Her cheeks burned with the sting of a slap.
Shada swallowed a tear, unable to touch her swollen face. If she cried, her master would probably set fire to her other cheek, ordering her to “Shut up!”
Shada hoped that her abuse would end shortly, but her foe took joy in prolonging her humiliation and relished that an excuse to step on her more appeared.
“You’re an irritating girl—you’ve been a thorn in my eye for a long time.”
At Shada’s pitiful stare, a maid, Anna, frowned and attempted to mediate.
“Quiet, Anna. That thing broke my favorite teacup, didn’t it?”
The Princess, enraged, kicked her self-proclaimed precious teacup.
Princess Julia, the only royal daughter of the Mayer kingdom, was a royal that was famous for her beauty as she was infamous for her vile temperament.
There were various tales to back up such an assessment, such as pouring hot tea water on a servant’s face for wearing the wrong shoelace or forcing a fat maid to run around until she cried and the Princess laughed or whipping a young servant because he had stuttered.
Objectively, it is standard practice that a servant is punished if she damages her owner’s things. However. the Princess was a vicious master and held herself to no ethical norms when it came to her subordinates.
“You’ve provoked me first!” Princess Julia stepped on Shada’s hand with her heel.
Anna and the rest of the maids swallowed their objections.
Their master frequently abused and tormented Shada. It was to be expected in the Princess’s palace for her to slap or pull servants’ hair because she was bored.
It was hell.
Anna, who knew Shada’s situation well, seemed to feel sorry for her, but she was forced to turn away from Shada’s desperate eyes because she was wary of her master.
No one knew why, but Princess Julia hated Shada.
And no one knew that fact more than Shada, whose hand was being trampled by the Princess’s sharp heel.
Shada screamed and begged. “Oh, it hurts, Princess! I’m sorry!”
“Huh, is that all you have to say—that’s all? Is it over if you kill someone and say sorry?”
At the absurd parable, all the maids in the room murmured inward, lowering their eyes. What are you talking about, madam? What is she going to do this time?
They all sympathized with Shada in their hearts.
Perhaps Shada would be whipped—but that was basic; something nasty had to be in store for her because Princess Julia had been in a violent mood. Everyone felt sorry for Shada’s lousy luck who, frankly, did nothing wrong but was simply a victim of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Julia, with a deep smile, glared sharply at the crying maid as she crushed her hands.
In fact, the reason why the Princess hated her was not a big deal, nor was it because of something Shada did.
Shada was a timid and talkative maid with black hair like a crow, a pale face, and pink eyes. Only if you looked closely did you realize she had a striking appearance.
Although Julia’s beauty, which had been born and managed beautifully as a princess, it didn’t compare to Shada’s indescribable charm when her wet eyes sparkled like peach juice when she was in tears.
You couldn’t take your eyes off of her once entranced. Those large eyes had dramatic eyelashes that cast a shadow.
Shada had a sad, sensual, and mouth-watering allure that stimulated one’s sadism.
So, to put it bluntly, Shada had a magnetism that attracted most men.
She may not be an apparent beauty, but her vulnerable looks coupled with her innocent and pretty personality—all the things that Julia lacked—fascinated many around her.
And so, from Julia’s point of view, Shada possessed the most outstanding and stunning beauty.
Julia was unpleasant and lacked this kind of charm, and it couldn’t be obtained by status to Julia’s humiliation. She marked Shada as her natural enemy.
“You were wrong?” laughed Julia, who was pleased with the conversation’s direction.
She sat cross-legged in a fluffy chair, glancing at Shada.
“Take it all off. Don’t you think you should be punished if you did something wrong?”
“Ahh! Princess! Save me!” Shada opened her eyes wide and struggled when she saw the strong maids rip off her clothes and a scary-faced servant coming with the dreaded whip.
After the King, who was in poor health, Princess Julia, usually arrogant, refrained from using her big whip. But today, she seemed to have no such self-restraint.
What did I do wrong? Shada wept as her exposed shoulders shook.
I have been working at the palace for many years, but I haven’t had a day of comfort since I was assigned to the Princess’s Palace.
Why does the Princess hate me so much?
She was trembling and opened her eyes as the whip went up, ready to strike.
