The Sleepless Night of the Maid — Chapter 7
Translator: Eonnicorn / Editor: Vy, Scarlet
By the time Eva regained her senses, she was coughing up water with her head turned sideways. Moving a finger was difficult, it felt like her whole strength had been washed away by the water. ‘I’m alive.’ Various emotions rushed in, the first wave was a sense of relief at being able to return to Cecil, followed by anger toward Pamela for her lack of remorse, as well as a sense of shame for her humiliating situation. Then, a sense of despair because she had to continue living.
The magnificent Bale Castle in the distance reflected off Eva’s wearying eyes. Every time she saw the castle she was raised in, a lump in her throat surged as tears welled up. That place was like a gentle pat that comforted her.
“Are you awake?”
A low, courteous man’s voice was heard nearby. It was not until she heard that did she realize, there was a shadow covering her face. Turning her head, a drenched brown-haired man looked down at her. He struggled to breathe, proof that it had been hard to save her.
Even amidst her dizziness, Eva couldn’t help but think so while staring at him. From dark brown eyes that sucked her in like a swamp, to the refined shape of his nose with its tips downwards, and his glossy reddish-brown lips. He was the kind of person who looked great from afar but made anyone else speechless up close.
“Are you all right?”
Suddenly, Eva’s eyes tinged with horror. Since she hadn’t been in a clear state of mind, she was unaware of her rudeness for gawking at him so explicitly. She whipped her head to the side, belated shame hit upon her, only to find strong arms resting between her shoulders. With him pinning her down, as if she would run away, she could see the beads of water dripping from his chest.
“I… I am all–”
She pushed herself up, still lightheaded, and froze swiftly. Since Eva had raised up abruptly, their nose touched for he couldn’t dodge it in time. His lips were within reach, just needing a little knock from the back by the wind. Then, their own image that was reflected in each other’s pupils, disappeared.
“What a relief. That was close.”
It was the brown-haired man who came to his senses first. He eyed her with a strange look for a moment. Afterwards, he brought his coat up to Eva’s side and wrapped it around her shoulder. She tried to take it off in a hurry, however, she found that her clothes were soaked and parts of her body were visible. Burning from embarrassment, she held the coat in front of her body.
Before words of gratitude could roll from her tongue, Pamela, who crossed the bridge, threw herself at Eva. Her eyebrows trembled tremendously on her ghastly pale face and she hugged Eva, regardless of getting wet.
“Are you all right? You don’t know how worried I was. I thought it was going to go awry. Sobs.”
“I’m fine, so stop crying, Pamela.”
She shuddered on the inside and drew Pamela away from her. The touch of her body, the smell of thick perfume, and the tears she faked up, Eva hated it. While her mind had a dispute whether to accept it as it is or expose her scheme, she felt a sudden pang in her foot. The leg cramps from struggling in the water started again. Eva tried hard not to get discovered by wearing a calm look on her face.
“This is my fault. I was jokingly hitting you, then you…”
Barely succeeding in removing Pamela from her with an awkward face, Pamela hugged her once more. Her performance of sobbing in tears couldn’t be more natural. If Eva was a spectator, not a victim, she might have been deceived by this poor figure.
Pamela wiped away her tears and turned to the men, thinking she had soothed her enough.
“Thank you very much. We were picking berries over there but as I was joking around, Eva missed her step.”
“Eva?” As soon as the brown-haired man heard Eva’s name, his eyes were lit up brightly as he watched the two women.
“Ah, yes. My friend’s name is Eva. And I am Pamela Biti, daughter of Baronet Biti.”
Pamela added her own introduction when he only mentioned Eva’s name. This might be the most nerve-racking moment of her life. After all, it’s the first step of her journey to be his wife.
“Pleased to meet you, I am–”
“Ahem. Hey, Ruth.”
When it was the brown-haired man’s turn to reply by introducing himself, the blonde man who had been watching all this from the sidelines cleared his throat to cut him off.
‘Ruth. The name of the man who saved me was Ruth.’ Eva quietly repeated the man’s name inside.
The blond-haired man, who observed each one in turn, was openly wary. He didn’t seem to like the situation, or the two women, or where this conversation was going. His eyes glanced at Ruth, silently telling him to leave quickly. However, Ruth shrugged it off, all while smiling with his eyes and chin lifted up.
Then a subtle clash between the two unfolded. After a while, it was the blond man who raised his hands in surrender first. Somehow, his face became irritated but eventually sighed briefly and turned his attention to Eva.
“Forgive my rudeness. My lady, are you hurt anywhere?”
“No, I’m… fine.”
No, she wasn’t. The pain that began from her toes now spread through her legs. She has been massaging the area secretly when no one was looking, but the pain kept growing.
“That’s good to hear. Then I shall introduce myself. I am Count Benjamin Holland. And my friend here is… Knight Ruth.”
Count Holland hesitated for a moment before introducing his friend. Ruth. Only his first name came out when he was called for the first time. But with his name now attached to a title, it felt more aristocratic. Though, Pamela and Eva couldn’t hear his full name as they couldn’t bring themselves to focus.
“Nice to meet you.”