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    Translated by Translated by Tam
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    Anne’s marriage.

     

    There was a face that came to mind when she recalled the short sentence.

     

    Charles Killholder.

     

    Catherine’s fiancée until she left Orléans, and he fell in love with Anne even after she left and couldn’t break up with her. A man who couldn’t bring himself to bring Catherine in such a matter.

     

    “As I said in advance, the person is not the Charles Killholder.”

     

    Surprised by the unexpected words, Catherine asked back.

     

    “Not him?”

     

    “Miriam Chen. You know, right? Count Chen, who monopolizes the trade route of the Cortapus Great Wall. She’s going to be that old man’s wife.” 

     

    Miriam Chen is an old man who is over 60 years old this year and has only three ex-wives and ten famous lovers. But she couldn’t believe that Anne was going to be such an old man’s wife. 

     

    “That kid’s pride would never allow it.” 

     

    “The old man seemed to have fallen in love with Anne and showered her with gifts such as villas and jewelry. She’s back to being obsessed with money. She had encountered wealth unmatched by the Killholder family, so she fell for it.”

     

    “It’s ridiculous. Count Miriam is the man who seduced two young noble ladies in that way.” 

     

    And before the girls turned twenty-five, they all got divorced. 

     

    Maggie pulled out a cigarette from a flashy red leather bag. She skillfully lit the tip of a cigarette and let out the smoke. 

     

    “Anne is confident. You know right, Sister? That all she has is a face and the confidence that comes from it. Since she threw her sister aside and seduced Charles Killholder, her self-esteem has skyrocketed. Even if she’s over forty, she thinks she can still control that old man or something.”

     

    Catherine refused the pack of cigarettes Maggie had given her. Maggie raised her eyebrows as if it was strange. 

     

    “Did you quit?” 

     

    “I don’t know if you’ll believe it, Maggie. But I’ve changed a lot since I left Orléans.” 

     

    “Yeah, I can see it.”

     

    With a small nod, Maggie shook off the cigarette ash.

     

    “Of course, I don’t feel very good about my sister’s change— But here, Anne’s wedding invitation.”

     

    A luxurious paper letter was taken out from the back of the bag where Maggie took out the cigarette case. As soon as she saw the seal on the letter, Catherine crumpled her forehead roughly. 

     

    How could she give her such a thing? 

     

    Just because she wasn’t interested in Charles didn’t mean she completely brushed off even the slightest feelings for Anne. 

     

    Aside from anything else, Catherine didn’t want to see Anne’s face again for now. Catherine, who became calm in everything, might slap Anne again. 

     

    “I’m stealing about five and giving them out to the people who are her enemies. Who knows? Who will come out and make a mess?” 

     

    Maggie pushed the wedding invitation onto the table and handed it over. Catherine lifted the wedding invitation with her two fingers as if picking up dirty trash. And she threw it in the drawer next to the fireplace.

     

    “Was your relationship that bad?”

     

    Hmm. Maggie inhaled a cigarette and laughed.

     

    “It turned my heart upside down. To be honest, I wish my sister had ruined the wedding by striking out the salon’s well-known ladies.”

     

    That was the real purpose. 

     

    It’s a pity for Maggie, but there was only one thing Catherine could say. 

     

    “I don’t even contact them anymore, Maggie. I’ll make it clear. I’ve completely cut off not only Orléans but also all ties so far. You’re the only one who knows I’m here.” 

     

    Maggie crumpled her forehead as if she couldn’t understand.

     

    “What do you mean? So this mansion? Isn’t that the mansion the ladies of the salon saved?” 

     

    “Yeah. I got this mansion and everything in it on my own, and I’m struggling a bit thanks to it.”

     

    Maggie, who had a puzzled face, rubbed a cigarette into the crystal glass. 

     

    “Aha— Something was strange from the beginning. If it were those women, they wouldn’t have saved such a shabby mansion.” 

     

    How much effort did she put into making that messy mansion a livable place for people?

     

    It was a story she couldn’t even relate to. So Catherine asked about her most curious thing. 

     

    “I was curious—how did you get here?” 

     

    “How do I know? Of course, I knew it after reading the newspaper!”

     

    Ah, damn it. That freaking Christopher newspaper.

     

    While Catherine touched her forehead, Rose brought a hot towel and placed it on Maggie’s feet. Catherine wanted her to say something strange about Maggie, so she quickly sent Rose out. 

     

    “Hm. I just figure it out. I stopped by Christopher since I had a banquet that night, but that article was published that day. ‘Miss Phanya, who came from a faraway place to Christopher a month ago, had a scandal with a famous Paladin,’ so I thought it was my sister.”

     

    Maggie closed her eyes and rested both feet on the towel as if the tiredness had been released.

     

    “But, sister, have you really changed? Where is Catherine Orléans, who once swept through the social world— ah, I don’t know.  I’ll close my eyes for a second. I used up too much energy.” 

     

    Maggie, who had been muttering to herself, fell helplessly on the sofa like melted ice cream. Just looking at it, she was tired because she was wearing shoes that made her ankles hurt. 

     

    Catherine put a blanket on her lap and left the drawing-room. 

