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“The new Marquis Baldr is a neutral aristocrat. You have nothing to lose if you open up to him.”
“Is that so?”
“I’m not sure why, but he doesn’t seem to have a very comfortable relationship with the people on the princess’s side, unlike the previous marquis.”
Come to think of it, my parents suddenly went back to the capital during last summer vacation, and they said they had to go to the funeral of Marquis Baldr.
I think my mother said something, but I couldn’t quite recall what it was. While the guests were ushered in, I changed into a new dress, and Meryl assisted me in doing so.
With a light pink simple ribbon, the puff was held as loosely as possible. With my hair half-rolled up and my blonde hair flowing elegantly, I was now quite mature. Next year, I will turn sixteen years old, which is the age at which Imperial law permits a person to make their official debut and marry.
I didn’t want look older than my age, so I purposefully dressed more elegantly than I normally would. It is not inappropriate to express your opinion regarding the abrupt rudeness that arrived without being invited.
“Ciel Valentine is eating.”
“Nice to meet you, Madame Baldr.”
“Nice to meet you, Lady Ciel. Marchioness Baldr…… My name is Greta, the wife of Marquis Baldr.”
My prediction was wrong. The downtrodden Marquis had the impression that she would collapse at the sight of the slightest touch.
She was a beauty with curly brown hair and neat green eyes, but her spirit was too weak and she was terrified. If this happened, she would collapse at any moment, so I extended my hand to assist the marquis.
“Please sit down.”
“Thank you, Lady Ciel.”
Not only did her hands tremble, her voice trembled too. Her big eyes were infinitely moist as if she was about to burst into tears.
“What brought you to visit the Crown Prince’s Palace today? I heard you came to see me.”
“Well, that’s…… I’m so honoured.”
It was difficult to carry on a conversation with her because her voice was shaking so much. The anxiety on her face was palpable, so I quickly adjusted my strategy to account for it.
“Let’s have some tea first.”
Clack-clack. The sound of the teacup hitting the plate was a shame. After emptying a cup of my sister’s special sedative herbal tea, the Marchioness Baldur opened her mouth.
“I came to ask you something.”
“The Marchioness to me?”
“Feel free to address me as Greta at any time.”
A story my mother had told me vaguely came to mind. The newly crowned Marquis Baldr is the younger brother of the deceased Marquis Baldr, and there are rumours that the newly appointed Marquis Baldr had a contentious relationship with his older brother. Because of that, the second son and his wife, who was caught up in his brother’s checks, chose to live in seclusion close to the manor.
However, the situation changed when the Marquis of Baldr died without children. After the first son died, the title was passed on to the second son, and the couple, who had been living a quiet life in their hometown, suddenly found themselves in the position of marquis.
It is something that everyone else would envy because he is in a position where they couldn’t be even if they wanted to, but he didn’t seem to be very happy with it. The Marchioness, who appeared to be unaccustomed to being respected by everyone, bowed her head as she repeated her words of gratitude over and over again, even to the one maid of honour who had been present.
“It is their responsibility to treat guests to the palace. A light-eye greeting is enough.”
I never thought the day would come when I teach others proper etiquette. The young couple who had just arrived at the marquis did not appear to receive any assistance from anyone.
“I-I apologize. I’m not used to things like this yet.”
“Would you kindly calm down? Since I haven’t made my public debut just yet, you can’t really call me a lady. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable for you to take it easy today.”
The nervousness was obvious, so I decided to treat her in a friendly way. Acting arrogantly and ignoring her for being nice to me seemed too difficult, at least for the Marchioness Baldr.
I called her name on purpose to make her feel at ease. At my smile, Greta smiled for a moment, then shed tears again.
“Please save me, Miss Ciel.”
What is this out of the blue? Then there was a sudden commotion downstairs.
“Greta, where is my wife now?”
“Miss Ciel. Please save me.”
