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Allen’s arrangement of Faye was finally finished. All that was left to do was to separate the duo, pick up Faye and place her in the place he had arranged before. Now, the hardest part was the ‘separate the duo’ plan. Would Arlea welcome the idea of him taking away her ‘toy’? She definitely won’t.
But, he had to do this for Faye’s sake. Steeling himself, he proceeded with his plan.
First, he asked Gwen to bring Faye with her to his study. Meanwhile, he would face Arlea before going to his study and talk it out with Faye. It wasn’t unusual for Faye to be called by Gwen, so the unsuspecting Arlea wouldn’t make too much trouble of it. After Faye was taken, Allen would be breaking the news to Arlea. He would bear Arlea’s wrath.
“Faye, come over here for a while,” Gwen said as she took Faye’s small hand. Ann waved her hand at them, urging Faye to come with Gwen. It might have something to do with Faye’s maid evaluation or her duty, anyway. So Ann thought.
With a big question mark in her head, Faye followed Gwen obediently.
“Oh poor little child…,” Gwen muttered under her breath.
Faye turned to look up at Gwen with tilted head.
What does she mean by that?
Faye’s innocent act caused Gwen’s heart to ache all the more. Such an innocent child was being bullied by Arlea-sama…and that child didn’t even notice it?
The two of them arrived at Allen’s study with this misunderstanding…
“Let’s wait here for Allen-sama, he has something to tell you,” Gwen said as she led Faye to sit on the sofa in Allen’s study, then she sat next to Faye.
And at this moment, Allen arrived at Ann’s living room. The two of them were sitting awkwardly. Allen sat on the sofa cross legged and cross armed, with his fingers tapping and his eyes closed. He was contemplating on where to start. Meanwhile Ann—not having the convenience of smartphone to pour her attention to—could only sip on her tea while stealing glances at Allen.
What is he doing here? Why does it look like he wants to say something but is hesitating?
Ann’s mind worked really hard to figure out what her husband-in-name wanted from her.
Did he finally want to work it out with me? No, no, no, that can’t be. Don’t hallucinate, Ann.
Could he want me to be tutored again? What now?
Only bad vibes were caught by Ann’s mind. She shook her head in denial, causing Allen to frown looking at Ann who shook her head out of nowhere. But he decided to put it in the back of his mind and decided to just be straight-forward with her.
“I’m stationing Faye somewhere else,” Allen said.
“WHAT?!” Ann was so shocked she couldn’t believe what she just heard, “Why? No, no, no, you can’t!”
Ann stood up and wanted to go to where Faye was, so she headed towards the door. Allen quickly stood up and stopped her in front of the opened door. Ann was so persistent that she kept going, leaving Allen with no choice but to hold her body using his arm—now, Ann was under Allen’s armpit as she tried to keep going.
“My child…my child…You can’t separate me from my child…!” Ann said as she tried to wriggle out of Allen’s grab.
Allen was really surprised seeing Ann’s reaction. She paid no mind to their position and inelegantly wriggled her body like that. She…was that desperate for Faye?
At this moment, Allen had a flashback.
It was when Arlea slapped Allen’s hand as he tried to gently touch her.
“Disgusting. Do not touch me,” Arlea said coldly as she turned away from Allen. Despite them being husband and wife. Despite Allen trying to treat her well.
At that time, Arlea clearly stated how she hated being touched by Allen, but now? She didn’t even pay any attention to it and continued to wriggle her way out!
“MY…CHILDDDD…!!” Ann didn’t care and continued to blabber.
Her child? Faye is? Wait wait! Could she really want a child so bad she started viewing Faye as her own child? But why would she bully someone she considered her own child?
Allen had a mixed feeling about it.
If she really wanted a child that badly, then was she trying to seduce him all this time in order to have a child of her own?
The tips of Allen’s ears were burning.
But now wasn’t the time for that.
“Stop it. It’s the best for her, don’t you think? You’re just going to cause her to suffer,” Allen said.
“What? No way, I never did–,” Ann wanted to refute his words, but she stopped.
I’m going to make her suffer?
…That’s right. I’m a person who’s destined to die. If Faye were stationed elsewhere now, it isn’t too late for her to forge strong bonds with others, so even when she dies in the future, Faye won’t be devastated…
So..isn’t this the best for her?
It was just my selfishness trying to retain Faye by my side all this time. Yes, now she can read and write, and Allen will definitely place her somewhere good, right? Then…
Allen frowned upon seeing Ann who stopped talking and even stopped wriggling as she fully leaned her body towards Allen.
“The best…for her…,” Ann murmured as she snuck out of Allen’s grab, back inside the room.
“…?” Allen was even more confused seeing Ann’s reaction. Her gaze was looking at somewhere far away. Though Allen was right before her eyes, she wasn’t looking at him.
“You’re right…This might be the best for Faye,” Ann said in a low voice.
Allen was surprised seeing Ann being so submissive and even agreed with him. Was there something wrong with her? She even looked…sad? He started to feel that something wasn’t right there.
