Ch. 81 Why Don’t You Tell Me (1)
“Oh, isn’t that the stench of a rag?”
The crowd tittered in reply to Helen’s words. Not only did Sophie stand beside Helen now, but Sarah as well. Elena remained unflinching at Helen’s remarks. Her pride prevented her from becoming openly agitated in this place. She clenched her fists discreetly while wearing an indifferent smile.
“Hmm, I heard a frivolous sound somewhere. I heard that a girl blinded by jealousy was trying to scratch me.”
Helen’s face flushed. No matter who else heard the jibe, it was clearly aimed at her.
“Jealousy. You think you know what you’re talking about?”
“I didn’t mean Lady Selby specifically, but you’re acting like you’ve been stabbed.”
Elena demurely covering her mouth with her hand.
Helen’s cheeks turned crimson. Sarah raised her voice to capture the other nobles’ attention.
“Lady Blaise, I heard you can’t sleep unless you’re with a man. I wonder who else you went out to meet last night.”
With the contents of the rumors in open field, people began to watch with interested eyes, and more began to flock towards the drama taking place in the middle of the room. Elena responded calmly.
“Who is spreading such rumors?”
Sarah spoke as if she couldn’t believe what she heard.
“Is it a false rumor? The maid who worked for House Blaise said it herself.”
Elena gaze turned towards Sophie. Sophie had served House Blaise for a long time, but now she acted as if she was a stranger. The moment Elena’s icy gaze fell on Sophie, the maid’s body started to tremble uncontrollably. She was reminded of the last time Elena looked coldly down on her, and her conscience was stricken by the lies she had made up.
However, smugness soon replaced her guilt. Even though Sophie was sent away from House Blaise, she was doing even better than before. She wanted to make Elena regret that she didn’t value her. The fact that she had done a terrible thing had already been forgotten in her mind.
“I saw it with my own eyes. Lady Elena goes to see a different man every night.”
Elena was shocked at how baldly Sophie lied to the crowd, but it didn’t end there. The maid was rather enjoying Elena’s reaction and her voice grew louder with confidence.
“Everyone in House Blaise already knows this besides me. There is more than one witness.”
There was a growing buzz around them. Elena could clearly hear the words the nobles were saying.
“I suppose the rumors really are true.”
“I couldn’t believe it at first, but it really is strange.”
There was one word that caught in Elena’s ear.
All the wicked eyes and malicious words were directed towards her, each one like a barb. However, she pressed on, refusing to let herself be intimidated.
“Sophie, you were dismissed from the family and gambled your money away. It must have been a difficult life. Who told you to lie like this?”
From now on, it was a battle of spirit where the tiniest falter meant losing.
“No one told me to lie! I’m telling the truth!”
“After you were fired you must have been haunted by the delusion you made, and eventually came to believe it.”
Sophie was sputtering in resentment. A shadow appeared next to Elena, and when she turned she saw that it was Margaret.
“H-how can anyone believe anything a maid says, especially when people with low social status would lie easily for money?”
Helen’s and Sarah’s eyes widened at Margaret’s unexpected emergence. The three were not strangers to each other. Had it not been for the recent salt incident in southern society, they would likely still have been friends.
Margaret was still intimidated by Helen and could not meet her eyes. However, Margaret pushed down her fear and responded without hesitating.
“I-it’s been a while, Lady Selby.”
Margaret was not accustomed to being in the center of attention, but she drew courage from the person by her side.
Although Elena had asked Margaret to come, she didn’t expect the other young lady to arrive.
At Elena’s small voice, Margaret looked at her and gave a faint smile.
“I think I have to reveal the truth about the salty tea.”
Elena was grateful to Margaret for her courage. Helen cut through the warm atmosphere between them.
“Why are you here, Lady Lawrence?”
“I-I’m here to prove Lady Blaise’s innocence. Lady Selby, I knew you were motivated by jealousy, but you’ve gone too far.”
Helen gave a snort. Margaret used to always be such a timid little thing, but suddenly she was biting back after Helen so generously allowed Margaret to mingle with her. This was how she paid her back?
“Lady Lawrence, something must’ve happened to your head. How dare you say that to me–”
“Lady S-Selby, come to your senses! You used me to trick Lady Blaise into drinking the salty tea at the tea party!”
A noticeable murmur of voices swelled at Margaret’s words. Helen felt a sudden apprehension. While Margaret was a timid and innocent girl, her family was not insignificant, and the words of the daughter of Count Lawrence could not simply be set aside.
Helen’s voice heightened in humiliation.
“What kind of invention is this? It was your plan, Lady Lawrence!”
Seeing that Helen was driven into a corner, Sarah quickly interrupted the conversation.
“Now you’re trying to pin the blame on Lady Selby. Did you plan this with Lady Blaise? Your head is thicker than I thought.”
“B-but…it was Lady Selby who tried to trick her that day. Don’t change those words!”
Sarah glared at her.
“Do you have any proof?”
“Is there any evidence to what you claim?”
The incident had happened some time ago and quite a way aways from the capital. Sarah lifted her nose in triumph.
Elena glanced at Stella, who had been quietly observing the proceedings so far. Stella returned the signal, then stepped forward and spoke in a languid voice.
“I’ve heard about this. Someone placed salt in Lady Blaise’s tea at a southern party, correct? But I’ve heard that the real culprit was Lady Selby…”
“Countess Viviana, what are you saying…!”
Stella continued, covering her mouth with her fan as if she were surprised.
“Oh, I’m afraid I can’t even speak.”
The ladies who were devoted Stella hurriedly spoke up in her defense.
“Whatever Countess Viviana says is absolutely right. Has she ever said anything wrong? I haven’t seen this Lady Selby much, but I don’t believe she has any manners.”
“I know. I thought she was a good girl, but I never knew she would contradict Countess Viviana like this.”
Helen’s face turned ashen. The area of their battle was none other than the social circles of the capital city high society. Stella was one of the most powerful people in this room, and her words weighed more than she could imagine.
“I feel pity for Lady Blaise. I’m afraid she was being set up.”
And as quick as that, the mood shifted to favor Elena’s side.