The Evans family’s villa was located in the outskirts of the capital. Compared to the town where the Hare manor was located, it couldn’t be compared to this evidently extravagant town.
Glancing down, a pet swan could be seen gliding leisurely across the lake, and at the edge of the waters, white horses were taking a drink.
“Oh my, is that Sir Knight over there?”
Carynne forced a smile as she waved one hand. She just wanted to ignore him. But Raymond saw her first and waved a hand to her, so it couldn’t be helped.
“I knew it. It was a lie when he said that he felt hesitant towards horses that he’s never seen before.”
It made me laugh seeing him pat the backs of the horses that obviously belong to the Evans family.
“What do you mean, Milady?” Donna asked.
“Sir Raymond told me that he’s too shy to mount a horse he’s never seen before.”
“Huuh? Pff— What’s with that!”
“That’s why he insisted on riding the carriage with me back then.”
Donna’s mouth gaped open.
“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, that’s totally… it’s that.”
It’s like that.
Carynne drank her cup of milk tea. It was sweet because there was sugar mixed in it, but still subtly bitter because the tea might have been steeped too long.
* * *
Carynne was busy in her day to day life. She took care of Isella during the day, then suffered because of how Raymond tormented her during the night. These dismal days continued on.
“That’s why… it’s like that these days. It’s a place full of hardships.”
Carynne talked as she changed the dirty clothes. They smelled bad.
“I didn’t know I’d ever have to attend to you like this.”
“I can’t believe I have to wear this in the end.”
Carynne sighed self-deprecatingly as she glanced down at what she’s wearing—a maid’s uniform that was made of rough cloth. The white apron, which was draped over the dark navy, thin maid’s uniform, was soaked with sweat dripping over. The weather was cool in the early mornings, but it was still very much in the middle of summer.
As she was in the middle of changing Isella’s IV and its needle, she took out a new set.
Blood splattered over her apron. Carynne pressed her fingertip hard. She must be really tired.
“…I can’t use this, huh.”
Carynne threw the needle away.
* * *
“Why the long face?” Raymond asked.
“Mister Verdic scolded me for wasting a needle.”
“That must be so heartbreaking.”
But the knight’s expression continued to be jovial. Annoyed, Carynne thumped the ground with the cane in her hand. It might not be needed inside the house, but she still needed to hold a cane whenever she went out.
“When will you recover fully?”
“Who knows. I’ve never had this kind of injury before.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to have the Reverend look at it?”
“I forgot. Truly.”
As Carynne stared at Raymond with chagrin, Raymond raised his hands in surrender.
“Milady, you’re scheduled to attend a charity concert at the Elliot Hall today.”
“I hate this. There’s a lot of stairs in that place.”
Carynne couldn’t help but scowl. That hall with endless stairs was torture for Carynne as she still needed a cane to walk.
“You’ve been there?”
“…I just heard about it.”
When asked if she’s been to the place, she couldn’t possibly say, ‘Yes, I’ve been there.’ Even so, Raymond was persistent.
“From the fairies of the streets.”
“How very mysterious.”
“Right? Let’s just go then.”
While Carynne was about to get into the carriage, Raymond carried her up.
Carynne’s routine during the day was strictly regulated by Verdic himself, and then she spent her nights with Raymond. There were so many places she had to visit while accompanying him as his fiancée.
“Where do we have to go tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow, it’s a recital held by Duke Dalton. He’s releasing a personal composition.”
“Anything else you’d like to talk about?”
Crossing his legs, Raymond smirked.
“How are you going to do it?”
“To prove that what you’re saying is true.”
“It’s not the right time yet.”
“That’s a good excuse.”
I’m telling you, there really isn’t much going on right now. This place is a place full of hardships.
I could never get used to pain. I could never grow familiar to torture.
It’s all the more distressing.
Proving one’s own usefulness was required every single day.
Verdic used her as a lady in waiting during the day, and at night, he used her and forced her into the role of Isella’s substitute. On top of all that, Raymond was also already giving her a hard time, and you’re asking her if it’s alright to add one more thing? Smiling like that, adding another burden to her like that.
‘I want to kill him.’
‘I want to die.’
There’s nothing substantial during this period. Working day and night like this until the year would end was just for naught.
In the ‘original story’, the plot in this period of time would center around the hardships of the main character, during which she underwent ordeals to garner sympathy from Raymond and high society. And at the same time, it was also the period in which budding love was fostered step by step.
Time flew by just like that, and Raymond gradually worked towards Verdic’s downfall.
‘To be honest, Mister Verdic or whoever else is none of my concern.’
Carynne gnashed her teeth. Right now, Carynne just wanted to throw everything away, be it Raymond, Verdic, the war or the mining rights. There were so many troublesome things riddled around her that she didn’t have time to work on just her own story. Like with how she had to spend time with Isella, like with how she had to go down to the circus against her own will.
‘I want to just quit everything!’
Was there any way for her to do so?
Several times a day, Carynne had to fight the urge to press down a pillow over Isella’s face. She didn’t expect her patience to be this thin.
Carynne desperately endured this time like this, but unlike her, Carynne was not very patient. It’s only been a span of a few pages, and yet Raymond was already prodding at Carynne like this.
“Oh my… It hasn’t been long since my confession to you, has it? Things are progressing much too fast.”
“I see people wearing bracelets more than rings these days.”
“Are you fond of silver bracelets?” he asked.
So, prove your usefulness.
Raymond laughed. Carynne wanted to drive a bullet into his face.
“Even if you say that, it’s not like there’s anything I can do now.”
Her expression was sour. Carynne gripped the cane handle and leaned back against the carriage seat. He’s getting on her nerves.
“Fine. I’ll show you one useful thing.”
Raymond placed a finger on his chin and asked.
“Will you be putting on a performance?”
They arrived at the music hall, and as expected, the stairs were mountainous. She held Raymond’s hand as she alighted the carriage, then she answered.
I’m seriously so tired.
And, true enough, Carynne slept deeply during the concert. She slept so soundly that she couldn’t wake up until Raymond tapped her on the shoulder when the performance was over.
* * *
“You seem to be in a good mood these days, sir.”
Xenon remarked as he handed Raymond a bullet.
As his engagement was shifted from Isella Evans to Carynne Evans, Raymond’s countenance had changed strikingly. To Xenon, it seemed like Raymond had been laughing and smiling more in these recent days compared to the last decade.
Raymond spent time with Carynne every day. They were called to go to many places. Raymond didn’t turn any invitation down and went to them with Carynne. It’s as if he didn’t care what they’re going to do, as long as he could spend time with her.
“It really seems like it.”
However, without Carynne by his side, he reverted back to the way he once was.
Xenon decided to think that this was what it looked like to be a man in love. Without her, he was no different, or at the very least, he seemed to talk less.
“A man who’s fallen in love turns into a fool.”
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