The Devilish Duke Can’t Sleep - Chapter 1
Small and Unattractive
“Duke of Luave! Please listen to me just once, just once!”
A large carriage running down the street suddenly stopped because of a young lady who suddenly jumped in. It was the coachman and the escort knights that were troubled because of the lady’s reckless disturbance to meet the man in the carriage and wouldn’t listen when told to move.
The person was the 18-year-old daughter of Viscount Horace, who has recently been expanding her range of activities. In addition, she pointed a small dagger to her neck, and sobbed, saying that if he ignores her and passes by like this, she will kill herself on the spot.
“What should I do, Your Excellency?”
He carefully asked the man in the carriage for his opinion. But the man at the center of this dramatic event didn’t look too surprised or embarrassed. He only let out a quick sigh.”
“It was quiet for a while…… I know obviously what you’re going to say, but it would be quicker if we met for a while.”
He nodded to the man, and the lady, who was making a fuss, was able to meet the man sitting in the carriage as she wished. However, even though she had made a big fuss and met the man’s face, she couldn’t speak properly.
Dark hair as if it was cut from chestnuts, dark eyebrows sharply extended upwards and mysterious ruby-colored eyes shining beneath them, a sharp nose with no curves, smooth and plump lips, a solid and stretched body as if it was the image of a male god, and a languid arrogant attitude…… He was far more captivating than what was seen from afar.
“Du, Duke of Luave…… !”
“State your business.”
“Aaahh…… ! Duke of Luave…… !”
Looking at the delicate, flowery girl who longed for him with possessed eyes and called only his name in a trembling voice, no sympathy or even a pity appeared on the man’s face.
“Is that all you have to say?”
When he tried to close the carriage door as if he had been bothered, the woman came to her senses and hung on the carriage door. Then she trembled all over her body and confessed her sorrowful love.
“I love you! I love you with my all. It doesn’t matter if I become the Duke’s mistress, please……!”
It would be a huge shame for a young lady of a powerful Viscount to cling on becoming a mistress with her own mouth, but she seemed to have no qualms. And the man who heard that wasn’t too impressed. Rather, he looked down at her with contemptuous eyes.
“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that. On your way back, buy a purification potion from the temple.”
“If you don’t accept my love, I will die!”
At the man’s indifferent attitude, the woman suddenly changed her attitude and screamed. But the man still snorted indifferently.
“To threaten someone you love, that’s a great love.”
“I’m not kidding! Oh, please come to Erne’s temple tonight. There I will swear my eternal love to the Duke. If you don’t come……You will see my body tomorrow.”
“Looks like we’re done talking. I’m a little busy, let’s stop.”
The man slammed the carriage door in front of the woman’s nose and slammed the carriage wall next to him. Then the carriage began to run forward, leaving the weeping woman behind.
“Are you alright?”
“Why would it not be alright? It’s not a day or two.”
Arthur Higgings, the butler of the Duchy of Louab, who carefully watched the man, relaxed his stiff shoulders when his master showed no sign of agitation. But he couldn’t even erase his complicated mind. It’s been 16 years since he was seven years old, when he should still be innocent, as his master continued to suffer from a bitter love affair.
A low, dry voice woke him up with a serious expression.
“Don’t worry too much. It’s not something you’re going to be able to solve.”
Kahel Luave, who had suffered a lot until he became indifferent to the confessions of love mixed with madness for himself, ignored it, thinking that this too was just a usual happening. At the time, he could not have imagined how this small event would change his life.
* * *
‘The weather will be nice today! I’m really happy.’
Lena smiled broadly as she breathed in the fading air of dawn. A person who has never worked with their skirt fluttering wet and heavy on a rainy day will not know the gratitude for sunny weather. When the weather is nice, it’s easy to work and the herbs dry well, so Lena would breathe in the air outside the window when she wakes up in the morning and check the weather first.
Unlike the past few days when the clouds were overcast, the sun seemed to be shining today. The sky was still dark, but there were hardly any clouds. Laying the old duvet on the hard wooden bed, combing her frizzy brown hair and braiding it in a flash, Lena looked at her face in the broken mirror hanging on her wall. She opened her eyes.
Every time she looked at her purple eyes, which she had inherited from her mother, Lena remembered her mother’s will.
[“…… Don’t lose hope and live courageously. Whenever you look into your eyes, remember that mother is always by your side.”]
