“It’s been four days…”
Yoon-ah, now Rosalie, muttered while drinking tea. Emma, who had previously been pinned to the wall by Rosalie, stood beside her with a bewildered expression.
“My Lady, are you sure you’re really okay?”
Rosalie took another sip of tea. It had taken her four days to understand the situation while locked up in her room. In the end, what she had gained over the past four days was an admission.
‘But it’s still a sh*tty situation.’
She admitted to the absurd fact that she had entered a novel and to the fact that she was now in the body of an extra who would soon lose all her property and power and live a miserable life.
And finally, she acknowledged her intuition that her original body might have already been hit and killed by enemy shells.
“Who would have thought they would have fired a shell at a PKO (United Nations Peacekeeping Operations) base….”
“What…? Blood what?”
Emma asked, hearing Rosalie’s muttering. Rosalie shook her head as if it didn’t matter.
‘In the end, even the owner of this body will fall victim to her stepmother’s scheme and lose everything, living a miserable life.’
She slowly recalled the contents of the book she had read. Initially, Rosalie Judeheart in the novel lived with her stepmother after her father died five years ago.
At a young age, Rosalie inherited the ducal title because she was the only blood relative of the duke. However, she was extremely timid and lacked any real talent, so her stepmother naturally became the actual ruler of the Duchy, reducing Rosalie from the position of Duchess to puppet.
‘Originally, the Dukedom was already declining.’
Rosalie’s stepmother, Bella Derit Judeheart, coveted the wealth of the duke and accelerated the decline of the already extravagant lifestyle of the Duchy after Rosalie’s biological father passed away.
Later on, she took all the property and fled with Marquis Windell and his faction after waging a territorial war.
With the help of the main characters, Rosalie won the territorial battle but lived a miserable life as a noble with no wealth nor power left.
Rosalie slowly tapped the table with her index finger.
“What should I do…?”
She fell into deep contemplation. It was about whether to change the fate of Rosalie, the owner of her current body or to support and watch the love between the heroine and the male lead that grew while helping her.
“Is this a joke by God?”
However, the answer came to Rosalie’s mind immediately. She couldn’t just sit back and accept her miserable fate without doing anything in a novel that she hadn’t even finished reading.
“I can’t just watch this happen.”
Rosalie decided to think of this wretched situation as a war. She was a former special forces soldier in the South Korean Army.
It was not acceptable for her to be idle in the midst of a fierce war.
“Emma, bring me paper and a pen.”
Emma, frightened by Rosalie’s ongoing monologue, scrambled to put pen and paper on the table.
“Bring matches, but don’t come in until I call you.”
Emma quickly put the matches on the table and left the room. It was only after Emma had left that Rosalie picked up the pen.
‘I need to sort things out.’
Rosalie quickly began to write on the paper. Strangely enough, she could use the Mishan Empire’s standard language, perhaps because she still had the original Rosalie’s memories.
But just in case, she began to write in Korean.
「The territorial war is expected to happen in about four months.」
When she read the novel, she remembered that the territorial war happened just before winter. Outside the window, a hot breeze was still blowing.
「Do not accept help from the Crown Prince or the heroine… Secure the mine.」
Rosalie put down her pen. She had no intention of stopping the territorial war. The Marquis of Windell would give a large number of gems and the Dita mine on the outskirts of the territory as compensation for defeat in the territorial war.
In the Dita mine, a small amount of Life Stones which was used like oil in this world had been discovered, but the Marquis of Windell mistakenly thought that the amount was small and offered it as compensation.
“This is the jackpot.”
The jewels were taken by Rosalie, who needed urgent money due to Bella’s escape. Meanwhile, the Crown Prince who had helped the female protagonist took the mine.
However, soon after, a massive amount of top-quality Life Stones was discovered in the Dita mine, causing a huge uproar in the Misha Empire.
Rosalie planned to win the territorial war to secure the Dita mine and revive the declining economic power of the dukedom.
「First, I need to find power and gain Aaron’s trust.」
Rosalie thought of the character ‘Aaron’ in the novel, a loyalist whose family had served as the Duke of Judeheart’s knights for generations.
However, he was greatly disappointed in Rosalie, who had become Bella’s puppet, and his loyalty to the duchy faded day by day. Afterward, he falls for the prince’s combat prowess in the territory war and leaves the dukedom.
“To gain power, I need military strength.”
Rosalie placed the paper on the saucer, lit a match, and burned the paper before standing up. She then approached the wall of the room and pulled the rope of the bell several times.
Not long after, Emma entered the room.
