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The situation was quickly settled once those involved were taken away. The people who were watching, also scattered.
I looked at Elvin, who was still in the room.
“Thanks for your help, Young Master Croix. The problem was solved easier.”
“I was worried that I would interfere, but I’m glad it helped.”
“What do you mean ‘interfere’? I won’t forget today and will repay you.”
“What will you do to repay me?”
I was speechless for a moment because I didn’t expect Elvin to grab the tail in this way just after making a conversation? Come to think of it, I had received a lot from him so far.
However, Elvin had a higher status than me and had superior abilities.
Since he had a large organization, there were also a lot of talented people and wealth under Elvin. Whatever I could give to Elvin, he might already have it.
“Is there anything else you would like?”
In a cold aristocratic society, there was no way he could help others without any purpose. In the meantime, I had received a lot of things from him, and on the one hand, I’ve been wondering why he had been helping me. It felt complicated to think that I could finally hear the reason. However, unlike me who was serious, Elvin still had a light face.
“It was a joke, so you don’t have to look so serious.”
Elvin looked at me with a smile on his face.
The curled corners of his eyes were like a crescent moon. I was momentarily stunned. Even when he was expressionless, I thought he was already very handsome, but his smile was even more outstanding. Even now, looking at his temperament to attract people, Elvin was one step ahead of Claire. If he had been born as a woman, or if his personality had been a little more docile, courtships would have flowed endlessly into the Grand Duchy of Croix.
“The gift was well received. I liked it very much. The person who picked it seems to have a very good eye, did you choose it yourself?”
If it was a gift, he must have been referring to the brooch delivered through Noah some time ago.
‘Obviously it came with a pendant.’
It was then that I found the pendant on Elvin’s neck. But the brooch was nowhere to be seen.
“I just picked what I recommended, and I’m glad that you liked it.”
I struggled to keep a smile on my face.
I knew he wasn’t the type to be conscious of others, but doesn’t he care if people will listen?
Even though there was no more commotion, there were still other people in the room. It was not good if people knew that I and Elvin exchanged gifts in private.
I narrowed my eyes and looked at Elvin. He still had a calm face. However, there was no reason that the owner of a large organization was so ignorant of it. I didn’t know if it was intentionally making me uncomfortable or if there was some other hidden political intention.
“Then I will leave first. Have a great time.”
For some reason, it was uncomfortable to face Elvin, so I said goodbye. Evin nodded with a slightly disappointed face.
“May the princess have a good time too.”
I left with the maids and Annie. After I left the lounge and walked a little down the hallway, my mind calmed down a little.
“If she* was kicked out for stealing, she should be able to be a little quiet. Even if she had a grudge against Annie, how could she solve it this way!” (*she=the nanny)
Joan murmured in anger.
Tien also frowned and nodded, as if agreeing with her words.
“She hurts the Lady too. She’s really toxic! Why didn’t I know before that Viscountess Willis was such a vicious person?”
“It must have been that she was good at acting. Even if she casually blamed others for her sins, she’s been eating well and living well for years. She was that kind of person in the first place.”
I stopped in a quiet place without responding to the words of the maids. It was quiet around the open corridor and there was a garden right next to it, so the scenery was nice. I came to my senses belatedly while looking at the bushes with unknown red flowers. It was then that I decided to look back.
There was one other person besides the maids who were angry over the previous incident.
Annie has been following me quietly since before. The person who was surprised the most was Annie, but a lot of things happened and I actually forgot about her.
Feeling sorry, I looked at Annie with a soft gaze. Annie couldn’t look at my face. Her body was shaking a little as she stood still with her head bowed.
“Are you okay? If you’re sick, it’s okay to go somewhere quiet and rest for a while. I’ll assign someone to you, so there won’t be any problems like before.”
“It’s okay. You don’t need to be so considerate to me. After all, I am just a maid.”
Annie’s face was still full of fear.
If the false accusation against Annie wasn’t removed earlier, she would have been taken away as a thief. I did not know how they would punish those who stole from the Imperial Palace. If the severity was heavy, they might cut off her wrist, or wounds that would not be erased for life during torture, or she could have died.
Anyone would be afraid to think that such a catastrophe had almost happened to them a while ago. I looked at Annie with a sad face.
“You must have been very surprised. I was not careful and you almost got into trouble.”
“No. If it wasn’t for the Lady, I’d be…”
As if reminiscing about what had happened earlier, Annie’s face, which had been pale, grew even whiter.
“I’m sorry about the work of Viscountess Willis. If it wasn’t because of me, she wouldn’t have done this.” (Annie)
“Why are you apologizing? There are other people who actually sinned.”
I was genuinely puzzled and asked.
Annie was silent for a moment. I noticed that the corners of her eyes were a little red. But I could not offer consolation hastily.
“It’s hard to find someone as good as the Lady in the world, so I’m truly happy to serve you.”
I wasn’t that good. As I myself knew that fact, I felt somewhat warmed by Annie’s praise.
“Today, your flattery is too much. If other people hear it, they will laugh at me.”
“It’s not flattery. The Lady is a very good person.”
Annie flatly denied my words.
“The Lady saved my life, so I will be loyal to you for the rest of my life.”
Annie suddenly knelt in front of me.
The maids also had bewildered faces, but I was also greatly surprised.
If other people see this scene now, they will think she’s taking a knightly oath. I had never heard of a maid taking such an oath.
But now Annie’s face was serious and determined. I looked down at her with a complicated gaze.
