Chapter 47 - Rumors
At Madam Fresia’s Blooms Salon, women wearing masquerade masks were engaged in an animated conversation about the birthday banquet that was to be held a week later.
“I look forward to seeing how Count Arlo decorated the mansion,” one woman said.
“Me too. The venue was beautifully decorated with red roses last year, so I wonder how it will look this year…” another said.
“I am also curious about what the esteemed daughter of Count Arlo will wear.”
“She’s a lovely lady, so she will look pretty no matter what she wears. Anyway…”
When the woman trailed off, another woman lit up her eyes and asked, “What’s wrong? Go ahead and tell us.”
Her lips curled up as if she had been waiting for this very affirmation. “I am very curious about who Lady Floyen’s partner is.” The main star of the banquet had only been mentioned for a little while. When the topic quickly shifted, the women began to reveal their true nature.
“It was Lady Floyen who made me interested in attending the banquet, especially since she always causes trouble…”
“There have been more scandalous rumors about her recently, right?”
“Ah, there’s a rumor about the man she’s seeing. I heard that he cannot be revealed because of his inferior status…”
The woman trailed off when an intense, shattering sound resonated throughout the salon. Transparent debris lay haphazardly on the floor. People briefly looked at the glass shards, seeming to think that it was an accident. As they were about to resume their conversations, a man’s low voice broke the silence.
“Does babbling about groundless rumors make you pleased?”
The salon was a place of socialization for nobles; a place for honorable guests to gather. Although everyone’s faces were covered with masks, there was an unwritten rule to respect each other. In response to the man’s harsh language, the women who had been chatting sharpened their gazes.
“How dare you say something so rude?” someone shot back. “People have even witnessed the man she was with!” She fanned herself, but her anger quickly fizzled out when she sensed the man’s dangerous aura. She became overwhelmed by a strange force and silently gasped for air.
The man gave her a crooked smile. “But did you see it for yourself?”
“E-even if I didn’t see it, she committed many misdeeds. That’s probably how the rumors started.”
“Misdeeds, you say?” The man chuckled, then lowered the corner of his lips. “Try saying that in front of Lady Floyen,” he muttered coldly. He observed the silent masses around him, but everyone avoided his gaze. The mocking smile on his face disappeared. “I see you don’t even dare to speak to the person involved.” There was still no response. “Clean this mess up,” the man ordered the attendants with a cold voice. They obeyed his order without hesitation. The nobles soon recovered their senses and began to criticize the man.
“Who on earth is he? Why is he so rude?”
“He has no respect for the ladies. How disrespectful…”
The man stared at the nobles who dared to speak against him. They became overwhelmed by a strange, eerie feeling and shut their mouths right away. The man laughed. “Pathetic trash,” he spat out. Although it was a more explicit insult compared to before, no one dared to stand up against him this time. They could sense that if they continued to offend the callous man, they might pay for it with their lives. When the man turned around and left, the nobles watched with bated breaths, only exhaling when he became completely out of sight.
* * *
After eating breakfast, I went back to my room and began to write replies to the letters I had received. ‘I’ll let the two men know I already found a partner. I should reply to my other letters as well.’
At that moment, someone knocked on my door. “This is Derrick, my lady.” His visits were always to be taken seriously. Derrick only sought me if there was an important matter during Father’s absence, or if there was a guest for me.
I turned towards Merilyn. “Please open the door.” When she did, Derrick came into view and bowed with a slightly tense expression.
“Did something happen, Derrick?”
“Edmund, the youngest son of Count Rowen, is here in response to your letter, my lady.”
‘Oh, he came here directly instead of writing another reply.’ I was a bit taken aback, but since he was going to be my partner for the banquet, there was no harm in getting to know each other in advance. “I’ll prepare to go down. Can you please tell him to wait a moment?”
“Yes, my lady.”
When Derrick left, I turned towards my maids. “Alright, then…” I barely got out a few words, but they were already busy preparing my outfit.
“Come this way, my lady. We will dress you as quickly and beautifully as possible.”
I sighed upon seeing Sella and Merilyn’s determined expressions. ‘I just wanted to change my clothes… I guess it can’t be helped.’
* * *
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