18. [Day 2 (2)]
“When will Velbutte come pick me up?”
Lumina seemed annoyed. In her room, she kept biting her nails.
The servants were distracted by Lorona’s death. At the same time, she was also impatient and anxious.
As the count hasn’t returned to the mansion, they couldn’t start the funeral. No one seem to know what to do.
Lumina just wanted to be rid of everything as soon as possible and marry Velbutte.
Velbutte is mine in both name and reality.
She could finally stop hiding behind Lorona.
Under the sun, she’d be able to openly receive Velbutte’s love. She’d be able to become a happy bride that everyone would envy and would eventually become the queen of the kingdom.
That way, her father, Count Ruth, would praise Lumina. That way, her mother, Belverassa, wouldn’t be blamed for not being an aristocrat.
“I want to raise three children. One of them will succeed the count. I’m sure our sons will be adorable…”
The future she envisioned was perfect.
She’d become the wife of her beloved man, and she would have all the love and status of her family.
Lumina’s fantasy was brought back to reality by some unreserved knocks.
“What is it!?”
“The madam is calling…”
Lumina left her room with a click of her tongue. She paid no heed to the frightened maid.
The reason for the call was mostly likely related to Lorona’s funeral.
She had to mourn the death of her excellent sister in public. Otherwise, no one would be convinced.
She thought that she should start acting even at home. At that moment, Lumina noticed that the maid was guiding her to the drawing room, not her mother’s.
“Who is it?”
“They seem to be the messengers from the House of Lords and the temple.”
At any rate, it probably concerned Lorona’s death.
Lumina went to the drawing room, thinking she should pretend to be a bereaved little sister.
“…Condolence money and a consolation fee?”
Lumina blinked loudly at the words she heard for the first time.
The same went for Belverassa who was sitting beside her.
To summarize the words of the messengers, as the engagement between Velbutte and Lorona was a contract between the royal family and the count family, the royal family had to pay a large sum of money for the annulment.
Lumina was unsure, but it was a good story for her. After all, not only would she be able to marry Velbutte, she’d receive money as well. She wanted to laugh.
Belverassa’s eyes were shining in joy as well.
My mother is happy with the money.
However, she couldn’t reveal her happiness. Therefore, she bowed her head and said, “What a shame…”
Then, she continued.
“Will my home be receiving, uh, that compensation?”
“It may not be the full amount, but as it’s a consolation fee for Lorona, whose honor has been tarnished—how much is it?”
“…So that’s how it is.”
In contrast to her mother, who was so happy she couldn’t hide her joy, Lumina felt unpleasant.
That turmoil caused trouble for Velbutte.
I’ll talk to my mother later and see if I can take over some of the work at home.
Lumina, who thought that Velbutte would be happy, suddenly noticed a cold gaze piercing her.
It was directed by the messenger from the temple.
W, what’s with this person?
Lumina was wavering slightly at the sharp expression. It unintentionally made her want to avert her eyes.
…But, did he notice?
The messenger of the temple slowly began to speak.
“By the way, Lady Lumina. You mentioned that you’re quite intimate with His Highness Velbutte. Is that true?”
Due to the unexpected question, she made a stupid sound.
Feeling that the eyes of all the people in the room had gathered on her, Lumina hurriedly regained her composure and almost screamed, “No!”
“I don’t really want to say this but my older sister, Lorona, was really strict… I merely confided in His Highness about that…”
It was a phrase she had repeated many times.
Every time someone pursued the matter about her intimacy with Velbutte, she’d tearfully confess Lorona’s mistreatment towards her. She’d accuse Lorona of being unreasonable, and told them that Velbutte was merely comforting her.
Then, everyone would take her word for it.
“Is that so? It seems that the facts are quite different from the story that the church received.”
“What kind of story did the church hear…?”
Due to the messenger’s words, which carried some implications, Lumina shook.
“There were various things—such as how His Highness and you went out for a walk in the city alone the other day.”
Blood immediately drained from Lumina’s face.
She desperately tried to suppress her scream.
That day, she went out alone with Velbutte to celebrate their perfect plan for destroying Lorona’s engagement at the graduation ceremony.
She recalled that she had inadvertently gotten excited due to being outside and from the liberation that came from an unfamiliar liquor.
Lumina gulped, feeling sweat drench her back.
I, it’s okay, I’m still chaste. It shouldn’t be a problem if they were to check…
Aristocratic women must remain chaste before marriage.
Before weddings, an inspection to see if they were still maidens were carried out at the temple.
Nowadays, it was often omitted, but she knew that she wouldn’t be able to avoid it once she became queen.
Hence, she protected her chastity.
However, what if someone had seen her with Velbutte that day?
Even if she didn’t cross the line, if someone were to testify to her inappropriate intimacy with Velbutte, it’d be bad.
Lumina couldn’t turn her eyes away from the messenger of the temple. Her sweat was gushing.
Due to the messenger’s all-knowing stare, her heart pulsed rapidly.
The messenger then said, “If the two of you have an inappropriate relationship, the temple will have to deal with it.”
“That’s an exaggeration!”
Belverassa screamed in a hurry. Lumina also nodded immediately.
“We merely spoke of my sister!!”
She had no choice but to insist. Even if there were witnesses, Velbutte could just buy their silence.
However, the expression of the messenger was harsh.
“The fact that you were alone with a man who has a fiancée is already a big problem. As an aristocratic lady, do you realize how inappropriate your conduct was?”
“His Highness has been accused of depravity, in other words, violating the precepts. The same goes for you.”
“No, no way!! We didn’t—!”
Lumina screamed and interrupted the messenger’s words.
Belverassa felt something bad might occur and glared at Lumina with a pale face.
Lumina wanted to cry. The festive mood she had was ruined.
“…Also, I forgot to mention.”
“…I, is there something else?”
The messenger of the House of Lords spoke and both Belverassa and Lumina tensed in anticipation.
“As Lady Lorona has died, please refund the marriage preparations that the royal family gave in advance.”
Belverassa raised her voice.
The messenger of the House of Lords raised his eyebrows skeptically.
“Why are you so surprised? That preparation money was given in advance to prepare Lady Lorona’s personal belongings for when got married. As the marriage itself can no longer be held, please refund it.”
“T, that’s true, but still…”
Belverassa’s attitude only worsened the atmosphere in the room.
“T-that’s right!! Now that Lorona is dead, shouldn’t Lumina become His Highness’ next fiancée?! If Lumina decides to use the preparation money as it is, won’t it save you some unnecessary trouble?”
Belverassa raised a bright voice as soon as she came up with a good idea.
However, the facial expressions of the messengers didn’t improve.
“The formal procedure for canceling the engagement with Lady Lorona hasn’t yet been completed. If all goes well, the next candidate is likely to be Lady Lumina, but that still remains uncertain.”
“Or, have His Highness and Lady Lumina vowed to marry each other? While Lady Lorona was still in the picture?”
Belverassa’s face hung in dejection.
Lumina also realized that she’d be digging her own grave if she were to say anything further. As such, she tightly shut her mouth.
“Anyway, nothing can happen until you absolutely fulfill all the preceding requirements.”
Lumina and Belverassa remained frozen in place as the messengers who spoke with cold tones left.
***T/N: hahahahAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH omg this chapter is satisfying.
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