“Miss, I almost forgot your face! Why haven’t I seen you lately?”
Recently, my attendance at banquets and visits to her dressing room decreased dramatically. It was because I was busy studying and searching for ways to undo Alastair’s affliction.
Now it was time to see different clothes in the dressing room. I had been buried in books and got sick of the smell of paper.
“I was just a little busy, Madam.”
“Then, are you a little less busy now?”
“Well, probably less than before.”
“Then, whenever you’re bored, please visit the salon. You know that Miss is my muse.”
“That I’m Madame’s muse is an honor.”
It was the unique flattery of a merchant that made the atmosphere lively and was hard to hate.
I answered in kind, cheerful.
Talking nonsense, Madame Blanche led me to a room for special guests.
There was a red chair under a neatly draped white curtain and a long mirror in front of the chair. Madame stopped in front of a long mirror.
In the mirror, the image of the businesswoman was reflected, and as I sat in the chair, my figure shared the mirror with her.
“We don’t have to do measurements, right? I think Madame knows my dimensions since we’ve done it many times.”
“As Miss said, I already know, so we don’t have to do it. Do you have a design in mind?”
“Well, how about a white dress?”
“It was white the other day, Miss. How about other colors this time?”
Madame Blanche thought worriedly, her concerned eyebrows frowning.
Then she clapped her hands as if he had thought of something, the noise resounding in the room.
“What color are you thinking of?”
“A red dress. It will go well with Miss’ ruby-like eyes. Actually, there’s a dress I came up with recently—Ah! I made this gown I made a few days ago, and I think it will go well with Miss! I will show you!”
Blanche rang a bell on the wall excitedly.
Promptly an employee entered.
“Did you call?”
I was surprised by their conversation. Two vague words were spoken without any explanation, but it was understood right away.
After a moment, the employee who had gone out to find the red dress came in again.
“Miss, what do you think? It’s a dress made with all my heart and soul. It’s one of the five best works I’ve ever made.”
As soon as I saw the gown, I was convinced that her prideful words were utterly sincere.
This fancy dress would make anyone the main character of the banquet.
“I especially revealed it to you, Miss, first.”
“I thought you would like it. Wait a minute. I still have a lot to show you.”
She rang her bell again. Then the employee got several dresses that had been hung on the display rack.
I looked carefully at the dresses in front of me.
“It’s hard to choose because everything is beautiful.”
“It’s a dress I made, so of course. But from my years of experience, I think this will suit Miss the best.”
She pointed to the gown she showed me first.
“I’ll take it.”
Madame Blanche winked at an employee who picked up the dress.
“And give me all the clothes on the shelf there.”
After I spoke, the movement of the employees froze.
“These are pretty expensive dresses…. Are you sure?”
“Of course, it’s okay.”
I laughed lightly and said in a natural tone.
“Please send it to the Melford mansion.”
“Please come again! Miss Melford!”
After leaving Blanche’s dressing room, Lida ran up to me.
“Did you buy a lot of pretty dresses?”
“Yes, there were so many pretty things.”
“Then let’s go back now.”
Can I go back there?
I suddenly wonder.
After what I did to the master of the estate?
Even though I decided to talk to Alastair, I am terrified.
After hurting him so much, do I deserve to visit him?
No, I don’t have qualifications, so I’ll have to visit him even more.
‘Am I such a coward?’
This time I’ll go to him first…
There is a world of difference between what one knows and what one does.
I censured myself for being self-pitying and speculating in frustrating loops. That doesn’t improve anything.
It was at that moment the ding of the bell from a bell tower in the distance caught my eye.
Its cheerful sound made me fancy that it was requesting my presence.
It’s ringing happened automatically thanks to magical artifacts.
The bell should ring without error. That it is ringing now means that the magic artifact is broken, or I heard it wrong.
“Lida, you should go back first.”
“I have a place to stop by first.”
“Where? I’ll just wait here!”
I turned from Lida to my escort.
He looked a little surprised that I addressed him.
“I can’t do that, my lady. I have to guard you–“
“It’s not a request.”
In the first place, I didn’t need anything like an escort.
I can protect myself.
Nevertheless, he came with me because Alastair, who heard the news of my going out, sent him.
“My lady, it’s dangerous to go alone.”
“It’s not dangerous, so don’t worry and go on.”
“I can’t do that!”
“I won’t repeat myself. Go.”
I said firmly. Then neither of them could protest anymore.
I watched the carriage leave with the two of them and turned to head towards the bell tower.
I started walking slowly in the direction of the bell tower, and then I soon increased my speed.
Suddenly I was running.
My heart was choking with frustration.
I wondered if I was going to die.
I had an impulsive thought.
I wonder if it will get better if I run to the top with the high winds over there.
I felt a strange sense of freedom when the cold wind brushed against me.
Even though my lungs screamed, I kept running.
I was out of breath, but I immediately felt a sense of releasing.
The sound of my wheezing lungs overtook my ears as I cleared my breath a few times.
I approached a half-oval window. I looked out and turned my back, and leaned against the wall.
My body sank down the wall. I squatted and emptied my head.
I don’t know what I’m doing here.
I sent off the carriage and ran all the way here… and for what?
I buried my face in my knees.
I didn’t want to leave.
This place was my little refuge.
I buried myself in the shadows cast by the bell tower and closed my eyes.
Time passed without meaning.
I heard a voice calling me.
There is no one here except me.
I looked up in a daze.
“Serina, you’re catching a cold.”
Alastair crouches with one knee to the ground and one knee up to meet me at my eye level.
“What are you doing here?”
In the end, you came to me first.