Chapter 28 (Ah, it was that door again)
Tuk.The scarf in the hand of the Duchess of Blanche fell to the ground.
As Lariette remembered, it was the Duchess’ favorite scarf. It’s too precious to drop it just because she was surprised by the encounter with me.
The Duchess of Blanche, in disbelief, once again called Lariette’s name. Madame Charbet glanced at them, then bowed her head and stepped back.
“… It’s been a while, Mother.”
Lariette swallowed dry saliva and struggled to open her mouth. When I spit out the word mother, I felt a tingling pain in my throat.
“Oh my God, Lariette! Why are you here…! Lariette, where the hell have you been!”
The Duchess of Blanche walked swiftly on the hem of her dress and grabbed Lariette’s body. Her voice was trembling.
“Mother was so worried about you…!”
Thick tears flowed down her curved cheeks.
The Duchess grabbed Lariette’s arm with her slender hand. After being well cared for, Lariette’s body stiffened as her soft hand touched her skin.
Soon the Duchess opened her arms and tried to hug her. A faint scent pierced his nostrils.
Lariette firmly pushed the Duchess’s arm away. So that she can’t hug her.
“A mother who cares so much about her daughter came to the boutique after a massage with high-quality perfume.”
“This is something I have no choice but to do as a Duchess…”
“I’ve never seen a single advertisement looking for a missing noblewoman, Mother.”
Lariette replied with a smirk.
Every time she came out of town, she looked to see if anyone was looking for her, but she never met her poster. Even rumors that Lariette had disappeared were barely circulating.
It was obvious. She was afraid of losing the prestige of the Duke, so he would have kept the rumors as little as possible.
This meant that worrying about Lariette was never a priority for Duke Blanche. indeed as ever.
“… There was nothing I could do. Don’t you know that?.”
The Duchess bowed her head and muttered softly. It was a powerless conversation. As she spit in front of the Duke of Blanche.
An aristocratic woman dares not oppose her husband. This is the truth, and so was the situation of other noble families.
The real power was the Duke, not the Duchess, so she had to obey her husband’s will.
But really? Was there really nothing that could be done?
Lariette thought it wasn’t the real reason.
At least, you could have given me a little more attention. You should have given me a warm greeting once.
“Don’t make excuses. There must be more you could do.”
Lariette replied sharply as if stinging. My body was full of strength but my stomach was churning. It felt like my head was spinning.
The actions my mother had done to me shook my head as her sharp voice continued to play. I thought I had already made up my mind, but when I met my mother, my heart trembled.
“… I’m sorry, Lariette.”
And the moment she faced the unexpected apology, Lariette felt as if her body was going down to the ground. Her head was empty and her chest shook like a ship in a storm.
‘I can’t stand it any longer.’
Ugh. Lariette covered her mouth at the rising nausea. The smell of the high-quality perfume my mother used kept making me dizzy. It used to be fragrant, but now it’s not.
In the end, she chose to run away. Because if I stayed longer, I would be drunk with my mother’s kindness that I had been experiencing for a long time and act pathetic.
A desperate voice pierced the back of the head of Lariette, who was running away. But she did not stop and moved her feet in haste.
I left the building and ran without knowing where I was going. My breathing was irregular and rough, and my breath reached the tip of my throat.
I thought I was going to cry, but I didn’t cry. I was used to holding back tears.
And someone grabbed her in a state of a lot of thorns.
The body turned around in the large hand that grabbed her shoulder, and soon a familiar figure was caught in her sight.
Tall enough to have to look up for a while, a high nose bridge, and sharply torn eyes.
Lariette stared blankly at the two seas in that handsome face. Her heartbeat, which had been pounding like waves in a storm, began to calm when she saw him.
Asrazan looked down at her blank face and furrowed his eyebrows. His eyes darkened again.
“Who is it?”
Asrazan carefully reached out and rubbed the corners of Lariette’s eyes. And asked in a lower voice.
“Who made you cry?”
There was no water around her eyes, but he was sure she was crying. That determination melted her frozen body.
At that moment, the tension disappeared and Lariette smiled softly. Then she slipped into his arms. It was a hard body, but it was the most comfortable for her.
“I didn’t cry.”
“I just came out because I missed Asrazan so much.”
Asrazan hugged Lariette’s body tightly without answering. He couldn’t ask more if she didn’t want him to speak.
“Home, let’s go. Let’s just go today.”
