"Your Highness, Lady Henrietta got into an accident as they were leaving on the capital." Jethro reported to his master while kneeling on the ground.
Jethro was the personal guard of Prince Augustine, they knew each other since young and he even become the crown prince's sparring partner when he first started learning sword. To Prince Augustine, he is like a sibling to him and he trusted him with his personal affairs to be executed according to his will.
Prince Augustine who's writing on his wooden desk, stop in reading reports and glance at his guard. He felt slightly irritated when he heard her name, annoyance filled in his heart. "Jethro, how many times do I have to tell you to stop reporting her whereabouts. I don't care about that wicked woman, she almost hurt Agnes and that I can't tolerate!"
"Your highness, she do have a qualification to hurt her since she is your fiancee and--"
"Silence! Whose side are you on exactly?" Augustine questioned in annoyance.
Jethro was really puzzled by the recent actions, that his highness made in this past few months. Ever since he start going on Arcane Academy, he suddenly changed to the point that he was beyond recognition. He recalled that before, he always asked Jethro to report Lady Henrietta's whereabouts and the things she do in her everyday life. As if he was afraid to be left out and while he listened to Jethro's report, his face was full of love and adoration towards her.
However one day... he suddenly change, it was so abrupt that Jethro fail to adapt to it. He couldn't comprehend the sudden change of his heart. Because for all he knew that, the prince really love lady Henrietta that he even hired the famous artisan just to make a ring and engrave his magical aura to protect her.
Jethro found this whole event suspicious, he even started to send spies secretly to fish out information but couldn't find any. He really believe that his highness was bewitched.
"I deeply apologize your highness!" Jethro replied and clenched his fist. He was left silence for a while, just kneeling on the cold ground.
The prince sighed, and look at Jethro with unreadable expression. "I'm really disappointed by your performance Jethro. I guess you should take a vacation."
Jethro didn't answer and just bow down obediently in front of him, Prince Augustine sighed for a few seconds before looking at his loyal guard he really didn't understand why he is always mentioning that woman.
"Comeback after the holidays." The Prince said softly and continued writing.
Meanwhile in the Duke's Mansion, Iris was anxious by the reality that she couldn't fully control her body. The words leaving on her mouth was different from what she wanted, they were filled with poison and arrogance just like the real Henrietta.
Although this can help her not to be discovered that she wasn't the real Henrietta. Since it's really dangerous if she was accidentally discovered, because there is a scene in the book that they burned a woman who was accused to be possessed by another soul. However having this kind mouth was like holding a ticking time bomb. Most of the death flags of Henrietta was caused by her oh-so sharp mouth.
"Don't dawdle, take me to him." Iris commanded with a sigh, depressed again by the words left on her mouth.
Aida nodded politely, and lead her to the room his staying right now. When they arrive, Aida opened the door and let Iris enter inside. The room was simple, it didn't have much of furniture and things except a simple bed a bookshelf and a desk.
Iris stared at the bed, where the youth was sitting blankly. She couldn't read his thoughts, and she couldn't help but feel anxious for some reason.
"Leave us alone," Iris told Aida. She immediately bowed her head and excuse herself from her lady.
Iris walked towards the youth, but he was still sitting in dazed and did not even lift his head to look at her. She continue to get close to him, until she arrived at the wooden chair beside the and sit.
Although she was prepared to the fact that her mouth would only spew poisonous things, she still felt depressed. She couldn't tell what she wanted to tell, without hurting them. Looking at the youth infront of her, she gripped her dress tightly.
She opened her mouth to talk, "Are you alright?"
She was stunned. This...?! She already knew that she couldn't control her manner of speech, but this was beyond her calculation! She immediately felt hopeful that there is a possibility she can talk to him without switching into Henrietta mode!
"Do you feel pain, or something?" She asked again to the youth.
