Predatory Marriage — Chapter 366. Midnight Dream (2)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
“Do you want more food?”
The countess had noticed her reaction. It was not her choice to provide so little food, but Cerdina’s scrutiny was intense.
“No, that’s not necessary. I was just thinking.”
Leah rose from her seat. As the maids cleared the table, she began her daily routine, attended by Countessa Melissa.
At sixteen, she had still had lessons. First, lessons in etiquette, from a strict teacher that looked at her severely the moment she entered the classroom.
Lost memories reappeared in her mind. Marquis Lacal, a close ally of Cerdina’s, had been her etiquette teacher. She had controlled Leah’s every movement as if she were a puppet, and would lash her across the thighs every time she made a mistakes. Sometimes she had even struck her, in places that would be hidden by her clothing.
Leah knew now that she had done that at Cerdina’s order.
“You’re late, Princess,” she said coldly. “Sit down.”
Inwardly, Leah smiled. In the past, she would have flinched at the other woman’s cold stare, but she wasn’t sixteen anymore. She had a good idea what the Marquise was thinking.
“These are the steps of the coronation ceremony…” the Marquise began.
It was one of the most difficult ceremonies, but Leah had already done it once. She likely knew the process better than the Marquise. It was tedious, as she already knew all the details, and she stifled a yawn.
Marquise Lacal closed her book.
“You seem to be having difficulty concentrating today. Is the lesson that boring?”
“It’s boring because I already know it,” Leah said, making the woman gape at her in surprise. It was surprisingly pleasant to see that reaction; she would never have dared to say something like that in the past, but the adult Leah didn’t care.
Besides, this was just a dream. She could do whatever she wanted.
Marquise Lacal forced a laugh.
“Then perhaps the Princess will explain it to me,” she said.
Taking the dare, Leah began to explain the ceremony in such full, mind-numbing detail that Marquise Lacal’s face twisted with outrage.
“Have you gone mad?” She interrupted, when Leah began to provide historical details even the Marquise couldn’t know.
Leah paused at the rebuke, lifting an eyebrow. Her lack of fear only made the Marquise angrier, and her face reddened.
“Today’s class ends here,” she said, insulted. “I will be reporting your behavior to Her Highness.”
That was a warning to expect a punishment from Cerdina.
“As you wish,” Leah said briefly, winning another ferocious glare, and departed the lesson early.
“Princess! What are you doing back so soon?”
“We have work to do,” Leah replied. “Please get my things.”
She took her seat at her desk in her office. Posted only on NovelUtopia
It was easy work. The present Leah was very familiar with the work of the palace, and though the paper was piling up, she dealt with it quickly. She had been doing all of it for many years.
Countess Melissa was surprised at her efficiency, especially when Leah talked all the way through the task, telling her about her etiquette class. She worked so rapidly, the Countess was worried.
“Why don’t you take a break?” she suggested, as Leah set aside the finished work, concealing the stacks of paper so the countess wouldn’t be suspicious. Countess Melissa had already brewed some tea, and Leah liked the strong scent wafting from the cup.
It was good, but it would have been better with a snack. Leah was used to having her tea with something sweet, like cookies. Or dates.
“You seem very strange today,” the countess said cautiously, making Leah set down her cup. “Are you all right?”
Countess Melissa didn’t look convinced, but she didn’t argue. Maybe she thought Leah had gone mad.
She wasn’t entirely wrong.
Leah was beginning to be uncomfortable.
The novelty of re-living the life of her sixteen year-old self was waning, and she wanted to go back to her real life, where her husband was waiting. She had already secretly pinched herself several times, but nothing happened.
She was beginning to consider more drastic methods to end this endless dream.
“All the preparations have been made for tonight,” the countess whispered. “But is it really necessary for the Princess to appear in person? It’s too dangerous.”
She had repeated this often, a constant source of discontent, and was hoping Leah would immediately cancel her plans for the night.
“Hmmm…” Leah said vaguely. She couldn’t give a better answer; she didn’t remember where she was going.
“Of course, I know now is a good opportunity,” Countess Melissa went on, dissatisfied with Leah’s noncommittal response. “The slavers’ infighting has left them very weakened. And I know you worked hard to set this up with Count Valtein, but I don’t know why that means you need to go personally…”
She couldn’t live if anything happened to the Princess.