Lariette buried her face in his chest and muttered. Although I mentioned ‘home’, I felt skeptical, so my voice was particularly low.
Do I have a house Lariette asked in her mind. Neither the residence of the Duke of Blanche nor the residence of the Duke of Kandel dared to call it a home.
I suddenly felt fortunate that I was the kind of person who would disappear after a few months.
* * *
Something must have happened to Lariette during his brief absence.
Even today, looking at Lariette blankly staring at a distant place, Asrazan thought so.
He ordered Gerard to find out what the hell was going on, but it was delayed because it was happening inside the boutique.
“Lariette, how about a hug today?”
“Oh, right. Let’s do it now…”
Just looking at this reaction. It was something Lariette wouldn’t forget. Even a few days ago, she was only looking for a chance to reach him!
Asrazan hugged her roughly with a blank expression on her face, he felt something uncomfortable.
Originally, she hugged him much tighter than this. An embarrassing thought kept coming out of his mouth.
Asrazan looked at Lariette with a dead expression on her face. The purple eyes, which had always been clear, were out of focus. He looked worried.
In my mind, I wanted to stay home all day and look after her, but it was a meeting day. It was a meeting that I had to attend because it was about the signs of war.
“… I will be back as soon as possible. Please be careful.”
“Yes, have a safe trip.”
Lariette smiled clumsily and saw him off. Asrazan kept looking back and left the mansion only after Halstein urged him.
After he left, Lariette returned to her room and passed the time blankly. Her mind was cluttered and she couldn’t get her hands on anything.
Since she was judged to have limited time, she vowed not to waste her time meaninglessly, but the sudden depression had nothing to do with it.
Sitting still on the bed, she came to her senses for a moment when a loud knock rang the door.
“Lariette, can I come in for a moment?”
“Oh, Halstein, sure. Come on in.”
Lariette hurriedly got up from the bed and brushed off the crumpled hem of her dress. Soon the door opened and Halstein entered cautiously.
“I have come to deliver the letter.”
“Letter? to me?”
Lariette tilted her head and looked at the envelope in Halstein’s hand. It was the first envelope I had ever seen.
“Yes. It’s from Artiz. I think it was sent by Madame Charbet.”
Halstein laughed, asking if she had become close enough to send and receive letters to the elders of the social circle. However, unlike usual who accepted jokes, Lariette’s face was only hard.
Halstein, who had been watching for a while, left, and Lariette stared at the envelope as if it were an enemy. Then, with hesitating hands, she cut the envelope and pulled out the letter inside.
The first thing she found was a small piece of paper that could be called a note. Above it was written in elegant handwriting, Madame Charbet’s name and a brief description.
<Dear Lariette, I am only sorry to send you this as a first letter. I’m sending it this time because she’s in mourning, but I promise that this will never happen again. -Zenvir Charbet>
Lariette bit her lip and placed the letter on the desk. Then she pulled out another letter from the envelope.
Soon I saw a familiar handwriting. I couldn’t not know because it was a handwriting that I sometimes ghostwritten.
<Lariette, I regretted a lot after letting you go like that last time. There are so many things I want to say to you. Could you please meet your mother separately just once, just once? I’ll wait for you at the restaurant Almeier at 5 o’clock this evening.>
The hand holding the stationery trembled. The letter paper of high-quality paper crumpled mercilessly because of the power.
An infinitely weak voice echoed through the room.
After that, Lariette sat with her head down, like a stone, for a long time without any movement.
* * *
It was past five o’clock.
The elegantly dressed Duchess of Blanche stood lonely in the special room of the restaurant Almeier.
The Duchess continued to glance at the door, but after more than half an hour had already passed, there was no sign of anyone she’s waiting. She continued to fiddle with her well-groomed nails, as if nervously.
When she was about to give up and go back, the door finally opened with a soft sound. And through the open door, Lariette appeared.
“Lariette! You have come!”
The Duchess of Blanche stood up and walked towards Lariette. However, Lariette looked at her with cold eyes for a moment and sat down without saying a word.
If it had been before, she would have been scolded for being a not polite princess, but the Duchess did not care and returned to her seat. Then she ordered to bring food in a hurry.
Soon, warm and colorful dishes filled the table. The Duchess smiled as she pushed the restaurant’s most famous signature menu to the front of the Lariette.
“Eat this. It is delicious to eat while it is warm. Or do you prefer fish dishes? Hurry up and eat a lot.”
