Chapter 15

***

I was a little perplexed.

 

At first I thought I heard wrong, but I didn’t.

 

There’s a saying that you can see the country’s evil in places you don’t see, but that’s when it didn’t take long.

 

In this world where there was a clear disparity in status, the mere fact that they mocked me by putting my name on their lips was enough to punish them immediately. We can ask them about their disrespect and whip them, torture them, or or hit them with profanity until I feel better. That was just as my knights were about to do.

 

They were bad-mouthing me in a bar where anyone could come and go, even though doing so might cost them their lives.

 

This meant that my face had fallen to the ground. On one hand, I felt really bad, but on the other hand, I was a little surprised.

 

Of course, they didn’t know that they were in the same space as me, so they were doing that, but it was really amazing that they could just make so much noise without worrying about their surroundings, probably because they were drunk. Should I admire their courage or my story becomes a mockery.

 

I wondered if I should be saddened by the fact that people were talking about me. Then I heard words that I just couldn’t let pass.

 

“She has a lot of guts. I heard that she had a secret meeting with another man at the Imperial Palace behind the Crown Prince’s back, but accidentally fell from the third floor terrace. So that’s why she hasn’t woken up yet.”

 

“…”

 

I was drinking some cold water to calm my anger and almost spit out the water in my mouth.

 

What’s that?

 

Roxana only had the Crown Prince.

 

There was no way she was going to cheat on her fiancé.

 

Moreover, I was the one on the terrace that day, and I was the one who crashed, not Roxana. By the way, a secret meeting?

 

There was a part of me that couldn’t just dismiss it as a baseless rumor from the start. Originally, rumors go through the mouth, so they are slightly altered and exaggerated, but because of that, the details of the rumors were too detailed.

 

Moreover, it was strange that the general public knew so much about what had happened in the banquet hall of the Imperial Palace.

 

Since there were more than one or two suspicious aspects, I had to assume that someone had intentionally spread rumors about me. It was a common practice in social circles to deliberately spread malicious rumors to damage someone’s honor and reputation.

 

‘Third floor terrace, secret meetings, other men besides the Crown Prince…’

 

Suddenly, a face popped up in my mind.

 

It was the man who had tried to save me from falling down the terrace. With a serious face, I tried to remember the details of his face. It was often different, but rumors generally arise from the flesh based on facts.

 

I don’t know how he managed to open the terrace I was on and come in, but I fell in shortly after he did, which may have looked strange to other people.

 

‘But a secret meeting…?’

 

Does he know there’s a strange rumor going around between me and him? If I could meet him again, I wanted to ask him why he tried to help me that day and thank him.

 

However, if he also knew that such false rumors were circulating, it could be a nuisance to approach him and talk to him.

 

In reality, I was the Crown Prince’s fiancée, so whether he liked my presence in the royal family or not, he would not have been pleased if I met another man with him around.

 

Although I had never experienced it firsthand, the Imperial Family was a ruthless place, more sensitive to reputation and rumors than any noble family.

 

I would not be able to sleep comfortably with my arms and legs outstretched if innocent people were harmed for no reason at all because of me.

 

Even if it wasn’t like that, wouldn’t it be embarrassing to see such a rumor floating around?

 

“I heard she was drunk, then stumbled and fell down. No one was there.”

 

While I was in my frustration, I heard more talking from the table on the other side.

 

I was a little relieved to hear the man in the hat say that.

 

If everyone says the same thing, people will believe the rumors are real. But if each person told a different story, the rumor would remain a rumor.

 

Originally, rumors were something that would be naturally forgotten over time.

 

Besides, even if I didn’t cause any problems, incidents and accidents happen every day in the social world. People like to be stimulated, but they are also interested in new things. No matter how exciting the rumor is, the interest will soon wane because in the end, it is someone else’s problem. If there is a new incident, people’s interest will shift quickly. So, all I have to do is to stay as quiet as possible without causing any agitation.

 

Until the rumors die down or a new case arises and people’s attention shifts to it….

 

“I heard that she took it out on the innocent young lady and acted like a lunatic when the Crown Prince stopped her.”

 

“Did she really go mad all of a sudden?”

 

“I think it was because she was drunk. I heard that when they discovered how much alcohol she had consumed, they already smelled alcohol on her body…”

 

What he said this time was about me and Claire.

 

It was only a suspicion before, but now that I’ve heard the story, I was even more certain. Mixed rumors of truth and falsehood.

 

Somebody was deliberately spreading malicious words against me.

 

The most likely person, given the circumstances, was Claire. She was also the biggest benefactor of this work, and while the villain was clearly and explicitly stated, so was the fact that the other person was known only as a young lady.

 

There were some oddities.

 

But as a mere daughter of a Baron, would she have this level of ability?

 

I heard that Baron Dana family was a vain noble family, so their territory and wealth weren’t much…

 

I was a little curious.

 

Was this Claire’s own doing or with someone’s help?

