The Sleepless Night of the Maid — Chapter 15
Translator: Eonnicorn / Editor: Scarlet
“Oh, you’re right. Eva, introduce yourself.”
Baronet Biti bitterly spoke to Eva with a sour expression. It was a situation that she didn’t want, but couldn’t avoid now that it had become like this. Eva mustered a polite face while curtseying, picking up the hem of her skirt.
“Good Evening, Lord Holland and Sir Ruth. My name is Eva Bell Turner Massies.”
“Such a pleasure to meet you. If you don’t mind, may I ask if you have a connection with Lord Massies, who was the former owner of Bale Castle?”
After they exchanged greetings, Ruth asked the question with a soft smile.
“…I have. I’m the daughter of Count Massies.”
‘Why am I like this?’
As her father’s name came out of her mouth, suddenly her throat felt dry while tears threatened to fall.
It made her realize the crushed glory and the situation she was in right now. Was it because she remembered her beloved father and family she was proud of? Or was it because of how pitiful she felt as she introduced herself in front of everyone? She didn’t know that an ordinary greeting like this could be so precious and sad when she was young.
“I see, you are the daughter of Lord Massies, whom I admire.” Noticing her glossy eyes from upcoming tears, Ruth bent down on one knee. He took her limp hand, looking up to her eyes as if asking permission. “I’m honored to meet you, Lady Massies.” Then he kissed the back of her hand.
A heavy silence filled the air for a minute.
Everyone froze in their place, holding their breath. But Eva was the most shocked one. She couldn’t figure out why he focused everyone’s attention on her and made her stand out.
Ruth was still grasping her fingertips, not yet rising on his feet. Then, he felt unsettled the moment his eyes zoned in on Eva’s wrist. He was staring at the red mark that formed from Todd’s clutch. The spot where his eyes rested felt hot and cold. When she took her hand away out of embarrassment, only then did Ruth stand up and put on a neutral face. How he wished that he didn’t pretend not to know her. However, he quickly spoke as he scoured the people around who were standing in stunned silence.
“It seems there’s an evil beast living in this house.”
No one knew what he meant. Only Eva blushed bashfully. It seemed like the more she tried to run farther to avoid getting involved, the more she got tangled with him.
* * *
“Therefore, my Lord, why don’t we turn the forest behind Bale Castle back into the hunting ground? Not only is it great for you, it’s also a great help for the economy in Crocs Field,” said Baronet Biti with food inside his mouth as he chewed the meat in impetuosity. He was trying to persuade the Count to transform Count Massies’ animal conservation forest that was forbidden to enter into the hunting ground.
“And it would be good to hold a ball at Bale Castle. That castle more or less became a haunted castle because the pivot of provincial nobles disappeared.”
“I don’t want to sound disrespectful but I don’t think the previous Count had any intention of changing the world. He didn’t care about the provincial aristocracies at all.”
This time, the Baronetess and Pamela added fuel with their opinion to encourage the Count enthusiastically. All of these were the complaints they had buried with the former Count Massies. It was said that he had no interest in holding social gatherings and instead invested in different things, blocking the path for these other noble families from expanding.
It wasn’t very wrong to say. Thirty years ago, after the reign of feudal Lords was over, all of the sovereignty centered on the Emperor. The power of the Lord to rule a region had disappeared and the central government system had begun, which forbade the enlistment of any soldiers and knights. Since the authority was concentrated in the Capital, the Imperial family, political influence, economic prosperity, as well as the center of culture and art had all moved to the Capital. Naturally, influential social gatherings and opportunities to connect with powerful people were also centralized.
While the aristocratic families with great wealth could stay in their mansions in the Capital and mingle through gatherings and parties, for the poor provincial nobles, all of these were too high brow for them. Therefore, gatherings held by the high-status nobles who came back to their hometown after the social season was over, were the most important event for the provincial nobles. Because that was the chance for those nobles who haven’t made their married debut in the Capital’s social circle to meet the invited high-status nobles and build a network with them. If lucky, they can meet children from a good family and get married.
Though, this family was far too explicit.
“I’ll give it more thought. I’ll do my best to give more life to the Bale Castle from now on.” Count Holland gave them a polite smile, having accepted their words. As Pamela said, though he appeared sour at the river, he surprisingly led the atmosphere with sophisticated manners.
‘Why on earth do I have to listen to this?’ Eva, who was forced to sit at the corner of the table, felt sick to her stomach. Their smooth-talking feat revealed their brimming greed.
It was true that Count Massies neglected the provincial nobles, but it didn’t mean that he neglected the commoners. The peasants who rented the Massies’ land received a cheap commission. He also supported the poor, orphans, and widows financially. He sponsored local artists and opened the castle once a year to hold festivals for the commoners. To her, he was the father who funded most of the local development. But all those things were disparaged and only blamed for some lack of things by the people who received the greatest help from her father.
‘And I just happened to sit here…’
All of this was because of that man, Ruth. Unperturbed, he escorted her to the dining room, leaving the Baronetess with no choice but to arrange a seat for Eva.
Whether he knew that she blamed him or not, Ruth sat across Eva, indifferent. She kept her body upright and chewed the food slowly, savoring it. Whenever her eyes lost where to look and happened to lay eyes on his figure, he sent a ghost smile. Didn’t he realize that his poise and ingrained kindness made her more uncomfortable?