Please Answer Me - Chapter 45
Thelma smiled as she looked at Rosetta. “Do you like the items?”
Rosetta nodded at Thelma’s question. “Yes, but I think I got some things I didn’t order. I was going to ask you about this anyway.”
Rosetta pointed to the pile of clothes. “I only need one dress for the banquet tomorrow, and a few clothes for everyday wear, but why are there so many?”
There were five sets of banquet dresses and more than ten sets of casual clothes.
Thelma smiled at that. “I had the merchants make more and bring them to you, so you can look at them and leave out the ones you don’t like.”
Last time, Thelma had done as Rashid had commanded, calling in all the merchants she could find and laying out before Rigaina the goods they had brought.
Some of them were traders who traded directly with Lysa, and so included many rare items that were rarely seen in all of the Ardennes, even in the Basque tribe, where the goods came directly from Lysa Kingdom.
Contrary to Thelma’s expectations, however, Rigaina did not pay much attention to the expensive items. At first, she thought maybe she didn’t see the value in them, but soon realized that wasn’t the case.
“This is a really rare item,” she said as she looked at the lapis lazuli necklace, pushing aside the numerous gems that easily dazzled the human eye.
Everything she picked up was of the finest quality; she recognized value as easily as she breathed. But even so, she rarely touched expensive jewelry or trinkets.
When Thelma asked her why she didn’t buy jewelry, she laughed, saying, “It’s already enough.”
But she wasn’t sure if she should send the merchants on their way. Eventually, Thelma broke the news to Rashid.
Rashid listened to her and told her not to force her, but to order more items of similar taste to the ones Rosetta had chosen. In the end, Thelma compromised by ordering more extra clothes.
But Rosetta immediately shook her head. “No. They’re all pretty and I like them, but I don’t think I’ll use them all……”
At Rosetta’s uneasy look, Benny’s eyes narrowed in question.
“But you are going to be here forever, Rigaina. This is not enough, there has to be more. And Riga is not a skinny people!”
“The correct word is ‘stingy’ and not ‘skinny’.”
“Oh, my bad. He’s not a stingy people!”
“And it would be correct to say a stingy ‘person’, not ‘people’.”
Just then, Thelma picked up a piece of paper off the floor.
“Benny, I have something to tell you, too. Do you see this?”
Benny’s gaze turned to the piece of paper Thelma was holding, and on it were the words Benny had written earlier.
“Here in ‘traje,’ the point at the end should be on the left, not the right.”
Benny’s face immediately flushed red. “I- it was a mistake! I knew it too!”
“But Benny, don’t you think you made the same mistake here?”
Thelma picked up another piece of paper, this time showing it to me. Benny threw herself down and snatched the paper from Thelma’s hands with a snap. She was terribly embarrassed, and eventually made a cute little hissy fit and left.
Eventually, Rosetta burst out laughing.
“What should I do, Benny seems very upset……”
Even as she said this, Rosetta couldn’t stop the laughter from flowing.
“You’re too hard on her, Thelma. Benny’s been trying so hard to teach me. You could have pretended not to know.”
Thelma sighed softly. “The truth is, Benny didn’t learn the language and writing properly, so she uses it incorrectly. Why don’t you get someone else to teach you properly?”
Rosetta shook her head at the seriousness of the question. “It’s okay. Now that you’ve pointed it out, Benny won’t get it wrong next time, and she’ll study harder to teach me properly. If I ever learn anything weird from Benny, I’ll ask you or Rashid later.”
As she stared blankly at Rosetta’s face, Thelma asked a rather abrupt question. “Why do you want to learn Ardennese, Rigaina?”
“Because I need it?” Rosetta tilted her head for a moment before answering.
“Actually, you don’t really need Ardennese, Rigaina.”
While the Quat still speaks a lot of Ardennese, the Croa and Basque tribes had largely abandoned the language. Some of the ruling classes don’t even speak Ardennese at all.
All of this happened after being under the rule of the Lysa Kingdom for a long time. And one day, when the Ardennes are unified, the official language will be Latisse. Once a language dies, it never comes back. And a dying language has no power.
“What happened last time won’t happen again, because we’ve taught them to ask your permission before doing anything.”
Besides, according to Elder Calante, this woman would be returning to her homeland soon. Perhaps that would be the time when the Croa chief would give up on the marriage altogether. A month at most.
Elder Calante’s words answered some of the questions Thelma had been asking herself. Why this woman was so laid back, why she didn’t hate Rashid, but rather seemed to like him?
And now Thelma had a new question. Why would this woman bother to learn Ardennese if she was going back to Basque anyway? If she hadn’t known it before, she wouldn’t need it in the future.
“Just, I want to know.”
Thelma looked at her somewhat blankly in response.
“What people here think, what they feel…… I’m just curious about that.”
“Do I need any other reason than that?” Rosetta added, sounding genuinely curious.
When Thelma began to learn languages and other knowledge from Elysia, those around her asked her why she would want to learn something she didn’t need. Wouldn’t it be better for a slave to spend that time resting her tired body, since she would never be able to use it?
But in the end, the endeavor that others said was unnecessary has made Thelma what she is today. When Elysia married and left the mansion, she brought Thelma with her.
Thelma was the most helpful person in her life in the castle, as she not only knew the Levantine script but also spoke Latisse fluently.
She stopped herself from asking the stupid question, even though she knew full well how pointless it was to give up the here and now for an unknown future.
She also realized once again that even if this woman would leave someday, her job now was to take care of her until then without fail.
Thelma smiled genuinely.
There is no telling how long this bond will last. She may have to leave soon, or she may end up staying longer than she thought.
Either way, Thelma hoped this woman would be okay. Because that’s what Rashid wanted, and because she wanted no one else to go through what Elysia had.
By late afternoon, the invited guests were trickling into the castle.
Torches burned on both walls of the hallway leading to the banquet hall.
The banquet hall was already lit like daylight by countless candles and lanterns. Soon, the hall was filled with the sounds of chatter and musicians playing music.
By this time, Rosetta was putting the finishing touches on the details of the outfit she was wearing for the banquet. Thelma and Benny looked her up and down and nodded in unison.
“Rigaina, you look beautiful!”
What Rosetta was wearing now was a light blue dress. The sleeves were long and full, with a hint of curve to the chest. The waist was knotted in a wide band of silver fabric embroidered with floral designs, and the skirt beneath it fell in the full, flowing manner of traditional Ardennes dress.
Rosetta looked at herself in the mirror: not only her clothes, but also her hair, braided and pinned up on either side in the customary Ardennes fashion. A long white veil hung down the back of her head.
Rosetta found the sight of herself to be both unfamiliar and yet fascinating. She felt like a completely different person, just by the way she was dressed.
Just then, there was a knock on the door, and it opened. Rashid’s reflection stared back at Rosetta in the mirror. Rosetta took a small breath.
Ever since she’d come here, Rashid had always worn comfortable clothes for activities. It was usually the same thing: a loose-fitting white shirt and black pants. His long hair was tied back and he wore muddy boots. You couldn’t tell if he was a Riga or a servant by the way he dressed.
But he looks flawlessly perfect now.
His clothes were black, a color not favored at banquets. The black robe, which could easily have been seen as dark and bland, glistened with a faint light from the silver embroidered on it. The form-fitting garment showed off the straight, yet soft lines of his body. His hair, which he usually wore tied back, was long and loose today.
“Are you ready?”
Rosetta, who had been staring at him in the mirror, came to her senses after hearing his question.
And she knew in her heart that tonight he would stand out in a crowd of men dressed like peacocks.