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Lady Flynn and Lady Evans.
I don’t know whose mind the two of them came up with, but it’s never pleasant to be taken advantage of by someone.
Suddenly I lost my appetite, so I put down my teacup.
I didn’t even want to touch the delicious looking snacks in front of me anymore.
I had no intention of siding with them. But I also didn’t feel the need to stop them.
Roxana’s harassment of Claire didn’t happen a day or two, and it would be even weirder if I stepped up and helped her. With today’s events, people may assume that I am a selfish person who leads or stands by injustice.
But even if I were to step forward and help Claire, it would seem I was trying to please the Crown Prince.
Then people will either make a fuss that I have no self-respect, or they will try to find the hidden agenda behind my actions.
Even if I do help, I will only be misunderstood and suspected rather than thanked, so why would I want to go through the trouble?
In the end, no matter which way I choose, I cannot avoid people’s condemnation.
Being vilified for doing nothing was still something I wasn’t used to and it was frustrating. Still, if I had to choose between the two, I would rather be an evil woman who torments an innocent young lady than become a servile woman without pride who tries to please the Crown Prince.
“Rumors have been spreading among the people lately.”
“I’m sure everyone here has heard it at least once.”
The smile on Lady Flynn’s mouth deepened as Claire made an expression of not knowing what she was talking about.
“It’s rumored that Lady Dana is staying at home so as not to show that she was abandoned by the Crown Prince.”
I furrowed my eyebrows. Even Claire’s face hardened at Lady Evans’s insult.
“Lady Evans, you’re going too far. If you invited me to insult me, I’ll leave now.”
“What are you so angry about? I’m just telling you what I heard.”
“I can stand it when you insult me. But it’s outrageous, and I can’t stand it when you talk nonsense about the Crown Prince.”
Claire eventually couldn’t take it anymore and rose from her seat.
The smile had gone from her face. However, her tone was calm and her behavior did not seem impatient.
On the one hand, she looked amazing, remaining as calm as ever in the face of various insults.
I averted my gaze and locked eyes with Lady Evans, who was sitting in front of me. She spotted me and looked at Claire again, her eyes sparkling as if she had just discovered a prey.
I frowned a little in discomfort.
“That’s funny, Lady Dana. The Crown Prince’s fiancée is standing still, what are you so passionate about?”
“I’m not sure what you’re talking about. His Highness and I are just……”
“I understand your impatience, but isn’t it a bit much to hold a banquet and deceive everyone by selling His Highness’ name so that we would come?”
“Deceive? It seems that there is some kind of misunderstanding. “
“Lady Dana, it’s a dirty trick. No matter how hard you try, it doesn’t work, so are you trying to deny it now? “
At first, I was going to see how far this would go.
When I was silent for a long time, they acted as if I was invisible. I was getting sick and tired of watching this conversation with no nutritional value. Just as I was about to give them a proper warning and leave the table, Lady Evans said,
“It must be hard for you, Lady Dana. You made a big deal to deny the rumors, but everyone knew His Highness was with the Princess on your birthday ….”
At the words of Lady Evans, Claire glanced at me.
For the first time today, her expression wavered greatly.
Claire seemed to be in great shock when she found out what she didn’t know, and she looked terribly confused.
“Oh, you didn’t know? I feel sorry for you.”
Lady Evans covered her mouth with a fan.
Even without it, I could see how much her mouth was raised, hidden behind the fan. On the contrary, Claire’s complexion became so bad that it couldn’t get any worse. She stared at me with an angry face. She seemed to have yet to give up even though she was ignored by the Crown Prince.
“What Lady Evans just said is true?”
Claire asked me with a dazed look on her face.
It was funny.
Claire and Lady Flynn were not only fighting over the Crown Prince who had a fiancee, but even trying to question me.
“Whether it’s true or not, do I have to explain to Lady Dana that I was with the Crown Prince?”
Claire’s eyes darkened.
I could see her hand, which was gripping the hem of her skirt tightly, trembling finely.
As her expression grew worse and worse, people chattered, not missing a moment.
“This is a sincere advice for the sake of the Young Lady, the Crown Prince is already gone so you’d better find another way to live now.”
“I heard that Baron Delta recently divorced his wife and is now alone again, why don’t you try to work things out with him? If you want, I can arrange a meeting for you.”
“You can’t enter the Imperial Palace as a Lady, but the Baron’s wife would be quite possible.”
The terrible insults continued, but they didn’t seem to register well with Claire.
“I’d better be going.”
Claire stared at me, then said goodbye awkwardly with a stiff face and left.
