That’s right, she had no idea that Her Highness would just brush off the fact that something had been put before her.
But Lilika soon skillfully cleared her expression. Whenever you saw her doing that, it was an amazing emotional process.
“Then I will wait with you in the living room. Your Highness came from far away, so I can’t be rude.”
For some reason, I thought I knew Lilika’s intentions.
“And in case it doesn’t have to be my older sister in specific, you can talk to me without having to wait.”
She spoke as usual, without making it feel like a burden, but… How could her lowly attitude be completely hidden?
What if Princess Vivian went into the living room with the thought of just staying with her until I arrived?
Then, she would never see me today.
And maybe she wouldn’t see me again in the future.
Because Lilika wasn’t the kind of person to let go of a chance once it appeared.
“I’m sorry, but Her Highness seems to have preferred to talk to me.”
“I’m sorry, it was enough as long as it was a daughter of the Duke of Primrose, so Sister didn’t have to repel me last time… I hope it wasn’t a misunderstanding. Oh, I’m sorry. It’s just a little funny.”
She would kick me out with words like this.
Does she think I was only humiliated once or twice before dying?
Just as I was about to interrupt them, having figured out the situation,
“I can’t listen to this anymore. Alright, I will stay with you until Lady Yuria arrives, yes. I can see you as cute up until that point.”
Princess Vivian scoffed in a low voice.
Lilika’s shoulders, and also those of the employees of the duke’s castle that were surrounding her, trembled in surprise.
“But if it doesn’t have to be your sister, are you asking me to tell you?”
“Ah, Your Highness. What I mean is…”
“Are you saying that you are better than your father, that you would serve a guest that came to the duchy instead of him? You know what I’m going to talk about and want to serve me instead?”
“It’s all a misund…”
“You must think that because I was the one coming here, and not the Crown Prince, it must not be a big deal, and anyone can serve me. So, it’s easy for you to say you will do it instead.”
Princess Vivian giggled. Then, she took the final shot.
“Lady Yuria is the one I came to meet. Not you.”
Lilika couldn’t make any excuses at the princess’ warning. She was just standing there as if she had been nailed to the ground, pale.
Earlier, Brother Jiksen was surprised to hear that the guest was Her Highness, and now Lilika was giving me a gift.
To be honest, it was pleasant. How could a kid who was good at managing facial expressions let out her inner thoughts like that?
Now that she understood the situation, there was no reason to hesitate anymore. I stepped forward, revealing my presence.
“I apologize. I’m a little late.”
I left the frozen Lilika there and spoke to Princess Vivian.
“I apologize for this embarrassing situation, Your Highness. You must be tired. Shall we sit down first and talk?”
“Lady Yuria, I heard you were busy. Didn’t you come in too much of a hurry?”
She had a generous attitude, completely different from when she was dealing with Lilika earlier. A voice with a smile.
Lilika faked a smile at Princess Vivian’s change. Even so, as if she knew that her expression was unsightly, she quickly hid her distorted face, but it was impossible to avoid my eyes.
“Lilika, thank you for receiving Her Highness for me.”
“But you don’t have to try that hard.”
In other words, I was telling her that it was useless even if she tried hard.
But I didn’t stop there and took another shot.
“Your Highness, I will apologize on her behalf so will you please forgive my younger sister’s disrespect? Instead, I will serve you with care.”
“Will you please forgive my sister since I’m asking you like this, Your Highness? Instead, I, Lilika Primrose, will serve Your Highness with care.”
I said back the condescending words Lilika had said a while ago.
Lilika was bewildered for a moment. But soon, she gave a fishy smile as if it was useless for me to say that. She must have wanted me to feel the same way, since it didn’t work for her.
“Yes, since you’re Lady Yuria, not someone else, let’s move on from here.”
“I want you to remember that the reason I’m letting this go is because you are Lady Yuria’s younger sister.”
