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    Translated by Gina
    Edited by Tea


     

    Chapter sponsored by Krim, Eli and Pam, thank you so much for the support!

     

    “…What did you say to me just now?”

    “I said I don’t need to.”

    I smiled brightly, in contrast, the butler’s face darkened. It hurts my legs to stand. With the butler standing still, I sat down on the chair and tapped my feet.

    “Are you saying you don’t know why I came?”

    His ears were red as if he didn’t like my rude attitude. I smiled while stroking my hair.

    “Well, you must have come to talk about tomorrow’s schedule.”

    The external reason may be because of my departure tomorrow, but his true intentions must have been to ridicule me. No matter how much I thought about it, the butler had never come to the far east annex for any other reason than that. In the two years I’ve lived here, the butler had only shown his face here twice. When I first came, and now when I’m about to leave.

    In the eyes of the butler, he had come to watch the commoner who had come in confidently into the duke’s household after seducing the duke and now was leaving the mansion discouraged. But the situation had changed.

    “But how could you do this? I’m here for Miss Cornelia-!”

    “If you were really for me, you would have kept the minimum courtesy.”

    I laughed. The person who said he was here for me opened the door without knocking and just recklessly entered the room. The butler’s eyebrows furrowed and his eyes quivered as if he was speechless at my words.

    “Do you remember how many times you have come to this annex?”

    There was no answer as if he couldn’t remember. You came only twice but still don’t remember it.

    “How many times have you denied my request?”

    Again, the answer that came back was silence. Even if you can’t remember the two times you came, how can you not remember this?

    All my other requests were ignored except for medicine and a request to call a priest. Duke Astorf’s mansion was beautiful and elegant. However, since it was built along with the building of the Empire, it required a lot of assistance. The main building called servants periodically, but the east annex was excluded from it. Because of that, the broken stair railing was neglected for quite some time. I made several requests to fix it, but each time the butler ignored my request, saying that he didn’t have time to call manpower to repair it.

    ‘Didn’t you repair the railing after Bell almost got hurt? What did you say? Didn’t you say you forgot by mistake?’

    “Even when my grandmother went to God’s side, you ignored me.”

    They just delivered the mourning clothes through Bell. However, I was well aware that even that was the minimum measure to avoid being blamed by Debron.

    “Aside from that, was there something else?”

    I dropped the words and stroked my chin. I could see the butler’s face darkening.

    “You let rumors about me flow beyond the mansion and into the streets.”

    My actions inside the mansion were twisted and inflated and reached the outside. If I sent a letter to Debron, the gossip would end up saying I, a commoner, tried to seduce the duke. If I made a mistake because I didn’t know noble etiquette, I was tainted as an uneducated commoner who shamelessly tried to take the seat as the duchess.

    Well, that’s how it was. Even so, those who used my rumors to entertain themselves welcomed the stories that had flowed from within the duke’s residence, and it didn’t take long for the rumors to spread throughout the capital.

    ‘A mere servant of the mansion wouldn’t have been able to spread the word easily… Unless the butler or head-maid spread it or condoned it.’ And the position of head-maid in the Astorf’s mansion was currently vacant.

    “That’s the mistake of the lowly ones. No matter how much education you give them, they won’t hear it.” 

    The butler’s voice, who swiftly pushed his mistakes to the servants, as if he was not at fault, was nonchalant. But he couldn’t hide his trembling. I raised the corners of my lips. And I told the butler what he had forgotten.

    “It’s the mansion’s butler’s job to manage those things.”

    Forgetting to even do what he was supposed to do because of his apparent lack of ability. At my words, the butler stiffened and I got up. I slowly approached him.

    “The rudeness of forgetting to knock, the mistake of frequently forgetting my requests, and the lack of ability to even do the job properly.”

    Putting it all together, he was even more rude and incompetent. My footsteps stopped right in front of him. I looked at the butler trembling with anger and glaring at me.

    What’s the point of getting angry? Things have changed now.

    “I’ll have to tell sir Debron about this.”

    “. . .!”

    It might even spread faster than my rumors. In addition, he would be kicked out of the mansion that he thinks of as his own. Because there was no way Debron could keep such a person in the mansion. I giggled at the stiff butler.

    “I don’t need it.”

    Get out. I didn’t need to finish my words. The butler had already understood.

    “I’m, sorry.”

    The pale butler apologized in a trembling voice and then left the room.

    ‘I’m so relieved. I should’ve done this earlier.’

    Laughter leaked out. And the departure day was tomorrow. It would take more than five days by horse to Yorkben village and more than ten days by carriage. Debron told me that I could move with mana with his help, so it’ll be about two days. However, such a favor didn’t arrive, so including the time I will spend in Yorkben for the funeral, it would take around a month.

    I slowly blinked, burying my face in the pillow.

    One month. No matter how much I thought about it, it was enough time for one person to disappear.

     

    *      *      * 

     

    Early in the morning, I was standing in front of the Duke’s residence. A medium-sized wagon and three knights came as escorts. I arranged my veil looking carefully.

    ‘This isn’t that bad.’

