Chapter 2 - Ella and Her Housemaids
Ella’s body had a different idea. Her body naturally moved into the duke’s arms, and she smiled. Eyes filled with deep trust looked straight into the duke’s eyes. “Don’t worry, father. Maylin went overboard again. Look! I’m totally fine.”
Words popped out of Luciella’s mouth. It was something Ranhee would never have been able to have done before. This was natural for Luciella. Not noticing Ranhee’s confusion, the duke’s face became relieved as he looked at Luciella. His daughter was so precious and kind but she could also at times be a handful.
“You look fine to me too. But we should still wait for Baron Hillis. We don’t want you to be sick like before, don’t we? He’ll be here soon.”
When Luciella was six years old, she hid her illness so she could go outside and make a snowman. As a result, she became gravely ill for ten days. The illness continued to linger in Luciella even as she became the empress. Ranhee wasn’t sure which part of the novel’s storyline she had transported to. All she knew was that Luciella was currently a young lady belonging to the duke’s family. It was most certain that the duke and duchess would interpret Luciella’s fine as not fine. It would be better to wait for Baron Hillis’s arrival.
“Of course, father. I’m sorry I made you worry.”
The duchess comforted her and told Luciella that it wasn’t her fault. Ranhee was overwhelmed with an unfamiliar feeling as the duchess held her in her arms. Feelings of longing, remorse, gratefulness, and guilt overwhelmed her. Tears began flowing down her cheeks.
“Honey, it’s our job to worry about you. We’re happy that we still have you in our arms. Don’t cry now. Your tears make us sad. Look at your beautiful eyes! Tears don’t suit you.”
Luciella’s uniquely colored eyes matched that of her mother’s. The duchess smiled as she comforted Ranhee. Ranhee’s guilt-filled heart pounded.
‘Mom… Dad…‘ Words that she threw away deep in her heart came back to her. For the first time since Ranhee had become Lucilla, she smiled. Tears dropped for the last time.
The reason Ranhee transmigrated into this novel wasn’t important to her anymore. All she wanted was to be someone’s daughter again. Ranhee wanted to be the daughter of this family.
‘Maybe my dream was realized in another way.’
If this was Ranhee’s new reality, then this was an opportunity of a lifetime. Everyone believed Ranhee was Luciella, so all she needed to do was change her mindset. If she could do that, she could have the perfect family again. There was no need to waste more time thinking about this anymore. She didn’t know why she was sent here, nor was there any way to send her back. Both of these thoughts influenced Ranhee’s decision.
‘From now on, I’m Luciella A. de Constance.’
Ella who became Luciella instead of Ranhee stretched her hands to her mother. Ella felt happy when her mother naturally bowed down at her lovely daughter’s gesture and embraced her.
‘I will not lose this embrace. Never. I will never put them in any danger. I will never let them down.
“I will never let tears drop from Luciella’s beautiful eyes. I’ll be your happy daughter. I’ll also be your joy. So please be with me forever.”
Ella determined herself to keep this promise again and again.
The events from that morning ended just like that. Maylin would’ve been punished for her actions if she was working for an ordinary noble family. The duke, however, praised Maylin’s actions and told her she had his permission to do it again. They were happy that Maylin was very attentive towards their daughter’s wellbeing. Not only that, they were happy to see their daughter’s desire for their love. It’d been many months since they last saw their daughter like that. Duke Constance was well-known for his cold demeanor, but when he was with his family, he was a daughter-doting fool. The duke’s love that she had read from the original novel now overwhelmed her. At times watching the duke’s happiness made her forget that she was actually 38 years old.
Thanks to Ella’s overwhelming desire for his love, the Duke couldn’t erase his smile even until he was going to work
The duke had a difficult time going to work. He wanted to spend his day by his precious daughter’s side. It was only when he finally left, an ordinary day at the Constance household could begin.
With the help of Maylin and the other housemaids, Ella changed into a dress. The dress’s design was focused on comfort and didn’t require a corset as it was only a dress to be used at home. Ella loved the dress’s silhouette and twirled around. Ella discovered her fondness for these types of dresses. Watching the dress’s movements as she spun made her excited.
‘It’s so beautiful! I’m so happy!’ Ella thought as she spun again with sparkling eyes.
This time, she lightly held onto the skirt and lifted parts of her skirt. She hoped she could watch the dress’s flowing movements again.
The dark blue skirt waved as it slowly came down. The white laces from beneath the skirt sparkled. ‘What’s that?’
She never gave much attention to the underskirt underneath her dark blue dress. Ella then lowered herself and pulled up the ends of her dress to see the underskirt. Maylin, who noticed Ella’s action, became startled and stopped her. “My lady! What are you doing?”
“Huh? I’m just trying to see this sparkly thing in my underskirts lace,” said Ella casually as she tried to look down again.
