She and Sheldrick sat down at a negotiating table.
It was to talk about how to lead this marriage in the future and to write a marriage contract.
It should have been dealt with immediately, but the situation was urgent and important issues were pushed back.
“How many people know the truth about this marriage?”
“Me, you, and the knight you saw that day.
Among my subordinates, he is the most reliable guy.”
She nodded, remembering the knight who had come to see her with a perplexed look when she first offered Sheldrick a deal.
The fewer people know, the better, so I hope we don’t add more here.”
“Moving on, I was given the title Grand Duchess, but I do not need the real power at all.
Of course, I will not touch any of your property.
However, I should have all the rights to the money I earned myself while I am the Grand Duchess.”
“You will make money on your own?”
Sheldrick tilted his head as if he had heard something unexpected.
It was only natural that ordinary nobles did not work themselves to make money.
Most aristocrats made a living on the taxes they collected from their estates.
They were seldom interested in making money because they could live happily with that money alone.
Their mindset was that if there was not enough money to spend, they could just raise taxes anytime and problems solved.
In particular, young nobles, especially females were very keen on spending money lavishly but had no knowledge about making money.
“If you don’t want the Grand Duchess to actively work to make money…”
“Oh, it’s not like I’m conservative.
I’m also interested in running a business.”
“There should be no problem then.”
But in order for this marriage to be seen as normal, you must act as the Grand Duchess.
It is the mistress’ job to manage the family’s household.”
He was implying that he would leave the domestic affairs to her.
She had not thought of that at all.
“Are you really okay with me taking care of your household?”
“I’ve already confirmed that you’re a smart person, so there’s no reason to worry.”
“You know, I might steal your money with that smart head of mine.”
“A person who really does that wouldn’t even say such a thing out loud.”
She knew that Sheldrick wasn’t saying that because he trusted her completely.
He was a cautious and detailed person.
He would probably have someone to watch over her.
“If you say so, I shall do my best.”
After all, the Grand Duchess did have a debt to repay.
Because of her, the epidemic caused many people to suffer, so she thought she should compensate as much as she could.
And it would be much easier if she had the authority as the Grand Duchess.
In the process, if she could carry out her personal business simultaneously.
It would create a synergy effect.
“The Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess’ rooms are connected by a door in between.
I’ll leave the key to you, my lady, but…”
Sheldrick hesitated for a moment before speaking again.
“There may be talks about us having successors around.”
It was the natural duty of an aristocratic couple to produce heirs to inherit their title and property.
Violet was sixteen at the time, and Sheldrick was only nineteen.
As a Korean, she was too young to think about such a matter.
But here she was clearly an adult, and she was old enough to have children.
“You see, I have been alone ever since I was young, and the people around me were eager to make a large family for me.
Everyone seems to think of me as a son, nephew, or younger brother, not the Grand Duke.”
Sheldrick, who hardly ever exposed his innermost thought, showed a humane side for the first time.
He grumbled as if he didn’t like the situation, but affection could be heard in his tone.
Don’t worry, I will deal with that in moderation.”
“I intend to keep the marriage for about three years.
You can make it longer if you need more time.”
It was enough time to gather the strength to quietly become independent.
I think three years is enough for me.
If you happen to find someone you like and want to get a divorce, please tell me.”
“Someone I like?”
She thought it was a matter that should be addressed, but Sheldrick laughed as if he had heard the funniest thing.
It was an unexpectedly cynical smile.
“It wouldn’t happen.
If it wasn’t for this deal in the first place, I wouldn’t have married anyone.”
Sheldrick was the Grand Duke of Etzel.
Under the title of the Grand Duke, vast land and numerous properties were at stake.
If he were not to get married, how was he planning to have an heir to inherit all these things?
Noticing her doubts, Sheldrick shook his head nonchalantly.
“Don’t take it too seriously.
It was meant that I had no intention of breaking the three-year contract in the first place.”
‘It was just a contractual relationship.
There was no need to dwell on each other’s circumstances.’ That seemed to be what he was implying.
As she nodded, Sheldrick, with his face slightly relaxed, brought up the next matter.
“If you have someone you like, milady, and want to divorce earlier than three years, please feel free to tell me.”
“Me? I’m not going to do that either.”
It was most important to build up her strength right now, so where’s the time for dating?
“Don’t worry, I will work hard as the Grand Duchess during the promised period.”
“Is that so… it is unfair to entrust you with the work of the Grand Duchess only.
According to the rules of the Grand Duchy, dues are paid to the Grand Duchess.
Let’s say it’s your salary.”
That is the personal asset of the Grand Duchess, so you can take it with you after the divorce.”
It was a surprisingly unexpected proposal.
The amount he subsequently brought up was even more astonishing.
“1% of the profits from the Grand Duchy is to be paid as personal salary for the Grand Duchess.
Perhaps, based on the current income, it would be about a thousand gold per month…”
“A thousand gold every month?!”
Is it not enough?”
Rather, it’s more than necessary…”
“Then I’ll discuss it with the butler.
If I look up the rules, there will be more to pay the Grand Duchess.”
He must be a very generous and detailed executive.
Best employer ever!
“And about the wedding.”
“Oh, you want there to be a wedding?”
As she blinked absent-mindedly at the unexpected suggestion, Sheldrick tilted his head to one side.
“Isn’t it most certain to have a ceremony before the rumours come out?”
“If that’s the reason, I don’t think a grand wedding ceremony is necessary.
Wouldn’t it be enough just to call a priest and sign the marriage pledge?”
This time, Sheldrick blinked blankly in surprise.
“You sure you’re okay with it though?”
“It’s not even real after all.”
They did not have to be bound by form.
If she had really minded it, she wouldn’t have even thought of changing her groom a week before the wedding in the beginning.
“If that’s what you want then.
Sheldrick got up from his seat and walked over to her.
He was holding a small box in his hand.
“This ring had been passed down to the mistress of the Etzel Duchy for generations.
It is usually given to the bride at a wedding, but we won’t have anything like that.”
When Sheldrick opened the box, a beautiful ring came into sight.
It was a ring studded with black pearls that were close to perfect spheres.
“As long as you wear this ring, you are a part of the Etzel family, regardless of what anyone says.”
Sheldrick said as he put the ring on her left ring finger.
“No matter what you have run away from or wherever you want to go in the future, I will do my best to protect you.”
“Even if it’s just a contractual relationship?”
“Even so, as long as you are under Etzel’s name, I’m willing.
Etzel doesn’t turn away from its family.”
She gazed at the ring on the ring finger of her left hand, dazed.
She thought it was just a contract.
No, it’s still simply a contract, though.
She felt weird because Shedrick seemed to have put her behind his fence.
He even says I’m family.
It was the first time someone had said such a thing to her.
Even her parents never said that.
Rather, it’s a nuisance to have someone like me as family…
She grinned at Sheldrick, trying to shake off the heavy feeling.
“I will do my best to protect the Grand Duke while I am under Etzel’s name, too.”
“You, protect me?”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
As she nodded resolutely, Sheldrick laughed amusedly.
“Is that so? You seem like a strong ally.
I shall look forward to it then.”
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