My Sister Took My Fiancé and Now I’m Forced to Marry the Ugly Duke - Chapter 16
A Spineless Man and a Shy Girl
The next day, there were no clouds on the mountain tops seen from Ramilio’s mansion, and the blue sky was clear and sunny.
It was warm outside, and it felt a little hot when we put on our mountain gear.
“Thank goodness it didn’t rain!”
Lucrezia said happily.
Ramilio was surprised when he saw her appearance. She was wearing the same plain dress she had worn when she first came to the house.
“All the clothes I’ve made recently had been hard to move around in, and these were the only clothes I could find that I didn’t mind getting dirty in.”
Upon hearing that, Ramilio regretted asking.
‘She’d just arrived here, you know. Even if you tailored her clothes, they won’t be ready anytime soon. There’s no way she’d have light clothing suited for the outdoors.’
The clothes she was wearing would be easier to move around in than a typical dress, but it would be reckless to walk long distances in that dress and shoes.
Ramilio decided to drastically change the plan he had in mind.
“……The weather looks like it’s not going to be suitable today and tomorrow, so let’s not go to the mountains. There’s a villa outside the city. Let’s go there. It will take hours by carriage just to get there, so it might bore you a little. Would that be all right?”
It wasn’t a distance suitable for a day trip, but it was still better than walking through the mountains with all of this gear.
“I would be happy to spend any number of hours, as long as Ramilio-sama is willing to talk to me.”
Her bashful reply worked too well for Ramilio.
‘You’re so cute, damn it.’
Ramilio, inwardly writhing in agony, agreed to ride in the carriage with her.
“I have a hound at the villa. There’s also a large garden where you can relax your mind, so let’s cook something there and eat. Do you like bacon?”
“I eat everything. Cheese, bread, and confectionery too.”
“You don’t roast confections over a fire.”
“Oh, no, that won’t do. Everything tastes better when roasted. When wafers and gaufres are roasted over a fire, their crusts become crispy, and when they are soaked in just the right amount of butter on a griddle, they’re very delicious.”
Enticed by her description, Ramilio gulped.
“Shall we try it…?”
Lucrezia seemed to be a gourmand.
She seemed to know many other tasty things to grill when camping, and it was interesting to listen to her cooking knowledge, so Ramilio was never bored.
Even after they arrived at the villa, Lucrezia’s chatter didn’t stop. This time she took the initiative, grabbed a poker, and started cooking.
Ramilio also liked to cook, so the two of them worked together, arguing about what to do and what not to do.
Well-prepared slices of bacon made from pork were wrapped in crepe dough, baked on the spot, and eaten.
They also ate up all the rare fruits they had bought from the market, and the leftovers were made into jam over the still unabated bonfire.
It was getting dark around us as we chatted idly while watching the jam burn.
“Look, Ramilio-sama. The stars have come out.”
“It’s getting dark. I guess we’ll have to stay here for the night.”
Lucrezia looked up at him as if she was trying to gauge his expression.
“Um…. I don’t think we’re engaged yet….”
“No, I’m not going to do anything, don’t worry.”
“… That’s right.”
Lucrezia stopped stirring the ladle and looked down.
The fire crackled as the jam simmered gently, and the sweet aroma from it tickled his nose.
Lucrezia’s silver hair, illuminated by the bonfire, was orange. Ever since she changed her look, Lucrezia had always worn her hair down.
‘I couldn’t stop wishing for more compliments from that man…..’
He recalled Lucrezia’s wish when he eavesdropped on her.
Ramilio opened his mouth with a pounding heart.
“Your hair, it’s beautiful.”
Lucrezia didn’t respond.
‘Oh no, did I say something wrong?’
She could have been confused about what he unexpectedly said. He anxiously wanted to check her expression, but he was too embarrassed to look her in the eye.
‘I thought she said she wanted to be praised….. Did I misheard her?’
In the midst of the long silence, Lucrezia finally said something to Ramilio, who was wondering if he had done something wrong.
“…. When will I be able to get married?”
Ramilio was greatly troubled. He was under the impression that this lovely girl wouldn’t want to take the initiative into marrying him, who was even called the “Ugly Duke”.
‘Is she being forced to do so? For the sake of her family… Poor thing.’
“You’re a good girl.”
Ramilio said in a self-mocking tone.
“I think it would be better for you if you made it clear to the Duke that you wouldn’t marry such an ugly man, no matter how much your father asked you to do so. A woman as beautiful as you are, I’m sure there are many better men who would come forward.”
“I don’t think that you’re ugly, Ramilio-sama.… and I don’t think I’m that beautiful…..”
When Lucrezia denied it in a small sweet voice, Ramilio restrained himself.
“However, if we’re going to describe what is or is not overall desirable, in terms of appearance, as well as personality, then.…”
Lucrezia’s voice became even more shy and small than before.
“I think you’re a cool, nice guy, Ramilio-sama.”
Ramilio forgot to reply and stared intently into Lucrezia’s face. He had never been told such a thing since he was born. Lucrezia, who was shrinking back in embarrassment, was adorable, but when he thought of what this beautiful girl was saying, it felt unnatural and strange.
He thought so, and yet, on the other hand, he found himself helplessly delighted.
“The newspaper in the capital said that you have donkey ears. But, Ramilio-sama has normal ears.”
“…. Has the rumor grown that big?’”
Ramilio involuntarily touched his ears.
“Ramilio-sama’s facial features can be clearly seen, and he doesn’t look very ugly. Why do they give you such an exaggerated nickname such as, “Ugly Duke”?”
Ramilio touched his ear with his hand, and this time he pulled his hood back up deeply over his own eyes. Lucrezia stared at him.
“I believe that there is no such thing as beautiful or ugly in appearance. I think that if someone likes me, I will look beautiful, and if they don’t like me, I will look ugly….. My fiancée was blonde and blue-eyed, like a prince in a story, but when he cheated on me, I didn’t think he was cool or beautiful at all.”
Lucrezia says, “So,”
“I have a feeling that no matter what Ramilio-sama looks like, I’ll always feel that you’re beautiful.”
Lucrezia put down the ladle and gently leaned toward Ramilio.
She reached for Ramilio’s hood and said.
“Would you please show me your true face, Ramilio-sama?”
1. For those of you who don’t know what gaufres are (like me), they’re a confection comprising two thin waffle-like biscuits with cream between them. ↵
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