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The voice she heard was thick with bewilderment, and it didn’t belong to the Crown Prince. Startled by the unfamiliar voice, Claire hurriedly sat up and looked in the direction of the sound. There was a young nobleman with a familiar face standing there.
Claire looked at Baron Cheston with a dismayed face.
Baron Cheston was the Crown Prince’s aide. But, why was he in her room?
Claire was perplexed.
However, Baron Cheston also looked as flustered as she was. His eyes met Claire’s, and he turned away hastily, his face flushed.
The young baron’s innocent reaction made her frown, Claire frowned as she belatedly noticed her appearance.
Lying on the bed in her nightgown, it was certainly not an appropriate appearance to be seen by others.
The nanny, who came in one step later with a tray of tea and simple snacks, looked surprised to see the situation in front of her.
The nanny immediately grasped the situation and placed the tray in her hand on the table. She then pulled the coat that was hanging on the chair over Claire’s body to hide her pajamas.
Claire was embarrassed and angry about showing her embarrassing appearance to others. However, as a Baron’s daughter, she couldn’t be angry with the Crown Prince’s aide, let alone the Crown Prince.
Besides, she was the one who allowed Baron Cheston to come in.
After calming her anger, Claire adjusted her expression and said in a cheerful voice,
“You can turn around now.”
Once her permission was granted, Baron Cheston coughed with an embarrassed expression.
Claire left him as he was, and walked over to the sofa and sat down. Then Baron Cheston sat down on the opposite side.
The nanny poured the tea then stood beside Claire.
“What brings you here?”
“I’m here by order of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince.”
“His Highness didn’t come?”
“His Highness was too busy with his political duties to come in person.”
“…… I see.”
Claire nodded with disappointment even though she tried to hide it. Baron Cheston had a servant bring in something. Soon after the servant brought the item, he held it out to Claire.
“It’s from His Highness.”
The object that Baron Cheston brought was a bouquet of flowers.
The bouquet was filled with precious flowers that the gardener of the Imperial Palace had taken special care of.
The Crown Prince, remembering Claire’s love of flowers, had instructed Baron Cheston to give it to Claire as a gift.
The flowers that bloomed in the imperial gardens were often precious in variety and were exceptionally fresh and beautiful, incomparable to the flowers sold in the market.
However, since the flowers were the property of the imperial family, most of the people who were not members of the royal family could not have them even if they wanted to.
However, despite the precious gift, Claire was not happy in the least.
Did the Crown Prince think that such a gift would make her feel better?
Claire couldn’t help but feel sad because her heartless lover, who had never shown up to see her when she was sick, now sent someone else instead.
“ Please say thank you to His Highness.”
Claire said without a soul. Unlike her usual lively appearance, Baron Cheston asked, feeling strange about her unusually weak appearance today.
“Um, …… Young Lady, is there something wrong? You don’t look so good today.”
Claire narrowed her eyes and looked at Baron Cheston.
There was a lot more to it than that.
The gentle and attentive Crown Prince continued to neglect her these days. Despite the fact that this was the only thing that had changed, her daily life had not been going well lately. Lately, Claire had refrained from any serious social activities, claiming that she was sick.
Because going to big events or banquets she needed a partner. Lately, the Crown Prince had been very busy, which made it difficult for her to even see his face let alone take her to a banquet.
Therefore, it was not easy for them to spend time together as they used to.
But then again, she couldn’t avoid it forever. Moreover, some people noticed that the Crown Prince’s attitude had changed and openly quarrelled with her.
However, she couldn’t say the truth.
She and the Crown Prince were not on equal footing, and she was not his official lover. But if she was to express her dissatisfaction with the change in his attitude, who would side with her?
“It’s nothing. It’s just………….”
Claire covered her mouth with a handkerchief and gave a small cough.
Baron Cheston looked at her with an even more worried look on his face.
“Are you all right?”
Claire nodded in response to Baron Cheston’s anxious question. Her eyes were red and her long eyelashes were watery.
Baron Cheston’s heart became heavier when Claire tried to answer that she was okay, although it didn’t seem like it.
“It’s just a mild cold. It was almost gone, but it was because of the cold water I was doused with yesterday.”
“What do you mean, Young Lady doused with cold water….?”
Baron Cheston looked at her suspiciously.
At this, Claire opened her eyes in surprise and smiled awkwardly. By all accounts she looked flustered, and Baron Cheston frowned at her impression.
“It was a mistake.”
“Who bullied Young Lady?”
At Baron Cheston’s straightforward question, Claire’s gloomy gaze fell on him, and perhaps fearing retaliation, Claire seemed reluctant to reply. Beloved by the Crown Prince in social circles more than his fiancée, the Princess, Claire’s name was always a topic of conversation.
