3 – 1
The daughter of Count Storm, Camilla Storm, is a horrible woman.
She had inflicted a countless number of hardships on the daughter of a Baron called Liselotte. Using her wiles, she had ensnared the innocent. Once she had her claws in you, she would never let you go. She had first wrapped the First Prince Eckhart around her finger, then she went after Prince Julian.
Everyone in the Mohnton territory, who unwillingly had Camilla pushed upon them, should have been extra careful.
But the Duke of the land, Alois Montchat, had already fallen into Camilla’s skillfully laid trap.
Did he surrender to her out of fear? Or was he simply caught unawares by this exiled woman?
In any case, the Duke was now under Camilla’s control. The once kind and magnanimous Duke had suddenly fired servants for the most trivial of reasons, and gave their position to someone wholly unsuited to the task. Of course, Camilla was the one pulling the strings behind everything.
After taking over Mohnton, the rumours said that her next goal was to return and take another shot at seizing power in the capital.
The servants in the mansion kept away from her as much as possible, fearful of her earning her ire.
Especially when Camilla was in a foul mood. Everyone working there was utterly petrified that she would throw a tantrum at the drop of a hat and have them fired.
Four months after arriving in Mohnton.
Today, Camilla’s mood really was foul.
It was for a different reason altogether, though.
It was instead because of just how rough her skin had been having it lately.
It was caused by the swamps, not hot and dry air. The sun isn’t quite as strong here, so it was gentler on the skin than the warm capital city.
However, the problem with Mohnton was the miasma.
Camilla didn’t have much magical power, so she wasn’t as susceptible as others to its effects. In fact, she barely noticed it at all when she first came to Mohnton. The first time she truly noticed it was when she visited Grenze, a manastone mining town, where the increased amount of miasma had caused slight aches on her skin.
But even for staying in the town for half a month, Camilla’s skin had stayed lustrous and beautiful. Certainly, if she had just let herself be buffeted by those humid winds, she may have been in trouble. However, Camilla diligently looked after her skin every single day. She washed herself with soap, used creams made from herbs and milk, and sprayed olive-scented perfume on herself. So long as she did that much, she wouldn’t be affected by the miasma. Or at least, that’s what she thought.
After some time, she realized that her skin was beginning to suffer, even after everything she did to protect herself. Somehow, despite the humidity, her skin had begun to dry up. She felt itches in the crooks of her arms and legs. Just the other day, she even found a pimple on her cheek.
She was utterly aghast.
It had to be the fault of the miasma that had been blowing through town that served as the territory’s capital throughout the past month.
Originally, this town wasn’t nearby any manastone sites. The miasma usually wasn’t this strong. Was this because of a shift in wind currents? Or a change in climate? Nobody really knew.
The only thing Camilla knew for certain herself was that if it became stronger, her skin would end up suffering even more for it.
Also, for any person with strong magical power, their grasp over that power will become weaker.
Thanks to that, it seems like the girl called Nicole that Camilla had recently taken on as her personal maid, was going through her own fair share of trouble.
“I wish I could control my magic as well as Lord Alois does.”
Nicole said regretfully as she returned, a slight amount of magical power leaking out of her.
As she said that, she unconsciously scratched at her arm hidden by those long sleeves. It seemed like a new habit of sorts for her.
They were in Camilla’s room. The wind had picked up a little bit more today, making the miasma even harsher on the skin.
On a day like this, her magical power was liable to be disturbed even more, potentially running amok. Therefore, at times like this, when she felt her magical energy overflowing she would dash out of the room, use up her power somewhere safe, then return.
However, this kind of solution only served as a temporary bulwark and didn’t really solve the issue at hand. Just like normal strength, magical power is also restored by resting. So, all that magic will just come back after a night’s sleep.
Being able to keep stringent control over their magical power came down to the skill of the wielder themselves. Since Nicole was still inexperienced, she found it very difficult to handle that power of hers properly.
“I am very sorry for causing you so much trouble. The miasma has increased in strength again lately.”
– Again, huh?
That would explain why her skin was getting worse and worse these days. It wasn’t just Camilla, either. Alois’ face was even more pockmarked than usual. It was a smorgasbord of pimples, so much so that she couldn’t stand to look at his festering reddened face. If even Camilla, who is so diligent about her looks, was having this much trouble, when she thought about how bad it might get for Alois who didn’t seem to care about his appearance at all…
Trying to shake away the thought, Camilla rubbed her temples.
“…Hey, Nicole, are you taking proper care of your skin?”
“Who, me? That kind of thing is sorta…”
Nicole scratched her arm again as she said that. Camilla grabbed her hand as she did it.
Nicole’s shoulders jumped in shock and her body went stiff. There was a faint fear in that freckled expression of hers.
Because of her experience being bullied and used by others, Nicole had a deeper tendency to be frightened around other people much more than normal. But even more than those experiences, what probably caused her fear right now was Camilla’s obviously bad mood lately.
Camilla, though, didn’t care about that at all.
“Ahhh!” She screamed, as she pulled up Nicole’s sleeve and revealed her arm.
“It is completely ruined after all!”
Under that long sleeve. A huge red rash had spread up Nicole’s arm. Around her wrist and the crease of her elbow the red skin and slight scarring were especially bad. It must have been because of the scratching as well that her skin had begun to crack and bleed in places.
“M-Mistress, don’t look at that…!”
Nicole tried to cover her arm with her other hand in a panic. But just as soon as she covered it with her other hand, she impulsively itched at it. Camilla didn’t miss that.
“Stop scratching it! You will make it even worse!”
“Y-Yes! Um…! B-But, what should I do when it’s really itchy!?”
Nicole trembled at Camilla’s determined shout.
But, that’s only natural. Just how much effort would it take to clear up that skin of hers?
Looks can only be achieved through effort, after all. Even if the most beautiful person in the world has to take care of themselves, or all their beauty would fall to ruin.
That pretty blonde hair.
That cute, Liselotte-like face.
Yet, she doesn’t decorate her hair at all or make any attempt to hide her freckles. Even though she had a lot more freedom as a senior ranking maid now, she still wore the clothes she had worn as a lower level servant.
“You have naturally good looks, yet you have let yourself go this much!?”
She was talking about Nicole… But, the same could be said for Alois.
Simply put, this was the situation.
Alois made no attempt to care for his skin. It just wasn’t in his nature to think about things like that.
When the miasma was this strong in the past, she was sure that he didn’t do anything to protect himself back then either. Leaving his skin uncared for like that, it was inevitable that it would become rough and toad-like. Instead of just using his magic as an excuse for his poor skin, Camilla thought that he should actually do something about it himself.
To be a man good enough to beat Prince Julian, he couldn’t have horrible skin like that. Prince Julian had white and porcelain skin. This was another part of Alois that she had to change.
By now, she had also reduced his amount of meals to five. It seemed like it was time to try and change his attitude as well.
As she forcibly held Nicole still to lather her arm in cream, Camilla planned her next move.
Edited by: ApoPie