RotFK Ch. 31 The Future Has Changed (1)
“This is the last question. What happened today?”
“N-n-nothing. There was nothing…”
Mary’s voice withered under Elena’s steely glare. The maid’s mind was haunted by Elena’s threat of “the last question”. Elena was a fairer woman than most aristocrats, but that didn’t mean she was weak-willed. Had Elena been timid enough for her employees to look down on, it would not have been possible for the Blaise household to have such a solid working system.
Remembering her promise to Sophie not to tell anyone, Mary broke into a cold sweat, cursing her blabbering mouth.
‘I’m such a fool…’
Mary was never very good at hiding things, and it was easy to tell when she told a lie. She was trying to find a way out of this situation, but it was obvious that Elena would find out about the gossip even if Mary sealed her mouth shut. The rumors had already swept through the household in a matter of hours. Words of judgment flew faster than words of praise.
Mary bit her lip then forced herself to speak.
“I heard it from someone else. E-e-every night you go to the bar to meet a man…”
Mary was determined to keep Sophie’s promise for secrecy. The maids always tried to be loyal to each other.
“…What? A man?”
Elena was stunned. She sensed something strange about Mary’s behavior, but she didn’t expect it to be this kind of ridiculous rumor.
Who in the world…!
Soon, however, there was someone who emerged in her mind. Someone who had been getting on her nerves lately, and the was most likely suspect to come up with such an absurd story. When Elena spoke, her tone was like shards of ice.
“Did Sophie tell you that? That I go to see a man every night?”
“Huh? O-oh, no. I heard it from someone else, not Sophie.”
“Who is it then?”
Mary couldn’t answer and refused to meet Elena’s eyes. Before Elena realized it, a thin sigh leaked out of the corners of her mouth.
‘…Haaa, that’s how it turned out.’
She had suspected that Sophie wanted a larger reward and knew she should have addressed the situation beforehand. She had let it go for a while because of various circumstances, but now it seemed the maid caused a whirlwind scandal. If it had been rumored that Elena left for only one night on the way to Glenn’s wedding, Elena might have managed it somehow. As it was, there was only one way to move forward.
From what she heard from Mary, Elena was rumored to be leaving every night to meet a man. That was bad news for a noble lady who was not married yet. No, marital status did not matter in this case either. If any woman got caught up in such a controversy, even a virtuous lady would be criticized. The scandal would never quietly pass by the gossipy members of high society.
Furthermore, Elena also planned to marry Carlisle soon, and the rumor could even be more fatal. Carlisle was the crown prince, and this could make a dent in the contract marriage. In order to avoid getting caught by surprise, they had to be as neat as possible.
Elena rubbed her forehead with her hand, then spoke in a low voice.
“Get Sophie now.”
Elena waited for Sophie by a dark storage house outside of Blaise Castle. She still wore her dress, which she had been about to remove before she went to bed, as well as a large hooded cloak. The deep hood shadowed her face and gave a menacing aura about her.
‘Did I make a mistake?’
She could have killed Sophie back then to keep her from speaking. Sophie, the common maid, would have died, unable to defend herself from Elena’s sword. No one knew about Elena’s abilities, so she could not be accused of being a criminal.
She couldn’t always have blood on her hands. She vowed to leap into the pit of hell for the sake of her family, but if she took away the lives of ordinary people who had no direct connection to her family’s deaths, she was simply a murderer. She knew she would have to spill blood to prevent Paveluc’s rise to power, but it didn’t have to involve the deaths of ordinary people.
So she tried to use money and power instead of murder. But the results were disastrous.
Elena’s sensitive ears told her several footsteps were getting closer. And with the sound of footsteps, someone being dragged.
“Lady Elena! I didn’t start the rumor. Mary…Mary, did the bitch say that? It’s all a lie. I’m innocent!”
Sophie was already crying in the distance before she even arrived in front of Elena. But no reply was given to Sophie by the other servants who were dragging her, nor Elena, who was waited with her arms folded. Sophie wailed loudly again as she cowered in the oppressive atmosphere.
“Help me! I didn’t do anything wrong. Please, let me live, My Lady!”
The servants who were pulling Sophie’s arms did not let go until they arrived in front of Elena. Sophie sank weakly to the ground and collapsed into tears. Even in the dark Elena could see Sophie’s blotched-red face.
“I really didn’t say anything, My Lady. Someone set me up. It must be Mary. She set me up!”
Elena wordlessly listened to Sophie beg for innocence. Sophie was completely mistaken. Mary had not said a word against her even until the end.
Elena knew Sophie was vain and often lazy, but she didn’t know it was to this degree. Elena regretted not disciplining Sophie when they returned from the trip. Of course, it wasn’t that Elena didn’t warn Sophie at all, and she had told her not to indulge in unnecessary curiosity.
‘Would it have changed if I had given her a stronger warning?’
In Elena’s last life, Sophie was a maid who worked for the Blaises until their demise. After Elena fled the country, it was impossible for her to know the maid’s fate. Had she turned a blind eye then?
Elena said nothing, while Sophie continued to speak without permission.
“My Lady, I swear to God I didn’t spread the rumor. Please trust me only this once. Please help me.”
At Elena’s soft voice, Sophie stopped crying and listened to her speak. Elena slowly continued.
“…I didn’t say I would kill you.”
“Oh, My Lady!”
“Leave. This is the best I can do for you.”
It was no use trying to gather spilled water. She could retaliate harshly against Sophie if she wanted to, but even if she killed Sophie now, she couldn’t undo the gossip that had spread. However, Elena realized once again how difficult it was to act alone due to this incident. She needed strength, and she needed it urgently. There was so little that a count’s daughter could do.
“I’m sorry, My Lady. Just one time, please forgive me just one time. It’s cold and if you send me away, I’ll freeze on the streets.”
“I said that this was the best I could do for you. Be grateful that I did not take the gold back. Go find another position. Now that you’ve broken my trust, I cannot keep you in the household anymore.”
When Elena finished speaking she walked right past Sophie. Sophie’s cry of anguish echoed long into the air, but Elena strode forward without stopping.