Therefore, there were countless people who were jealous of or dissatisfied with Claire, not only the Princess but also other people besides her.
Standing out in the social world was a double-edged sword. It was all right if she had a high status and reliable backing like a princess, but Claire was powerless to protect herself with her low status.
She must have suffered a lot of humiliation in unnoticed places.
But pouring cold water on a sick person? That was clearly an outrageous act.
Looking at the fragile beauty in front of him, Baron Cheston was even more heartbroken.
He frowned and asked in a slightly excited voice.
“If Young Lady tells me who bullied you, I will tell His Highness and make sure it never happens again.”
“No, that won’t be necessary. I don’t want anyone else to be harmed because of me.”
At Baron Cheston’s determined voice, Claire shook her head. When he gave her a pensive look, she added.
“I’m really fine. It’s just the way it always is.”
Baron Cheston sighed at Claire’s distressed demeanor.
It was good to be nice to people, but it wasn’t so good to be as soft hearted as the Young Lady in social circles. In social circles where people were arrogant and liked to look down on others, she had to be suitably ferocious to survive.
“I’ll keep it a secret from His Highness, so why don’t you tell me what happened?”
Baron Cheston asked in a kind voice, trying to soothe the gloomy-faced Claire.
Of course, he was lying when he said that he would keep it a secret from the Crown Prince.
Claire’s heart was generous, even for what people had put her through, so he couldn’t help but have to tell the Crown Prince about the situation.
It hurt his conscience to deceive a pure girl, but Baron Cheston rationalized that telling the Crown Prince would be better for her. Claire seemed to be troubled by his words for a while, but soon spoke cautiously.
“Yesterday, I attended a tea party hosted by Count Milanov’s Young Lady. I was invited, but as soon as I arrived, I could immediately tell what purpose she had called me for.”
“Everyone ignored me, taunted me. They told me that my future will not be smooth now that I have been abandoned by the Crown Prince. As I crossed the yard and headed back, someone upstairs poured a bucket of water on me.”
“And you didn’t see who did it?”
Baron Cheston frowned.
Seeing his expression, Claire spoke in a sad voice.
“I can understand Princess Lillian’s hatred of me. However, no matter how much……..”
It was a well known fact that Princess Lillian hated Young Lady Dana.
But why was the Princess mentioned here? Baron Cheston was sincerely curious.
“Was the Princess there as well?”
When Claire shook her head, Baron Cheston asked even more suspiciously.
“Do you think that perhaps the Princess was the one who ordered that person to do it?”
“Can I know why you thought so?”
“Because Lady Milanov is a close friend of the Princess, so many Princess’ friends there.”
Claire replied in a small but clear voice. Her voice was full of conviction. Hearing Claire’s words, Baron Cheston was lost in thought.
He couldn’t remember for sure if Lady Milanov was close to Princess Lillian.
However, the Princess had always been mean to Claire, and had never hesitated to pour wine over her head or raise her hand when Claire didn’t even do anything.
It seemed a bit outlandish at first, but it wasn’t strange for Claire to point to the Princess as the prime suspect of this incident.
Seeing Baron Cheston’s face grow darker, Claire added.
“Really, please don’t tell His Highness. His Highness is a kind man, and I think he would be worried if he knew that I was ill. I don’t want him to worry about me when he is so busy.”
When she finished speaking, Claire smiled slightly, as if she was really okay. Baron Cheston looked at her with a sad face, and then drank his tea with a complicated expression.
“By the way, I want to ask you a favor…..”
“Please say it.”
“It’s not a big deal, but it’s my birthday soon. So I’m planning to hold a small banquet, can you ask if His Highness can come?”
“When will the banquet be held?”
“Fifteen days from now.”
Half a month from now would be just the right amount of free time, and the Crown Prince would be more than willing to accept.
Baron Cheston nodded without thinking too much.
“I understand. I’ll let him know. We don’t have much on schedule that day, so I’m sure His Highness will be able to attend.”
After Baron Cheston left, Claire felt relaxed, sitting on the sofa and drinking tea. She thought of the face of the young innocent Baron Cheston she talked to earlier and laughed.
Baron Cheston said that he would keep it a secret from the Crown Prince, but Claire knew for a fact that he would tell the Crown Prince everything he heard today.
Baron Chesterton seemed to like her, so if he could convey her words to the Crown Prince well, it would surely bring good results.
The Crown Prince would suspect the Princess and sympathize with her. (Claire)
Just as it has always been. It wasn’t too difficult to deal with an evil woman as foolish as the princess.
So there was nothing to worry about.