Chapter 53

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Author: lipzoldyck

 

Angela spoke to the Marquis, who was confused about what to do.

 

“She asked me to wait in the room next to hers when she was alone with the Young Princess, she asked me to wait in the room next to her.  She will show with my own eyes, the scenes of the Young Princess bothering her.”

 

And surprisingly, what Angela said was true.

 

[Aaaah!]

 

Angela collapsed in the room he entered with his daughter’s piercing scream.

 

One side of her cheek was bright red and swollen.

 

The moment he saw that, the Marquis felt his heart break.

 

“I didn’t even know she was being bullied, so I told her to get along with the Young Princess. In order to live up to my expectations, Angela has been unable to speak and has endured all this time.”

 

The Duke responded to the Marquis who spoke bitterly.

 

“The Marquis says what I have to say. If I had known you would plan such an ugly scheme, I wouldn’t have let Liriette associate with your daughter.”

 

At any other time, the Marquis would have trembled under the Duke’s force. Because he wasn’t brave enough to fight the Duke of Windsor-Ice.

 

But it involved his daughter.

 

He could never back down.

 

The Marquis gritted his teeth and said.

 

“No matter how many lies the Duke insists on, a sin is a sin. The truth is the truth. I will never let this go quietly.”

 

“Then?”

 

“We will make this matter public. So that everyone in the world can know the sins of the Young Princess of Windsor-Ice.”

 

Because Liriette was born as a commoner and was an illegitimate child, her position was already unstable.

 

If such a rumor were to spread, her reputation would immediately fall to the ground.

 

“However, if you call the Young Princess and have her apologize to Angela even now, we will move on quietly so that no one will know about the incident.”

 

As a marquis, he made a lot of concessions.

 

Because they only wanted an apology, without any material compensation or legal punishment.

 

The Marquis desperately, truly hoped that the Duke would listen to him.

 

However…

 

“It’s not my daughter who committed the crime, but the Marquis’ daughter. This is where she owes her apology.”

 

It was a moment when a rift broke out between the Duke of Windsor-Ice and the Marquis of Brightini, who had maintained a close relationship in the north for a long time.

 

***

 

The Marquis of Brightini made the incident public.

 

The Young Princess of Windsor-Ice stole Angela’s belongings and even assaulted her.

 

The Duke didn’t sit still either.

 

Liriette never did anything like that. She was just caught in Angela’s dastardly plan.

 

However, the majestic Duke of Windsor-Ice’s words had no effect whatsoever.

 

“It’s ridiculous that Lady Angela led the Young Princess of Windsor-Ice into her trap. Lady Angela is such a sweet and warm girl.”

 

Angela, who was born and raised in the north, had a long history of trust with nobles.

 

On the other hand, Liriette’s situation was different.

 

“The child named Liriette is, after all, an illegitimate child with commoner blood. Not long ago she lived a difficult life in the temple. Such a child became a princess overnight, so she must have felt like everything in the world was hers.”

 

Although they had been quiet so far due to the Duke of Windsor Ice’s notice, to the nobles, Liriette was a stranger who suddenly appeared.

 

They had none of trust or affection for her.

 

The contempt that had been deeply suppressed in the nobles’ hearts leaked out.

 

“A commoner girl believed in the name Windsor-Ice and committed a crime. She didn’t even know that nobles were scary.”

 

In that situation, the Marquis Brightini said something else.

 

“There are more than one or two things that the Young Princess took away from Angela. Angela said that whenever they were alone together, she blackmailed her and took all kinds of valuable items from her.”

 

Liriette, who heard the story from Olivia, shouted with an expression of frustration on her face.

 

“Although I got a lot of things from Angela, I never took them by force. It’s all gifts from Angela to me.”

 

Olivia lowered her eyebrows.

 

“I know. But people don’t think that way.”

 

“…!”

 

“They said they saw you proudly wearing the items you stole from Angela, and they were whispering about how you could do that.”

 

Her face distorted.

 

Bracelet, hairpin, ring…

 

Angela smiled as she gave her the shiny items.

 

[Take it, Liriette. It’s a gift to a precious friend.]

 

Liriette muttered in a trembling voice.

 

“I believed her and accepted it without question. Like a fool.”

 

Olivia said, looking at Liriette with a pitiful gaze.