The beautiful mother, with her fairy-silver hair and purple eyes much clearer and transparent than hers, left the words behind and died quietly like a burnt candle.
At that moment, she felt abandoned alone in the hopeless sea of despair, but as her mother said, Lena held the hand of hope instead of despair. Lena firmly believed that it was thanks to her mother’s blessing and protection that the ten-year-old girl who was alone was able to become an adult without starving, committing a crime, or selling her body.
Of course, the process was not without difficulty. The maid’s life in the Barony’s castle was quite arduous. However, no matter how hard and difficult the work, no matter how hard the people she worked with turned away from her and hated her, she was able to survive because she had a dream and hope that one day she would leave for a bigger world.
Lena, who looked into her eyes in the mirror and thought about her mother, woke her up as she slapped her cheeks at the first cry of the rooster chirping in the distance.
‘I’m busy today, too! Let’s work, work!’
Although it was not yet sunrise in the morning, the day of the Barony’s youngest maid had to start early. She had to wash ten bed sheets this morning and hang them up, but since the weather seems to be good, she thinks she’ll be able to finish putting them in the afternoon.
Lena, who had washed her face at the well and carried five buckets of water into the kitchen, diligently packed the herbs she had spread out to dry in an old sack, squinting at the brightening sky. She had to hurry if she wanted to get to the market before the sun had fully risen.
Digging for and selling herbs from the mountains was an important additional income for Lena. The Barony’s maid job was not a bad job for a young woman in Kerouac, but it wasn’t very good pay. In particular, Lena suffered the most among the maids for eight years or so, unable to escape from being the youngest maid, and even then, her daily salary was only three hundred ruan.
She had a place to eat and sleep, which could not be said to be small, but she wanted to one day leave Kerouac and start a new life in the capital Ardennes. So, she was digging and selling herbs.
When asked why Ardeness, there was no particular reason. Because she wanted to see the wider world, and Ardennes was the largest city Lena knew. Some might point fingers at her for the naive dream of a country girl, but there was no reason to live and die in Kerouac without her mother.
Anyway, with such a clear purpose, it was not difficult at all to dig herbs or go to the market at dawn.
The market, which she had barely arrived on time, was already lively.
“I just got an extra piece of cheese from Garas Ranch.”
“I also robbed the warehouse to get more stuff. Thank you for organizing the warehouse, it was nice. I got to clean it up.”
“You guys are lucky. I’m screwed today/ The chickens haven’t laid many eggs today.”
A nobleman who had recently come down from Ardeness said that he would buy this and that and sprinkle money. So everyone said this is the time and brought more items competitively. In rural Kerouac, where every day is the same, that alone was exciting enough.
And it was good for Lena too. This is because she received three hundred fifty ruan for medicinal herbs, which was usually only three hundred ruan per bundle, and she was given a few apples left over from yesterday’s sale by the regular fruit store uncle for free.
‘Are you pretty lucky today? If you’re feeling the way you are now, I think it’ll be okay if you get scolded by Mrs. Marvin up to three times. For Miss Elliot, um…… Twice on condition that it wasn’t correct?’
As Lena thought about herself doing the calculations she laughed at herself because it was funny.
Everyone in the castle hated her except for the stable keeper’s family, but the worst of them were Mrs. Marvin, the maid chief, and Elliot Fidelia, the daughter of the baron.
She could have understood Elliot given that she was the illegitimate child of the baron, but she had no idea why Mrs. Marvin was so anxious at her. Of course, that didn’t mean she was okay with Elliot’s bullying. In a vicious way, she was one step ahead of Mrs. Marvin.
‘Still, this is not bad. Anyway, I live without problems eating and sleeping.’
The smile on her lips grew a little bitter, but Lena hummed again, fiddling with the three apples wrapped in her apron. Even if the reality is as shabby as her apron, her hope for the future always sparkled in her heart like the three smooth apples.
Returning before the Barony’s day began, Lena headed straight to the stable. She then handed Sid an apple that she had hidden in her arms and chatted.
“Yesterday, the noble man spent a lot of money at the market. Thanks to that, we sold almost all of the fruit yesterday as well, and the fruit shop man gave me some leftover apples for free.”
Sid, who is Lena’s older sister and friend, quickly looked outside the stable for the unexpected food. The apple, which had to be eaten in the stable secretly, was small and unattractive, but it was welcome to the hungry stomach. For a moment, there was only crunching sounds in the stable.