The next day, Lobelia awoke at dawn to clean the outhouse and arrange Julia’s belongings.
Since Julia scarcely possessed material things, there were only a few items she needed to organize.
After throwing away the clothes that didn’t fit her, the only thing left was an old necklace.
Mother always carried this with her, Lobelia thought, she said it was a gift from father. Lobelia wore the necklace around her neck and hid it under her clothes.
The pendant spread coldness to her skin which reached her heart.
She was glad she had this much.
Lobelia stared at her pale reflection in the window and felt strange.
She felt terribly unhappy; she wanted to sit and cry all night, but no tears came out from her hollow eyes.
Only anger and desire for vengeance controlled Lobelia like a doll.
She believed she’d be able to mourn properly once she finally fulfilled the longing of her broken heart.
Lobelia opened the window and inhaled the coolness of the winter breeze to calm her mind while her silver hair fluttered in the wind.
Suddenly, another knock hammered on the door.
Lobelia opened the door, revealing the presence of Madame Terrine, the maid of honor of the Countess of Evelentia.
She glanced at Lobelia from head to toe with blatant contempt, and then opened her mouth to speak.
“Come to the main building Miss Aina is looking for you,” she said.
Lobelia wanted to ask why Aina was looking for her, but Madame Terrine wouldn’t entertain any question from her.
As she followed her to the dressing room of the mansion, she saw Aina surrounded by a large number of handmaidens and dressed in splendor.
“Are you here, sister?” Aina looked elated.
“I was so upset when we parted yesterday.” She approached Aina and clasped her hands with hers, a bright smile forming on her lips.
“Something exciting happened today, so I called my sister.
My sister will feel good if she dresses up and stays next to me.”
She looked at Lobelia with wide eyes and said, “Supposedly, only the handmaiden of the entourage can stand next to me, but I will give my sister a special chance.
She’s my precious person.”
Lobelia looked at Aina with a look full of wonder.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
Aina, who had just put on a headdress, turned her head to Lobelia and exclaimed, “Well, the Duke of Ferrado had sent someone for me!”
“The Duke of Ferrado?” Lobelia repeated the duke’s name in surprise but hastily composed herself.
Aina continued to speak, her cheeks flushed and her eyes wide.
“The other day I ran into the duke at the royal banquet and accidentally dropped my handkerchief.
I’m sure he’s here to return it,” she said excitedly.
“It was an honest mistake, but Duke Ferrado must have taken it differently.”
Dropping a handkerchief in front of a gentleman was a subtle expression of a maiden’s affection.
So was keeping the handkerchief and returning it with a gift.
Aina often dropped her handkerchief in front of noble men, but she would never admit that it was intentional.
Her innocence and bright personality was popular among the nobility, so it was easily believable.
Of course, there were those who disapproved of her, but they kept their mouths shut in fear of Evelentia’s power.
Aina turned to the handmaidens, “Can you choose the right outfit for my sister?”
Lobelia quickly turned towards the door to get herself out of this ridiculous situation.
But Madame Terrine was standing by the exit with a stern look in her eyes.
Inevitably, Lobelia became the doll in Aina’s play, and she was not pleased.
The maids were busy dressing up Lobelia in the appearance of a handmaid.
As they finished, they went down to the hall and waited for the duke’s messenger to arrive.
Soon after, a knight sporting pale blond hair and blue eyes arrived at the mansion.
His name was Sir Joheim Jereminus, famous as Jade Ferrado’s lieutenant.
“Welcome!” Aina stepped forward and greeted Joheim.
“You’re here to return the handkerchief, right?”
Joheim tilted his head in confusion.
“Pardon?” he asked.
“Oh my!” Aina exclaimed.
“You brought a present, too! It was really a mistake.
You didn’t have to visit me like this… But since you’re here, I should be polite and accept it.
Hurry up and give it to me.”
Aina smiled widely, but as the lieutenant opened his mouth to speak, the joy vanished on her face.
“I have come to see Miss Lobelia of Evelentia,” announced Joheim.
At that, Aina’s face hardened.
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