“It’s okay. From now on, you’ll be able to wear the clothes you want.”
“Please select some of them. They’re all for you, my Lady.”
The maids misunderstood the reason for my sadness and comforted me.
Their sympathetic gazes were affectionate.
“Yes, Young Lady. If you like any of these dresses, let us know. We have a catalogue too, just ask.”
Designer De Bichon said.
The assistants were waiting for me in a big room with a large number of dresses on display.
They were all beautiful. They had grotesquely inflated ruffles and lots of lace.
“I might look cute in these clothes, but it would be difficult to move.”
“Oh no, the measuring tape has snapped. What should we do?”
One of the assistants said, not knowing what to do.
The maids reassured them not to worry.
“It’s in the mansion, I’ll go get one.”
“Oh, thank you. I’m sorry, but could we have a few more cups of tea? We’ve already finished what you’ve given us. And also…”
The designer’s requests started becoming lengthy.
Even Sherry, who was looking after me, had to go away for a while.
I was a little frightened when the familiar maids left and I was in a room with strangers.
“Miss, do you have anything you’d like, how about this one?”
The assistant said, holding up a frilly dress. Her tone was pushy.
I shook my head, and this time the other assistant held up a similar outfit.
“That one’s not very…….”
“Haah. What about this one?”
Her tone was strangely jerky.
Their attitude was different from when I was with the maids.
I shook my head, puzzled.
Then the assistants let out a loud sigh.
“You’re so young, and yet so picky?”
“She’s only seven.”
“What? I thought she was five. She’s so small.”
“Regardless of age, she’s just a foolish idiot who can’t understand what we say.”
The assistants giggled at designer De Bichon’s words.
It was an atmosphere that made people feel uncomfortable.
I was scared and stepped back, and De Bichon looked at me with a scornful expression.
“Don’t you like any of these clothes? If you don’t, just tell him to buy them all. Surely the Crown Prince can’t even do that much for his daughter.”
Now it seemed like he was trying to extort a bunch of money from Hart.
I couldn’t do that. I shook my head.
“No. All these dresses make me uncomfortable.”
“What? You’re lowly-bred so you don’t have the eyes to see, tsk.”
My mouth dropped open in disbelief.
‘Just because there aren’t any adults around, and you’re showing your true colors in front of a child?’
“Never mind, I’ll just whip something up and make her buy everything.”
“Go over there and look at the dresses.”
One of the assistants pushed my back to where the clothes were displayed. Then they sat down on the couch and started talking among themselves.
“What if she tells His Highness the whole story?”
“There’s no way she would, she can barely speak.”
“She’s an illegitimate child who doesn’t even know who her mother is anyway. There’s a difference between a child who’s been raised as a noble and a bastard like that. They can’t say anything considering their position.”
“Let’s coax her and make them buy in bulk, like we did with the Duke of Eisen’s illegitimate son.”
Are you deliberately suggesting I’m an illegitimate child?
And by Duke Eisen’s illegitimate son, they meant Brantley.
‘They did the same thing to him!’
Sending all the maids away must have been a strategy.
‘I want to get out. I don’t like it here.’
I sneaked to the door under their watchful eyes.
I lifted my heel and grabbed the doorknob.
Someone opened the door and entered.
At the same time, the laughter of De Bichon and his assistants broke out loudly.
So much so that they did not realize who had entered the room.
“The illegitimate child of His Highness Prince, isn’t that exactly like him? He’s so lascivious.”
“The other day, a man died in the brothel, and they say Prince Hart was there.”
“Didn’t he kill him? I’ve always heard he’s after a holy relic. Now he’s even stealing and committing murders.”
“He was not like that before. He’s possessed by an evil spirit, I heard that he’s even been cursed.”
“He’s just a natural born monster. He should have had one or two bad deeds under his belt. He’s a disgrace to the Empire.”
I looked up at the man in front of me, with despair in my eyes.
Amidst the verbal abuse pouring towards him, Hart bent his body and smirked bitterly.
“What else did they say? Did they bully you….?”
“Dad, don’t listen!”
I quickly covered both of Hart’s ears. But my hands were too small to cover all of it.
‘Oh no! What if Hart hears everything!’
Hart looked at me with a puzzled expression.
In the original story, Hart was the most hated man in the empire.
The Emperor, a man without blood or tears, had abandoned his son, as a hostage, to win a battle against his enemies.
Hart was used by Asta, the woman he believed to be his saviour.
He was falsely accused of many things that were done by Asta.
It was Asta, not Hart, who stole the holy relics from the temple and killed the man in the brothel.
