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1556-chapter-12

The next day, a meticulously respectful letter arrived from the Petros Family.

Countess Tyrannia’s hand trembled as she held it.

“Surely, they’re not upset, are they?”

“Of course not, Mother. The two of them are a good match.”

Illyae secretly grit her teeth.

The humiliation she recently endured from Duke Petros was still fresh in her mind.

It was a stinging defeat, unlike anything she had ever experienced before.

“Phew, they’re coming tomorrow. Surely they won’t want to see Chloe’s room, will they?”

It would be an overreaching request, but if Mrs. Lestro asked, they would have no choice but to comply.

Countess Tyrannia hadn’t yet realized the true issue.

Despite knowing that Chloe was living in poor conditions, she had pushed her to this point.

“Oh, marrying her off is really no easy task.”

With a sweet smile, Illyae patted the Countess’ arm.

“Don’t worry too much, Mother. I’ll switch rooms with her for the day.”

“Oh, my dear! Where will you stay then?”

“It happens that I have plans to go out tomorrow.”

Illyae lowered her voice slightly.

“When Chloe marries, Prince Werner is sure to attend the ceremony, isn’t he?”

“Oh my, I didn’t think of that. Of course, he will. They’re relatives.”

“Just in case, I’m planning to get fitted for a new dress.”

“Of course, you should.”

Neither of them even considered that Chloe, the bride-to-be, hadn’t yet had her wedding dress fitted.

“And I think it would be nice to prepare a small gift for the crown prince as well.”

“My dear, you’re so smart and thoughtful. Yes, Illyae, let’s do that. I’m so lucky to have you!”

Illyae and Countess Tyrannia smiled at each other, their mutual admiration and scheming evident.

* * *

That morning, my mother clicked her tongue as she entered my room.

“Just look at the state of this room. Get up!”

“What’s the matter?”

“Mrs. Lestro is coming to see you soon. But you can’t let her see you living like this. Where does all the money we give you go?”

A bitter laugh escaped me.

How could such a woman be my mother?

Chloe seemed even more pitiable to me.

“Right. So where am I supposed to go?”

“Illyae has kindly offered to lend you her room. You should learn from Illyae. She’s such a good girl.”

I was already planning to learn from Illyae and do things the way she did.

Without replying, I picked up the wriggling lizard from the bed.

Yggdrasil curled his tail roundly, making him look like a plump toy.

“Please thank Illyae for me.”

I muttered as I left the room.

Unlike my secluded room, Illyae’s room was bathed in sunlight.

I could hear the Countess chattering about something, but I pretended not to hear.

Illyae’s room was decorated in a vibrant pink and exuded an air of opulence. It was glaringly clear that I didn’t belong here.

How could I, in my worn-out dress, possibly fit in this luxurious room?

It seemed my mother had noticed this as well.

“Oh my! You need to change your clothes. Is that the only dress you have?”

She glared at me before sending Marion to fetch one of Illyae’s dresses. I changed clothes and played along with my mother’s act until Mrs. Lestro arrived.

Originally, Mrs. Lestro intended to invite a member of the Tyrannia Family to the Duchy. However, her decision to visit Tyrannia County herself was at Dante’s request.

Mrs. Lestro’s arrival was heralded with a flurry of activity. The atmosphere was tense, every servant on their toes to ensure everything was perfect. Countess Tyrannia greeted her with a practiced smile, though I could see the nervousness in her eyes.

“Mrs. Lestro, welcome to our humble home. We are honored by your visit.”

“Thank you, Countess Tyrannia. I appreciate your hospitality.”

Mrs. Lestro’s demeanor was calm and composed, radiating an air of authority. Her eyes scanned the room, taking in every detail. She was here not just to meet me but to assess the environment I lived in.

“Young Lady Chloe, it is a pleasure to meet you again.”

“The pleasure is mine, Mrs. Lestro.”

I curtsied politely, my heart pounding. This was it—the moment that could decide my future.

“Chloe, why don’t you show Mrs. Lestro around the garden while we prepare some tea?” my mother suggested, her voice a tad too sweet.

“Of course, Mother. Mrs. Lestro, if you would follow me.”

As we walked halls, I could feel Mrs. Lestro’s eyes on me, assessing, evaluating. We stepped into the garden, a place I rarely visited. It was beautifully maintained, a stark contrast to the dreary state of my own room.

“Chloe, tell me about yourself. How have you been preparing for this upcoming marriage?”

I took a deep breath, trying to steady my nerves.

“I have been focusing on improving my skills, particularly those that would be beneficial to the Duchy. I want to ensure I can be a valuable asset to the Petros Family.”

Mrs. Lestro nodded, a slight smile on her lips.

