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Finally, it was the day of the showdown.
Damia had her considerable hair half up in a ponytail, held by jewel pin decorated with peach-colored flowers and diamonds.
She donned a pink bodice that was laced up over a cream-colored dress and as a rouge, red as her hair was applied to her lips.
“Miss, you’re so beautiful!”
The maids who had dressed and groomed Damia exclaimed after they were done with sincere admiration.
Damia stood up to look at herself in the mirror. She did look good.
Damia parted with the maids politely and left her room.
She descended down the central staircase and arrived at the foyer. Through the glass on the front door, she saw a carriage that was waiting for her. The coachman, now well-rested after the debacle, looked better and welcomed her.
“Come on, milady. I’ll escort you.”
Damia gently climbed the wagon with his help. The destination was obvious:
“The Marquis of Evergreen.”
Today was the day that Cecil would drink tea with Louise. Even though she disliked Louise, due to their shared family business she was obligated to comply.
It was of utmost importance to renew the contract between the noble families. For this reason, Cecil had to still meet with Louise. Even if she was planning on drugging her teacup.
Damia was awfully distressed over her best friend and couldn’t bear it.
Although she knew what Louise had planned to feed Cecil, it didn’t mean her worries were assuaged.
‘I need to be by your side.’
Of course, it didn’t mean that Damia would be an attendee at the scene of them renewing their contract.
The business was very secretive and had many sensitive provisions, so a third party could not join.
Therefore, Damia settled on waiting in the room next to the room where Cecil would renew the contract.
With Cecil’s permission, they had a small hole drilled through the wall adjoining the rooms. Damia would watch them through that hole and if Cecil was in a dangerous situation she would intervene.
“Damia! You came!”
As soon as Damia reached the Marquis of Evergreen’s estate, Cecil rushed out to greet her from the inside of the mansion.
She was dressed elegantly for the event, her face donning suitable makeup and overwhelming anxiety.
It was clear that Cecil hadn’t slept last night, her eyes were puffy and the dark circles under her eyes peeked through her powder.
“Of course, I have to come, fool.”
Damia grinned, trying to ease her friend’s tension. And she took the lead in finding the room she was supposed to wait in.
If it had been a typical visit, tea and refreshments would have been set grandly for guests in the middle of the room, but today it was an unusual day.
A comfortable wide chair lined with plenty of cushions was placed in front of the wall and adjacent to it was a small table with a silver tray with desserts.
Damia discreetly glanced back at Cecil, appreciating the arrangements she had made. It seemed Cecil was worried her friend would be hungry or bored while she waited in the room alone.
“Hmm. No meringue cookies?”
Damia joked about her favorite snack. Cecil rolled her eyes and retorted.
“Really? You’re going to munch and crunch on a loud cookie during this stealth spy mission?”
“I could just melt it down with saliva.”
Damia took a once over the tray. Soft chocolate chip cookies, moist lemon madeleine, cheesecakes. All of them were foods that wouldn’t make noise when consumed.
‘As expected, Cecil is taking this seriously as well.’
For Cecil’s sake, Damia had to watch Cecil carefully. Upon uttering the oath in her heart, Damia, who was now determined, sat in front of the wall. She repeated the plan to Cecil.
“If you sense any danger, raise your hand. Then I’ll run right in.”
“Yes. I took an antidote in advance just in case.”
She didn’t know if it would work because it’s such an unfamiliar, new drug. Cecil murmured anxiously, pouting.
Damia faintly smiled at the actions, words, and foods that reflected how thoroughly prepared she was.
“I’m so glad, Cecil.”
“········ what? Coming out of the blue.”
“Because you’re a kid who takes care of my body like a master.”
It was a compliment interlaced with strangely teasing abusive words. Cecil narrowed her eyes, not missing it.
Damia, who saw this, promptly distracted her.
“Go now. Time is running out!”
Cecil, who was being pushed out of the room, looked back. She finalized the plan with Damia.
“You have to keep an eye on me and make sure I’m alright. Okay? I trust and believe in you.”
“Of course. I’ll watch you without even blinking.”
“·········No, blink—that’s too much.”
She would have dry eyes. After Cecil bleakly replied, she turned around. Her face slipped into a subtly dismal expression as she went out to greet Louise. Nevertheless, her countenance was certainly more lively than before.
‘Please, don’t let anything happen to Cecil,’
Damia prayed earnestly inwardly. She pressed her body against the wall and peered into the hole.
How many minutes have passed? From afar, Damia could hear the slapping sound of shoes and Louise’s uniquely high and sharp laughter.
Then the door creaked open, and finally, Cecil and Louise sat at a table.
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