Chapter 1. A horrible death
After one outing, a lot of things changed around Jessica. First of all, she shockingly promoted Anna, her maid of honor. Even Anna was puzzled because her new position was just below the head maid. It was Jessica’s choice to keep someone close to her and treat them well.
The Marquis of Viterne’s butler delivered documents to Jessica every day. Even the documents which Jessica’s mother used to work on were brought to her, and she handled them without a word of complaint. When his daughter, who he thought was still young could skillfully handle the documents, Marquis Viterne fought back the tears of pride as he looked at her from behind.
On the day Isanna had promised her, Jessica barely found time to rest. The sunshine blazing down on the table was tempting her. Jessica could barely hold back a yawn.
After visiting the Moncharto General Store, Jessica handled her job like a possessed person. Marquis Viterne tried to stop her from working like she was being chased, but she couldn’t hear anything.
‘I was shocked that the people I killed managed to move around.’
She also met Salipe Ert, whom she had killed. She wondered if it would be a problem if the two of them met in the near future. Now, a month has passed and there are only five months left. The date to which her father, Marquis Viterne, was going to war, was approaching.
‘I’m glad I will meet Isanna.’
After meeting her, Jessica became increasingly impatient, but she actually never realized it. Even now, her hand that held the teacup was shaking slightly, making her seem uneasy to anyone. It’s just that she didn’t know it.
There was one person in the garden who caught her enjoying tea.
“We meet again, Lady.”
Salipe Ert already approached the table where she was sitting and started speaking to her. Salipe’s words slipped out when Jessica quickly jumped out of her seat and was about to show courtesy toward the member of the Imperial Family.
“It’s all right.”
“I came to pay a visit privately, not officially, so enough of the courtesy.”
Salipe deliberately told Jessica that she didn’t have to show courtesy. Because if she showed her courtesy in the grassy garden, her dress would’ve obviously gotten soaked from the wet grass.
‘Contrary to how she looks, her dress is modest.’
Jessica’s glamorous face seemed to fit powerful coloured dresses, like a red dress, but the first time he saw her and even now, Jessica’s dress has always been white.
Bright and light colors were enjoyed by youngsters.
“I’d like to have a drink as well.”
Salipe gestured at Anna as he sat in the chair next to her. Anna’s eyes grew wide in surprise due to the sudden appearance of the prince, then at his hand gesture, she went inside after saying she would prepare the tea.
As soon as Anna left, Jessica opened her red lips to him.
“What brings you here, Your Highness?”
“I have something to discuss with The Margrave regarding the border.”
“My father’s office should’ve been the other way.”
“I stopped by because I saw you while I was walking.”
Jessica’s eyes narrowed slightly. The Salipe Ert that she knew wasn’t interested in women. If he was interested in a person, it was to confirm whether they were capable or not.
His standards couldn’t be more strict, and he only approved of a few people. It was very strange of him to sit down in front of her and have a talk with a mere daughter of the Margrave.
“Please don’t beat around the bush and let me know what business you have with me.”
Jessica’s eyes lit up while staring at Salipe, who thought it was best to ask him directly at times like this. It was somewhat challenging to say that it was the eyes of a noble lady. Salipe’s eyes showed interest and were caught by the eyes that stared at him.
“I’ve been watching you for a while.”
“Are you talking about me?”
She couldn’t hide the slight quaver at her bewildered voice. She wanted to curse and snap. Salipe Ert was not a person who would let even one thing slide.
“You look nervous, is there something wrong?”
“Are you talking about ………me?”
Jessica forgot that she was in front of Salipe and showed her surprised expression again. It felt like someone had hit the back of her head hard, telling her to come back to her senses. That someone was Salipe Ert who sat right in front of her.
Salipe had no intention of correcting his words after he surprised Jessica. Because that was his purpose for coming to meet her. The reason why he sent his aide, Vivache Spilito to face the Margrave first was because he saw Jessica’s anxious expression.
‘It’s a good thing I saw it.’
If he hadn’t come to her, Jessica would have walked around all day without knowing what kind of expression she had on her face. He hadn’t seen Jessica many times, but he couldn’t just pass by and let her show her shaken eyes like a little lost child while looking around with a condescending face the whole time.
He couldn’t determine whether it was due to consideration for the weak or pity for the woman who just lost her mother not long ago, but neither of those was the right answer.
Salipe was not a kind person.
Not long after, Jessica came back to her senses and her expression changed. The corner of Salipe’s lips moved slightly as he witnessed it in front of him.
