Chapter 1/4: Previous
“Lady Sherry Corbane, our engagement is off.”
An assertion, not a request.
With that unilateral notice, Jess-sama and I ended our five-year engagement.
—On the eve of the engagement announcement.
Our engagement reception is tomorrow.
When Oto-sama and I went to his house for our last meeting, I was shocked to learn that our engagement had been called off.
I am a count’s daughter, and Jess-sama is a Marquis family heir.
Five years ago, a downpour damaged his family’s lands and caused them financial difficulties.
His father, Ulysses-sama, worked hard to rebuild the business, but the results did not show up right away because most of the products were agricultural.
Oto-sama was then asked for assistance.
He wasn’t even a close friend, but if things continue as they are, the people of that land will go hungry. As a result, he decided to assist.
But nobles are a complicated bunch.
They require an excuse to back other fiefdoms. That’s how our engagement came to be.
The Marquise’s lands have become as wealthy, if not wealthier, in the last five years.
My father has provided them with assistance not only financially but also through his labor and knowledge.
He has, however, lost his enthusiasm, and the attitude that was so grateful in the beginning has now shifted to one of taking support for granted.
Oto-sama seemed to have his own feelings about it, but he continued to support them because I adore Jess-sama and because this is the territory where his daughter will marry in the future.
This is the end result. I apologize to Oto-sama…
I caught a glimpse of Oto-sama’s fist shaking from the side.
He must be suppressing his rage.
Jess-sama is a very attractive man who has been getting a lot of attention from women. He respected me as his fiancée, but I think he was put off by my simplicity. He was always drawn to the beautiful women at parties.
Still, I didn’t do anything concrete, and I assumed that would change once we married and had children.
“Our Marquis family has regained power, and there are now many other collaborators in addition to the count family. We are on track to repay the amount of assistance we received. The engagement was only meant to be a pretext, so it’s time to move on. My son is a handsome young man. And standing for five years next to a man of such high family honor can’t be all bad, right?”
I’m completely speechless.
…I never expected to meet someone so ungrateful!
No, he’s shameless.
Sure, it’s a pretext in terms of lending and borrowing money.
But considering the time and effort we have put in, that is not enough.
It would have been preferable if they had apologized with a humble bow, but they were looking at us from a superior position.
Any feelings I had left for Jess-sama, who was nodding his head next to his father, vanished at the sight of his ugliness.
But the shameless proposal does not end there.
“So, what about the engagement party tomorrow? All of our preparations will have been in vain. We invited not only domestic guests, but also international friends of my daughter. If we contact them now, there is a good chance we will make a mistake. How do you intend to handle this?”
“That is not a problem at all. The actual engagement party will take place.”
“…What exactly do you mean? You’re calling it quits on my daughter’s engagement .”
“It’s an honor. Finne-sama, the first princess, has developed feelings for Jess. She’s been asking me privately for a while now. Tomorrow we’ll present the two of them. Any costs incurred as a result of your preparations will, of course, be passed on to us.”
Ulysses-sama says generously to Oto-sama, but Oto-sama appears to lose patience and raises his voice.
“That is simply too dishonest! This is not only disrespectful to our family, but also to the guests who have come to celebrate the engagement of my daughter!”
“Oh, don’t worry about that.”
He has a radiant smile that is almost inappropriate for this occasion.
“The notice was sent out a few days ago, so there will be no confusion.”
That explains it.
I was perplexed as to why they had given us such a bizarre notice the day before, but I guess he was afraid we would cause a commotion and jeopardize their engagement to the princess.
—I’m so disappointed!
What a selfish act.
Jess-sama, a marquise, was a strong candidate because no one in the duke families had boys of the right age for the princess.
However, as soon as a heavy downpour destroyed Jess-sama’s house, he was immediately removed from the list of candidates, and the search for a high-ranking nobleman from another country was supposed to begin. However, the king did not actively search because he did not want his lovely princess to leave the country. He must have approached them immediately after hearing that Jess-sama’s house was back on its feet.
It is unthinkable for the royal family to propose to a man who has a fiancee.
Did they think that the Counts were nothing to them?
Oto-sama has worked as a diplomat for his country and has received harsh treatment from the royal family. Just how much of Oto-sama’s heart would…
Oto-sama sighed loudly, as if suppressing his rage, and said,
“… We’re leaving right now—Let’s go home, Sherry.”
Oto-sama rose from his seat, as if he didn’t want to be here for even a minute or a second, but he didn’t forget to escort me.
I feel a sense of pride and frustration at his calm and well-mannered attitude at all times.
—Why is it that it is the good people who suffer the most!
On the way back home, the carriage has a gloomy atmosphere.
Oto-sama’s smallest voice I’d ever heard broke the silence.
Please don’t look down, Oto-sama.
I am very proud to be your daughter.
I gently take Oto-sama’s hand in mine.
“It all started with Oto-sama’s decision, but I was the one who wanted to go on. We were both blind to the people around us. I am overjoyed to see Oto-sama’s kindness and love for me, which came before my anger at them.”
I give him a friendly smile. It’s a ruse, but it’s also my true heart.
“It’s difficult as a diplomat to hear that you don’t have a good eye for people, but… Yes, I dared to turn a blind eye out of pity for them. This time, I’m not going to make the mistake of assuming who I should work with.”
As he says this, Oto-sama smiles wryly, and I’m relieved to see him back in his usual good mood.
But is it just my imagination, or does he appear to be up to something?
We went home and told my family about the engagement and how it had ended.
Not only Oka-sama, but also Abel Onii-sama, are smiling broadly.
“Fufufu, it makes me laugh when I’m angry.”
Oka-sama’s fan is making a grinding sound. It’s a sound that shouldn’t come from a fan.
“Hahahaha, spending time with that man is an honor? He should be grateful for his time with Sherry…”
Please, Onii-sama, do not imagine cutting off someone’s head while smiling.
The sound of Oto-sama’s voice sharpens the slightly relaxed atmosphere.
“I’ll be there for the reception. The public and private spheres must be kept separate… They might say something selfish about Sherry if we don’t attend the reception. That is not going to happen.”
Oto-sama’s words were met with nods from both Oka-sama and Nii-sama.
“If you go, I’ll go with you. I’m not going to let those ungrateful people hurt Sherry any more than they already have.”
“Of course, I’ll accompany you. In a way, I’m grateful to him because I am able to escort my lovely sister.”
My family smiled at me, as if to say, “You can count on us.” I was moved to tears in a different way than before.
—I have a wonderful family.
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