Chapter 5.1

Chapter 5.1

The Wishburn estate was a beautiful place. The vast fields were rich with grain and the forests were full of fruits and animals. The tutor who had taught Alice spoke of it in a proud voice. The residents could live here however they wanted by paying a small tax and the satisfaction rating by the residents was the highest in the estate when compared to every other place in the kingdom.

Riding around alone on a horse while looking around at the residences was quite a fresh experience for Alice. Her father and her brothers never took her with them when they went looking around the estate. Although Alice had no interest whatsoever in obtaining the title of the marchioness, it was still her estate in every way and knowing about it gave her comfort. It was important to know your surroundings.

The slowly rising of the past memories settled quickly in Alice’s mind. Her reflexes which were there from the experiences of her past life helped make it easy for her to cope with the overwhelming realization of her previous life. She had taken this ride alone to get to know herself more.

In her previous life, she had been someone who did other people’s dirty work and cleaned up their messes. The world hadn’t stopped spinning because she did it, neither did it become better or worse. It was just a job like any other job and paid well.

But things were different now. Before, she had been alone, fending for herself with nobody else in her life. However, Alice had her family now that she loved and cared about. She had taken their love and affection for granted, but after having a glimpse of her past self as Kim Eun-seo, who had lived without so much as a kind word directed towards her, she was going to do better. She was going to protect them at all costs. First thing is she needed to sort out the problem ignored by her brothers too lightly.

It felt good when things went smoothly. It had been the right choice. But she had miscalculated the amount of time it took to return to the castle. What excuse could she come up with? There was something like dirt blowing ahead. Squinting her eyes, Alice tried to make sense of it. Several people on horseback. Great! They’ve finally caught up, thought Alice. She slowed her horse. It was just as well, she was tired and her butt hurt anyway. She hadn’t ridden a horse for the longest time.

The soldiers on horses reached her and circled her. In their lead was Aaron, eyes red and bloodshot. It seemed like he hadn’t slept well for a few days, now. She saw dark circles that could swallow his eyes whole.

“Alice Maria Warwick!” thundered Aaron when he reached her.

“Present, sire,” said Alice mockingly.

“You!” he said, as he tried to descend from his horse. The effort almost made him collapse, but a soldier beside him helped him dismount. His legs weren’t healed fully. Aaron was sweating, perhaps with the pain of it. He took several breaths in. Alice dismounted and approached her brother.

“Why are you prancing around on a horse when your leg still hasn’t healed?” she asked, annoyed, “Shouldn’t you be resting? Where is Alex?”

“How dare you?” he asked, “Where were you? Where in hell are you going alone?”

Alice was taken aback with Aaron’s reaction. She had never seen him this angry. Or maybe she had, but not very recently. They were almost always nagging her for this and that. She was a teenager! Defying mother, rebelling with father, scoffing at her two elder brothers was every teenager’s birthright. It was tiring to have two brothers always fussing over her.

“I went to Reed to look for accessories and dresses for the upcoming party,” she said sternly, “You told me to buy a dress. I am pretty sure I made it clear to you that I was going to buy a dozen of them.”

Reed was the closest city with a port near Wishburn Castle. It was a trade hubbub. All kinds of things were sold there. Alice went there frequently with her mother for shopping. Although it would take them a day and a half to reach if they went by carriage and the maids, the footmen, and the servants. Going alone was much faster.

“Reed? By yourself?!” exclaimed Aaron, “Neither a carriage nor a guard with you. You went alone on a horse?” He waved a hand indignantly at her horse.

“Oh, come on!” said Alice, annoyed, shaking her hands in the air. “I did tell you that I would be back soon. The carriage and guard and all the retinue takes a day and a half to simply reach there! It was much faster this way. I could have gotten back before you even noticed I was gone.”

“Oh yeah?” said Aaron, glaring at her. “Pray tell me, where are all the bags filled with all the ‘accessories and dresses’ you supposedly bought?”

“What a nutjob you are!” she said, indignantly, “Obviously, I had the shopkeepers deliver them to the castle. Do you think I would be carrying everything around? Honestly!”

She folded her hands and jutted out her chin. Aaron looked like he might blow his top off any moment. She understood his worry, but seriously it was so suffocating sometimes. She patted his arm, gently.

“It’s alright, Aaron,” she said, trying to calm him down, “I made it back without a scratch on my body and a hair misplaced on my head. Let’s head back, alright? I will tell you everything about my excursions. Seeing you already steaming red like a tomato, I am sure Alex will have a fit. We are going to have to recover before Mother and Father arrive.”

“Alice…” trailed off Aaron, seeing sense in her words, but still gritting his teeth in annoyance.

Alice didn’t see any earth-shattering reason for him to be acting this way. What was so big a deal in taking some time off on her own. Gods, she needed a breather. Beside, nothing serious had happened, except some robbers she had met on her way, which she had taken care of very swiftly. But she realized it was better not to mention them.



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