“That is good to hear. Dante has spoken highly of you. He believes you have the potential to bring great honor to our family.”

I was taken aback. Dante had spoken highly of me? It was unexpected, but it gave me a glimmer of hope. Maybe, just maybe, this could work out.

“Thank you, Mrs. Lestro. I will do my utmost to live up to those expectations.”

As we continued our walk, I could feel the weight of her gaze, measuring my worth. This was my chance to prove myself, to show that I was more than just the neglected daughter of the Tyrannia Family. I was determined to seize it.

* * *

“I hope you can go personally to see how Chloe is doing.”
“Why?”
“Because something seems off.”

Though Dante chose his words carefully, the nuance hidden within them was clear enough.

Contrary to what was publicly known, it was possible that Chloe was not being properly cared for by her family. With a slightly hardened expression, she looked at the mansion.

Seeing a lady with a cane, the servants hurried out.

At the end stood Countess Tyrannia, beaming brightly, and a beautiful young lady presumed to be Chloe.

“Welcome, Mrs. Lestro. It’s truly an honor that you came all the way here.”

“It’s nice to see you, too,” Mrs. Lestro replied curtly.

After hearing what Dante had said, it was indeed true that Countess Tyrannia appeared differently to her.

With a delicate gaze, she examined Chloe.

“So, this is Chloe.”

“Yes, madam. It’s such an honor that His Grace is fond of her. She has many shortcomings. Please take good care of her.”

Mrs. Lestro glanced at the Countess with only her eyes.

Outwardly, she appeared as a loving mother.

But no matter how hard one tries to conceal it, the truth always reveals itself.

Chloe Tyrannia’s face was unusually stiff, and her body was thin.

She did not look like the young lady of a wealthy family.

Moreover, she looked uncomfortable, as if she had been squeezed into ill-fitting clothes.

‘Those aren’t her clothes.’

Now Mrs. Lestro understood why Dante had made this request.

He was a child with sharp eyes.

He must have seen things at first glance that others missed.

Mrs. Lestro spoke in a colder tone, “I would like to see Young Lady Chloe’s living quarters personally. If I may, could you show me? I’d like to take notes for her new accommodations.”

Countess Tyrannia flinched slightly, then nodded with a dry swallow, “Of course!”

Thinking it had been wise to change the room, Countess Tyrannia nudged Chloe’s side.

Chloe blinked quickly.

‘She means to be gentler!’

Chloe suppressed a smirk.

Mrs. Lestro held disdain for this place, a fact Countess Tyrannia was oblivious to.

Would Mrs. Lestro appreciate Chloe acting coddled and whining in this situation? Definitely not. It would be better to stay quiet.

Chloe forced a bitter smile, “Let’s go quickly!”

The Countess whispered and nudged Chloe’s back, wanting to avoid a more embarrassing scene.

Mrs. Lestro observed everything silently, waiting for the room to be opened.

Without much ceremony, Mrs. Lestro tapped the door with her cane and pushed it open.

‘Is this really Young Lady Chloe’s room?’

A knowing laugh escaped her.

The room didn’t match Chloe’s vibe at all.

Moreover, upon opening the door, there was no sweet floral scent that one would expect from someone living here.

‘Who do they think they’re fooling?’

Countess Tyrannia’s expression hardened even more.

“W-what, what displeases you? Our Chloe likes extravagance…”

The Countess tried to explain herself.

With a chilly glance, Mrs. Lestro asked Chloe, “Is this really to your liking?”

Chloe’s eyes widened.

“No. This room…”

“I decorated it!”

The Countess quickly interjected and changed the subject.

“In fact, I decorated this room for Chloe. As my daughter, I naturally thought she’d prefer pink…”

The tension on the Countess’ rambling face was apparent.

“Tsk. Chloe, speak up. What colors do you like? What type of wallpaper? Dark masquerade patterns?”

Countess’ gaze turned to Chloe, discreetly squeezing her hand as a signal to answer well.

“I… I like shades of purple. Madam, blue is also nice. And for the wallpaper, I’d like to explore and choose something that suits the Duchy’s style.”

“And the furniture?”

“Furniture, too. I wouldn’t want it to feel disconnected from the rest of the room I’ll be using.”

Countess Tyrannia’s expression softened slightly.

How much her façade of coming here had decayed inwardly was hard to tell.

Despite receiving such treatment, Chloe knew how to assert herself.

“What kind of food do you like? Salmon? Or lamb? Beef? What would be good as the main course for the wedding?”

“I eat everything without any particular preference.”

Chloe blushed slightly.

“As for the wedding, perhaps a basic beef would be suitable.”

“A good choice. Some may not like salmon, and lamb can be pungent. What flowers do you think would be best for decorating the wedding venue?”