Chapter 12

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“M-My lady. I think you’ll have to wait for a bit. Lady Blanche had just left the mansion with Young Master.”

 

“What? Blanche went out?”

 

It was no wonder why Mariette was surprised. The Marquis only allowed Blanche to go out once or twice a year.

 

Needless to say, it was because Blanche was a shame for the family.

 

The maid murmured.

 

“Yes. However… No, nothing.”

 

Mariette reacted sensitively.

 

“What do you mean nothing? You just hesitated. If you’re hesitating, that means it is not nothing. Tell me. What is it?”

 

“Well it’s strange … .”

 

“What is?”

 

The maid who hesitated softly spoke.

 

“The bedding disappeared from the second lady’s bed. When I went there, only the mattress was left. The reason why this is weird is… I washed and dried the bedding for Lady Blanche yesterday.….”

 

After hearing those words, an ominous feeling ran through the back of Mariette’s head.

 

‘No way…!’

 

She didn’t have any more patience left in her. She ran straight to Blanche’s room, clutching her dress with both hands.

 

It didn’t take long for her quick steps, which were close to running, to cross the hallway.

 

In comparison to her own room, Blanche’s bedroom looked like a stable. Mariette began to search.

 

The brown-haired maid who had followed her, asked.

 

“My lady. Shall I search the room too? What should I look for?”

 

“What to look for? We’re here to find what’s missing! Do you understand?”

 

“Yes? But I don’t know much about Lady Blanche’s belongings.”

 

“You’re frustrating!”

 

Mariette clenched her teeth.

 

“Check if there’s anything she took that can be used when running away! Hurry!”

 

Her prediction was correct. There was no comb in Blanche’s dressing drawer, no towels and soap in the sink, and no blankets on the bed, as her maid said.

 

Mariette made a face that looked like she was on fire.

 

“No! We have to stop her!”

 

She ran straight to the Marquis’ office. Mariette exclaimed as she slammed the door to the office without greeting or announcing her visit.

 

“Dad! Blanche ran away!”

 

The Marquis let out a deep sigh as he looked at Mariette breathing on his shoulder. He looked severely irritated as he swept his hand over his forehead.

 

“Mariette. Why are you so immature? Are you accusing that poor girl again? Huh?!”

 

Mariette’s shoulders trembled involuntarily as the Marquis shouted.

 

“I’m not accusing her! No, this time, this time it’s real!”

 

Clicking his tongue, the Marquis looked at the documents on his desk again.

 

Ssk Ssk Ssk

 

The sound of the pen writing on the document made Mariette scream, out of resentment.

 

“Dad! You have to believe me! You have to trust me this time!”

 

“I must have raised you wrong.”

 

“Dad!”

 

“Stop it, Mariette! Blanche didn’t run away. She went on an outing with Pierre to the downtown area!”

 

“No, Dad! Daddy was tricked! We’re about to be kicked out to the streets!”

 

The Marquis was so upset that he even got a headache.

 

“Mariette! Watch your words! Who would dare throw us to the streets…!”

 

Fearing that the servants would hear the argument, the Marquis stood up without speaking and closed the door to his office.

 

Holding the hem of the Marquis’ sleeve, Mariette implored.

 

“Dad! Listen to me. I came to check on her. There are no blankets in Blanche’s room. The comb and towels are gone. Besides, I asked her maid and she said all her undergarments were gone too!”

 

Only then did the Marquis listen to Mariette’s words. But he still found it hard to believe his first daughter.

 

First of all, Blanche could not walk.

 

At that moment, Mariette exclaimed as if she had read her father’s thoughts.

 

“Dad! Blanche’s maid says she can walk! She walks very well on her two feet!”

 

“…That can’t be. Besides, Blanche went out with Pierre.”

 

Mariette shrugged at the embarrassed look of the Marquis.

 

“What if brother is helping Blanche?”

 

“What nonsense.”

 

Mariette clenched her chest in frustration. She lifted her head at the thought that came like a thunderbolt.

 

“Dad. Check the key to the treasury! Quickly!”

 

The daughter’s impatience must’ve been contagious so the Marquis opened the safe. He breathed a sigh of relief.

 

“You must be wrong, Mariette. Come on, look. Isn’t the key to the treasury here? … Huh?”

 

“Dad? Why?”

 

The blood slowly drained from the Marquis’ face.

 

“Why is the key that I clearly put in the bottom compartment on top…?”

 

There was no need to explain further. The Marquis took the treasury key out of the safe and ran out of the office.

 

The Marquis, who was sprinting across the hallway at full speed, bumped into a maid and caused her to fall. But he had no time to check on the maid. He was in such a hurry.

 

As he made haste, the Marquis stood in front of the treasury.

 

The hand of the Marquis was urgently opening the door. As he turned the knob, grunting, the Marquis checked the items inside the treasury, trying to search for what’s missing.

 

The [White Sand Bracelet] that was taken from Mariette was gone.

 

* * *

 

It was a night with a full moon.

 

A carriage was galloping at full speed on a bumpy forest road outside the capital city. Twenty or so Marquis’ Knights and the Marquis of Marquette himself were on its tail.

