Can't Come Back - Chapter 26
Discord Link: Hush Mittens
“Yes, you are right.”
Berlia nodded in agreement. She talked a lot about herself and where she came from.
Not only did the elites care about their status now, but they also cared about where they came from.
That’s why women who were born in a Marquis’ house looked down on Berlia, no matter how much she was a Duchess.
Cain also knew this to be true. But he really thought that Berlia didn’t need anything.
“But you are a Duchess, one of the most respected people in the kingdom. The Hildayden family, from which you come, is not easy to forget. You are also more beautiful than any other woman, not just because of your status.”
Berlia was a Duchess, even though it’s because of his brother. Besides the royal family, there were only under ten women who were more important than she was. Cain wanted Berlia to feel good about herself.
And Berlia was very pretty. Cain knew that many of the noblemen in the ballroom had sneaked looks at her. It was hard to understand why she didn’t believe in herself.
“No, it’s just you, Cain…”
“I’m not that easy to please. I’d rather say they’re up there.”
Cain looked into Berlia’s eyes and smiled. Then he kept going.
“I fell in love with you. If you don’t trust yourself, Berlia, you can trust me.”
Cain kissed the top of Berlia’s head. It was the same when he met Cain for the first time. His words seemed to have strange power. When he said that to Berlia, she felt like she was good enough. Berlia nodded. She could definitely trust him.
“I will put my trust in you.”
“Yes, you can trust me, and feel free to value yourself.”
He didn’t want anyone to be too careless with her.
“I understand, Cain. I really appreciate it. Because of you, I feel stronger.”
Berlia’s face became happy. Cain thought again about how Berlia shines most when she smiles. He fell in love with that smile.
He wanted to see her smile like this for a long time.
“It seems like I just get help from you all the time.”
“No, Berlia, don’t say that. Your being in the world makes me happy.”
Berlia was afraid of the tea party, but Cain made her feel better about it. It was up to Berlia from here on out.
“Yes, you don’t have to be scared.”
Berlia picked a light green dress that was simple but stylish. Her blonde hair went well with the dress. In the mirror, there was a lovely lady in a stylish dress. She chose to stop being shy around other important women.
“My lady, the horse-drawn carriage is ready.”
“Thank you, and I’ll be down soon.”
Shortly after that, Berlia was about to get in the carriage that would take her to the house of Marquis Bland. She had just put one foot on the first step of the carriage’s stairs.
Suddenly, she couldn’t see well and felt dizzy. Her body shook a little.
“Madam, are you okay?”
Next to her, Betty helped her up with a shocked look on her face. But soon after, she stopped feeling dizzy and her vision began to get better.
“…I’m good, I must have just been tired for a moment.”
‘Perhaps because I was too focused.’
She might have been nervous even though she thought she was fine. She wrote off her feeling dizzy as a moment of tiredness caused by focusing too much on the tea party.
Berlia went to the home of Marquis Bland. The tea party was held in a hall in the Marquis’ house. The wide hall walls were covered with paintings. Small figures made of plaster and ceramics with detailed designs were put in big glass cases between them.
Marquis Bland was a big art collector. He kept his collection in a gallery in his house, and he liked having people over to look at the art.
Today was the day that, like her husband, the Marquis Bland’s wife invited the women to the show. Tea tables from the past were set up in the middle of the large room. The plan was for people to drink tea and look at the art.
“Duchess Hildayden, you’ve arrived.”
“Good morning, Lady Bland.”
Berlia was met by Lady Bland, who was wearing a beautiful light blue dress. Even in her eyes, everything seemed ready for today’s tea party. Lady Bland’s face showed that she was happy. But Berlia had decided that she would not be scared. She thought back to the words of support Cain had given her.
“This is the first time I’ve been to a tea party where everyone is so friendly. I don’t know where you got the idea that you could drink tea and look at art at the same time.”
Lady Bland was praised by Berlia. She had learned from Claudia that it was more respectful to praise someone calmly than to make fun of them in a rude way.
She was surprised because she didn’t think Berlia would be so quick to say nice things.
“Yes, that is very impressive.”
“…Thank you. I’ll go now and say hello to the other women.”
The Lady Bland moved quickly to greet the next guests. Berlia looked at the whole room when she was left alone. It was true that the Marquis’ house had a beautiful gallery. It was a very nice place.
Soon, all of the women who had been invited sat down at the tea tables. Lady Bland spoke to the guests by opening her mouth.
“Thanks to everyone who came. Today is the first day we’re letting women into the family room. I hope this tea party looks, smells, and tastes good to you.”
When she spoke, the other women all began to praise her.
