“It’s been a while.”
In that awkward moment, Ruby’s voice became unexpectedly warm, probably due to the help Kane had provided during the difficult time.
“It’s the first time since the wedding.”
“Yes. I’m glad to see you’re doing well.”
Kane briefly looked at Eli, who was alternately glancing between him and Ruby, expressing his mood with slightly furrowed eyebrows.
“Lady Miles is here too.”
Kane greeted Arlen, smoothly transitioning the topic.
“It’s been a while, Lord Vance.”
A fleeting expression of discomfort crossed Arlen’s face, but she quickly caught herself and responded.
“Nice to see you again. Have you been well?”
“Yes, I’ve been fine since nothing special happened.”
“That’s good. Haha.”
Kane greeted Arlen, but his gaze couldn’t leave Eli, who was conversing with Ruby in an unfamiliar affectionate tone.
“Tastes good. What wine is this?” Ruby asked
“I didn’t check.”
Eli’s demeanor towards the woman was something Kane had never seen before. It was notably different from when he referred to her as the “not bothersome woman” during their marriage. Eli now had a distinctly changed reaction.
“Oh, it’s a wine produced in Viscount Vance’s territory. No wonder it’s sweet.”
Ruby turned her head to look at the wine, now aware. Meanwhile, Eli, having tasted the wine again, nodded in agreement.
Despite Eli acting strangely, Kane, feeling pleased, handed a wine glass to Sorvan approaching.
“Since Lady Grit praised it, our wine will probably sell well.”
Sorvan, after taking a sip, nodded continuously in agreement with Kane’s words.
“Thank you for saying so.”
Ruby felt relieved that her casual remark didn’t diminish the value of the wine. In Shuban, most people treated the wine she touched as if it had lost its value. It was the first time she felt treated as a real Marchioness.
“Haha, how modest of you.”
Kane laughed lightly as if he took Ruby’s words as a joke.
“My wife is overly modest if that’s a flaw.”
Eli interjected, his words sincere. He wished Ruby would take pride in what she had.
“That’s right. It’s okay for the Marchioness to be a bit more assertive. After all, she’s Lady Grit.”
Sorvan also chimed in. Initially, he couldn’t have imagined Ruby being a Marchioness. It was surprising not because Ruby wasn’t noble, but because someone of such high status treated him with such unexpected kindness.
Although Ruby wasn’t sure how much she should boast, she nodded in agreement with the opinions of the three people who seemed oddly united.
“But humility is one of the virtues a Lady should possess.”
The three’s gazes turned towards the source of the sound.
Kane’s voice seemed as if he had just noticed her presence. Indeed, that was the case. After encountering Ruby and Eli after a long time, Kane was trying to adapt to Eli’s sudden change into a romanticist. Thus, he had overlooked Arlen.
“In that sense, the Marchioness is doing well.”
Arlen, smiling, spoke to Eli, asking, “Isn’t that right?”
“Certainly, my wife is doing well.”
The three of them, with seemingly coordinated expressions, continued to observe Ruby, who was receiving praise in a way she hadn’t experienced before
“Especially coming from you, who has a lot of learning to do”
Arlen’s face stiffened. Since she was facing Ruby, her expression was clearly visible to her. Eli, with no intention of adding anything further, lowered his gaze to Ruby and stayed silent, while Arlen, being wordless, made the atmosphere awkward.
Kane and Sorvan found themselves in an uncomfortable situation between the two. Ruby, witnessing the confrontation for the first time, was surprised but did not show it.
“I need to excuse myself for a moment,” Arlen smiled as if nothing had happened, slightly bowed, and greeted,
Without waiting for a response, she left the place as it was.
“Why does it bother me when you’re the one creating the issue?” Kane sighed deeply as Arlen distanced herself. Eli, however, was nonchalant, his expression indicating ‘What’s the problem?’ Kane, who seemed like he was about to express his anger, turned slightly and looked at Ruby standing beside Eli.
“Lady Grit, I’m always grateful to you,” Kane said with a gentle smile and a calm voice. “If you ever feel angry or want to vent, find me. Especially regarding this guy.”
He emphasized the last sentence.
“You can’t see him alone. We should go together.”
Eli, standing closer to Ruby, added instead. Due to this, the already close distance between them became even closer.
“Would you please stop talking even for a second?”
Kane sighed in frustration, hitting his chest.
“You should express your gratitude to your wife. I can imagine how hard it is for her to endure living with you”
Eli accepted Kane’s words without resistance and looked at Ruby.
“I know that very well.”
Although Ruby sensed that he had something more to say with his gaze, she couldn’t grasp its exact meaning.
Arlen, having distanced herself, looked back at them for a moment before turning away. In the end, none of them paid any attention to her.
“I’m not sure who this party is for, Don’t you think so, Lady Miles?”
As if they had been waiting for this moment, other ladies approached Arlen. They subtly mocked Ruby and exchanged glances while doing so.
“It’s a bit neglectful of the party host not to take care of the guests, isn’t it?”
Arlen nonchalantly agreed, seemingly without any personal bias.
“If it were me, I wouldn’t do it this way, but… I suppose Lady Grit has her own style for hosting parties. Every host is different, after all.”