 

Pierre, who was sitting on the driver’s seat and driving the carriage himself, urged the horses that looked tired over and over again.

 

‘Just a little longer, just a little bit more!’

 

He sped up the carriage, not knowing that someone was biting their tongue over and over again in the rattling carriage.

 

It was because of the fact that every time she heard the Marquis’ muffled shouts behind them, her heart raced even faster.

 

“You punks! Get me there right now!”

 

In the end, the Marquis, unable to overcome his anger, fired his musket into the air.

 

Taang-!

 

That was then.

 

Srrrp! Snap!

 

One of the front wheels of the carriage could not endure the rough forest road any longer and broke away. The carriage quickly leaned to one side and then overturned.

 

Pierre’s figure, who was sitting on the carriage and driving a horse, flew in the air.

 

The Marquis screamed as he saw his son’s body collide with a tree in the forest.

 

“No! Pierre!”

 

The sibling’s carriage stopped only after it was completely broken. He didn’t know what in the world happened but the Marquis put the empty musket behind his back. The Marquis then hurriedly got on a horse.

 

When he stopped the horse, the Knights following him stopped as well. They found Pierre lying on the ground as if he was dead.

 

Amidst the silence of everyone holding their breath, an unknown Knight shouted.

 

“Marquis! Look at the Young Master’s chest! He’s breathing! He must be alive!”

 

“Oh, thank God!”

 

He ran to his son thanking God repeatedly.

 

Meanwhile, the Knights pounded the overturned carriage and shouted.

 

“Lady! Lady Blanche, are you okay?”

 

The Marquis’ stepped away from his son, whose chest fluctuated wildly in front of him. The Knight Commander was checking Pierre’s wounds.

 

‘I’m glad Pierre is alive. But what about Blanche?’

 

When a carriage flips over, the person inside is prone to death from breaking their neck or their skull.

 

The Marquis froze and walked towards the wrecked carriage. He groaned as he felt sick to his stomach and was about to vomit with worry.

 

‘What if Blanche died? No. If Pierre is alive, so will Blanche. She must be alive…’

 

“Open the carriage door… Hurry!”

 

“But the door is locked from the inside, Marquis.”

 

“Then break the door! Do I even have to tell you this?! Break the carriage door and get my daughter out!”

 

The Marquis shouted so loudly that it wouldn’t be strange if his eyes popped out. Bang! Bang! While the Knights smashed the door, the inside of the carriage was as quiet as death.

 

Blanche’s bright red hair was clearly visible through the window.

 

At some point, thick tears were dripping down the rough cheeks of the Marquis.

 

“Oh, Blanche. You must not die. You can’t die… How am I supposed to pay off our family debt when you die?”

 

The Marquis wept with fear and loss.

 

Around that time, the Knights finally broke the door. Silence. The Marquis shuddered with his eyes closed.

 

He covered his eyes with his wrinkled, trembling hands.

 

“H-How… is she? Is my daughter dead?”

 

“Uh, Marquis, it’s…”

 

“Come on, tell me!”

 

“It’s not Miss Blanchett!”

 

“…What?”

 

The Marquis lowered the hands that were covering his face and ran to the front of the carriage. Segolene, wearing a half-peeled red wig, waved her hands struggling.

 

“You’re working late at night, Marquis.”

 

“What the hell is this…?”

 

Pierre limped and approached the Marquis, who was speechless, from behind.

 

Pierre’s arms, legs, and even his right forehead were broken and blood was flowing. He said.

 

“Father. Blanche is gone.”

 

“W-What…!”

 

When the Marquis realized he had been playing on the palms of his son and daughter, he trembled in anger and turned to face his son. But when he saw the injured face of his eldest son, he couldn’t be angry anymore.

 

With a face stained with sweat, dirt and blood, Pierre smiled brightly.

 

“She’s going to live her life now, Father.”

 

* * *

 

It was the morning before the Marquis set pursuit. He looked at the treasury and was convinced that Blanche had run away.

 

After fainting for a short while, his head was filled with anger to the brim.

 

The Marquis, who had locked the treasury again, went down to the mansion’s first floor at an unusually slow gait.

 

“Butler! Butler!”

 

“Yes. Marquis. Did you find it?”

 

The butler appeared with haste at the call of the Marquis. The Marquis asked, whose face was fuming with anger.

 

“Where is the destination of Blanche and Pierre? No, not that. Immediately send someone to each checkpoint in the capital to find out which gate the Marquis Marquette’s carriage passed through. Go!”

 

Less than three hours later, it was revealed that the family’s carriage had passed through the West gate. The Marquis growled like a beast.

 

“If you go through the West gate and ride a horse for a day, you will reach the port city. Blanche wants to board a boat from there!”

 

So the Marquis hurriedly prepared about twenty knights, and loudly left the mansion in search of Blanche.

 

For this reason, even after the Marquis left, the commotion in the mansion did not subside.

 

They couldn’t believe it. The gentle Lady Blanche ran away from home!

 

**********

 

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