Chapter 5

 

 

Laura did not apologize to me until the end.

 

I think she was just perplexed. There were a few people who felt sorry for the crown prince who was engaged to me because Roxana was arrogant, insensitive, and speculative.

 

So far, Roxana has tormented people by believing in her status and position.

 

But in fact, Roxana was too generous to her people. That was why her nannies and maids behaved so cheekily in front of their masters. Roxana’s generosity and escapism made this situation what it is today.

 

‘What kind of servant ignores and makes fun of her master……..’

 

It was unimaginable in ordinary aristocratic families.

 

The atmosphere in the room became even heavier after Laura, who was the most intimate and dignified among the maidservants, was sent away.

 

The maids looked bewildered at the unexpected situation. I gazed at them and opened my mouth.

 

“Now, whose excuse should we hear next?”

 

There was silence for a few moments after I finished speaking.

 

Then the maids shouted out, without saying who was first.

 

“Miss, I’m sorry!”

 

The maids knelt down in front of me and apologized.

 

Unlike Laura, who tried to placate her master by treating her like a small whim or a mean child when her master pursued her about her mistake.

 

But that didn’t mean that their past was much different from Laura who was just kicked out.

 

They were still ignoring and deceiving their master, just to a lesser extent. If Laura was the mastermind, the rest of the maids were more like bystanders.

 

To be honest, at first I thought about kicking them all out.

 

But I quickly changed my mind.

 

With the exception of Laura, the rest of the maidservants had a vicious side to them, but not so much that I couldn’t tame them. Above all, the maidservants have a fierce side that was unique to the nobility. However, they were still immature children. It wouldn’t be too hard for me to deal with them.

 

Besides, there would be a lot of rumors in the social circles if I got rid of all the maidservants overnight, and even if the issue was excluded, Roxana, a high ranking noblewoman, couldn’t be without them.

 

And so, a new head maid should be selected, but after such a big fuss in the palace, it was very difficult.

 

Roxanna’s reputation in social circles had never been good, but the recent events had made it even worse.

 

On top of that, I jumped off the balcony of the Imperial Palace and injured myself badly, so I contributed greatly to the damage to her reputation.

 

In such a situation, what difference would it make if anyone came?

 

After all, it was rare to find a nobleman in the capital who didn’t mock or ignore her at least once. I’m sure there are a lot of people who are different inside and outside.

 

To choose a new head maid, one has to go through various complicated procedures.

 

The head butler was not the only one who was troubled by this process. Rather than that, it would be better to use someone who was familiar with the situation.

 

Since most of the work would be done by the servants anyway, it didn’t matter to me whether they were there or not, as long as they didn’t cause any serious problems.

 

And isn’t it too much trouble to fire all the maids and hire new ones?

 

I’m sure it will be the same no matter who comes.

 

So I decided to give the rest of them a chance, except Laura. They could either leave the Duke’s mansion like Laura, who was just kicked out, or they could stay and obey and be honest from now on…Actually, I didn’t really care that much either way. It was just a little annoying.

 

“…”

 

A heavy silence fell.

 

My heart was complicated when I saw the maids  on their knees trembling, unable to say a word, unable to raise their heads.

 

The Duke of Lillian was a longtime founding contributor, and his victories on the battlefield had taken his prestige to the sky in the Empire.

 

The people were enamored with him, the knights led by the Duke were powerful, and the surrounding countries did not dare to invade the empire. Because of this, even the noble imperial family was wary of him.

 

Roxana, the only daughter of such a family, was an invaluable person. Moreover, she was supposed to officially become a member of the royal family next year, when she held her coming-of-age ceremony. 

 

She would then become the most noble woman in the empire, except for the Empress, the Crown Prince’s mother.

 

 Not many people could publicly mock the royal family, no matter how disreputable and foolish they were.

 

Whether they liked it or not, the nobles would have to bow before her.

 

In time, she would naturally take her place as Empress.

 

When that happened, Roxana’s maids would no longer be the Princess’s maids, but the empress’ maids.

 

It was a great honor for the nobles to take care of the royal family.

 

Besides, considering the status of the maidservants, being the Empress’s maid was the most prestigious position they could ever dream of.

 

Normally, the maids of honor, daughters of the lower nobility, would not have dared to even speak to Roxana. However, Roxana treated them very well, considering them to be her own people, and they took advantage of her heart and looked down on her for giving them grace.

 

 If they were good people, or if they had any conscience at all, they would be grateful and thankful for what she was giving instead.

 

But they did not.

 

The maidservants had certainly looked down on Roxana and deceived her a few times.

 

They did not do the job they were assigned to properly.

 

They had no compassion or sense of duty asn went to the festival when Roxana, their owner, was lying on her sickbed.

 

But no matter how much they looked down on Roxana and hated her, it would be a shame to lose out on the Empress’s maid position right in front of their eyes.

 

The generous salary and honor given by the Duke would also play a strong role in changing their attitudes.