But the blame always fell on Hart.
He was always alone, always lonely.
He pretends he’s fine, but he’s not. And when you’re abandoned by people you trust, and people you don’t even know criticize you, you can’t help but feel hurt.
Tears streamed down my face as I felt sorry for Hart, who was being judged right in front of me.
It was even more heartbreaking than reading the original.
Hart grabbed my hands that were cupped around his ears and pulled them down.
I shook my head, trying not to listen, but he didn’t care.
He scooped me up in his arms and stormed into the room.
After all the excitement, the designer De Bichon suddenly felt a chill.
It was the same for his assistants.
Their mouths dropped open as they instinctively sensed danger.
“Oh, come to think of it, where did she go again?”
One of the assistants exclaimed, as if their anxiety had been answered.
Relieved, they resumed their chatter.
“Maybe because she grew up on the streets and can’t stay in one place.”
“Soon the maids will be back. Let’s scold them and make sure they don’t talk nonsense.”
Designer De Bichon rose from his seat.
He stood as still as stone.
“Monsieur De Bichon, what is the matter with…..?”
The assistants turned to where De Bichon’s gaze was directed, puzzled.
There was a man who shouldn’t be there.
Hart von Reinhardt.
The First Prince of the Empire stood with his child in arms.
“I see you were having a pleasant chat.”
A handsome man with brilliant blond hair said coldly.
The designer and assistants faces turned pale in the frosty sight.
“Y-Your Imperial Highness, I, we are…..”
“My daughter is here with me, so don’t worry and go on. Let us listen.”
Hart smiled crookedly. It was a beautiful, cold smile that raised goosebumps.
The terrified assistant slumped down on the sofa.
‘Why on earth would the prince be here……!’
De Bichon felt his mind turn white.
‘A maid or an eavesdropper could be handled but it’s the Prince himself!’
This had never happened before.
A noble could easily take in a publicly exposed bastard child, using money generously.
But it was only material support.
No one really cared about how the child was treated.
But Hart came to see the child himself.
‘He couldn’t have come because he had any affection for the child?’
De Bichon tried to regain his composure trying to reassure himself.
‘He suddenly acknowledged the illegitimate child and is pretending to cherish the child to change his deteriorating reputation. What nobleman would really care for their own illegitimate child?’
If Hart only heard someone insulting the child, he could somehow fix it.
But if he heard someone criticize Hart himself, it would be a headache.
‘But who am I?’
Am I not De Bichon, the man who is used to roasting aristocrats?
De Bichon flashed a wry smile.
“My lady, is very lively, for she were brought up in the streets. It would be hard for a man as noble as Your Highness to be responsible for a child like her, but he mercifully…….”
“I told you I would listen to you idiots talk among yourselves, but when did I tell you to talk to me?”
Hart said in a low voice. As if spitting out every word.
Each word he uttered was laced with anger and intimidation colder than ice.
De Bichon and the designers felt their breath catch in their throats.
“Why do you think you are here?”
Hart’s piercing gaze fell on De Bichon.
De Bichon’s body trembled like an aspen tree.
“T-To have clothes fitted for My Lady……”
“Wrong. You are here as a tool to make my blood shine.”
Hart smirked at the dresses on display.
“It’s not because I believed in your pathetic taste. I just needed your expertise to make my bloodline dazzle in front of the Emperor.”
The Emperor’s approval?
De Bichon and his assistants thought their hearts would burst.
The child in Hart’s arms was equally astonished.
‘You’re going to introduce me to the Emperor?’
The child’s eyes widened and he looked up at her father.
This had never happened before.
The illegitimate son of the Duke of Eisen had been presented to the Emperor. But in that case, the Duke was childless and had chosen an illegitimate son as his heir.
Ostensibly, the child was not illegitimate.
But Hart wasn’t married yet, so he didn’t have to treat the child as such.
“I didn’t expect an accessory to be so presumptuous. What kind of backbone do you have to disgrace the royal family?”
“D-Disgracing the royal family! W-We’ve done wrong, please have mercy!”
De Bichon and his assistants pleaded as they cowered on the ground.
De Bichon, a designer who had shamelessly defrauded and lied to even the highest nobility.
Now he realized that the only way out was to beg.
As he watched them beg, Hart’s face showed no sign of sympathy.
On the contrary, his mouth twisted into a grim line of disapproval.
- I’m actually laughing at author-nim’s wise choice of names. She named the Designer De Bichon (비숑). I think she’s mildly hinting to the dog breed Bichon Frisé.