The Earl’s Bad Wife 2

Chapter 2 The duke’s daughter works hard towards the wrong direction

With the marriage decided, my busy days began.

I was doing things such as preparing for the engagement party with the production of our ceremonial attires and making a list for the guests of the wedding reception.

It seems the crucial Erich Von Weimar was busy every day, so I haven’t seen him even once starting from when the engagement was decided.

He was traveling all over the world to serve as a knight for the second prince, Augusto Ferdinand Vonleklenberg who works as a diplomat.

Taking advantage of this, I advanced my plans to make the engagement party, wedding ceremony, as well as, wedding reception reflect my preferences to the max.
One other thing was that Erich Von Weimar had been a good correspondent.

He’d buy postcards at every country he goes to and sends it to me along with a little souvenir.

But the contents written were trivial.

Things like ‘I came across a tasty specialty’ or, ‘The country had an astonishing foreign culture’.

The souvenirs were items like splendidly embroidered handkerchiefs or lovely-looking confectionaries. As usual, his taste in gifts was spectacular.

However, when I remembered that this was also one of a playboy’s tricks, I didn’t feel entirely moved.

Since he wrote ‘I don’t go home very often’ in the letter, I hadn’t sent back a reply.

If I had that much free time, then I’d like to add another round or two of sword swinging practice.

I got some leeway when I got used to even these busy days

I devoted the time mainly on training my body.

While I was spending my days like that, something dawned on me.

I felt it was going to be tough driving him mentally into a corner for some reason.

He was the man who’d subdued that 15 page long letter that consisted of what looked like extortion. I knew he was a formidable opponent.

What should I do? When I thought about it, I suddenly remembered something.

I’d heard that a requirement for enlisting as a imperial guard was that he had to look beautiful.

The Erich Von Weimar I once saw at that evening party, had a slender build and looked like he didn’t train very much.

With that, I revised my strategy right away.
I shall drive him to the corner physically through fencing, I thought.

As a result of continuous practice, I was happy to see that I started developing ripped abs again after a long while since the year of my debut in high society, but when Mother, who happened to be present for my measurements, saw it, I ended up making her cry.

“In which world does a bride with ripped abs exist?”, she cried.

Right here, what about it?’ — I wanted to say, but I surpressed that urge and apologised to Mother saying that I was reflecting.

Making my mother, who gave birth to me, cry was one of world’s seven taboos for me. That’s why, the contents of my training were halved to lose the abs.

Instead, I devoted the time I’d spent training till now to study.

In order to deal with whatever I’m told in a calm manner, I needed an abundance of vocabulary and knowledge.

Probably because I was keeping at it too excessively, dark bags that wouldn’t vanish appeared under my eye.

I ended up getting discovered again by Mother, who happened to be there when I was trying out special cosmetics to use for the wedding. I was even told that my eyes were bloodshot.

“In which world, does a bride with a sinister look like that exist?”, she said and ended up crying.

Even though that sinister-looking bride was right here, I showed her my intention to reflect.

‘The bride-to-be should just picture the happy future where she’s committed to being beautiful’.

Mother had chided me desperately.

What in the world was my happy future supposed to be, really…?

I thought about it for a while but couldn’t come up with an answer.

◇◇◇

In the end, Erich Von Weimar did not turn up to the planned engagement party. It seems an urgent discussion between countries came up so he had to depart last night.

But there was no way we could stop it now so we just pushed through with the party without him.

A lot of people from all over the region rushed to attend the party for me. Even my beloved sisters.

I’m in awe at how cute my nieces and nephews (who I saw for the first time) were. Without caring what others think, I fell madly in love with all of them.

There were also a great number of the guests’ children invited. Since the meeting was during the day, it meant that the young children were very much awake.

When I told them that they’ll make a small candy house with a pastry chef after this, everyone’s eyes glistened all alike.

For the adults to also enjoy, I invited a world-class orchestra. Midway, Coriana-oneesama, who was given the title of world’s songstress, gifted me a song as blessings. Her wonderful singing mesmerized the audience.