“Can you explain?” Allen asked, his voice unconsciously turned gentle. He was even willing to listen to Ann’s words, thinking that he might be able to trust the current her should the explanation make sense.
“That’s…,” Ann hesitated. There was no way she could tell Allen that she was destined to die soon, the reason behind that, and that was why she agreed it might be the best for Faye? That would hasten her death, even!
“That’s nothing. Do what you think is the best with her…You promise she will be taken care really well, right?” Ann asked, still concerned about Faye.
“Of course…,” Allen frowned. It seemed like Arlea was really sincere with Faye? Then, could this kind of her be bullying Faye?
But she didn’t even refute, nor was she willing to say anything else after this.
Thus, Allen decided to take the maids’ testimony into consideration and went to his study, leaving the dazed Ann alone in her room, alone in her thoughts.
After arriving in his study, Allen decided it would be wise to talk it out with Faye, so he directly asked, “I’ve heard about what happened. Shall I station you somewhere else?”
Faye—with her hand still holding Gwen’s—tilted her head in confusion.
“I’m sure you don’t want to be with her again,” Allen stated, trying to pry into the kind of relationship Faye had with Arlea.
Faye tilted her head even further.
“Aah, poor little child, you don’t understand anything…? Allen-sama will help you settle somewhere else, what do you say?” Gwen asked as she bent her body so that her eyes matched Faye’s.
Faye was very surprised to hear this and quickly shook her head—strongly.
Why would these people talk about separating her from her beloved mistress? Why??
“What—even after what she has done to you?” Gwen asked in surprise.
After what Arlea-sama has done to me? …Of course! She helped me a lot!
Faye nodded enthusiastically, causing Gwen’s face to twist in terror.
What is wrong with this child?! To like her abuser?!
“Did she threaten you?” Allen asked another possibility.
Faye tilted her head questioningly.
“Ah, so that’s what happened!” Gwen was confident that it was the case. She then grabbed Faye’s shoulder before hugging her.
“Poor child, it’s okay, it’s okay…No one—nothing—can hurt you. Just tell us what you really feel,” Gwen said as she almost wept for Faye…
The one being hugged and pitied—Faye—had a really big question mark on her face right now.
“You were mistreated by Arlea, right?” Allen asked as he was dubious of Faye’s not-knowing-anything-look.
Faye shook her head.
“Eh?” Gwen was surprised at this moment.
“…Didn’t she make you cry?” Gwen asked.
“……What? Oh, the picture book?” Faye tilted her head as she recalled that embarrassing moment.
“Picture book?” Allen asked.
“Yeah. [The Bird and the Flower That Bloomed]. It’s really sad,” Faye said with her reddening eyes as she tried to recall its content.
Allen and Gwen froze on the spot.
“…Can you tell us what you did with Arlea that day?” Allen asked.
“Sure,” Faye blinked in wonder as she narrated her peaceful day with her beloved mistress, Arlea-sama.
“How did she treat you all this time?” Gwen asked in concern.
“Arlea-sama has always treated me very kindly. She’s even teaching me reading and writing. If not for her, I won’t be able to read and write,” Faye said with a look of gratitude.
“…” Gwen and Allen froze on the spot again. They were speechless and didn’t expect Faye’s answers. Faye didn’t tremble nor act weird just like how a lying child would be. Heck, she was even sincere in her answers. No doubt, this child wasn’t lying at all.
“But the other day, you fell because Arlea-sama pushed you, right?” Gwen asked.
Faye shook her head, “That’s my own clumsiness. Arlea-sama wanted to catch me, but she failed.”
“…Then what about during the maid evaluation? You were scared of Arlea-sama so you trembled and made mistakes…,” Gwen became unsure.
“No, that’s because…,” Faye hesitated when she looked into Gwen’s eyes, so she turned her gaze away and added, “I was afraid I would do bad in the evaluation and then be separated from Arlea-sama…”
So that was the case!
All the puzzles fit in their places now.
“…You can go now,” Allen dismissed both Gwen and Faye.
“I won’t be placed somewhere else, right, Allen-sama?” Faye asked with fear in her eyes.
“Yes,” Allen curtly replied.
Meanwhile, Gwen felt a little bit empty because she had been preparing herself to go up against Arlea and to take care of Faye until Allen was done settling her somewhere else. Now, she was even sending Faye back to Arlea…
Meanwhile, Allen, at this time…
[The Bird and the Flower That Bloomed]
He was sitting in the library, reading the same book that Faye mentioned. When he read about the sad and philosophical parts, he frowned.
Did Arlea deliberately choose this book to lowkey bully Faye?
That was what he thought when he first decided to read the book, but by the time he finished the book, Allen was sitting there, fully immersed in his thoughts as he propped his chin with his hand.
…He was trying to decipher the philosophical messages the book contained.
Oops, it seemed like our beloved duke just got off trail without him knowing…
But as he was thinking, Arlea’s dazed face popped up in his mind, bothering him. Her seemingly lonely expression haunted his mind. Why was she like that? What exactly happened to her?
In the end, the misunderstanding was kind of cleared, and the gossip of Arlea bullying Faye to tears was gradually cleared…