She was a maid whod been beside Rosetta for as long as Katie.
And I knew that Marie was one of Katies people.
It was a fact that I knew from the very first day I came to this world.
Wasnt it strange how a personal maid didnt notice that her master was being abused
In the novel, it was also mentioned that Katie had been punished together with the people who cinnived with her.
However, I left Marie alone until now because I knew Id be able to use her soon.
Sometimes, an insignificant card wouldnt be able to affect ones hand.
And now, the time has come.
I leaned back on my seat and looked into the mirror on my desk.
A shallow cut could be seen clearly on my face.
It was a good chance, since I had to ask that person for medicine.
I reached out to pull the rope.
It was to call for my maid, Marie.
* * *
“Draw a bath for me.”
“A bath .
Youre going to take a bath today, Milady” Marie asked, gaping back at me.
She didnt expect this order.
“Why Am I not allowed”
At this inquiry, Marie shook her head and answered that she would prepare the bath, however, she was still confused.
Rosetta usually didnt ask for a bath on the days she had class with Katie.
This was because it was painful to have a bath with open wounds.
It had been like this for seven years, ever since she was twelve years old.
But for her to break this rule all of a sudden
In the bathroom, Marie tilted her head to the side.
Then at that moment, she heard a voice behind her.
The maid looked behind her shoulder while holding a towel.
“Assist me during my bath.”
Pardon” Marie retorted, bewildered at the request.
Marie blamed this day full of surprises for her delayed answers.
That must be it.
She couldnt believe shed be in charge of a bath today.
Shed never done anything like this before.
Seven years ago, Katie picked Marie as a personal maid to keep the lady in check.
And to hide the abuse even more, Katie told the young Rosetta and Alicia that they must bathe and change their clothes all by themselves.
If they needed assistance in putting on certain clothes, they had to don underwear that covered their arms.
What kind of wind blew today, Marie wondered, that Rosetta decided to take a bath.
“Ill come of age soon, so I thought its only proper for me to be assisted during my baths like any other noble.
Why, you dont want to”
“No, its not like that .
Oh, but she really didnt.
Marie would naturally have to see those scars, and she would have no choice but to report to the Duke and the Young Lord.
If Katie were to be accused, the problem was that Marie would go down with her.
And even if Katie wouldnt be suspected, Marie would need to divulge the truth.
Once that happened, Katie would never let Marie go unscathed.
In every way, shed be at a disadvantage if she saw those scars.
The maid swallowed to wet her dry throat and racked her brain.
‘The young lady is rather naive.
If I make up an excuse, maybe I can get away with it, she thought while clasping her sweaty palms together.
She did her best to maintain a pleasant smile.
“That, well, Katie .
Katie forbade me from the task of drawing Miladys bath.
And since shes your nanny, I cannot disregard her orders.
Ill get permission from her later, so would it be alright if we do it next time”
Her forced smile was shaking.
The silence that stretched between them felt like an eternity.
But in truth, it was only for a moment.
“Is that so Should we do that”
“Yes! If Milady disobeys your nannys words, youll be in big trouble.
Lets postpone it today and do it next time.
Next time for sure.”
Marie sighed in relief at the sight of me nodding in agreement.
“Then for now Ill draw your bath .
However, Maries smile eventually faltered.
With a hardened expression, she watched her masters subsequent actions.
what are .
I unbuttoned my dress with a gentle grin on my face.
The dress was easy to remove since the buttons were in front.
One, two, three.
At every opened button, more skin was revealed.
Marie had no idea what to do.
She was so baffled that she dropped the towel in her hands.
w-why are you .
The maid hurriedly lowered her gaze.
She still hadnt seen the wounds since the clothes werent entirely taken off yet.
This much was enough.
If she refrained from raising her head, shed be able to get out of this situation .
However, Maries desperate wish didnt come true.
With delicate fingers, I clutched the tip of the maids chin and lifted her head.
We were close enough to feel each others breath on our faces.
Being taller than Marie, I leaned in slightly and whispered in a friendly tone.
“Ill let you off the hook, Marie.”
