Episode 11: Serena Knows Everything!
The concerned servant behind them reassured the anxious maidservant.
“Calm down. We’re not far from Milton’s place. We’ll select some experienced soldiers and a few servants to fetch the lady shortly. We’ll have enough time until the master arrives.”
“Let’s get there ahead of time. Whether we know the reason or not, should the lady disembark from the carriage while she’s unwell? If the coachman is told to change direction, it will be even more troublesome. If the lady is stuck in a island hotel, how will we explain it to the master?”
The servant didn’t find this situation too concerning. After all, the lady’s luggage was extremely light.
Even with all the squeezing, a single luxurious dress wouldn’t fit into a suitcase of this size. There was no sound of jewels and gold coins clinking when the lady moved the luggage, so he thought it was a simple escape and would be quickly resolved.
No one dared to think that the Duchess would go to the pier and take a regular liner to the mainland.
This was an impossible event to start with.
The maidservant found his words reasonable.
“Dummies. Stepmother is undoubtedly boarding a regular liner to Salmon Island. Hehehe! I’m going too, so we’ll meet soon.”
Among the chaos, there was only one person who felt pleased. Serena believed that everything was going according to her plan.
“Please come in.”
With a big smile, Serena urged Sir Bay, the guardian knight, to enter. He was always by Serena’s side, protecting her like a shadow since he was assigned to be her exclusive guardian.
Yes, there was one knight remaining in the Duke’s Mansion. The maidservant’s hope reached him.
“No! Sir Bay is my knight. Don’t talk to him. Hurry up and go!”
Serena, who caught on, swiftly intervened like a seven-year-old, determined to prevent any conversation.
The maidservant felt sorry, but she couldn’t force the Duchess’s knight to come with her.
Who could they take to persuade the stubborn Duchess? Even discussing this issue consumed precious time.
The Duchess had firmly decided to run away, and tampering with her mind any further would only complicate matters.
Ellie was fortunate not to have known about this commotion. The servant who handed her the documents right before she announced her departure had no knowledge of the situation.
If the Duke had discovered the divorce papers before his return, would he have let it go unaltered? There was no way they could leave things as they were.
The carriage rattled all the way up the hilly road.
At first, Ellie sat quietly, but her suitcase kept fidgeting. Eventually, she held it tightly.
With a sense of sadness, she closed her eyes and whispered, “I’ve been a mess until the day I left. What a disturbance this is; it’s embarrassing.”
She didn’t want to appear unsightly, but it seemed her fate was different. The way she entered and left was always noisy.
The carriage veered off its current path towards the pier.
If she continued straight ahead, she would reach Rubin House, where her parents lived. However, Ellie never considered changing her destination. She had no emotional attachment to this island, to the point that she couldn’t think of any place she could call home here.
* * *
Upon arriving at her destination, she disembarked and paid the carriage driver.
“Oh, are you giving me money again?”
Ellie conveyed her words to Rufellion through him.
“Sure, take care!”
The pier was bustling with people boarding the regular liner and those seeing them off.
It seemed like there were more passengers compared to a few years ago when she first arrived on the island. The number of people was considerable then, but now it was beyond comparison.
It was said that Planar Island excelled in glasswork, craftsmanship, and canned food within the Empire.
Her husband, now truly the Duke, had such great skills that the industry rapidly developed, right? Gerard had always asked her questions and kept her informed about everything even though she remained in the Duke’s mansion.
‘It’s all going to become a memory.’
She was already dressed in a warm coat inside the cramped carriage. While it didn’t look great on the outside, it provided excellent insulation. In this situation, it shone brightly.
No one recognized that she was the Duchess of the island. With ordinary dark hair, slightly lighter sky-blue eyes compared to her husband’s, and the bulky coat that concealed her lovely figure.
Not a single person was by her side, not even a maid. Even though it was a simple disguise, it was quite perfect. If she had worn a hat, someone might have noticed her face had an aristocratic air, but no one paid her any attention.
Ellie approached a staff member and inquired, “Are there any tickets av Ellieable here?”
“Yes, we have tickets av Ellieable for all classes. After arriving in Salmon island, the final destination is the Art Port near the capital island. The journey will take the better part of a day, while the trip to the Art Port will take three to four days. Where will you be heading?”
“Salmon island, please. Give me a second-class ticket.”
She hesitated for a moment but ultimately decided to go to Salmon island as initially planned. Her relatives from the Milton family had crowded the island’s port like they were being chased, and her heart hadn’t healed yet.
