Chapter 10 - The Next Morning
“Don’t tell me you’re only returning home now?”
The bitter words came from the baron’s wife. This woman, however, was not Isabel’s mother. Isabel, in actuality, was the baron’s illegitimate child. No matter how much the nobility allowed and partook in debauchery after marriage, illegitimate children were still considered scandalous and should not even exist in their eyes. Debauchery was permitted, but the honor of the nobility was not to be tainted.
Everything had to be done in secret. However, as the name and honor of the household were spoiled by the existence of an illegitimate child, the baron was the one who bore the most consequences. Isabel had been wrong to think that she would be safe hereafter she arrived. She should have continued to be careful until the moment she entered her room.
She, an unmarried lady, had slept with a man, and this act likely precluded her from being able to find a partner now. No, actually, she couldn’t marry someone in the first place. Who would want to marry a baron’s illegitimate daughter, anyway? Isabel was well aware of this fact, so she reasoned that no matter what the future might have held, she wanted to give her body to him at least once.
That dream—the dream that she thought could never become reality—actually came true.
It had hurt physically, but she was content and happy with the fact that they had even been united for one night. If the truth that she had slept with the Grand Duke before she could even be married was ever revealed, she would be kicked out of the estate at once. Nonetheless, she did not regret it.
“I-I went out for a little walk…”
“Do you take me for an idiot? A walk? In that outfit?”
Isabel looked down at her body. She had forgotten about that detail. Isabel’s clothes were very modest and not flashy, to begin with, but even by those standards, her current gown was not appropriate to be worn at home. Her dress was definitely a banquet dress. She had lied and said she went on a walk because she had been afraid of the woman’s criticism, but her efforts turned out to be futile since she was caught.
“The dress is all wrinkled on top of that. Where are your manners?”
“Do you not know shame? A grown maiden such as yourself staying out all night and only coming in at dawn? You embarrass me so much I can’t bear to live anymore.”
“Gosh, it isn’t because of some unspeakable, impure affair, is it?”
Isabel’s face flushed scarlet. Though she shook her head, she thought about how her secret had been revealed. She felt nauseous, her heart stopped, and she blushed heavily. But Ghyria, the baroness, was already used to Isabel’s timid and cowardly personality, and let her go without interrogating her much further. She had only wanted to humiliate Isabel who she thought of as a slow-witted, lowly wench.
Isabel’s status as an illegitimate child degraded the baroness’s dignity, especially since Isabel lived in her home under the same roof as her legitimate family. To the baroness, she was nothing more than trash. The sight of Isabel offended her terribly. She also despised her gloomy and timid nature. In short, Ghyria hated Isabel’s existence. Like every married noblewoman, she blamed the product of her husband’s affairs instead of her husband himself.
“I don’t even want to see you. Go in quickly and get out of my sight.”
Isabel choked back tears at Ghyria’s harsh words and scurried to her room, which was located in the furthest corner of the lowest floor in the mansion. Nobles usually occupied the rooms on the highest floor of their residence. Their noble pride—no, conceit—was the reason why they made the highest floors their personal chambers instead of the lower ones.
Yet, not only was Isabel’s room on the first floor, but it was also the last room in the most remote corner of that floor. Isabel, however, was grateful that they even gave her a room and entered the aforementioned chamber.