     

    The first family she’s meeting after leaving Orléans. Somehow, she felt dizzy in her head. 

     

    ******

     

    How did I end up alone in a place like this?

     

    Catherine was lost in thought as she watched the sunset pass behind the hill.  She didn’t come out of Orléans out of a purely impulsive feeling. Looking back at the memory slowly, it was getting closer to a judgment that had been slowly built up from the not-so-long past.

     

    She’s leaving Orléans. 

     

    The first time she realized this was when she went on a spring vacation to Phanya alone. More precisely, in the spring she met Percyville in Phanya. 

     

    It was the day when pure acacia petals in full bloom fell. 

     

    ‘You have to do well even without me.’

     

    At Catherine’s words, Percyville turned his head.

     

    Water from the end of wet hair flows along the cheek and gathers at the end of the chin. Perhaps because the face was a painting, the shape of water dripping was also art itself. Catherine continued, taking off the acacia petals that were half-covered over the brim of the hat.

     

    ‘Just taking off your top and bathing in the stream like now.’

     

    ‘Where are you going to be sold?’

     

    In a low voice, he asked. It was the expression that said, ‘Where the heck are you going to be sold?’

     

    ‘Well. My faces are half-half so if I put them out, they will be sold well.’ 

     

    Shaking off the water in his ear, Percyville’s steps turned towards Catherine. Although the day was getting warmer, it was still a time when a cold wind blew. 

     

    Catherine has never seen anyone wash in a stream in this weather. 

     

    Of course, Percyville was a man with strong limbs and a famous paladin, and he was only getting his upper body wet, but even that was great in Catherine’s eyes. His face, dripping with water as he drew closer, was dotted with nervous emotions. 

     

    A week ago. Before she knew Percyville properly, she would have questioned why he was easily angry at trivial things.

     

    But now she had a good grasp of what kind of person he was. He is not genuinely angry, but his sincerity is only a little rough because he has been rolling for a long time between the devils and the knights. 

     

    ‘Are you going to get revenge on the guy who sold me?’ 

     

    It was windy. Because the string under the chin was loosened, the hat flew away even though it was a trivial wind. 

     

    Catherine hurriedly stretched out her arms and tried to grab the string and brim of the hat that was about to be completely released. But her attempt was blocked in vain. This is because a cautious yet tough hard force grabbed the wrist. 

     

    The hat flew like a butterfly and fell under a crooked rock. 

     

    ‘Let go of me, you’re going to break my hand.’

     

    There was a strong smell of grass. His soft brown hair shook against the backdrop of a watercolor-like indigo sky. 

     

    Drops of water at the tip of Percyville’s chin fell over Catherine’s cheek. 

     

    ‘You’re very bad at jokes. To the point where I want to grab your neck and eat it.’

     

    ‘Speak nicely, Percyville. Can’t you do that?’

     

    She tried to get out of the way, but Percyville didn’t seem to intend to. 

     

    He looked into Catherine’s eyes with a cold gaze. His white, exposed upper body was left with old-looking cuts here and there. Even if she pretended to be nothing on the outside, she felt very strange touching a man’s bare body. 

     

    ‘It was a word my mother used to say.’

     

    Every time she heard it, she could hear his lips popping out of his mouth.

     

    When you have a mother like this, you have to learn properly. If you do that, Catherine, you will be mocked in the absence of your mother.

     

    Even if she doesn’t have a mother, she can do it well, right? 

     

    The nuances were subtly different, but they were all words of latent anxiety. Thanks to this, Catherine has developed a habit of going to sleep after checking her mother’s room once every night as an excuse to say goodbye to her. Although now that she’s gone. 

     

    ‘Why did you keep saying that?’

     

    ‘I’ve got a boyfriend, so I guess I was thinking of running away from you at night.’ 

     

    Percyville’s voice didn’t show any interest. 

     

    Catherine gently pushed his chest using her free left arm. The muscles that touched her bare hands were surprisingly hard. Of course, Percyville didn’t move. 

     

    ‘My mother will find me a lover. And I’ll have to agree proudly in front of my father.’ (I’m not sure about this;;) 

     

    ‘I’m not curious about your family affairs, so close your mouth.’ 

     

    ‘But my father wouldn’t have said anything. Because he has something he’s been doing too.”

     

    Tsk. With the sound of a clicking tongue, Percyville finally got up.

     

    He turned around and walked toward the shirt he had thrown away. Perhaps because she saw Percyville’s back muscles, she thought she shouldn’t bother him too much.

     

    The long neck bones that ran under her short hair somehow seemed thicker than her wrists. Catherine said, staring at the white cloth wrapped just above his wet body. 

     

    ‘And I’m afraid of my mother more than anyone else.’ 

     

    ‘Can’t you hear ‘shut up’?’

     

    ‘I feel a little weird. You’re the first to talk like this, Sir Percyville.’ 

     

    He turned his head and met her eyes. Catherine smiled at him, which was fresher than a wide field. Who can tell about such a poor family history? Everyone knew the story, but no one said anything in front of Catherine. It’s because the rich ladies in her social circle, who are considered her best friends, took pity on her.

     


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    Tam

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