“My lady, I think you’ve become very pessimistic after what happened… that time,” said Amy cautiously, “It was terrible, but not all the people in this world are like Count Thoreau. There are good men out there. And isn’t it a relief that he’s dead?” Amy gathered up my braided hair and draped it over the crown of my head, securing it with pins.
I looked at her. “How do you know about that?”
“About the count? Oh, I heard your father and grandfather arguing about it. Your grandfather seemed very angry that he wasn’t informed of it.”
“Grandfather is here?”
“Yes, he arrived in the morning,” said Amy, “He had lunch with your father and mother.”
“What about my brothers?”
“The older master woke up just a while ago,” said Amy, “But the young master is still sleeping.”
After finishing with my hair, I put on a comfortable dress and went downstairs. My parents and grandfather were enjoying Lokum with tea in the drawing room. Alex was also sitting next to them, reading the newspaper.
“Ah, my lovely child. Last night’s party was a huge success. Everyone around was busy complimenting you,” said my grandfather, with a big smile. I hugged him.
“Since ‘One Week in Schway’ is published today, the authors must have been busy. They have written about the party in full detail. I don’t know who they bribed but nobody could know this much unless they were already a part of the noble family and present in the party.”
“One Week in Schway” is a kind of newspaper that’s only made in the capital. This newspaper was usually printed on poor quality papers, but the content had every little detail about everything happening in the aristocratic families. Wealthy commoners read it to keep up to date with everything. Or anyone could read it as long as they had money to buy it. It was usually published once a week. But if you subscribed for a year and paid in advance, it was delivered to your doorstep the moment it is printed.
The mysterious thing about this paper was that nobody knew who owned it. No one knew where it was printed. But every noble in the capital subscribed to it. It was said that it was even delivered to the royal palace.
“Is there anything about Alice? What does it say?” asked Mom, with a teacup in her hand.
“‘The person who absolutely caught the eye at this party was Alice Warwick, daughter of Marquess of Wishburn, who turned fifteen this year. This young beauty, who resembles Lady Wishburn herself, defended her family against the accusations of the Princess. She has not only caught the eyes of the young eligible gentlemen but also of the Grand Duke of Glouster, uncle from her maternal side. Many nobles note that this is the first time the Grand Duke of Glouster has showed any interest in a woman.’”
Doesn’t calling him my uncle make us sound too close a relative? I tossed the Lokum in my mouth and snatched the newspaper from Alex’s hand. My brother glared at me but didn’t take the newspaper back.
“The Grand Duke of Glouster. It’s been so long; it seems like young Rion has grown up.”
I glanced at my grandfather. Rion. So that’s his name.
Dad nodded slowly, lost in his thoughts. “Still, he can’t be too old. He was still a little boy when we married. He can’t be more than three of four years older than Alex.”
He’s twenty-four years old, so he’s older than Alex by six years. I guess the age difference between the late king and grandmother was quite big too.
“Mother told me that she sympathized with him.”
Grandfather nodded at my mother’s words. “I remember. I told her not to pity him,” said grandfather, “She also suggested we bring him up since he was going to live as the Grand Duke of Glouster anyway. But back then, I wasn’t much inclined to do that.”
I didn’t know how my grandfather felt now. Did he regret it? I studied his face but couldn’t make out what he was thinking. I looked through the newspaper and briefly stopped at the page having the illustration of the party.
It’s obvious that the illustrator hadn’t been anywhere near the party. He had tried to draw everything from his imagination, piecing together bits and fragments from what he had heard about it. Neither I nor the princess looked like us in reality. He had made the princess into a Medusa! Was this allowed?!
Alex might have noticed my horrified expression because he leaned over to me and whispered, “No one knows who publishes these things. Nobody knows the illustrator as well. Everything is anonymous. So, it is useless to try to find them. I suspect a high-ranking nobleman is involved in this.”