Of course, I didn’t forget to speak fondly of Erich Von Weimar at the tea party where the ladies were gathered to drown out his infamy.

Since he’s always being dismissed by them, I showed them each and every one of the postcards he sent, stored in a beautifully handcrafted wooden box.

I didn’t forget to tell them the fine souvenirs I received either.

If I played up that I was loved here, I’m positive that they’ll think that even the playboy, Erich Von Weimar had turned over a new leaf by taking this marriage as his opportunity.

Though he stirs up my fighting spirit, it didn’t mean that I wanted to socially obliterate him.

A husband and wife are in the same boat. They share everything in sickness or in health, joy or sadness, so they have to look out for each other.

Although I plan to do whatever I pleased inside the house, I think that spreading around that he was a good man in public was an important job as a fiancee.

It seems that my precious friend was worried about this marriage.

Since the other person was that playboy, Erich Von Weimar, who was considered to be the worst in high society, it probably can’t be helped.

If this is the case, I have no choice but to get my friend to understand through manual labor.

–Right now, I’m a lucky woman!

I said with all my might.

I’m loved by an ally who will be my husband and, my family and relatives were also giving me their blessings.

Thinking about the happy future that I practiced imagining together with Mother, I showed an extra special smile.

At last, my friend congratulated me on my new beginning.

I was somehow able to overcome the engagement party alone.

Although it had been tough getting the stiff muscles on my face back to normal, I felt satisfied at the sense of accomplishment I felt at overcoming a big job.

◇◇◇

A surprising news came that night.
It said that that Erich Von Weimar will be coming the evening after tomorrow to visit.

Half a year had rolled by since we got engaged.

What kind of face will he lay down when he comes to meet with me?

It was so much fun, I felt my excitement rising.

Although I wanted to wield a sword or read a respected philosopher to calm myself, I refrained since it would trouble Mother.

I decided to be lady-like here and make embroidery.

–That’s right, let’s make it Erich Von Weimar’s present.

He’ll be showing up tomorrow evening.

I settled for making a simple embroidery like a handkerchief. It should be fine if I say it’s thanks for the postcards and presents and hand it over.

I fitted the handkerchief into the circular frame for embroidery.
Handicrafts was one of the hobbies of aristocratic ladies. It had been customary to give small articles that had wishes stitched into them to one’s close friend or husband.

I had decided to specially use a special embroidery thread that I’ve carefully been setting aside till now.

It seems it was in my nature to get completely passionate over one thing since it had become dawn when I realized it.

I finished the handkerchief without any problems, but the yawning wouldn’t stop since awhile ago.

When I looked over the mirror feeling a bad premonition, I saw dark bags under my eyes.

Calling the maid hurriedly, I commanded her to conceal it with makeup. But unfortunately, there was no way to cover up my blood-shot eyes.

At the dining table, Mother caught on that I hadn’t slept.

I decided to say that I’d been sewing since I couldn’t sleep being so happy that I’ll be able to meet Erich Von Weimar.

I was told by Mother to show her the finished handkerchief after breakfast so I had to present it.

I unfolded the handkerchief that could be called my masterpiece on the table.

For whatever reason, two lines formed a wrinkle on Mother’s brow when she saw it.

“What is this?”, I was asked and “An eagle”, I answered.

In the centre of the handkerchief, a valiant bird of prey was stitched in. That, it seems, was no good for Mother.

It seems aristocratic ladies do not sew things like eagles.
I ended up getting told that though it’s okay to sew a little bird that eats berries on a tree in pastel colors, a bird that eats meat was not.

And besides, she pointed out to me, you can’t fold the handkerchief up with a large eagle stitched right in the middle of it.

She’s completely right!

Mother’s expressed thoughts were 「what a waste of talent」.

Naturally, the bird of prey handkerchief that I spent one whole night making ended up getting confiscated.

What a shame.

