YCKTML Chapter 12
Madam Plada grinned, covering her mouth with the business card she was holding.
“Let’s call them my lifesaver.”
I wasn’t curious about Plada’s lifesaver but the person who sent me the business card. Still, she didn’t seem to want to reveal it.
“Do you know who I am?”
“Of course. Count Spilet, no, now you’re Madam Clifford, the future Duchess.”
You got it right. Was it obvious?
I wasn’t familiar with Erin’s previous deeds, but it could be that Madam Plada encountered her here and there.
“I’ve been observing you for a long time. But you never went to me.”
“You were watching me?”
Madam Plada grabbed my wrist and led me to the large mirror. She then lightly touched the tip of my hair. “Look at this pretty hair color, sparkling eyes, tall nose, fair skin, and perfect proportions. A subject like this is rare even if you look all over the capital.”
From my perspective, Erin was pretty. I always thought all the characters in a novel like this would be good-looking, but that wasn’t the case. Most of them had unusual hair or eye color, but otherwise, they were normal.
So, if I had to find a person whose beauty exceeded my expectations, it was either Erin or Chloe.
In the original, Madam Plada praised Chloe as soon as she saw her. And without charging them for her services, she showed off her talents to the fullest and made a dress that launched Chloe into the brightest star of the social scene.
Up until that point, Plada had not known Chloe. But according to her now, she had already noticed Erin from before. But why didn’t Erin and Plada’s paths cross in the novel?
“I’m thrilled that Madam came with the business card.”
It wasn’t my body, but I kept my eyes down, unsure of how to receive her praise.
Plada took off the clothes from the mannequin and put them in front of me.
“This isn’t the finished version. I need to find the perfect owner to complete it. I’ve been looking for them for a long time, but now the wait is over. Do you like it?”
I was just going to return the wedding dress, but things escalated. But when I saw the clothes over me, they fit Erin’s style perfectly.
When I hesitated to answer, Madam Plada called for an assistant who had been quiet on the other side.
“Chelsea, go and help me Madam dressed.”
“Yes, Madam Plada.”
Chelsea ushered me past the curtains, and I ended up going into the dressing room to change. Suddenly, I thought that maybe I could get a dress or two sponsored by Madam Plada, if not as much as Chloe in the novel.
Since her dresses were fairly expensive, I couldn’t help but hope for that.
“I don’t think we need to cinch the waist too much. Please raise your arms. Yes, like that,” Chelsea said as she tightened the laces on the back of the dress.
“It’s done. Wow, this is exciting!” Chelsea pushed the curtains open.
As I was about to step out, the door at the entrance opened, and someone stepped in.
I was rooted on the spot, perplexed. I thought they’d already come and gone, but why were they here now?
Rupert and Chloe walked in side by side, arms linked, staring at me. They stood by the door, looking as caught off guard as I did.
It was Madam Plada who broke the silence.
“Oh my! Come, come, look in the mirror.” She led me and placed me in front of the mirror. I was worried that the soft green would look too rustic, but that wasn’t the case at all.
As expected, the face and body complete the look. The rosy pink hair and the pastel green dress matched so well that it was as if I had become a rose myself.
Madam Plada looked at me with delight and only belatedly turned to Rupert to greet them.
“Ah, Lord Clifford is also here!”
Plada approached him to drag him towards me. Rupert looked at me blankly as they moved towards me while Chloe stood there, still unmoving.
“What do you think, Lord Clifford? Isn’t she beautiful? My goodness, you’re so lucky to have such a beautiful wife!”
Even though Plada knew that his lover Chloe was behind him, she didn’t care and continued to sing me praises.
I kept looking in the mirror while deliberately lowering my head, embarrassed. It’s so pretty; I couldn’t not look.
Then I stumbled upon Chloe’s reflection in the mirror and my smile completely fell.
Perhaps she thought no one was watching, but her emotions were completely transparent on her face.
Anyway, what would happen to the exclusive contract with Chloe if Plada acted like that?
Rupert came to my side, but he didn’t speak, his mouth ajar. Slowly getting annoyed, I was about to say something to him when he finally spoke.
“…it looks good on you.”
I thought I heard wrong, so I dug my ears with my fingers.
Rupert, who saw my reaction, turned his head to avoid my gaze and asked, “Why are you here?”
“I came to return the wedding dress.”
“If you’ve done what you needed to do, you should go back instead of standing here like this.”
