After relaxing my muscles in the warm water, I changed into a comfortable indoor shawl and sat down in front of a table in the bedroom. The food they served was of good quality. And while the maids were blunt, they were professional.
Just in time, I glanced around the maids who were serving tea.
‘It’s more professional than what I’ve seen in movies or novels…’
A maid’s job is close to an honorary job, and volunteering as the Empress’ handmaids must mean that they have the purpose of establishing connections. Nonetheless, it was a little awkward and strange because they only did what they had to do. There was no sign of the maids acting comfortably or being friendly towards me at all.
Still, this distance might be just right.
I’m making an escape plan. So, if I just became friends with these people, wouldn’t troubles arise? What if they ask, “Empress, why are you studying this?” Since I’m not very smart, I might try to hide and let something slip unintentionally.
If I did, it would be a big deal.
‘Until Raniero is distracted by Seraphina, they mustn’t find out that I intend to escape.’
…If he does, Raniero might think I was making fun of him and chop off my head!
‘First of all, as naturally as possible, let’s pretend to be a nice empress with no ulterior motives.’
With that thought, I smiled as benevolently and sedately as possible as I made eye contact with the maids one by one.
“Come to think of it, I haven’t even heard your names. Could you let me know?”
…Well, I assumed I spoke in a mellow tone like a fair empress.
Even though the memories of Angelica hadn’t yet returned, things seemed to come naturally to me as she was the Princess. The maids began to introduce themselves one after another, starting with the highest rank as though they were waiting for my words.
The esteemed Madam (probably referring to the Marquis’ mother), countess, daughter of a duke…
They were women from strong families. As if they had prepared in advance, the scene where they introduced themselves to me while bowing without a single error was stimulating.
“Yes, I see…”
I nodded as they finished.
‘But, something is strange…’
A strange feeling of incongruity brushed through my spine. It was a strange feeling that I couldn’t catch it even if I tried my best to. As I thought so, I tilted my head and gazed at them alternately. There doesn’t seem to be any problem with their attitude or behavior.
‘What is this weird feeling?’
Since it didn’t seem like I was going to find a clue just by looking like this, I smiled while ignoring the chilly sensation that was chasing me down the back of the maze.
“You must have a lot of trouble waiting.”
“It’s just our duty.”
Answering me, they all bowed their heads in unison.
‘…Oh, no. If they were like this, I wouldn’t know what to do.’
A cold sweat ran down my back. I only became an empress yesterday, so of course, I’m still not used to this kind of treatment!
I moved on to the next topic quickly.
“Well, then. What’s the schedule after this? I haven’t been to the Actilus Empire for a long time, so I’d like you to guide me until I can get used to it.”
The esteemed Madam, who seemed to be the center of the maids, glanced at the other maids lining up behind her and bowed deeply before parting her lips.
“There’s no official schedule today, so you can rest well.”
Since I was told by Raniero that he could see everything on my face, I tried to maintain a poker face as much as possible. Regardless, the words of the esteemed Madam made my face turn red unknowingly. No matter how much I warmed up with a bath, the fatigue of the wedding ceremony, the early night, and the travel from a distant place still made my body feel very fatigued.
If I could take a day off, that would be more than fine.
“…I see. Then, I’ll take it easy.”
Well, there is no need to start working on escaping from today. In the end, there are still seven months away, isn’t it?
So, I decided to take a day off.
In the evening, until the end of the day, the maids remained by my side with their professional, expressionless expressions. They didn’t even try to start a conversation with me at all as well, so it was rather awkward and uncomfortable.
Even though it bothered me at first, when I became one with the bed, emptied my brain and rested, I felt satisfied and refreshed.
In the following days, everything was much better than the first day.
It was because Raniero, who seemed to have lost interest in me, didn’t visit, and I became accustomed to the service of the professional maids. As soon as they woke me up, I washed my face and changed clothes before asking about my schedule, though they would say that there was nothing special again that day.
The next day, too.
…And, the day after that as well
Then, things kept on going that way.
They kept insisting that there was no official schedule for the Empress. At the same time, the name ‘Cisen’ came up in my mind as I became slightly more assimilated with Angelica’s memory. She was the old maiden daughter of a countess in Unro Kingdom — a maid from the Unro Kingdom who came with me when I came to the Actilus Empire.
I wish she had stuck with me…
Until now, she didn’t appear in my sight at all. I haven’t seen a glimpse of Cisen at all since I came here… That was the uncomfortable feeling I felt when I first saw the maids. It was because there was no maid brought from my home country.
I couldn’t see a single familiar face.
It wasn’t just that…
‘They… they are keeping an eye on me.’
I suddenly realized.
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Comments for chapter "Chapter 8"
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