Blanche’s bright, smiling face was extremely beautiful. I’ve never seen her smiling like that before. If smiles were to have a corresponding temperature associated with them, then hers would probably be the warmth of spring. A smile that made flowers bloom from within the hearts of onlookers. Hnnng, good job, me! You go girl!
To think this would make Blanche so happy… Even Norma had a motherly smile on her face! Then at that moment, someone called out from the end of the hallway, “Princess Blanche! You need to take your measurements!”
It was Miss Jeremie. Startled, Blanche immediately lost her composure and began fumbling about. “U-um, I think I need to go.”
“Of course, you may leave.”
“I-I’ll see you again next time with the clothes…!” Blanche made a neat, if slightly flustered, bow and made her way back to the guest room. The way her feet skipped across the floor, one could almost see flowers blooming from beneath them.
Aww, how cute. Seeing Blanche so happy made me happy. So nice, so nice. Even after I returned to my room, I couldn’t stop my lips from twitching upwards.
Curiously, Clara watched me as I attempted to control myself. “Lady Abigail, l, should I call for a doctor? You don’t look very well.”
I don’t look very well? Whatever do you mean? I simply couldn’t be happier! As I thought, this face really does bring with it a lot of misunderstandings. “I’m fine. I want to rest for a bit, so you two may be excused. Don’t come back until I call for you.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.” The maids promptly exited the room.
As soon as I heard the door click behind them, I leapt straight onto my bed. This was immediately followed by me beating the ever living daylights out of my pillows. Ahh, Aaaagh! Blanche is so cute! How does she manage to look so lovely? I want to make clothes. I want her to her wear clothes I make…!!
I wanted to summon the designer and put him to work making a few dresses for me right off the bat. But I had a problem. First off, it was still a bit too early to gift anything of that sort to Blanche. I had no idea what kinds of clothes she liked. I wanted to not only make pretty clothes, I wanted to make pretty clothes that Blanche would actually like. Seeing as how she couldn’t refuse Miss Jeremie’s suggestions, if I were to give her a dress now, she’d wear it regardless of her feelings. And she’d definitely wear that rainbow dress if I gifted it to her. That’s why I needed to first improve my relationship with her, to the point where the girl could honestly tell me ‘no’.
I curled my hands into fists and steeled myself. I’ll be able to hold a fashion show for Blanche some day. Until then, I need to become better friends with her!
* * *
The late spring sun was quite warm. Sabelian currently stood next to a sunny windowsill and looked at the building across the way: the library building that Abigail currently resided in.
Abigail was out alone in the hallway, and didn’t seem to realize she was being watched. No, from the start, she was far too busy watching someone herself. When he turned his head to follow the woman’s gaze, he discovered that Blanche was taking a walk in the garden.
The young princess was walking along the garden path clad in a pink dress. The girl was just taking a normal walk, but Abigail had already been watching her for nearly 30 minutes straight. This wasn’t even the first time he’d witnessed this behavior. Abigail would do this whenever Blanche appeared around her.
Is that woman trying to spy on Blanche? Just what is she planning? Sabelian bit his lips subconsciously. The last time they spoke to each other, Abigail demanded that he spend a little more time looking after Blanche. She almost sounded like a different person altogether. There were some who believed that Abigail really had changed, but Sabelian didn’t believe it for an instant.
Abigail truly seemed to hate Blanche. The woman would stare at Blanche for extended periods of time, then spend several minutes punching the wall or circling the floor while lost in thought. So this was how that woman released her murderous feelings?
Right then, Abigail turned her face just enough for Sabelian to catch a glimpse of her expression. It was impossible to miss the woman’s evil, venomous smile. Perhaps that was how a devil from hell would look if it smiled? Sabelian’s blue-gray eyes turned cold when he saw that face. So the woman did hate Blanche after all.
He couldn’t really understand what was going through Abigail’s mind. Abigail was jealous of Sabelian’s previous wife. When hating the dead didn’t turn out to be enough however, the woman directed her hatred towards the living. She even screamed at Sabelian once, asking if he would want to have a child with her if Blanche was no longer around.
There’s no way a woman like that would change so easily. As he contemplated all this, Blanche had already finished her walk.That was when Abigail started moving. Looking now, that woman seemed to be carrying a box in her hand.
A box big enough to fit a human head.
Sabelian’s eyebrows twitched the moment he saw the box. The woman was about to do something. He felt it in his very bones. Exactly what kinds of thoughts were in that woman head to give rise to such a malevolent smile?
Abigail moved quietly, without a maid by her side. Looking at the direction the woman was moving towards, Sabelian stood up.
* * *
Mm, I guess now’s about the time Blanche usually comes back? I was hiding behind a wall with a box in my hand. I could see Blanche’s room from here.
For the entirety of this week, I listened to rumors about Blanche and observed the girl for myself. I also ran simulations in my mind of what she might like the whole time. Her new dresses just came in recently, so that’s a pass. I already gave her a pair of shoes, so that’s another pass. Accessories are a no-go at her age. She also didn’t appear to really enjoy them either. After much thought, I managed to come up with a perfect gift. Blanche should like this as well.
