Episode 31.
The Duke's Weaknesses (3)


She quickly clung to the gap between the wall and the pillar.


“It’s still cold, so make sure you never go outside.
It’s a big deal if something happens because it’ll attract unnecessary attention.”


It was the voice of an old man.


Dooha peeped out her head.


In front of the last staircase, a maid was nodding her head in front of a white-haired old man.


The wind from him smelled of medicine.


Apparently, he was a doctor.


“I prescribed the usual medicine.
And cut down on snacks.
It’s not good for you to have a habit of eating sweets often just because the medicine is bitter.”


He gave the maid a white bag that appeared to be a package of medicinal herbs and moved on again.


He was followed by a high ranking maid.
She was going to see him off.


‘As expected, someone lives here.’


Dooha watched them disappear until the end and carefully stepped onto the stairs.


The cat sat at the top of the stairs on the second floor and was staring down at her.


‘Did you wait for me?’


She quickly chased the cat upstairs.


Dooha, who went upstairs, walked slowly, wary of the surroundings.


After walking with the cat for a long time, she stopped at one point.


Unlike the other doors, this one was a door decorated with white marble.


Unfortunately, the door was only slightly open.


Dooha stopped at the door without realizing it.


This was because she felt the presence of a person inside the room.


‘Enter this room and you will find out who the owner of the annexe is.’


But why?


She hesitated to go in now.


‘…What if she’s really a woman?’


Dooha was startled at the thought that came to her mind.


What was wrong with the owner being a woman? It was none of her business.
Unless only a tiring situation arose from this, shouldn’t it be something she should rather welcome?


She and the Duke had no intention of becoming a real couple.


It was then.


“Meow, meow.”


Dooha opened her eyes wide as she saw the cat passing by her feet and entering the room.




It was during the moment when she tried to stop the cat with a low voice.


The door opened wider as its chubby body passed through the narrow gap in the door.


“Is it Muffin?”


The voice was so sweet and warm that the listener felt emotional for a moment.


Dooha slowly lifted her eyes.


In front of her stood a woman holding the cat.




Dooha was so embarrassed that she forgot to make an excuse and just moved her lips.


She was a woman with a wrinkled face and white hair as strong as the years she lived.


Of course, she was a beautiful and elegant woman, but she seemed too old to be the lover the Duke had hidden.




The woman made eye contact with Dooha and tilted her head.


She looked more curious than surprised to see Dooha, who came in without permission.


“I don’t think you’re the new maid.”


“Oh, well, I…”


“Oh, by any chance!”


Then, the woman exclaimed in surprise.


“Are you Leon’s wife?”






The woman approached Dooha with her eyes sparkling like a child’s.


Muffin, who was now in her arms, purred.


“Well, how did you-”


“I heard from Leon about him marrying and having a wife.
He said that she is a woman with hair shining as though it were silver and eyes as noble as gold.”


‘Oh, I couldn’t cover my eyes.’


Dooha instinctively smoothed her eyes and groaned inwardly.


The woman clasped Dooha’s hand with her other hand.


“Nice to meet you, I’m Margaret Schmidt.
Call me Margaret.”


What did she mean, ‘Margaret Schmidt’?


Dooha, who recalled the name she had seen in the Duke’s family tree, gasped without realizing it.


There was only one woman in the Esbaden family named Margaret.


The former Duchess, Margaret von Esbaden.
According to the family tree, she was the second daughter of Marquis Schmidt.


In other words, the woman in front of her was Leonhardt’s paternal grandmother.


Meanwhile, Margaret grabbed Dooha’s arm with a somewhat jolly face and dragged her along.


“Hurry up and sit down.
I have so many questions!”


Margaret sat opposite Dooha and continued, glittering in her.


“What’s your name?”


“My name is Dooha von Esbaden.”


That’s a pretty name.”


Margaret murmured the Duchess’s name and liked it as though it were candy and she was rolling it in her mouth.


“How old are you?”


“I’m 21 this year.”


“Wow, so you’re older than me?”




“Yes, I just turned 12!”


Dooha couldn’t say anything in response when she saw her playing with the cat.


“But Leon always calls me ‘Grandma’.
It’s weird, right?


Margaret tickled the cat under its chin and spoke in a cheerful voice.


“Well, it doesn’t matter.
This is a dream anyway.
Interestingly, I could feel pain even in my dreams.
Is it supposed to be like that?”


In a dream.


She seemed to think of this place as a dream, not reality.


Dooha lowered her eyes.


In fact, she had heard someone say that in Bashal, too.


He was as old as Margaret, and could not distinguish between dreams and reality.


No, in a way, he had worse symptoms than Margaret.


It wasn’t enough to forget all your family and friends, but you’ve also forgotten yourself.


“It’s so frustrating.
Leon’s grandfather told me not to get cold air but to instead lie down all the time.
He told me not to eat sweets.”