But the youth remained unmoved for a while, then looked at her with dull eyes, devoid of life. She was astonished. They looked so lifeless as if he had no soul. She opened her mouth to talk to him again however, she immediately closed it. After a few seconds he shook his head and continued to stare at her.
Although she was quite happy that she can also talk without going into ballistic, however it's no use if the one you're talking to was not responding. Looking at his sorry figure, she felt a sense of pity. Forget it, if this is how this world designed her then it is... no use in wailing.
"Then, I'll go now. You should sleep." She told him and pat his head, but before her hands touched it was immediately slapped away.
Iris was stiffened by his sudden actions, she was petrified in front of him like a statue.
"S-scared do-don't hi-hit m-me." His voice was stuttering as he uttered those words with much difficulty, and clutched her hand tightly like a small child, afraid.
Heartache filled within her chest when she suddenly realized what's the current situation. She guessed that he must be from a lower noble family based on his clean appearance, and a quality clothing that only nobles could afford, however because of his disability he was bullied and left to fend himself alone. And then, one day someone wanted to rob him but ended up stabbing him to death and thrown on that place to die.
Iris then began to ask herself, what if she didn't go to that place, would that mean this boy will likely end up dead? Or being eaten by monsters?
She shivered at the dangerous thoughts in her head, and looked at the boy with gentle gaze and said, "don't worry, I won't hit you okay?"
The boy just looked at her silently, "O-okay," he said softly before nodding like a child. She felt a fang of pity stabbed on her heart, she wanted to protect him, she wanted to take care of his pitiful child.
"Your name? Do you remember it?" She asked him gently.
The boy shooked his head, as he tried hard to talk to her properly. "Do-don't kn-know."
Iris looked at him for a few seconds, "It's alright. I'll give you a name then. How about it?"
He nodded his head vigorously. "En,"
Iris smiled, "How about Miles? Do you... like it?" She hesitated.
The boy look at her and nod shyly, "I-I like it!"
Iris laughed at Miles shyness, that made her heart felt soft and warm. She really don't understand why parents can bear to abandoned this child. He is so pure, and lovely. She stroked his fluffy hair, feeling how sleek and smooth it was, like a fur of a fox. She stroke it a few times, before retracting her hands from his head. Miles look at her pitifully, like it was asking for more petting. She giggled at his actions, however, before she could stroke his head again a knocked from outside disturbed the harmonious atmosphere.
Her hands stilled and looked at the door, "Dare to disturb me?" She said coldly while glaring at the door. When Iris realized the words she spoke, she immediately felt depressed. This golden finger of hers is really poisonous, it didn't only pitted her but can also gathered a buff of 50% aggression.
The shaking voice of Aida, "Y-Young lady, the Duke wants to t-talk to you in his study."
Iris immediately fisted her hands and muttered, "my father, huh."
From what she could remember, Duke Silvana in surface is loyal to the throne however he has some illegal dealings in the dark. As to why the King didn't eliminate the Duke, it is because they're cousins and close on top of that, plus this illegal dealings were often used by the King to threaten those stubborn nobles. He was seemingly righteous, however he was ruthless to his family especially to his daughter Henrietta.
One, because he has already had a capable heir to manage his fiefdom. Two, she's just a pawn in order to have more control to the royal family. And, three, he doesn't need a daughter. Now, that Henrietta doesn't have any use, he is now abandoning her, to prevent complications to his future plans.
As to why he wants to talk to her, Iris had an idea. "I'll go, you don't have to wait for me." She said and look at Miles in front of her.
The boy tilted his head, and look at her innocently. She sighed and squeeze his cheeks lightly. "Miles, I have to go now okay? I have to deal with the bad guy."
"Yup, a bad guy that can abandon his family for the sake of profits."
Miles nodded attentively, "O-okay."
She didn't answered and petted his head a few times, before leaving the room.
Although this is her first time in this mansion, with the help of Henrietta's memory she easily found the study of her father. She didn't feel anxiety nor fear in meeting this ruthless duke, she had been numbed on being scolded by her parents way back on her previous world because of her choice being a painter.