The Earl’s Bad Wife 1

Chapter 1 Sudden storm

My name is Hermina Von Reutlingen.

My father was the King’s younger brother and granted the position of duke.

The blue eyes and black hair given only to the royal family is one of the things I’m proud of. But the one thing I pride myself above that, were my ten older sisters.

Bright Elke-oneesama, who was good at things like knitting and sewing Dorothea-oneesama, who was good at fencing and who would whip out various ways for me to defend myself. The songs Coriana-oneesama sings were world-class and the sweets Charlotte-oneesama makes have a subtle flavor. Casandra-oneesama taught me to study eagerly, and Cecilie-oneesama’s pursuit of beauty was such a wonderful thing. Alexia-oneesama taught me the beauty of nature and, since the triplets, Bertha-oneesama, Bianca-oneesama, and Clara-oneesama were close to my age, they played a lot with me.

Everyone is so kind and beautiful, I love them.

However, it seems Father had a hard time finding husbands for my sisters, so it was painful for me to watch his hair recede day by day from his difficulties.

When my sisters turn seventeen or eighteen, they leave to be brides.

Even though Elke-oneesama and Dorothea-oneesama had been married, ever since I could remember, they would frequently come to visit us.

My sisters, who left to faraway places to become brides, wondered whether or not they would be able to come back once a year.

Though I pleaded with Father not to send them far away, he explained to me back in those days that it was difficult to find marriage partners within the capital.

And so, one by one, my sisters left to be brides.

Year by year, the wide estate grew quieter.

In the middle of that, an incident that plunged us into the bottom of despair occurred.

The following year after he saw through the marriages of the triplets, Bertha-oneesama, Bianca-oneesama and Clara-oneesama, Father died.

Just when the entire family finally got back together, it turned into a tragic reunion.

A year after our mourning came to an end, I was summoned by my uncle, the King.

Though he may be Father’s brother, I could only count the times I’ve met my uncle with one hand. Needless to say, I’d been extremely nervous on the actual day.

Having last seen me during the funeral service, the King – or rather, Uncle, asked whether I was doing well.

I’d been sad but I had been doing well everyday.

Thanks to Dorothea-oneesama’s training since way back, I almost never get sick, and when I walked inside the abundant forest, my heart would be healed. And besides, the things my sisters taught me had been supporting me.

When I told him that, Uncle told me 「Even when you’re alone, you have your sisters inside you」 .

When he said those words, I felt overwhelmed with emotions.

My sisters who went faraway to be brides existed in me.

When I had that in mind, I felt quite encouraged. I didn’t feel lonely anymore.

After I expressed my thanks to Uncle, he moved on to the matter at hand.

The important business was something astonishing.

It was, regarding my marriage.

If I got the story straight then Father had entrusted finding my future husband to his brother, my Uncle.

That on his death bed, Father entrusted his dying wish to Uncle who traveled incognito to visit him.

Now that our mourning was over, Uncle searched for a marriage partner and recommended one man for me.

He said that, first of all, the marriage was not compulsory. And that, if I didn’t fancy him, he’d find a different person for me.

It seems Father wished for me to have a marriage where I could be happy. Just that sentiment alone already makes me happy.

He says that the other person was a reliable character and a gentleman that even Uncle recognizes. He’d said that the man was bright, cheerful and pleasant. Lastly, Uncle offered up his name.

–Erich Von Weimar.

When I heard that, I nearly raised my voice but right as I was about to, I gulped it down.

He comes from a distinguished family with a long history, the second son of Earl Weimar so both his birth and upbringing were good. Serving as an imperial knight for the second prince, his occupation was nothing to criticize either.

I only met Erich Von Weimar once at a evening party. Having blonde hair and gentle, emerald-green eyes, he was a man with a disgustingly beautiful face.

However, what was unfortunate was that there was an unending rumour that he was considered the worst playboy in high society and frivolous with women.

Recently, I’d heard that he laid a hand on a maid that served the prince and got her pregnant.

