RotFK Ch. 75 There’s Trouble (1)
It was Prince Carlisle who captured the most attention after the ball by far. It was only natural, as it was his first formal appearance in high society. Previously, Prince Redfield had been treated as if he were the crown prince, but there was a new wind blowing among the nobles. It also helped that Carlisle was extremely handsome as well, and there was much talk among the ladies. And…
There was also interest in the relationship between the prince and the daughter of a count. The attention on Lady Blaise burned hot as well, for her beauty and fashion were so exceptional for her to be chosen as Madonna of the ball. Elena, who had paid little attention to the capital’s social circles before, emerged as the talk of the town. She could feel many changes in the air from the day after the ball.
“Here is another invitation for you.”
Michael had delivered hundreds of letters to her already, containing invitations to tea parties, charity events and social gatherings. All of them were asking for Elena’s presence.
“…I have so many invitations.”
She had been to the battlefield many times in her last life, but this was the first time she had received this kind of attention. This everyday routine was unfamiliar to her. She couldn’t imagine how many more invitations she would receive if this was the loot from a single day.
When Mirabelle walked into Elena’s room to greet her good morning, she was taken by surprise at the scene.
“Oh! Are all these invitations for you?”
“Wow. Being the Madonna of the ball is amazing.”
Elena smiled as Mirabelle bounded gleefully into the room and looked at the towering stack of letters. Elena was still trying to sort out what to do. She couldn’t accept every single invitation, but she knew it was important to attend these gatherings. Carlisle had warned her of the Empress, and Elena knew this would be the best time to establish herself within society as much as possible before she became crown princess. However, she couldn’t tell which of these invitations was most important.
‘…There are so many things I don’t know.’
She could have Kuhn provide more information on high society in the capital city, but she also wished she had some sort of helper to give her advice. But since she had no such helper, she worried over the invitations by herself.
At last she managed to narrow them down to a few and expressed her willingness to attend.
A few days have passed since then. Invitations poured in everyday until the letterbox was fit to burst.
‘Is something wrong?’
She had been told that Margaret had come to the mansion to see Elena. She had a foreboding feeling.
“Excuse me, My Lady. Lady Lawrence is waiting for you now in the drawing room.”
“Is she? I’ll be right down.”
Elena came out to greet Margaret despite the suddenness of her visit. She already knew that Helen was the mastermind of the scheme at the tea party, and now that Margaret had apologized Elena no longer bore an ill will. Margaret had grown close to Mirabelle, and Elena was interested in maintaining a good relationship with the other young woman.
Elena opened the door to the drawing room and saw Margaret seated in front of an elegant table.
“Lady Lawrence, what brings you here without an appointment?”
She put on a welcoming face, but when she looked closely she saw that her guest’s expression was darkened. Margaret rushed up to her and spoke urgently.
“There’s trouble, Lady Blaise.”
“There are many bad rumors about you in the social circles right now.”
Elena was surprised. It had not been long since they arrived from the south, and she had done nothing wrong to give rise to any such gossip. Margaret continued breathlessly as if she had rushed here.
“I came running to you as soon as I heard it from other people. There’s a rumor that…”
“I-it’s so foul that I don’t even know where to start…”
Margaret’s hesitance only further stoked Elena’s suspicions.
“Please tell me slowly. What kind of rumors did you heard about me?”
“Th-the other nobles say the Lady Blaise is a whore who has a different man every night…”
“W-well, I don’t believe the rumor either. But now everyone is full of gossip about it.”
Elena was stunned beyond belief. She didn’t mean it as boast, but she had never even had relations with a man before. The spread of such a rumor made her feel hugely embarrassed.
“What is the source of the rumor? It’s not possible that these words could spread without any evidence. Who on earth is saying all this nonsense?”
“Well…The evidence and the witness for the rumor are very clear.”
Evidence and…witness? Elena had had an ominous feeling since the ball, and now she knew why. Those same rumors had spread about Elena before.
On top of that, Elena knew that Sophie was connected to the sabotage of her dresses.
“Could it be…the witness is my family’s maid?”
“Yes, that’s right! How did you know? A maid named Sophie is going to all the gatherings and throwing abuse about you.”
Elena pressed her fingers against her temple. There was a thorn in her mind since the day the dresses were torn, but now the situation seemed to have burst.
“Then who is taking Sophie to these gatherings?”
“I-it’s Lady Selby.”
Helen Selby. She had tailed Elena with her men since the tea party, but thanks to Carlisle, Elena had slipped away without revealing her identity. However, it was unclear how much she’d been followed since then. She came out unhurt, so she thought little of it and left it alone. A deep sigh escaped from her mouth.
She calmed her palpitating heart, then gestured Margaret to sit back down again.
“Lady Lawrence, please sit down and tell me the rest.”
The two had been standing since Elena entered the drawing room. They both settled into their seats and Elena rang a bell. There was a clear tinkling sound, and Mary hurried into the room.
“Did you call for me, My Lady?”
“Bring me two cups of green tea. Lady Lawrence, is green tea alright?”
“It’s a very rare and delicious tea. It looks like you’re in a hurry because of me, but let’s have a cup first.”
Margaret was moved. Few people could handle the matter as calmly as Elena. Not long ago Margaret herself was buried by rumors in southern society, and she didn’t even dare take a step out of her mansion. There were less rumors about it in the capital area, so she started to go outside. Meeting the Blaise sisters at the ball and being forgiven also played a large part in her regaining her confidence, and Margaret now had a deep respect for Elena’s rational attitude.
Soon after, Mary brought in the green tea along with some luxurious snacks at Elena’s request. Elena poured Margaret a cup of first, and then took a sip herself. Her series of calm, graceful movements seemed completely out of harmony with the situation. Margaret stared at her, before Elena spoke up again calmly.
“Now please speak slowly. How exactly did the rumor spread?”