* * *
Belinda is the kingdom’s most famous spoilt brat and socialite.
A celebrity like that is always good fodder for the press.
Thanks to her, it doesn’t take much more than a quick glance at a third-rate gossip magazine to find out the details of what she did on any given day of the month.
She loves to be extravagant, and her specialty is attending parties, drinking heavily, and causing a ruckus.
She’s a natural-born aristocrat who doesn’t treat commoners as people, and she has a wonderfully flawed personality.
The fact that she was able to spread her arms proudly like this was all thanks to the Marquis’ love for her.
The Marquis’s affection was so great that he favored his niece, Belinda, over his own son.
Yes, a niece.
The Marquis, it turns out, was Belinda’s uncle, who had adopted her as a child after her parents died in a carriage accident and raised her as his own daughter.
‘So Belinda lost her family at a young age, just like me.’
It was the only thing in common between Belinda and me, two unlikely people, two sides of the same coin.
Unlike her, I didn’t get along too well with my aunt’s family who took me in.
As Belinda, I tried to imagine how I would treat my uncle and what he would be like.
The three maids glued to me politely stepped aside and bowed.
My gaze went straight to the mirror opposite.
‘Wow, this is what I’m going to look like from now on.’
In the mirror was a reflection of such beauty that it could literally dazzle a blind man.
I thought she was already beautiful in her natural state, like a diamond, but with the right make-up, she sparkled like a handful of sunlight on a gemstone, creating an ecstatic light reflection.
I forgot the gravity of the situation and was momentarily overwhelmed by how elegantly I looked in my simple, gloomy black dress.
I felt like a villain, but if I was going to be possessing someone, I might as well be beautiful.
‘But still, this isn’t it.’
She’s fierce enough to intimidate her opponents, but dressed in a black dress, she exudes an aura of a leopard on the hunt.
I was about to have dinner with Belinda’s family.
I wanted to make the best possible impression on them.
“Get me another dress.
It should be as bright as possible.”
As I spoke, the young maids stiffened and looked at each other.
What’s wrong with them?
‘Belinda’s taste will never be for dreary dresses like this.’
At my nervous glance, the maids scrambled to their feet.
“Well, we’ll have it ready in a moment.”
Despite their nervous reactions, the new red velvet dress suited me very well.
I know my uncle cares for Belinda, but I still don’t know her place in this house.
That’s why this dinner was so important.
I need to get a feel for the house and find out more about Belinda’s family connections.
I rolled the awkward word around in my mouth and stood up.
Even though evil words smelted in hell come out whenever I open my mouth, my social life has been a mess for several years.
There are ways to win someone’s favor without saying a word.
I left the room armed with a beaming smile that took full advantage of Belinda’s good looks.
* * *
As I walked down the quiet corridor, I had a very familiar feeling.
‘It’s the same atmosphere as when I was at my aunt’s.’
The employees in the corridor clamped their mouths shut and lowered their heads as soon as they spotted me.
Initially, I assumed they were scared of me, but soon realized they were being disrespectful.
This was blatant disrespect.
Soon I was led by a servant into the dining hall.
There was a huge chandelier that I had only seen in medieval films, a long banqueting table, and a gentle-looking man.
A very good-looking man, with red hair darker than Belinda’s.
Intuitively, I recognized that he was Sybel Blanche, the son of her uncle and Belinda’s brother.
I hid my nervousness and sat down in the chair the servant had pulled out for me.
A younger sister who tarnishes the family’s name.
My uncle blatantly favors me and doesn’t even discipline me.
‘He probably doesn’t have good feelings for me.’
My mouth was dry from the tension.
Finally, Sybel’s jet-black eyes turned to me.
Clothes? Clothes that could be tripped over?
The wrong color? Or too extravagant?
“It suits you very, very well, Belle.”
My eyes widened at the unexpected title.
‘Did you just call me Belle?’
It’s one thing to call me by a nickname, another to compliment my outfit.
Maybe the relationship isn’t as bad as I thought?
Although Belinda’s personality was said to be a bad one, it seemed unlikely that she would lash out at her brother, who seemed so close to her.
I smiled reassuringly and opened my mouth.
“You little rascal.
When did I give you permission to call me by my first name?”
What the hell, Belinda, she doesn’t even know how to say thank you?
But I appeared to be the only one baffled by this context-free outburst.
Neither Sybel, who’d just been lambasted by me, nor the employees lined up on the other side of the room looked the least bit surprised.
