5. A Thousand Years of Memories (5)
The Ethania Kingdom Capital.
Ethania was one of the most prosperous kingdoms in the world. Its capital was thriving—merchants from around the world visited year round selling all kinds of products. Excellent schools—also called ‘Public School’—were co-founded here.
The roads were paved with cobblestone and the buildings, which stood side by side, were made of brick. It was during the afternoon, when the marketplace was crowded with both people and carriages. The carriages used by noble were luxurious, and William’s was no exception.
The carriage’s body was black and ornate; its beauty excluding the aura of an upperclassman. Furthermore, on its center, a golden lion was drawn on a red backdrop—the crest of Falmouth. The windows’ frames and pillars were coated in solid gold. The carriage itself was pulled by sturdy dignified horses with long, flowing, manes.
William’s carriage was heading home, returning from the Southwell household. He wasn’t alone—his attendant, Lewis, was the coachman. In this kingdom, Lewis’ black hair and eyes were uncommon.
“How was the Lady of Southwell?” Lewis asked, indifferent.
“…The rumors ring true.”
Looking out of the window, William seemed discouraged. Hatred could be seen in his eyes. It was unusual for William to express his emotions like that.
Lewis pondered upon his master’s reply—
—in other words, Amelia was exactly as the rumor said; uncouth, ruthless, and unladylike. This was who she was, even before meeting William.
For William to despise a woman—it was unheard of. Amelia must’ve had gone too far and hit all the wrong buttons. Lewis wanted to ask further, but due to their master-servant relationship, decided against it.
Yet, he couldn’t help but wonder.
“…Still, it’s odd.” Lewis muttered.
William scowled, yet he knew Lewis wasn’t one to utter nonsense. If Lewis said it was odd, then it was odd.
However, William had no idea which of his words was wrong. Amelia was indeed a cold, merciless woman—he had witnessed the truth. What was so odd about it?
“…William-sama, would you please tell me more about what happened with Lady Amelia earlier?”
“…Well, not that I mind…”
William told the story to Lewis; Amelia had instructed the maid to prepare tea, and as the story continued, his expression gradually distorted as the bad memory returned. Lewis calmly observed his master. After the story had finished, Lewis smiled softly, having understood everything.
“Aah… I see, so Lady Amelia is indeed as inhuman as the rumor has said—or so it seems.”
William retorted, “—that’s what I’ve been saying since the beginning!”
“I did say ‘inhuman’, but not ‘cruel’.”
“—What? What do you mean by that?”
Lewis gazed straight and William and smiled, “You sure you want to know the answer? Even though you might regret it?”
William gulped, that smile of Lewis was akin to bad omen. However, he also knew that Lewis would still continue his words, regardless.
—thus, he decided.
“I won’t regret it.”
Lewis nodded in satisfaction, and began to talk about when William first proposed to Amelia.
For William to propose to Amelia, it wasn’t originally his idea—but his father’s, Robert Cecil, The Marquis of Winchester. Robert was mild-tempered, but he was worried that his son—who would be twenty-two this year—wouldn’t be able to harden his will.
There was no shortage of suitors, yet William never bat his eyes. Frustrated, Robert listed all the noble ladies whom were close in rank to William. He made Lewis check their reputations, too.
Robert had a good understanding of his son’s character. William always treated everyone equally, no matter their class. The poor were given meals and the sick were treated. He treated all the servants with care, as if they were family. He respected their opinions, as well. However, he never tolerated injustice. To him, the ends never justified the means. He valued the effort put into something. Robert truly appreciated William’ neutral disposition.
Nevertheless—it’s not enough. His son had also attained knighthood, yes. But that still wouldn’t be enough to carry on the Winchester name.
Lewis put Robert’s thoughts in consideration and found the woman most suitable for William. One to lead the house alongside William, and not just become an ornament.
His choice fell upon Amelia Southwell.
Her reputation in the noble society was disastrous. She was outrageously cold and often ridiculed as the ‘Ice Queen’.
—but she’s the one.
“—so you’re the one who suggested her to me?”
After hearing Lewis’ story, William complained. He never knew about that until today.
“Yes, however, there are reasons why I didn’t tell you. Until I finish this story, save your questions, please.”
Lewis resumed. “In noble society, Amelia is known to be an inhuman person, yes. However, among the servants of the Southwell Family, it is not so. She appears to be silent and cold—however, is known as hardworking, to take charge in the kitchen, to sew the servants’ clothes, to teach those who can’t write nor read, to understand each individual’s skill, and to allocate work so it becomes more effective—she’s competent in all those fields.”
“But that’s …impossible.”
“The servants will beg to differ—they all praise her to high heaven. Her etiquette and dance are perfect, too. This beg for the question—why it is only in noble society her reputation suffers so? Why does she pretend to hate other people?”
“In fact, I also met a woman who used to be her governess. She didn’t last long, only a year—why, you might ask? Because the eight years old Amelia was perfect, already—and this is her own words.”
Lewis grinned. On the other hand, William was sweating profusely.
“’P-perfect’, as in, everything?”
“That’s right. The governess said her teaching was needless—the entire one year, all she did was instruct.”
“At the age of eight… to be perfect in everything… nope, not possible, no way that’s true—”
“Fufu~ let me get back to the story.”
Like a kid who found a new amusement, Lewis spoke with great joy.
***T/N: O god. O man. Who would’ve thought that Lewis is such a living-lie-detector?!