 

“I guess she really meant to get along with you back then. It’s better for her to be friends with the Young Princess of Windsor-Ice rather than enemy. But for some reason, she came to define you as her enemy, and she turned the gifts she had given you into a weapon to use against you.”

 

She was so vicious and manipulative that it’s hard to imagine that she was just a ten-year-old girl.

 

“It was a move that could have fooled anyone, not just you. So don’t blame yourself too much.”

 

The Duke, who had been quiet next to her, also added his words.

 

“You did nothing wrong, Liriette.”

 

Liriette bit her lip as Olivia and the Duke looked at her with unwavering eyes.

 

‘Right. I don’t care if everyone in the world criticizes me. Because the two people I respect and love the most believe in me. Don’t cry, be strong and protect the honor of Windsor-Ice.’

 

Liriette wiped the tears from her eyes and strengthened her eyes. Olivia and the Duke saw that and raised the corners of their lips slightly.

 

Olivia spoke.

 

“Anyway, the atmosphere isn’t good. They can’t say it out loud because they’re afraid of the Duke of Windsor-Ice’s name, but the criticism of Lyriette is amazing. If things continue like this, it’s only a matter of time before bad words come out.”

 

“If the situation gets that bad, there’s nothing we can do. “As I first thought, I have no choice but to suppress it with force.”

 

Olivia raised an eyebrow at the Duke’s words.

 

“Of course, if you do that, the nobles who fear you will be kind to Liriette. However, the eyes of those who smile must be filled with clear criticism and contempt. Can Liriette withstand it?”

 

At her words, Liriette held the hem of her skirt tightly with a stern expression on her face.

 

The Duke’s eyebrows slightly furrowed when he saw this.

 

What he wanted wasn’t for her to stand above the nobility.

 

It was only Liriette’s happiness.

 

And the Duke knew.

 

That she will be deeply hurt by people who don’t treat her with sincerity.

 

The Duke said, opening his clenched fist as if he was about to swing it.

 

“I’m not saying I’m going to do that right now. I will do it if the situation gets to the point where Liriette can’t stand it.”

 

In fact, the Duke and Olivia weren’t just sitting around and claiming that Liriette had done nothing wrong.

 

First, Olivia visited each of the noble ladies who were close to her, and talked about what Lyriet had experienced.

 

Her words could easily have been seen as a threat from someone in power, or as an attempt to blindly protect her granddaughter for her crime.

 

So Olivia spoke as carefully as possible so as not to make the women feel that way.

 

Fortunately, Olivia’s reputation had grown so much that more and more people were listening to her.

 

[Madam Olivia is someone who asks for forgiveness twice as much when she makes even the slightest mistake. There is no way a person like that would protect her granddaughter for her crime.]

 

“As I said, the number of people who think that Liriette may have fallen victim to Angela’s nasty scheme is gradually increasing.”

 

The Duke spoke, ruffling his hair.

 

“But the case can’t be solved with such lukewarm methods.”

 

“…”

 

“Because most of the nobles already think that she has done wrong. To overturn public opinion, we have to shake up the board.”

 

And the Duke knew what was the most effective way to shake things up.

 

“No matter how prestigious the Marquis of Brightini is, it isn’t as prestigious as the Duke of Windsor-Ice. However, it’s only because of Angela that they take the Marquis’ side so unilaterally.”

 

She’s the daughter of a nobleman with noble blood. A lovely and thoughtful girl.

 

That’s why people believe Angela’s words without any doubt.

 

“If their trust in Angela is broken, public opinion will naturally veer towards Liriette.”

 

***

 

The Duke began to search Angela thoroughly.

 

Angela was incredibly polite and kind everywhere she was. She looks like the epitome of a gentle noblewoman.

 

However, to the extent that she pushed Liriette to such vicious lengths, she would definitely have traces left behind that she couldn’t hide.

 

The Duke’s prediction was correct.

 

A few days later, someone came to the duchy.

 

She was one of the maids who served Angela.

 

“When I saw that Your Grace the Duke and the Young Princess were in a difficult situation, I couldn’t sit still and came to see you.”

 

It’s a lie.

 

She clearly came because she was blinded by the price the Duke secretly paid.

 

The Duke didn’t bother to point it out. Her intentions aren’t important anyway.

 

The maid continued her words with a very nervous expression.

 

“Lady Angela is always like an angel, even in the mansion. She’s also very kind to the employees. But sometimes she acts strange.”

 

“What is it?”

 

“…She often wounds the workers.”

 

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