27.1 The Miscalculation
“—W, what did you say!?”
My house arrest was lifted that day.
That was correct. Because of that pathetic woman, my father punished me. How did such a mediocre woman become my fiancée in the first place? Even if she was a duke’s daughter, she was below me.
Hence, I decided to take the matters into my own hands. After all, I deserved a woman of matching looks, personality, and status.
I considered Aries the perfect candidate.
Not only was Aries good-looking, her personality was also that of a saint. Unlike Sofia, Aries had a good relationship with the duke. The only drawback was her low status. However, there shouldn’t be a problem, since the duke had promised to adopt Aries.
On the other hand, despite being his biological daughter, Sofia’s relationship with the duke could only be described as terrible. By marrying her, I wouldn’t gain anything. For that reason, I annulled my engagement with Sofia and got engaged with Aries…
“…You won’t be able to become the duke’s daughter? Aries, what do you mean?”
As soon as my house arrest had ended, Aries tearfully came to me. Then, she told me that she was to remain a baroness. Not only that, she was required to pay the debt her parents owed to the duke family.
That was a miscalculation.
“My sister resents our engagement, I’m sure—! The moment she became the duchess, she immediately accused me—! She told everyone that I was the reason behind her broken engagement—! Because of that, everyone thinks of me as some sort of cuckold and won’t associate with me anymore—!”
Aries surmised everything that had taken place in my absence.
“…Has Sofia indeed become the duchess?”
…Was I mistaken?
Should I have wedded Sofia instead? Later, I could have made Aries my concubine just fine.
…Although, I much preferred Aries. Oh, I have an idea. Aries can conceive an heir and then we can get Sofia to raise him afterwards.
After much consideration, I finally came into a conclusion.
Nope, no can do. As a prince, I refuse to be married with such a woman, even if it’s in name only.
“…I’ll go see Sofia.”
“Please do your utmost to persuade my sister, Your Highness Wagner!”
That was only to be expected. After all, a lady of my choosing couldn’t be a mere baroness. At the very least, she had to be a duke’s daughter.
As frustration welled up in my heart, I rushed to the duke’s house.
“Go get Sofia, now—!”
At the entrance hall of the duke’s house, I immediately ordered such of a servant. Heeding my words, the servant soon left the drawing room. I expected for Sofia to appear soon.
…However, I waited and waited, only for no one to come. Sofia only showed up after I finished with my third cup of tea.
“Sofia, now that you’re a duchess, aren’t you getting too carried away? To make a prince wait for you, you’re so full of yourself.”
“…My apologies, I couldn’t afford to respond immediately because you came without any arrangement.”
Sofia didn’t even try to bow her head. Apparently, she was truly getting ahead of herself. Then, it was necessary to remind her of her position.
“Oh, I pity you, then. The responsibility of a duke is too burdensome for a woman like you, it appears.”
“No one should visit a duchess without making prior arrangements. That goes for everyone—even more so to you, prince. Have you ever considered that as someone with a high status, you should be setting a good example for everyone?”
Did Sofia just mock me?
In anger, I slammed my fist against the table, but Sofia only stared at me quietly. Usually, Sofia would be too much of a scaredy-cat to say anything back.
“Also, Your Highness? Please refrain from referring to me so intimately. We’re no longer engaged.”
“—You dare dictate me?”
I was about to burst a blood vessel.
“But it is indeed fact that by referring to someone who isn’t even your fiancée so intimately will lead to grievances. Your Highness, I advise you against saddening your new fiancée, Aries.”
As if you care about Aries.
Did she want to make herself look good? How tasteless. Aries had told me of all the mistreatment she had suffered under Sofia’s hands.
Not like I’d be fooled by this woman’s stupidity.
“Do you think I don’t know? I’ve heard everything from Aries. Not only did you refuse to adopt Aries, you’ve also been pestering her to repay her debt.”
“—And what’s wrong with that?”
Sofia went on.
“To return something you owe—isn’t that considered common sense? Surely, even children know that.”
“Regardless, Aries wasn’t the one who borrowed it.”
After all, Aries’ parents were the ones foolish enough to borrow money from that malicious woman’s house. The sin of a parent had nothing to do with the child. As such, Aries shouldn’t be forced to shoulder it on her back.
“Don’t forget that we also cover for Aries’ life expenses—such as her food, dresses, and jewelry. After hearing that, do you still disagree with my previous statement?”
Despite being a duchess, Sofia’s greed knew no bound! Well, at the end of the day, she was still the same old Sofia. I should’ve expected that.
“If not for Aries’ lavish spending, the duke’s family would be significantly better off. Therefore, I believe that she’s obligated to pay.”
“That’s right. As it is, repaying the debt is beyond Aries’ capability. In that case, her fiancée may assume it.”
With that said, Sofia showed me a copy of the documents pertaining the amount of money owed by the baron’s family. The amount written there was equivalent to 10 years worth of the annual income of the kingdom.
I couldn’t possibly pay that.
The budget the kingdom gave me, the third prince, was small. Besides, I needed it to customize my wardrobe for public affairs. Due to that, I only had a little bit left.
“The problem will be resolved if you just adopt her into the duke’s family.”
“That’s not a solution at all. I won’t adopt Aries. Not like there’s any reason to.”
“—But there is! You’re a duchess! Besides, how will you even conceiving an heir for the duke’s family? It’s not as if you, someone who had her engagement annulled with me, will have a decent marriage—!”
“That has nothing to do with you. No matter what you say, I refuse to adopt Aries. Even if I do face any difficulty, I’ll simply adopt from the highest branch family. Above all, why should I choose a lowly aristocrat as my successor? Not to mention, a fallen noble. Moreover, the royal family has no right to intervene in the issue of succession. As the third prince, shouldn’t you be aware of that?”
Does it matter?
I was Aries’ fiancée. As such, there was no way it had nothing to do with me. Or, could it be, Sofia was jealous? Was it because I had chosen Aries?
Then why won’t you just say so?
As long as Sofia stayed obedient, I could bear with making her my mistress. Despite being a dull and mediocre woman, she had a decent body. Certainly, she’d make a subpar candidate for my mistress.
“As I’m Aries’ fiancée, it totally has something to do with me.”
“But it doesn’t. While Aries is certainly my cousin, she’s not a member of the Lark family. Therefore, she has no inheritance rights. At best, she can only inherit the title of Baron Heldin.”
How preposterous. I am royalty, you know? Therefore, how can I be married to a baroness? Simply outrageous. The wife to one of the royal family should come from a high-ranking family, as well. For a prince to marry someone from a baron family, that was simply impossible. It was common sense.
Can’t you understand that?
“Do I need to point out that you’re the one who chose Aries, a baron’s daughter? Back then, you decided to chose love over status. How romantic, if I do say so myself.”
Are you kidding me—!?
“But I’m a prince, you know—!? As if I’d get together with a mere baroness—! I simply chose her because she was going to be adopted into the duke’s family—! If I had known, I wouldn’t have done so—! I’ll annul my engagement with her this very second—! Rejoice, Sofia, for I’ll finally be your fiancé again—! Therefore, surrender your title as duchess—!”
***T/N: HAHAHAHAHAH THE AUDACITY OF THIS NEANDHERTAL //HAMMER HIS DONG//
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