He was 27 years old. As a noble, he was just barely past the marriageable age, but if one knew about his past, then he may have been a lost cause.

Uncle had said that if I didn’t want to marry him, I could refuse.

However, when it’s marriage with nobles, there were similar situations in every family.

They say it’s a blood contract for the sake of strengthening ties between families. A harmonious husband and wife relationship like the one my parents had was rare.

Thinking that I shouldn’t cause my busy uncle any further trouble, I decided to accept the current marriage proposal.

I was asked, “Are you fine with this?”.

Uncle was probably aware that Erich Von Weimar had an affair.

I returned an immediate response like I was contending in a match, “This is just what I wanted”.
◇◇◇

–Having said that, I’m not planning to play a good, reasonable and docile wife at all.

I placed all sorts of self-introductions into a letter addressed to Erich Von Weimar.

To 『my dear』 Erich Von Weimar-sama

First off, I wrote a diplomatic greeting and a message to the effect of thanking him for the trouble, wording things more politely than needed.

Then, I moved on to the matter at hand.

First, the most important point had been my request to bring my mother along to the family I was marrying into.

As a sheltered daughter from a foreign land, Mother didn’t have a lot of people to count on. That’s why, I want to live together with her. Incidentally, the position of Duke was returned to the country after Father had died.

Next, I tried bringing up things I like as a topic.

I wrote about my greatest hobbies being things that were physically exerting, like riding a horse through the forest, or hunting animals during hunting season, or even practicing the sword every single day.

Well, this isn’t a lie. “I’m looking forward to the day we can exchange blows with a sword”, I added.

After that, I wrote that I like popular dresses and jewelry, and that shopping was a hobby.

“There are often times I’d unintentionally do something wasteful”, I appended as a postscript.

It’s not like I buy dresses or jewelry I don’t need though.

I’d often gone out with friends from high society and hosted tea parties once a week. I wrote that without forgetting about the fact that it’ll be a reason to invite a lot of people when we get married.

I eat meals made only by the finest chefs and picky even with the brand of the red tea and confectionaries. This, I wrote in detail.

I want to bring all the servants in my family along into the family.

“The furniture too, if possible”, I wrote, writing every little fancy that came to mind.

I can’t live as the wife of a playboy husband if he can’t grant me at least this much.

I’m planning on giving birth to some children and though I’ll play the virtuous wife in public, I wanted to make sure that the house was comfortable to live in.

Though the letter that I wrote my relatively absurd wishes eventually became fifteen pages long, I sent it just the way it was, without any revisions.

After several days, a maid brought in a letter with a reply from Erich Von Weimar.

In the end, I broke the seal wondering how the other person responded excitedly.

The reply to the 15-page letter came as a one page stationary.

The moment I unfolded the letter, I knitted my brow.

The contents on the page, was very simple.

Hermina Von Reutlingen-sama
Thank you for your letter. It’s my first time receiving such a polite letter, I felt very happy.
I look forward to the day that you’ll be my wife.
With love, Erich Von Weimar

Does that mean he accepted all my unreasonable, pointless, impulsive and inconceivable demands? I didn’t quite understand.

Does that mean his bad reputation had spread so much that he needed an ornamental wife to put on an appearance?

It seems he sent me a present along with the letter.

When I opened the box, inside were sweets that were popular in the capital.

I was told these were elusive sweets that were only sold one box per customer and that you could only get them by standing in line for three hours.

There wasn’t a woman in the capital that doesn’t dream of tasting it. Such a wonderful present.

A letter written with a lovely penmanship. A present in good taste.

He gave me the perfect reply.

Without thinking, my shoulders trembled.

It wasn’t out of anger or horror.

This emotion that’s boiling up in me was, yes, exhileration.

Erich Von Weimar.

You’re not lacking as an opponent.

‘I’ll definitely defeat you (emotionally)someday’, I thought, stirring up my stubborn fighting spirit.


Link to the novel.

