fused to die as a disgraced aristocrat.
Since I had decided to live, I had to make sure I survived.
I had already taken the first step towards living, but now I had to succeed.
“Starting tomorrow, please bring one of each publication to my room.”
I left the archives, instructing the servant to put the newspapers away.
There were more people than expected.
The gathering appeared to be harmonious, however, the sounds of laughter and conversation were loud enough that the atmosphere leaked outside of the drawing room.
“Was that a man……?”
The words that I had unintentionally overheard were somehow familiar to me, as if I had read them in a novel.
A few strands of hair on the top of my head were irritating my scalp, probably because I had tied my hair incorrectly.
I couldn't hide my fat features, which were the cause of my troubles, so instead I pulled my hair up tightly and made a round bun on the top of my head.
Not to mention my Empire style dress was tight under the chest making it uncomfortable for me to breathe.
When I gazed at my body reflected on the ceiling of the drawing room entrance hall, I heaved a sigh.*
I still had a long way to go.
Beth said the tea party should have ended by now, but it was still going on.
I had spoken to the assistant butler and requested a private meeting once the tea party was over.
I was expecting to wait indefinitely, but the assistant butler soon approached me.
“Please come in.”
Huh? Already? Now?
Without waiting for my response, the young butler led me into the drawing room.
I was very confused.
A total of seven people were present.
My mother was among them.
Seeing me, my mother jumped out of her seat.
She also looked confused.
“Baby, what's going on?”
“I – I have a favour to ask of the Countess.”
Stop being nervous.
My mother was trembling.
What was wrong with her?
Ever since I had transmigrated, I had only ever seen my mother with a bright and caring smile.
But her eyes were anxious, like she was being chased by something.
Perhaps she was nervous?
Practiced gazes flitted over and fixated on me.
Mouths curved in mocking grins.
Expressions filled with curiosity.
“I see you're awake!”
“It's been a while since I last saw you.
The last time was when you were about 11 years old?”
“My, have you lost any weight? ho ho ho.”
And so on.
The guests already acquainted with me spouted various polite greetings.
“Hello, I am Ta- Tara, Tara Elias.”
As I bowed in greeting with great difficulty, I heard a small giggle.
Soon followed by a man's polite voice.
“Nice to meet you, Lady Elias.
My name is Attorney Gehrig Anton.”
A lawyer? What kind of lawyer?
The man, smiling broadly, appeared to be in his mid-30s.
Wasn't one of the most important events in the novel an investment case.…?
“And? Your request?”
The way her superficial gaze looked me up and down was very unpleasant.
Her makeup appeared to have been applied over two centimetres thick.
Her eyebrows fluttered every time she blinked.
Her blue dress, a lattice pattern studded with gold threads, displayed her breastbone, and large diamonds dangled from her neck and ears.
Her name was Victoria Elias, 48 years old.
I quickly contemplated what to do.
I came here expecting a private meeting.
Was it okay to reveal some of the minor issues regarding our House in the presence of outsiders?
A story about a child of the Elias family not being assigned a dedicated maid could cause a small dent in the family's reputation.
Especially for the mistress of the household, who managed the internal affairs of the mansion.
Moreover, the character of Victoria Elias was still in question.
I think I came at the wrong time.
I'll come to see you again later……”
“What do you think you're doing?”
I was genuinely surprised by the sudden loudness of her voice.
What was with her?
“Do you think your time is as valuable as mine? What sort of nonsense is this? If you have a favour to ask, you should ask it at the proper time.
At the last meeting, you said everything you wanted to say.
Was that all an act? Though, you have struggled quite a bit in the past when it comes to basic human competence.
My face burned as blood rushed to my face.
Was this really something worth getting angry over?
“I'm sorry, Madam.
It seems that my child has not been made fully aware of the family's etiquette after waking up.
I'll be sure to educate her properly about this, so please forgive her rudeness.”
My mother bowed her head deeply, like someone who had gravely sinned.
It made me feel filthy.
A forgotten memory resurfaced, I suddenly remembered my first family meal with Victoria.
Even then, she talked about how I was clearly my mother's daughter, that I must have inherited my unfortunate eating habits from her, how disgusting it was to see me eat and how it spoiled her own meal.
I had woken up only three days prior, so I’d said nothing.
Because I was too busy thinking about running away from this family.
Moreover, the bullying was so commonplace that the other children of the household remained engrossed in their meals.
They had expressed no interest in the spectacle.
Alternatively, my mother had greeted me, sat down next to me, then pulled my sleeve and winked.
From that encounter alone, it was clear that the two of us, mother and daughter, were the most despised beings in this mansion.
Everyone's eyes were on me, but I felt far more concerned about my mother's pale faced expression.
No matter what anyone else claimed, my mother was the only person in this entire family who cared about me without any hint of self-interest.
To be honest, I didn't have time for love, but this body’s memory was full of affection for my mother.
I had to urge myself to be patient.
“That was rude of me.
I'll consult the Countess in advance and come another time.”
As I moved to turn around, her cynical voice stopped me.
Editor’s Notes –
(90kg = 198lb)
Victoria is truly the embodiment of pure human kindness…
I wonder what's up with Tara's recurring headaches in these early chapters? Transmigration side effects?
* I assume this is a mirrored ceiling.
Apparently this was a thing in 18th and 19th century France among the very wealthy.
It's a reflection (pun intended) of how ostentatiously wealthy the Elias’s are since mirrors and glass were so expensive in this time period.
This may be yet more proof that the Ocerian Empire is at least partially inspired by 17th, 18th and 19th century France.
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