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“I didn’t think it was possible from afar, but it is. From the looks of it, you’re in a very difficult situation.”
Claire Dana was a person whom the nanny was very admired.
Claire was looking down at her with such a generous face.
The thought that Claire had uncovered her shameful part hurt her last remaining pride. Viscountess Willis tried not to deal with her, so she lifted her face with difficulty.
“Is it a problem with your children?”
Claire asked softly, smiling. She looked as if she knew everything.
She squeezed Viscountess Willis’s hand and said,
“If that’s the case, I think I can help you.”
Claire’s words were full of meaning.
“It’s fine.” (Viscountess)
“‘Then there’s nothing we can do. I didn’t mean to coerce you from the start, so do as you please.” (Claire)
When the Viscountess refused, Claire released her hand from my grip without regrets. Her relaxed demeanor made the Viscountess feel complicated. Before leaving, Claire said as she handed her a handkerchief for the last time.
“But if you need my help, you can always come to Baron Dana’s residence. I’ll be waiting.” (Claire)
Claire Dana was a rival with the young lady the Viscountess served.
Roxana hated Claire terribly and despised her as a vulgar person.
It was all too complicated for Claire to be so kind to her*. (*the Viscountess)
Claire found her sitting on the side of the road, crying, and approached her first.
She approached her, handed her a handkerchief and comforted her.
She then told her she would help if the Viscountess ever needed help in the future.
All of this out of simple compassion and kindness?
It shouldn’t be.
It was just an assumption, but Claire’s way of speaking, it seemed like she already had some knowledge of the Viscountess’ situation.
Everything about Claire was suspicious to Viscountess Willis.
As a mother with a daughter herself, and as someone’s wife, she didn’t like Claire being a parasite following someone else’s fiancé.
She was also the biggest enemy of the young lady she had raised with her own hands for a long time. Accepting Claire’s help was nothing short of betraying Roxana.
Roxana had turned her back on her in the end, but it was also true that she had received a lot of help from Roxana so far.
Viscountess Willis looked down at the handkerchief in her hand for a moment, then quickly tossed it to the floor.
When I returned to the villa, I sensed that there was something noisier than usual.
Wondering what could possibly have happened, I grabbed a passing servant and asked him, and got the answer that it was because the head maid was back.
I went straight to Stephen. I knocked on the door and went inside to find the two of them sitting on the couch, drinking tea and talking.
The middle-aged woman sitting across from Stephen, she was the head maid.
‘’It’s been a long time, young lady.”
I called her name awkwardly.
The maid smiled at me in response.
When I saw her smile, my mind became more complicated.
The head maid always said all the right things to Roxana.
Roxana felt frustrated being with her.
And the year before last, there was an argument between the nanny and the head maid. When Roxana heard the news and went to the place where the two were, the nanny was crying holding her cheek.
The lump that had been building up between the head maid, who had always been unhappy with the nanny, and the nanny, who was always dissatisfied with her, exploded.
The nanny who was soft like the tongue in her mouth and the head maid who was hard on everything.
It was obvious whose side Roxana was on. Eventually, that day, the head maid left the Duke’s mansion.
She was sent down from her family home in the capital to the provinces to take charge of the affairs of the other mansions in the dukedom, and she was practically an outcast.
After the head maid left, the behavior of the maids became more and more unchecked day by day. They often quarreled with the maids who pretended to be the owners of this house, and they quarreled with the nanny and were vicious.
Roxana sent her away, who had been working in the mansion for a long time. She must feel unfair, so I assumed that she resented me to some extent.
But the way she looked at me now was as warm as ever.
Looking at her face, which was the same as before, strangely made me speechless.
It had been a long time since I had seen her, and I wanted to say hello to her, but strangely enough, I couldn’t say anything.
“I’ll leave so you two can talk at ease.” (Stephen)
Stephen spoke with a smiling face and stood up while I was thinking what to say.
After he left, I sat down and the maid poured me a cup of tea.
“How have you been?”
“Well, Krita is a nice place too, though it doesn’t compare to the glamour of the capital. Thanks to your care, I’ve been very comfortable.”
“Is that right?”
I sipped my tea and studied Sarah’s face.
When she made eye contact with me, she held my hand with a face that seemed really okay.
“I know you cared about me, young lady. I’m fine, so there’s no need to feel guilty.”
Ever since Sarah was kicked out of the mansion, Roxana gave various instructions to help her live comfortably, as if she was concerned about her.
Even so, it seemed unpleasant enough for Sarah, who was kicked out without any charges. But the look on her face was sincere.
When I think about it, the head maid was one of the few people who truly cared about Roxana and gave her advice.
Of course, that was what made Roxana uncomfortable.
