Margaret was very envious of Queen Rosemary. Unlike her, whose father only had a tiny garden, the Queen was born from a high class noble in the capital and was engaged to the crown prince, who loved her dearly. What kind of luck did she have?
She was more jealous because they were almost the same age. Margaret kept glancing towards the queen, fiddling with her hands. A noble lady seated beside her didn’t bother hiding her displeasure as she clicked her tongue at Margaret’s graceless attitude. "How classless," she muttered. It sounded as though she was talking to herself but it was obvious whom her words were directed to. Margaret blushed. The ladies started complaining.
"Why are you acting like a rat?"
"Let’s stop. She’s from the country so she might not have had the time to learn capital formality."
"Oh my, Viscountess, you’re so kind. I should learn that but from a young age, I had a weak stomach so I lose appetite when I see something dirty."
They whispered in case Elena might hear, but they made sure they talked loud enough for Margaret to hear their foul conversations. Margaret clenched on the handle of the knife until her knuckles turned white and hurt. Wait until I get on Queen and Sethang’s good side. People like you, people like you….!
At that moment, something miraculous happened.
"The Queen is calling you," a maid approached and spoke to her very politely.
At first, Margaret didn’t know who she was talking to, and then pointed at herself out of surprise.
"M, m, me?!"
Her voice was so loud that it echoed in the restaurant.
Every noble lady looked at Margaret simultaneously. Some of them closed their ears like they were surprised at such a loud noise and some of them frowned.
But Margaret didn’t blush this time. The Queen called her. That was not something to be embarrassed about. She raised her head confidently and stood up. As she was standing up, she hit the lady that called her classless with her elbow. She felt better when the lady yelled. The Queen called her!
Margaret slowly walked. She wanted to show herself to the Queen. Who other than her was summoned personally by the queen? It was just her. She walked with slow elegant steps, redeeming herself before the noble ladies.
As she arrived in front of the Queen, she bowed politely, "Your Majesty, she is Margaret En Surah. She was in charge of supervising the laundry at the treating centre and she worked until her hands became ruined."
Duchess Sethang grabbed Margaret’s hands at her words. Margaret quickly showed her hand. She should’ve ruined them more. She had regrets. If I knew this was happening, I should’ve ruined my hands more!
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"She should be complimented by you, Your Majesty," Elena said.
Iris looked at Margaret’s hands. Her hands were a little dry but that was that. Her palms were still soft as if they’ve never worked a day in her life, which explains she couldn’t handle such a measly task. Iris remembered when she was doing Margaret’s laundry all the while being hit by her. Was it miserable? No, at that time, she knew nothing. She only realized the misery she had been forced to feel and experience when her savior, Elaine, adopted her.
"Is that so?"
Do I have to compliment Margaret? Iris asked herself. Do I really have to? If she didn’t have to, she didn’t want to. She didn’t want to compliment her and didn’t want to fix Margaret’s hands. She didn’t want to use her magic on her body. She didn’t want to move a finger.
Elena bowed deeply, looking a little troubled, "No, Her Majesty. I shouldn’t have said anything."
Of course, Elena wasn’t troubled one bit. She didn’t think the Queen should complement a wretch like Margaret from the beginning. She thought that the soft-hearted Queen might heal her worn out hands and compliment her, but she didn’t mind whether she did or not. Her plan was only starting anyway.
Marchioness Lasian could be seen looking over from across interestingly. She spent a long time with Elena in the palace social. She knew better than anyone that Elena wouldn’t act like a mother to such a despicable woman who came from the country. What was going on? She was very curious. Elena normally wouldn’t even look at her kind. Kinds who didn’t know their place. She didn’t even look down on them. It was Elena’s point to not even give them contempt.
Iris would normally abide with Elena’s suggestions, but to Margaret, she didn’t want to. Even if they felt discomfort, Iris looked away. Her eyes crossed with Marchioness Lasian.
Marchioness Lasian took it as an opportunity to say, "Your Majesty, I brought a musician so would you care to listen?"
"A musician?" Iris arched her eyebrow.
"Yes, he plays the lute and he is very good."
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Marchioness Lasian clapped her hands like nothing happened, and the maids brought in the musician.
And it was like nothing actually happened. The musician started playing the lute. With romantic music, the atmosphere was alive and joyous again. Like nothing happened, and like Margaret En Surah didn’t exist from the beginning.
Everything became tranquil for everyone, except for one person.
Elena didn’t look at Margaret on purpose. She only glimpsed at Margaret through the reflection on the glass. Margaret was stifling her shame and anger, but her trembling hands betrayed her.
She’s too easy, Elena shook her head.