“This is what happens when you mix with the blood of a commoner.
You utterly lack a proper lineage.
What do you mean, a favour? How dare you.”
Her words resonated with laughing amusement.
Anyone could tell that she was intentionally making a larger fuss.
Was she taking advantage and trying to discourage me?
My mother's hand, still holding my sleeve, trembled.
I could feel her embarrassment and anger.
Now, what should I do? If it continued like this, there was no way to avoid trouble.
If it wasn't for the outsiders, there would be no concern.
I tried to hold in my words because they could do more harm than good.
However, if I did nothing, in the future I would have to endure much more from her.
I had also learned something from living as Yeon Woo.
Which was that patience isn't always a virtue.
“……I was short-sighted.
If you don't mind, would you mind giving me a moment with the Countess?”
It was her last chance to escape embarrassment.
The eyes of the guests in the drawing room widened at my words.
“What? What do you want me to do? Ha! Come now.
You can't be saying you expect these precious guests to leave? This is getting more and more absurd.
How could someone like you possibly be born into this family?”
“If you say so, I will oblige you, Madam.
Then, I will tell you without wasting your precious time any longer.”
Strangely enough, my anger only seemed to make me calmer, something I had not experienced in some time.
Perhaps that was why I didn't stutter.
“My brother Jason has four, Logan has two, Chloe and Aria have three.”
Victoria Elias' hand, which was lifting her teacup to her lips, stopped midair.
“What kind of weird numbers game is this?”
“And I have none.”
I was no longer moved by Victoria Elias' screeching.
The Lady of the House, who was supposed to manage internal affairs, was nothing more than a petty noblewoman incapable of controlling her mood.
What a waste.
None of those present were startled by her sudden change of tone, as if they had witnessed this behaviour before.
They all seemed merely curious as to what my words meant.
“What do you mean by 'none', Lady?”
It was the lawyer, Gehrig Anton, who had been listening with interest.
“The number of dedicated maids.”
As soon as I said it, everyone's eyes turned from me to Victoria, and to the maids and servants standing politely behind them.
Every visiting noblewoman had brought with her one, two, or as many as three, dedicated maids.
However, it was considered incredibly parsimonious for the Elias family, whose wealth was comparable to that of the Emperor’s, to not assign the Second Daughter of the House a single dedicated maid.
In fact, contrary to being frugal, the Elias family was known for their generous philanthropic donations, thus the only possible interpretation could be that the family was mistreating a member of their own bloodline.
“What – What is this… That's ridiculous…
Wh – what are you talking about?
Victoria Ellis stuttered, having caught my implication.
Ah… Even this shrill woman stuttered when she was flustered.
Somehow I felt sympathy and even a hint of pity.
The Madam didn’t need to worry.
I did not plan on dishonouring the family name.*
“You must have been very surprised.
This was also something I hadn't been paying attention to myself.
I am aware that unfit ingredients were delivered to the mansion last month, and the Countess was in charge of selecting a new food provider.
I came here because I knew you had a busy schedule as a result.
Besides, before I woke up, my circumstances were different.”
Suddenly, she was presented with a way out.
The Countess immediately seized upon it.
“Ye -, yes.
I -I've been very busy.
Your dedicated maid has already been assigned.
It- it’s just that the paperwork has been delayed.”
Anyone could tell her voice lacked confidence.
Just by looking at the sceptical faces of the people in the drawing room it was clear that no one believed it.
Then I would have to make it believable.
It would do me no good if the Head of the Family became aware of a slight against the Family honour.
“Yes, last month.
It seems to have been omitted when the duties of the servants and maids were reassigned.
The Countess must be taking great care managing the dedicated maids, especially since some irresponsible ones were recently fired.
That must be why the Countess has delayed the assignment of my dedicated maid for so long.
The reason why I came today is not to complain about my lack of a dedicated maid, but to tell the Countess that I have a maid I like who should be assigned.
So, I hope you will listen to my request with leniency.”
Victoria Elias's lips trembled as she put her teacup down and stood up slowly.
From a distance, her smile was benevolent, but upon close scrutiny her grin was obviously stiff and forced.
Her eyes were blazing, full of flames.
I smiled at her as if in response.
She didn't stutter, so she must have been drawing heavily on her self discipline to get the words out.
Maids are like one's hands and feet.
You should choose carefully.
I ordered my staff to be careful when assigning you a maid, however, clearly they were too slow.
I'll give you the one you want.
Will you be needing another one?”
“You are very generous, Madam.
To start off, Beth from the laundry room will be enough.
I'll get used to this arrangement and tell you if I need more.”
“Yes, I'll notify the housekeeper.”
“Thank you for your precious time, Madam.
Then, I take my leave.”
Next time you have something to bring up, please plan before you act.
Because not all times are appropriate.”
I bowed slightly to the visiting ladies and left the drawing room.
My mother followed me.
With a startled expression, she asked.
“I know you've changed, however, I didn't know you had changed this much.
How did you know? That the Countess changed food suppliers last month?”
“I went to the office building and asked.
It’s open to family members..”
“Mother, I should be going.”
Anyway, the housekeeper will be in trouble.
Since she was so late in assigning you a dedicated maid.”
I don't think so.
She never asked me about assigning a dedicated maid, let alone the housekeeper, and she won't be willing to admit her fault to the housekeeper either.
The housekeeper records all the requests of the Countess, and those records will be delivered to Father.
