Episode 35: One Step Forward (II)
“It’s been about two years since I’ve served the imperial princess by her side, and although I haven’t seen her much since, I’ve seen Your Excellency the Grand Duke several times from afar.”
The relationship between Eristella and Heinricion had already deteriorated.
Naturally, except for official events and unavoidable circumstances, exchanges between the two were almost cut off.
Thus it was rare for her maid to come in contact with Heinricion while serving Eristella.
Hence, the maid was prepared that he might not remember her.
However, Heinricion did not think long and recalled the maid.
Her face, which had been standing closest to Eristella for several years, dimly came to mind.
She was definitely a close maid of Eristella till she went missing.
“So why did you come”
Eristella’s maids had already returned to their respective families.
None of her maids remained in the Imperial Palace.
But suddenly, she came to Heinrichion using the title of the princess’s maid.
It was suspicious.
The maid boldly looked at Heinricion and said,
“I met Your Excellency at the last National Founding Day banquet.”
It was when one of Heinricion’s eyebrows went up.
“Is the princess here”
The maid looked for Eristella with confidence.
Even in front of Heinricion, Sonia did not flinch.
“Where is she”
“Why did you come to me to find the whereabouts of the princess who had never left a trace”
“Your Excellency the Grand Duke.
If I didn’t know anything, I wouldn’t have come this far.”
He was taken aback for a moment, but soon he could guess what she had heard that made her come to visit.
“There must have been a misunderstanding.
The princess is not here.”
I’m sure she is.”
Sonia did not back down.
Heinricion’s eyebrows twitched.
What the hell was it that made her so sure
“I have come expecting that there would be circumstances that do not allow the truth to be told.”
She calmly continued speaking.
“I don’t know what the exact situation is, but the fact that Her Highness can’t show up right now means that there must be some things that can’t be helped.”
“Then she will need someone.
A person who can act as her hands and feet.”
There was a glint in her eyes.
“I will never betray her.”
Sonia resolutely vowed.
“I will certainly be of some help to Her Highness the Princess.
Please let me work here.”
Sonia did not shrink at all, but rather, she boldly made a request.
Eristella almost couldn’t stop laughing.
Sonia’s situation was different from her other maids who worked in her palace.
They were all ladies from good families, and unlike the ones chosen by the imperial family, Sonia was a maid brought by Eristella herself.
Sonia was the only heir to a fallen aristocratic family who, unlike the other capital-based maids, lived her entire life in a rural area on the outskirts.
She had a clever brain, but she was held captive and forced into ridiculous duties by her family.
Eristella happened to visit her hometown and made a suggestion to Sonia, who wanted to escape at any cost, but could not get out of the swamp.
“I need someone to do whatever I want, so why don’t you become a maid and come with me”
At that time, Sonia followed Eristella without much thought.
It must have been a choice Sonia made simply because she wanted to leave.
Even during her time as Eristella’s maid, Sonia was far from devotedly following her.
Despite being Eristella’s closest maid, Sonia sometimes nagged, seemed annoyed, or appeared tired of going along with Eristella.
Eristella thought Sonia might have been living a free life without any regrets after she was gone.
She never expected that Sonia would be looking for her like this.
“How can I make you believe that I have come to see Her Highness the Princess”
“No matter how many times you say it, my answer is the same.
The princess is not here.”
Heinricion cut her off, declaring flatly.
It was when Sonia’s shoulders slumped down from his unwavering response.
Heinricion, who was checking the documents Rowen had given him a while ago, narrowed his eyes and added.
“But I can give you a chance.”
The grand duke raised the corners of his lips meaningfully as he said so.
That appearance was so sinister that Eristella looked at him anxiously.
‘What else is he up to’
“My name is Sonia, and from today onwards, I am the fox’s exclusive maid.”
Sonia smiled brightly and greeted the fox.
Yes, this was the opportunity Heinricion spoke of.
“I wish you all the best in the future.
I will do my best to meet your expectations.”
Besides, she was very proactive.
Was she originally like this
The woman Eristella knew was the opposite of how she acts now.
Originally, she was more… more blunt.
She wondered if it was someone else wearing a mask.
“I brought a cushion that the fox will like.
Please sit down.”
‘You just moved the cushion from there to here… uh what’s this’
As soon as Eristella touched the cushion, her whole body seemed to melt.
Upon closer inspection, it was her favorite material.
In the past, the moment she touched it, the soft feel gave her peace of mind, so she used it for both her blanket and pillows.
Sonia smirked as she saw the fox burying its face in the cushion and rejoicing.
“I thought you would like it too.”
Could she really trust Sonia
‘Let’s check first.’
There was nothing wrong with being careful.
Why was she so convinced that Princess Eristella stood by Heinricion’s side
By the way…
‘Isn’t being a maid her vocation’
At Sonia’s beckoning, Eristella went to heaven several times.
She knew all of Eristella’s tastes from the start.
At first, the fox was surprised, then amazed, and eventually melted gently.
Even when she was Princess Eristella, she was most comfortable with Sonia.
The lady didn’t talk much; Sonia always had a stoic face, but she was also the person who knew Eristella’s inner feelings best.
‘I think I’ve returned to those days.’
Gradually, the scene containing the two of them was the same as the old days when they were Princess Eristella and her maid.
Heinricion placed Sonia as the fox’s maid.
But it was not because he trusted her.
Rather, he was very suspicious of her.
His intentions were that if she was shady, he would allow her to show it off to her heart’s content.
He planted guards all over the mansion, and again, Sonia moved.
‘But since she was one of Eristella’s people, I hoped at least one of them would be a decent person.’
It was just the wind, because he couldn’t be dragged around by such hope.
Heinricion also secretly attached someone to Eristella, and captured the traces of her secret movements every night.
Eventually, Sonia was brought before Heinricion and Eristella.
‘What happened all of a sudden Did Sonia do something wrong’
Eristella quickly grasped what was going on.
Sonia was kneeling on the floor.
Heinricion and Rowen were glaring at her fiercely.
“Who gave you orders”
Heinricion’s gaze fell coldly.
“There is evidence of you stirring around the mansion.”
Several dubious activities of Sonia were discovered.
And, in particular, she had not yet said that she was interested in the fox.
It was a matter of consideration for Eristella next to him.
But Eristella had other thoughts than shock.
‘Even if Sonia is really a spy, there’s no way she would be this sloppy.’
Sonia was calm and meticulous.
She had a character that Eristella did not have, so she had assisted the princess multiple times in many ways.
How could her tail be trampled on so easily
It would be more accurate to think that Sonia didn’t mind being caught.
It was when Eristella turned her puzzled gaze to Sonia.
Heinricion hadn’t missed Sonia’s lie from a few days ago, and he quickly brought it up.
“You said you saw me on the National Founding Day.
But I certainly don’t remember seeing you.”
Heinricion slightly turned his eyes to Eristella to confirm.
The latter shook her head from side to side to signify that she had never seen Sonia.
“I didn’t get a formal invitation at that time, so I got help from a palace maid.”
From the moment Sonia was first dragged in, she responded with a calm attitude without wavering.
Eristella seemed to realize what was happening to her.
The people in the banquet hall would not notice nor remember if a maid was there.
That was why she was not seen in the crowd.
Sonia used that method to attend the banquet for a specific purpose.
And perhaps her purpose… It must have been Eristella.
Sonia continued to speak as if she had no intention of hiding.
AP: Eristella living it up, being treated by Sonia