"Young lady, please enter." The guard immediately opened the door in front of her.
The man sitting on a chair, greeted her vision. The man was writing on the documents on the table, however he immediately stopped when he realized that someone entered his room.
"Sit down," He commanded. His voice is cold and apathetic, as if he wasn't talking to his daughter but to his subordinate.
"Do you know what you have done?"
Iris looked at him indifferently, "I don't know, father."
"You didn't go, but also brought back a slave? Do you think, you have done nothing?! You worthless child!" He shouted at her in raged.
Iris remained indifferent and think, no wander Henrietta turned into a villain. It turns out her father is a devil, who always
patronize her towards her action, but never genuinely love her. Iris too, had this kind of parent who always condescending on her behavior, whenever they saw that can reached up to their expectations. Though unlike Henrietta that turns into a villainess because of mental torture, Iris become more silent and taciturn.
"If I have a choice, I never wanted to step again on this mansion for a lifetime."
Duke Silvana slammed his palms on his table creating a loud bang that echoes in the entire room. Iris didn't flinched by his sudden action, as if nothing happened. Duke Silvana was more in raged when he saw this indifference from his only daughter, he really wanted to cut of his relation with her! If not because of his son asking for his sister's pardon, he would surely denounced this detestable child. "Outrageous! I never wanted a daughter who is worthless, that can't even leash the prince! Do you know that old fox boasted about how his daughter managed to snatched the Prince away from the future crown princess?! That bastard! Our family lost a lot of face because of you!"
"It's your face, not mine father."
"And do you think that your bastards are not worthless too? They're are more worthless than me, they're nothing but a piece of trash and stain on the honor of this family."
"Silence, I don't have any lover nor do I have bastards! You're the stain of this family! You ruined our reputation!"
"What did I ruin again? Ah, reputation... Are you in a right mind, father? The Prince ruined our reputation, and not me. He doesn't respect our Ducal family since he dare to commit infidelity while we are in relationship."
"And I am not a timid little lady who can only bow down on others, so I retaliated. I let her taste how I detested mistresses, I let her feel how a noble young lady of a Ducal family expressed her wrath. Do you think I am wrong father?"
Duke Silvana look at his daughter, he suddenly realized that her actions are not wrong. If he have also a fiance who's cheating, he will also retaliate. "No..."
"They're trampling our dignity like giants stomping on ants, whilst the royalty take us for granted. They didn't even give us face, father. The King even agree for thier union and didn't defend me, do you think there's something wrong with this arrangement?" Iris reasoned out, while hinting her father to see that she's not the one in wrong. "Does the King think our family is not worthy but the Count's instead?"
Her plan is to make his father have a suspicion on the royalty, before she departed from the capital. Then she would take an action such as giving the Duke some hints, from the King's about the 'Grand Cleansing' and also to other high nobles. To create a tension from the two faction, to cripple the power of the royalty and overthrow them from their seat.
Iris remembered that the original have suffered because of her scum fiance. She was originally don't have a stable mind due to her father mental torture, however because the man she love and trusted cheated on her, her fused snapped and turned into a monster.
Iris is not a saint nor an angel, never now nor in her past life. But when she was transferred on this body, she vowed to give justice to the previous Henrietta. She wanted to make her enemies suffer, like how the original suffered. Her dreamed was to live a lazy life, but to realized that dream she needed a peace of mind. That peace of mind came from their suffering.
"You seems to have a point, however--"
"You know, what's right and wrong father. I hope, you'll going to have an enlightenment after this conversation. Goodnight, father. Don't worry I won't be long in this capital, I'll obediently go away." And I won't step again on this mansion, even after bringing them down. With that she walk away without turning back, she didn't hear the words her father said, nor she care what they're about.
She just wanted a peaceful lazy life, that's all.