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Forgotten Juliet - Chapter 27

Published at 4th of August 2023 09:44:40 AM


Chapter 27

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Count Monad’s mansion, like many old mansions, was located on the outskirts of the quiet capital’s urban area.

 

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Nestled in the dense foliage, the Monad mansion appeared closer to a secluded suburban estate.

The exterior of the mansion, with its white roof glistening in the sunlight, could be described as elegant or, to be frank, dilapidated.

Visitors to the old and worn-out mansion were extremely rare.

Seven years ago, after a tragic incident befell the owner’s family, the footsteps of visitors who used to seek out the already quiet family abruptly ceased.

It wasn’t that they lacked compassion, but after the young mistress of the house left for the north, truly no one was left behind, except for a few old servants.

So when the servants of the Monad estate, who hadn’t encountered many visitors in years, received an unexpected high-profile guest, they were taken aback.

“…May I ask who you are?”

The man mentioned the name of a noble that any imperial citizen would be familiar with.

For some reason, despite his shabby and drenched appearance, he didn’t need to prove his status with flamboyant attire. His red eyes were evidence enough.

The bewildered servants finally realized that he was the rumored lover of the absent young mistress and hurriedly opened the door for him.

“This way, please.”

The servants of the mansion, who had been without the owner’s family for seven years, had long forgotten the proper etiquette for receiving esteemed guests.

One of the servants, who took the reins of the black steed the man rode, was flustered and didn’t know what to do.

Duke Carlyle, who handed over the reins, glanced at the overgrown garden before entering the mansion.

The once lively garden where the family’s only daughter used to play hide-and-seek was now desolate.

The maze-like garden was overgrown, and the fountain had dried up.

“Is there no gardener?”

“Well, we are understaffed, so…”

The old butler reflexively made an excuse and immediately regretted it.

Responding to a distinguished guest in such a manner was a severe breach of etiquette.

Even the person he was facing was none other than the notorious ruler of the North. It was a nerve-racking encounter.

The butler hesitated, wondering if he should lower his head now, but the young Duke passed by him and walked alone toward the main building.

The old butler hurriedly followed him behind.

 

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Strictly speaking, Duke Carlyle was a guest, so it was against etiquette for him to enter the mansion without permission.

Even if he was a noble and the lover of the mistress, it didn’t make it any less improper.

However, there was no one in the Monad mansion who could fulfill the role of the master…

‘…Even if there isn’t anyone, it still goes against etiquette, doesn’t it?’

The butler conflicted, but it was ultimately an unnecessary worry.

There was no one in the Empire who could dare to criticize Duke Lennox Carlyle for violating etiquette.

“Which way is Juliet’s room?”

“Huh? Ah, it’s on the west side of the third floor…”

Duke Carlyle casually headed towards the third floor as if he were the master of the house.

The butler, who occasionally followed behind with hurried steps, suddenly snapped out of it. He realized that he should have asked that question from the beginning.

“Uh, Your Highness. May I say something?”

“Speak.”

Without stopping his steps, the duke spoke.

“Thank you. Your Highness, are you here to find Miss Juliet?”

He paused.

Suddenly, Duke Carlyle, who had been walking, abruptly stopped and turned towards him.

The butler felt a chill run down his spine when he saw the infamous red eyes of Duke Carlyle, but it was too late to retract his question.

The old butler mustered up his courage and opened his mouth.

“I apologize, but Miss Juliet is currently absent.”

Why didn’t he say it earlier? The butler thought that Duke Carlyle might get angry, but surprisingly, the Duke showed no significant reaction.

As the butler held his breath and waited for the Duke’s response, he realized that Duke Carlyle, despite his fearsome reputation, was a handsome man with a refined appearance.

The Duke’s reputation with women was well-known.

Indeed, he was someone young ladies could fall head over heels for.

 

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The butler couldn’t help but wonder why rumors about his appearance weren’t as widespread as his notorious reputation.

Only after considering it did the butler entertain the thought that perhaps the Duke had come to find the young lady.

“Juliet…”

“Yes?”

“Has she always used this room?”

“Ah… Yes!”

They found themselves standing in front of the bedroom in no time.

“She has been using this room since she took her first steps.”

The butler, forgetting that he was in front of Duke Carlyle, smiled with satisfaction.

Most of the staff remaining in the Monad mansion were people who had worked there for a long time under the Count’s family.

