Ch. 44 Am I Missing Something? (2)
They did not arrive at the dress shop until late afternoon. Elena and Mirabelle stepped out from the carriage and went inside.
The first thing they heard when the opened the door was the busy sound of a sewing machine.
Normally the work was done on the second floor as to not disturb the visitors at the entrance, but the work had spilled out onto the first floor due to the sheer number of orders. Anco’s Tailors was one of the most famous shops in the capital area, and was where Elena and Mirabelle ordered their dresses. Madame Mitchell, the owner of the Anco’s Tailors, saw the visitors enter and hurried out to greet them.
“Welcome, My Ladies. Are you the Blaises that sent a notice in advance?”
Mirabelle, who was already looking forward to the dress, answered first.
“Yes, we’re here to pick up our order.”
“Come this way, please.”
Madame Mitchell had a smoothly impassive expression, but she began to guide them inside as politely as possible. It was when they walked through a corridor to an antique dressing room that they saw two dresses hanging on mannequins.
Mirabelle’s face was bright with awe. The dresses were tailored perfectly to her order. The slightly smaller dress was Mirabelle’s, pink and feminine and cute. Next to it was Elena’s dress, which was an elegant deep blue. As they were custom-made, everything from the cloth to the decorations was tailored to perfection. Mirabelle circled her beloved dress and spoke with a pleased expression.
“I love it. You reproduced my order exactly.”
“You have a very unique eye for fashion. When I saw the finished product, I was amazed. This is one of the most beautiful dresses ever made in Anco’s Tailors.”
“Hehe, really? I only added a few more things to the design.”
Elena smiled as she heard Madame Mitchell praise Mirabelle’s sense of style. Elena knew Mirabelle was good at making dresses, but she was glad she not the only one to think that.
“Will you wear this when you attend the royal ball?”
“Yes, I’m going with my sister.”
“The gowns may be pretty, but it will be the beauty of the two of you that will be noticed by everyone.”
It was the usual lip service, but Elena still appreciated the comment towards Mirabelle. There was a brief pause, then Elena spoke to Madame Mitchell.
“We’ll take it ourselves, so if you could please wrap it.”
“Of course. Please take a seat on the sofa and wait for a moment.”
As soon as Madame Mitchell moved away, a female employee brought some charmingly decorated snacks and some fragrant tea. It did not take long before the two dresses were carefully wrapped to prevent them from becoming creased, then loaded into the luggage compartment of the carriage by the coachman. After the wait, Madame Mitchell came in again.
“You’re all set.”
At her gesture, Elena and Mirabelle rose straight from their seats. They were fatigued from their trip and were eager to leave.
“Thank you for your service.”
Madame Mitchell replied with a pleasant smile.
“Please come again.”
As Madame Mitchell saw them off, the young Blaises headed straight to their father’s mansion, Mirabelle beaming the whole way back. She was in love with her dress. By the time the sun had set and the night had arrived, the carriage started to slow down and then stopped completely. Soon after, the voice of the servant Mary piped up from outside.
“We have arrived at the mansion, My Lady.”
Elena gently shook Mirabelle who was dozing next to her, then stepped outside. The exterior of the mansion she had seen another lifetime ago came into view. It was bought by her father so had he a place to stay in the capital when he worked. It was not a large and grand place, but it was neat and tidy and just to her father’s taste. Elena’s as well.
“…It’s been a long time.”
Her last memory of the mansion was when she attended the royal ball in her last life, about twenty years ago. Elena reminisced silently as Mirabelle stepped out of the carriage, yawning longly.
“Let’s go inside, sister.”
As the two young woman made towards the mansion, they saw a young man waiting for them at the entrance. He had brown hair and a dark suit, and his mouth split into a smile as he met their eyes.
“Welcome. This is my first time saying hello. I am Michael, the butler to the mansion.”
Elena’s mouth dropped open in surprise. They did not have a long relationship, but they had met and exchanged greetings just like this in their past lives. Mirabelle looked up at Michael, then turned towards Elena.
“Sister, do you know him?”
“Oh, no. I was just surprised to see someone standing there.”
She quickly covered up her reaction, and Michael replied with a look of remorse.
“My apologies. I didn’t mean to startle you…”
“It’s all right, I’m just tired.”
Elena returned Michael’s apology. Mirabelle spoke again with slight curiosity on her face.
“I guess the butler changed since we last came here.”
“Yes. The former butler is elderly now and has retired to his hometown. I’ve only been a butler for three months.”
“Oh, so we really don’t know you.”
Mirabelle murmured casually, and Elena pasted on an awkward smile. Despite this being the second time she experienced this, she had to pretend to be ignorant. Mirabelle glanced around the area.
“Our father is…?”
“The Count has left the mansion on urgent business. He ordered me to serve you with all of my heart when you’ve arrived.”
Elena gave a sardonic smile at those words. Her father was not so amiable as to order such a thing, but Michael was a very considerate man even in his last life. Elena had no further questions, so she brought the topic around somewhere else.
“Please show us to our rooms first.”
“I understand. You must be exhausted from your trip. We can go right away. Please let me know if there is any inconvenience. Come this way, please.”
At the guidance of the butler, Elena and Mirabelle made for their respective resting places. As in Blaise Castle, their rooms were close and made it easy to visit each other. Elena was looking forward into sinking into a soft, warm bed after such a long journey.
When she was getting reading to sleep, there was the muffled sound of footsteps quickly approaching her room.
There was a sharp rap on the door, then came the stiff voice of Michael.
“May I come in for a moment, My Lady?”
“Yes. What’s going on?”
As soon as Elena’s permission was given, Michael entered the room, his face filled with shame. He carefully opened his lips as Elena watched him suspiciously.
“Today, you stopped by the dress shop and bought a dress for the ball. Is that right?”
“Yes, that’s right. It was loaded on the carriage.”
Elena had an ominous feeling as she looked at the nervously shuffling butler. Finally, Michael hesitantly spoke.
“…All the dresses were torn to shreds.”