“There’s nothing for me to be anxious about. That was really thoughtful of you, Your Highness.”
Jessica didn’t want to, but she thanked Salipe for letting her know that she had been showing weakness without realizing it. Salipe’s eyebrows arched slightly when the young lady spoke like a noblewoman. He changed his expression twice in front of Jessica today even though he usually didn’t show much.
“Your Highness, what matter has brought you here!”
Marquis Viterne ran while screaming from a distance. He was an outspoken father who made a silly remark without any hesitation to the First Prince of the Empire as if he was looking at a ruffian flirting with a noble young lady with his eyes.
“Not my daughter!”
This time, Jessica showed her courtesy toward Salipe, a member of the royal family, who got up with a click of his tongue. Salipe disappeared with the impatient Marquis Viterne behind him after waving his hand slightly as he walked away.
Even Alter, the ‘temporary’ knight escort was also unable to take his eyes off Jessica, who was still staring at Salipe’s receding figure.
He was assigned as a chauffeur following the order of Marquis Viterne until he got assigned as the knight escort for Jessica.
“Or maybe, you have prohibited feelings toward my daughter… right?”
“My Lord, I am a Knight.”
“If I hadn’t known what you are here for, I would never have assigned you as my daughter’s escort.”
Marquis Viterne stared at him with sharp eyes as he stopped talking for a short while.
“So stay where you are. I don’t know why Jessica thinks you’re good, but if you have inappropriate feelings toward her, I’ll cut off your lower part.”
Only Alter knew that the Marquis’ eyes were exuding sharp gazes then beckoned him to leave. That was exactly what happened yesterday. After that, Alter became a ‘temporary’ knight escort for Jessica, which was why he couldn’t take his eyes off her.
Alter, who was guarding Jessica from behind, observed her closely after their visit to the general store. The word ‘observation’ was not appropriate for the lady he was serving, but there was no other way to explain it. Alter spoke thoughtlessly while looking at Jessica with indifferent eyes.
“Is there something wrong?”
It was the first time Alter spoke to her, so Jessica turned her head in surprise.
“Was it you who spoke to me, Sir Knight?”
It was unacceptable to talk privately with an escort knight. Jessica opened her eyes wide when she looked at Alter. It was natural for him to ask her this personal question in her previous life, but not now.
“I’m sorry if I offended you. But Young Lady looked very anxious.”
Anna, who was pouring the tea next to Jessica, held her breath at their conversation. Anna had felt the same thing, but she couldn’t bring it up first to the highly respectable young lady. Right after their visit to the general store, Jessica’s behavior became strange. She voiced her opinion strongly and was being stubborn like a person who was being chased by something.
Every servant in the Marquisate knew that the Marquis Viterne called Anna to interrogate her about her changed attitude. Jessica was the only one who couldn’t sense the situation that surrounded her.
The word came out from between Jessica’s red lips.
At the end of her remark, Alter decided to shut up. He thought he had said enough. His attitude has already gone too far as a knight escort. Alter didn’t mean to come off as presumptuous, but he believed in Jessica’s eyes.
The favor she showed towards him still hasn’t disappeared and Alter believed Jessica was a fairly generous girl, unlike other fastidious noble girls.
‘The rumor has been spreading here and there.’
She heard the same thing from two people in a day. Facing Isanna, who had died in her past life came as a bigger problem than facing Salipe. Jessica sorted her expression as she blamed herself for not being completely aware that she was showing off her anxious expression everywhere.
There was no anxiety left on her face when she opened her eyes again. Jessica opened the fan, concealing her mind under the soft smile on her face.
“You have crossed the line, but I’ll let it slide this time.”
“Thank you for your mercy.”
Alter moved his head slightly at Jessica’s words. Alter was satisfied because his opinion was conveyed to the Lady he served. Jessica got up from her seat and motioned the fan elegantly toward Alter’s horse. It was time to work now that she has wandered as much as she wanted.
“Yes, my lady.”
Anna stood before her lady with a bright face when Jessica called for her. She didn’t forget to exclaim inwardly praising the lady she served as fair, generous, and an incredible person. Which noble girl just tolerated the knight escort that interloped into her matter presumptuously?
Anna felt fortunate that Jessica was her master because she was told by a maid of another noble family that her master sometimes pulled some tricks to punish her or revoked knights’ peerage titles.
Anna’s loyalty to Jessica increased even more and her eyes were overflowing with an expression saying ‘My lady is the best!’ when she faced her master. Jessica did not notice this as she just asked her in a plain voice.
“Have you heard the news from Vonzarto General Store?”
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