His words made my blood boil. So, you’re telling me I shouldn’t have come here because you and your lover were coming?
“Rupert, don’t be so hard on her. She’s a woman, too.” Chloe, who had been watching the whole time, approached Rupert and linked her arms with his again. “it feels very different to see you outside. Nice to meet you, Madam.”
Chloe smiled as she greeted me, but I had already seen her in the mirror a while ago, glaring at me with contempt.
That’s right, you must love Rupert.
After realizing that, I felt a sense of urgency.
“Rupert,” I called him softer than usual.
Puzzled, Rupert directed his attention to me. I looked at his feet with a pitiful expression on my face, raking in tears as much as I could.
“I… Actually, I almost got kidnapped before I came here. Did you know?”
“What? Who would dare– Why!”
Rupert’s eyes widened and he took a step closer to me with Chloe beside him.
“The escort knight named Peter was the culprit…”
“Peter? Is he a new knight?”
Rupert’s face became increasingly stiff. Of course, that didn’t mean Rupert was really worried about Erin or anything like that. But I was definitely the future Duchess, and kidnapping me was a challenge to him.
I put more effort into my acting. I thought hard about the upsetting and unfair things I’ve encountered, and the tears flowed well.
“He placed me in a carriage and brought me to somewhere I don’t know…”
Suddenly, Chloe turned the topic in a strange direction and started to comfort me.
“Madam, you must have done something terrible there… Ah, no. Don’t cry; it’s not Madam’s fault.”
“What do you mean?”
“If not, how did you get out of such a dangerous place with such a fragile body? There must have been a lot of unidentified men.”
“Yeah…” I was about to say that I got help from the Crown Prince, but I paused for a moment.
He was wearing a mask, which meant he didn’t want people to know that he was there. I couldn’t let him get in trouble because he helped me.
“Ma’am, you don’t have to tell me if it’s too hard. Ah, you must have been so scared…”
Tears began to well up in Chloe’s eyes. Her performance was outstanding. How malicious.
…Really, I can’t believe it.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.
“I really don’t know what you’re talking about. I got out of there safely. You don’t have to worry.”
“But, does that make sense? At a rough and remote place… Besides, going against so many people.”
I was about to reply when I realized something. Did I say where it happened? And I only mentioned Peter. I never said anything about other people being involved.
Could it be.
To organize my thoughts, I refrained from speaking any further. Chloe just stared intently at me.
Her innocent and delicate appearance, teary eyes that stimulate sympathy, and gentle gestures and voice. She was a picturesque heroine.
But I realized that the novel’s description of the heroine was only skin-deep.
“Stop it, Chloe. She told you nothing happened. Don’t talk about such a thing in public.”
As I kept my mouth shut, Rupert suddenly cut Chloe off and scolded her. Chloe’s eyes widened but readily acquiesced.
“Okay, I wasn’t careful. I’m sorry.”
I bowed my head and looked intently at Chloe, apologizing.
I already knew that Chloe had a personality quite different from the one depicted in the novel.
But this was quite the surprise.
I wondered what would have happened if I mentioned what I found out. No one would probably believe me.
I decided to keep my mouth shut until I had solid evidence.
If Chloe really were behind the incident, it would definitely be complicated.
“Now, let’s stop talking about that. Such a beautiful lady should receive more compliments than she did.”
Madam Plada, who was quietly listening to our conversation, clapped and tried to lighten the heavy atmosphere.
“So, to what do I owe this pleasure?” Plada asked Rupert in a still bright voice.
“Ah, we’re here to purchase a dress for the Empress Dowager’s birthday party.” Again, Chloe answered.
Again Chloe answered. Her voice shook my emotions, but I tried to organize my thoughts as calmly as possible.
Chloe had a grudge against me. One that was deep and great. I had no evidence, but I was certain.
In this situation, could I survive a year without dying? Could Chloe have caused Erin’s divorce?
Doubts and questions continued to plague me.
In the end, I’d only come to one conclusion. The original events in the novel were not a problem at the moment. I wouldn’t let that happen.
While I was deep in thought, the door opened, and another person entered.
As soon as she saw him, Madam Plada knelt down. Rupert looked surprised but followed suit.
Chloe also greeted him with a soft and elegant voice. “I greet His Highness, the Imperial Crown Prince.”
Enoch walked towards the four without even looking at them.