Chapter 14


Philen’s interest and actions were also for Cecily, but what made me saddest was my position to care about her even in this situation.

 

Did Countess Thebesa feel this way when she took care of my mother, who was pregnant with me? 

 

Probably so.

 

That’s why she hated me so much, criticized me, and spoke harsh words.

 

I understood Countess Thebesa’s situation. It didn’t mean I didn’t hate her. I still trembled at the thought of Countess Thebesa. 

 

I smiled bitterly and looked at Philen’s top, which matched mine.

 

As a designer who had been in charge of the Duke of Williot’s clothes for generations, the clothes were perfect. Not a single stitch was disheveled.

 

The point, the handkerchief, was also being checked together, and Sarah, who was looking at the accessories, spoke carefully.

 

“Um, doesn’t My Lady embroider a handkerchief?”

 

“Embroider?”

 

“Yes. I heard that this banquet is Master’s first social debut. When men make their first social debut, it is customary to bring a handkerchief embroidered by their family member or fiancée.”

 

Right. Come to think of it, there was such a custom. It’s been a long time since I did embroidery, so I forgot how to do it.

 

“Did you forget how to do it?”

 

 “Mmm. I’ve had nothing to embroider.”

 

“Well, the Duke was still at war, and My Lady was busy. You probably didn’t have time to embroider as a hobby.”

 

“Even if I had time, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

 

“Why?”

 

“…come to think of it, Sarah, you never see me embroidered.”

 

The last time I embroidered was right before Philen went to war. 

 

After Philen went to war, Sarah, who entered the mansion, couldn’t have seen it.

 

Originally, I wasn’t going to make it even then. But, because of the superstition that if a loved one enters the war with an embroidered handkerchief, he will return safely. So I was forced to make it. 

 

At that time, Philen said something when he saw the handkerchief I had embroidered. He laughed a lot, asking if this was our family’s crest. 

 

When I told him not to carry it with him, he quickly put it in his inner chest pocket and kissed the back of my hand saying that he would definitely return safely. It was a faint memory.

 

At other times, I would have laughed happily as I recalled the past, but now I couldn’t. Just thinking about it made my mouth feel as if I had chewed a very bitter herb.

 

I looked down at the colorful handkerchief. No matter how much I hated it, Philen was my fiancé and I was his fiancée. I couldn’t let Philen be flawed by other people on his first social debut. Even more, because it’s a disgrace to my face.

 

“Sarah, get ready to embroider.”

 

Only three days left until the emperor’s coronation banquet. On the day and the day before, I was going to get busy with other things, so I actually only had one day left.

 

I had to finish the embroidery in time, so I put aside the other works and focused on embroidery.

 

“Ugh.”

 

Blood was formed on the finger pierced by the needle.

 

Sarah, who was sitting across from me, hurriedly brought a tissue and wiped the blood off my finger.

 

“You’ve been pierced 22 times so far with this.”

 

“…that many?”

 

“Yes. Thanks to that, your fingers really are like a beehive.”

 

Is it that many? I don’t know.

 

Sarah wiped off the blood and applied the ointment over it.

 

“But your index finger with the thimble is fine. I think My Lady should wear a thimble all over your left hand.”

 

“…don’t make fun of me.”

 

“I’m not making fun of you, I’m telling you because I’m worried.”

 

Sarah put the ointment back into the box and breathed another deep sigh.

 

“I didn’t expect you couldn’t embroider. That’s surprising. I thought you’d be good at embroidery because you were good at everything else.” 

 

“That can’t be true. There are many things I can’t do either. I can’t cook and I can’t dance.”

 

“For cooking, you probably never cooked before, but you can’t even dance?”,

 

“Mmm. I’m not good at it. I have no sense of rhythm.”

 

Thanks to the effort I made, I was able to dance the waltz naturally to some extent, but the problem was that I couldn’t match the beat. It was only possible to follow my partner’s movements by paying close attention. 

 

Fortunately, Philen has a sense of rhythm, if not, both of us would have been ridiculous.

 

“Wow, that’s amazing. There are things that even My Lady can’t do.

 

To Sarah’s exclamation, I replied with a light smile. “Of course there is. I’m a human being, too.”

 

“That’s right. Ah, there’s blood on the handkerchief. The blood needs to be washed out as soon as possible, so I’ll wash it right away.”

 

“I’m sorry for troubling you.”

 

“What are you talking about? Of course, it’s something I have to do anyway. Then I will be right back.”

 

Sarah quickly disappeared.

 

When I had time to take a break, I relaxed my stiff shoulders and neck. Then I looked around at my hands.

 

“It looks like a real beehive.”

 

Red dots were embedded like a beehive all over my left hand, except for my index finger with a thimble.