“My husband told me that the Marquis’ gallery had beautiful pictures, and now I can see them for myself.”
“Indeed. Having tea and looking at such great art. How can a tea party be so perfect?”
“It’s so beautiful that it’s a shame only men have seen it.”
Lady Bland looked happy and proud as the comments kept coming. It looked like all of the shame from the royal dinner was going away. She didn’t plan to stop here, though. She thought she would stand out more if she smiled, but she didn’t know it.
“There is a piece that I would love to show you all.”
When she spoke, everyone looked interested. The servant was called by Lady Bland.
“Bring on the ‘Joy’.”
When she said that, the Countess Anderea acted as if everything had already been planned.
“What? Could it be ‘Joy’ by Morden? Oh, my gosh. You mean you got that famous piece of art?”
The words of Countess Andrea shook up the area. Morden’s ‘Joy’. No one who lived in the empire had never heard of that name.
A great artist who died 50 years ago in the Empire’s War. He was a man who drew stunningly beautiful pictures on plates. Morden was killed in the Empire War, and his best-known work, ‘Joy,’ also went missing. So, everyone here was surprised, because it was a work that had only been heard about in stories since then.
The Marquis’s butler carefully brought in an item that was wrapped in cloth. The worker put the item on the tea table and took a step back.
“You may have a lot of hopes.”
Everyone in the room looked at the black cloth. Lady Bland put out her hand and pulled the cloth back. A big plate with beautiful drawings stitched on it was shown. It was called the ‘Joy’.
“Could this be true? Is this ‘Joy’?”
“How can someone say something so delicate? It’s hard to believe.”
“They also say that the powder of ground gems was used to make this plate. So, it looks like it sparkles.”
“Oh my goodness. It’s so pretty.”
It was a beautiful thing, no doubt about it. Berlia’s face, on the other hand, didn’t change in any way.
Lady Bland thought Berlia acted this way because she couldn’t see ‘Joy’. Berlia was sitting the farthest away from the art. Lady Bland talked to Berlia while pretending to be kind.
“Why don’t you come over here, Duchess Hildayden, and take a look?”
Berlia wasn’t too interested, but she couldn’t just say, ‘I’m not interested, so it’s okay.’ She had no choice but to get up and go over to ‘Joy’.
And it was after Berlia had moved forward about five steps.
All at once, the lights went out and her head started to spin. It was the same feeling she had while riding in the carriage. The body of Berlia moved.
She reached out quickly. She was barely holding herself up by leaning on the tea table where her hand was. Then it took place.
The ‘Joy,’ of all things, was put where Berlia had put her hand on the tea table. When Berlia put her hand down quickly, the table shook and the art fell to the floor.
The colorful and carefully painted ‘Joy’ fell to the floor and broke into many pieces. There was a short pause. Berlia was no longer feeling dizzy, but there was another issue. The ladies’ faces turned horrified.
“What the heck is this…?”
“Oh no, what should we do! It’s the most important thing to my husband. The painting that the Marquis Bland planned to keep as a family heirloom!”
A piece of art that would have been important to the past of the empire was broken. Everyone was shocked by what happened. No one could open their mouths very easily.
But, strangely, Berlia was cool while everyone else was freaking out.
“I apologize, Lady Bland. The value of the art will be paid for by the Duchy of Hildayden.”
The way Berlia spoke made it clear that she would make up for ‘Joy’. Lady Bland started to talk in a shocked way.
“Duchess of Hildayden, the value of the work is not just its price. To destroy a work that is the only one of its kind in the world. Do you not know that Morden’s ‘Joy’ can no longer be seen in the world, no matter how much money you have?”
She put her hand to her head and shook it. Her skin was very light. Many of the noble women who were sitting here felt sorry for Lady Bland. They didn’t know how to make her feel better because the valuable piece she had just gotten was broken.
“…Yes, you’re right. The price of ‘joy’ can’t be put in dollars.”
“Do you really not know how big of a mistake you’ve made?”
“Really, you really don’t know.”
Berlia got a lot of bad press. If it was the normal her, she wouldn’t have been able to stand up to these cold looks. But Berlia didn’t say a word as she looked at the broken pieces of ‘Joy.’ Something got her attention. Berlia’s eyes sparkled.
“…Like I thought.”
The broken piece was white where it was cut in half. It didn’t have anything. Even though she didn’t want to break it on purpose, the fact that it was a fake was proven, and she felt like everything had turned out well. Berlia opened her mouth slowly.
“If it had been the real ‘Joy,’ I wouldn’t have been able to say that I would make up for it easily. As you said, the price of ‘Joy’ can’t be put into money. But… this ‘Joy’ is a fake.”