This is my specialty.
This quaint thing called ‘practical acting’.
Among the things she could act out, her specialties were ‘pretending to be pitiful’ and ‘insincere apologizing’. She used to do both all the time in front of customers while she was working as a part-timer.
And now was the time for her to unleash her talent in all its glory.
“All— your fault?”
The duke asked, uncharacteristically shaken.
This was because the aftermath of the dizzying kneeling show that she had put out for her audience, and it impacted him enough that he couldn’t remain calm.
Roella nodded in response to his question.
And before anyone could even react, in a split second, her eyes started flooding with tears.
“Yes, it’s all my fault. In the first place, this wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t created that weakness.”
And soon after, she let out a loud sobbing voice.
Roella’s whirlwind acting did not stop there.
“Regardless of how Charlotte had seized my weakness and started threatening me because of it! Even if she’s been extorting me for money and valuables! Even if she left before finishing all of her work! And even if she took with her the gift that I had received from the High Priest!”
Her shouts went on louder and louder.
The frenzied Roella paused and exhaled.
After that deep sigh, she continued speaking with a tone that was different compared to how she spoke just now.
“I should have told you the truth, Father, or I should have tried to dissuade Charlotte from being swayed… I should be stripped of my title as this Duchy’s esteemed daughter, and my title as the Saintess.”
And right then, the welled-up tears finally trickled down from her blue eyes.
‘…What kind of situation is this?’
Cold sweat started going down Charlotte’s back.
Things were getting weird.
At this rate, it was certain that she would be branded as a fiend who dared to blackmail the ducal lady.
No, well, it was true in the end.
But Charlotte hurriedly spoke up and stood her ground.
“Y-Your Ladyship, why are you being like this. Truly?! And w-what do you mean by, by the Head Priest’s gift? I never touched anything of the sor…”
But at that moment.
What flashed through Charlotte’s mind was that particularly rough-looking ring.
‘No way. That was a gift from the Head Priest?’
Actually, that ring was given to Roella by the temple before Charlotte even entered House Brietta as a maid.
Because of this, she had no idea what the Head Priest’s gift looked like.
Roella never told her.
But as it turned out, it was that ring.
She did not expect it. At all.
In the first place though, the one who recommended that she take the ring was…
‘The Lady herself!’
After she finally realized this, Charlotte tried to explain the injustice she was facing right now, but it was difficult to do so.
From the start, wasn’t it true that she had been blackmailing the ducal lady while extorting money and valuables from her?
‘But I just asked for a few trinkets! The Lady was the one who gave that ring to me!’
She couldn’t possibly use that as an excuse…
No, besides that, it was difficult to even find the right time for her to open her mouth.
No matter what she’d try to say—
“No, I mean, I truly do not know…”
“Uwahh! I’m really beyond redemption! I’ve even been threatened by a maid to keep it all a secret from Father!”
—the conversation went on like this without fail.
Whenever Charlotte would try to explain her side, Roella would cry and say something along the lines of, ‘I am nothing but a stone rolling on the ground. My head is as heavy as a block of iron. My brain is endlessly smooth.’ So, Charlotte couldn’t say anything at all unless Roella would stop.
She had never seen any other person who used such unique and diverse ways of self-deprecation.
‘What’s wrong with you, seriously!’
To make matters worse, it was not long after this that the knights appeared. They were the same knights who dragged Charlotte out of her room earlier.
“Your Grace, we found all of this in the maid’s room.”
They presented various pieces of jewelry to the duke. Among those was the ring in question.
It was decisive evidence.
The duke glanced at the jewelry with cold eyes, then he made a light gesture.
As if they’d been waiting for the signal, the knights grabbed Charlotte’s arms.
The maid’s face turned as white as a sheet.
She looked between the knights, the duke and Roella alternately, crying out in tears.
“P-Please wait! Milady, Milady! Please help me! I’m capable of revealing your weakne—”
“Even to the bitter end, you don’t know your place. How dare you threaten this household’s Lady in front of me.”
The duke cut her off coldly.
“There’s no need for that woman here. Take her away.”
Only then did Charlotte realize just how reckless she had been.
Belated regrets flooded in like waves, but after all, it was all quite literally ‘late’.
Charlotte tried to reach for Roella with all her might.
“I was wrong, Young Miss! I will live an honest life from now on! Please forgive me!”
However, her desperate hands fell onto empty air, not even being able to touch the hem of Roella’s dress.
The knights dragged her away.
“I’ll live an honest life! Young Miss! Please forgive me just this once!”
Cries filled with regret and self reflection filled the corridors, but nothing changed.
Roella covered her mouth with her hands and stared vaguely at Charlotte as she was being dragged off elsewhere.
‘Yes, Charlotte. Live an honest life. It was unfortunate that we had to meet, so let’s not see each other again.’
The lips that those hands were covering tugged up into a smirk.
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