Chapter 20 - An Invitation
Upon the news of Lady Floyen’s illness, the family had prepared a gift with a standard letter.
Rose squeezed her eyes shut. ‘We won’t even receive a reply back. Why should we bother sending a letter in the name of Count Arlo?’
The only daughter of the duke was as beautiful as a doll delicately created by a craftsman. At one point, Rose had even admired her. But when she encountered the lady in person, she found out that she was very rude, cold, and uncaring. Jubelian only had eyes for Mikhail and didn’t bother to greet other people. Since then, Rose thought it would be a waste to personally send her gifts and letters.
That was until she received a direct reply from her.
Dear Count Arlo,
Thank you for your consideration. How have you been? I am recovering well, but it’s frustrating for me to stay inside even on sunny days.
I heard from my father about the roses owned by the Arlo family. I suppose they will be in full bloom soon. I still remember how much my father admired their beauty, and it is regrettable that I cannot see them with my own eyes.
Speaking of roses, is your daughter Rose doing well? Although we have not conversed much, I feel close to her as we are of the same age.
Rose remembered that Lady Floyen didn’t care about anyone else except for Mikhail, but her own name was mentioned in this letter.
‘She knows my name! And she thought of me after thinking about roses?’
Rose was well connected with other people, but she was otherwise an ordinary aristocratic girl. A few girls even made fun of her name, which meant ‘queen of flowers,’ and said that she wasn’t worthy of it. Now that Lady Floyen, who was always at the center of attention, had mentioned her personally, Rose’s heart pounded with excitement.
“Father! This letter is from Lady Floyen!”
One of the count’s vassals would have been responsible for writing a reply, but Rose insisted that she do it herself. Even so, she didn’t know what to write and ended up inviting Lady Floyen to her birthday banquet. She certainly didn’t expect her to accept her invitation, but Lady Floyen proved her wrong in her next reply. She opened the letter with trembling hands.
Daughter of Count Arlo, how have you been?
I was surprised by your reply and thrilled by your unexpected invitation. It’s my first time communicating with someone by letter, so please understand if it’s lacking. I tried decorating it with my limited skills since I heard that the esteemed daughter of Count Arlo likes flowers. What do you think? My letter is probably nothing compared to yours, but I hope you like it.
It’s fun to communicate with someone who is both kind and beautiful, just like the roses that your respected family proudly owns. I look forward to meeting you and will spare my words until then.
— Jubelian Eloy Floyen.
Not only was her writing good, but Rose also liked the letter itself. There was a lace frame around the paper, and it was decorated with small ribbons and pressed flowers.
‘She decorated this for me…?’ Rose giggled and felt a strange sort of excitement as she looked at the lady’s letter. It was like she had become a special person to her.
Rose lay on her bed and read it several more times before grabbing some papers from a drawer. ‘I have to reply quickly!’
She was about to dip her quill pen in the ink, then stopped. ‘No, I can’t send it like this.’
She called for her maids and made a great fuss. “Emily, pick some flowers for me! Laura, bring me some ribbons—the pretty and colorful ones!”
“You’re not going to use it to decorate the letter, right? If madam finds out…”
When Laura trailed off, Rose became sullen. “Can’t we do something about it?”
“I can find some ribbons from torn clothes,” Laura replied with a sigh.
Rose’s face brightened and she nodded with excitement. “Okay!”
* * *
I opened another letter from Rose and sighed. ‘I didn’t know she would send me another one…’
In my previous letter, I had subtly told her to not reply until we met at the banquet. It seemed like she didn’t understand this.
‘I guess this is a good way to practice my writing skills.’
This time, her reply was tremendously long, which made the task seem even more daunting. ‘What should I say now?’
I smiled after looking at her letter again. The awkwardly decorated flowers and ribbons showed that she had tinkered with it as well. It didn’t look so bad.
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