Chapter 18 - “It is not you.”
Isabel stepped out of the bath, wiped her body down with a towel that had been prepared for her, haphazardly dried her hair, and then put on her clothes. Other noble ladies would have maids to assist them with drying and dressing after their baths, but Isabel had no choice but to cursorily wipe her own body, wrap her hair in the towel, and dress herself. The sky had turned dark between the time she had finished her meal and her bath. The maids came in shortly thereafter to clear out the bathtub and reorganize her room.
Isabel opened the window. She thought about how it would have been nicer to have a view overlooking a higher place. Isabel’s room, which was located on the lower floor, unfortunately, neither received enough sunlight nor provided a clear view of the night sky. From her end of the mansion, the moon was only partially visible. The bit of graceful moonlight she could see melted into the night sky and reminded her of Agares.
His brilliant, blonde hair resembled the moonlight. He was such a beautiful man, and he was the one whom she loved.
Isabel was frustrated that she couldn’t see the moon properly from her window and wanted to view the radiant sphere from the outside. She quietly slipped out of the room. Her family members hated whenever she loitered outside, but if she was careful and avoided catching their attention then it was fine.
‘Let’s go out.’
After debating with herself for a while, Isabel carefully tried to exit the mansion, but she was not very lucky. As she left her room and headed for the back door, she encountered Lilith.
“Ah, come on,” Lilith huffed. “You’re so annoying. Why did you come out of your room?”
“I-I wanted to go out for a walk.”
“Why do I have to see your face? I thought I told you before to lower your head.”
While Isabel lived in this mansion as an illegitimate child, the barony also housed the family’s legitimate daughter, Lilith Lance. She was the only legitimate daughter of the baron and baroness.
“It pisses me off.”
Lilith was garbed in a fancy dress, possibly because she had been on her way out. Although his official title was a baron, which was lower on the aristocratic hierarchy, the baron’s business was doing well and made him quite wealthy for someone in his position. With his riches, he generously gifted his “one and only” daughter Lilith beautiful dresses and extravagant jewels. The obsidian in Lilith’s luxurious, silver hair was striking. The man following her, seemingly acting as her chaperone, was her older brother, Allen.
“W-where are you going?” Isabel asked carefully.
“What does it have to do with you?”
Isabel looked down at the floor and nodded.
“We’re on our way to a count’s banquet,” Allen answered in Lilith’s stead since she had become annoyed at having to interact with Isabel. “We were invited.”
“R-really? Is, perhaps, the Grand Duke coming as well?”
“No clue. I didn’t hear anything about that. He doesn’t attend banquets often anyway.”
Isabel was glad to hear that he would not be in attendance. Otherwise, she would not have been able to restrain herself from running there immediately to see him. Though she was relieved, she did feel slightly disappointed. She missed him.
“Ah, is that so?” she murmured.
“Wait, why did you answer her, Brother?!”
“What’s wrong with you, Lilith? Why are you always at Isabel’s throat whenever you see her?”
Allen stepped forward and comforted Isabel with a soft voice. Lilith’s blood boiled even more, irritated by her brother’s attitude.
“So you’re not annoyed, Brother?”
“There are plenty of other things to be annoyed about.”
“Ah, every time I look at the wench’s face I feel like I’ve stepped on dog feces. If only she would disappear.”
“Wench? Regardless, she’s still older…”
“Older sister?! Who?! I won’t acknowledge her!” Lilith yelled.
“I wasn’t trying to say she’s your older sister, just that she’s still older than you.”
Although they were the same age, Isabel had been born several months before Lilith, giving her seniority over her. That fact alone offended Lilith.
“Good grief! I’m annoyed at you too, Brother!”
“Oh, no, my princess,” Allen pleaded kindly with Lilith. “Come on, you’re dressed up all prettily. We can’t have you annoyed, now, can we? Let’s stop here and leave.”
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