At that, Marie heard the sound of another button popping open.
As I undressed with one hand, my clothes fell down my shoulder and onto the floor.
I pushed it away using my feet.
All but the maids obsidian eyes were paralyzed as her name was called.
I was all she could see in her line of sight.
Youre the one who did this.”
Marie could see laughter behind those golden eyes.
‘What is this.
What the hell .
Her face, which had been frozen in shock, slowly came back to life.
“Y-you see, this, this—”
Her mind went numb as she desperately tried to think of excuses.
However, she clearly, inescapably saw white and red scars and open cuts littering all over porcelain skin.
“Until when will you fool me, Marie”
Only then did Marie realize.
She had been given a final chance to fess up the truth.
But the realization was too late.
“How much was it”
“I-I dont know what youre .
“I hope Katie gave you a lot.
Its the price of your life, after all.”
How sweet those whispers were.
It really seemed like that voice was worried.
But of course, that wasnt the case.
‘Price of my life .
It kept echoing in her head.
The fear she felt was immeasurable.
The moment she realized there was no room for escape, Marie instantly wanted to kneel.
If her body hadnt been petrified by fear, thats what she would have done.
However, now the only thing that could move was a frantically pounding heart that was leaden with terror.
The fingertips that gripped her chin loosened, swept down her throat, then settled on her neck.
As that hand moved, golden eyes bore straight into Maries the entire time.
If looks could kill, Marie would be dead by now.
“Seven years have passed since you became my maid.
Which means youve been watching for seven whole years.”
My body has recorded everything.
You created these scars.
Are you proud”
“N-no, Milady .
“It must have been difficult pretending to be kind.
Surely, its tiring to serve a master youre reluctant to obey.”
Maries horror grew as the accusations continued.
Without any other choice, I resorted to shallow threats while these words spilled out of my lips.
I couldnt use the full extent of my power as it was still unstable, but letting it out a bit was fine.
Little by little, the weight on Maries trembling shoulders got heavier and heavier.
I smirked at Marie, then turned my gaze out the window.
Despite the palpable chill that was caused by the tension in the room, the round moon outside was serene.
“S-spare me, please .
I-I cant breathe .
Before Marie knew it, the energy that enveloped her shoulders coiled around her neck.
Her heart was racing.
She wanted to scream for help.
From eyes engulfed by dread, tears flowed down copiously.
It felt like she was dying.
Beyond a blurred vision that drooped down, her frame trembled as if rain was hitting her body.
The smile that had been directed at Marie was soon erased.
I eased my grip and reached up to brush away a stray lock of Maries hair from her face, a relaxed action that looked as if it was an everyday occurrence.
What to do.”
The carefree tone prompted Marie to bite her lip.
After biting too hard, red blood dripped down her chin.
Stopping the trail of blood with my thumb, I left behind a smudge of crimson on her face as I stroked her cheek.
“E-everything, Ill follow all your orders, Milady.
just once .
if you let me go once, Ill do everything .
“Really Everything I ask for”
Maries head helplessly bobbed up and down.
At her gradually growing desperation, the pout on my lips curved once more into a smile.
“Then, should I believe you”
It was a sugary voice that seemed to be melting.
The hand that had curled over the maids neck slowly moved away and landed back on her shoulder.
Maries legs gave way, but before she could collapse to the floor, she fell into my arms in an awkward position.
She looked up with shrouded eyes.
Silver hair shining against the light, golden eyes glinted beyond a face veiled under a shadow, and a pale smile that looked like it was from a painting.
“Bear this in mind, Marie.
Your life is owned not by Katie, but by the Valentines.”
Nails stabbed into her clothes and dug into her flesh.
It was the same location as the injuries on the two ducal princesses arms.
Soon after, bright red blood dyed her uniform.
Marie nodded with eyes full of tears.
She couldnt feel any remorse from the person who inflicted such a wound on her shoulder so effortlessly.
How was it possible for an ordinary young lady to have this much strength
Maybe the moment Marie stepped into this room was the moment she fell into the lions den.
Without making a sound, her trepidation only grew deeper.