‘It wouldn’t hurt to have at least one loyal close assistant, but…… Can I trust her?’
Trusting someone completely required a lot of determination.
Annie was clearly a sincere and honest person. Even Roxana’s lifelong nanny betrayed her easily and stabbed her in the back. So I wasn’t sure if I could trust Annie, whom I had just known for a while.
“Can I believe that now?” (Roxana)
The woman who took care of me when I was a child, who is now deceased, always said one must return the favor. If we don’t, is there any difference between a human being and a beast?” (Annie)
Annie’s expression was much better than before.
She looked straight into my eyes.
Annie’s eyes were brighter and clearer than ever. It was a little different from the way she always politely lowered her head.
Because of that, I could get a glimpse of the seriousness contained within.
It was against etiquette for the servants to make direct eye contact with the owner. However, I did not intend to point out her politeness in this situation.
“The young lady has helped me many times, so repaying the grace for the rest of my life will not be enough. I will live the rest of my life for you.”
“There is no need for such a grand oath. You live your life for you but you can’t betray me. Do you understand?”
“I swear to heaven. If I betray you, I have broken my oath to God, and I will never die well.”
Hearing Annie’s strong vow, the maids looked a little awkward. I also felt burdened.
But it was better to be certain than to be swayed to and fro with a vague mind. We’ll, I’ll have to watch a bit more to find out.
“Get up now.”
Annie gently brushed her knees and got up from the floor.
We moved on again. Annie had a calm face.
She seemed at ease, with no signs of surprise or fear anymore.
Compared to her, the maids looked somewhat awkward and uncomfortable.
But I was so absorbed in other thoughts that I couldn’t care about them.
‘Elvin Croix, what is he thinking?’
I couldn’t quite understand it.
He showed up to help me every time there was trouble.
Is there someone who is that good in the world?
Moreover, I heard that Elvin wasn’t such a benevolent person. If coincidences continue, it’s normal to have doubts, but with Elvin, I already….
“By the way….”
Suddenly, Joan looked at me and spoke.
“I saw earlier. Young Master Croix is really different from the rumors.”
I paused for a moment at Joan’s words.
“His appearance is outstanding and I think he has a good personality. As expected, rumors are unbelievable.”
“I know. At first I was scared when I heard the bad rumors about him, but I guess it was all just rumors. In the end, it was good that he helped us.”
“It’s a hundred times better than those rumors. What do you think, Lady?”
Joan looked at me and asked.
I know it was unintentional, but I needed to be careful about what I said in the Imperial Palace. But before I opened my mouth, Tien, who was chatting with Joan, spoke first.
“Joan, I know you’re a chatterbox, but be a little more careful. This is the Imperial Palace. If your words get into other people’s ears now, nothing good will happen to the Lady, and only bad things will happen to you.”
Tien looked around and gave a little attention.
Then Joan looked around with a surprised face as if she was concerned about her surroundings just now. Then, after confirming that there was no one around except us, she made a relieved face.
“By the way, Lady, why did Young Master Croix pick up a button that the maid dropped and keep it with him? As far as I know, he has mysophobia. By any chance, he…”
Joan blurred the end of her speech with a suspicious face.
‘Come to think of it…’
As Joan said, it was really strange.
‘Even if it was suspicious, why did he pick up a button dropped by someone else and keep it?’
I couldn’t shake my doubts.
I thought about it for a while and then self-helped.
As incidents and accidents occur every day, it seems that my suspicions have grown too much without me realizing it.
No matter how brilliant and quick-witted Elvin was, there was no way that he knew this was going to happen from the beginning and kept that button as evidence.
Joan looked around and whispered.
“He didn’t pick up Lady Dana’s maid’s button because he likes her, did he? Then they can meet naturally with the excuse of giving it back.”
I was an idiot for thinking deeply about Joan’s words even for a moment.
I shook my head. Tien, who was walking next to her, also looked at Joan with a pathetic face.
“It can’t be. If he wants to meet her, he could have asked her to dance and sent a letter. Why would he pick up the maid’s button?”
“And what did I say about Lady Dana? That woman is sneaky.
No one would like a fox like that, except for some stupid men.”
Tien sighed and shut her mouth as if she realized her mistakes belatedly.
As if surprised by what she had said, I finally burst into laughter as I watched her look around with her eyes wide open.
“What did you say to me earlier? You better be careful with your words. If the Crown Prince heard what you just said…”
“I know. So be quiet.”
Tien turned her head with an angry face.
Her earlobes were red from embarrassment. Annie was still walking quietly behind me.
As a commoner, it was definitely difficult for her to get along with the maids who were noble ladies.
But I guess Annie was thinking the same thing.
“Then is it really a coincidence?”
“If you don’t think so, is there any way to explain it? How could he know this will happen and keep the button in advance?”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a coincidence or not. But what’s important is that the wicked are punished. Maybe people will realize something about this. It should have removed her bare face properly this time.”
I looked forward again and thought.
Elvin and Claire? No matter how I thought about it, it was an inconsistent combination.
Since Elvin was very smart, he could see Claire’s obvious tricks in his eyes. Unlike the Crown Prince, Claire’s soft and good acting would not work on Elvin. There didn’t seem to be any interest or liking in Elvin’s gaze, looking at Claire earlier.
“Anyway, Joan, how crazy are you? Let’s think. If someone like him who doesn’t like to be bothered dared to do something like this…….”
Tien looked at me. I was momentarily anxious.
“It must be for our Lady.”