Master Thieves in Fiction

  • Above-average intelligence
  • Cunning
  • Manipulative
  • Moral Flexibility

All qualities that can be found in great “Master Thieves” in fiction. All of whom have a tendency to target people with more power and wealth than they do.

With such attributes that can be attributed to successful CEO’s, one might ask why they bother stealing? It certainly isn’t about survival. Though some “Master Thieves” might start out their careers stealing for food and other necessities.

Continue reading “Master Thieves in Fiction”

How to Escape from the Implacable Man – 2. A Party and a Farewell

「Thank you for inviting us to take part in this evening’s celebration. I hope you enjoy this fleeting dream」

I bowed my head in time with Teacher’s speech.

On the space that was constructed in the hall was me, Teacher, and a small table. Surrounding it were beautifully dressed ladies and gentlemen. The only thing different from the usual was that there was a single boy sitting small and quiet on the special seat.

This boy was probably the young master who was the guest of honor today. His silky blonde hair and lovely emerald eyes were so beautiful and I think features that wouldn’t lose to the word, 「bishounen」, was surely something like this. But, despite the fact that he’s supposed to be the guest of honor, he didn’t look like he was having fun at all. But Teacher should be making us a sight that surpasses the young master’s good looks today. I’m sure even this young master would be delighted.

After I was given a small ornament, I raised the expensive-looking silver candlestick and gave a small nod to the Butler who was waiting near the doorway.

Once the Butler sent the signal to the servants, the guest hall’s lights were turned off one by one.

And with that, the candlestick I held cast a gleaming light under the darkness. The only other illumination were from the faint glows of covered up lamps held by servants who waited close to the walls.

The boy before me stared at me with eyes that were filled with tension.

Nothing will happen even if you stare at me, you know. ‘Look at Teacher’, I thought internally, but I hesitated to say it out loud.

「Please take a look. These shining stars sparkling in the night!」

After his grand statement, Teacher’s hand grabbed a pebble, flung it to the air, and locked it into place with magic. And when ten pebbles had come to a stop near the ceiling, Teacher placed the next pebble that he plucked on his left hand and beckoned me with his right.

「Wow」

「Incredible……」

As the people present let out cries of admiration, the flame from the candlestick I was holding approached the pebble that Teacher was holding. It vanished into the pebble like it had been sucked in. And in the next instant, sparks came out with tiny cracking sounds from the pebble nonstop.

When Teacher lightly tossed the still sparking pebble, it soared high up towards the ceiling drawing a horizontal arc while giving off lights and sparks. That spark ignited the pebbles that had been fixed in the air and filled the ceiling with beautiful sparks. The ten lights that were suspended, and the one light that continued to move in a circle. Teacher flung several more pebbles there one by one producing a dance of pretty lights that was depicting an elliptical orbit.

「This is……」

「How beautiful……」

「It looks just like a dream」

The cries of admiration rose up from all around the guest room, and I puffed my chest in pride. This is Teacher’s magic!

‘With this, even the aristocratic young master should no doubt be satisfied’, I thought, and when I snuck a peek at the guest of honor, I… was at a lost for words.

Unfortunately, the young master wasn’t looking at the ceiling! Well, it probably was in his line of sight, but for some reason, his gaze was directed straight at me.

No, I’m sure he was looking not at me, but at Teacher. Because it was Teacher who could produce such a wonderful sight. It can’t be helped that the aristocratic young master would look at him with a burning gaze.

After a while, the intermingling lights that were flying in the air began flickering (which meant it was running out of magic), so Teacher called the pebbles back with his hands.

「It appears that even this light is shamed by the brightness of this evening’s moon, please allow it to rest」

Upon Teacher’s words, the covers were removed from the lamps that the servants were holding, and the original brightness returned to the guest room.

「Just like the light that illuminated the night, a bright future will come to everyone gathered here this evening」

I gave a bow with Teacher and together, we exited the room while being sent off by a great number of applause.

