6. A Contract Marriage? Fine.
There stood a surprisingly well-dressed young man. He appeared four to five years older than Avril. His silver hair shone like moonlight. His mesmerizing, light blue, eyes drew her in.
The man had an indomitable and dignified look. While not packed with muscles, the man was well-trained—something that Avril had never seen in her entire life.
The territory of Duke Lancester was located in a warm area. The sea there probably had the same color as that man’s eyes.
…I want to go to the sea.
While Avril’s focus drifted, the beautiful man in front of her coughed and changed his tone.
“…Just as rumored.”
“Your reputation reached my ears. Hence why, I chose you.”
I can’t. Because I was thinking about the sea of the Southern territory, I forgot to give my greetings.
“Pardon me for the late greeting, my name is Avril Allingham.”
Avril gave him a curtsey.
Although denied a tutor, Corinna’s teacher, sympathetic to Avril’s plight, secretly educated her. She also told her, “I’m sure your opportunity to shine will come one day.”
Thank you, Ms. Hannah, tutor of Corinna…
As she thanked the tutor inwardly, the gaze of the young man before her wavered slightly. Then, without giving his name, he said;
“…I have something to tell you. I’d like you to follow me.”
I wonder if he’s one of the employees? No, I don’t think so…
Although she felt uncomfortable, Avril quietly followed him.
Thus, she was escorted to the drawing room.
After a maid had poured her some steaming tea, Avril smiled.
“A pleasure to meet you, Your Excellency, Duke Dylan Lancester.”
Upon hearing Avril’s words, the eyes of the man sharpened. With one corner of his lips rising, he gave a fearless laugh.
“…What makes you think that?”
“We’ll soon be entering the social season. Also, around this time, the ban on hunting in the territory of Duke Lancester will be lifted. I have heard that his is a family with a penchant for hunting. Considering those circumstance, you probably had no other choice but to reluctantly come to the royal capital. Isn’t that so, Your Excellency?”
“…Yes, it’s as you summarized.”
“I heard that socializing is of no importance to you. However, when it comes to maintaining the duke’s dignity and reputation to the royal family, it becomes a different matter altogether for you.”
“…You seem to be fond of talking.”
“Oh my, I’m sorry about that!”
Avril zipped her mouth. Some people were irked by her fearless personality. But personally, she didn’t think it was a problem.
While smiling, she stared straight into his eyes which bore the same color as the Southern Sea. Surprisingly, his sharp look disappeared. In its place was a gaze of curiosity.
“I see. You did your research.”
“Well, something like that.”
She knew of those facts since the beginning. However, the appearance of the duke was quite different from what she heard. However, not talking more than necessary would be for the best.
From what I heard, not only is he supposed to be a lecherous old man, he also lives in a rural region. But in reality, he’s neither old nor lives in a remote place…
Honestly, Avril very much expected for the rumors to be true.
Although she was truly ecstatic about the gorgeous royal capital, if it was for long-term, she much preferred a calm, rural, village. She had no problem with mountains, the sea, rivers, insects, animals, or other issues that might appear.
As for the rumors about him being lecherous… Avril was completely used to it, her father had a mistress. If the duke was old, she’d have also consider herself as fortunate.
Goodbye, my laid-back, newfound, life… No, I might still have a chance.
In fact, she might be taken to a remote region the very next day. If all the other rumors regarding the duke were true, then escape was an option. In that case, she might not even need the wedding preparation money.
“I am pleased to discover you’re better than the rumors lead me to expect.”
The duke looks relieved to see that I’m not like the rumors. I’d have been fine if he were to continue believing the otherwise, though…
…Anyway, when should I escape?
That was Avril’s only priority. Hence, she couldn’t believe the duke’s—Dylan Lancester’s—words.
“…This will be a contract marriage.”
What did he say just now?
Towards Avril, who blinked, Dylan reiterated.
“Unfortunately for you, this will be a contract marriage.”
“…This, is a contract marriage?”
“I’ll be asking you to fulfil the terms of the contract. To summarize its contents, you and I will be a couple in name only. Three years later, I’ll divorce you. After that, you may spend the rest of your life however you like. I’ll give you a portion of my assets, making this offer beneficial for you.”
Avril stood up on reflex.
“Yes, thank you!”
Avril’s reaction, a beaming face, was too unexpected. Avril then smiled at Dylan whose beautiful face was dyed with confusion.
“I’ll be happy to accept your contract marriage.”
***T/N: Me love an observant MC.