Chapter 1: Outsider
My name is Reina.
I’m a maid working in Marquis Julius’s magnificent mansion, and I have one of the most beloved grandmothers in the world.
Other than that I have a unique hobby of scrapping newspapers, as well as a hope for a future in which someday my grandmother and I will live comfortably at a quiet beach.
Do I have any dreams about my husband and children?
Oh, I almost forgot this.
It’s a fact that I sometimes forget.
That I married a knight five years ago instead of my precious lady.
I am often reminded of it recently because he’s coming back in a few days and the whole house is in an emergency.
* * *
[T/N: from here it shifts to 3pov]
Three o’clock in the morning.
The maid’s attic in the mansion of the Marquees Julius.
Laying on the bunk bed that was attached at the end of the wall, maid Reina opened the newspaper carefully, carefully looking at other sleeping maids so as to not disturb them.
A dim candlelight on the wall flickered over the letters.
【 The triumphant general of the century Sir Arthur enters the Viscounty of Fontaine】
【 Citizens of Fontaine scattering flowers toward the advancing triumphal army.】
【 The March of Julius is not far away. Will the reunion with Lady Christina, his fiancé who separated five years ago happen soon?】
[T/N: March- the estate belonging to a Marquees]
【 The March of Julius waiting for the triumph has a festive atmosphere】
【 Marquees Julius.
Thanks to his son-in-law’s help.
The new Elector* Power Guidance ― The Marchioness Quiet Look.】
【 Featured, ‘Arthur the Knight of the Century’ – live-in son-in-law and heir to the Marquees Julius.】
【 Prince Kyle has recovered his health】
Reina rubbed her tired eyes and read the new newspaper once more.
Then, with a proud smile, she organised them in three scrapbooks in the order he liked.
【 Prince Kyle has recovered his health】 under the black cover.
【 Featured, ‘Arthur the Knight of the Century’, 】gathered under the blue cover along with other special featured news.
Other stories are arranged under the grey cover in order of publication date.
However, the news was slow in some places, and some chapters needed to be rearranged.
After cleaning up, Reina’s hands moved familiarly until she made a hole with an awl in a certain position to thread the string.
The last thing she did was ‘whoo-‘ and blew out the scraps of paper.
Reina, who quickly compiled the newsletters into three scrapbooks, looked down proudly at them.
In the old newspapers, the unnecessary contents were cut out by her and pasted on paper to organise them, but…
The newspapers these days are almost full of what Reina wants, so there’s no need to cut them out.
As for what Reina wants, there’s nothing special about it.
It’s the same news everyone in this empire wants right now.
The story of Sir Arthur, the commander-in-chief, returning after a great victory, and the triumphal army he led.
People waited with much anticipation for Sir Arthur’s story, that the temple’s newspapers have never been sold with so much enthusiasm since its publication.
“The story of the Crown Prince was only written in a small place in one corner. There are no illustrations.”
“The Crown Prince? Was he still alive?”
There were still maids who had not slept besides Reina, so a small whisper could be heard from the other side of the dormitory.
The maids who are talking now also seem to have bought the newspapers.
Reina lowered her breathing more because she was afraid that the story would stop if they knew she was awake.
In the maid’s attic, where a dozen bunk beds are laid side by side, Reina’s seat was at the very far corner.
Fortunately, it was good not to be noticed at this time.
“Has he changed? In the past, the Crown Prince cried because he was leaving.”
“You talk about old times.
It was five years ago.
Five years ago.
Who’s interested in the crown prince these days? He’s like a plant in a greenhouse… If it weren’t for Sir Arthur, he’d be dead.”
She glanced up in the dark and saw two maids in the corner, whispering while reading a newspaper together.
They too relied on a faint candle that swung by the window, just like Reina.
There was a gasping sound.
“Hey! But look at this illustration.
I think the artist is too selfish in drawing Sir Arthur.
He must be three metres tall.”
Reina swallowed her laughter, barely disguised as a small cough, and then carefully tucked her own scrapbooks into her filing cabinet and hid it under her bed.
Then, pretending not to know, Reina quietly dug into the bed, covering herself with a blanket, and listened to their voices.
“Oh, my God! Look at this.
Is it real?”
“Oh, my God.
They are talking about our lady, how come we don’t know anything about it?”
The part they were reading and talking about was clearly drawn in Reina’s mind.
It was because Reina had already read the story more than ten times and memorised it.
【Shock! Lady Julius and Sir Arthur, had officially married five years ago with the permission of the Imperial family, but the parties kept it a secret……】
【Many lords who had Lady Christina in their hearts expressed their disappointment……】
【A Count fainted down in shock…..】
“Are they officially married? Does this mean they two slept together?”
“Woah…. No way? If so, wouldn’t we have known? What a sight to see at this Marquees mansion!”
“They did it secretly.
When everyone wakes up tomorrow, let’s ask if anyone knows this story.”
Even in the midst of holding their breath, the excited voices of the maids were heard.
Reina quietly pulled the bed sheet over her lips.
None of these people can tell the story they are curious about.
Except for Reina here…….
Well, it was a simple matter.
Five years ago.
Marquees Julius, who was struggling to become an Elector, sold his daughter to gain the Imperial family’s trust.
The other party is the illegitimate son of the Emperor who was despised in society.
It was a thunder bolt from the blue for a high-nosed girl who was born and raised in Julius.
Reputation and honour are important places in aristocratic society, and illegitimate children were of course not considered an honourable origin.
Even at that time, the Imperial family was silent about his lineage, and the fact that he had Imperial blood was not officially recognized.
So, after all, he’s just a low-ranking nobleman who is rumoured to be the Emperor’s illegitimate child, and got married.
While his lineage was uncertain, the humiliation that the other party’s poor reputation would bring to Lady Julius was certain.
The Marchioness also jumped up and down, saying that she could not let her only precious daughter go through with such a marriage.
But the Marquees Julius dismissed all opposition from the family and said:
「He has to leave for the battlefield right away, so the wedding will be held quietly first, and when the Emperor recognizes his bloodline and his reputation in the social world is restored, the marriage will be announced later!」
「It’s a war anyway, hence social gatherings are banned, so no one will know unless you brag about it!」
The imperial family has decided to give such consideration.」
Why should Lady Julius get married like that?
Marriage doesn’t end when you simply nod and say, “Let’s do that, let’s pretend we’re married.”
Even if it was an ordinary aristocratic girl, it would have been four months.
There was no way that a great lady who had never worn shoes that she hated was obediently willing to marry such a person.
Of course, there was an uproar that she would not marry…….
Well, in the end… Among the maids, Reina, who was also said to be the same age, but sometimes quite beautiful, was quietly summoned….….
That’s what happened.
Reina silently blinked her eyes under the blanket, staring at the ceiling, the rotten floorboard of the bunk bed.
“…What kind of person is he? Sir Arthur….”
From the other side, the maids were curious and whispered.
It looks like she’s going to poke all the maids and ask them tomorrow, but she probably won’t come and ask Reina.
Reina was somehow sidelined among the maids, because she has things that she can’t easily open up about.
Well, even if they ask her, she can’t give them an answer….
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