Chapter 239 Learning the hearsay
Before long, while the not so many attendees for today gathered around in the general hall, dinner was set on the annex hall next door.
The seats had been arranged so that members of the Terejia house were set at the foot of the table, well away from those of the Einsbark house.
Well, regarding my family name, despite having received my full name from my father, I’m officially under Earl Terejia’s guardianship. As long as we don’t go public on the matter of the adopted child, my position will remain under the protection of the Terejia house until I am accepted as an adult.
On the other hand, the adoption of that child will have strong public repercussions. Given the risks of a possible assassination attempt, we must carefully choose when to go public about it.
… About that child, and about Emilia… besides them, there are two other important things that we should pay attention to. The possible blood relation with that “brother” over there, and the appearance of that spy from another country and her parasite of a companion.
My head has grown heavy for quite some time. I seriously pray to God that they don’t cause any further trouble.
“… Oh, Countess Kaldia! So that seat was yours?”
Just as I had sat down, I had to resist the urge to sigh as I was called out from the person sitting right across me.
As I took a glance upon that person, I found a lady wrapped up in a full dress, which is a very unusual sight here, smiling elegantly at me.
… I remember seeing her before. I also remember hearing that voice… Certainly, there is a lady in the peerage that I have exchanged words with before, and that is…
“You do remember! I’m happy! Even though you were just a little girl when we met.”
Was that during my first trip to the Royal Capital? I met that woman when I accompanied Earl Terejia on his personal social life affairs. If I remember correctly, the men had gone on a trip, leaving us women behind to distract ourselves from boredom by drinking tea together… or something like that.
At that time, she was but a 19-year-old girl who loved to chitchat, but now she has completely turned into an adult. The boisterousness and eagerness of her face and tone of voice had changed and calmed down to match her age. Her smile had become more graceful, and it is with this grace and that she was smiling at me with her whole face.
“It’s been a while. To think that I would get to meet you here of all places…”
Despite being a lady of nobility, up until now, she hadn’t shown her face in the House of Lords. After becoming a widow, she had written up her succession to the peerage. Feeling anxious about being in command as a lord herself, she entrusted the management of her territory to her steward. Also, she must have been asking another nobleman to act as her proxy when attendance to the House of the Lords was necessary so far.
“Hoho! Actually, I remarried last year, you know?”
I turned my view to the man sitting next to Viscountess Berendorf. He seems to be about the same age as her. If they’re sitting here, could it be that they are from the Terejia house?
The Viscountess poked the man with a folding fan, who then turned his attention to me. For a moment, his glance seemed scared, and after a slight nod, he remained there, looking downwards. Apparently, he didn’t feel like having a talk.
As one would expect, the Viscountess Berendorf had warned his husband about his attitude, but that didn’t matter to me. I suppose there is no need to agitate such a frightful person any further.
“It’s okay, Viscountess Berendorf. Moreover, congratulations on your wedding.”
“… I offer my gratitude for your generous spirit, Countess Kaldia.”
The Viscountess placed her hand over her chest and let out a sigh of relief, seemingly unburdened of having to care for her husband. Turning again to face me, her eyes wandered around as if searching for the door back to the topic.
“I have heard rumors, but you have really grown into a really beautiful lady.”
And just like that, for some reason, after she had earnestly said those mysterious words of praise, I spontaneously replied with a “Huh?” with a stupid voice. Until now, I’ve never had such flattering words like ‘beautiful’ said to me before.
Or rather, were those words of disgust, as if I had obtained the feminine beauty of someone that’s approaching adulthood everywhere but in her body?
“Oh, don’t you know? The schoolgirls down at the nobles’ school are so completely fascinated with your good looks and your devilish charm that some rumors here and there began to sprout. They say you’re like some kind of vampire that came straight out of a tale!
I cannot understand this at all… or should I say, I don’t want to understand it. My head feels faint as it refuses to accept it.
In the battlefield, enemies and allies are familiar with the use of the word “vampire” since they both use it against each other derogatorily. It would mean that I’m some sort of monster that plays with her victims, and then mercilessly slaughters them in order to drink their blood. By no means should there be any implications about me doing anything such as deceiving another woman and ‘drinking her blood’! There cannot be anything like that…!
“Oh my, you do have no self-awareness whatsoever, do you? You slow lady… I wonder if your military spirit is indeed too strong…”
Viscountess Berndorf let off a sarcastic laugh as if she was shocked.
“… You must have misunderstood that rumor, it has to be about someone else.”
“It’s a shame, but there’s no misunderstanding. That rumor is definitely about you.
No, no, no! How did it turn out like this? Honestly!