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Chapter: 59


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Chapter 59

The hem of the dress’ skirt, which was spreading out moderately outward, fluttered smoothly no matter how many times I moved my body, and it would come back to place once I’ve gone still again.

I felt like a fish showing off my colorful tail inside a fishbowl.

From my shoulders, the puffy sleeves went all the way to my wrists, the dress giving a neat yet moderately bright appearance.

"But isn’t this too low?"

I looked at the full-body mirror and said this.

The neckline boldly went as far as to show a bit lower of my collarbone, nearing the cleavage. I try to lift the neckline to cover that part, but it would just slide back down.

It was a design that covered the entire body properly and modestly, except for the chest area that was emphasized, so I felt exposed for no reason.

"What are you talking about, Milady? This is normal. If you wear a ball gown, you’d look even more stunning, and the back and chest are mostly emphasized.

Rona spoke from behind me and adjusted the dress once more around my shoulders, pulling it down.

"W-What are you doing?"

"Thiiiis much—this much needs to come down when wearing a ball gown."

Rona spoke with a serious face, and I could only look at the fair skin that was exposed as she dragged the dress down.

"…That much?"

It’s a ball, you know. A ball. I worked to pay off my family’s debts this whole time, so even if I was born a noble, I had no reason to attend such events.

"Have you never gone to a ball, Milady?"

"Yeah, ah… No, uh, I’ve been to one. Of course."

As I laughed awkwardly, Rona looked at me oddly.

"I’ve attended one, of course. Of course I have."

I went to a nobleman’s colorful ball once… hired as a cleaner for the banquet hall.

I didn’t want to elaborate on the experience, so I hurriedly changed the topic.

"You know, Paula’s skills are really no joke."

For the first time here, I realized how comfortable it felt to wear clothes that fit my body perfectly. I never knew because I’d only been wearing big or small, short or long clothes.

These clothes that were tailored to fit my body were all so comfortable no matter how much I walked or moved. It made me want to go somewhere just so I could move more.

"By the way, this is a gift from Madam Paula herself."

Rona handed over a box that was the size of her forearm, and it was wrapped in translucent paper.

"A gift?"

I took the box and looked at it in confusion.

"Open it, Milady, hurry."

My face no doubt betrayed my curiosity, so I hurriedly untied the ribbon that was wrapped around the box, then I opened the lid.

"Oh my goodness."

I couldn’t stop the words slipping out of my lips, which smiled on their own as well.

Inside the box was the doll I played with and dressed up with many different garments.

On top of the doll was a card with a neat script written on it.

「 This is a thank you for buying the clothes I’ve created. The doll resembles the Duchess a lot because of her eyes and hair, don’t you think? I would very much appreciate it if you could cherish her. 」

Paula had sent a doll that had green glass eyes and smooth brown hair.

The dress that it was wearing was a bright rose pink silk dress that wasn’t in the list of dresses that I ordered.

"Madam Paula has really good people skills, doesn’t she?"

Rona jumped lightly on her feet.

"She’s so good at making regulars."

I nodded in agreement.

Since it’s a boutique where Camilla’s a regular, Paula was being quite sincere, even though to be honest, there’s no benefit in getting chummy with a daughter-in-law like me.

Anyway, it wasn’t a bad experience from the standpoint of the one on the receiving end of her favor.

"This dress is really pretty."

The delicately sewn dress that the doll was wearing actually looked like a real carefully crafted dress, just scaled down. Its sophistication was obvious.

"It’s nice to wear a dress like this even if it’s a doll. Don’t you think it’s pretty?"

"You’re right, Milady."

I smiled and hugged the doll.

"Since Milady is wearing such pretty clothes, don’t you think you should go visit Milord?"

"…Amoide?"

I paused for a moment. When was the last time I had a proper conversation with him, let alone eye contact?

There was something I needed to tell him, but it wasn’t something I could bring up lightly, so I’ve been avoiding him so far.

"Earlier, His Grace was out in the garden. Please go ahead and show him."

Rona pushed me forward gently, urging me to go quickly. I hesitated, then replied.

"Alright."

Shhk, shhk.

The sound of the dress grazing across the bushes of the garden entered my ears.

I walked through the bushes enjoying the sound and basking in the sun.