How long did it take for her to buy a ticket?
With the sound of the low, rumbling engine, the regular liner finally began its departure.
Despite it being a second-class ticket, it was just in front of the passengers in third class, and there was hardly any space between the seats. She was nervous about going to first class, the only thing she could think of.
‘It’s all the same anywhere I go. Even if I go to Salmon island, it will be the same. I…’
Even if the Duke decided to run away to the ends of the continent, finding her would be child’s play. The ruse of going to Rubin House would likely be exposed among the servants. What’s on the dinner menu tonight, perhaps they had sent a pigeon by now and were in shock.
But he wouldn’t come after her. He considered her a nuisance, so he might send her a bill for the costs incurred, but there would be no direct confrontation.
She knew his stubborn nature well.
The ship s Ellieed continuously, and after several hours, it finally reached Salmon Island’s harbor.
She disembarked amid a multitude of people, found a cheap hostel to stay at with her remaining money, went in, immediately drew the tattered curtains to hide the outside view, lay down on the sheet that was heavily pilled from excessive washing, and…
It was unbelievable that all this had happened within just a single day.
Tears she had thought had all dried up were flowing again.
‘Finally… I’m away from you. Finally…’
She didn’t want to think about anything. She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep while still in her outdoor clothes.
In her fading consciousness, one thing was certain. The tea Gerard brewed every day seemed to no longer be needed. Despite her stuffy nose and the thought of her cruel husband’s face and dark eyes, her heart didn’t race anymore.
* * *
Serena declared that if things didn’t go as she wanted, she wouldn’t sleep, and she opened her eyes wide.
“Your Grace. Do we really have to do it this way? Is there no option to wait a bit longer?”
Sir Bay tried to pacify his little mistress with a puzzled expression.
This stubbornness had been seen before. She suddenly insisted on going to Salmon island and even bringing the Grand Duchess. Sir Bay had watched the situation from a carriage he had prepared as Serena had said.
Serena had boldly brought the much larger Grand Duchess with her.
What would have happened if things had gone as Serena had said that day? That was impossible to know.
Serena and Sir Bay were receiving special treatment at the Grand Duke’s residence. They were allowed to have almost everything as Serena wanted, and it was even okay to report later.
It was an unusual measure for someone considered a beloved lady-in-waiting. Rather than taking better care of her, they were giving her excessive freedom.
Moving to Salmon island within the island, they would need to report to the Grand Duke quickly, but at this point, he was on a ship touring near the island, making it difficult.
“Could it be…”
Sir Bay had an idea.
He bent his knees and asked the assertive young lady.
“Miss Serena, are we able to see the Grand Duchess if we go to Salmon island?”
This afternoon, the servants had flocked to Ruben House but returned empty-handed. The sight of their yellow faces was somewhat pitiful.
Where could the Grand Duchess have gone?
There were quite a few hotels on the island where they could stay, but it would be difficult to find out where she was openly. Why? Because if the servants didn’t know the Grand Duchess’s whereabouts, it wouldn’t be plausible in the first place, and it had to be investigated secretly.
‘Could she have left on a regular ship?’
Sir Bay was well aware of the Duke and Duchess’s lifestyle. If the pitiable Grand Duchess had fled from Salmon island due to her husband’s cold treatment, how sad it would be.
Serena was taken aback.
“How did you know?”
“…I thought you were supposed to tell me when the sun is up. People might have stumbled upon it.”
The naive Serena pouted.
“Hmph. It’s all Dad’s fault. He never plays with the new mommy or calls me when I want to play.”
“He’s busy, you know.”
“And the new mommy always has a sad face. She’s nothing but tears! And there’s no fighting between them at a time like this? Is it because Dad is being scary to the new mommy?”
No, it’s a misunderstanding. Sir Bay felt guilty as a person because the young lady’s words were too accurate, making it impossible for him to say anything.
The Duke’s indifference toward his wife, for example, couldn’t he understand that? Even things he had seen and heard over and over again provided dozens of pieces of evidence.
Furthermore, the recent incident, the disappearance of the Duchess’s maid, was even more provocative.
The maid was completely hidden in the Duke’s secret place in his office. No, she was taken out in the middle of the night and locked in the villa, where they had secret meetings frequently. With the Duchess, they had a secret tryst in a room on the big ship patrolling the island.
If this continues, a child might be born soon… Will the Madam be pushed aside as the second Madam?
The servants’ groundless chatter, even if a single word entered the ears of the Duchess, was terrifying.
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