It’s Time To Stop Looking For A New Family - Chapter 4
‘Let’s think about this rationally, Leticia.’
Leticia paused for a moment to take a deep breath and then got up from her bed. Then, she turned around to look at the servant.
“Prepare a clean set of clothes so that I can go out tomorrow.”
When the servant heard a command from Leticia, who had previously never given an order to her before, she was filled with displeasure.
“You’re going to go out? Where are you going to go when you don’t even have your grandfather’s permission?”
When Kara heard Leticia murmur the word ‘permission,’ she started screaming at Leticia impatiently.
“Yes! Permission! Don’t you know how much of a nuisance you are whenever you try to hide? The knights and the head maid only blame me! If you keep on acting selfishly like this…”
Kara raised her eyebrows with a displeased look. Leticia only stared at her tantrum and started to speak when she was done.
“So, you’re saying that you have a grievance against me because I acted too selfish, right?”
Leticia crossed her arms over her chest and fixed her indifferent gaze on the person in front of her.
“Do you want me to promise you that I won’t be selfish anymore?”
Unlike the apologetic words that came out of her mouth, Leticia’s face was ice-cold as she spoke.
“W-What! What are you saying! Did you eat something wrong today?”
“I only eat the dirty leftovers from Phillip and Father’s meal, so do you really think that I would be in my right mind?”
“Are you protesting right now? Why are you suddenly acting like this? You lived comfortably without a single complaint until now, so why are you acting like this on a busy day, of all things!”
“Why am I acting like this on a busy day, of all things…?”
Leticia cocked her head as she repeated Kara’s words.
When she saw the unchildlike, chilly glare from Leticia, Kara finally stopped yelling.
“Hm…that’s a good point. Why am I acting like this on a busy day, of all things?”
Leticia uncrossed her arms and walked towards Kara. Unlike her usual, hunched-over walk, she was now walking confidently. Now, Leticia looked very well-mannered as she walked with her straight back and her head held high.
“As I thought, I really shouldn’t have complained when I should be living as if I don’t even exist. I should have been as silent as a mouse, isn’t that right?”
“I- I never said that. When… did I ever…call the Miss a mouse…”
“In the future, I’ll tell you my complaints right away, so make sure to fix everything when I tell you to.”
She continued to speak these words as if it were obvious. Kara, who had been intimidated by Leticia’s glare, was suddenly enraged by her words and started screaming again.
“Who are you that you have the right to tell me what I should do?”
Leticia grabbed Kara’s sleeves and pulled the servant’s hands in front of her. Kara’s hands were clean and unscarred, as opposed to her own, scarred hands.
When Kara started to stammer at Leticia’s reply, Leticia tightly held Kara’s hands.
“The only people who have the right to say that I’m a vulgar bastard child are the direct bloodline of Maner. Did you really think that you, who don’t even have a drop of noble blood, are my master?”
She asked the maid that question, though Leticia didn’t really ask because she wanted to know the answer.
And because what she had said made sense, Kara could only swallow the words that she was going to say and lowered her head.
“…I apologize for my rudeness, Miss. I crossed the line because I was blinded by my anger.”
Kara had bowed her head and apologized, but of course, she didn’t really mean any of it.
Even though she knew that there wasn’t an ounce of sincerity in Kara’s apology, Leticia didn’t chastise the servant for a proper one.
In her successor classes from the past, she had learned about the book written by Machiavelli, ‘The Prince.’ If you wanted to be respected by those beneath you, you had to remember two things.
First, you had to show the inferior person who the superior person truly was. Whether you proved that through power or status, it didn’t matter.
Second, once the person obeyed you, you had to reward that person accordingly. Even if the person was someone that you would never use again and just throw away, you still had to reward that person.
‘Even if I have to stay in this place, for now, I don’t see any point in keeping you by my side.’
Leticia narrowed her eyes as she looked at Kara. This servant was someone that had no use for becoming one of Leticia’s people.
She slowly scanned the still bowed maid with her eyes with no expression.
There was a reason why she was going this far to prove her position to Kara. Humans are social creatures, and depending on how someone behaves to another person, the way they are treated can also change. If Leticia wanted to be respected by the people of the dukedom, she had to correct the behavior of her main servant first.
‘I need a way of showing my authority to Kara.’
Right now, her status as the empire’s only princess had no use.
The reason why the people of the dukedom were extremely rude to Leticia was not because they forgot her status as the young lady of the Maner Dukedom. She had to find a way to wield more power in the dukedom.
If she were to slap Kara on her cheek, it would be perceived as childish and she would be labeled as someone who couldn’t even control her own emotions. In addition, she didn’t want to become like her grandfather, who used to flaunt his status everywhere he went.
If Kara was a noble like her, she would have slapped her cheek, but Kara was someone of a lower status than her.
There were many nobles who would hit people with lower statuses than them, but Leticia had no intention of becoming like them.
From the time when she was a child up to the moment that she died, she had to listen to people telling her about how vulgar her illegitimate blood was. Still, as a noble, Leticia believed that it was her duty to protect her own dignity.
‘I’ve become young again, so I’m not even at the same eye level as Kara.’
