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Chapter 40

Pretending to be weak, pretending to be strong. She had reached the conclusion that such a thing wouldn’t work.
Then, all she had to do was give them what they wanted.

‘I’m sure some of the maids want to get married.’

There was no one stupid enough to not know their place in the duke’s castle and aim for Jiksen, the son of the duke.
But on the other hand, the knights were a realistic option for the maids to marry.
The only problem was that the maids had little to do with the knights.

‘I think it will be fine if it’s Jera.’

Jera was very interested in wealth. In the past, she had secretly asked Lilika which of the knights had good swordsmanship skills.
Their ability was the standard by which she could see how much their wealth would increase in the future.

“Maria, would you call Jera for me?”

Lilika asked the maid who was supporting her to call Jera.

Jera, who had been suddenly called, looked bewildered.

“Young Lady Lilika, is something wrong?”

Her tone was sweet, but somewhat insincere.
But Lilika smiled kindly as if she hadn’t noticed such signs.
If all the maids had turned away from her anyway, it was better to call someone who had a clear goal and was easy to handle.

“I called you because you seem to be the most fearless among the maids, Jera.”
“Ah… Am I?”
“Yeah. It’s been a while since I went to the knights’ training hall. Do you want to come with me? You don’t seem to dislike the knights… Of course, if you have work to do, some other maid…”
“I’m not scared, really not scared at all!”

It was the correct answer.
When she mentioned the knights, a joyful glow appeared in Jera’s eyes.

‘As expected, it’s easy.’

First, she was going to bring Jera firmly to her side.
If she moved like that, it would give the other maids a chance to come back to her side.
Jera had a position among the maids due to her unique sociability.
They were the ones who followed her well in the first place, so there was nothing difficult.

“Then, when I go to see the knights, is it alright if I always go with you, Jera? Of course, you don’t have to worry about what you were doing at that time.”
“Ah… Of course!”

Her tone of voice was also energetic now.
She wasn’t just going to see the knights, she was putting aside what she was doing, so of course it was something good.
Lilika smiled at the expected reaction.

“Are you going to the training hall as often as you used to go?”
“I think so.”

Lilika smiled refreshingly and walked along with Jera.

“Did something happen with the knights while I was in my room?”

And then she asked casually, very casually.
It was only two days, but if something had happened, she had to know.
But wasn’t Jera’s voice empowered by Lilika’s words?

“After… what was it? Yes, they were all noisy because of the after-sun cream! I heard from a passing servant…”
“After-sun cream? What’s that?”
“The cosmetics that Young Lady Yuria gave to the knights. I heard it’s very good for your skin?”

Lilika’s voice, which had been soft just now, subsided.

“… She gave something to the knights? Sister Yuria?”
“Yes. She was very worried about the knights that had gone to the South.”

And it was immediately confirmed that those words were true.
Lilika soon saw Yuria surrounded by knights.
It was a truly unsuitable sight.

Since when did Yuria become close with the knights?
Just two days ago, there was nothing but a cold atmosphere between them!

“Lilika, did you come to see the knights at the training hall?”

At that moment, Yuria looked at her.
Then, her gaze finally reached Jera, who was next to her.

“I’m sorry, Lilika, but I want to ask Jera for something. Do you mind if I take her away for a while?”

Lilika frowned.
She knew it was better to accept it, both because others were watching and because she wasn’t in a situation where she needed Jera in particular.
However, seeing Yuria among the knights, which could be said to be her domain, disturbed her.


But… even before Lilika could answer, Jera’s body tilted as she listened to Yuria’s words.
Then, after glancing at Lilika once, she closed her eyes tightly and ran to Yuria.

“Huh, Jera?”

She heard Lilika’s bewildered voice, but she didn’t look back.
And for someone like Jera, it was a tremendous abandonment.

‘It’s a shame that her opportunity to be close to the knights and to stand on the right side of things has disappeared!’

The Young Lady Lilika that Jera had known so far was a sweet and kind person.
On the other hand, Young Lady Yuria was difficult to deal with and scrawny, so no one wanted to serve her.
But that wasn’t the case anymore.
She didn’t know about anyone else, but Jera was the one who saw what happened that day before her eyes.

‘If I’m close with her, I might be interrogated for no reason, like what happened with the dress the last time. What about the maid who was kicked out of the castle because of the lead pot?’

Jera thought she was clever, which she considered to be an advantage.
But this time, she didn’t just make a rational decision.
What Lilika had said the other day was too much!

“That’s why you were abandoned by your fiancé.”

Of course, she and Yuria were not in the same position, but… Jera, who had also suffered the pain of separation, couldn’t take those words lightly.
She didn’t know about anyone else, but shouldn’t she know how Yuria felt?
So… she didn’t want to stand next to Lilika in front of Yuria.

“Thank you, Jera.”

Yuria smiled at Jera, who had come to her after leaving Lilika.
She could feel that Jera’s heart had completely turned to her.
She had guessed it last time, but confirming it herself this time made her feel good.
Moreover, seeing Jera behave like this, would it not affect the other maids?

“No, there…”

On the other hand, Lilika could not accept the current situation.
Didn’t she and Jera have a good atmosphere between them just now?
No matter how much she thought about it, she gave Jera everything she wanted, so why?

‘Did she just go to Yuria in front of me? Really?’

Until a few months ago, she had a very good relationship with Jera. Even though the incident with the dress happened, she arrogantly thought that she would be able to get close to her again in no time.
But did she just openly turn away from her?

Lilika gazed at the knights with an indignant heart. She hoped that they would do something for her in this situation.
When they went to the imperial palace together not long ago, did they not openly take care of her and show hostility towards Yuria?
It was a shock for Jera to act like this, but if so… she should make the loyalty of the knights stronger.

‘The knights have always been on my side…’

But before the knights could react, Yuria spoke first.

“Jera, thank you for coming. I’m going to research something for the knights, can you help me inquire them?”
“Yes, of course!”

The knights flinched visibly.

“Ah… something for us again?”
“It seems that you already used all the after-sun cream I gave last time… do you perhaps need it? I tried it, but the quality was poor.”
“N-not at all! You don’t know how well it worked!”

The work Yuria asked Jera to do was no big deal.
It was just a simple task of counting numbers, something that wasn’t difficult for Yuria to do on her own.
And the knights focused on Yuria, pretending not to rejoice when she mentioned the ‘after-sun cream’.

Lilika muttered to herself the words she had been hesitating to say as she looked at them.

“Excuse me… right now…”
“Ahem, then, is there anything we can do for you?”

The knights felt Lilika’s gaze on them, but inwardly rationalized their actions.

‘Well, we can go to Young Lady Lilika later.’
‘Young Lady Lilika is just coming to the training hall to hang around, but Young Lady Yuria is coming to work.’

Everything was the effect of after-sun cream.
Some of the knights raised their voices vigorously, deliberately looking at Yuria. As if they couldn’t see Lilika because they were busy.

“Haha, Young Lady Yuria. Where in the world did you get such an item?”
“Not even us, who went to the South and struggled every summer, knew about it!”

Lilika had no choice but to stand in place blankly and watch their amicable appearance.

‘What… is going on right now?’

Although the maid who came with her went to Yuria… she disregarded it. And she didn’t even hear her call.
Even if Jera’s behavior was a shock, it was something possible.
But it was unbelievable that the knights, not anyone else… were turning their backs on her.

“This makes no sense…”

No one in the training hall gave Lilika a look.
It was a strict alienation.
Only Yuria raised the corners of her lips as she gazed at Lilika.