24. The Fox, who Mistook the Tiger’s Power as its own, Looked Like a Clown
“Leones, have you returned? How was the tea party? That was the first you attended in a long while.”
“It was an interesting farce. As Vitoselk said, the Duchess of Lark has changed.”
The tea party went as planned.
In the first place, Lucifer’s letter to Aries in regards to hosting a the tea party at the duke’s family was issued at Sofia’s behest. In exchange, the Duchess of Lark would support Lucifer’s business.
Lucifer’s house was influential and well-financed, but its rank was too low. Hence, she had always been struggling to be rid of the high-ranking aristocrats who always made unreasonable demands for their financial resources. Some even tried to woo Lucifer despite being old enough to be her father.
However, regardless of how high-ranking those aristocrats were, if the Duchess of Lark was providing her backing, they wouldn’t dare do anything rash.
Sofia was both a novice head of a family and a woman. While some aristocrats thought lowly of her due to her broken engagement, my half-brother, Weiss, cared about her. People also seemed to be noticing her sharp wit. As a result, some of them began to join her side.
The Viscount of Revel, someone successful in business, couldn’t fail to realize that.
“‘I’m concerned because I can rarely attend tea parties these days. Come to think of it, the Duke of Lark’s garden is famous for being pretty. I’d like to see it once.’”
While sitting on the sofa, Leones read Lucifer’s letter to Aries aloud.
The letter wasn’t written in a way that put Lucifer in a disadvantage.
Still, this is Lady Aries we’re talking about.
In order to head off any potential wrongdoing that might be plotting against Lucifer as retaliation, Sofia ensured Leones would come to read that letter.
“Somehow, just by reading that paragraph alone, Aries concluded that Lucifer had proposed to hold a tea party at the duke’s house. Isn’t she quite interesting?”
“That’s right. Her imagination knows no bound.”
…Everything was as Sofia had predicted.
All Sofia needed to do was have Lucifer to send said letter to Aries.
She had foreseen Aries would hold a tea party without her permission. At Lucifer’s discretion, Leones would also be made aware of it. Then, in the form of accompanying Lucifer, Leones would participate as well.
Was it purely coincidental, or did she truly predict everything?
Then, Leones continued.
“Recently, Lady Aries has no longer been being invited to tea parties.”
“Well, that is to be expected. Both her words and conduct are plain outrageous. The only reason she was invited to them before was because the former duke loved her. As such, it was almost certain that she’d be adopted into the Lark family. The Sofia of that time was passive, as well. There was nothing we could do except put up with Aries.”
Regardless of Aries’ antics and current status, if she was undoubtedly going to someday be the duke’s adopted daughter, then that was something to take precaution of. After all, “someday” she’d hold a higher position. Due to that, no one wanted to make trouble with her.
Even high-ranking aristocrats could easily be crushed if they didn’t plan ahead. The aristocratic society was a devil’s den.
Aries had done nothing in that regard.
As of the present, she was in denial because she couldn’t imagine a future where she wouldn’t become a duchess.
“Lady Aries must be furious. The position of the duke’s daughter, which she thought was hers, was compromised the moment Lord Adley got arrested. Moreover, someone else became duchess, instead. The rightful heir, the Duchess of Lark, has changed entirely. As such, Lady Aries is anxious that she may not get the position she wants.”
Leones smiled bewitchingly at the letter written by Lucifer. It was the enamoring smile of a devil who had satisfied her desires.
“—Thus, when the proposal to hold a tea party arrived at her door, Lady Aries took the bait. She thought that it was the perfect opportunity to show the world that she’s also a member of the Lark Family.”
“Without asking for the duchess’ permission?”
“She must’ve thought that it was unnecessary. After all, up until recently, Lord Adley let her do as she pleased. The Duchess of Lark, who has observed her for many years, took advantage of that.”
Leones lit a match and burned Lucifer’s letter over an ashtray.
“Previously, Lady Lucifer was enraged because Lady Aries had described me as a sword-wielding barbarian to other ladies. She was eagerly waiting for a chance to get revenge.”
“…It went as Sofia had expected. Was Aries dancing on top of her palm all along?”
If that was true, then I definitely didn’t want to make Sofia my enemy.
Even so, she was utterly different from the Sofia I knew. What had changed her so drastically? Was it the result of the betrayal? I didn’t think that was it.
Perhaps, she reached her limit?
It was said that the calmer a person was, the scarier she’d get when angered.
But, is that it?
“By the way, Lady Aries was desperately staring at Everhart when she realized that she had no ally. She truly believed that he’d come to her aid.”
“So, she was asking for help from an irrelevant person?”
I turned my gaze to Everhart. Previously, he had entered the room along with Leones. Everhart, who noticed my gaze, gently asked. “What’s wrong?” I shook my head, “It’s nothing.”
“Everhart has a reputation among ladies for being kind. As someone who has known him for a long time, I have no recollection of said kindness.”
To put it simply, Everhart was mad.
The only thing that mattered to him was his childhood friend who he kept in his mansion. Save for her, he didn’t show interest to anyone.
Even if there was someone who desperately sought his help, he’d just continue by. If said person were to reach out to him, he’d cut off the hand while saying “Don’t touch me. Your blood will dirty me.”
He was both an indifferent and a ruthless man. After all, he destroyed an entire country just to claim his childhood friend.
“This is called ‘a fox who mistakes the tiger’s power as its own.’ However, what the fox didn’t realize is that the tiger never lent her his power. Even if he had, the power belongs to someone else. One day, said power would vanish like bubbles.”
But the arrogant fox never noticed. She refused to see reality. She closed her ears to all words she didn’t want to hear. Thus, that day, her world was maimed by the tiger.
Aries would no longer have a decent marriage. Return to the social circles would also be difficult for her. The ladies who attended her tea party would talk about what happened to their parents. Then, their parents would talk to their acquaintances.
Considering that the social circles valued courtesy and status, what Aries did was absolutely horrendous. Others would be reluctant to be associated with her. To not be considered one of her peers, they’d bar her from the aristocratic community.
“Tomorrow, Wagner will be freed from house arrest.”
“Indeed. How will His Highness deal with this situation?”
Wagner could worsen the situation, but he definitely wouldn’t be able to improve it. After all, he was severely lacking in that department.
“If that fool is gone, the royal family won’t sustain any damage. If there’s no damage, then there won’t be any problems.”
In any case, Wagner, who had crossed Sofia, had no future. Even if Sofia were to forgive him, Weiss wouldn’t.
“That’s it for today.”
Concluding the dark tale, I finished my work and enjoyed a cup of tea with my beloved wife, Leones.
***T/N: Does the yandere run in the kingdom…
Please also consider donating to my ko-fi! It’ll greatly support me in action, no matter the amount!