No, how could he suddenly say that?!


Carinne’s face flushed at the unexpected words.
Of course, she liked him, and praising him was also intentional.
Still, that didn’t mean she confessed to him! She just tried to be friends with him.
It wasn’t like she could be his life partner right now.

‘Though if he said that, it seemed like I confessed to him…!’

She could imagine what she looked like right now.

With her cheeks dyed red, she was shy that she couldn’t speak.
Needless to say, she might seem like a woman in love without fail.
Even if she tried to calm her pounding heart, it could not calm down easily, as if someone kept igniting the fire in her heart.

Meanwhile, Archen raised his eyebrows in bewilderment.
Before he misunderstood further, she had to say something.

 

“No, I mean…”

“You lied, and now you’re making fun of me.”

At those words, his eyes that gazed at her were colder.

The sight of it made her nervous.

Was it because of Carinne’s actions so far? Was that why he immediately rejected her advances? If she replied to him lightly, she would be seen as unfriendly.
In addition, she couldn’t fix her ruined first impression.

An explanation was urgently needed.

As she got up from her seat and waved her hand to say no, Carinne opened her mouth to persuade him… but she shut it again.
It was because she couldn’t think of a way to make him understand unless she told him that she had possessed this body recently.

If she said, ‘No! I don’t like you!’ with her cheeks beet red, it was as if she admitted to making fun of him.

On the contrary, if she said, ‘That’s right, I like you!’ honestly, Carinne had already confessed to the Duke of Lucas, so he wouldn’t believe her.

…In other words, she had no way out.

When she was in the process of accepting her failure, she suddenly thought of something.

‘How about giving it a try when the situation is already like this…?’

In this situation, the best solution may be to tell him the truth honestly.
Although she may look like a spineless woman, she could avoid the misunderstanding of making fun of him.
As she thought so, Carinne closed her eyes tightly and opened them.

Yes, now that it had become like this, she had to tell him clearly.

“Actually… I’m not joking, I’m serious.
I like you.”

Then came the silence.

Soon, the temperature in the room also felt colder than before.
Carinne was silent when she saw his calm expression, and when she heard his answer, she felt her head ache.

“Even if you mean it, I’m not interested in you.
I’d like to decline if you’re not serious and fickle.”


As he replied naturally, his tone was resolute and monotone.
It was clear with no hesitation.

The words made her feel pain.

‘He sprinkled salt on my wound…’

She should have stayed still.
It was a confession, but his reaction was cold.
Her mind was blank and she was only staring at the air, but she didn’t show much of it.
Carinne only had a shocked expression on her face.

Instead of being embarrassed or apologizing, he just asked a very formal question with no expression.

“Do you have anything else to say?”

What else could she say? She kept her mouth shut.

“Then, I’ll be off.”

That was his last word as Archen walked away without looking back.

Carinne stared at his back with a blank gaze until he was out of sight.
Even after the situation was over, her cheeks were so hot that she wanted to pour cold water on her head.
With her hair hanging down that barely covered her red cheeks, she fled the mansion.

That was how her long-awaited first meeting with Archen ended.

 

 

* * *

 

 

“My lady…”

“I said I want to be alone.”

“…Yes.”

As the trembling maid shut the door and left, Carinne didn’t pay any mind to that and kicked her blanket.

A devastated woman was reflected in the mirror near the bed.
The woman with curly hair was crying.
Her dark red hair was like the sunset, and her features were in perfect harmony.
At other times, she would have been amazed and said, ‘Is this really me?’

However, this was not the time to care about her beautiful appearance.

This was because what Archen said kept ringing in her head.

Even just by thinking about it, she felt like her head was about to explode.
Still, she couldn’t stop the memories that came to her mind.
Carinne recalled what he had said once again, that incident happened last night.

“I’m not interested in you.
I’d like to decline if you’re not serious and fickle.”


“He’s too much…”

Carinne threw the pillow she was holding in anger at the wall.

She did it all for him.

Didn’t it happen because Archen himself said he didn’t want to tell his secret unless she was his life partner?

While far from being a life partner to Arken, she was only a ‘pathetic woman chasing the Duke’ to him.
It didn’t stop there, she could be ‘a woman who played with people’s feelings with a heartless confession.’

Despite the fact that she made a confession, she was firmly refused.
On the other hand, because the situation was complicated, she also understood.

‘Carinne confessed just before I possessed this body after all…’

A confession happened at a social gathering not long ago, right before Sohyun possessed Carinne’s body.
She confessed to the Duke and was dumped.

…Well, it would have been nice for her to step back.

Though sadly for Sohyun, who was in charge of cleaning up after her, Carinne followed the Duke all day and bothered him.
Not only did she follow him wherever he went and talk, but she also tried to force a kiss even when the duke remained indifferent to her.

Eventually, Carinne made the Duke leave in disgust.

Furthermore, she followed him when he was about to get on the carriage and pretended to be out of her mind.