 

No, there was no evidence that Claire was the culprit in the first place.

 

The person Roxana was wary of most was Claire, but Claire wasn’t her only enemy. After her engagement to the Crown Prince, she was the envy and jealousy of all the unmarried young ladies who were yet to be married.

 

With Roxana becoming the Crown Princess, the Duke of Lillian, who had so far remained neutral, began to support the Crown Prince.

 

The battle for the throne was still raging, and the number of political enemies had increased greatly. Moreover, Roxana was arrogant and not the most likable of people, as she was not a good social butterfly.

 

Therefore, Roxana’s enemies were many besides Claire.

 

So for me now, there was more than one suspicious person.

 

I looked into her life through my memory. But that didn’t mean I knew everything about her.

 

My memory was not perfect.

 

The past was faint, but the recent memories were clear and vivid. A person’s memory is not supposed to be perfect by nature. Therefore, there were many parts that were choppy and disconnected.

 

So there must certainly be many parts that I missed.

 

“Those….how dare they!”

 

I was lost in thought for a while, when I noticed an indignant voice coming from right beside me. I was a little surprised to see the knights had red faces, but I soon understood what it meant.

 

“It’s only a matter of time before the engagement is annulled since it was such a big deal. It’s a shame really, because it would be difficult for her to get married if the Crown Prince abandoned her. If only she was about ten years younger……..”

 

Having listened to the gossipers, the knights tried to hold back their anger. It made me feel strange to see them genuinely angry on my behalf. But without knowing how I felt, the other table continued to talk about Roxana.

 

I’d already heard all the stuff I was most interested in anyway.

 

It couldn’t make it worth my while to listen to it, so I got up.

 

“Let’s leave it.”

 

I went to the counter, paid and left the restaurant.

 

Then, the knights followed me without hesitation.

 

I walked in silence for a while with a complicated feeling, and for some reason, I felt a hot gaze from the back.

 

I didn’t have to look to know that it was the knights.

 

They seemed to have a lot to say to me. But they didn’t dare to bother me unless I called out to them first.

 

Due to the fact that I spent more time than I expected in the diner, I walked around a bit and before I knew it, the sun was about to rise.

 

Then I headed to the place where the carriage was parked.

 

As soon as I got into the carriage and saw that the door was closed, I took off my suffocating robe and mask.

 

After a while, I heard the shaking of the reins and soon the wheels began to roll. As I sat in the moving carriage, watching the sun rise over the horizon, I had a thought.

 

The attitude that the knights showed me today was quite surprising.

 

Roxana did not have a very good reputation in the mansion. She didn’t have a very close relationship with the servants, let alone the knights.

 

So I naturally assumed that they would not like me either.

 

And yet, today, seeing them angry and frustrated on my behalf made me feel complicated.

 

Unlike what Roxana thought, she didn’t seem to be hated by everyone.

 

Thinking about the knights seemed to warm a corner of my heart.

 

In the diner, my mood sank when the gossipers taunted me with their mouths. But there were people around me who were angry on my behalf, I felt a little comfort.

 

 But what about Roxana?

 

She had to face people who looked at her with hostility and mockery every day in social circles.

 

Every time she did, there was no one by her side.

 

Unlike others, she had no parents by her side to give her advice and guidance, and the Duke’s fame and prestige both protected and endangered her.

 

Her fiancé, the Crown Prince, took the lead in condemning and publicly humiliating Roxana for the sake of his own lover.

 

She endured for years alone in such a situation.

 

And now it was none other than me who would keep the position for her behalf.

 

When I remembered that fact, I was at a loss and felt suffocated.

 

***

 

The day has dawned.

 

Today was the day my nanny said she would return to work.

 

Whether she would return or not was of no interest to me, but I honestly felt like I wanted her to return a little later. While Annie was bringing in breakfast, I washed my face, then sat in front of the mirror doing my hair.

 

The effects of the previous night still hadn’t settled, but as I sat in front of the mirror and looked at Roxana’s beautiful face, I seemed to recover a little.

 

I smiled slightly, and through the mirror I could see my beautiful lips bend sensibly. Roxana was definitely beautiful, both objectively and subjectively.

 

Her snow-white skin was transparent without blemishes, and her rich hair was lustrous. Her eyes, slightly upturned at the tips hung with long eyelashes, and her golden eyes were mysterious and shining like stars, more beautiful than any jewel in the room.

 

Her nose was small and pointy, and her slightly plump lips were rosy. My head was complicated and my mind was restless, but I ate well and rested well, and within a few days the dark shadows under my eyes faded and my vitality returned.

 

The difference was small, but looking at the face that became beautiful day by day was one of my hobbies since I fell into this world.

 

While I was admiring the beautiful face, I heard a knock at the door.

 

“Come in.”

 

Naturally, I assumed it was Annie, but it wasn’t. When the door opened and instead of Annie, the nanny walked in, pulling a tray with food on it.