The current head of state, Heliot Billander, did not have a bad reputation among the nobles, but it was the opposite among the servants.
It’s not on a bad level, but it’s almost crawling on the floor.


His son, Gallot Billander, was quite smart.
He seemed to be paying attention to rumors and sorted it out in his way.
Although, it was a rumor that spread even without the birds and mice knowing.


Lily was one of the victims’ families made by the Count and worked as their maid for revenge.
And after enduring five years, she then escaped after succeeding in killing him.


The relationship between the two began when Beatrice accidentally found Lily avoiding the Count’s knights and fleeing from the capital’s siege.
Thinking of the first meeting looking like a dirty rat, the corner of Beatrice’s mouth curved into a smirk.


“I can’t wait to meet you.”


“Are you that excited about meeting your first friend?”




When Beatrice opened her mouth as though she had finished thinking, Laura, the maid, responded as if she had waited.
It would be quite uncomfortable and frustrating if you didn’t say anything in the carriage with an unfamiliar lady.


I lifted the carriage’s curtain a little bit and looked out the window.
The white streets of the pristine capital were dazzling in the winter sunlight.


* * *


“Is it true that Lady Amber will be visiting in a little while?”


“Yes, that’s right, Lady Floria.”


“I was so embarrassed when I first got the letter.”


Floria Billander recalled the Duchess’ letter.
The Amber and Billander family had been on good terms for generations — Floria had been interacting with the Duke ever since childhood because of that.
Thanks to this, Floria knew his sons, Calex and Felix, well.
However, she had never met his daughter, Beatrice. 


They were ranked the second strongest family in the empire after the imperial family.
Ever since the former Duke married from the imperial family, their treatment was also comparable to that of theirs.
At this point, an illegitimate child was the only stain on the family.


I did hear a rumor that a child was brought home by the missing Duke, but she couldn’t be seen outside for some reason.


Now that the former Duke had passed away, only the vague sound of this nuisance that couldn’t possibly disappear could be heard around the house.


Only families who were close to the Duke knew about this.
I wanted to know more, but it appeared that everybody’s lips were sealed.


Even if I asked Calex or Felix, a frown would be the only thing I’d get back, and no one would dare ask the Duchess.
But then suddenly, I received a letter of the Duchess’ request for her daughter?


“What happened, Emily?”


“Well, I don’t know.
What would I know about these things? But when I look at this letter, it was written exactly as how you would treat your beloved daughter.”


“Right? I thought she was being left out in the family since they didn’t even talk about her, but it was actually the opposite?”


Emily remembered an old rumor.


“Like the rumor that the former Duke didn’t want to show her outside because he loved her so much?”


“Otherwise, the situation doesn’t make sense.”


But there were also rumors of the complete opposite, so Emily shook her head.


“Hmm, but if she is such a precious daughter, wouldn’t there be no reason to postpone the debutante party by a year?”


“Isn’t it possible that it is because they cherish her way too much that they postponed it?”


Short speculations went back and forth between the two, but there was nothing to confirm exactly.
Eventually, Floria leaned against the sofa, sighing heavily as she looked at the ceiling.


“What are we going to find out by guessing? It’s best to just meet her in person.”


As Floria was lying on the sofa, the maid, Emily, carefully touched her disheveled hair to straighten it.
By the time she was done, a servant’s voice was heard with a knock on the door.


“Lady Amber is arriving soon.”


“I can’t help but meet each other.
I’ll be right out.”


Floria rose from her seat and left the room.
Since they couldn’t use the garden table because of the chilly weather, she’s going to invite her to talk in the living room instead and stay there until the evening.


While she slowly walked down the hallway, she saw her brother, Gallot, on the other side.
As soon as their gazes met, the siblings’ faces turned sour.


“The Lady of the Amber family is arriving today, so you better stay there and don’t even look around.”


“I just saw you today, but your words are already harsh.”


“Do you really want me to say something nice to you? Anyway, don’t even stand out.
Lady Amber seems to be adored by the Duke’s family.”


“Isn’t Lady Amber an illegitimate child?”


“I don’t think the she is disrespected since the Duchess asked me directly.
Stop bothering me.
If you want to know more, just find it out yourself.
Didn’t I tell you? Don’t talk to me as much as possible.”


