Abigail turning over a new leaf started to look more plausible. In the past, if Clara spoke out of turn like that, Abigail would fly off the handle. Something changed after she came back to life, but… Norma continued to observe Abigail with a complicated expression on her face.
She noticed that Abigail’s purple eyes land on Clara’s ear. She stared at it intently before saying, “Clara.”
“Yes, Your Majesty?”
“Your earring is very nice.” Hidden beneath the maid’s hair, Clara wore a blue earring. Norma felt her heart drop into her stomach. Clara, you idiot! I told you accessories were banned! Abigail grinned as she responded to Clara, her face twisting to resemble a demon from hell.
Clara realized her mistake the moment she saw that smile. “I-I’m sorry. I swear won’t wear earrings ever again!” Clara visibly paled, and tried to quickly remove her earrings. She was in such her hurry, she made her ears bleed.
Abigail jumped out of her seat and quickly grabbed the girl’s hands. “Clara! Calm down! You’re bleeding.”
Norma stood at a loss. Abigail? Cleaning up a servant’s blood? Not berating the girl for getting blood on the carpet? Right now, Abigail’s face showed only worry, and she spoke as if she was the one who had gotten hurt. “I was only complimenting you on your pretty earrings. No need to be so startled.”
“R-really…?” Clara looked more shocked than anything.
Abigail spoke in a soft tone, trying to calm the girl down. “Of course. And from now on, you may wear whatever you wish. Please tell this to the other servants as well.”
“Y-yes, Your Majesty…” Clara barely managed to stammer out a response.
After Abigail confirmed the bleeding had stopped, she took off her handkerchief. “The bleeding stopped, but I recommend you still see a doctor.” Her face was stiff, but not her voice. Clara went through the moment in a daze. To think the queen of the country would treat her so nicely…
Abigail didn’t even notice Clara’s reaction, and remained rather apologetic. She looked at Clara’s bloodied earrings for a moment, then walked over to her accessory table. “Ah, come to think of it, there’s this pair of earrings I’m not using.”
When Abigail opened her jewelry box, precious stones and gems of all colors started shining from inside. Diamonds, garnets, emeralds, corals, pearls, sapphires… It looked like a small museum display, as if all the jewels in the world could be found in this one chest. Clara, too, had a few pieces of jewelry, as she was from a noble family, but this was on an entirely different level. There was just a ridiculous amount of jewelry inside.
Abigail picked out a pair of sapphire earrings from the hoard, ones the same shade of blue as Clara’s earrings. Though likely much more expensive. “Here, I’ll give you these.” She carefully held out her hand with the earrings.
Clara waved her hands in refusal, completely shocked. “N-no. I can’t accept something like this.”
“I’m not using them. And you’d be doing me a favor since I was planning to get rid of most of these anyway.” Clara’s vision swam listening to Abigail’s words. Abigail seized the opportunity, and put the earrings into the girl’s hands. She then turned to look at Norma, who flinched in surprise. Abigail gave her a once over before nodding to herself. “Peridot would suit you, Norma.”
“I-I don’t need anything, Your Majesty. Your jewels would be wasted on me.”
“No they won’t. I know you’ve suffered under me all this time, so I actually want to bestow the most gifts upon you, Norma. …I’m very sorry for everything.” The apology was as awkward as the gift itself. Norma was unable to say anything as Abigail picked out a green necklace and placed it into her hands. No words of gratitude came from the two maids, but neither did Abigail expect any. She simply put the jewelry box back where it came from, and said, “I’ll be giving the other maids gifts as well, so please don’t dwell on it too much, all right? Now then, I’ll be going outside for a bit.”
Abigail briskly left the room, after which it became completely silent. No one dared to speak. Norma’s mouth was left agape, unable to tell if this was a dream or reality. She unconsciously muttered to herself, “Did she really change…?”
* * *
A week passed since I told the maids they were free to wear whatever they wanted. Most of the maids seemed rather wary of the decree, but thankfully after only a few days, things started changing bit by bit. Some of the maids even wore the accessories I gifted them. Clara, in particular, was so excited that she wore something different every day. The sapphire earrings didn’t manage to make an appearance, though.
But not everyone was like Clara. Some of the maids, including Norma, still refrained from wearing anything fancy. If it was of their own volition, I had no problems with it, but unfortunately it seemed to stem from their distrust of me. Sigh. I suppose with all the things that Abigail did in the past, it’s no surprise they still don’t trust me. Abigail’s seriously a piece of work. I wouldn’t put it past one of the maids to try and kill her.