In this season filled with the color green, the lord of this mansion stood in the middle of the garden, flowers blooming right by him as the green leaves accentuated the roses. It was like a painting come to life.

I had worn thicker outerwear over the dress when I went out, but as I stood silently, my eyes somehow stung a bit.

‘Is it because the sunlight is strong?’

Feeling like I was about to shed tears because of this, I hurriedly rubbed my eyes.

"Amoide."

Then I called out to him without hesitation. At first, his shoulders seemed to have flinched slightly, but after a while, he turned his head and looked at me.

It was the same cold, unfeeling gaze.

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I walked towards him, maintaining eye contact.

"Are you feeling better?"

Raymond said he had recovered.

His face was still as pale as a ceramic doll’s, but his complexion today was still better compared to when he collapsed.

Until I got closer to him and stood by him, Amoide continued to be motionless.

I thought he’d take a step back or make a sour expression, so this was unexpected. It made me feel a bit more courageous.

"The sunlight is nice. And it’s windy, too."

At that moment, a gentle gust of wind blew by and ruffled my hair.

I was busy trying to remove the hair that went over my eyes, but then he reached out to me.

"……"

He slowly removed the few strands of hair that covered my face, then he retracted his hand.

"…Thank you."

I was dazed for a moment, but then I came to my senses when I realized he was staring at me.

"By the way."

His gaze went down and settled on what was in my arms.

"You’re not a child. Why are you carrying such a thing?"

"Paula gifted it to me. Isn’t it pretty?"

I raised the doll and showed it to him.

"It’s a doll modeled after me."

"No way."

He replied in a dry voice.

"Much prettier."

"……"

"I’m talking about the doll."

"Of course."

I smiled quickly, momentarily scared that he might have eaten something rotten.

‘Huh…?’

Was it a trick of the light? It seemed like he smiled for a split second. Well, anyway, that’s not why I’m here.

"I have something to tell you."

As I mentioned this, he looked at me.

I took a deep breath several times, gathering my courage, then spoke.

"Even if you don’t like me, will it be possible for you to trust me?"

"……"

"I really do want you to live."

At that moment, a shadow fell over his expression.

"If you cooperate with me just a bit more, you won’t have to put up with me any longer. I’ll do whatever you want me to."

At my suggestion, he stared at me without saying anything.

This wasn’t the reaction I expected. I was a little flustered as I looked up at him.

‘What’s up with him?’

I didn’t know what it was. I thought he’d get mad at me right away and tell me to get lost, or accuse me of what trick I’m trying to pull this time.

As I observed his unreadable face, neither of us said a word, but I was feeling restless inwardly.

I didn’t know how much time passed with us like that.

The sound of the wind singing through the blades of grass, the birds flying by overhead as they chirped.

Small and countless sounds passed through us, but there was no answer from him.

Ah, I can’t do this. I decided to break the silence.

"You’re not going to tell me to get lost today?"

I laughed jokingly, but of course, he didn’t laugh along. I quickly got rid of the smile on my face.

Just what am I supposed to do here? Didn’t I just say I don’t want him to die? If the other person isn’t saying anything after hearing this, it’s kind of…

‘No way.’

A sudden thought occurred to me. I could guess why Amoide was acting this way.

The man I’ve tried to memorize like the back of my hand was now contemplating hard, so I feel like I know what he was thinking.

Maybe he’s thinking that he’ll owe me a debt.

Even though he was sick and out of commission right now, Amoide was a proud noble who was the head of a household that’s close to the Imperial family, and he was the commander of the first chivalric order of the Empire.

Wouldn’t he loathe to cooperate with a woman who he thinks was just trying to sire his child? But then—

He was holding my hand again.

Unlike last time, I didn’t feel any bone-crushing pain that kept me up all night while cradling it gingerly.

Not to mention how taxing it was for my body to endure that.

‘I didn’t do anything wrong.’

If he had discovered the truth to my hand a little earlier, wouldn’t it have been more trouble? Come to think of it, his fever suddenly rose back then.

"Are you so against the idea of receiving any help from me?"

As soon as I opened my lips, I was ready to argue.

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But then he broke his silence by saying this:

"…What are you talking about?"

"Huh?"

Dazed by his response, I forgot what I was supposed to say.

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