He nodded at my words. “I learnt some things at the end of my previous life too,” he said, “this life is a new experience. A new chance. I guess I was bound to change. Didn’t you, Miss Alice? Haven’t you changed?”
I nodded. “Yes. And that is because my circumstances have changed drastically.”
“Then it’s true that humans are just animals of circumstances,” he muttered, more to himself.
I shrugged. “We are affected by circumstances a lot. But… I feel that our essence remains the same.” I recalled killing Sir Slanted Eyes as soon as I had gotten my memories back, but I didn’t voice that out loud. It would be too awkward.
I heard footsteps behind me. “Alice,” a familiar voice called.
It was Alex. We turned towards my brother. The silent servant appeared by the Grand Duke’s side. This world was strange. For a man and a woman to have spent this amount of time alone without a chaperone would be scandalous. But, if a third person was present, for example a servant, it wouldn’t be as scandalous. People and their dirty minds…
Alex seemed relived by it too. “Grand Duke,” said Alex in acknowledgement.
“Viscount,” said the Grand Duke, as a greeting. “You must be very proud of your sister’s debut today. Everyone at the party could talk about only Miss Wishburn.”
You surely couldn’t have found those words in detective Jang Seong-hoon’s dictionary. I had changed but this person had molded himself into something else. I didn’t know what to make of that. He was so familiar, yet I had so much that I didn’t know about him. The only person in Sersaw that I could talk to about another lifetime.
“She certainly drew much attention.” Alex smiled at me wearily. He was talking about the incident with the Princess. Well, it doesn’t matter. Grandfather praised me!
“I’m sure you’ve already received many invitations and requests,” said the Grand Duke.
I didn’t even know his name in this lifetime. What was his name? Should I find a book about the royal family later? Aaron would know! I felt stressed as I glanced at my brother and then at the Grand Duke.
No one speaks the names of the royals carelessly. But I want to know his name! He knows mine! I focused on his words. He was trying to get some information out of Alex.
“Indeed,” said Alex easily, as though he was used to this. “But our parents want to filter the invitations. Never good to lead people. They must consider who might suit Alice, whom she might want to be around with, who can become her friend and more…”
“Well… I am right here,” I said. “I could decide. Or is it too far-fetched to consider the opinions of the person whose fate you are going to decide?”
My brother grinned. “You pounced on the Princess. Do you think you will be given a choice? You’re lucky you are not locked up at home this instant.”
I didn’t mind. There were so many books at home. I would be happier there than this drivel of a party. Oh, how I missed home. I couldn’t wait to head back to our estate soon.
How far were the Glouster lands from ours? I recalled that it wasn’t so far away. I wasn’t hoping for a visit from the Grand Duke but…. No, I don’t care even if he doesn’t. There is no use bringing up the fast.
“You’ll be staying in Schway for some time with mother. There are many requests for visits and mother chose some invitations too. I think she also plans to hold parties.”
My face paled. I felt terribly sick just thinking about those mindless parties and dancing and useless talks. Should I just slip in a sleeping pill in mom’s food and run away?
“In that case, can I also send a request for visitation? I’ll send an official letter.”
My brother seemed to be surprised at my words. He hesitated but nodded after a while. “Of course! I will let mother know.”
“Thank you,” I said, “But I insist my opinions be considered before I am dragged to all these things without my consent.”
My brother nodded. “I know,” he said, “Just have a talk with mother. I have no authority over that.”
The Grand Duke chuckled at his words. I glared at him. “You are lucky you don’t have such worries, Prince,” I said.
“Well, I don’t have anything other than my title and my blood. I can choose not to accept an invitation or send out one. It’s great in that regard.”
“The Princess seems to have gotten a lot of requests as well,” said Alex in a low voice.
The Grand Duke shrugged his shoulders. “Well, that makes sense. She is the heiress to the throne. Any house with a capable young man will want to send in requests. The current king himself was just sixteen when the Princess was born.”
I looked at the Grand Duke, horrified. He only shrugged. “It’s good to have an heir as soon as possible so that the throne remains secured.”
“How old was the Queen at that time?”
“What?!” Even if the world considers you fertile by fifteen, it is still distressful. I am just fifteen! If someone marries me off and expects a baby from me, I will just cut their head and hang it from the palace gates.
“Even the Princess can’t seem to fathom that. Now I know why she’s a little weird.”