Chapter 48

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Author: lipzoldyck

 

Liriette answered honestly.

 

“Mmhm. I want to become friends with Miss Karina.”

 

Angela laughed.

 

“I understand. Because Karina is really pretty. Until just a few years ago, Karina was very popular. There was no one among the northern nobles who didn’t like Karina.”

 

Lovely red hair, gorgeous and pretty face.

 

Children as well as adults showed great interest in Karina.

 

Many people expected that she would become a great beauty when she got older and that she would lead the northern social world.

 

“But there was an incident.”

 

“An incident…”

 

“Karina’s father became addicted to gambling and ended up in huge debt. Baron Redsia has completely fallen.”

 

Karina can no longer wear fancy dresses like she used to.

 

Instead, she got to the point where she had to worry about her meals every day.

 

Liriette heard the other girls talking and knew that Karina’s family situation wasn’t good, but she didn’t know it was to this extent.

 

“So something like that happened.”

 

Angela nodded her head and continued.

 

“The nobles stopped considering Baron Redsia, who became poorer than the commoners, as fellow nobles. Naturally, they didn’t invite her to the banquet. But I couldn’t do that. Even though she has fallen, Karina is one of my precious friends.”

 

“But I’m glad she has Angela. Karina must have received a lot of comfort.”

 

Angela laughed bitterly.

 

“That’s right. I’m embarrassed to say it with my own mouth, but Karina likes me very much. Even though she doesn’t say a word when other ladies are around, she says a lot when she’s alone with me. So that’s it. I thought a lot about whether to tell this story or not…”

 

Angela looked at Liriette with a perplexed face and then spoke as if she had made up her mind.

 

“Karina hates Liriette.”’

 

For a moment, she felt as if she had been doused with cold water.

 

She knew that Karina didn’t like her very much.

 

But she didn’t know it was enough to say it was ‘hatred’.

 

“…Why?”

 

Angela answered cautiously.

 

“While Karina had a difficult time due to the fall of her family, Liriette went from being a commoner to becoming the daughter of the most powerful and wealthy family in the Empire.”

 

“…”

 

“It seems like she keeps comparing you to her own situation. She said seeing Liriette makes her so angry that she can’t stand it.”

 

Of course, she thought, among the nobles, there would be many who didn’t like her.

 

However, she was shocked to hear that Karina was like that.

 

Her heart broke.

 

Angela said comfortingly, stroking Liriette’s small shoulder.

 

“I told her it was foolish to feel that way. Liriette is a good girl and she should take care of you. But it seems that Karina’s feelings were not easily resolved.”

 

“…”

 

“Please don’t be too angry.”

 

“…A person’s feelings belong to that person. Why would I be angry?”

 

Liriette said dignifiedly and smiled. However, the sadness, which she couldn’t hide, was visible.

 

The corners of Angela’s lips slowly rose.

 

***

 

“Goodbye, Liriette.”

 

Angela greeted Liriette as she left the mansion.

 

After she left, Angela turned her body.

 

The place she was heading to wasn’t the tea party room where she had been talking with the girls for half the day.

 

It was Angela’s room.

 

Inside the richly decorated room, sat Karina in a shabby dress with a gloomy face.

 

Angela laughed.

 

“I kept you waiting for a long time as I shared stories with Liriette. Sorry.”

 

“It’s okay.”

 

“As expected, our Karina is very kind. Even if you wear these rags, you’re still pretty. Is that why… Liriette seems to like you very much.”

 

At that moment, Karina’s face stiffened.

 

Karina said, bringing her eyebrows together.

 

“I tried not to become friends with the Young Princess of Windsor-Ice.”

 

She didn’t talk to her other than a brief hello, and if they made eye contact, she avoided it.

 

Angela nodded her head as if she knew everything.

 

“You did. Despite this, Liriette continued to look at you. She did it like other people did before her.”

 

Karina’s face darkened.

 

Angela continued her words while touching Karina’s slim face.

 

“As expected, I think leaving this face as it is, is the problem. Shall I burn it down right now? No. If you suddenly get burn marks, people will bother you and ask you what happened. Then would it be better to just grind you with a stone and say you fell?”