Everyone turned away, and the wicked Princess was laughing.
Shada thought, looking at the slowly approaching whip, it was the shadow of the Reaper.
I don’t want to die. A former maid who was struck by that whip is still only half alive.
She didn’t know where such strength or courage came from, but Shada pushed down the maid who held her with all her might and ran out of the room.
It was relatively easy because they never thought she would dare run away.
“What are you doing? Catch her!” Hearing the Princess’s shouting curses, Shada grabbed her torn and half ripped off uniform, gasping and running.
She looked back in horror. Her fellow maids that she had worked with were chasing her.
A dreadful terror overtook her. No one would help her.
I can’t get caught and be beaten. I have to run!
But amid her panting run, she bumped with someone hard and fell to the floor.
At times like this, who the hell is standing in the hallway!
Tears of resentment came out and swelled around her eyes. Through her blurry vision, Shada found a man looking down at her with a jarringly calm face.
His platinum blonde hair gleamed, and his eyes were a vivid cold analytical green that had a mysterious depth. His eerie perfect sculpture-like features completed the impression of a being that was intelligent and icy. Add the blade at his hip that dangerously shined in her eyes… Shada gulped, numb with a weightless panic.
“Hey! Bitch, you dare to run away… Huh, Count Kirchner.”
Jill, a servant of Princess Julia, approached, and her words trailed off in embarrassment, bowing to the Count.
The man’s glance passed Jill by, and then returned to Shada, who was lamenting.
Shada knew who he was. She couldn’t help but know. He was famous throughout the royal palace.
Count Huey von Kirchner.
He had gained fame during a dangerous and great naval battle several years ago. The Count was a descendant of a prestigious family and a promising knight.
Shada heard the maids chattering about him winning a great victory at sea and being bestowed a Count’s title.
Another time, he also prevented rebel republicans, who opposed the monarchy, from assassinating the King.
In fact, what was even more remarkable and attracted the most interest, was that he was the fiancé of the foul Princess Julia.
Count Kirchner’s green eyes swept over Shada’s torn maid uniform. Shada felt his stare and covered her chest with a red face.
Her heart thumped with fear, an instinct that there was a great and unknown adversary in front of her.
Shada’s moist, wet pink eyes resembled a shivering rabbit. His eyes flashed as he looked at her red-hot eyes heavy with tears, shame, and panic.
The Count’s mouth bent like a loose beast. Shada dropped her head in a hurry; his strange, dark smile was weird and unnerving.
Her hands and feet trembled as his eyes traveled up her bare skin during a prolonged silence.
Slowly, a black-gloved hand approached Shada’s bowed head.
“Oh, Huey. I didn’t know you would come without a call.”
The Count’s hand withdrew.
He politely bowed to the beautiful Princess, who shyly blushed while looking sideways at Shada’s distraught appearance.
“I greet the Princess.”
“Ah-cham, just call me by my name.”
At the graceful and flawless greeting, Princess Julia was satisfied, but she pretended to be depressed.
Interestingly enough, this fierce Princess was infatuated with her father’s savior.
Even though they did it in secret, no one dared to speak ill of the cruel Princess to the Count’s face.
The Count should have seen the real face of his fiancé by now. So what was he thinking?
Count Kirchner softly spoke to the Princess, who couldn’t hide her envy with her picturesque grace as a cover.
“How could I be so rude?”
“I’m sorry, Huey. Is that rude between us?”
At her grumbling, he just smiled lightly and asked a question. “Is this a maid of the princess?”
“… Yes. She is so disrespectful, so my head maid was going to teach her a lesson.”
“Hmm, a rude maid. I don’t think she’ll be of any use to the Princess.”
Julia nodded shyly as her cheeks happily blushed when she heard her fiancée taking her side. “Yes, that’s right. I was going to get rid of it today.”
Hearing a casual conversation about her life going back and forth over her head, Shada forgot to breathe.
‘I’d rather be beaten, and quickly get it over with.’
The problem was that Julia would never let her leave with an intact body.
Count Kirchner glanced at Shada’s trembling form and smiled at his fiancée, who looked at the Count eagerly.
He said something that no one expected.
“Good. Then there will be no problem if I take this maid.”