Chapter 15 - A Familiar Visitor
It would’ve been helpful if my father had given me books on agriculture or commerce, but these books contained information that I was never going to use in my life.
‘Since he told me to read it, I should at least try, right?’
I had already planned to read many books that would aid my goal of becoming independent. It was rather troublesome that he added more to my growing list.
I sighed as I thought about all the things I had to do when something caught my eye.
It was inlaid with a large blue gemstone that looked familiar.
‘Where have I seen this before?’
I recalled that it was similar to the necklace that my father always wore around his neck.
‘Oh, it’s his.’
He must’ve forgotten about it and left it here. After deciding that I would give it back to him later, I tucked the necklace into my pocket.
* * *
When I came back to my room, Merilyn had also returned from her errand.
“Did it go well?”
She politely nodded. “Yes, Lady Floyen. As requested, the letters were delivered to the noble families.”
“Thank you for going through the trouble.” When I commended Merilyn for her work, a strange expression crossed her face again.
‘Hm… does it seem like I’m being too petty?’ Come to think of it, I used to hate having to do more work than usual.
‘I’ll give her a bonus later. For now, I’ll just give her some sweets.’ I handed Merilyn the plate of chocolate cookies.
“I haven’t touched it yet,” I said, in case she thought I was giving her leftovers. “They’re new.”
Merilyn continued to look at me with a strange expression, then took the cookies and bowed. “Thank you.”
“Of course. You can leave now.”
I sipped my tea when she left the room.
‘The responses to my letters will come soon.’ Until now, I had never replied to anyone. The noble families who sent them to me certainly wouldn’t be expecting handwritten letters, but when they did, they were obligated to write back. All I had to do now was wait patiently.
It was a cumbersome but necessary process for the sake of my future. I could only live peacefully after I subdued their hostility towards me.
* * *
As always, the royal family was a topic of concern among the nobles.
“The borders are stable now, so why doesn’t His Majesty the Emperor bring His Highness the Prince back to the palace?”
“Her Highness the Princess is also coming of age soon. Will they ever grace us with their presence?”
The royal prince and princess had never shown their faces in the social scene, so all the nobles were very curious about them.
“Didn’t you say your cousin was serving at the northern border, Lord Luigi?”
“I heard from him that His Highness the Prince is always wearing a helmet, so he has never seen his face.”
“Is there a reason why he’s always wearing a helmet?”
“I don’t know. Maybe he has a scar on his face or…”
Everyone tensed, so the person who had previously led the conversation prevented him from making this bold claim. “That may be the case, but we don’t know unless we see him in person, right?”
Someone quickly brought up a new topic to gossip about. “By the way, did you receive the letters from Lady Floyen?”
The next topic of interest after the royal family was the ducal family, and people gladly joined in to speak their thoughts.
“Yes, it seems like she has finally matured,” a noble answered pridefully. He had been one of the few families who received a reply.
However, a grating voice wasn’t afraid to voice criticism. “There’s no way a person like her could have changed.”
“He’s right! You can’t just forget about all the things she did in the past! The letters must have been written by someone else.”
Among the many nobles who didn’t receive a reply from Jubelian, those who resented her didn’t hold back on condemning her.
“It’s weird that someone who used to do whatever she wanted would suddenly do something like this.”
Those who neither received a reply nor resented her also expressed their doubts. Lady Floyen’s change of behavior was inevitably a concern in the social world due to her powerful position and beauty. Although they gossiped about her, they were subtly envious of the people she had replied to.
‘This is sickening,’ a man attending the banquet thought. He felt disappointed by all the things he heard.
“What do you think about this incident, Sir?” someone asked him.
In response to the aristocratic man’s question, the man glared at him with cold eyes. His lips twisted into a frown.
“I think you’re very rude to ask something like that.” After speaking his mind, he turned around.
“S-sir Mikhail!” The aristocratic man desperately called after him, but he was already gone.
After leaving the banquet hall, Mikhail clenched his fists and gritted his teeth. ‘What do I think about this?’
A certain woman’s pale face came to mind. In an instant, a cold smile graced his lips.
‘It’s obvious what she’s thinking. This is just another scheme to get my attention.’
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