Speaking of which, who did kill her anyway? More than a few people saw Abigail as a nuisance. First, the supporters of the previous queen, Miriam. As a child of the Stork family, after her death, the family offered up Miriam’s sister to be the next queen. But Abigail, the princess of Cronenberg, ended up being chosen queen. Obviously the Stork family wouldn’t look too kindly upon Abigail for that.
Another one I was a bit wary of… was Sabelian’s half-brother from another mother. The man was called Raven, I think. Like his name, his hair was as black as a crow’s feathers. Despite having a different mother, he was the spitting image of Sabelian. However, along with his golden eyes, his personality was altogether unlike Sabelian’s, so it was easy to tell him apart. Not to mention that his hair was long enough to reach his shoulders.
Supposedly, they didn’t have a very good relationship due to inheritance problems. Although he didn’t have a bad relationship with Abigail persay, politically they should have been enemies. After all, if Abigail had a child, Raven’s chances of being king would further decrease.
Apart from those people, all the others with animosity towards Abigail were kind of a bonus that came with the territory of her horrid treatment of people. She tortured many a people, including her own servants in the castle… Ah, Abigail. What am I going to do with you? Sob… There were just too many potential suspects.
The first thing to do, therefore, is reduce the number of my enemies! I can’t die like in the original fairytale. I must improve my relationship with Blanche! “Clara, today Blanche is supposed to get measured for her new dress, right?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Do you think if I were to attend… she would find my presence unwelcome?” Today’s the day Blanche finally tries on new clothes! I really really really wanted to go. But I hesitated, considering Blanche was still terrified of me.
“It’ll be fine, I think!”
Clara’s reassurance gave me courage. At the very least, I could use bringing a gift as an excuse to stop by! “All right then. In that case, can you help me get dressed?”
Clara and Norma each picked up a shoe box to carry. They were the same ones I had been debating over last time. With the two maids by my side, I walked to the guest room, and started to hear voices of multiple people as I drew closer. Before entering, I took a small peek inside.
I could see Blanche sitting down on a chair. Seeing her sitting still with her tiny hands laid carefully on her lap she resembled a little porcelain doll. Even from this distance, she looked just the cutest. From her tiny little nose, to her mouth, and ears, and even her pink cheeks. If I poked her cheeks, they’d looked soft enough to bounce back with a little jiggle.
The room was filled with several large boxes and a few mannequins. Multiple different types of dresses hung on each and every one of them. Since the seasons were changing from winter to spring, the dresses were all warm and colorful. However, they were all sized for adults.
“Miss Jeremie, what do you think about this dress?” A man wearing a rather sharp suit piped up from the room. He seemed to be a designer of sorts. The lady called Jeremie was carefully looking at the selection of dresses. I heard Miss Jeremie was Blanche’s nanny as well as her teacher. She’d been serving Blanche since the princess was young. And if I recall correctly… she was the cousin of Duke Stork. With her family’s backing, she wasn’t someone to be trifled with. Other than that… I didn’t really know much about her. That was it.
To begin with, Abigail never really talked with the woman. The first and the last time the two met was when Abigail first entered the palace. Miss Jeremie was trying to talk to Abigail about Blanche’s education and personality. But Abigail cut the woman off, and said: [It’s too annoying so I’ll leave the princess to you. And in the future don’t come to me about the princess’ affairs.]
Sigh, Abigail. Why did you go and do that? I should give Miss Jeremie a gift as an apology at some point, too. As I stood there lamenting, Miss Jeremie went through one dress after the other, her eyes roving over them like a hawk. “Do you have other dresses apart from these?”
She was currently looking at a reddish brown dress. It looked chic and elegant, but it didn’t catch my fancy. In fact, none of those dresses looked very pretty. Children’s clothing is a world away from adult’s. But the clothing up there right now fit no one but adults. They were probably planning on just tailoring it down to fit Blanche. There’s no way clothes like those would be comfortable for a child…
My desire to design clothes for Blanche surged even more. I wanted to run in and stop them, but I needed patience, patience. Instead, I decided to use this as a chance to see what kind of clothes Blanche liked, so I could make one for her later. In meantime, the designer took out a different dress from a box.
“What do you think about this one, then?” It was a light blue dress with white ribbons all over it. Would Blanche like that style? I turned to see her reaction. Ah, her eyes sparkled like stars!
The girl gave the dress multiples excited glances. Her feet swung to and fro on the chair in anticipation. Oh me, oh my, her legs can’t even reach the ground because they’re so small… That’s so adorable… Thank goodness she found a dress she likes.
As I was busy staring at Blanche, Miss Jeremie responded, “Show me something else.”
“These are also quite popular nowadays.” The designer took out a different dress.
The moment I saw it, I put a hand over my mouth from shock. That was… a dress too early for humanity.
TL: Soju Jimmy
Editor/QC: Solistia Cosmopolitan