Chapter 66 - Unforeseen Aftermath
‘My bed is the most comfortable place, after all.’
Other people might think that getting grounded was a punishment, but it was more like a reward for me. I rolled on my bed mindlessly for a while, then sighed when a gloomy thought occurred to me. ‘In any case, people are probably in an uproar because of the scene I caused at the banquet hall.’
I didn’t need to go to another social event to know what people were saying about me. ‘They’re probably talking about how I dramatically fainted at someone else’s banquet and the strange gift I gave. Everyone must be criticizing me for being an attention seeker.’ But as someone who disliked attending banquets and other public places that attracted unwanted gazes, I was far from that. I simply wanted to go home after quietly attending the banquet, knowing that my reputation would continue to tarnish if I stood out. However, the situation had been out of my control.
‘Well, I should start thinking about what I can do.’ In this situation, it would be a good idea to explain my point of view to other people, but I didn’t even want to bother with that.
‘Wouldn’t people forget about what happened if I kept out of touch for a while?’ It might also be a good idea to not meet anyone for a while, but that idea was soon discarded as well. ‘Doing that will be futile if my father decides to marry me off to the crown prince.’
As a headache started to form, someone knocked on my bedroom door.
“This is Merilyn, my lady.”
“Oh, yes. Please come in.”
When I gave her my permission, she entered the room. I widened my eyes upon seeing the pile of letters on the silver tray she was holding.
Merilyn noticed my surprised expression and smiled gently. “These are all for you, my lady.”
I opened one of them cautiously, hoping that it wasn’t an anonymous blackmail letter. Now that I was the prime subject of gossip, I was worried that people who held a grudge against me enclosed something dangerous, like a razor blade, inside. After checking the contents of the letter, I widened my eyes.
‘An invitation?’ I skimmed through the message, which started off with a greeting, then a request to attend a social event that the sender, the daughter of a noble household, was hosting. I checked the other letters just in case, and they likewise asked for my regards and expressed their wishes to invite me. All these letters were sent in the names of daughters from noble families.
‘Ah, why is everyone suddenly doing this?’ Although I harbored a suspicion, it simply didn’t make sense for other girls to approach me using the same method as Rose had. ‘I really… hate this.’ It was, to put it plainly, inconsiderate for them to send an invitation to someone who was rumored to be sick. In any case, I had no reason to attend another banquet after going through such trouble recently.
‘If I decline their invitations without giving a reason, they might become hostile towards me. I should just say that I don’t feel well.’ It was a reasonable excuse because many people had witnessed my embarrassment leaving the banquet in my father’s arms. I sighed when I picked up another letter and saw a familiar name.
‘Rose…?’ It was from Rose Marie Arlo, the star of the birthday banquet where I caused a scene. I couldn’t help but feel nervous when I saw the letter. ‘It’s only natural of her to be angry with me.’ With this thought, I opened the letter and read its contents with a strange feeling.
Dear Lady Floyen,
How are you feeling? I was a little surprised when you left like that during the banquet because I didn’t realize that you might still be feeling unwell. I sincerely apologize for not considering that beforehand. You have given me the best gift I have ever received in my life, but I only gave you an unpleasant memory in return.
There are many more things I would like to say, but I will stop here because you are unwell. I hope that you will recover as soon as possible.
It felt very strange to read a letter filled with concern from someone who I had expected the opposite from. I realized that it was my first time receiving such kindness while living as Jubelian. ‘If I consider the relationship between our families, it’s natural for her to say these things for political reasons…’ Even so, I raised the corner of my lips unconsciously.
‘I should review the remaining letters and think about how to respond.’ With this thought, I picked up another envelope.
‘Hm, Count Herend… Why do I feel like I’ve heard this name before?’ I thought about the list of noble families that Merilyn had given me, but I couldn’t recall seeing such a name. ‘Well, I only memorized the households that have interacted with my family. It’s only natural that I can’t remember every member of the nobility.’ This letter was another invitation. I furrowed my eyebrows slightly and stacked all the letters, except Rose’s, before falling onto my bed.
‘Well, now isn’t the time to reply to these letters. I have to find a solution first, one that will discourage my father from making me meet with prospective marriage partners.’
* * *
Max wandered restlessly, bearing an impatient expression. “Why on earth hasn’t there a reply yet?” he asked with an annoyed tone. “You must have sent an invitation.”
Fresia sighed in response. ‘It’s only been two days since the letter was sent.’
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