    It was a decent-sized wagon, and there were three knights added as escorts. Grandma got into the wagon first, and one servant silently put the bag under the carriage and left. It was time to go. I turned around and looked at the Astorf’s mansion for one last time. The huge mansion that could not be held in a glance was decorated to match its reputation. When I first saw this residence, there was hope. My gaze familiarly touched one window. Debron’s office. Where he spent most of his time in this mansion and where I have looked the longest. 

    Coincidentally, the window of the office was clearly visible from the east annex where I stayed. I couldn’t see through the window because I had to look up, but at least I could tell by the light that Debron was staying there. Looking at the window that I could draw with even with my eyes closed, I licked my lips a few times before closing my mouth. A bitterness filled my mouth with words I couldn’t finish.

    “You must leave now.”

    I stood looking at the mansion for a long time, and one of the knights called me quietly.

    Yes, it was time to go. As I turned and opened the carriage door, someone called me from behind.

    “Wait a minute, Miss Cornelia!”

    Looking back at the urgent voice, Bell was breathing heavily. She ran so quickly that her face was stained red.

    “Sorry, I’m sorry. I wanted to meet you on time, but the butler suddenly called me to work.”

    Oh, I knew it. I laughed bitterly. It was strange that Bell, no one else, didn’t come to meet me, but I understood why.

    Didn’t I do something to the butler yesterday?  

    The butler was trying to get revenge by taking the only person to see me off in this mansion.

    “It’s all right, Bell. Calm down.”

    As I smiled and patted her shoulder, Bell nodded and pulled a small pocket out of her arms and held it to me. When I untied the strap of the pocket, a fragrant smell came out.

    “It’s nothing much, but I thought you’d be bored on your way home. I’ve baked acorn cookies.”

    I opened my eyes wide at Bell’s words. In our village close to the forest, we used to pick up acorns and put them in cookies.

    How did she know about this food when it wasn’t seen in the capital? Did Grandma tell Bell when I wasn’t there?

    Bell’s smiling cheeks and eyes were a little red. Seeing the strong smell of cookies emanating from her body and hem, I felt as if she had woken up early in the morning and baked cookies in time to see me off. However, because of the butler, she was late to see me off, and Bell bowed at me again and again as if she was sorry for that. There was no reason for her to be self-conscious. It wasn’t her fault that the butler made her work.

    “Well, I really like it.”

    I smiled openly and accepted the cookie. I felt like my nose was getting cold and I was about to cry, but I held it in. It would be a little sad if the last meeting was full of tears.

    “I have a present, too.”

    After fiddling with the cookie pouch for a moment, I pulled a small jewel pin from my pocket and held it in her hand. This jewel pin, which I usually wore, was one of the items obtained from Aktail. I put it in Bell’s hands. I had already disposed of all the other gems besides this pin that I liked the most. Because it was the most expensive thing I ever had. Her eyes grew big and soon shook her head fearlessly.

    “I, I can’t take this.”

    “No, take it.”

    I grabbed her hand and smiled brightly.

    “I’ve been so grateful. You had a hard time serving my grandmother and me.”

    Who was going to serve the commoner who was stuck in the duke’s residence? When I first arrived at the duke’s mansion, several maids were changed. They were sick or quit… Those who left me and my grandmother in that way worked casually in the main building of the mansion. I was well aware that at some point the east annex had become a place of exile for the people of the household.

    Giving the treasure from Aktail would have changed their behavior. I knew it well, but I didn’t want to give it up.

    Then I met her.

    “From today onwards, I will be serving Miss Cornelia.”

    Having said that, she has been with me to this day. Didn’t she even stay with my grandmother on her deathbed? 

    Eventually, tears welled up.

    “Really… Thank you. For being with me through all the hard times.”

    “…Miss Cornelia.”

    She looked at the jewel pin in my hand for a moment and held it tightly. Bell’s big brown eyes also had tears in them.

    “Thank you. For two years, I’ve had a great time thanks to Miss Cornelia and Hibi. And…”

    Her voice got smaller. She whispered softly to me as if she were telling a secret.

    “I believe Miss Cornelia is a different person from the rumors.”

    “…Really?”

    “Really!” Bell smiled brightly and nodded. “Because Miss Cornelia, whom I’ve seen for the past two years, wasn’t the kind of person who would do such things.”

    I wiped away my tears and nodded at the loyalty I had never received in the capital. 

    Yeah, I’m not that kind of person.

    “Thank you for trusting me.”

    “We have to go!! If you keep going like this, we won’t be able to keep up with the schedule!”

    The driver interrupted our conversation in an annoying voice, and Bell let go of my hand with a sad look on her face.

    It was really time to go.

    “Goodbye, Bell. Thank you so much for all this time!”

    Bell called me one more time just before I got on the wagon. The urgent voice made me look back for the last time.

    “Miss Cornelia! You… you’re coming back in a month, right?”

    I didn’t answer the question that sounded more like a confirmation. I just smiled brightly at Bell and got on the wagon.

    It was the last time in the peaceful capital.

     


     

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