ou hire me to be your handmaiden…”

‘I thought I knew what you were talking about.’

Melly was pretty close to Erin.

Erin would often call her over to talk about tea.
Now there will be a different owner of the crown princess’ palace.
Having Melly here would put her in an awkward position.

‘… I’m conflicted.’

Part of her wanted to take Melly with her, but she knew she couldn’t afford a maid for the time being.

She’d need to save every cent of her dowry to get a shop and start her business.

Erin was about to say no when there was a sudden knock at the door.

Before she could answer, a nervous-looking middle-aged woman opened the door and walked into the room.

It was Mrs.
Brennan, the crown princess’ maid of honor.

She didn’t even bother saying hello and spoke in a commanding tone.

“Lady Erin, please finish tidying up.
The maids are waiting for you to leave so they can clean this place immediately.”

Her husband, the Duke, Raymond, had brought his lover, Serena, to the palace shortly after his marriage with Erin.

Since he was already married, he didn’t even bother to hide the fact that he had a lover and lived with her in his palace.

He even made her a relative of his subordinate, the Count of Brennan, and elevated her status to that of a count’s daughter.

As the daughter of a lowly noble, and even as a rising one, Serena’s status would normally have kept her out of the palace.

This Mrs.
Brennan was a member of the House Brennan.
She supported Serena and hated Erin very much.
For the past nine years, she’d been criticizing and sabotaging everything Erin did.

If there was an event at the palace, she’d watch with a lighted eye to see if Erin was spending a dime more than the past empresses.


If anything went wrong in the palace, she would spread a rumor that would be magnified a hundredfold and blamed it all on Erin.

Still, Erin couldn’t get angry and was left to put up with it.

Her marriage cleared House Briscia’s debts and gave them a steady income.

Neither her mother nor her father had to struggle anymore.
Her parents told Erin not to endure it, but she figured it was a small price to pay just to know that her family was no longer in debt.

And it was a marriage the emperor had requested himself.
No matter how hard things have become, Erin could not ask for a divorce herself.

All she could do was do her best to play her part and be careful not to be criticized anymore.

Her husband had a lover living in his palace, and the nobles laughed at her and despised her for growing up among the commoners, but she had to put up with it all.

So she endured it all, again… and again.

‘But now I don’t have to put up with it anymore.’

Her Father couldn’t bear to see his own daughter being neglected by the Duke, so he volunteered to make contributions during a dangerous battle, hoping to make a name for himself somehow.
He thought that if he gained a higher position, it would help Erin.

As a senior commander, he led a desperate effort to defeat the enemy and win a spectacular victory.
As he had hoped, he was decorated for his work and became a hero. But he did not return alive.

Her mother, who was left alone, became ill and passed away not long after.

‘I wanted to sacrifice myself to make my parents happy.
But sacrificing for this happiness ended up making everyone unhappy.’

It wasn’t until she lost them that she felt a deep regret.

‘I won’t live like that anymore.’

Until the end, her late parents wanted Erin to be free and live happily ever after.

Now she will fulfill their wish.

Erin laughed and said it with ease.

“Did you come here on purpose to say that? Don’t worry.
I’m leaving now.”

“……?”

“Didn’t you understand? I said, I’m leaving.”

Mrs.
Brennan flinched at the sneer in her voice.

‘What, what is it with this poor duchess, and why is she so confident today?’

People who didn’t know any better would say that the Duchess was a wicked woman who wore a mask and had an affair, but Mrs.
Brennan, who had seen her up close, knew that it was all a bunch of nonsense.

There was nothing sinister about the Duchess at all.

The usual Erin to put it mildly, was quiet and graceful, and to put it bluntly, a pushover.

She was always quietly going about her business and taking insults in a stride.


When her husband ignored her, when nobles laughed and mocked her in public, she pretended not to hear them and smiled at them like a fool.

People cursed that it was all a pretense, but in Mrs.
Brennan’s eyes, it wasn’t.
Erin was glazed that way by nature.

‘Hmm.
Maybe she’s angry because she’s about to be kicked out, but let’s see…’

Swallowing her inward sneer, Mrs.
Brennan raised an eyebrow as she spotted Melly standing off to one side.

“What are you doing here?”

“Well, I’m… here to say goodbye to your highness, Erin…”

Before the words were out of her mouth, Mrs.
Brennan slapped Melly across the cheek.

Pa!

Melly stumbled back, unable to scream.
Mrs.
Brennan withdrew her hand and flashed a satisfied smile at her.

Still, she didn’t like this little brat.
She was simply a handmaiden but she was so close to the Duchess.

“Who told you it was okay to come in here without permission?”

“Well, I’m…”

Melly put a hand on her battered cheek and wiped away a tear.

A red handprint remained on her white cheek.
Mrs.
Brennan shouted ferociously, as if she would eat her.

“Get out of here!”

Erin, who had been watching all of this from the sidelines, took a step forward.

“Mrs.
Brennan.”

Mrs.
Brennan looked back at Erin and was surprised again.
There was a flash of confidence and determination in Erin’s eyes that she hadn’t seen normally in the quiet woman.

Erin let out a short, and cold smile.

“I am dismissing you from your position as Maid of Honor, effective immediately, and you are to pack your things and leave this palace.”

“……What, what?”

Mrs.
Brennan stared at Erin with a dumbfounded expression.

Erin smirked.

“Didn’t you hear? You’re fired.”

TL NOTE:

 I like Erin already.
It was sad that she had to lose both her parents but at least she can start anew.
I was glad she left that cheating scum of a husband!

See you next Chapter~

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