Maylin then signaled another housemaid to come over. A black-haired housemaid carefully approached Ella. She raised Ella’s skirt just enough for the underskirt to be visible for Ella to see in the mirror.
“This will help you see it, my lady. It’s an underskirt that you ordered a few days ago from Baroness Setin. You wanted more because you loved the silver-threaded laces, remember? You loved them so much.”
In response to Maylin’s question, Ella avoided all eye contact. There’s no way Ranhee would know what Luciella ordered a few days ago.
‘The novel didn’t tell me that many details!’
She couldn’t say that to Maylin, so all she did was look away and mumble. Maylin then began her daily lessons. “Also, my lady. As I’ve been telling you all this time, you should never lower your body like that! Always look for someone to help you, even if it seems cumbersome. That’s the reason why there is always someone around you. You must never do that, ESPECIALLY when you’re outside. Do you understand, my lady?”
Maylin’s words caused Ella to realize her new reality. Now she was in a world with a social hierarchy. Ella wasn’t allowed to do something as simple as lowering herself. There’s only one reason why she had to wait for someone to do her bidding instead. It was because nobles shouldn’t bow down to others.
‘Nobility my ass,’ thought Ella, as she looked at Maylin and the other housemaids.
While Maylin preached, the other housemaids appeared to have no complaints. It was very apparent. Ella thought that these people would be like her managers or secretaries from her previous life. These people weren’t. Ella frowned. Just as Maylin was about to begin her lesson, she stopped when she noticed Ella’s darkened expression. Although Ella was a young girl, she was still Maylin’s superior.
‘Ugh…’ sighed Ella as Maylin tried to be cautious around her.
She could obviously felt the strict position gap from Maylin’s changed attitude. The housemaids who have taken care of Ella since she was a baby were also acting like this. It’s no wonder the other housemaids, who only started working after Ella made her debut and was preparing for her engagement. Ella then looked at the black-haired maid who helped her moments ago. ‘So, she must be Mary.’
Mary was an ordinary girl. When her brother became a knight of the Constance family, she joined as a housemaid. Even after a year of working at the Constance household, Mary was still the lowest ranking maid. Because of that, she still couldn’t make any direct eye contact with Ella. The other housemaids weren’t any different.
‘Smilliena B Cont Toleen.’
The maid with the curly brown hair tied in a bun was Smila. She belonged to a count’s family. Smila, who was raised like a princess, continued to look after Ella even after three years. She was as loyal as her father was to the Constance family. She was different from the other daughters of count families from the Capital that will appear in the future to bring down Ella. Mary and Smila considered themselves lowly in the presence of Ella. It made Ella sigh. In that sense, the red-haired girl who was blinking her black eyes playfully was much better.
‘Joanne R. Von Pail.’
Joanne spent the most time with Luciella, and she was the one who pretended to stop Luciella from doing silly things. It was all for show as Joanne helped Luciella with her silly acts. Anyway, Luciella was like an idol to the three of them. Of course, she understood why they felt that way. Luciella was both beautiful and special. But this wasn’t the relationship Ella wanted with them. Ranhee always felt empty and tried to fill that void with the people around her. Even though she now had parents again, it still wasn’t enough to fill that void in her. She needed more love.
‘I need something that will ease these feelings of loneliness and uncertainty.’
That was the first thought that came to mind when Ella decided to live as Luciella. There’s a chance she could fill that void when she meets the crown prince, and receive that special kind of love from him, just like in the novel. But that was still far in the future. Ella wanted something to fill her void now, and she looked for it from the housemaids. The way the housemaids loved Ella, however, wasn’t something she wanted. She felt the gap between them increasing the more they showed their love for her.
Ella had to find a way to destroy the pedestal the maids had placed her on. She didn’t, however, want to do it in a way that would damage the reputation of Duke Constance.
‘I would never do anything that would make my parents sad.’
Ella reaffirmed her vows. With that said, it seemed better to bring these people up to her level than for her to go down. The answer was clear to her, but it also wasn’t easy to accomplish, so she sighed again. Maylin, who was watching Ella silently for quite a long time, then began her lectures again as Ella sighed loudly.
“My lady! A lady such as yourself shouldn’t sigh! You mustn’t do that, especially in front of other people! If you really want to sigh and curse, use a fan to cover your mouth.”
“Like this. When you want to sigh, cover your face with a fan. Then smile with your eyes while you curse with your mouth. That’ll make you feel a lot better.”
Ella laughed at Maylin’s gestures. A housemaid was teaching a young lady how to curse at her debut. Maylin was Luciella’s housemaid for sure. Ella was able to shake her inner thoughts out thanks to Maylin’s humorous advice. There was ample time left for Ella to work on these people. What she needed to think about was another problem. To face that problem ahead, she left the room.