16. Carla’s Melancholy (4)
“Uh… Lady Amelia?”
“Just ‘Amelia’ is fine. I’ll call you ‘Edward’ and ‘Bryan’, as well, then.”
“Okay, Amelia, then what should we—“
“—let’s go outside. I think everyone would agree that this party’s too dull.”
“Huh? Are you serious…?”
We accepted Amelia’s invitation, and went towards the garden. We went through the terrace of the venue. Her pace was steady—thus, we arrived at a dark spot, unreachable by the venue’s lights.
Shortly after, we realized we were no longer in the garden.
—although, when we asked Amelia, she assured us this was the exact path she took to leave the mansion in the past.
To leave in the midst of a ball was unheard of. We seriously thought she was kidding. But not only was Amelia’s expression was extremely serious, it was also unreadable.
In the first place, she didn’t seem to be the playful type.
In the first place, someone who went as far as using the back door—intended for servants only—to go outside couldn’t be joking around.
“Hey, what about your parents…?” “Wouldn’t they be worried if you suddenly left like this…?”
“If you find this disagreeable and wish to return, you may do so.”
At Amelia’s words, we pondered a little—we’ve already come this far, we may as well proceed.
“I’ll keep going.” “Guess I have no choice, then—there’s no way I’m letting you go alone.”
Listening to us, I saw a hint of a smile on Amelia’s face.
Thus, we arrived at the capital. It was night time—around 7 o’clock.
For us, it was the first time walking around the capital at night like that.
Rows of brick buildings lined up. Due to the streetlight’s illumination, the atmosphere was somewhat mysterious.
The lights of a store—the voices of people drinking alcohol inside—the vibrant sounds of life; it was too much for us to process at once.
—Amelia kept walking, straight ahead. As if she already had a destination in mind.
“—hey, Amelia, do you often do this?” I asked.
Thus, she glanced at me. “No, this is my first time.”
—as if I would buy that. I glanced at Bryan—he was frowning, probably thinking about the same thing.
“Well, well, isn’t she a feisty one…” “Such a tomboy…” We whispered to each other.
After a while, Amelia finally halted her steps.
That was when I noticed we were facing an alley. The alley was a little darker than the street we had walked on, and at the end of it, we could see lines of destitute buildings.
Only few peoples passed by, and everyone who passed stared at us with hostility.
“Amelia, is there… something you ought to do here?”
“Or, are you meeting a friend, perhaps?”
Yet, Amelia didn’t answer. She walked again and abruptly stopped in front of a house on that street. She then knocked on the door, twice.
“…Who?” A high-pitched voice resounded from behind the door.
“It’s Miria. Can I come inside?”
The door opened slightly, showing a boy who looked about ten years old. The boy’s joy at seeing Amelia was apparent, but when he noticed us, his gaze turned suspicious.
“…those dudes are?”
“They are my friends.”
“Is that so …welcome.” The boy exchanged a short greeting with Amelia and welcomed us inside.
Inside… was terrible—to put it mildly. The building was made of brick, but neither the living room nor the kitchen nor the room were divided.
All the furniture were in shambles—for examples, the table seemed to be broken, yet it was still being used. …How? The plate’s surface was also full of scratches. The chair’s legs were unstable, to the point of rattling—and it was obvious to see. The seating must had felt very uncomfortable. The bed was but a thin mat and a few tattered blankets.
—how are they supposed to survive the cold winter like this?
“Please sit down …although there’s nowhere to sit on.”
Only now we could truly saw the boy—he was very thin. He offered us a chair with only two legs. Without hesitation, Amelia sat on one of the chairs. We opted to stay standing, while also fumbling with our thoughts.
“Miria, why are you dressed like that? Being too noticeable will bring me nothing but trouble, y’know?”
“Yes, I know, I apologize. Although I do made sure to cross the paths with less people.”
“Well, alright then …although it’s very rare of you to also bring friends…” The boy glanced at us.
“Yes—before that, I would like you to prepare my usual clothes. Ah, for these two, too, please.” Amelia uttered, before taking out a small drawstring bag from the sleeve of her dress.
The bag seemed to be made of plain cotton, without any embroideries nor beautiful patterns.
Suffice to say, we felt uncomfortable.
It was strange that Amelia got acquainted with such commoner. Well, no, slipping away from a ball was already weird enough, to begin with.
It could be that she met the poor child when she was sneaking around. Seeing the miserable state he was in, she continued giving him charities.
While I was thinking so, the conversation continued;
“—and a hat, please.”
“I know, I’ll go get it.”
Amelia took out several copper coins from the bag and gave them to the boy—after that, she only needed to say a word.
“This should be enough, right?”
“Yes! It’s plenty enough!” After counting the money, the boy ran out of the house with a bright face.
After the door closed, we finally asked Amelia.
“—okay, what’s this all about? Casually giving money to a kid you know nothing about…”
“Explain about ‘Miria’, and what you’re planning to do next.”
She grinned at our question. “The night is still young.”
“…” We turned away.
“Seriously, what kind of education have you been getting? I truly want to know…”
“This behavior is normally unacceptable, right? Is your family okay with it?”
“Ara, since both of you insist on coming with me, we are now on the same position. The same also applies to both of you. I’ll be back before the last waltz and nobody will bat an eyelash. But I suppose it’s different for the sons of a Marquis? I’m sure the consequences will be harsh—scared yet?”
—this lady is something else.
There was no tenderness in her tone, only severity. Sneaking away from the ball, quietly visiting the slums, and associating with one of its dwellers—those were basically what we—the Marquis’ sons—were doing as well, weren’t we?
Was she truly brought up as the daughter of an aristocrat? This was too much—
—however, by no means did it make her less intriguing.
We stared back at Amelia—smiling.
“No, I’ve come this far. I’ll stay with you until the end.”
“No matter how late it gets—My Queen.”
**T/N : In just one chapter, Amelia has gotten herself two lackeys… sasuga, Amelia-joo. *standing applause