Floria hated her brother and father more than anyone else.
But she always tried to not cross the line because of course, everything she had — from the clothes she wore, the food she ate, to the house where she lived — they all came from her family.
Although, she couldn’t help but frown every time she saw their faces.


And the two men always scolded her for being overly emotional and unladylike. 


Who the hell was it that’s not noble and vulgar? 


I ground my teeth and walked past him so fast it created a whistling sound.
I could feel him looking at me from behind, but I never looked back.


“I wish I could die.”


“Lady, you never know who’s going to hear it.”


“You’re not telling me not to do it?”


“You just have to do it secretly so that only us can hear.”


Thanks to Emily joking around, I was able to soften my rigid expression.
My luck wasn’t very good today.
I couldn’t believe I saw Gallot’s bloody face on my way to greet guests.


I might end up seeing my father’s face at this rate, then today would be the worst day for me.
It should be hard to see his face once a week because I was always avoiding him.


I walked while chatting with Emily until we reached the main gate, however, I was a little late because of the brief argument I had with my brother — oh, that bastard who really doesn’t help in life.
I could already see Lady Amber holding the knight’s hand as she got off the carriage.
As I approached at a quickened pace, our eyes suddenly met.




The person who got off the wagon greeted her first.
Originally, she should’ve greeted the guest first, but she was embarrassed for a while and blinked, hurriedly grabbing the hem of her dress to respond to the greeting.


I’m Floria Billander of the Billander family.”


“Thank you so much for inviting me here, I’m Beatrice Amber of the Amber family.”


Floria looked at Beatrice Amber in front of her.
The Amber family was famous for their good looks, so I expected her to be pretty, but the woman standing in front of me was more beautiful than I had imagined.


Her long, black hair that cascaded down to her waist shone like silk as her warm, deep golden eyes were staring at her so dull that it overshadowed the color’s vibrancy.


Although she had a slight smile, there was no warmth in her gaze.
I thought it might be similar to Calex, who always built a wall around others.


“Please, come in.
Shall we go to the living room together?”


As Floria took a step inside, Beatrice naturally began to follow her.
For a moment, only the clacks of their shoes were heard across the hallway.


Floria wanted to cast a sideways glance to be familiar with her, but doing that to a noble was considered impolite.


Therefore, she endured it and walked wordlessly towards the living room, where a servant opened the door for them.
Only after letting Beatrice enter first did she ask Emily something so that she could not be heard.


“How am I doing?”


“Your steps are straight and elegant, and you did not once look sideways while we were walking.
You seem well-educated.”


“Really? I knew it.
Bring the tea.”


After a quick chat, Emily left to get the tea while Floria entered the living room to meet Beatrice and offered her a seat.
Her golden eyes had been looking down for a while, but when Floria gazed at her, her eyes quickly met hers.


She didn’t seem to be interested in people yet it looked like she had no problem making strange eye contact.


“I was surprised when the Duchess suddenly sent me a letter.
It’s my first time being asked for a favor like this.”


“Oh my, that must have been rude.”


“No, no, it’s rather an honor to be asked by the Duchess for something.
It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lady Amber.”


Beatrice’s tone was kind, yet somehow dry.
It’s not without an accent, but I’d say it was overly plain.


Floria blinked slowly as she maintained a smile.
Beatrice did not reply for a moment and lowered her gaze again.


Was it a little uncomfortable to talk to people since she didn’t get out much?


As she was waiting for an answer, a clumsy but bright smile was plastered on her pale face.


Floria forgot that it was rude to stare because Beatrice had a completely different look from what she had before.


“I’m pleased to know that you’re happy.
Actually, my relationship with the Duchess has improved recently.”




As if they were not interested in others, the eyes that looked like shards of glass under the shade wandered somewhere else — golden eyes sparkling like sunlight.


“I was very nervous about meeting a stranger on my way here, but I shouldn’t stay still because the Duchess began to take care of me in many ways.
I want to meet your expectations.”


I glanced up, she seemed to be thinking a lot every time she lowered her gaze. So she appeared stiff because she was nervous…


As soon as she said that she’s happy, she smiled — the kind of smile that could melt anyone’s vigilance.
It was such an innocent appearance that didn’t suit a noblewoman.
Floria waved her hand out with a bit of concern. Oh my, how could you survive in society with such a personality? 


“If the Lady thought about it that way, the Duchess will surely be delighted to know that .”


“Shall we?”


“Of course!”


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