Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
Misa was restless and looked out the window where the rain was pouring. Every time there was a thunderstorm, her complexion turned pale like someone who couldn’t get a bowl of soup.
It was all because she was worried about Leila, and Misa, who had been stamping her feet all the time, eventually approached Philen, who was being lovey dovey with Cecily. “Master.”
Philen, who was interrupted by the good time, looked at Misa with an annoyed face. “What is it?”
Misa glanced at Cecily and carefully spoke to Philen. “There’s thunderstorms.”
Philen’s eyes looked out the window at the sudden remark. Just in time, thunder rumbled and struck loudly.
“Kkyag!” Cecily shrieked cutely and hugged Philen. As if Cecily was cute, Philen hugged her tightly.
“Are you afraid of thunderstorms?”
“Oh my, you’re a coward.” Philen smiled and kissed Cecily’s head. “It can’t be helped. I have no choice but to be by your side tonight.”
As if they had forgotten Misa’s existence in front of them, the two were busy coveting each other’s lips.
Misa’s cheeks turned red. It was a reaction from shame, not from embarrassment. She was thinking of talking to him again when they separated, but the two people didn’t seem to intend to separate. “Master.”
When Misa, who was tired of waiting, called again, Philen, who had been coveting Cecily’s lips, glared at her with a strong impression. “Are you still standing there?”
“May I go back?”
“Yes, go back.”
At Philen’s answer, Misa bowed down, trying to hide her joyful expression.
Cecily stared at Misa.
Misa turned around, thinking that she had to go ahead and soothe Leila, who was crying pitifully.
“Wait a minute.” However, Cecily called Misa. Misa looked back at her, but she didn’t look at Misa and looked at Philen. “Phil, my legs and back hurt a little. I must have been on the horse for a long time.”
“Should I bring you medicine?”
“Uh-huh. Other than that, I think it will be okay if someone rubs it.” Cecily said that and glanced at Misa.
Philen, who immediately noticed what Cecily wanted, beckoned to Misa. “Misa, rub her legs and back.”
Misa bowed down and replied politely. “There is someone who does better than me.”
“I want you to do it.”
Misa’s complexion became cloudy in an instant. In her mind, Leila, who must be in great distress, fluttered.
“What are you doing? Come on and do it.”
Misa tried to tell Philen that Leila was terrified of thunderstorms, but she shut her mouth. It was because of Cecily next to him. She didn’t want to let her know about Leila’s weakness. Leila wouldn’t want it either.
“…yes.” Misa, who was contemplating what to do, eventually decided to follow Philen’s order. Because there was no other way. The only way was to execute the order quickly and run to Leila.
Misa tried to do that, but Cecily didn’t let go of her, giving all kinds of excuses and reasons, so Misa could only go to Leila when the rain stopped.
When the rain stopped and dawn came, Misa, who came to me, grabbed me and cried, saying she was sorry.
I held onto Misa and cried, and then I fell asleep exhausted, and when I woke up again, Misa was not seen. Instead, there was a box of sleeping pills on the side table. It was no doubt that Misa had left it behind. I put the box in the drawer and stepped out of the bed.
When the bell rang, Sarah came in with washing water. Sarah, who was standing by my side while washing me briefly and changing my clothes, asked anxiously. “You don’t look good. Are you sick?”
“No. It’s okay, so you can go.”
“Yes, if you need something, please feel free to call me.” Sarah, who was quick-witted, went straight out without bothering me anymore.
I had no one else to meet today, so I thought I would quietly stay in my room and look at the documents.
“My lady, the Duke is looking for you.” Then the servant delivered unwelcome news.
“I don’t know. He just told me to pick you up and come quickly.”
That means there is a very urgent matter.
I tried to figure out what happened recently in the estate or in the mansion so that he could find me in a hurry, but nothing came to mind. He just returned to the mansion yesterday and he couldn’t find me for that. Is it his job?
If that’s the case, I didn’t want to go, but I had to go. I stood up from my seat with a sigh.
The servant walked ahead, saying that he would guide me. I thought he was in his room, but unexpectedly, Philen was in the office. Even though it didn’t suit him, he sat at his desk and looked at something hard.
