Chapter 29 - Not A Beauty
“Is the scent not to your liking? Shall I change the water and use a different fragrance?”
Isabelle shook her head in surprise at the maid’s question. “It’s okay.”
“Then, is there anything not to your liking?”
“Ah, no. I like it. The flowers and the scent are nice.”
“I’m glad you like it.”
“What is it?”
“The water is infused with lily of the valley. It is a scent that the Grand Duke particularly likes.”
“A scent the Grand Duke likes…”
There was no way he would like her just because she smelled of lily of the valley, but she was glad to know what scent he preferred. Perhaps because she had nothing to her name, Isabel valued everything about him—even the most trivial thing.
“Then, may I assist you with your bath?”
“Can’t I do it alone?”
“It will be more comfortable for you if we serve you, miss. We will also tend to your skin. Ah, is there any reason in particular for your hesitation?”
“It’s nothing like that. I just feel slightly awkward.”
“Please be at ease, miss.”
“Alright. T-thank you.”
Once they were given permission, the maids proceeded to wipe Isabel’s body with soft silk. They continued pouring warm water into the bath to keep the water from cooling while lovely-scented oil was applied to her hair. Skillful fingers massaged her scalp, making her drowsy.
Throughout the bath, the maids chatted and tended to her so that she would not be bored.
Once they finished washing her, the maids wiped her hair and body before dressing her in a robe so that she would not catch a cold. Afterward, they led her to the vanity to finish drying her hair. The maids handled her hair so gently and carefully as if they were wiping off each and every strand. Once the last of the water had been wicked away, they helped her into the underwear that had been prepared for her and went to tighten a corset over the slip.
“Oh, my. Your waist is so thin.”
“I-is that so?”
“Indeed. His Highness told me to bring the smallest size we had. I was confused, but I see now. Shall I take off the corset?”
“Oh, no. Keep it on.”
“It looks like you don’t usually wear one. Is it really fine with you?”
“Yes. Please continue.”
This was a corset Agares had specifically requested for her, so she wanted to wear it. As the maid tightened the corset from behind her, Isabel felt as if her bones were being squeezed together.
“Is it uncomfortable?”
She did not normally wear a corset because it was the type of garment that was impossible for a woman to put on by herself. Since Isabel did not have a maid to help her pull it from behind, she generally avoided wearing one.
“This much is a must. Your waist is already thin in the first place, but it’s the width of my hand now.”
It was true. Her waist looked much narrower than usual in the large full-length mirror.
The maid smiled as she tied the laces.
“You seem to be struggling, so I’ll stop here,” the maid explained kindly. “You’ll get used to it the more you wear it.”
The maid then slid Isabel’s dress over her head and fastened it to her body. The gown was different from the ones she normally wore. The cloth was a darker pink color with tiny white flowers scattered beautifully throughout, giving it a cute and lovely charm. Isabel often saw this kind of trendy design at the banquets. She realized how even the feel of the material on her skin was leagues away from the quality she was used to, and the luster on the fabric was unparalleled to any other cloth she had seen.
A delicate lace was sewn on the sleeves, which extended halfway down to the back of her hand. She had never worn such a luxurious dress before.
A pin was inserted into her braided, violet hair. Even the makeup was perfectly applied by a professional hand. Her high heels had a gorgeous and elegant shape. When she inserted her stocking-clad feet into them, they made her feet look small and beautiful, and the shoes were not uncomfortable in any way. Even though they would hardly be visible under the dress, they were exquisite beyond words. Isabel was happy she could look even the slightest bit pretty in front of him.