◇  ◆  ◇

「Teacher, today’s fireworks were pretty, but could it be that it’s not something new to that boy? 」

As I tidied things up at the antechamber, I finally voiced my question. We’ve showcased various things at noble residences till now, but there wasn’t anyone who showed that kind of reaction before. I think even the firework this time had been a wonderful thing that wasn’t inferior to any other entertainment so far.

「I doubt so, Mari」

Teacher gave a small sigh as he folded his robe.

「It’s just that his interest ended up directed at something other than fireworks」

Teacher’s expression was the same as when he found it a bother to tidy up the studio or when the messenger from the palace informed him to come. It’s pretty rare that Teacher would show this sort of expression outside.

「I was hoping to earn bit more money at the royal capital, but I think it might be best to go back home earlier this year」

「Eh? But, you said we only needed to work around five more jobs to buy the brand new tools for your experiments…」

「It looks like I’ll be having something more valuable than tools snatched away」

I don’t know what Teacher was worried about, but I’d understood that something serious is happening. I packed up the luggage and followed Teacher briskly.

*Knock Knock*

「I beg your pardon. The Master would like to have a personal discussion with you at all costs…」

When the voice that could be heard from outside the door said this, Teacher looked up at the ceiling and sighed an 「Aaah」.

「Mari, I’ll be having a short discussion so please stay here―――」

「No, I was told that the young lady shall be joining」

When the voice from outside the door said this, Teacher made an unusually bitter smile.

「U-uhm, Teacher. Did I… do something wrong?」

「No, it’s not your fault, Mari. If anything… I’m sure it’s mine」

After Teacher stroked my head gently, he pulled my hand, and we exited the antechamber.

Given the unanticipated development, I’d simply been intent on calming my chest that was beating like my heart would leap out.

◇  ◆  ◇

「Please sit there. Magician Iskatel-dono」

What had awaited us was a cleanly dressed man. If I’m not mistaken, I think he’d been sitting near the young master this evening. Even though he looked at the entertainment smiling not long ago, now he was looking at Teacher sharply.

「I wouldn’t mind at all going through the servants if it’s about the remuneration for this evening. But do you have some kind of business with us?」

I was surprised at Teacher’s hard tone, but I was even more surprised over what he said.

In other words, this person in front of us was… the one who called for us, this estate’s Master. The owner of this HUGE estate!

「Let me get straight to the point. I want you to handover that young lady to be my son’s playmate」

For a moment, I couldn’t understand what had been said.

What “young lady”?

Handover?

「I will have to decline」

Even Teacher’s voice sounded somewhat distant.

「My son, who is normally never interested in anything, begged me for this. As his father, I wanted to fulfill his wish. Today’s my son’s birthday after all」

「Mari isn’t an object. She’s not something that can be transferred from left to right」

When I heard the proper noun, “Mari”, I decided to finally accept reality.

This person was saying that he wanted to keep me by his side as that young master’s, his own son’s, playmate.

I clenched my fists that were at my side tightly.

I was only six years old when I began living with Master. Even now, I can’t forget the feeling I had at that time.

I don’t wanna. I want to stay right here. Don’t throw me away.

The difference between that time was that I could more or less keep calm about things now. Still, it was all I could do to resist the urge to cling to Teacher right now and cry ‘I want to stay with Teacher’.

Teacher still wasn’t on the same wavelength as the sharp eyed man that was this estate’s master. This man had such a splendid estate, who knows what he’ll do to Teacher if he became serious. For Teacher’s peace of mind, surely, I’ll—-

*Bam*

I jumped upon hearing the loud sound of the door opening.

「Father!」

The one who came bursting in was the young master who was the guest of honor this evening.

「Crest. Why did you come here? What about the guests you left in the assembly hall?」

「I heard you were negotiating, Father. So I was worried you’ll say something rude to her」

With that exchange, Teacher gave out a short sigh.

「You came at the right time. Unfortunately, I’m not planning to part with Mari. I want you, Earl Arouge, and even the young master to understand this」

「Your name is Mari? What a splendid name」

Unfortunately, not listening to a word Teacher said, the young boy named Crest took my hands and grasped it with both of his.

