it would be very sweet at first glance.
After all, it seemed to be overflowing with so much chocolate, but it was just the right amount of sweetness that brought out the chocolate flavor.

“Oh my God, this is so good.”

Lady Caterina said as she ate the cake.

Even though she had already come of age, she still loved sweet desserts, and she could honestly appreciate a good one.

“I’m glad you like it.”

Erin smiled in a pleased manner.
After all, there was nothing better for her than having to see people enjoy her own desserts.

As the young ladies finished their cake, she looked over at Lady Caterina and asked,

“Do you still need anything else?”

“Hey, can I order anytime and have you deliver it?”

“If I’m not busy, then sure.”

Erin replied, while smiling when she suddenly saw someone was coming this way from the garden.

The tea room had a large glass window on one wall, and through the clear glass was a view of a garden filled with plants.

A blonde-haired lady in a colorful dress walked through the gate leading to the garden.

Erin knew who it was immediately.

It was Serena, Raymond’s mistress.

Serena was always well-dressed, but now she was dressed even more extravagantly, almost to the point of being too eye-catching.

Her stomacher1 was dotted with tiny diamonds and tiny pearls.

Her drooping beige silk dress alone was dazzling, but her makeup and hair were even greater.
It was truly dazzling.

However, Serena was so beautiful that such colorful attire was embellished.

Her dewy white skin was clearer than pearls.
Her long, curly blonde hair shone like gold threads underwater.
Her lips were also redder than coral.

Serena was, by all means, the Empire’s most beautiful woman.

Objectively speaking, it was a given.

Compared to her, Erin had delicate eyes and round nose.
She also had a dainty face and delicate features.

Her green eyes were as vibrant as dewy birch or radish leaves, and her long platinum hair was as soft as silk.

But all of this were still pale in comparison to Serena’s angelic looks and gorgeous blond hair.

Erin knew she was better than her, at least in other ways.
Like management, and knowledge of literary works.

That was the only pride she could take in the face of repeated comparisons, but the other nobles didn’t see it that way.

‘Unless you’re going to be the emperor or an official of the court, politics, history, and law are of no use to a lady.

‘A noblewoman who can capture everyone’s attention in the social circles should be as beautiful as a doll, graceful as a swan, with a dainty countenance and a graceful bearing.
She should also know how to dance well.’

That’s what they said.
And their words would always end with the same outcome.

‘The Duchess is in all respects inferior when it comes to all of these.’

‘So it is.
There is a reason why she is not loved by the duke.’

Erin shook off all these useless memories with a light shake of her head.

From now on, she will live a truly meaningful life.

Serena still bowed gracefully before Erin.

It was a dignified greeting, like something you would read from an etiquette manual.

“Lady Erin, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you.”

It’s been a long time.”

‘I never thought I’d see her again in a setting like this, though I suppose I’d always feel unwelcomed every time we meet.’

Erin tilted her head solemnly.

The other woman’s reaction was bitterly disappointing, but Serena smiled as brightly as a flower in full bloom.

“I’m sorry I haven’t come to see you.
I didn’t know where you were.
So I couldn’t invite you.
I was hoping you’d come to my ball and soiree last week.
After all it was something I organized myself.”

She said, and the affection in her voice made it seem as if the bizarre relationship between the two of them, where Serena being a mistress and Erin as the wife, was nothing.

“It’s okay.
I don’t want to go to that kind of place anyways.”

Erin laughed, emphasizing the ‘That kind of place‘ part.

Serena casually ignored the meaning behind her words and smiled while stepping closer.

Erin suddenly realized that all the young ladies in the tea room were watching them with their eyes shining.

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