 

Karina shouted at Angela, who was spewing out horrible words, with a pale face.

 

“Don’t say horrible things! I’ve done everything you asked me to do so far.”

 

After the fall of her family, Karina was completely cast out of the noble society.

 

When such Karina came to Angela’s tea party, the girls scoffed at her.

 

[She must be crazy to come to the tea party when I heard she was so poor that she wouldn’t have anything to eat tomorrow.]

[Doesn’t she think she’s still a noble? While she looks like a beggar like that.]

 

Amidst the cold gaze and ridicule of the ladies, Karina silently maintained her position.

 

Ladies looked at Karina with contemptuous eyes and whispered.

 

[Angela seems too kind to keep calling that person her friend.]

 

No. They were all wrong.

 

When Angela invited Karina to her tea party, it wasn’t out of pure affection or favor. It wasn’t even sympathy.

 

[Isn’t that right, Karina? Gatherings where only peaceful and pretty words are exchanged tend to become boring. It’s fun to have someone to bite.]

 

That’s why Angela calls Karina every time she holds a tea party.

 

To be a good prey for young children to play with.

 

Karina said, her voice trembling.

 

“It was you who said I needed it.”

 

Angela looked at Karina.

 

Shabby dress and old shoes. Wild hair and gaunt face. She could feel that she hadn’t been properly cared for from head to toe.

 

Nevertheless, Karina was as pretty as a flower.

 

That’s why she was valuable.

 

Because it was more fun to trample on a beautiful girl with a past who was loved by everyone, rather than a girl who had nothing.

 

“Right. Like you said, I’d better not touch your face.”

 

Not yet.

 

Karina let out a sigh at Angela’s words. Yet she wasn’t finished speaking.

 

“But you deserve a punishment for making me angry.”

 

Karina’s face turned pale at the word ‘punishment’.

 

Angela smiled like an angel and beckoned.

 

“Come here, Karina.”

 

Tears formed in Karina’s big eyes.

 

She was like a mouse facing a cat that was about to tear her to death.

 

***

 

Karina opened the door with a pale face.

 

There was a child in a narrow, shabby house that could never be imagined as a noble’s home.

 

The child lying on the bed looked at Karina and smiled brightly.

 

“Sister.”

 

She was Ceria, Karina’s younger sister.

 

A faint smile remained on Karina’s pale face.

 

Karina approached the bedside and placed her hand on Ceria’s forehead.

 

“Are you feeling okay?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

Although Ceria responded bravely, Karina couldn’t let go of the feeling. Because she was still running a fever.

 

“What about Mother and Father?”

 

“They went out looking for money.”

 

Karina’s pretty face distorted.

 

After the family went bankrupt, Baron Redsia and his wife tried to save the family in their own way.

 

However, the effort wasn’t about doing unskilled labor, yet rather going to people and blindly begging for money.

 

Because of that, Baron Redsia was even more despised by the nobles.

 

He doesn’t know any shame and begs like a beggar.

 

‘And he’ll probably come back today again without much harvest.’

 

Karina felt gloomy, and she looked at her little sister, who stayed home alone all day.

 

Ceria, who turned five this year, has been weak since she was born.

 

When her family could afford it, they maintained her health by eating good food and seeing a doctor regularly.

 

However, as her family fell and she didn’t receive proper care, her health rapidly deteriorated.

 

She had a fever every other day, and one day she was in so much pain that she thought she might not be able to breathe.

 

All Karina can do for her little sister is to hold her hand.

 

And all she did was get the medicine.

 

“Let’s take the medicine quickly. The fever will go down quickly.”

 

“Did Miss Angela give it to you?”

 

“…Yeah.”

 

After Baron Redsia got into trouble, all the nobles turned their backs on them, even the commoners they had ties to.

 

But only Angela wasn’t like that.

 

She invited Karina to a tea party every time, and each time she gave Karina Ceria’s medicine or food.

 

Thus Karina and her family felt very grateful to Angela.

 

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