Chapter 9: Chapter 9. A New Meeting, Part I
Chapter 9. A New Meeting, Part I
In the meantime, Sarah’s embroidered handkerchief was handed over to Mielle. She didn’t respond to the embroidery of the lily, which was so beautiful that it seemed as if a butterfly would fly out of it at any moment. This led to an increase in the number of visitors to her room. For days, Aria laughed silently as she watched all of those unfamiliar guests visit Mielle.
‘No matter how hard you try, there’s no use. It’s time for you to experience it.’
In the past, Mielle might have been superior to her since she had learned everything ahead of time, but now, it was different. Since God had gifted Aria the memories of her past and a new future, Aria was now able to present Miele the pain that she had suffered in the past.
Aria, who had now learned how to walk gracefully, was now so elegant that she would immediately be able to assimilate to high society if she were to go out. Considering her age, she would be quite well received. Compared to her peers of the same age, she deserved the praise of her growth.
It was the countess, Aria’s mother, who was most proud. She was very proud of her little daughter, who had previously been a mess, for her growth and change.
She didn’t wonder why she had suddenly changed because it would feel hypocritical and insecure of her to have such thoughts in her current position. She just wished that Aria would learn more than her and be married into a household that was better than hers, becoming a marquess or a duchess, perhaps.
“What do you think?”
“If you’re referring to Marquis Vicent, he has a potential suitor.”
That was precisely her teacher. Enjoying lunch in the garden for the first time in a long time, mother and daughter chatted over green tea served with dessert. The countess asked Aria repeatedly about potential husbands, but Aria would recall each time the women that they would later marry. Though it wasn’t like she couldn’t take them away, she had not thought of wanting them in the first place, so she rejected all of them.
The countess, unsatisfied with her response, admonished her. “There’s no such thing as the best partner. It’s all up to those who try. Look at your mother.”
She was the product of her efforts. However beautiful she was, it was not easy to melt the icy heart of the count. It was safe to say that there was no one who had worked harder than her. Aria laughed faintly and said, “I’m still young. I’m only fourteen.”
“About to be fifteen. A woman’s youth goes by very quickly.”
Although the countess was merely thirty-two years of age, she stared into the air as if she were reflecting on her youth.
She had been abandoned on the street as a baby, and had grown up doing all kinds of dirty work. She had taken to the brothel before her monthly period had started and worked her way up, receiving countless customers.
There had only been one way to escape that hell, and that had been to catch a rich and powerful man. Other than that, there had been no other way for her to be rescued. She had realized that at the mere age of fifteen. Afterward, she had used all means and methods possible, and played the coquette toward those with power, some of which promised ardent love for her but never returned after a single meeting. When she was seventeen years old, she met a man who wanted to take her out of the brothel. It was a baron who managed a very small plot of land, but to her, who had nothing, he was like a god.
Unfortunately, before she was rescued, the baron found out that she was pregnant, and since she didn’t know who the father was, she was unable to escape that hell.
“If it hadn’t been for you…” that was what the despairing countess had said to Aria every time.
“Thinking back now, it may have been lucky to have you.”
“… How come?”
“Don’t you think it’s better to be a countess of a great estate and territory than a baroness in the countryside?”
There was not a single grain of falsehood in the countess’ face. If she had missed her opportunity, even Aria could have become a prostitute, but there seemed to be no trace of the consideration of such a possibility. Aria smiled lightly. Despite the misfortune, her mother had not abandoned her, but raised her, so Aria wasn’t dissatisfied with her. If her mother had abandoned Aria and lived life ignorantly of her, she would have soon met a good man and might have eventually had her status promoted.
However, her mother hadn’t done that. She had given birth to Aria and brought her to live with the count. That could’ve ended up becoming a lifelong burden for her, so it was definitely not an easy feat. It was the greatest expression of maternal love and the heavenly difference between her mother and herself, who had failed to prevent her mother’s death.
The countess, after instructing a maid to exchange the tea for a new, hot one, pondered about something and looked around. After confirming that no one was in the vicinity, she questioned Aria quietly, “It seems that you are interested in the eldest son of the Duke of Frederick.”
“You mean Oscar?”
“Yes. He’s the same age as Cain. I saw Mielle begging Cain to bring him here.”
Soon after Aria’s fifteenth birthday party, a few days after, Cain would visit this mansion with Oscar while they were on vacation.
In that place, Mielle would accidentally spill her tea on Oscar and ask if he needed a handkerchief. Then, she would take out the handkerchief that was embroidered with the seal of his family and give it to Oscar, lying that it had been she who had made it.
‘That’s right, that is the precise scene that I’ll witness.’
Aria as well aware of what the countess wanted to tell her, since there was no need to talk about someone in whom Mielle was interested.
There was yet to be an official fianceé for the heir of the Duke of Frederick. Although Mielle was the most likely candidate due to the combination of power and money associated with her, Oscar, who was not captivated by feminine charms yet, did not seem to have frequent meetings or stay in contact with Mielle. If Mielle were to grow a bit older and share a conversation with him, the outcome might be unknown, but they didn’t have a special relationship now. Therefore even if she was of lower birth, the Lady of the Roscent Family, Aria, had sufficient opportunity as well.
The maid who brought the new tea showed her polite respect and stood by in the distance. The countess raised her cup and had a sip of the tea.
“Your mother wants you to be happy, Aria.”
“Don’t worry, Mother.”
‘Though I can’t guarantee that I will be well, I’m sufficiently prepared to ruin Mielle. So, do not worry. When that one is unhappy, I can be happy, relatively.’
The mother and daughter smiled happily in the gentle early autumn wind.
2. A New Meeting
A few days after the count departed, Cain returned to the academy. He was very worried about Mielle, who would remain alone with Aria and her mother, but he left eventually, after lingering for a while due to Mielle’s quietness. Although Cain was not too fond of Aria and the new countess, he wasn’t filled with malice like Mielle.
In addition, the heir of the family needed to study for his classes in the academy, as well as be educated as the successor of the title, so as long as no harm came to his sister, he had no intention of interfering.
Once Cain had left, Mielle, who had barely managed to hire a teacher who would teach her embroidery, stayed in her room all day to devote herself to that matter.
Seeing her cancel all of her other classes and focus entirely on embroidery, Aria could only imagine what it could be like in that closed room.
Unlike the past, Mielle had been quiet, and her keen, sharp eyes had disappeared. A sense of inferiority was already creeping up on Mielle.
‘Could there be a situation any better than this?’
Aria, with a faint smile, sipped her tea, causing Sarah to ask her with a friendly expression, “Did something good happen?”
“Yes. Recently, everything that’s happened has been really good. Of them all, the best one is that I met Sarah.