Chapter 4 - Decided Fate
The head maid Lotta fixed Edna with a piercing sideways glare and dragged her out violently by the arm. She was curious as to why Anna suddenly instructed her to wash Edna, but couldn’t figure out why no matter how hard she thought about it. What made it worse was the fact that she couldn’t even ask Anna about it. Reluctantly dragging Edna down, Lotta scrubbed her skin red until it was about to peel off with ice-cold water, thinking it an absurdity to let a mere maid have a sumptuous hot bath.
Edna gritted her teeth and endured the pain tearing at her skin. Her mind was gradually relaxing. The fact that they’d be sending her to Eli as they schemed was bulletproof. She was helpless against the reality that she had nowhere to go to were she to run away. But of course, she’d still be killed as soon as she was discovered to be an impostor; however, at least she wouldn’t have to starve for a few days until that time came.
Plus, she’d also be able to shed the fear of being violated, if only for a moment. She clenched her teeth tightly, thinking that this was a golden opportunity for her to escape from the constant hunger, flogging, and the looming threat of sexual assault she suffered through over the last 2 years.
Lotta was exhausted upon managing to wash Edna several times with cold water and, afterward, she thought her clean appearance to be appealing enough. Lotta grabbed Edna’s chin and turned her face from side to side. She couldn’t discern her eye color because they weren’t open all the way, but her concealed figure seemed very fine.
“I guess your body shape was what made the knights go crazy trying to embrace a foul-smelling child such as you. Men are so fickle indeed… Now, off with you.” Lotta said and shoved her old but clean clothes while spurting insults and smacked her on the back. Edna bit her lips and hurriedly got dressed.
As soon as she escaped out to the hall, she found herself face to face with Gilbert, the Head of the Knights, whose eyes narrowed like a snake’s upon seeing Edna fresh out of a bath and clad in clean clothing. Edna tried to quickly evade him and run into Anna’s room, but Gilbert caught her by her still wet hair as she was trying to sidestep him to get to the stairs and pulled her against his chest. A sharp shriek escaped Edna’s mouth in the wake of his assault.
Anna emerged right when he was moving his hand to grope Edna’s body with a treacherous smile plastered on his face. Seeing Edna being held by Gilbert in the hall, Anna snickered and coldly said, “Let her go, Gilbert.”
Gilbert looked at Anna for a moment with a displeased expression and she soon gave him an imperious look, followed by a sharp outburst. “What is it? Are you defying me? I told you to let her go!”
Edna took advantage of Gilbert’s loosened grip and quickly sprinted up the stairs to Anna’s side, following her into the room. Anna, having already changed into an outdoor outfit in preparation to leave the castle soon, looked at Edna and smiled contentedly.
However, when she saw the obvious bruise on Edna’s now clean face, she inquired in a cool tone, “What’s wrong with your face? Did you get hit again?”
Anna, too, was well aware of Edna’s obstinate determination not to let a man share her bed thanks to the maids’ prattling. She had also heard that Gilbert had been in hot pursuit for Edna over the past few days.
Anna looked disapprovingly at Edna and murmured to herself, “You sure don’t know how to take shortcuts in life. I can’t believe you let your face reach this pitiful state when it could’ve been avoided if you’d slept with him once. Well, what can I do? I can’t help but hope for the bruises to disappear within the week. Come on, let’s go. Hurry and pick up my luggage.”
Anna had packed her bags while Edna was taking a bath. Rumors would definitely spread if she stayed and taught Edna in the castle. Therefore, she planned to lay low at the monastery while she taught Edna and then send her to Eli from there.