< — Realization — > (2)
“Did you come alone? What of your husband?” (Katherine)
“His Majesty called for him so I came first. He said he’d come later.” (Lucia)
“He’s a busy person.”
Katherine smiled and looked at Lucia who was answering amiably with a strange look in her eyes. Why’s she like this? Katherine was confused.
Katherine was used to people who outwardly bowed their head while they were uncomfortable inside. If a cultured noblewoman was someone who spoke softly and in a roundabout way, then Katherine was not cultured in that sense. The noblewomen were often hurt by Katherine’s blunt manner. However, there was no one that could say anything to Katherine. Even if she didn’t fix it, it was not troubling enough to cause her problems. So Katherine didn’t care whether others were uncomfortable or not. In any case, they were all the same in front of her, bowing their heads and smiling at everything.
‘Her personality is quite mild. Very different from elder brother and I.”
Katherine was very curious about the Duchess of Taran who was a Princess. She didn’t purposely avoid the Duchess but there hadn’t been a chance to meet her. The both of them had different range of activities. Katherine never went to tea parties.
‘The flower of parties is the ballroom.’ (TN: The highlight.)
A tea party where you sit quietly and drink tea in broad daylight did not suit Katherine at all. She thought that she would meet the Duchess yesterday and went with a prepared mind, only to hear that the ducal couple had attended just the celebratory event and went back home. Today, she came with expectations that she would definitely meet the Duchess.
‘I’ll control the momentum.’
Katherine came with a determined mood. However, as soon as she saw the Duchess, her burning battle spirit faded away. It was not an opponent to fight. Her fighting spirit was gone.
“Let’s talk a little more. Shall we go somewhere quiet?” (Katherine)
“Yes? Yes.” (Lucia)
Katherine walked ahead and when she turned back slightly, she saw the Duchess quietly following her. Katherine turned her head forward again and smiled slightly. The two of them walked a little further away then they reached a hallway that was scarce with people.
‘My shoe feels a little tight.’
Lucia frowned slightly. It wasn’t obvious when she only took a few steps but now that she had walked a bit more, her foot felt uncomfortable.
“This is my break room. I’m the only one that uses it.”
It was a privilege that only Princess Katherine enjoyed. The break room was comfortably furnished on a smaller scale compared to the shared break room. In the middle, there was a large sofa where one could lay down and even the legs could fit on it. But the two of them could not sit comfortably because their dresses might get ruined so they perched slightly on the small sofa.
“Do you drink?” (Katherine)
“I can’t drink much.” (Lucia)
“Alright. Non-alcoholic champagne it is.”
Katherine ordered the handmaid that followed her inside. After a while, the handmaid brought glasses and champagne. Katherine sent the handmaid away with a hand gesture and the two of them were left alone.
“You stayed in the fief after getting married. Was there a lot to see in the north?” (Katherine)
“It can’t compare to the capital. It was a nice and quiet place.” (Lucia)
“How is the social circle in the north? Are balls held often?”
“I’m not sure, I’ve never gone to one before.”
“It’s not to my tastes. I’m not a very active person.”
Katherine was a little disappointed. It would have been nice to see the Duchess at balls more often. There were cases when a noblewoman’s preference in social activities was very obvious and defined. There were people who only enjoyed the ballroom like Katherine, and there were people who only liked small and quiet meetings like a tea party. Although upon close scrutiny, one could tell that balls were a big part of influencing the social circle.
“So you aren’t agreeable with this party then.” (Katherine)
“I can’t not show up at all.” (Lucia)
“True. You can’t do that. You are the Duchess after all.”
Katherine’s sharp words sounded cold. It was a tone that made one wonder if they had made her angry. She was a princess that was supported even if she didn’t speak nicely. There was no need for her to fix it. Although her words were straightforward, she just had a lot of pride and competitive spirit but she wasn’t a bad person. Lucia was envious of Katherine’s confidence because she didn’t knowing how scary the world was and sometimes, she felt it was cute.
“What brand is your dress?” (Katherine)
“Designer Antoine made it.”
“Antoine? Hmm. It’s a little different from what she makes…I don’t wear Antoine. It’s not to my liking.”
“The dress you’re wearing suits you very well.”
Lucia laughed evasively. Katherine wasn’t criticizing the dress she was wearing, it was just that she didn’t like the brand so she said so. There was no malice but she said what she wanted to say as if she was thinking aloud. It was this particular manner of speaking that her sister-in-law, Queen Beth, hated very much.
“The necklace is lovely. Excellent taste. Did you pick it yourself?” (Katherine)
“No. I got it as a gift.”
“I believe the gifting person is the Duke?”
There was envy in Katherine’s eyes as she carefully looked at the necklace. She pestered her brother when she wanted to buy jewelry but she felt bad about it. She couldn’t even think of getting an extravagant article like what the Duchess was wearing. Lucia knew how much Katherine loved jewelry, especially diamonds.
“If you like it, I can lend you anytime.”
“…You’ll lend the necklace? I thought you said it was a gift.”
“There’s no reason not to lend it because it was a gift.”
Katherine felt strange. After her mother passed away, the only person that showed her unconditional favor was her brother. Her sister-in-law was not a bad person but their personalities didn’t go along well. However, today, her half-sister that she was seeing for the first time was showing incomprehensible good will. If it was someone else, she would wonder what they were trying to get but the Duchess of Taran had nothing to get from Princess Katherine. Perhaps it was even the opposite.
Katherine liked the Duchess. She wanted to get close to her. It was the first time that Katherine had such a feeling towards another person.
“…It’s fine. I’m not shameless to that extent.” (Katherine)
Katherine stared quietly at Lucia as she drained her cocktail glass.
“To be honest, I used to like His Grace the Duke of Taran a lot.”
Lucia smiled. She knew. Katherine’s feelings towards the Duke of Taran was like a naïve young miss who went from girl to woman with a small, cute first love. A part of the reason why the Katherine in her dream was so antagonist towards the Duchess of Taran was because of such delicate feelings.
“Although I know such words are impolite.” (Katherine)
“It’s alright. It didn’t offend me.”
Katherine looked at Lucia for a while then she chuckled.
“You’re an interesting person. It’s my first time seeing someone like you, Duchess. How do I put this? You make one feel comfortable. Did the Duke kidnap you to his fief because he was attracted to that side of you?”
Hearing the rumor that she wished to forget, Lucia had an awkward expression as she fiddled with her empty glass.
“Everyone is curious about the Duke of Taran. Although they’re curious, there’s no one to ask. After all, there was no one in the Taran family that was active in the social circle. However, now, Duchess is here. It’s going to get quite annoying in the future.”
“As a matter of fact, I’m also curious. What type of person is he? You know the best since you’ve lived together for more than a year.”
Lucia suddenly realized. She had been married to him for more than a year. She had absolutely no idea that her marriage with him would be so smooth. What type of person is he? It was a difficult question. She still didn’t know him very well.
[How do you want me to kill them?]
Why did his scary words from last night sound so sweet to her? His curt manner of speaking was unchanged but listening to him, something in Lucia’s ear stopped working. Lucia’s heart pounded with a trivial phrase from him.
“He is a…caring person.”
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