Chapter 16

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“What’s going on? You came back early.”

 

When I asked her, she looked at me uncomfortably.

 

She looked even worse than when I had seen her a few days ago.

 

The color under her eyes had turned even darker and she looked thinner. I glanced at the tray she was holding.

 

This was originally done by maids and servants, so there was no need for a nanny to do it.

 

Moreover, the nanny was extremely arrogant, although she always pretended to feel sorry for Roxana in front of her.

 

She had never done such chores herself since Roxana grew a little older.

 

There was no way that she could have changed her mind and become serious overnight when she had let her servant take care of Roxana.

 

I looked coldly at the nanny who was placing the breakfast on the table.

 

She smiled a little reluctantly when her eyes met mine.

 

Seeing her doing that in front of me now, it was obvious that she still hadn’t resolved the accident that happened a few days ago.

 

I smiled in vain at her transparent behavior. After facing her early in the morning, I lost my appetite, but I sat down with a calm look on my face.

 

The food was fortunately delicious despite my lack of appetite because the chef’s cooking skills were excellent.

 

The sweet potato soup was sweet and soft, and I could taste the butter flavor straight from the bread. The salad topped with cheese was fresh, and the steak with wine sauce was light and tender.

 

Throughout the meal, the nanny’s gaze was fixed on me. She must have something to say because her lips were wavering, but I pretend not to pay attention.

 

I finished my meal without even looking at her. After eating, I left my seat.

 

“Where are you going, young lady?”

 

“Take a short walk.”

 

I replied kindly, slowly turning back to the nanny.

 

I was a little tired from the previous day, but the thought of being alone in the room with her was suffocating me.

 

“I’ll come with you. Would you like to have a cup of tea in the garden?”

 

“No, thank you. I just ate. I’ll go alone and let the nanny rest.”

 

I refused very gently and firmly.

 

“Young lady, please take this parasol with you.”

 

Annie said, giving me the parasol. I walked out of the room immediately, leaving the embarrassed nanny behind.

 

The garden, a harmonious blend of  green grass and white gravel, was in full bloom with a variety of colorful flowers. I headed for the rose garden through the path of blue hydrangeas with my parasol.

 

There was a fountain in the center of the rose garden, and benches were set up under the shade of trees for people to relax.

 

The red petals were so fresh, covered with morning dew. The morning air was still chilly, but it was refreshing and fragrant.

 

Looking at the flowers under the open sky with the cool breeze blowing, I felt as if all my worries were lifted.

 

I had a novel from the Duchess’s study and sat down under the shade of the largest tree.

 

As time passed, the sun rose high and the midday sun fell sharply.

I was so engrossed in my reading that I lost track of time.

 

I leisurely finished the book, and before I knew it, several hours had passed. I sluggishly got up. I stretched for a little bit as my body was stiff from the long sitting. I stepped out feeling refreshed.

 

The sun was warm as ever, and the flowers glowed vividly when viewed under the intense sunlight.

 

It was truly a beautiful scene.

 

I decided that when I got back to my room, I would tell Annie to arrange to have teatime in the garden tomorrow.

 

As I walked up the stairs and stood in front of the door of my room, I heard something noisy inside. I heard a familiar high-pitched voice and a sharp rubbing sound.

 

“How dare you!”

 

A little startled, I opened the door and walked in to see the nanny and Annie confronting each other. Annie was standing quietly with a slight slump, and the nanny was glaring at her.

 

They heard me and turned around. As soon as they saw me, the nanny came and stood beside me with tears in her eyes. Annie was startled, but she was still standing there with her head down like a rock.

 

“What were you doing?”

 

I asked, and the nanny spoke up in a sad voice.

 

“This vulgar thing was rummaging through the Young Lady’s things. She didn’t even know I was in the room. When I checked, I found this in her hand.”

 

She held out a gemstone necklace with her outstretched hand towards me.

 

The plain design wasn’t that noticeable, and seeing that I couldn’t immediately remember it, it seemed to be something Roxana had put somewhere and forgotten.

 

The nobles were generous with luxury goods. Roxana was certainly aristocratic in that respect.

 

She bought dresses and accessories without hesitation whenever there was a banquet or gathering. If one of these things were to disappear among all that stuff, she wouldn’t notice for a while.

 

And even if she noticed later that one of the necklaces was missing, she wouldn’t care much either.

 

However, no matter how indifferent she was, it would have been a different story if she had witnessed someone getting their hands on her things.

 

In a normal aristocracy, if a servant were to touch something that belonged to her master, she would be whipped and thrown out.

 

In the worst cases, they would slit their wrists or even sell them somewhere else. Roxana wasn’t a harsh master, but that didn’t make her any more particularly charitable than the others.

 

She already had a history of whipping out her servants who stole from her on several occasions. Each time, she had a nanny by her side.

 

Once, the nanny said a maid stole Roxana’s things just like she did just now. However, Roxana didn’t actually see it herself. 

 

And Roxana kicked the maid out with a particularly severe beating for trying to pin the blame on the nanny.

 

After that, the nanny’s position in the house became more and more solid.