Greta suddenly burst into tears and grabbed my arm as if she were being pursued by someone. The door to the living room, where we were at the time, abruptly opened, and I was at a loss as to what to do in that situation.
When I saw who had shocked Greta, it appeared to be the Marquis Baldr. Like his wife, her husband’s side made it clear that they were from the countryside, in contrast to the nobles of the capital.
“Please don’t come near me.”
“What the hell is going on?”
“Please pardon my rudeness. I had to bring my wife.”
The drawing room was quickly turned into a mess. While Greta hid behind my back, her husband came over to talk to his wife.
What kind of sin am I in the middle? What the heck were you thinking when you stormed the palace of the crown prince and started a couple of bickering? The ladies-in-waiting tried to dissuade them, but the opponent was Marquis Baldr, a great southern aristocrat.
It was the same situation as when Stan broke into our house. While everyone was at a loss for what to do, Alex was eventually dispatched to the sudden disruption.
“What kind of commotion is this!”
The normally subdued shrieks of Alex reverberated all the way down the hallway. He stormed into the room, knocked Marquis Baldr aside, and stood guard over me as his rage boiled over.
“What in the devil could this be?”
Alex’s gaze was drawn to the marchioness standing behind me. The Marchionesss’s already frail nerves were unable to withstand Alex’s intense gaze. The Marchioness’ body slumped to the ground as he let out a groan.
I was on the edge of falling when the Marchioness, who was taller than me, fell as if to pounce on me. Fortunately, Alex caught me and I am saved, but somehow I ended up being held tightly in Alex’s arms.
The ladies-in-waiting came and helped the marchioness. The marquis also tried to run to his wife, but he couldn’t get anywhere near the restraints of the running guards.
“Ciel, are you all right?”
“Yes. I’m fine.”
Alex, taken aback, tightened his grip on me and glared at the Marquis. I tried to escape, but Alex’s arm strength was too strong.
Whatever. When will I have a chance to hug him like this? I pretended to be innocent and fell into Alex’s arms.
* * *
He moved the fallen Marchioness and summoned the court physician. My older sister was also standing behind the doctor. I looked at my sister and her as I heard the doctor describe the Marchioness’s condition.
“Her energy was very low. Her pulse is unstable, indicating that she is experiencing severe anxiety.”
“Looks like it. She’s been shaking her hand ever since.”
“And, to be honest, I’m still not sure.”
The doctor brought her out gingerly after assessing a few more symptoms.
“The Marchioness seems to be having a child.”
My eyes widened as I was surprised. People who have children are so weak.
“Ciel. How is the Marchioness’ condition?”
Alex, who had taken the Marquis, returned. At first, he thought that the Marquis had been following his wife to harm her, but it turned out that the Marquis had just come to look for his wife, who had suddenly jumped into the palace of the Crown Prince.
“Originally, I was a weak person. It must have been very difficult because I suddenly inherited the title.”
Her husband’s side was in the same bad condition. The news of her conception was not certain yet, so my sister took that into consideration and prepared the medicine.
The Marchioness opened her eyes about an hour later. She slowly opened her eyes, and the Marchioness fell into tears as she glanced at her husband, who was sitting by her bedside.
“What the hell is this, Greta?”
“Help me. Please save me.”
Greta’s hand rested naturally on her stomach. Apparently, she already knew about her pregnancy. As I handed out the medicine prepared by my sister, Greta looked at me with a worried face.
“Miss Ciel. I am now……”
“I know. It is a medicine that will not harm the baby.”
“What exactly do you mean, a baby?”
Greta, holding back her tears, nodded her head. The marquis held her wife’s hand tightly, with a face that did not know whether he was laughing or crying.
Only Alex, me, the Marquis Baldr, and his wife remained in the room after the rest had gone on Alex’s orders.
“If Madam’s condition is getting better, I’d like to hear the full story.”
In preparation for an unexpected situation, Alex sat me down next to him and asked about the situation. Perhaps after taking her medicine and getting better, the Marchioness said with a much more relaxed face than before.