「Magician-dono. I have no plans on mistreating this girl like you do」

Mistreating?

The sparkling pretty boy in front of me said something I couldn’t understand.

When I snuck a peek at Master, for some reason, he lightly shook his head. What on earth does that mean? Not understanding what this young boy was talking about nor the meaning of Teacher’s head shake, I could only stare blankly.

「Hull, place it here」

When the father called out to the standby Man in Black (the one who showed us into the estate), he respectfully brought some kind of heavy looking a pouch on a silver tray.

「This is compensation for this evening’s entertainment, as well as for that young lady」

*Chink*, I was surprised at the hard sound of metal clinking together. The pouch that opened up just a little informed me that it was brimming with gold coins.

「As I told you several times before, Mari isn’t an object, Earl Arouge」

「I understand that. But―――」

「Aren’t you, yourself, treating this girl as an object, Magician-dono! Look at this!」

After abruptly pulling my hands with a jerk, the young boy, Crest, pushed up my sleeves. There, the gauze that I’d just applied before the party, and a great number of scars that were produced in the same way, remained.

The young boy, Crest stared at the great number of scars on both my arms with an expression in his eyes that seemed as if he was looking at something outrageous.

「This girl cannot be taken along by a man who mutilates young girls」

Was this enough compensation for the kind Teacher who had fed and raised me?

「If you don’t leave this girl here, I’ll lodge a maltreatment complaint. A stray magician should know how weak a magician’s position is without a guild, right?」

「Crest! Hold your tongue!」

「Very well」

I couldn’t believe those words.

Teacher.
Teacher.

Teacher.

「Maritsia. Remain in this estate」

I slowly stared up at Teacher.

「In this estate, it would be good if you absorb a lot of things by being this young master’s playmate. With only what I teach, it looks like you’ll simply end up lacking common sense, after all」

「……Teacher」

Is it happening again?

Not only my parents, even Teacher was throwing me away? Was I still the lighter one compared to a peaceful life when weighed on a scale?

「That bracelet, though it’s meager, treat it as my farewell gift. Take good care of it」

The thing teacher was pointing at was a silver loop with fine details. A self-defense bracelet that had been given to me since I was brought away from home to work.

「Teacher…?」

I muttered dumbfounded, not understanding just what his intentions were, while I was hugged from behind by the young boy, Crest.

「Earl Arouge. Let’s settle the deal with the pouch. It’s truly regrettable for me, but it can’t be helped that the young master wants Mari to that extent」

「I see, so you’re gratefully accepting it?」

The sharp eyed father, for the first time, softened his expression. Did he treasure this young master that much? Enough to snatch Teacher away from me? I was seething in bubbling indignation.

「Yes. However, I have only two conditions」

When Teacher took a fleeting glance at my direction, he creased those black eyes of his into a smile. As if telling me, ‘don’t worry’.

「The first condition is that even if Mari were to grow sick of living in this residence and run away, I will not be bothered」

I don’t understand how to interpret those words.

Did it mean that it’s okay to go back to where Teacher was if I ran away?

Or did it mean that I shouldn’t go back to where Teacher was even if I run away?

I lowered my gaze and fixed my eyes on the bracelet that he called a farewell gift.

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You can look at their Best-Sellers list. Or look at the number of great customer reviews and ratings.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you would enjoy the title yourself. I’ve seen a lot of titles that have great ratings and reviews. But unfortunately were not my cup of tea.

So here are titles that (I think) make subscribing to Kindle Unlimited worthwhile. You may or may not agree with me. But I think these titles are worth a try!

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Ruling and Intrigue (Politics in YA)

Everyone wants power.

Unfortunately, power is treated and viewed as a limited resource. To have it means that a lot of other people do not have it. To have power, after all, means that a certain number of people (willingly or not, knowingly or not) have to submit to your will.