Haah. Lariette let out a short laugh. Because it was the first time she heard it.
The Duchess would always tell Lariette, ‘You are a girl, eat in moderation’, and if Raon refused to eat with her, they sent Lariette to her room.
The kind words that were once longed for, but now the kindness is only offensive. Lariette looked into her mother’s eyes and said with a firm voice.
“You said you had something to tell me. Tell me. I came to hear that.”
“First of all, the food….”
“No, start with what you have to say.”
The Duchess of Blanche shrugged, as if embarrassed by Lariette’s cold attitude. She was silent for a moment, choosing her words, and then opened her mouth with a serious expression.
“There… There are too many to count. I didn’t take good care of you. That’s what I’m most sorry about.”
Was my mother someone who could say she was sorry easily? Lariette muttered to herself and clenched her fists under the table.
The Duchess continued to speak as if it were a sacrament of confession.
“It was only after I lost you that I realized the importance of you. After you left, I suffered for a long time in shock… No one came to see me. Raon was busy spending a lot of money, and your father only attached the new building and didn’t come to visit. Rather, I was harassed for not doing the Duchess’s job.”
She drank the water as if she was thirsty. Lariette waited for her next words without saying a word.
“I found out then. That you were the only one who came to me when I was sick. That you were the only one who truly cared about me. And yet, I’ve neglected you like that all this time.”
“Just as I married your father due to family circumstances, I thought you could do the same. I really regretted that you would at least find a better marriage partner.”
Lariette slowly closed her eyes.
It wasn’t that she hated her parents because they couldn’t get a good marriage. The Duchess seemed to be going properly, but she couldn’t figure out what hurt Lariette the most.
But Lariette knew this was her limit. Perhaps my mother would never understand.
“I heard the apology. Then I’ll just go.”
Lariette got up from her seat with no regrets. Then the Duchess turned into a face full of embarrassment and grabbed Lariette.
“… Did you think that I would return to the Blanche mansion?”
Lariette asked with an expressionless face. As if the correct answer, the Duchess of Blanche didn’t say anything and just licked her lips.
‘I even apologize.’ It was obvious what was in her mind. Lariette was a good listener, so she seemed to think she would come back if she apologized and coaxed her.
It was both funny and heartbreaking for Lariette. If you’re really sorry for me, you shouldn’t have asked for it.
“My memory doesn’t disappear just because you apologized. Just like no matter how much you wash a dress covered with red sauce, it only blurs and the marks don’t disappear.”
“So I will no longer go back to Blanche.”
Lariette cut off the Duchess’s words and made a resolute declaration. Because she had no intention of ending her short life in such a hellish place.
The Duchess clutched Lariette’s collar even harder, feeling restless. After hesitating for a long time, she finally sighed deeply as if she had given up.
“Hah… Lariette. I am so sorry. This is the truth.”
It was an unexpected apology. Just as Lariette wondered if she was going to apologize one last time, she felt a commotion outside the door.
And soon after the door opened, what appeared was a group of enlisted Dukes led by Duke Blanche.
At the same time as the Duke’s order, the knights rushed towards Lariette.
However, they were soon blocked by a hard protective magic and were unable to move. It was because Lariette quickly casts a spell as soon as she finds them.
The Duke frowned and began to unleash his dispel magic. However, it was of no use because Lariette’s magical power was superior to that of him.
“… Yes, Duke.”
When a familiar face appeared, Lariette looked at him with trembling eyes. He was Prince Joel, a wizard belonging to the Duke of Blanche and the teacher of Lariette.
“I’m sorry, Lady.”
Joel closed his eyes tightly and cast a dispel magic. As the Duke’s magic joined in with his master’s, the shield Lariette had created was shattered in an instant.
Lariette tried to perform another magic, but the knights were already surrounding her. A dull shock hit the nape of her neck before she could even lift her lips.
The knight struck Lariette with his sword. Suddenly, her eyes flickered darkly.
Before she lost consciousness, the last voice she heard was her father’s. I will no longer call you father.
“I didn’t tell you, madam. The way to get a runaway daughter back is not an apology.”
* * *
How much time has passed.
Lariette felt a sharp pain in the back of her neck and barely lifted her heavy eyelids. A familiar face appeared through the dim vision.
Blanche’s mansion, Lariette’s room. And the locked white door.
Ah, it was that door again.