Margaret grumbled with a sullen face.


“I don’t want to dream like this often, but I always do.”


Margaret, who had been talking to herself for a long time, soon changed the subject.


“But how did you get in here?”


She opened her eyes wide and tilted her head.


“Leon doesn’t let anyone in here.”


“Oh, that’s…”


Dooha tried to be honest, but stopped and shut up.


‘How can I tell you why I came here?’


Judging from the circumstances, the woman in front of her was the grandmother of the Duke.


She was also very young in mental age.


She couldn’t tell the old woman that she had come because she suspected that her grandson might have hidden his lover from his wife in this place.


“You don’t have to say it if you don’t want to.
It doesn’t matter, really.”


Margaret continued with the cat on her lap.


“Other than the day Leon comes, I’m bored because I have to be alone all the time.
So I’m so happy that Dooha came to see me.”


“Are you living alone here every day?”


“Yeah, I’m not allowed to go outside.”


“If the cold wind is not good for your body, it would be better to go out on a warm day and get some sun.”


“Sometimes when the weather is nice, I walk around the garden in the backyard, even if I can only walk for a little.
I can’t walk for long because I get out of breath.”


Margaret hesitated, but as soon as she looked into Dooha’s eyes, she carefully spoke away from her.


“By the way, if you have time, will you come to visit me every now and then?”




When Dooha was embarrassed, Margaret hugged the cat tightly in her arms and looked at her with moist eyes, her face half-buried in the fur of the cat.


“You can’t?”




Dooha hesitated to answer.


Today alone, while the Duke was away from the castle, she sneaked into hiding without permission.


Similar opportunities may come again, but there was no guarantee that it would not take as long as it did today.


It was obvious that the probability of being caught would increase if she continuously went in and out of the tight security of the building every time.


“Can’t we meet again?”


Dooha finally gave in to the pair of eyes that looked at her pitifully.


“Okay, I’ll come to visit often.”




At Dooha’s words, Margaret jumped out of her seat.


Her pale face was peachy.


“Yes, but keep it a secret from the Duke that I’m coming here.”


“Why? You’re Leon’s wife.”


“The Duke doesn’t like the Duchess wandering around the city…”


“Yeah, I see Leon doesn’t do that to just me, he also does that to you.
Are you weak, too?


“No, that’s not true…”


Then, there were sounds of people coming from the door.


A maid with a tray was looking their way with her eyes wide open.




As soon as she saw Dooha, she dropped the tray and blinked.


‘Oops, I was so distracted that I forgot to be on guard.’


Dooha hurriedly wrapped her head in her hood and ran to the window.


It was when she opened the window.


“Catch the intruder! How dare you!”


It only took an instant for the knights to come in.


She just made eye contact with the maid a moment ago, but how did they know and come already?


Dooha thrust her sword at them and looked down the window, looking at the knights approaching her.


Although there was a bush below, it was too much to jump barefoot.


“There’s nothing I can do about it.”’


Dooha clenched her fist and closed her eyes tightly.


It was at that moment when she had muttered those words so quickly,


“Oh, no.
I guess I’m a little late.”


A familiar voice reverberated in her ears.


Dooha opened her eyes wide as she saw the man sitting gracefully like a butterfly on the window frame.




“I thought you might need me, so I came to meet you.”


Daniel folded his languid eyes and turned his head.


As soon as he saw her, he smiled brightly at the knights who were contemplating and retreating.


“Stay back, if you don’t want to die.”


With a brutal threat that doesn’t go with his looks.


Then Claude, who came through the knights, screamed with a grimace.


“Daniel! This is a restricted area that cannot be entered without permission! What the hell is going on?”


“Do you think I need permission to see my grandmother?”


Daniel, who answered coldly, smiled at Margaret, who was holding the cat.


“Long time no see, Margaret.
You’re still pretty.”


He called Margaret by name instead of grandmother.


Margaret also smiled like a flower in full bloom as though she were familiar with him.


“Daniel! I was worried because I couldn’t see you!”


“When I’m with Margaret, Leon gets so jealous.
I’m sorry I couldn’t come often.”


Daniel nodded his head lightly, then pulled one of his lips diagonally up, looking at Claude standing in front of him.


“But I have to go home early today.
I’m allergic to dog fur.”


“Dog fur? Muffin is a cat…”


While Margaret lifted the cat and tilted her head, Daniel put his arm around Dooha’s waist.


It was before a surprised Dooha attempted to shake him off.


A stinging sound came in.


The wind blew and the window frame rattled as Daniel banged his two fingers together.


The two flew into the air in a swarm of butterflies fluttering with scarlet flames.


“See you next time.”


With Daniel’s last greeting, they spread out into the light and disappeared.


Like a mid-day mirage.

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