As if she had never been angry in the first place, Leticia let go of Kara’s hand. Kara’s eyes, which had been clamped shut from fear of getting hit, slowly opened when nothing happened.
“You don’t have to worry. I can’t make the priest wait for me every time, after all.”
At Leticia’s words, she held her breath in shock.
She didn’t have to worry? The unexpected words that had left Leticia’s mouth left Kara in a dazed state. She wondered if Leticia was going to start crying this time as well.
Kara thought that this time as well, Leticia was going to hide behind her skirts as soon as Leticia saw the priest with those red eyes. When Leticia had done that, Kara had enjoyed a sense of superiority and had told her, “It is your duty to listen to the priest. Don’t you know that it’s your duty as a Maner?”
She had chastised Leticia as if she was superior to her.
But, when Leticia said that she didn’t have to worry, Kara was shocked at the unexpected answer.
“…What did you just say? Th-The Miss will see the priest?”
The maid was so shocked that her voice was shaking and her face went pale.
“When he comes tomorrow, lead Priest Gamal to the drawing room. I’ll make sure to get ready beforehand so I’m not late to meet him.”
Leticia said this while walking towards the iron drawer. Her face was very calm as she spoke, so it was very hard for Kara to gauge the situation in the room.
She then started to speak to the still dumbfounded Kara again.
“Also, send word to the head maid to not be annoying. Tell her that I’m not going to hide, so she doesn’t have to send so many knights to watch me.”
Hearing her words, she felt that Leticia was acting very weirdly—she was much stranger than usual.
Still, Leticia gently continued while looking at Kara, whose mouth was hung open.
“Don’t forget to prepare a clean set of clothes for me to go out in. As the Young Lady of the Maner Dukedom, I can’t always see the priest in pajamas.”
“The Young Lady of the Duk—Ah. I-I see, I understand.”
‘She was the Young Lady of the Dukedom?’ Kara, who opened her mouth to retort back at Leticia, realized her status and nodded her head silently.
Nodding one’s head to someone above them was very rude behavior, but Leticia decided to just let it slide. The thing that was most important to her right now was her meeting with the priest tomorrow.
Making Kara respect her and curbing her rude behavior would come after Leticia’s confrontation with the priest.
* * *
“I heard from Kara. So, tomorrow you will be meeting the priest, correct?”
That same day, in the early hours of the evening. The head maid Miriam went to visit Leticia’s bedroom.
When the head maid arrived, Leticia was reading in a worn-out leather chair that she had requested Kara bring to her.
She wanted to find a copy and read the ancient book [ Hebron ] that she had read in her past life when she was sixteen, but there was no way that it would be in the Dukedom’s library. So, she took out any book from her iron drawer and started to read it.
Coincidentally, the book that she had taken out was a fairy tale of the legend of the northern territory of Winter.
Miriam, who had glanced at the book Leticia was reading, could not help but let out a taunting laugh.
“Oh, my bad, I see that you were in the middle of reading a fairy tale. It seems that I’ve interrupted your reading. Should I come back another time?”
They were all meaningless words.
Leticia closed her book with a thump and stared up at her.
“You came all this way, so you don’t have to… I do not wish to bother you.”
[ T/N: The “you” used by the characters in this sentence and the rest of this chapter is used when someone in a higher status talks to someone of a lower status.]
Leticia replied with an easy smile as if to say that it didn’t bother her at all.
‘Did this brat just call her ‘you?’’ Miriam, who was suddenly struck speechless, was filled with rage.
“Did you just call me ‘you’…”
Although Leticia hadn’t said anything wrong, per se, Miriam was enraged to hear this kind of condescending tone from an eleven-year-old brat.
If Leticia was an actual, legitimate child, Miriam would have said “Yes, Miss” and carried out her orders, but she was just a half-blooded bastard child. In addition, her maternal lineage was of the lowly Aleta family.
In the past, the Altera bloodline had been the pure descendants of the ancient kingdom, but now they were not. After the Piccene Empire had been established, the Aleta bloodline became despised throughout the new empire because of their role as rulers in the old empire.
At one point in time, the Aletas had been skilled in magic, astronomy, medicine, and elemental magic, but that was all something from the past.
Back then, the pure-blooded Aletas, unless they had other bloodlines mixed in, had red eyes. Although Leticia was also part of the Maner lineage, she still had red eyes, so it seemed that she was an exception to this rule.
Miriam didn’t know about this rule, but even if she did, she just didn’t care. All she knew was that red dyes were something to be despised.
“It’s not in your place to refer me as ‘you.’”
Miriam gazed at Leticia up and down as if Leticia was disgusting to look at. It seemed that she thought that Leticia was so vulgar, that she had forgotten to refer to her as ‘Miss.’
“Was I not supposed to refer to Miriam as ‘you?’”
Leticia had predicted that her use of ‘you’ in that kind of tone would incite this kind of response. Though even if she was an illegitimate child, she was still the daughter of the Duke of Maner.
Because she was an illegitimate child, she wasn’t allowed to put her name on the family register, but even so, the head maid rebuking Leticia about manners and titles wasn’t something that would be tolerated.
Leticia gently curved her mouth into a smile. And then, she decided to go a step further by calling the head maid by her full name.
“Miriam. Can you come here?”