It was something that Carinne could do, and at the same time, it was also something that anyone could do if they were a person who fell in love with the Duke.
Archen, who knew everything about the duke, must firmly believe that she liked the Duke because of what she did.

Carinne was well aware of that.
So even if she confessed, she thought it would be in a distant future.

Nevertheless, she didn’t know things would go this way.
When Archen suddenly asked if she liked him, everything was ruined from the moment she heard it, and her head went blank.

‘…Other people are living well when they possess someone’s body, but why does my life seem like a hard mode?’

Recalling the main characters of numerous romance fantasy novels who were possessed, Carinne felt annoyed and twisted her hair with her index finger.

“Excuse me, lady…”

“‘What is it?”

When the maid opened the door again, Carinne grunted.
She didn’t want to treat the servants like Carinne in the original story, but she really wanted to be alone this time.

“I…”

She guessed her voice was too stern.

Seeing the young maid shiver with fear in her teary eyes as if she was about to cry, Carinne forced her mouth to smile to reassure the child.

“It’s fine.
Tell me.”

“There will be a ball in a few hours, but we didn’t prepare new clothes this time.
So, I was going to ask you what you’re going to wear…”


Despite the fact that she smiled, the maid lowered her head and stuttered.
She couldn’t help but feel sorry for her because she looked like a small animal in front of a beast.

‘There was a ball today.
She told me to leave for the ball.’

While she felt sorry for the child, she felt even more sorry for her because she thought of how much the child had suffered from Carinne in the original story.

Carinne replied nonchalantly, thinking that she should treat her well in the future.

“Oh, I forgot.
What’s your name?”

“…Yes?”

“What’s your name?”

“Ma, Marie.”

Marie flinched as if Carinne was about to throw something at her.

“Marie, that’s a pretty name.”

“Yes…?”

Even though she said that to lighten the mood, Marie shivered as her face turned pale, contrary to her expectations.
Soon, large drops of tears formed in her round brown eyes.

“L-lady.
I’m guilty of death.”

“What?”

“I’ll go get the whip right away.
I’ll leave…”

“Oh no! Stop!”

A whip—?!

This time Carinne’s face turned pale.
How could she hit this thin, fragile child?! At that moment, she hated the original Carinne even more.

Carinne grabbed Marie by the wrist as she was about to leave.
Her wrists were as thin as dry branches.

“Why are you so skinny? Do you usually not eat well?”

“Yes?”

“Go and ask for something to eat.”

Surprised, Marie stared at her blankly.

“Me, me…?”


“Then who else is here beside you? Whatever you want to eat, you can eat it because I told you to.
And prepare the dresses I need to wear on your own.”

“….”

“Marie, are you okay?”

Marie couldn’t say anything, as if she had glue on her lips.
‘Am I hearing things right now?’ It was the thought that passed through her head for a moment.

In the first place, Carinne was so serious about her appearance that she made new dresses and changed accessories every time she went to a ball.
Because of that, she couldn’t believe such a person would ask her to prepare dresses casually like that…

It was impossible.

She was like a different person.
It was also strange when she told her not to bring a whip.

Marie still remembered when she was scolded severely for bringing the water late.
At that time, she heard her screaming, “If you did something wrong in the future, bring a whip!” Though this time, Carinne smiled while asking her what she wanted to eat.

…What happened?

Many thoughts flashed through Marie’s little head.

‘Oh, maybe it was because of that.’

Recalling the wish she secretly made every night, Marie smiled brightly without realizing it.
At the same time, her shoulders that were bent were straightened, and her face and voice also became lively.

“Yes.
I’ll prepare the new dress you got last month.”

“Oh, yes.
That sounds great.”

“I’ll be right back.”

As she answered meekly and ran out at a quick pace, Carinne smiled, looking at Marie’s back.
She must have starved a lot, seeing how her face brightened up when she said she’d give her food.

In the meanwhile, after speculating in her own mind why Marie’s attitude had changed, Carinne stretched and got up from her seat.
She couldn’t sit still because she was excited about the plan she had made.

“…There’s a ball today.”

She had something to say to Duke Lucas.

Carinne was going to go to the ball and let everyone know that she was no longer interested in the Duke.
Although the first meeting was completely ruined, she still wanted to make Archen her own or to save him.

She couldn’t let her favorite character die since she had a lot of affection for Archen.

Besides, she thought it was too early to be frustrated only because he hated her.
There were some romance fantasy novels that started with hatred and ended with love.
Therefore, when she possessed a body inside a romance fantasy novel, wouldn’t a similar thing happen?

 

“Well, if I keep doing it, one day… he will open his heart.
Why couldn’t I seduce a man with this beauty and wealth?”

Archen’s cruel answer, which kept repeating in her head, disappeared suddenly as her heart was filled with unfounded confidence.
Carinne smiled as she recalled his sharp features… without knowing what would happen to her in the future.

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