The problem now, however, was the timing. I was thinking about giving it to her while she was taking a walk, but I didn’t want to bother her then. If I acted like I met her by coincidence in this hallway, and gave her this box, then Blanche would be…
…No, maybe this would make me look like a creeper? I decided to think of all this from Blanche’s perspective. To Blanche, I was something like a bothersome boss at work. How would I feel if my boss showed up out of nowhere during my day off?
I felt a chill run down my spine. No, I should just leave before Blanche comes back. Maybe I should just leave the present in front of her door… I wanted to see her face when she opened the gift, but for now I thought retreating was the better option. I put down the box, feeling a sense of disappointment as I did.
Right then, I felt someone walk up behind me. Gasp, is Blanche back already? I whirled around to see Sabelian standing there. Phew, it’s not Blanche. But what’s this guy doing here?
I hadn’t seen him since the day we decided to use separate rooms. We ate our meals separately as well, so there was really no reason for us to meet. But still, I should at least greet him. I stood up from where I was and gave him just a quick bow, “I hope you’ve been doing well, Your Majesty.”
“What are you doing here, Queen?” I only received a cold question in response. Sabelian sounded even more on edge today than before.
I flinched for a split second, but I decided to try and be a little more upfront about it. What, what, watchu want, man? I’m just here to give the lil’ girl a gift, yo. “I was going to give Princess Blanche a gift, and I was just about to leave it here.”
“A gift?” He still looked mighty suspicious of me. He looked at me almost as if I were a terrorist.
“Yes, a gift.”
“Give it to me.” Sabelian extended his hand out to me.
Give it to him? When I wrapped it up all nice with a pink ribbon for Blanche? But he didn’t seem like he’d back down if I refused… Well, whatever. I can always redo the ribbon again.
I hid my annoyance and handed him the box. Sabelian quickly took the ribbon apart with his hands. Sob, my precious gift for Blanche is…! Why are you the one unwrapping it?!
Soon, the man finished unwrapping, and the gift revealed itself. “……This is?”
“A doll, obviously.” What lay inside was a lovely rabbit doll that resembled Blanche. While on the subject, its clothes were designed by yours truly! It had the same design as the pink dress Blanche had been eyeing from before. I wanted the two to wear matching outfits of sorts.
Blanche would look really cute hugging a doll wearing the same clothes as herself.
Sabelian wouldn’t stop staring at the doll. What, do you think I actually hid a bomb in it? “Please give it ba….” As soon as I said this, he unsheathed his sword.
The longsword revealed itself with a spine-chilling “shiing”. Holy- what the hell?! I took an involuntary step backwards. Hey, hey, what the hell are you doing? What’s up with the sword? Were you the one that actually killed me before….?!
The doll landed on the floor while I was trying to regain my composure. And Sabelian’s sword plunged straight down onto it. You know, like, he stabbed it. Right in the stomach.
I looked at Sabelian dumbfoundedly. What… Just what… What happened? His sword split the rabbit’s belly in two. The dress I made was cut in half just like that. White cotton spilled out of its stomach just like that.
He grabbed the doll off the floor, and started pulling everything inside of it out. The doll became a mess in an instant. The floor was covered with cotton, and pink scraps of cloth started flying everywhere like dying flower petals. He ripped apart the doll as best he could in order to check its contents and after what seemed like an eternity, he threw what was left of it in his hand onto the floor.
“So it really was just a doll.” Sabelian muttered quietly.
Only when I heard him speak did I come back to reality. “What…” Sabelian turned his head my way when he heard my voice. He seemed surprised. “What did you just do, Your Majesty?”
I couldn’t stop my anger from bubbling up. It felt way more intense than anything I could’ve imagined. Something I spent hours working on as a gift, he just ripped it apart in mere seconds. I had to watch as Blanche’s present became little more than a piece of trash. However, more than anything else, Sabelian’s face infuriated me the most. He simply looked a little surprised. There was not even a hint of guilt on his face.
Sure, he must suspect me because Abigail abused Blanche in the past. I couldn’t do anything about his suspicions that I might have tampered with the doll. But did he really have to resort to this? I tried to hold back the impending waves of tears, but couldn’t stop myself.
It was then I noticed a change in Sabelian’s face. He didn’t look sorry at all, of course. Rather, he looked like he just saw a strange creature. I didn’t want to even look at him. I wanted nothing more than to run away, but there was something I had to do first.
I crouched down and started picking up all the scraps. I felt humiliated. It was trash that should be thrown away at this point, but I couldn’t watch it remain strewn all over the floor like this. I made this for Blanche… I made it so I could see her be happy face… And yet…
Right then, as my fingers trembled from a mixture of shame and rage, I heard a voice come from behind me. “Lady Abigail? ….Father?”
TL: Soju Jimmy
Editor: MWO Gimlet
QC: Solistia Cosmopolitan