 

The wound that was pierced several times in the same place was quite large and ugly. I should wear gloves for the banquet because I couldn’t show other people these ugly hands.

 

Sarah returned as I wiped off the blood of the wounds that hadn’t healed and was cleaning up the clustered scattered threads. 

 

“Tada, I took the blood out perfectly!”

 

“Yeah, good job.”

 

“Hehe.”

 

Sarah blushed at my compliment and grinned widely.

 

I was tired as the night was deep,  but I had no time to sleep. I had to finish the embroidery by tomorrow.

 

I tried to endure the drowsiness and concentrated on embroidery again.

 

*****

 

Thanks to staying up all night, I was able to finish the embroidery safely.

 

Although I had been pierced ten more times since then, and my left hand had become worse than a hive, it was fine. Because it was important to finish the embroidery.

 

I looked at my embroidery with great emotion.

 

If I had done it alone, it would have been a mess that would be embarrassing to show, but thanks to Sarah’s help all night, it looked pretty good.

 

Of course, compared to the craftsmen, it was infinitely lacking, but I was satisfied. It was, arguably, the best work of my life.

 

“It’s wonderful, My Lady!” Sarah, who stayed with me all night, clapped her hands with great joy.

 

“Let’s go and show it to the Duke, My Lady.”

 

“Now?”

 

“Of course! If you don’t show it now, it will be meaningless!”

 

“But my look is a mess…”

 

I stayed up all night, so my skin was dry and there were bags under my eyes.

 

I was ashamed to go to Philen because I always showed him a neat, tidy appearance.

 

“So let’s go now!” Sarah said, pounding her chest as if she was furious.

 

“It’s appealing to the master that My Lady has worked so hard to embroider it yourself! That way, it will work better!”

 

“Is that so?”

 

“Of course! So let’s go!”

 

“But let’s wash our faces before we go.”

 

Sarah said it was okay, but I wasn’t.

 

No matter how much I thought about it, I was ashamed to show this shabby appearance to Philen, so I washed my face and tidied myself neatly to some extent.

 

Then I took the handkerchief box and headed to Philen’s room.

 

My heart was pounding for nothing. It felt like I was back as an immature adolescent girl.

 

Just in time, Philen came out of the room. 

 

Philen stood out even from a distance thanks to his sharp height. It seemed to be because his dark blond hair was reflected in the sunlight. Wherever he was going, he was always dressed neatly.

 

“Duke.”

 

When I called, Philen, who was instructing the butler, turned to me.

 

“Lady Thebesa?”

 

He looked puzzled. 

 

Well, it’s understandable because I hadn’t been looking for him first lately. 

 

I never thought I’d come to him for something like this, either. 

 

“What’s the matter?”

 

“This…”

 

There was nothing to lengthen the words. After showing him the embroidered handkerchief, I said  ‘this was your first social debut, so I prepared it’, and it was over. It was very simple.

 

But why doesn’t that simple word come out easily? Why can’t I say this easily when I say other things easily?

 

My rolled-up lips dried up. My hand that held the box containing the handkerchief slightly tightened.

 

It was when I took the courage to open my mouth again while hesitating with my eyes on the edge of his neck without looking straight at him. 

 

 “Phil.” 

 

I heard a sweet voice mixed with charm.

 

Cecily, it was that woman.

 

Cecily, who was wearing a thin gown and a blue necklace, held out a handkerchief to Phil without thinking to hide her semi-exposed, big breast.

 

“You left this behind.”

 

The handkerchief was embroidered with a sword entangled with roses, the crest of the Duke of Williot. It was a very delicate and beautiful embroidery even at a glance. It was beyond comparison with the embroidery I put in. 

 

Who is the person who embroidered that? Don’t tell me… this woman?

 

Suddenly, I bit my lips and looked at Cecily.

 

“Oh my goodness.”

 

Cecily, who discovered me belatedly, smiled, folding her eyes beautifully.

 

“Good morning, Lady Thebesa.”

 

“…good morning.”

 

She smiled kindly and greeted me. I couldn’t ignore it, so I forced myself to smile and replied briefly.

 

I wish I’d done talking to Cecily, but unfortunately, my wish didn’t come true.

 

“There was something I wanted to ask for understanding from the Lady, and that’s great.”

 

Cecily showed me the handkerchief, curling up her thick lips smoothly.

 

“The Lady said she couldn’t embroider, so I put it in her place instead. What do you think?”

 

Her long eyelashes fluttered lightly like butterfly wings. Her eyes looking at me glistened cheerfully.

 

“This banquet is Phil’s first social debut.”

 

“…”

 

“But Phil and the Lady could be embarrassed if they attended without an embroidered handkerchief, so I embroidered it on the Lady’s behalf.”

 

Cecily looked at me with an innocent smile, as if she had no malice as if she wanted praise.