Arlen chuckled softly, and added, “Don’t you agree?”
Many ladies agreed with her, elegantly pointing out Ruby’s shortcomings.
Arlen, pleased with the reactions, observed Ruby and the three people who still surrounded her. More accurately, her gaze never left Eli.
“Uh, isn’t the host technically the Dowager Marchioness of Grit?”
Arlen turned her head, and there stood Lady Iana, the wife of Lord Chain.
“We all received our invitations from Dowager Marchioness Grit, didn’t we?”
“Dowager has been diligently taking care of the party’s attendees, so there is no problem at all.”
Her question seemed innocent, but it carried the implication that she disagreed with Arlen’s opinion.
“I must have momentarily forgotten.”
Arlen quickly acknowledged her mistake.
Lady Iana graciously accepted the explanation and, while walking toward Ruby, turned back to look at them.
“Oh, I’m going to greet Lady Ruby. Is there anyone who’d like to come along?”
Ever since the Marquis and Marchioness Grit married, the two had been very different. Ruby and Eli had always been in the news, and not in a good way. Unlike the Marquis of Grit, who continued to socialize after his marriage, the Marchioness’s social life in the capital was close to nothing, making the rumors seem true
Today, however, the Marquis of Grit is exactly as he was rumored when he married, a man who is passionately in love with his wife. He did not move from the Marchioness’s side throughout the party.
That means that even the ladies and gentlemen of this room knew that if they had the opportunity to greet the Marchioness, they should not miss it.
“Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve greeted her yet.”
One lady discreetly stood beside Lady Iana, and then more followed suit, all making similar comments while standing near her.
With that, Lady Iana left Arlen and a few others behind and went to greet Ruby.
Soon, people started crowding around Eli, Ruby, Kane, and Sorvan, and the atmosphere turned lively once again.
Since then, Marie’s party was almost devoid of any activity. If it was the Marie she knew, there was no way she would let things go this smoothly. At least, that was Ruby’s perspective.
The smoothly progressing gathering had a mid-event break. Men and women moved to designated spots to relax.
“Here’s a special tea we’ve prepared for all of you. It’s said to warm you up.”
At Marie’s instruction, the attendants served warm tea to the guests.
“My, how considerate.”
The tea in the cups had a beautiful crimson hue, fortunately blending a tangy yet sweet taste well.
“Oh, it’s truly delicious.”
“This tea is indeed great. It already lightens the mood.”
The ladies’ reactions to the tea were satisfactory. However, as more people requested additional tea fervently, Marie’s lips subtly tightened.
It was a very subtle change that no one noticed.
Upon meeting Ruby in the hall, Eli inquired immediately, casually scanning her to ensure she was okay.
“Yes, I’m fine.”
Eli kept his gaze on Ruby as if trying to discern if her nonchalant response was truthful. However, seeing Ruby’s calm gaze, he felt assured she wasn’t lying.
“That’s good then.”
With all preparations complete, the hall regained its liveliness. After a brief break, the party atmosphere was as enjoyable as in the beginning.
But that mood didn’t last long.
Iana suddenly grabbed her throat, breathing heavily, struggling to stay seated.
“Are you alright, Countess?”
Ruby quickly supported her, and although Iana nodded, her breath remained harsh.
“Get a physician.”
At Eli’s command, a servant rushed out.
“I’ll take a look,” Sorvan said, kneeling by Ruby’s side.
“Do you know how to?” Ruby asked.
“I learned while traveling in a ship because there is no physician around,” Sorvan explained while carefully examining Iana.
“What did you eat recently?”
“Cheese, I think.”
It was the Count of Chain, who was sitting across from Sorvan, who responded on Iana’s behalf with a slight nod.
“Does that typically cause such reactions in you?”
“No. It’s a food I enjoy every day.”
“Are there any foods or drinks that you’re not supposed to eat or drink?”
Puzzled by Sorvan’s question, the Countess hesitated to answer immediately. She seemed to be struggling to think amid the confusion.
“Oh, she means pineapple. but I don’t think she ate it. She was diagnosed with food intolerance a few days ago, and she suffered from it not long ago. So she must have been careful.”
Although pineapple was among the fruits prepared for the party, Iana would surely not eat it
“It could have been accidentally consumed in a sauce. It would be best to call the chef and verify.”
“Indeed. Let’s move her to the lounge for now.”
Upon Eli’s suggestion, the maids gently supported the Countess of Chain, acting cautiously under Eli’s instructions.
“I’ll go too.”
Ruby followed Eli.
As Eli and Ruby walked away, the murmurs in the room continued. Nobody understood exactly what was wrong.
“What’s going on?”
Kane muttered quietly to Sorvan, patting him on the shoulder to let him know he’d done a good job.
As everyone around wore expressions of confusion, Marie was the only one with a frozen face. Her restless eye movements revealed her inner turmoil. While observing the people around her, Sorvan stared at Marie for quite a while.
— END OF VOLUME 1 —
TL Note: Thank you for reading “A Second Divorce is Difficult” and I hope that you enjoyed the first volume. The second volume will be out soon and I also hope that you look forward to it.