Among them were many who had witnessed young Juliet taking her first steps.

“I see.”

Duke Lennox Carlyle’s hand touched the pillar at the entrance of the room.

At first glance, it was difficult to notice, but there were marks on the pillar where Juliet had grown and marked her height every year on her birthday.

From the moment she took her first steps, to the age of five when she cried out loud without any reservations, to her debutante ball at sixteen. And all the way to her eighteenth birthday in the winter of adulthood.

His large and well-formed hand gently touched the carved grooves on the pillar.

As the butler watched this scene absentmindedly, he had a feeling that he was witnessing something he shouldn’t.

“Ahem, then please call me if you need anything.”

Feeling somewhat confused, the butler left after saying those words.

Left alone, Duke Lennox Carlyle circled around the bedroom.

The adjoining room through a small door was a small sitting room and dressing room.

There were delicate mirrors, neatly placed combs, orderly arranged clothes, and dusty books.

And a four-poster bed draped with a canopy that seemed to have been used since her childhood.

 

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It was evident that Juliet was a child who couldn’t easily let go of her beloved toys from her early years.

In a large box placed on one side of the small sitting room, there were toys that she must have played with during her childhood, filling it up.

Returning to the sunny and cozy bedroom, Lennox picked up a large rag doll placed by the headboard of the bed.

The rabbit doll, which must have been soft and pink at some point, now looked faded and worn in places. Its ears drooped, and its threadbare stuffing was pitiful.

Lennox could easily imagine a young child, no more than the size of the doll, clutching it tightly and falling asleep.

It was a strange sensation. The mansion felt as if time had stopped.

Unbeknownst to him, Juliet’s presence lingered vividly in this space.

Quietly closing the door and stepping outside, Lennox Carlyle walked along the corridor.

Naturally, the person he was looking for was not present in this old and quaint mansion.

In the first place, the people of the Monad family seemed unaware of the fact that Juliet had left the capital.

They simply seemed curious about why Duke Carlyle, who was the lover of their young lady, suddenly came to the Monad mansion.

Delicate dressing tables, a bedroom filled with girlish tastes.

He vaguely remembered what eighteen-year-old Juliet Monad was like. But the Juliet Monad he knew was a lover who had no way of expressing her preferences.

No, perhaps he was the one who didn’t ask?

A faint scent similar to Juliet’s lingered throughout the mansion, but that was all.

His lover was not here.

Then what had he come here to find?

To find the reason why Juliet left him? Or evidence of her infidelity?

Lennox Carlyle sighed coldly, considering turning around.

That’s when it happened.

“Nice to meet you, Your Highness.”

A middle-aged woman with white hair and a warm, gentle impression appeared at the end of the corridor, supported by a young maid.

“I am Yvette. I was Miss Juliet’s nanny.”

 

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The woman introduced herself as a nanny and politely inclined her head in the direction where Duke Carlyle stood.

There was no focus in the woman’s gray eyes.

Lennox briefly met her gaze, which strangely seemed to be in a different direction, and asked directly.

“You can’t see ahead?”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

Juliet’s nanny smiled mischievously and replied.

“I had poor eyesight due to an illness, and since five years ago, I can hardly see anything. But Miss Juliet has been considerate enough to let me stay at the estate.”

Lennox raised an eyebrow in surprise.

Even without seeing, he could understand the situation.

An elderly nanny with impaired vision, an aging butler. Servants who were either very old or too young. A neglected garden and a dilapidated old mansion that had been abandoned for a long time.

All the staff members were individuals who wouldn’t be welcomed in any other noble household.

With a group of barely twenty people, they seemed to get along harmoniously.

He knew they were fallen nobles, but he didn’t realize it was to this extent.

Of course. He had no interest, and Juliet had never mentioned it.

Lennox reached into his pocket with a somber expression.

Perhaps the income from the remaining territories of the Monad family barely sustained the household in the mansion.

Literally just sustaining it.

The larger the old mansion, the astronomical amount of money it required to maintain its scale. The current Monad family was merely propping it up to prevent it from collapsing.

Compared to the Ducal Carlyle Estate in the North, the Monad mansion was more like a hut than a mansion.

“It seems like a difficult household to manage.”

“Thanks to the careful attention of Your Highness, we are able to get by without any shortage.”

As Lennox casually asked, he doubted his own ears.

‘…Me?’





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