Waja of the Rai Embassy ― a name unfamiliar to the duke, but he knows that Rai is an important country.
In the letter, she wrote that the broken engagement had come out of the blue, and that she would like to invite her over for dinner to know what had happened.
“…… Why does this person only send an invitation to sister? Since I am his new fiancée, doesn’t it make sense for her to invite me?”
Rosa said with a hint of jealousy.
“It’s probably because the engagement hasn’t been officially annulled. As soon as the Marshal and his wife return, you will be the new fiancée.”
When the duke soothed her, Rosa seemed a little encouraged and smiled brightly.
“Hey dad, will you let me write the reply to this invitation?”
“You? ….. Can you write it?”
“Don’t be silly, I at least know how to write a letter.”
The duke thought for a moment.
The younger sister was of legitimate aristocratic lineage and her mother was a high-ranking noble.
Naturally, she was bound to be better than her lowly blood sister.
The older sister tried to make herself look big by talking boldly, but the younger sister is modest and doesn’t behave like that. However, once she is entrusted with a task, Rosa too will be able to handle it well.
“That’s right, you will be the next marshal’s wife. Madam Waja will see from your letter that you are a much more sensible and thoughtful girl than Lucrezia.”
The reply came quickly. She would like to formally invite Rosa, who will be the new marshal’s wife, to a dinner party with Falco.
“Dad, can I go?”
Rosa had already made her social debut and followed Lucrezia to various court events. The duke thought that there would be no problem.
“Of course. Show her how lovely you are. But before you go, make sure you know the etiquette of the Rai country.”
Rosa replied in a good mood, “Okay”.
1. A Fata Morgana is a type of mirage. Fata Morgana mirages significantly distort the object or objects on which they are based, often such that the object is completely unrecognizable. The Italian term Fata Morgana translates the name of the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay, due to a belief that these mirages were fairy castles in the air or false land conjured up by her witchcraft to lure sailors to their deaths. ↵
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