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"Hmm...are there fish or something?"

Ortansia, who had safely boarded the small boat, looked around with a furtive glance. Next to Ortansia sat Gerard, whose expression was as unreadable as ever.

When she glanced at him and confirmed that he didn't seem to be in a bad mood, Ortansia breathed a sigh of relief.

'Huh, I guess we've passed the first barrier.'

In the town, The small boat was one of the means of transportation for the people, just like a horse-drawn carriage.

Ortansia's selfishness has allowed them to ride it to the end, so Gerard won't be back to work, at least not for a while.

"Oh, it's Pamela! Hey!"

Just from the bridge in the direction they were going, they could see Pamela waving her hands in the air as she carried Tyrol in her arms.Tyrol was afraid to get on the boat, which was moving on water, so she left him in Pamela's care.

Gérard looked at Ortansia, who was waving back at Pamela as hard as she could, as if he was looking at a strange creature, and muttered,

"Are you sure you don't want to ride with that maid?"

"Eh, why?"

"She's probably more qualified than I am when it comes to this sort of thing."

"Umm… but I wanted to ride with my brother"



Ortansia was a little surprised by the deeper questioning than usual.

"I don't think you'd enjoy being with me."

Gerard said it so earnestly that Ortansia almost fell off the boat in surprise this time.

'What? even Brother cares about this kind of thing?'

Perhaps someone has said such a thing to him before?

'Who in the world… Is there any brave man in this world who could say such a thing to my brother…?'

She thought hard about it, but still couldn't  come up with any ideas.

But as far as Ortansia was concerned, she was not bored with his company.

She had to tell him.

Gerard's lack of facial expression makes it difficult to tell what he is thinking, but trying to read his emotions from such trivial changes has been Ortansia's secret boom lately. Compared to ordinary people, it is much more difficult, but if you carefully observe Gerard's slight changes in facial expressions, tone of voice, and movements... little by little, you'll be able to understand what he's thinking.

'Well, there are far more times when I don't know…'

Still, Ortancia replied to him with a smile.

"It's fun. With my brother."

"... I see."

It was impossible to guess Gerard's emotions from his flat voice. But then, considering that he explained the key points of the city that while they were passing by… he may have been trying to entertain Ortansia in his own way.

 ◇ ◇◇◇

 On the first night of her stay, Ortansia was relaxing in her allocated room.

Thanks to Gerard's help, she felt much more comfortable than she expected.

However, a few of the servants have been giving her stern looks, as if they were stabbing into her skin.

"It seems that some of the late Duchess servants are still around, and they don't seem to think well of the young lady."

"I guess so"

Ortansia sighed softly at the information brought to her by Pamela, who seemed to have quickly made friends with the servants in the Mansion.

It was said that the people who served the late Duchess still remained in the mansion due to the duke's kindness, and were acting like the mistress of the Mansion.

But their position had been jeopardised by the arrival of Ortansia.

 As Gérard mentioned, Ortânsia was currently the highest-ranking woman in the ducal family. The elegant women who served the late duchess would have been disgusted by the idea of a lowly concubine's daughter parading around the mansion with her head up.

"Huh, I hope there's nothing..."

"Don't worry, miss. I will protect you"

"Thanks, Pamela. But avoid trouble if you can…"

Ortansia doesn't want to kick them out or replace them as Mistress of the mansion. She just wants nothing bad to happen.

However, Ortansia's wish was easily crushed.


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