Chapter 78 – Against The Original (2)
Louise faced a familiar figure. The girl had pale, small features and beautiful red hair. She stopped in front of Louise, her posture regal. She didn’t forget to raise her head slightly. Louise hesitated for a moment, then gave a low bow. This was not the Academy. Louise was right to act below her.
Stella stared at Louise, her body held in a perfect straight line. It was her childish victory to have Louise in a servile posture.
“What are you doing here?”
“The Count and my parents have known each other for a long time.”
Since Stella did not ask her to raise her head, Louise continued to stare down at the floor.
“But Mr. and Mrs. Sweeney have already left?”
“…I’m waiting for someone.”
Louise did not say who she was waiting for. Not because she promised them, it just something she wanted to do. But Stella could see right through her.
“You’re so stupid and rude. Really.”
Stella’s voice had the small bite of anger in it.
“Even after you saw the Count’s warning. You don’t care.”
Warning. She was probably referring to the portrait of the Queen that the Count held close to his body. Such misfortunes should not be repeated, as reiterated through his death. Louise pondered for a moment on how to answer Stella’s words.
Louise clutched the hem of her dress.
“Obviously, he left a warning.”
And she lifted her head without permission. She could see Stella’s fine features staring down at her sharply.
“But it was a heartfelt reminder to live happily. The words are not meant to be exploited.”
The Count had suffered all his life, but he hoped that there would be no such misfortune inflicted on others. It was a great shame that his words were used in childish psychological warfare.
“You talk like that, but your actions are clearly against the will of the Count!”
A few priests passing by turned their heads at the loudness of her voice. Louise bowed her head again in shame.
“If you have any respect for him!”
Her words quickened as she was worked into a frenzy. But it didn’t last long.
It was only her name, but it was enough. Stella whirled around to look at the silently approaching figure, and Louise bowed even deeper.
His name left her embarrassed lips.
“We’re not at the Academy.”
He put his arms together and didn’t bother to hide his displeasure. It was a great surprise, considering that he didn’t like to reveal his status.
“I beg your forgiveness, Lord Hillard.”
Stella bowed again, and Simon laughed bitterly.
“I don’t know when you became the Count’s spokesperson.”
“He wouldn’t be happy that you were rude to his friend.”
“My Lord, I meant no disrespect.”
“The Little Daughter of Lapis.”
Simon addressed Stella in a way that highlighted the difference in social status between the two. Simon was a member of the royal family and demanded respect from the lesser nobles. Of course, normally Simon found it very uncomfortable.
“It is my job to listen and make judgments. It is not for the little daughter of the Lapis family to do.”
Stella understood his intentions. Just like Stella had done to Louise, he meant to crush her by her status.
“Anyway, thank you for speaking for the royal family.”
“Oh, no. I was just–”
As Stella tried to continue, Simon cut her off. His meaning was clear. Stella bowed again and quickly made herself scarce.
After she left, Louise remained in a deep bow. The courtyard they were in was a place of many eyes, and Louise could not act so informally towards Simon here. Simon did not point out her excessive etiquette either. Instead, he whispered, “This way,” then started walking. Louise followed him about ten steps away. They went inside the cathedral, where there were only a few priests left putting out candles, picking up fallen petals and generally putting the place back in order.
He sat in a secluded corner and looked at her.
“Why would you listen to that?”
His voice was mixed with a rare anger.
“Because she’s a Lapis and I’m a Sweeney.”
Simon could not bring himself to say anything against that. If Louise told Ian and Simon what had happened, nobody would be able to lay a hand on her. But of course Louise wouldn’t want that.
“Thank you for coming, Simon.”
She realized she had called him by his name and quickly corrected herself.
“I don’t care which one, Louise.”
“But I’ll be in trouble. I can’t make mistakes in front of other people.”
“I suppose so.”
“It’s more than that.”
Louise sat close to Simon.
“What about His Highness, the Prince?”
“To be honest, it’s not a good situation.”
Of course. She knew it.
“He had a little argument with his father, His Majesty. It was like they were at each other’s throats.”
“…That’s not good. “
“It’s very bad.”
“What about you, My Lord?”
Simon looked at her in surprise.
“Are you eating well? Sleeping?”
“…As you can see.”
“Your eyes are red. You’re not forgetting to blink, are you?”
Simon laughed lightly, patting Louise’s neatly done hair.
“I only slept a little. Your hair is done beautifully.”
“A servant did it for me.”
“This looks good on you…well, maybe I’ll learn it later.”
“I don’t care what happens with my hair! You should sleep whenever you get the chance. I’m worried.”
Louise had a few more words with Simon. She hoped for the chance to talk to Ian, but unfortunately it couldn’t be.
“Do you want me to tell him something for you?”
Though Simon took it upon himself to be the messenger, Louise shook her head.
“He’ll do well no matter what I say.”
“But you must feel sorry…”
“Then I will tell him the same worries I gave you. I want him to eat and sleep well.”
“I’ll surely deliver it.”
At this time Simon was worried about Louise too. He wanted to say the same things as last time. He wanted her to sleep well under the blankets and not to eat too much cold food even when it’s hot.
When the priests finished cleaning the chapel, Louise returned home.
It was quiet when she arrived at the mansion. Her mother and father went to work in an office in the city. They wanted to stay with Louise as much as possible, but they had no choice because they had been away for too long. By evening, everyone would leave the office with the exception of a few residents.
The mansion had become more peaceful, and Louise found it rather pleasant. She only felt like staying in her room. It was vacation anyway. She could eat when she wanted to and stretch out when she wanted to. However, that meant she also had time to worry.
“To be honest, it’s not a good situation.”
“He had a little argument with his father, His Majesty. It’s like they’re at each other’s throats.”
It must have been quite serious. What on earth did they argue about? As she lay absentmindedly in bed, the door opened. The man who entered was an elderly butler who had been in the family for a long time.
Louise jumped to her feet. Then she blushed a little. She was still wearing her black dress from the funeral.
“Thank goodness. You’re still wearing your dress.”
Louise tilted her head in confusion.
“You have a visitor.”
“…At this time?”
Louise glanced at the cloudy black sky. The butler gave a gentle, calm reply.
“Yes, from the Royal Palace. Be quick.”