A similar situation ensued.
Sybel didn’t give up and started talking to me, and I tried my best to answer as best I could, with a glimmer of hope that the translator had only gone awry for a moment.
But no matter what I said, my words through the Belinda translator were overly simple and clear.
“Shut up, Sybel.”
Later, when I sighed, “shut up” came out, so I just stuffed food into my mouth without saying a word.
Belinda seemed to hate this gentle but somewhat clueless man almost to a fault.
Come quickly and do something about this atmosphere.’
With a mouthful of steak in my mouth, I gazed wistfully at the empty seat at the head of the table.
Just then, a topic that could not be ignored came to Sybel’s lips.
“By the way, I hear you left your dedicated maid in a bloody mess this morning.”
I swallowed the piece of meat that threatened to catch in my throat with water.
Making a maid covered in blood is a frightening sound for anyone to hear.
With a stern expression on his face, Sybel continued as if admonishing.
“I know you have bad manners, but you grabbed the maid by the hair and knocked her to the floor.
You’ve gone too far.”
…… Huh? Who did what?
“Your dedicated maid quit her job after that, and I haven’t found a suitable replacement yet.
There is an orphan who was brought here to alleviate the poor……”
“Who says I smashed that maid’s head on the floor?”
There was a huge difference between the maid who misunderstood my words and voluntarily hit her forehead, and I beating her to a pulp.
I hastily opened my mouth.
“It’s not like that, the maid misunderstood my words…….”
My excuse was drowned out by the sound of Sybel pulling his chair back.
“Belle, my sister.
What are you so upset about?”
He was walking towards me in a black suit, and strangely, the hair on my arms and legs stood on end, giving me goosebumps.
It felt more like an emotion of Belinda’s rather than mine.
I tightened my grip on the knife, feeling strangely uncomfortable.
“I gladly laughed off your attitude of not even wearing mourning clothes today.”
Stepping closer, Sybel leaned over the table and grabbed my knife-holding wrist.
“Belle, it’s only been a day since our father’s funeral.
What more can I do for you?”
Just now…… whose funeral?
Sybel bent his upper body toward me, who was stiff at the shocking news.
I was the only one who could see his face because he had turned his back to the employees.
With a wicked grin on his face, he whispered sweetly.
In a voice so low that only I could hear it.
“It’s too petty to give up like this because your father died, Belinda.
You have to be a little more aggressive.”
For a moment, I felt disgust and fear, like a bug crawling over my skin.
I shook off Sybell’s hand and rose from my seat.
As I stood up so that the chair tipped backwards, my wine glass was overturned and the knife in my hand tumbled on the floor.
“Come on, hurry up and stop the bleeding!”
The employees watching from behind screamed.
In their eyes, it appeared that I had attacked Sybel with the knife.
I tried to explain that it was a misunderstanding, but Sybel groaned as he clutched his left wrist.
As if he’d been cut by the knife I’d swung.
It was such a masterful performance that for a moment even I wondered if it was blood, not wine, that had soaked his shirt sleeve.
“Master, show me the wound.
I can apply a pressure tourniquet…….”
“I’m fine, the wound isn’t deep, it was just an accident.
Besides that, Belle’s meal isn’t finished yet, so please stay where you are.
I’d like to be alone for a while, so please don’t let anyone into my office for a while.”
Sybel, who had pretended to be concerned about me until the very end, smiled bitterly as he left the dining hall.
“She is completely insane, brandishing a knife at the Marquis.”
“How much the Marquis cared for the young lady, and look at that gorgeous dress, not to mention her attire.”
“Somehow, they said that the newcomer who became the lady’s exclusive maid was nowhere to be seen.
Something like that……Not even pitiful.”
I glanced over at the maids, who were murmuring off to one side.
They looked horrified, clammed up like clams, and scurried out of the dining hall.
I was left alone in the hall, and my lame excuses fell flat.
“No…… I wasn’t aware the Marquis had passed in the first place.”
The back of my head tingled from the blow.
The reason the maids dressed me in a black dress was because I was in mourning.
And it was for the funeral of the Marquis, the only person who ever cared about me.
On top of that, the family mate I thought I was getting along with is a psychopath who enjoys screwing me over.
I also have an infernal banner hanging from my muzzle.
To sum up this situation in a nutshell…….
“I thought it was gold cutlery, but it was plated cutlery.”
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