After Alois went to work, Camilla was alone.
As soon as she opened the windows for some fresh air, the miasma seeped straight in. Camilla’s black hair became frizzy in the humid air and the wind pricked at her skin.
That miasma was definitely harmful to a person’s body. From minor pains and irritated skin to frazzled hair and outbreaks of rashes, the effect definitely varied from person to person.
The stronger one’s magic is, the more susceptible to the effects of the miasma they are. So, whilst Camilla was definitely irritated, it was nothing compared to what Alois must be going through. What’s more, the miasma around Grenze was particularly thick, since it was such a rich source of manastones.
――If you take that into account, it’s a wonder that everyone who lives here doesn’t look unsightly.
Camilla tilted her head as she looked down at the streets below from the window.
It was another residence that the Montchat family owned in Grenze, where they planned to stay for a few days. From what Camilla could see from her perch, everyone in the town below seemed to look fine.
The main manor back in the south was built on a hill some way away from the town, but the estate in Grenze was practically built in the city center. Because of that, the garden there wasn’t nearly as large as the one back at the manor.
Camilla resided in her room on the second floor. Although there’s a little distance, she can still make out the faces of the people walking on the pavement below, even picking up threads of conversations here and there.
As she watched the view outside, people watching in an attempt to stave off boredom, she felt an uneasy feeling as she stared at them.
All the people walking along the streets seemed to have beautiful, suntanned skin. The only people who seemed to be struggling with skin issues were the young foreign merchants she saw sometimes as she watched, who must still be new to travelling.
Although Mohnton may be flourishing in trade, it was hardly a sightseeing destination. This dark land where only merchants dare tread, there were all sorts of stories told about it in the capital.
For example, that every person who dwelled there had a face as ugly as Alois’. That when your skin was exposed to miasma, it would break out in hives and fester. Every person who ever returned from Mohnton had become almost froglike in appearance.
Since Alois was the only representative from Mohnton that many people saw in the capital, the prejudice only grew fiercer. Camilla didn’t believe in the rumours wholeheartedly, but she definitely thought something along those lines was the truth.
So, this was truly a bewildering sight to her.
――So, why is it only that person whose skin gets so bad?
Was it because his magical power was too strong or that his skin was too weak? Or, another reason entirely? He was a difficult man to figure out.
For Camilla, who was attempting to make this man to her liking, that same man was laying a difficult road before her. Whether it was in regards to his poor skin or his excess weight, Camilla hadn’t had any success at all so far with either.
――He won’t exercise, he won’t reduce his meals, he keeps eating nothing but greasy and sugary foods…
Even if she managed to get him out of the house, they’re still in his territory. No matter how much she pushed, Alois didn’t seem to budge. Every idea she had hatched failed miserably.
――Just why aren’t things going to plan?
Not knowing the answer to that question, Camilla sighed. As she looked at the ground in dejection, Camilla realized something, shaking her head vigorously.
“A month has not even passed yet…!!”
It’s too early to be depressed. She knew that this was going to be a long road. Camilla was willing to walk over hot coals if it meant that she could see the tears of those people in the capital one day.
“That said, he’s the one who wants to get married, so shouldn’t he be trying to lose weight? In that case, why is he being so difficult!? He should try to do something about this himself!!”
Drumming her fingers on her sullen cheeks, Camilla closed her eyes. Then, after taking a deep breath, raised her face.
As her eyes opened, she saw the beautiful colours of a sunny sky. From that lively town of Grenze, the wind blew through the window.
The wind may have been damp with that irritating miasma, but it carried a slightly refreshing early autumn chill with it.
“It’s because I’m cooped up here all alone that I am feeling depressed like this!”
Alois won’t be back for a while. Meanwhile, this room felt dark and damp with the stagnant and humid air.
So, Camilla decided that she would go outside.
It would be a much more pleasant change of pace than simply waiting alone for Alois in her room.
She wanted to take a tour around town with a maid as a guide.
But, when she looked for a maid, she couldn’t catch anyone.
‘I’m busy’ or ‘I have something to do’, she was always refused with lines like that. Even when she spoke with a maid who seemed to be free, she would get the same excuses. Saying that they had scheduled work after that, Camilla could understand.
But, it was still irritating to her to simply slink back to her room. Camilla kept walking around the mansion, busily chatting to every maid she could find.
“Hey, did you hear? That rumoured villainess, she’s staying in this house now.”
“I heard, I heard. She demanded to go out somewhere, or something like that.”
“The master really intends to marry someone like that, huh? He should really reconsider.”
The estate’s first floor. The room in the north wing is used as a break room for the maids and other female servants.
When she stopped outside the room where she was hoping to find a maid with some free time, Camilla heard happily gossiping voices from inside. Looking through the gap in the slightly ajar door, she saw three maids chatting to one another.
“She really does have such a dreadfully mean looking face though, doesn’t she? Did you see it?”
“I saw it. She actually spoke with me just before. Saying that she wanted to go outside, trying to make me go with her.”
“No way~! So, what happened?”
“I refused, of course. I told her that I was too busy. If I walked outside with a woman like that, everyone would look at me like I was mad.”
Camilla remembered one of their faces.
A young girl who was quite slight, whose brown hair was raised high in a braid. She must have been slightly younger than Camilla? She seemed meek and frail at first glance, but she talked with the other maids in quite a dignified way.
It’s hard to believe it was the same girl who had lowered her heard and talked in a tone barely more than a whisper when Camilla had called out to her earlier.
“Oh, you’re awful. Isn’t she going to be the master’s wife some day? It won’t be a laughing matter if she found out.”
“Even though you always come here to skip work.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I am not skipping work. Since I’ve finished early, I’m simply taking a break.”
As she said that, the maids giggled to eachother.
They don’t seem to have noticed Camilla, standing just outside the door.
Her excitement at the thought of touring the town had completely cooled. In fact, it felt like all the blood in her body had chilled.
But, that cold sensation only lasted a moment. Straight away, another emotion began to boil to the surface. Her shoulders stiffened and her fingers trembled.
Camilla grit her teeth, suppressed her quivering fingers, then grasped the handle of the door with a vice-like grip.
Let’s rename this novel to ‘The Villainess Wants to Stop Getting Bullied’.