The servants and the maids turned away. Some of the guests screamed and covered their eyes. The others averted their eyes and frowned as though they had seen something horrifying.
Eleanor managed to look. She swallowed bitterly. The body was wrecked. The throat had been slashed while her shoulders and hands were gnawed off. The guards hadn’t uncovered her feet yet but Eleanor figured they would be the same.
Eleanor noticed that the face was untouched. Even with the blood smeared on her features, she could see that this body belonged to Elsie Swindle. This girl had reassured Eleanor that she was experienced with this sort of thing. How could she have been so incompetent? Getting lost in the woods and attacked by wild animals…
Not able to utter a word, Eleanor gave a small wave. The guard covered the body with the cloth once again. The butler gave instructions to have the body removed while the Grand Duke addressed the princess.
“I sincerely apologize to the princess and everyone who accompanied her here. I am deeply sorry for your loss. I have instructed the guards to be on standby. Please inform any of them if you intend to leave the castle and they will accompany and protect you. I promise that something like this will not happen again. However, I plead with the guests to not leave the castle on their own. The jesters and singers will perform tonight at dinner to help ease this tragic situation. I hope you will be able to enjoy the evening and put this past you.”
The young nobles left the scene in twos and threes. Eleanor stood there, with her face flushed, looking at the guards cleaning up the body.
Ethan appeared by her side. “I don’t think it would be a good idea to accuse the Grand Duke of anything right now,” he whispered.
“She said to me that this was a piece of cake,” whispered Eleanor shakily. “She was so sure of herself. But… she messed it up like this.”
Ethan rubbed his chin. “It’s such a shame. But wild beasts are sensitive to the smell of blood. She shouldn’t have gone out in that state. But such things happen?”
“Such things happen?” asked Eleanor, uncertain.
Ethan nodded. “Sometimes it happens on our estate, too. Maidens take a wrong turn into the mountains or the forests and get attacked by wild animals. Some regions are so secluded in the forests that the maidens can’t leave their houses at all during that time.”
Towels instead of sanitary pads were really a problem in this world. Eleanor didn’t much prefer wet cloth between her legs. She usually stayed in her bed for three days when she was menstruating. But commoners couldn’t afford that. Pity that such things were never mentioned in the novels.
This wasn’t in the novel at all. Elsie Swindle wasn’t her maid. Eleanor’s father had hired her for this job. She wasn’t much concerned that Elsie was dead. But she was suspicious that the Grand Duke had something to do with it. Those grey eyes. In another world, those grey eyes had trembled in rage.
“It’s obvious that the Grand Duke had something to do with this,” she whispered to Ethan.
“Do you have any evidence?”
“No. I don’t. But… I just know.”
Ethan looked around and leaned closer to her. “Your Highness, did you have a vision about this?”
This incident had never happened in the novel. Her ‘visions’ were just the plot she had read about the novel in her past life. But even if she did tell him she did have a vision, he would believe her. Everybody believed her. No one knew the plot of this novel except her except for the female villain who would eventually lose to her.
Her eyes started searching for Alice Warwick. Aaron Warwick’s younger sister. The girl who shouldn’t have existed. She wasn’t here as though she couldn’t care less that a maid was dead. Eleanor had seen her during the tour of the estate but she was nowhere to be seen now. Is she in her room?
Eleanor had a different plan than her father. She felt it necessary to talk to that girl. She wanted to figure out if Alice had also reincarnated in this world from some other life. What is she planning next?
She was a daughter of the Marquess, so Eleanor knew she had no chance on the throne. Unless… she disappeared. The Grand Duke would be next in line. If Alice married him, she would be the Queen!
“D*mn, I have been a fool! So that was their plan.”
Ethan frowned in confusion. “What do you mean, Your Highness?” Eleanor could smell alcohol on his breath.
“The girl, Alice Warwick. We need to find out what she is up to.”
Ethan’s eyes narrowed. He relished in the fact that the princess seemed to hate Alice Warwick as much as him. Ethan wondered what had happened that had sown this hatred. He didn’t ask. Eleanor would tell him herself. He had to be friendlier to get her to trust him.