Chapter Two

"My lord, are you going to marry the young duchess for real?" Cornelius asked.

Duke Alexander was sitting in his chair in his office as always, while the butler, Cornelius, was giving him updates.

"I wanted to marry her in the first place. I just placed the contract so she would annul her engagement to marry me. But who knew she was planning on annulling her engagement in the first place?" Alexander smirked. "She is the only one I can think of marrying. Unlike other noblewomen, the young duchess is a truly admirable person, I have to admit. Even I was forced to admire her."

"I heard a lot about the young duchess though I have not seen her myself," Cornelius said. "She holds a great amount of power in the political world despite her age. It will help you."

"Isn't that why I am marrying her?"

"But what I don't understand is, when did the lord see the young duchess before?"

"I haven't before," Alexander said. "I just heard about her. Even my spies respect her ability. She has a twin brother as well, but even so, Duke Albert made her the heir."

"Yes, it is indeed quite surprising, since most families prioritize sons before daughters. But no one questions the duke's decision since, in everyone's eyes, the young duchess is doing a great job representing the north duchy. If someone like her becomes the duchess of the south, it will be great," Cornelius said. "But I am worried about something else."

"What is it?"

"Will the Lord be able to make the young duchess happy? You don't have any experience," Cornelius sniggered, his green eyes playful. "You have never even held a woman's hand."

"Stop talking," Alexander grumbled.

"Well, the young duchess is at least used to being around men."

"How so? She never let my idiot brother touch even just a hair of hers," Alexander said. "And it is said that the young duchess keeps her distance from everyone- women and men."

"Don't forget, my lord, the young duchess's personal guard is a man. His name is Matt Dorian and he has been guarding the young duchess for as long as their existence. They grew up together. Since then, Sir Matt has been with the young duchess to protect her," Cornelius said. "They are of the same age as well. Sir Matt is more like the young duchess's guard dog though."

Alexander had even seen Matt Dorian standing beside the young duchess the whole time without moving.

Alexander did not have any plan to marry. But it was important to broaden his political power and for a successor. Among all the noblewomen, Alessandra Maximillan was the best option and the only woman who piqued his interest.

Alessandra Maximillan was known for both her beauty and power. She had silver hair and ruby eyes just like her father, Duke Albert Maximillan, and twin brother Alessandro Maximillan. The whole family was famous for their charm. Duke Albert Maximillan was a good-looking man and he did not even look his age. Alessandra and Alessandro, the Maximillan twins, looked the same and they were known for their eye-blinding beauty as well.

The north duchy's work was mostly done by Duke Albert and Young Duchess Alessandra. It was said that Alessandro was not good with paperwork. It was one of the reasons his twin sister was the heir.

The Terrence family was known for their silver eyes. Alexander's black hair and silver eyes did not match and made him look scary. Noblewomen were charmed by his handsomeness, but they feared his personality because of the rumors of him being mad.

"I had better send the young duchess the reply," Alexander muttered and held out his cigar.

"Yes, my lord. Can I ask one thing?" Cornelius asked as he lighted the head of the cigar.

"Go ahead."

"Does the young duchess have two black horizontal marks (-) in her eyes?" Cornelius asked.

Alexander inhaled the smoke until it filled his mouth and then blew it out. "She does," he said. "It is quite strange to have two black marks in ruby eyes. But somehow, it suits her."

"But Duke Albert and Lords Alessandro don't have them."

"It's not strange to have some rare things," Alexander said. "Besides, it doesn't matter what they are. Black marks are called curses. But even if it's a curse, it doesn't mean anything, since curse and madness mix together pretty well."

"By the way, my lord, a new rumor has spread that you're impotent and you have erectile dysfunction," Cornelius said.

"How did this baseless rumor even spread in the first place?" Alexander scoffed.

"It's not totally baseless, since it's half true. Did you even get an..."

"How could I? I haven't ever been near a woman, to begin with."

"That's the problem," Cornelius said. "You don't even go near a woman."

"I'm marrying now, right? That's enough. Why do I need to mock around with women?" Alexander grumbled.

"You literally hate all people, my lord. There is no doubt about that," Cornelius sighed. "But I wish the best for you."

That day, Duke Alexander Terrence had sent the young duchess the reply. She sent a letter back saying that she would annul the engagement with Hayden Terence soon. Two days passed by.

The door of the Duke's office burst open and the butler ran inside, completely breathless.

"Why are you being noisy? Don't you want your head anymore?" Alexander muttered with furrowed brows as he smoked a cigar and did the paperwork.

"Duke, the young duchess is here," Cornelius said with bated breath. The moment he had noticed the carriage of the North Maximillan duchy, he had run all the way to the Duke's office.

"Oh, she must be here to meet Hayden to annul their engagement," Alexander said.

"Did you not know about it?" Cornelius asked.

"It is none of my business what the young duchess does. She is not my fiancée yet," Alexander said. "She feels the same way. That's why she didn't inform me. And besides, she is not visiting my residence, rather the extended residence of Hayden."

"But you are going to meet her, aren't you?"

"Of course. I need to see what she does myself," Alexander smirked. "After all, Hayden is not someone to give up something easily, be it a person or a thing."

"My lord, you're the same, if not more," Cornelius muttered.

Duke Alexander made his way to the extended residence. Hayden Terrence, his half-brother, was two years younger than him. Hayden's mother was the late duchess of the Terrence duchy. It was said that she had committed suicide after their father was murdered by Alexander.

The young duchess had already gone inside Hayden Terrence's residence. As Alexander went in, he found her standing in front of a couple on the couch.

Alexander had to fight not to laugh at the scenario. He could not see the look on the young duchess's face that he yearned to witness more than anything else.

"My lady, it's vulgar," Matt Dorian, Alessandra's personal guard, said who was standing right beside her. "You need to play chess with me twice for making me witness something so uncouth."

"I don't understand why you like chess so much..." she muttered.

"It's not just me. You like to play chess too when you do something psychotic," Matt said.

"That's to look cool," she said. "Anyway, separate the gentleman and gentlewoman in front of us. The sound of their lips is strangely unnecessary for my ears."

It did not take much longer for Matt Dorian to separate them. Hayden was surprised to see Alessandra Maximillan, while the woman was perplexed and afraid, thinking of what to do.

"Cover yourselves please," Alessandra said. "And before Lord Hayden says something completely superfluous, let me remind the lord that I have sent a letter saying that I will visit today, to which the Lord replied positively as well."

"Young Duchess Alessandra," Hayden said as he quickly stood up while putting on his clothes. Thankfully, he was still wearing his pants. "It's the first time my darling fiancée has visited me. Have you come to hang out with me?"

Alexander was surprised to see his guts that he even managed to say something like this when he was caught cheating red-handed by his fiancée, though Alexander had a good idea that the young duchess knew all about his doing long ago.

"Lord Hayden, perhaps it is high time we needed to have a heart-to-heart chat with our minds as fresh as newly bloomed flowers," Alessandra said calmly. Perhaps her face was dangerously calmer than it should be as the woman with Hayden flinched and ran away, glancing at her.

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