She would never risk proof of her transgressions falling into his hands.
If she has any intelligence.”
My mother stared at me with a curious and worried expression.
“What is it?”
You're not the same as you were seven years ago.
You've grown up so fast.
I always knew you were smart, but to think you're so clever now.….
I'm just amazed.”
Really? I've buried myself in books for the past 7 years, so I guess my brain works well.
Well I ought to go attend to my business.….
As I was about to turn around, I suddenly remembered something.
I caught my mother before she re-entered the drawing room.
“What is it?”
“A moment ago, I overheard something.
Mother, is it true you're interested in investing?”
“Oh, my! Did you hear that? Indeed, the lawyer is a very famous person in the area and the Countess went to great lengths to invite him.
As for me.
I don't have a lot of money, while they are all prestigious noble wives, I am only here as a courtesy.”
Really? I've never heard of Sorbonne wine.
Well you should carefully consider it first, and not invest immediately.”
Because we don't know much.
So carefully consider the details first.
You can take your time before making a decision.”
“But there is a lot of potential left for profit, and those who invest in advance will profit the most……”
“We are not a House without means.
Even though aristocratic wives are given the freedom to make investments it is best to look into it more first.
So please, discuss it with me before you decide.
I said seriously, looking into my mother's round eyes.
“Uh…yes…… Of course.
But, where are you going?”
“I'm going to beg someone.”
“Well, I'm not begging per se.
how do I explain this? Oh! I'm going to make them an offer.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“Something like that.
I'll be back.”
Bernard grumbled the whole way.
The grumbling didn't stop the whole carriage ride.
Perhaps he didn't like escorting a woman.
“…This is pathetic, truly wretched.
Some men go forth and distinguish themselves on the battlefield…
Some men, ha ha…”
“How long until we get there?”
Uh.… Perhaps I should take the Imperial Palace Guard Examination….”
He answered bluntly then continued speaking to himself as if I wasn’t able to hear him.
“Did you bring your axe?”
At least that's a little bit more honourable….
Again, he answered sourly, and mumbled to himself as if I wasn’t there.
“Do we still have a long way to go?”
“About 25 minutes….
The next exam is in three months….”
Something in my head snapped with a cracking sound.
Oh no, this was not going to work.
I tightly pulled the handle on the inside of the carriage.
“Stop! Hey, stop!”
There was a whirring noise and the carriage came to a standstill.
Bernard trudged forward on horseback regardless, so absorbed in his grumbling he was unaware that the carriage had halted.
Why have you stopped?”
“Are you asking because you honestly don't know?”
People passing by the carriage stopped and stared at the sound of my raised voice.
Bernard stopped, not coming back towards the carriage, and shrugged his shoulders arrogantly.
“Shall I go to you? Or will you come to me?”
When it appeared I was earnestly about to get out of the carriage, he must have been more bothered by it because he pulled on the reins of his horse and trudged back to me.
“Why are you doing this, Lady?”
“Are you really asking because you don’t know?”
“I don’t know.”
This enormous man, who was strong enough to strangle a cow with his bare hands, was so distracted that he might as well have his head stuck up said cow's ass.
“What's the problem?”
Sulking, he refused to talk.
“What is your problem? Why do you keep complaining?”
Again, his expression turned surly.
“Seriously! The only thing I’ve eaten today is two chocolate cookies.
I'm dying of low blood sugar here! How long are you going to keep doing this? Are you trying to drive me crazy? Do you want me to throw a fit or swear at you like last time?!”
It had been…
Hadn't it been less than a week since we started training together?
Bernard was being so sarcastic and half hearted.
I wondered whether he would stop treating our training as important when the elm sap medicine started working.
I suddenly realized what was going on.
This bastard was trying to get rid of me.
He was hoping I would release him myself.
So I took the most appropriate course of action.
Shouting loudly, I lunged forward, starting a hand-to-hand battle.
I went for his neck, grasping onto his limbs and biting.
I kicked, grabbed him by the nape of his neck, and ripped at his hair.
Since he was a knight, he tried his best to knock me down without hurting me.
He tried everything he could to pull me away from him.
It wasn't easy to get rid of me since I was determined to fight like crazy.**
Eventually, when he made a sound of surrender, I let go.
As if my words had finally gotten through, Bernard's eyes widened and his mouth opened.
His voice was still full of dissatisfaction.
“That's not it! I'm just training you.
I didn't say I was going to accompany you outside and escort you!”
Oh god, this man was so rigid.
“When I asked you to become my knight, of course escort duties were included! What's your problem now?”
Victoria in the novel is actually way worse than her manhwa counterpart in my opinion.
The levels of condescension are insane.
Meanwhile, Tara’s internal monologue is so much more blistering in the novel.
I was cackling at a lot of the things she was saying about Victoria in her head, not to mention that line about the cow and Bernard! As for Bernard and Tara… well obviously they need a little work when it comes to cooperating with one another.
This chapter overall was a nightmare and a half for some reason.
I blame Victoria…
* This is not important to understand the story at all, but I need the world to know that one of the original translations of this sentence was “Rest in peace, ma'am.
I'll refrain from putting shit on my face.” (in this case ‘face’ is referring to the family honour but it sure does not sound that way).
This was just too good not to include.
** These two paragraphs about Tara fighting Bernard were complete jumbled nonsense.
So take the details of this entire brawl between Tara and Bernard with a huge grain of salt.
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