One: Reminiscing Her Pain
“Is the count home?” Sol grabbed a newspaper as she settled on the couch, still clad in her robe, sitting cross-legged. Her etiquette teacher would have swatted her legs with a thick book had she seen her.
“No, my lady. The count was out with young master since dawn.” answered the maid, carefully pouring her mistress’s iced tea into a round glass.
“Hmm.” Sol hummed, flicking to another page. “What of Arthur? Still dating Miss Hyacinth?” she inquired, her eyes glued to the newspaper.
Her maid awkwardly cleared her throat. “I believe the young master has already moved on to, er, another Miss H-Hyacinth.” she stuttered, not knowing if it was an appropriate thing to divulge.
Sol held the newspaper to her chest and turned at her maid with a frown.
The maid nodded. “It circulated among the servants since last week, my lady. The, er, young master’s former lover even came to our manor and toss his gifts into the koi pond just last week.” she widened her eyes when Sol stared at her intently. “We went out that time, I think.”
Sol shook her head slowly. In her mind, she could only imagine how hectic the next Hyacinths’ family dinner would be - much worse if Arthur were to attend.
After almost a month since her return from the Luech Kingdom, Sol inquired of her estranged family whereabouts and wellbeing every single day without fail, even though knowing they would never do the same thing for her.
Sol’s misfortune began the moment her mother died from giving birth to her.
Sol grew up under her nanny’s care, abandoned entirely by the count. Her father held a grudge against her, perhaps he even regretted ever having her brought to life, sacrificing his one true love. Even after years, he would drunkenly go back home and yell at how Sol took the light away from his life.
That he succumbed into the darkness after his countess left the world. And she listened to it all.
All those years Sol spent trying to be loved by him, was vain, and she had regretted even trying to do so. Even if she visited the east wing where the count resided, he would be far east. Or when she threw a tantrum to dine at the main hall together with him and Arthur instead of her room, she’d end up dining alone at the main hall with the servants consoling her.
And her current relationship with Arthur wasn’t any different, once inseparable but now, they just avoided each other.
When they were younger, the two of them were joined at the hip, two children that would wander and sneak around to countless festivals. Whenever Arthur was wounded from combat training, he’d come running to her with tears in his round green eyes, as if she was the older one.
But even a speck of her happiness were robbed away. Arthur, the only family she could rely on, were sent to attend an all-boys boarding school. They corresponded for the first few years and stopped when Arthur never wrote back to her. The reason remained unknown till this day. During holidays, when she anticipated her brother’s return, she was sent packing to her relatives home and it occurred to her recurringly to the point that she never once saw a glimpse of Arthur and vice versa.
And a year before his graduation, the count had shipped Sol off to Luech, to live with her strict aunt and uncle who lived as an ambassador there.
With time, their bond vanished into the thin air, they were as good as strangers. Arthur his own world, Sol in hers.
Sol suppressed a bitter smile when she realized she had been so engrossed in her thoughts. Even after more than a decade, she was still the only one who cared deeply of them.
Nothing changed after all.
“Hah...” she squeezed her eyes shut, despising her miserable thoughts. ‘Maybe I should really get married.’
The next article she stumbled upon made her chuckle in irony. ‘Season for Love? As if. I don’t even like myself.’ she muttered to herself.
Was she even lovable? Good enough to be someone’s wife?
It was really hard to imagine.
“Nia,” she called her maid, placing the newspaper back on the tray. “Let’s head downtown for a bit.”
Her maid nodded. “I’ll inform the coachman to prepare the carriage then, my lady.”
Sol stood and walked to the window, letting the warm sunlight settle on her skin as she gazed at the greenery view. After nine years living in the all year long snowy and frosty Luech kingdom, she most definitely was glad to return back to Embrillia, where she could experience all four seasons instead of layered in thick fur coats the entire time.
“The windows don’t get fogged up all the time here...” Sol muttered softly, watching the servants busily prepare for the Magnolia’s upcoming weekend ball.