Duchess in the Attic – Chapter 01

It was the night the party was held.
The organizer of the evening party was Earl Holloway.
Opal, the daughter of the Earl who just debuted in the social world, stepped into a garden where a man a little drunk sat and that was when the disaster started.
The garden of the mansion, which she has visited many times since childhood, was a good site for lovers to do shady things at night, as the lights were very dim.But she thought that at the party, it would be okay, as everyone was there enjoying the view.Opal was suddenly hugged from behind, and immediately next, pushed down on the lawn and kissed.
Opal shouted in pain and the man went for the run.
There are guards in this garden.
Opal, who knew it, asked for help, but did not expect this commotion to be a fatal wound for unmarried women.

At the same time that the guards rushed to the place, the man ran away, and only Opal with a crumpled dress and disheveled hair was left behind.
Not only the guards but many invited guests saw Opal on the ground.
The gaze of the invited guests was more curious than worried about her wellbeing.
(TL: From here it’s Opal side of the history)
I don’t remember much after that.
A maid approached the shocked me in a hurry, and apparently brought me back to my room.
After that, I went to bed and slept until the next morning without knowing anything.
(Maybe, this is because I had yet to realize what situation I had fallen into.)

The next morning, when I woke up, my father told me to come to the study.
After knocking.My father immediately responds, I entered the study stared by the displeased face of my father-Earl Holloway, sitting in his office chair.

“Good morning, Father. I heard you were calling.”
“Are you greeting me? Do you know what you did last night? ”
“Yes?, I was attacked and I’m sorry that I made so much noise, but your daughter safety was at risk.”
“It doesn’t matter what happened. The problem is that you were exposed to the people’s eyes looking all disheveled and your clothes in disarray.”

I tremble at my father’s anger.
Without a word about whether I’m okay, he continued yelling furious.
Even I, facing such a father, would want to talk back.

“I didn’t do anything wrong! That guy who attacked me should be punished! Not me!”
“Do you know that man?”
“I didn’t see him. He took me from behind. He ran away when I screamed.”

My father exhaled deeply.

“That was the problem. If you didn’t make such a fuss, the incident would be unknown to the world…”
“But… but… I would have been assaulted if I didn’t make any noise.”
“If you could protect your public’s reputation, you could find a better marriage partner, whether you’re a virgin or not. But now it’s spreading surprisingly fast that you’ve been defiled. Your marriage options are very limited, though, isn’t the kid who visited this morning okay? “
“… that one?”

“I wanted to deny father’s words, but, the shock made me forget to protest”

“The boy who attacked you last night came out by himself and recognized his actions before me. I want him to take responsibility and for the both of you to get married.”
“Did he recognize his crime? Even though he run away last night? And marry him when he attacked me?”
“For that boy, it was a great chance that you went out to the garden alone. Because he’s the second son of a poor noble. So to say, you were an utter fool. If you didn’t make any noise none of this would have happened.”
“From a poor Viscount family …”

I whispered stunned and remembered the young man I saw from the window going out recently.
In the first place, I have a considerable dowry, which turned into a prey for a boy who heard about it from somewhere.
However, I know I can’t convince my father now to do otherwise.

My father turned crazy after losing mother early on and only lived for his assets and fortune, my older brother entered a boarding school, and I have no other family. Therefore, I grew up alone.
Of course, the employees were kind.
Still, it is enviable to see a good family, and I have always dreamed of building a warm family.

That’s why I wanted to marry someone I could like, and I was looking for someone who loves me, and not my dowry.
I had a childhood friend in the territory, but unfortunately he was the third son of a baron and his father would not forgive him for marrying me.
In the first place, we only had a deep friendship.
And in the capital city where I put all my hopes for finding a fiancée, there were no men that took interest in me when we met.

(Better to say, I was alone … so connection were difficult)

I remembered a man who I had danced with once.
He is a young duke who has just graduated from college and rarely appears in evening parties.
Furthermore, because of his status as duke, it is difficult for women to approach him.
However, as my father introduced me, I was invited to dance with him in a ceremonial manner.
Although we were silent, his hands were very kind, and the smile that he occasionally showed me was still boyish, so I imagined it would be fun to spend a lifetime with him.

“Oh, you’re thinking he’s not good enough and you don’t want to marry him. It doesn’t matter, there’ll always be someone who needs your dowry. I will examine that person and decide, so your future is secured.”
「――Yes, Father」

He responded happily, but I wasn’t listening to it.
I went down to the breakfast room.

That night, I attended a night party hosted by a certain marquis.
So, for the first time, I understood what my father was saying.
The friends I had until yesterday were now gone.
There were no young people who approached me when I entered the venue.
And, although there were several men, I noticed that their looks at me were of disgust.
In addition, the women who were considered the highest layer of society were ridiculing me and whispering went I passed near.

It was a situation where an ordinary girl might have escaped, but I endured.
I did nothing wrong!.
Rather, the man who attacked a weak woman is the one who should be blamed, but he’s a coward who didn’t come.
-Probably because my nails scratched his face, he now can’t go out in public for the time being.

In the carriage on the way back, my lady in waiting complained about how embarrassed she was, but I ignored it.
If you don’t like it, you can quit.
I don’t have any senior woman like a mother or relative to accompany me, so I pay her money to accompany me in cases like this.
In the end, it seemed that the female attendant was unable to give up the large salary, and continued accompanying me to social events.

No matter how badly the rumors were, I wore majestic clothes and never hid from society, but it was still difficult to make connections as everyone avoided me or took me as a woman who accepts any kind of relationship.It seems that if I hid, it will make the rumors even worse.
Now there are no friends, and the number of invitations has decreased.
However, I was still invited on formal occasions as a Countess with huge assets.
I grew tired of it.

Finally, I can return to my loved territory.
I thought about the future while shaking in the carriage.
Father is still busy with increasing his wealth and has since ignored me.
My brother seems to spend his long university vacation at his friend’s house and he does not intend to return to the territory.

(I think everyone will forget about me next season? New scandals are born every day anyway.)

It was only my optimistic thoughts and as a young girl without mother who still dreamed of a marriage of love.
Of course, if in the capital there were people who approached me with bad intentions because of the rumors, the same can happen at the territory. As troublesome people can be found everywhere. 
Neighbors who hear the rumors and continue to come to the territory.
But, that was not all. There were happy things to talk about too…Claude Artley, my childhood friend for example, came back during the long-term university holidays, and spent time with me on long trips and fishing.
Since Claude is one year younger than my brother, he lamented that there were two more years before graduating from university, but encouraged me to meet with him next time.
I spent such a fulfilling day that completely revived me and like that, next season finally started, but it reminded me, that my thoughts were too sweet to be true…


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