“She’s really cocky. Isn’t she?”
After Claire left, the remaining people’s attention was focused on me. The Young Lady, who had teased Claire earlier about “other ways of life,” whispered to me as she looked at me, as if she was trying to get me to agree with her.
The sky had been cloudy all morning, and before I knew it, rain was falling down.
It looked like it would stop soon as the raindrops were not too heavy. But the tea party would have been ruined if they didn’t set up tents in advance.
I watched Claire slowly disappear with her maid and opened my mouth coldly
“It’s true. It’s too much.”
“As expected, the Princess thinks the same.”
The Young Lady’s face brightened at my answer.
I did not look at her, but turned my gaze toward Lady Evans. When her eyes met mine, she smiled, as if expecting a compliment. I looked at her and said with a cold face.
“Lady Evans. I’m well aware of your intentions when you invited me here. If I had known that this was the kind of seat I would not accept the invitation in the first place.”
Lady Evans looked flustered when she saw that my reaction was different than usual. She opened her mouth as if to excuse herself. However, I stood up before she could say anything.
“I think I’d better go now too. Let’s remember what happened today.”
Just then, a sharp scream came from the direction Claire had disappeared.
“What’s going on?”
I frowned. After the scream, there was a woman’s voice asking for help. People began to buzz anxiously at the unexpected commotion
“What’s going on?”
“Shall we go check it out?”
“I think we’d better do that.”
Lady Evans and several other ladies left their seats and walked to the direction of the sound.
‘Is this also planned?’
I looked at Lady Evans, and I could see that she was also surprised and dismayed. It didn’t look like an expression made up by a lie.
Lady Flynn also had a strange look on her face. When her eyes met mine, she crumpled her face in displeasure and turned away. I took slow steps and followed the others to where the voice rang.
There I found Claire lying at the bottom of the stairs of a building a short distance from the garden. The one who screamed was Claire’s maid. What had happened in the blink of an eye, Claire’s complexion was pale and her clothes were covered in dirt.
A murmur erupted once from the ladies who had discovered her appearance.
“Explain right away what the hell is going on.”
Lady Evans asked with a stern expression towards the servant who was standing nearby with a hard face. However, it was Claire’s maid who answered.
“Someone pushed My Lady down the stairs.”
Lady Evans wrinkled her face and shouted.
“That’s outrageous! Don’t talk nonsense.”
“I’m telling the truth. I saw it.”
Claire’s maid shouted triumphantly, and people began to sneak a look at Lady Evans.
Lady Evans’ servants pushed Claire down the stairs? That can’t be true.
I couldn’t believe the words of Claire’s maid. No matter how stupid and arrogant Lady Evans was, there was no way she would do something like this.
Claire was a guest at the mansion, officially invited by Lady Evans. Moreover, since the accident occurred at the Evans’ mansion, she could not escape responsibility either.
If there was a problem today, Count Evans would be solely responsible for it.
Perhaps she knew this too, and Lady Evans’ complexion turned pale.
She hesitated and ordered the other servants to call a doctor.
The rain was getting heavier. People went up to the top of the covered stairs to take shelter from the rain. While Annie went to get an umbrella, I stood there to see what was going on.
Now there was something strange about this situation.
Claire didn’t seem to be injured in any way, even though she just fell down the stairs.
The behavior of the maid who was by her side was also somewhat unnatural in that it appeared to be exaggerated. It was at that moment that I caught sight of a carriage heading towards the main gate. The carriage, led by six horses, had a large imperial crest engraved on it.
For a moment, the thought of “bad luck” crossed my mind. I wondered why Claire continued to endure the insults of the ladies and didn’t leave sooner but waited until now.
‘I wish I hadn’t come to this party in the first place…’
Well, there’s no point in regretting it now, is there? In addition, I didn’t know until I arrived that Claire was coming today.
Soon I could see people dressed in uniforms with the imperial crest engraved on them approaching.
I blinked tiredly.
Among the crowd, a person with a black umbrella approached me.
The medal on his chest glowed darkly on his white uniform with its eye-catching gold thread embroidery.
It was not the Crown Prince.
At the unfamiliar voice, I wrinkled my brow slightly and looked at the front.
Under the umbrella, which was as black as a crow’s wings, I could see the second Prince’s beautiful face. He looked alternately at me and Claire, who was lying on the ground, and asked with a curious look on his face.
“What is going on?”
At that moment, Claire’s maid cried out in a very unfair voice,
“It suddenly started to rain, so while I went to get an umbrella, someone pushed My Lady down the stairs!”