“You called, my Lady?”
“I’m going out. Dress me up.”
At Rosalie’s short command, Emma immediately began to help her dress, asking cautiously.
“My Lady, are you really Lady Rosalie?”
During the ten years she spent in the Duke’s mansion, Emma had never seen Rosalie like this. There was no sign of her usual indecisiveness.
Instead, she looked confident and well-trained, and her speech was stern and almost like that of a well-trained knight. It was as if she had become a different person.
“Yes, it’s me.”
Rosalie replied briefly and glanced at Emma.
Since she came here, Emma was the only one who had taken care of her in this room. No one else cared, as if they were used to it.
Even when everyone else had left the duke’s mansion, Emma stayed by Rosalie’s side until the end. She was also very loyal to the dukedom.
In a way, it was only natural for Emma to be the first to wonder about her changed appearance.
‘However, there is not enough time until the territory war. I must push forward even if it makes others curious.’
As a noble, Rosalie had hit rock bottom a long time ago. If she acted like before, nothing would change even after a hundred years.
She needed to quickly find her own way to power, even if it made others wonder.
Emma looked flustered as Rosalie stared at her face intently. She seemed uncharacteristically nervous.
“Emma, before, I… No, I haven’t been able to uphold the dignity of our family since my father passed away. As a result, no one has been around me. No one pays attention even if I don’t come out of my room for days.”
“My Lady, that’s…”
“But things are going to be different, now that I’ve received the title of Duchess. I have to change.”
Emma couldn’t say anything as Rosalie spoke firmly, her words being the truth. If her mistress, Rosalie, didn’t change, the future of the Duchy would be bleak.
The fact that her master was willing to change, despite her attitude, made Emma feel both sad and proud.
“…Let me dress you up.”
After doing her hair and applying some makeup, Emma prepared a dress. It was a simple dress for a noble, but it was a light yellow that matched Rosalie’s platinum hair quite well.
Rosalie was satisfied as she looked at her reflection in the mirror.
When Chaerin handed her the book to read, she hadn’t realized Rosalie was beautiful due to the simple description of her appearance, but her reflection in the mirror was quite attractive.
“My Lady, where do you plan to go now?”
“It’s not ‘My Lady,’ is it?”
Emma didn’t understand Rosalie’s meaning at first, but after a moment of thought, she spoke again.
“No, Duchess. I apologize.”
“Be careful with how you address me from now on.”
Rosalie opened the door and Emma quickly followed. Thanks to the original Rosalie’s memory, the geography of the duchy was naturally drawn in her head.
She headed to the first training ground of Judeheart, where Aaron was usually found.
“Why are we going to the training ground, my Lady… I mean, Duchess?”
Rosalie glanced at Emma, the title almost out of habit. When she didn’t answer and approached the center of the training grounds without hesitation, the knights scattered all over the training ground began to mumble.
“They’ve lost their minds.”
Rosalie clicked her tongue slightly as she watched the knights sprawl lethargically across the training grounds. Aaron, who was resting in the training hall, appeared at the small commotion.
He was a large man in his late thirties with dark skin and orange hair and eyes. His well-trained muscles could be seen through his comfortable training clothes, showing how hard he had trained.
“What’s going on? You came here all of a sudden.”
Aaron’s tone and expression showed no signs of welcoming Rosalie. However, this reaction was to be expected.
Aaron had always wanted to talk to Rosalie, but since she had ignored him first at Bella’s command, it was enough to stir up resentment within him.
“I came to meet with Commander Aaron.”
Aaron paused at Rosalie’s unusual attitude, but he soon opened his mouth.
“Are you not afraid of Bella anymore?”
Aaron, who hated Bella, never referred to her as the Duchess. Without changing her expression at his sarcastic words, Rosalie spoke evenly.
“Would you be afraid of a three-tongued snake?”
Aaron’s eyes widened in surprise at the insult towards Bella, which he had heard for the first time through Rosalie’s mouth. He fell silent for a while and then spoke with a perplexed expression.
“Are you now Bella’s lackey? Did she tell you to come here and pretend to insult her so you can spy on me?”
Rosalie was taken aback by Aaron’s offensive words. She had anticipated his reaction, but he was more hostile to her than she expected.
“Why are you acting like a mute person?”
Aaron thought that Rosalie would avoid eye contact as usual and run away with a flushed face.
However, Rosalie, who had no intention of doing so, just stood there with an indifferent expression without avoiding his gaze.
“Considering my usual behavior, I think that kind of reaction from you is normal.”