How to Tame My Beastly Husband — Chapter 107. Past Glory (1)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
“All set to go.”
The coachman brought up the last load of baggage just as Claire said it. The time had come to say goodbye, and as neither Claire or Arjen were vain people, the baggage was limited and their farewell would be brief.
It was very sad.
Claire approached Annette with her arms out, wrapping the strong limbs about her, and Annette let her head rest on Claire’s shoulder. Though she was trying to control herself, her voice was thick with tears.
“You’re still here, and I miss you already,” she said. “What shall I do?”
“Oh, my bunny. You’re still the same, even if you’re married.” Claire smiled, her face filled with mingled affection and resignation. “You’re still so soft.”
Then once again, she showered Annette with kisses, which had the desired effect of making Annette smile even as she wiped away her tears.
“That’s enough,” said Arjen from the window of the carriage, gently cajoling. “Today won’t be the last time we visit. We will meet again in the future.”
Pulling Claire to the carriage, he kissed her affectionately and then reached for Annette, stroking her head as he had so often done when she was a child.
“Remember, sweet little sister,” he whispered, looking at her with deep eyes. “The best politicians are the ones who conceal the things they value most. That is how they hide their weaknesses.”
Annette nodded. There was one thing in particular that came to her mind, and Arjen was giving her a hint about the problem.
She watched the back of the carriage as it drove away. She thought she would be busy soon. There were many people she still had to meet to speak with them. Of course, none of them would be willing to confess the truth to her.
But she was determined to get an answer out of them somehow.
* * *
Dressed in a light blue gown and a white hat, Annette looked like a clear spring sky, as angelic as if she could never conceive of an underhanded plot.
Today, she was going to the Keers residence to meet Lady Celestine.
With a look of chagrin on her face, Celestine met her secretly in an outbuilding. High-ranking guests should be received in the main building, but Celestine’s family still considered Annette the perpetrator of her kidnapping. They were understandably hostile. Posted only on NovelUtopia
Under such circumstances, she could hardly receive Annette at the front door. It was hard to defend her innocence in any case, when they had nothing but suppositions. But the first thing she did was to apologize.
“Thank you for coming,” she said. “I’m so sorry to have to receive you here.”
“Don’t trouble yourself. The more discreet we are, the better.”
Celestine was relieved at the gracious response. The shock of the kidnapping was still evident in her face, her cheekbones too prominent, her eyes darkly shadowed. Annette followed her around the side of the outbuilding, examining her surroundings.
This was the Keers Marquisate.
Until about two hundred years ago, they had been one of the most prestigious families in the kingdom. They had owned wide farmlands which were the seat of their prosperity, but then there had been an earthquake from which they had never really recovered.
But their home still retained its former grandeur, even to the outbuildings. She was amazed at what she saw inside, the historic portraits, the priceless antique furniture. Everything she saw was beautiful.
But most impressive were the tapestries, embroidered one stitch at a time in an ancient technique, the absolute pinnacle of artistic achievement. The magnificent gold leaf in the dark green tapestry was evidence of how wealthy this place had once been. Seeing Annette’s admiration, Celestine smiled.
“Do you like them? I love the tapestries, too. When I was a child I used to play under them and hide behind them, though my mother would scold me whenever she caught me. What nobleman would want such a tomboy for a wife?”
That green-eyed girl, hiding behind tapestries, had grown up to be a candidate for Crown Princess.
“My family asked for help, you know, after the earthquake,” she said, with a sour smile. “They thought the royal family would help them, considering all the taxes they had paid, and all the loyalty and devotion they had shown. But the royal family of Deltium…politely declined.”
Her eyes hardened as she told the story of the downfall of her once-prosperous family.
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