4 (2) – 6
“Oh? Victor, is your practice already over?”
It was a cheerful young woman who came down the stairs. She must have been around the same age as Camilla, or perhaps a year younger. Her hair was a shade of ruddy brown and her eyebrows were slightly thick. She wouldn’t ever rank amongst the most beautiful women of the royal court, but she was a pretty girl all the same.
As soon as they heard her voice come down the stairs, the five young musicians instantly relaxed. The way that colour flooded back into Victor’s face was remarkable.
“Mm. I came to look for you since the Master was calling after you, but… Guests? That’s unusual, isn’t it?”
The girl, whose name was Mia, looked curiously at Camilla and the others. She looked at each of the four visitors, all much better dressed than Victor’s group, then her eyes widened in surprise as she realized something.
“…Wait, isn’t that Lord Klaus!? Why have you come to such a place!?”
“Hmm… I was exploring?”
“Ah, is that so… So that’s why the door to the stairs was open? Gosh, that’s dangerous… I’m glad it was only you this time, Lord Klaus, but what if it were someone else?”
With a sigh, Mia turned an angry eye towards Victor. Then, without letting him avoid her gaze for a second, she walked right up to him.
“Do you truly understand just how dangerous this is? If you’re found out, the Master will be in trouble, and so will I-”
“I know. Mia, trust me, I know.”
With Mia right up in his face, Victor shook his head hurriedly. But, Mia still looked at him dubiously. Victor tried to avoid her eyes as he spoke to change the subject.
“A-Anyways, Mia, you said that father was looking for me?”
“…Mm. That’s right. Victor, did you forget that you had a business meeting this evening? The Master was in a panic because the client should be arriving any minute.”
With a frown, Victor stood up in a panic. Then, he raced up the stairs… But not before turning and bowing deeply to the group in front of him.
“Lord Klaus, my apologies. Even though we were in the middle of our discussion, there’s some urgent business I have to attend…!”
“My apologies, but I’ll be off!”
Once his violin was back on the shelf, Victor flew up the stairs like the wind.
“I’m very sorry that he has caused you so much trouble.”
Mia bowed to the cellar’s visitors with an apologetic look. Then, with a sigh, she raised her head.
“I should also be returning. Please excuse me.”
With those words, Mia followed Victor up the stairs.
After that, the eight people left in the basement were left a little dumbfounded.
“So that’s Mia, his fiancée?”
After the storm that had rocked the cellar subsided, Camilla muttered to herself.
She had a blunt way of talking just as you’d expect of someone from a craftsman’s family, but she was pretty and seemed like a good person. She liked the way that she was polite yet untimid in front of a group of nobles. She seemed like a good match for Victor, who seemed to struggle a little bit with adversity.
“Mia, hmm? If I remember right, she was the daughter of Mister Trost, the tailor. I took a few lessons from him in the past.”
Camilla’s ears perked up as Klaus whispered to himself. As she turned to look at Klaus, who was busy staring into space with his hand on his chin as he pondered it, Camilla was a little astonished.
“You really did anything, didn’t you?”
“There’s nothing wrong with being super curious, right?”
Is that what he tells himself?
That little bit of astonishment changed back into disgust as Camilla sighed.
“…Maybe it would really be best to stop after all?”
After Victor and Mia had left and the door to the cellar had been closed once again, it was Finne who broke the silence of the young musicians with a worried voice.
“No matter how much we play, we don’t get any better… In the first place, we don’t even know how to get better at all. And we can’t just keep doing something dangerous like this forever?”
“You… Might be right.”
Dieter groaned a little bit as he agreed with her. He turned to Otto beside him for a little bit of help.
“Things are different from when we started, we should think about things a little more.”
“I won’t quit.”
Even though the other three had downcast expressions, Verrat spoke out with determination. As the other three turned to look at her… In fact, not just them, but all of Camilla’s group as well, Verrat’s spirit didn’t waver.
“This is for Victor’s sake. We cannot just give up halfway.”
When Verrat looked around, Camilla saw something. There was a fire in that girl’s eyes.
Her dark brown hair was cut short for a woman’s, though it was neatly styled. Those high eyebrows of hers paired with her rouge tinged lips cut a striking image. It was an expression that oozed confidence. As she stood upright, it was as if she embodied both a woman’s charm and a man’s gallantry. A dignified and beautiful young woman.
“We have to give it our all for our friend. Because everyone here wants to give him a wedding to remember, right?”
“I’d expect nothing less of you, huh…”
Dieter sounded amazed as he looked at Verrat.
“You used to love Victor back in the day as well. You really are a good person.”
“That is all in the past. In fact, I forgot it until you brought it up just now. But, the reason I want to bless his marriage isn’t just because I used to love him, once.”
Those words that came straight from Verrat’s heart didn’t have any hesitation to them. As Verrat smiled softly, Finne looked at her in admiration.
“Because he’s an important person to me, I will wish both of them happiness at their celebration. No matter what, for their sake, I can’t hold any sort of grudge or envy. Being petulant and jealous over things like that is childish, after all. You can’t call that love, either.”
“You’re amazing, Vera. There’s such a difference between someone like you and that Camilla from the rumours.”
As she listened to Verrat and Finne talk, Camilla’s eyebrows dropped into a glare. But, neither of them even looked at Camilla. It didn’t seem as if they had any idea the woman they were bad mouthing was standing right in front of them.
“Camilla was so full of bitter jealousy that she cursed her rival, Liselotte, and did all sorts of awful things to her, that’s how the story goes, right? I suppose there are people like that out there.”
“Oh come on, I was never anything like that.”
Verrat pretended to be hurt as she laughed a little bit. ‘Don’t compare me to something that awful’, it seemed like she was saying. There was just a slight hint of disgust in her expression.
“I never want to become an unsightly girl like that. You really shouldn’t think that all women have to be like that, you know? I want to stay beautiful. Most women don’t want to expose a disgusting, ugly side to themselves like that.”
“…Stop right there.”
With that, Nicole stepped forward toward Verrat and the others.
Camilla almost fell over as she reached out to stop her. As Nicole tried to stomp forward angrily, Camilla had a hard time keeping a hold of her shoulder.
“Mistress, don’t stop me-”
But as she looked back at Camilla, Nicole suddenly went quiet.
Alois and Klaus, who were just a second behind Nicole in wanting to shout at Verrat, didn’t dare to speak a word.
It’s because they too both saw Camilla’s face.
Camilla stayed quiet, but her expression was burning with rage.
It was taking all the determination she had to not lose herself completely to her anger.
But, as much as she tried to calm herself down, there was nothing that could be done.
In the very next moment, Camilla lost all thought and notion of self-control.