 

The servants were cautious of the nanny and she became increasingly domineering. Roxana had complete faith in her nanny, who had raised her since she was a child, and she did not doubt her, but I wasn’t Roxana.

 

Every time the servant had an item or valuables in her hands, the nanny was involved, and when I thought of her current situation, my suspicions grew stronger. I asked, looking not at her, but at Annie.

 

“Annie, be honest with me. Did you do it?”

 

The nanny’s face scrunched up at my question.

 

Annie raised her head, looking a little startled.

 

I frowned when I saw a clear handprint on one of Annie’s cheeks.

 

“If you say no, I’ll believe you. So I want you to tell me the truth.”

 

Annie hesitated for a moment, and then quickly said in a firm voice.

 

“I swear to you, I have never touched anything that belonged to Young Lady. I came into your room just now. You can swear by God. Please believe me.”

 

Annie’s voice was calm, and the way she looked at me seemed sincere. Of course, she might be lying to me. But….

 

“I understand. I believe what you said.”

 

“…!”

 

At my words, they both looked at me with surprised faces.

 

“My Lady!”

 

The nanny exclaimed as she looked at me in disbelief. I frowned, uncomfortable with her reaction.

 

“Don’t shout, nanny.”

 

“But that vile thing touched your things without knowing her place. If I discovered it late, she would have walked right past me without anyone knowing.”

 

“So what’s the problem?”

 

I asked back coldly, and the nanny said in a more high pitched voice.

 

“I know the Lady is feeble-minded, but at such a young age, she is already a thief. Nothing good will come if you keep her around, so we must get rid of her now.”

 

Annie said with a face full of resentment at the nanny’s words.

 

“Miss, it really isn’t me. Rather, it’s …….”

 

She slurred her words and looked at me sadly. There was a hint of confusion and frustration on her face.

 

I could roughly guess what she was talking about. Looking at the nanny, she was biting her lips with a flushed face.

 

“Yes, I  understand.”

 

The nanny quickly rebutted my words.

 

“Lady! You don’t really believe her words, do you?”

 

“Why not? Is there a reason I shouldn’t believe her? Annie is a good and sincere child.”

 

Annie’s eyes welled up with tears when I said that.

 

“Miss…..”

 

She looked at me as if she was about to burst into tears.

 

Then the nanny’s face grew more intense.

 

She glared at Annie and said in a sharp voice.

 

“What you see on the outside is not all there is to a person.”

 

“How can you be so sure? The nanny might have misunderstood.”

 

“I told you that I saw her stealing firsthand. What more do you need here?”

 

The nanny cut me off in an irritated voice, as if she was frustrated.

 

“Nanny, you’re acting a little strange today. Why are you more upset than I am when I said I’m okay? Is there a reason why I have to get rid of Annie?”

 

I said, and the nanny’s face hardened momentarily. But she quickly adjusted her expression and said with a look of displeasure.

 

“Being around bad people can have a bad effect on you. I’m just thinking about you…”

 

 “Thank you. The nanny always thinks of me.”

 

“…”

 

“Don’t worry. Even if you didn’t, I wasn’t gonna let this matter slide either.”

 

I felt awkward facing the nanny, but with a smile on my face I said,

 

“I tried to pass today off as just a misunderstanding, but my nanny is so stubborn that I had no choice. There must be a reason why the nanny kept being persistent. Right?”

 

When I asked softly, the nanny nodded.

 

“As the nanny said, maybe I’ve been wrong about people all this time…….”

 

The nanny’s face brightened a little at my mention.

 

“I’ll tell Stephen to investigate. He’ll check the rooms and see what he can find out.”

 

“!”

 

I said, trying to keep my face and voice as calm as possible.

 

“Whether additional missing items, or other peculiarities, the nanny just has to tell Stephen exactly what she told me earlier. Annie, if you want to prove your innocence, you’ll have to speak up.”

 

My words crossed the joys and sorrows of the nanny and Annie.

 

The nanny looked as if she had just heard a bolt from the blue, but Annie’s face brightened noticeably in comparison. Stephen was a strict but honest man.

 

He didn’t get along with the nanny, but he wouldn’t put his personal feelings into a public matter.

 

He would not do anything that would bring down a person unnecessarily.

 

However, Stephen is very persistent, so if he comes forward and investigates, something will definitely come out. Perhaps the past mistakes that had been passed without knowing could have been revealed. 

 

If they had something to hide, they would certainly want to avoid it, and if they were innocent, they didn’t need to be afraid.

 

Of course, ordinary people could be anxious about whether they had made a mistake in the meantime, even if they were not guilty of anything.

 

But even so, the nanny’s response now seemed excessive.

 

If my guess was correct, the nanny had been stealing for years and framing others for her crime.

 

Stephen was strict and principled, so he wouldn’t let it go.

 

‘Perhaps… he will report to the Duke.’

 

The Duke was generous to the people of his domain, but on the other hand, he was relentless and cold hearted. Because of this, the people respected him, but at the same time, they had a hard time.

 

If the Duke found out about the nanny’s mistake, there was no way he would sit on her sins. And if he decided to go directly out and deal with her, not even I could stop him.

 

“That’ll do, right?”

 

The nanny’s complexion turned pale.