Lilika’s eyes trembled without hesitation. She could not answer anything to the princess’ words, which was inconsistent with her etiquette.
Until now, Lilika had insulted me, while at the same time acting like she was a good younger sister.
I felt proud that I had done the same this time.
I led Princess Vivian to the living room.
“Your Highness, thank you for your hard work.”
It had multiple implications.
But in front of the others, I didn’t want to nitpick about what had happened.
The employees who followed her instructions and didn’t stop Lilika from taking my guest to the living room were also responsible, but it was not something to say in front of the princess right now.
“You can go now.”
For now, I told the maids who had prepared the refreshments to leave the room. I had a lot to talk about with Princess Vivian, after all.
But… didn’t one maid remain stiff until the end?
“I’ve been ordered to stay by the Young Lady’s side and serve you.”
“It’s not needed, so leave.”
“I will only do as I am commanded.”
I told her twice to leave now. Was she disobeying an order?
‘She said it was to serve me, but isn’t she trying to monitor what I’m going to talk about with Her Highness?’
Even as I laughed ridiculously, the maid stood firmly in her spot and didn’t think of moving.
“Excuse me, maid.”
“Y-yes! Your Highness!”
The maid bowed her head right away, differently from the stiff attitude she showed me.
Princess Vivian showed a fake smile at the instant change in attitude.
“I’m about to have a conversation with your Young Lady right now, having even sent back the imperial knights escorting me.”
Princess Vivian’s voice was low, but dignified.
The maid was frightened and flustered, perhaps not thinking that she would call her out.
“Is your master’s order… more important than the imperial knights escorting me?”
“Who gave the order? I need to see their face.”
Well, in fact, I could tell even if she didn’t answer. In the first instance, it would have been my brother who gave the order.
But, my brother wasn’t the type of person who would use his head this much. Lilika must have made my brother make a move to make the maid stick to us. Now that Lilika had lost the confidence of the employees.
When the maid couldn’t come to her senses, the butler came running belatedly and bowed his head deeply.
“I apologize, Young Lady. I’ll be in charge after this.”
The butler grabbed the maid and closed the door.
He was a butler who punished the castle’s employees fairly for their wrongdoings, so he would conclude it with punishment even if I didn’t reprimand her.
The door closed with a click as the two exited.
Only then could I and Princess Vivian be alone in the living room.
‘I can’t believe the butler bowed his head to me… He was the one who used to openly show his disgust towards me more than the other employees.’
Was it after I found the lead pot the other day? Strangely, the butler’s attitude became nicer.
But then what? The other servants didn’t change much.
“… Aah, I apologize, Your Highness.”
Since even the imperial knights guarding the treasured princess had left, it was a very late calmness.
I couldn’t swallow my sigh this time.
To show such indecent behavior in front of a guest, it was not a common discourtesy.
But Princess Vivian calmly said,
“To be precise, the employees didn’t treat me harshly. They kept being polite. But… They didn’t believe that the guest I was supposed to meet was the Lady, and asked me back a few times.”
“You don’t need to apologize twice. I’m not someone who lives in the Duke’s castle, so it’s not that uncomfortable.”
It would be understandable for her to be angry, but Princess Vivian spoke rather worriedly about me.
“But the Lady lives here. How are you able to endure this atmosphere? Is this how they treat the daughter of the Duke?”
I couldn’t speak because I didn’t have a sense of shame. I couldn’t believe that she was worrying about me in a situation like this.
But just as she was considerate of me, Princess Vivian was in a hurry to change the subject.
“Ah, anyway. That’s not the point. There’s a reason I came to the castle. Look at this.”
Princess Vivian pulled back the veil hanging from her hat. And I couldn’t say anything for a moment, my mouth opened wide.
Her soft cheeks, the acne almost gone. Even her neat and tidy hair.
I was able to meet her green eyes for the first time, as her gaze had always been covered by the hair covering her face.
What had been covered all this time was such a clear, dazzlingly beautiful light.