It was embarrassing.
I never expected to meet my real father in the first place, but I most definitely never thought that I would hear something like this.
“You’re a bitch.”
[he’s implying that she’s lowly and female]
It contained no emotions.
It didn’t sound like he was talking to a child; it was a tone that seemed to be evaluating a product.
Discomfort crept up. Even if it was a situation where I had walked in with my own two feet, it would be unfair to speak to me like that.
Wasn't this a situation where I was half-forced here by my father's subordinates?
I didn't want to just smile as I would do to the villagers. It was my way of being a bit mean.
Everyone praises me for being a good kid, but that wasn’t the case. In reality, it was a precaution I took to avoid oncoming fights.
I thought now was the time.
“I’m really sorry for being a girl.”
A smile was on my lips, but my tone was not gentle.
The subtle incongruity would have been immediately noticed by those who were sensitive.
Displeasure passed by the amethyst eyes that looked exactly like mine. He subtly raised one eyebrow and stared at me.
He must have noticed the subtlety.
I wasn't surprised though.
Like a child who doesn't know anything, my cheeks blushed and I twisted my body as if I was ashamed under that gaze.
A sneer escaped from the mouth of Duke Estella, who was facing me.
I opened my eyes wide and looked up at him.
As if asking why, I shrank like a frightened herbivore.
“Is that your attitude? Do you know who you are in front of?”
“You are…my father.”
Anyone who would see the two of us would have to admit this.
Until I had arrived here, I’d thought of denying it as much as possible. ‘You can't be my father, you're wrong.’
Now, though, I have put aside such thoughts.
It's because even the color of our eyes resembled each other’s like a mold.
“Father…That's an unpleasant title.”
While living here, I had no time to care about society or the aristocracy.
Of course, there were no adults who would tell such stories to me as a child.
Still, because of my memory of my previous life, I was able to confidently say that I knew him well.
According to the contents of the book I read, the current Duke of Estella must have a son.
A small but quite popular secondary male lead, 'Rosenta Estella'.
Does this have something to do with that?
I wasn't too worried. I thought that if the purpose of calling me was solved, I would be sent back soon.
I didn't want to waste my time like this. What should I do when I get back home?
Anyway, I was an illegitimate child who could not enter the ducal family and it was advantageous to go back to the countryside as soon as possible and think about tomorrow.
With the thought of quickly ending the exhausting examination, I took the initiative to ask a question.
“Why were you looking for me?”
Duke Estella clicked his tongue briefly at my question.
“Tsk. Should I count my mistake that night as fortunate?”
A mistake that night?
It must have had something to do with my mother.
He quickly raised his head.
When our eyes met, Duke Estella raised the corners of his mouth.
It seemed that he didn't like the look in my eyes.
Everyone in the neighborhood liked it because it shone with intelligence as bright as starlight…
Although he is my biological father, it seemed difficult to win over the heart of Duke Estella.
When I carefully lowered my eyes, only then did Duke Estella tell me the answer to my question.
“If I hadn’t learned of my infertility recently, I wouldn’t have looked for you. Still, it would be better to be a half-hearted girl than to have my lineage cut off.”
What does his infertility have to do with me? There must be other children anyway.
Of course, I couldn't ask outright.
I played innocent with my eyes, acting more slowly and more carefully than before.
“Am I living here now?”
Duke Estella clicked his tongue again and replied.
“You are my only child, so that’s how it will be.”
It was an unexpected answer.
He must have a son, but why is he saying that I am his only child?
It felt like everything I knew was rejected. No, was it all a dream?
My face gradually stiffened, and my pupils lost their way and wandered here and there.
Even while seeing my face in that state, Duke Estella didn't stop talking.
“My family has had only sons for generations and of course, my heir must also be a son.”
Rather, the corner of his mouth slightly raised as if he was enjoying seeing my broken, confused face.
“I can’t be helped. I have no choice but to make you my son.”
Saying that, Duke Estella stood up.
A thick shadow fell over me.
“From now on, your name will be Rosenta Estella. You will live as Estella's one and only heir.”
At those words, my little head was spinning nonstop.
I had a throbbing headache and felt like I had a fever.
So, according to my biological father, I was Rosenta, and Rosenta was me.
Rosenta wasn't a secondary male lead…Do you mean he was a crossdressing woman?
I stammered and finally asked back to Duke Estella.
“What? Me, I…was raised a normal child, I'm not the right person for this…”
Duke Estella did not show a bad reaction to the question. He just smiled as if he was having fun and came towards me.
Then, as he stood right in front of me, he looked down at me and spoke with venom.
“If you had been a normal child, you would have cried or shuddered at my spirit as soon as I arrived. You wouldn't have called me father right away. A clever kid isn't bad. Instead, you will have to learn the time and place.”
I tried to adapt quickly to what had happened to me over the course of the next year.
At first, I thought about rebelling against Duke Estella's words but quickly abandoned that thought.
It was because, when I remembered what Duke Estella had said, my body still felt terrified.
He pointed out flaws in my acting that no one noticed and even warned me.
Not only that, but my real father was a duke with influence in the empire. If I ran away, it was clear that I would soon be caught in his grasp.
I pride myself on being able to grasp human nature well.
And Duke Estella was a cruel man who would bite off the neck of a fugitive from behind.
“I hope things go smoothly today too.”
I changed my mind and decided to enjoy the inevitable.
It wouldn't be bad to become a young duke and watch the characters in the novel up close.
“Anyway, if I ascend to the Duke's throne…It would be my world.”
At that time, even if I gave up everything and ran away, no one would be able to catch me.
I smiled contentedly, got up from my bed, and moved on to what I had been doing every day for a year.
I took two rings from a treasure chest on the table.
“I have to put these on before Emma comes.”
If Emma sees me sleeping without my rings on, she will nag me.
I know I have to be careful, but sleeping with the rings on was very uncomfortable.
Besides, there was no way that anything would happen in my room if I just took a break and slept.
I put the rings on my fingers one by one. Then, as always, I gazed into the mirror hanging on the wall.
In order to make me look a little more boyish, my indigo hair was cut short.
Magic was also cast underneath, something that shouldn't be there…An unspeakable part was created.
It was all because of the polymorph-enchanted rings.
“No matter how you look at it, it’s amazing.”
How many of these expensive, accessory-type magic tools are there?
Of course, it’s expected that I live my life entirely as a man.
Hmm. As I grow, there will be more things to hide…Isn't this why I’m walking around with accessories?
Just thinking about it made me uncomfortable and my face crumpled.
Just then, someone knocked on the door.
“Young master, are you awake?”
It was the voice I heard every morning.
“I’ll come in for a bit.”
As always, an elderly woman slowly opened the door and entered the room.
I greeted her as usual.
“Good morning, Emma.”
It was Emma, my personal head maid.
She was an old woman with white hair; she had been by Duke Estella's side for a long time.
No matter how well she treated me, Emma was basically an agent of the Duke of Estella.
She was his eyes, watching me.
“You seem to be wearing the magic tools as you should today.”
Emma smiled contentedly.
Then she spat out very terrible words at me.
“Then, shall we work hard to be a diligent heir today?”
In a word, today's schedule was also full of study.
When the hell will I learn THOSE skills?
Ever since I arrived, I thought that I would learn the abilities passed down in the Estella bloodline that were described in the novel.
But my father has never mentioned them to me.
In the end, I was only studying history, mathematics, the national language, etc., similar to the studies I had done in my previous life, day and night.
Although I was dissatisfied, I responded vigorously to maintain the appearance of an enthusiastic and studious heir.
Inside I was shouting, 'I hate studying like this!'
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