Chapter 2 - The New Aris Horissen
Lucine wasn’t the type of girl who spread rumors, but it was still best not to say anything that could be twisted later on—just in case.
Aris took another sip of her tea and Lucine asked, “Do you have a lot of homework today?”
“Yes. Do you want to learn with me?”
Lucine shook her head at Aris’s words. “I’m just a maid, miss.”
In the kingdom they lived in, education was not a right, but a privilege. The upper class could afford tutors and professors, but common people had no way of learning, especially as mandatory schooling had yet to be established. Education was a symbol of privilege. Without money, one could not gain access to it. Studying was something only wealthy heirs or nobles could do.
The novel’s male lead, however, had been lucky. Despite his family’s financial difficulties, his parents sent him to an academy where he excelled in swordsmanship. His skills far surpassed those of any other commoner and he became somewhat of a legend at the academy.
After completing his schooling, he became the hero of the battlefield and accomplished amazing feats for the good of the kingdom. Although the king had offered to bestow him a title, he refused and retreated to his estate in the countryside, saying he did not care for politics.
The male lead had a favorable reputation and was exceptionally skilled. The emperor, who knew this well, wanted to ensure his bloodline’s loyalty to the throne and decided to marry him into one of his supporters’ families. The girl who was chosen to be his bride was none other than Lady Horissen.
‘Me. I’m the one who was chosen.’
Since rumors were inevitable, Aris decided she’d rather have good rumors than bad ones, and did the complete opposite of what the original Lady Horissen would have done. She had once looked into her rumors and was pleased to find out that her only reputation was that of a beautiful and sophisticated young lady.
Aris, who had been eating cookies absentmindedly, reached for another, only to find the plate was empty. She wanted more and that did not escape her maid’s eyes.
“You still need to eat lunch later, my lady. You shouldn’t have too many cookies,” Lucine said gently as if reading the other girl’s mind.
Aris ate very little in order to maintain her figure. She didn’t gain weight easily but found that she tended to fatten up if she didn’t watch herself. She had learned this lesson the hard way and vowed to never let it happen again.
As Aris descended to the lower floor for lunch, she spotted her father, Ian, already seated at the dining table.
“Father!” she exclaimed, beaming brightly.
In the original novel, Aris and her father had not been close. The marquis was constantly disappointed with his thoughtless daughter and tried to change her, but Aris felt that he nagged too much and grew to dislike him.
“Aris, you’re here.”
Things were different now. After she had become Aris Horissen, she had taken painstaking measures to ensure she had a spotless reputation. Ian knew this as well. He was a rather stony, taciturn man, but he would melt in front of his daughter. How could he remain silent when his daughter was as lovely and adorable as she was?
“Did you have a good lunch, Father?”
“It was alright.”
“You need to make sure you’re eating well!” Aris said to her father, smiling.
She liked Ian well enough and thought he was a good man. At the very least, he was a father who loved her just for trying her best.
Ian’s face brightened at Aris’ affectionate chiding and smiled gently. Aris lowered her head. The first time she had done this, he hadn’t known how to react, but now he knew exactly what she wanted. He brought a hand up and patted her head, smoothing her silky brown hair with his fingers.
“Are you going to the palace today?”
She had yet to go to the palace, but she had heard countless rumors about it. The one she liked the most was that there was a garden with flowers constantly in bloom.
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