To have none makes you vulnerable to those unscrupulous enough to use you on their way to more power or just those sadistic enough to want you to suffer. But ironically enough, having power just makes you an even bigger target to those who would want to claim your power for their own. Not to mention the age-old and well-used saying that “power corrupts.” In other words, there’s a big chance you end up wanting more power to protect whatever power you already have to the point that you will cross lines and trample lines to get more.

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The Circumstances Behind the Dark Lion Earl’s Second Marriage – Prolouge

I was in darkness.

I was in the midst of darkness on the inside and out.

Outside, I was completely surrounded by darkness.  And inside, I was filled with the darkness called despair.

A hole had opened in my heart, a chilling hole from losing someone dear.

Inside the abyss where I could see neither purpose nor future, filled with so much darkness that my body seemed to be part of it, I saw a light.

A brilliant yet ominous light. But I would rather be in the dazzling, sweet, sparkling light than be in the dark.

I stretched out my own hands to the hand that offered that light.

I’ll definitely get it back. Together with that oath.

No matter how many sacrifices it takes, no matter who it may be, this oath alone, will never be overturned.

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When He’s A She

What would possess a girl to dress up and pose as a boy? As the following books will tell you, there’s plenty!

Some choose to do so to hide from people who wish them dead. Posing as a boy would be able to confuse the enemy who wants to track her down. And in cases where she is left alone in an environment that preys on the weak, being a boy would lessen (at least in some small part) the perceived vulnerability.

For others, it’s not as much hiding as it is a way to gain an opportunity closed to her if she “remains” a girl. This is very popular especially in fiction that shows culture wherein the females are simply relegated to the home and care of children. Some girls dress up as boys in order to avail themselves of education and/or the chance for adventure in the outside world.

What I see in common in books that make use of this trope is how being female is seen as a weakness. At least at the start of the book. In order for the main female character to be treated seriously, she has to deceive others into thinking she’s a boy despite the fact that her achievements have little to do with gender but more to do with her hard work and will to succeed.

But what I like is that these books is that the main characters do not totally eschew their gender. They don’t hate themselves for being born a girl. They do not think being a girl is inferior to being a man. Yes, they are female. But they have accomplished great things equal to those accomplished by a man.

Eventually, their masquerade does get found out. And I like that these ladies can take away from this the knowledge that they are capable and strong. And that their gender is not a hindrance to doing great things.

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The Wonder and Horror of a Mother’s Love

Love them or hate them, mothers are an integral part of so many people’s lives. So much so that a day is set aside to honor them and that the theme of motherhood has been tackled in literature since time immemorial.

And from what I can see, this theme will continue to be tackled in future books to come

But because a lot of people have been called “Mother,” the meaning has been diluted IMO. Some are totally awesome mothers who would be their children’s first and number 1 fans and protect them from harm (biological child or not). While some are sadly only called mother because they managed to keep the baby alive in their wombs for nine months and managed to get it out.

Both types of mother’s (and everything else in between) have been portrayed in books, movies and TV shows.

But for now, I’ll focus on the books with:

1.) Moms as the main character

2.) Children in danger

AND

3.) Moms actively doing something to keep them safe from harm

In the following books, the main focus (and conflict) rests on the mother and her child. So any romance happening will be put in the back burner. The relationship between mother and child can vary. Some may be estranged and some may be close. Or it could be a complicated mix of both

But whatever it may be, the following books exclusively feature the MAMA BEAR trope.

We often think of mothers as this nurturing, gentle figure. But as a lot of us would also know, the mother can also be this strict disciplinarian who won’t hesitate to punish when it is warranted.

The mothers in the following selection undoubtedly love their children. And it is their main goal to keep their children safe no matter what. But a mother’s love is a multi-faceted thing. As you will soon see, it leads the moms to do pretty amazing and awe-inspiring things. But at the same time, it can lead them to a path of carnage that inspire terror into people’s hearts.

So whenever you see another person and think about hurting him. Just remember that he has a mother. And she may be the most horrifying thing you’ve ever encountered…

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