“Did you call me?”
“Look at this.”
As I approached him, he showed me what he was looking at. It was a letter. Fortunately, it didn’t seem like it’s about her. Relieved by that, I took the letter from Philen.
The luxurious letterhead was proof that it wasn’t unusual. I opened my eyes wide when I saw the Imperial seal next to the signature on the bottom. A letter from the Imperial family. It was not a letter to be passed lightly.
I stood there and read the letter without missing a single period. There were many words written on the letterhead, but there was only one thing that mattered. They wanted us to participate in the ceremony to commemorate the new emperor’s enthronement in a month.
“A month from now. Time is tight.”
There’s no way we would miss the celebration party. Starting with clothes, there were a lot of things to prepare, such as accessories. I also had to calculate the time from here to the capital. It took about 4 days from here to the capital, so the remaining time was about 3 weeks.
As soon as I went out, I had to call a costume designer. The accessory craftsman and the shoe craftsman were also called together, and if we went to the capital once, we would come back after a month, so we had to take care of the work in advance.
I didn’t know anything else, but I had to prepare for the rainy season. We couldn’t exchange everything through a carrier pigeon, so we could discuss it through magic communication.
“Leila.” Philen called me as I was trying to figure out what to do in my head.
“From now on, use honorifics to me”
“…what? What do you mean all of a sudden?”
“Now, we would be in society often and using informal language is not good for other people to see.”
It was correct in every phrase. I, too, didn’t intend to speak informally to Philen as I do now in society. I was just embarrassed when Philen suddenly pointed that out.
“You don’t want to?”
As I stared at him silently, Philen asked with a small impression. “You, you don’t want me to be humiliated in front of other people, do you?”
“It can’t be.”
“Then use honorifics in front of other people. That’s the way it was originally.”
Yes, that’s right. The problem is why Philen, who hasn’t said anything so far, suddenly asks for it… Does the letter from the Imperial family remind him that he should? Or… maybe she pointed it out?
It was more likely to be the latter than the former. Similar things happened in the past, but he didn’t ask me to speak formally. Rather, it was Philen, who cheerfully laughed, saying, ‘you don’t have to pay attention to other people’s eyes.’ The reason he suddenly changed his attitude must be because of her.
“Okay.” If so, I didn’t even intend to stand still. “From now on, I will call you Duke and use honorifics in front of other people.”
“Then, from now on…”
“Instead.” I continued, looking straight at Philen who looked at me with puzzled eyes. “You should also speak up in front of other people by calling me lady Thebesa, not Leila.”
Since Philen’s return, there had been no quiet day for the Duke of Williot.
“Did you see it? Master and lady, talking to each other.”
“Yes, I saw it. What’s going on all of a sudden?”
The maid tilted her head and said. “The two, until now, they have always been comfortable with each other.”
“Isn’t it because of her? The woman with the master’s child.”
“I think it’s because of that too.”
Another maid suddenly interrupted the conversation. “If not, there is no reason to use honorifics to make them suddenly feel distant…”
It was because I appeared that the maids, who chatted while wiping the windows, shut their mouths at once. I didn’t want to stand in front of them senselessly. I had to go through this hallway to get to my office, so I couldn’t help it.
There was an awkward silence. Everyone closed their mouths like mute and looked at my eyes. After hesitating for no reason, I didn’t want to blur the atmosphere further, so I walked quickly.
“Go, Good afternoon, my lady.”
As I was going through the hallway, one of the maids carefully greeted me. Greetings that I wished I hadn’t received.
“You don’t have to greet me if you don’t want to.”
I didn’t mean to answer coldly, but when I thought of what they said earlier, the words went cold without me knowing. One of the reasons that made my mood remained low for the last few days.
“My lady, we are…!”
“It’s okay.” I smiled casually as if it’s really okay and passed by the maids who didn’t know what to do. “It’s not like I’m saying something. You can keep talking.”
“My, my lady!” At my words, the maids were embarrassed and called me anxiously, but I didn’t look back.
It wasn’t because I didn’t want to see them. The smiling mask that I was wearing broke down. I didn’t want to show my distorted expression to the maids. My only remaining pride, who had nothing, didn’t allow it.