 

“What did you do wrong?”

 

When I asked, the maids looked at each other silently with troubled faces.

 

It was obvious that they were trying to use their brains to avoid the situation.

 

It was a pity to see the young girls turning pale and looking like they were about to cry in bewilderment.

 

But as I watched their changed attitude, I became more and more determined.

 

“If you don’t have anything to say, you can leave. I’ll tell Stephen.”

 

The faces of the maids turned even paler at my words.

 

The year before last, the head maid was evicted, and Stephen took over the management of the servants. Stephen was a very straightforward and strict man.

 

He didn’t get along with them, and they didn’t like him either.

 

If I were to tell Stephen what had happened today, it would be out of my control.

 

There would be no turning back then. Stephen’s work was delicate and tricky, so the maids might not just be kicked out like Laura did, but be questioned and punished.

 

Since Stephen was a close aide of the Duke, it was possible that he had reported to the Duke today. 

 

The Duke always seemed like a heartless father, but from what he had done for Roxana over the past few years, it was clear that he cared for his daughter very much.

 

His long wanderings on the battlefield had given him a bleak mood, and in handling his work, the Duke was silent and very generous to his servants and the people of his domain. 

 

But people were afraid of him and had a hard time with him because of his determined, sword-like attitude. So the maids were not trying to please me right now out of remorse for the behavior they had shown so far or out of fear of me, they were trying to escape the situation at hand for the sake of their own future. But even they, who had no qualms about the master in front of them, should be afraid of the Duke.

 

So my words were nothing but a stern threat. It was also the easiest and quickest way to get them to open their mouths.

 

“My Lady! I’m sorry!”

 

“I’m so sorry that I took Laura’s invitation and left you unattended. I’m sorry I left our work to the maid instead and…….”

 

Tien and Joan continued to talk in tears.

 

From the looks of it, they were indeed afraid of the Duke.

 

“And?”

 

When I asked, Tien’s face looked devastated.

 

She bit her lips in frustration, as if she didn’t know what to say.

 

Next to her, Joan was sitting like she was dead. She looked nervously at me as she ripped her nails.

 

Before I could open my mouth again, Tien spoke first.

 

She apologized for every little thing she said, from recent to past events.

 

Joan finally opened her mouth when Tien finished.

 

There had been more than one or two incidents of disrespect they had committed against Roxana. They were also not punished for their actions or mistakes, which they knew were their faults, so they moved on as naturally as water flows.

 

As the conversation grew longer, their faces became more distorted.

 

I sneered at them, their faces turned pale and their lips quivering.

 

“If it was an unintentional act, I would just give a warning, and if you don’t fix it afterwards, I would punish you then. But you did it even though you knew it was wrong so I have nothing more to say.”

 

I finished talking and turned around.

 

Then Tien grabbed the hem of my skirt with an impatient look on her face.

 

“Miss, wait a minute! Please go ahead and …… punish me.”

 

I shook her hand away as I stared at her coldly.

 

“Today’s punishment will be based on your future behavior.”

 

Relief washed over Tien’s face. However, she didn’t seem happy.

 

“You should leave now.”

 

I gave them an order.

 

Unable to stand it, they awkwardly got up.

 

“Get some rest, young lady.”

 

I did not answer.

 

Looking at the backs of the drooping maids, I instructed Annie to close the door.

 

I did not say that I would fire the maids. I didn’t say anything about getting angry or punishing them. But I also did not say it was okay.

The maidservants eventually left without being forgiven to the end.

 

If I were to punish them, they would have a hard time. Though I considered they had paid for their sins with what I did earlier.

 

But compared to what Roxana had been through, the maidservants’ hardships were only a moment.

 

I had no intention of easing their minds.

 

Therefore, I would not forgive them either.

 

It was not my role to forgive them, so what does it matter to me what they are thinking in their hearts or what they sincerely regret?

 

‘There’s already no one in the world who really needs to be apologized to.’

 

I looked out the window feeling bitter.

 

The only reason I was pursuing the maidservants now was to clarify the hierarchy. I wanted to make sure they knew where they were, and at the same time remind them of their duty. 

 

It was as simple as that.

 

With Roxana’s power and position, most people were bound to bow before her.

 

Of course, using this method would have a negative impact on her reputation. But for the future, it was better this way.

 

Roxana’s reputation was near disaster anyway, and it looked like there was nowhere else to go. I was rather glad about that.

 

Because it meant that I didn’t have to be so careful about my actions and pour so much meaningless sincerity into a reputation that wasn’t even mine.

 

People would generally leave it at that, even if I acted on my own.

 

I looked at my bandaged hand. The pain wasn’t much but it felt stuffy.

 

I put my fingers inside the bandage to create a space between the bandage and the skin. 

 

Then the bandage loosened a little, and it was cooler as the wind blew through the open space.

 

 There were still bruises on my thin, white wrist.

 

It was a gift from the Crown Prince on the day I first fell into this world.