< — Ever After — > (3)
Lucia received an invitation from the Queen for refreshments and went to the palace. In the corridor leading to the Queen’s palace, she encountered a familiar noblewoman. When the woman discovered Lucia, she immediately stopped walking and bowed her head. Lucia wasn’t that pleased to meet the Countess of Alvin, Sofia. She was going to just walk by, but her gaze landed on Sofia’s protruding stomach and her feet came to a stop.
“It turned out that I will leaving the capital soon. I came to the Palace to briefly give my greetings to Her Highness the Queen, Duchess.”
“I have no intention of blaming you. Please, lift you head. I don’t think it’ll be good for the baby if you bend like that.”
Sofia placed her hand under her protruding stomach as if supporting it and lifted her head. Her expression was serene. She seemed like a completely different person from the Sofia that Lucia met at the tea party. Her impression had also changed a little, perhaps because she had gained some weight.
“You are leaving the capital?”
“Yes. I will be going abroad because of my husband’s business.”
“Is it okay to travel like that when you’re pregnant?”
“The doctor said there was no problem as long as we’re careful. My husband wanted me to stay back in the capital to deliver but if that happens, I would be away from my husband for too long.”
“…I see. I hope you give birth to a healthy and beautiful child.”
Sofia stopped Lucia as she began to walk away.
“I apologize once again for my rude actions previously. I was beyond foolish and could not distinguish what was before me. I am not asking for your forgiveness. I just wanted to tell you that I am sincerely sorry for my actions to you, Duchess.”
“Since Countess tells me so sincerely, I do not wish to be a narrow-minded person. I hope we can treat each other a little more comfortably next time.”
Lucia looked at Sofia who was expressing her gratitude with a delighted expression. Sofia looked the happiest she had ever seen her look. She seemed to be soaked with the joy of soon becoming a mother.
Perhaps Sofia would not have the tragic ending that Lucia saw in her dream, instead, she would give birth to a healthy child, become a happy mother, and live the rest of her life as a noblewoman without any troubles. Lucia just had a feeling.
The Count of Alvin’s earnest courtship and eventual marriage to Sofia was still circulating in the social circles as a romantic story of pure love. Lucia heard that the Count of Alvin didn’t rebuke Sofia after hearing what she did, on the contrary, he shielded her.
This incident seemed to have played an important role in confirming the couple’s affection.
‘So you realized the importance of the person by your side. You are wise, Sofia.’
Lucia inwardly prayed for Sofia’s safe delivery.
Lucia unconsciously touched her flat abdomen and immediately withdrew her hand, startled at herself. She kept gazing in the distance until she could no longer see Sofia’s retreating back.
* * *
In the Queen’s Palace, Katherine had already arrived and had taken a seat. This time, the opposite happened, and Katherine heard of the Queen’s meeting with the Duchess today and invited herself to it.
The three of them sat together and comfortably talked with each other. They didn’t need to look good in front of the other, nor did they need to curry favor and study each other’s face. Katherine was in the know for a lot of things that happened in the social circle and she usually told them of interesting news.
“There is an interesting play these days. Have you seen it?”
“I hear seeing the play makes one laugh. It’s uncouth…”
Beth made a sour face. Until now, most plays depicted a magnificent epic story for a grand stage, or a tragedy. For these plays, one either sits in a refined manner while being quietly touched or sometimes, the noblewomen dabbed their tears with their handkerchief.
‘So it was around this time that comedy began to spread.’
By the time Lucia entered the social circle in her dream, comedy had already spread like an epidemic. And Lucia did not like plays.
Her life was already tiring enough. She didn’t want to see a tragedy and end up crying. But that didn’t mean she liked comedies. When she saw a comedic play, it was good and made her laugh a lot but afterwards, she felt empty so after seeing it a few times, she stopped. Countess Lucia didn’t have the heart to enjoy the comedic performance.
“Everyone knows how good it feels to laugh without keeping up any appearances. Your Highness the Queen should go see it once. As for me, I have seen it three times.”
Katherine enthusiastically poured out the emotions she felt from seeing the comedy. Beth already looked half-sold on the issue. Lucia knew from the dream that the Queen later became an enthusiastic admirer of comedy.
“Your Highness, what happened to Count Ramis? I keep hearing that he suddenly went down to the territory.”
Katherine lightly asked, and Beth gave a wry smile. She briefly explained the circumstances told to her by her father.
“My father said he hasn’t been able to look around the fief in a long time and sent down my brother in his place. There’s no other meaning behind it.”
She didn’t want to air her brother’s dirty laundry. Even if he wasn’t a very desirable brother, he was still her brother.
When Beth was a child, she hated both her brother and her mother and disliked the sight of them. Her mother carried David as if he was her only child and was not even concerned with Beth. Beth was always yearning for her mother’s affection. But when she got older and had her own child, she simply felt that her late mother was pitiful.
Beth knew that Robin was her half-brother. Nevertheless, Robin was still her brother. It was merely a tragedy caused by her parent’s incompatible marriage, Robin was not at fault.
When her father brought up divorce with her mother and their relationship was severely estranged, her father had another woman in his heart. But even then, he didn’t completely abandon her mother. Her father was definitely wrong. But her mother did not try either. They both had a hand in the unhappy turnout of their marriage.
 She means it makes you laugh uncontrollably and you lose your refinement…smth like that.