“Thank you for coming back. I look forward to working with you again.”
There were no immediate noticeable changes after Sarah’s return. However, the maids of honor were more careful about what they said and did than before, and it was the same for me.
Sarah was a strict person, and her affectionate nagging sometimes made me tired. But my life certainly seemed to be more vibrant than before.
After a simple breakfast, I looked around the garden and returned to the room. The atmosphere in the room felt more uncomfortable than usual.
When I walked in, the maids saw me and panicked.
The maids handed me a letter that had just arrived. I accepted it and looked at the envelope.
The pattern printed on the white envelope was unlike anything I had ever seen before.
‘Who sent this?’
I looked at the back of the letter envelope with curiosity.
In the lower right corner of the back of the envelope was the name ‘Claire Dana.’
I didn’t recognize the Dana family’s seal at first, but as soon as I saw the name, I knew.
Why did Claire, of all people, send me a letter?
It was only natural that the maids were perplexed.
The peaceful routine that had been going on for some time was slowly cracking and I could hear it in my ears. I sat down on the couch and opened the envelope to see what was inside.
I felt Tien glancing at the letter, but I just let it go.
Inside the envelope was a stiff card.
With an elegant handwriting on a white sheet of paper, it said that Baron Dana was throwing a birthday party for Claire and that I was invited.
It was common for nobles to send me invitations to their own banquets, either because they wanted to flatter me even if they weren’t close to me, or because they thought it would be clever to get close to the Duke.
However, no matter how common it was, it felt different because the opponent was Claire.
However, no matter how common it was, it felt different because the person I was dealing with was Claire.
Since she began to make a name for herself in society, the Dana family had often held banquets for various reasons.
But they had never sent me an invitation before.
‘What does she want…?’
I thought as I looked at the invitation in front of me.
This could simply be an attempt to provoke me, or it could be something they want to show me. If I were to accept Claire’s invitation and attend the banquet, that alone would attract a lot of attention.
Roxana would never have passed up an invitation like this when she received it, she would have attended. She wasn’t one to overlook such things, and she wouldn’t want to miss the Crown Prince who would surely attend.
The Crown Prince’s official fiancée and unofficial lover would be all in one place. This kind of childish lasciviousness should be entertaining enough for people.
It would draw even more attention to Claire, and if anything happened, my name would be the first to be mentioned.
“What does it say, young lady?”
As I sat still and looked at the invitation in my hand, Annie brought the tea over and asked.
“Baron Dana’s daughter is inviting me to her birthday banquet.”
I put the invitation on the table and answered. It wasn’t a big secret, and I didn’t feel the need to hide it.
Annie seemed surprised by my words, and the reactions of the maids were not very different.
However, unlike Annie, who looked surprised and kept her mouth shut, the maids made a fuss in indignant voices.
“Why is she such a shameless woman?”
“Because of that woman, how badly was the young lady humiliated the other day!”
Joan knew she made a mistake, so she hurriedly stop talking.
What she meant was that the Crown Prince was angry with me for Claire the day I fell off the terrace of the Imperial Palace.
Of course, what happened that day was not a good memory for me either.
But now that time had passed, I could ignore it as appropriate. Besides, it wasn’t like Joan was trying to say such a thing with bad intentions.
Since I had behaved reasonably seriously after kicking Laura out, I could overlook this level of mistake for once. Since I didn’t show any reaction, she sneaked up to my side, looking at me.
“You’re not going, are you, young lady?”
“Well…. What should I do?”
I replied, lifting the teacup in front of me.
“Of course, you don’t have to go.”
Tien spoke crisply, a look of frustration on her face.
Joan and Annie nodded.
I could understand their reaction, since it was always Roxana who lost when she bumped into Claire.
I took a sip of my tea.
With my carefree attitude, the maids seemed to want to say a few more things.
But then the head maid came into the room, and that was the end of the conversation. Perhaps Sarah was still uncomfortable, the maids quickly parted, looking at each other.
Left alone in an instant, I emptied the teacup cleanly. At first, a clear, pale green tea was sweet, but at the end, it tasted bitter. When I finished the tea, Sarah came over to me and cleared the table.
“Young lady, eating too many sweets is not good for you. The cook says you eat less and less these days, and only snacks with no nutritional value, which you will regret when you get older. You have to take care of your body steadily from an early age.”
I quietly got up from my seat with the birthday invitation to avoid her nagging and approached the window.
Fresh air came in through the slightly opened window. I soon sat in front of my desk while enjoying the beautiful scenery from the window.
My peaceful life was over now. Even though I didn’t know what Claire had prepared for me, I couldn’t overlook it if it had anything to do with me.
I put the invitation in the drawer and closed it.