Be Indulged - Chapter 1
When the employees, who had been working for Count Laszlo for more than a decade, heard who the Lady named Amelia was, they sighed and shook their heads.
Laszlo, given the title of Count, was once a powerful family that was the backbone of the Empire, but now it had lost its former glory.
Twelve years after the birth of Count Laszlo’s daughter, the Countess died as soon as she gave birth to the only remaining son of the family, and the Count was grieved heavily. But only the Laszlo’s family lady was different. With her sky blue eyes and luscious honey-colored hair, she lit up the dim mansion with her distinctive liveliness. She gladly served as the Mistress of the mansion and raised her younger brother herself. There were many people who courted her. On the day she turned fifteen, she became engaged to the eldest son of the renown Margrave Butler.
Her fiancé, Elliott Butler, was a tall, affectionate young man. It seemed that all Amelia Laszlo was left with was happiness, until ‘that’ happened.
After that, her happiness disappeared, and she was always wearing black instead of colorful dresses.
The maids exchanged glances as the woman in black quietly walked down the hallway towards the dining room. They clicked their tongues and looked at the poor girl. Black clothes were still hanging from her thin body. The hem of her skirt was already worn out and had a hole in it. Facing her at night, they looked at her face and almost thought she was a ghost.
She was a noble in name, but she was treated lower than a servant.
* * *
Amelia was quietly listening to her uncle. Her father passed away and her uncle took over the County. And to her uncle, she was nothing more than a piece of garbage that lowered the status of the family. Her uncle and her aunt did not hide their contempt for her as they looked at her, and her cousin, likewise, looked down upon her. There was her little brother left, but he was in the same boat as her.
Amelia looked at the meal they had finished on the table. From the moment she went, she thought she wouldn’t have her share of course. As she looked at the wasted luxurious food, she recalled a time when she was happy and had no worries.
“Why did you call me?”
At a place where her family was.
Amelia left her complaints.
“Be respectful to your uncle. What are you doing, you pleb?”
Her aunt told her with an incredulous expression on her face. Her aunt was the daughter of a family who were only nobles in name. When Amelia’s father died and they became the masters of the estate, they looked as if they had conquered the world. Amelia could not forget the greed that hung on her face, as they dressed in refined and vulgar clothes.
When Amelia looked at the floor without speaking, her uncle called her. And he held something thick in his hand. She glanced down at it and it was an invitation from the Imperial Family.
“You were invited to the Empress Candidate party.”
She put on a puzzled look. Then, her cousin Natalia, who had been looking at it very quietly, burst out laughing.
“Are you crazy? Was she invited, too?”
“Be quiet, Natalia.”
“No, it’s funny. What kind of Empress candidate are you talking about? Do you think His Imperial Majesty will take her?”
“No way. We’re not stupid enough to wish for that.”
Her aunt said in a sultry voice. Amelia bowed her head in shame. She heard that a new Emperor had ascended to the throne, but that was it. Even though she knew about the succession, she didn’t know who ascended the throne. That’s how much she was cut off from the world.
“Of course I am not going. You don’t have to worry.”
It seemed she was called with the intention of giving this and making fun of her for it. She hadn’t been out to social events for years, so why did they still remember her name… Besides, wasn’t it funny that someone like herself was invited as an Empress candidate? It was clear that the new Emperor, His Majesty, was unwise.
“No, you were invited, so isn’t it appropriate to go?”
Her uncle said softly. She was more afraid when he spoke so softly than when he was being sarcastic or when he was cursing at her. When she raised her head, her uncle smiled kindly.
“Now I’m tired of supporting you. You’re already of marriageable age.”
Her uncle was brazen when all he had was the wealth that Amelia’s father had built.
“Think about Colin, and now you have to help the family.”
“I heard that this time, His Majesty allowed many nobles to find spouses at the Empress candidate party.”
He said that people could choose their spouses from the people who took part in the party, of which the purpose was for looking for His Majesty’s own wife? Did that even make sense? Amelia tilted her head, then realized.
‘He had already chosen an Empress.’
“You don’t know just by looking at it, sister? The Empress had already been chosen.”
Natalia said as if teaching her. Natalia treated Amelia as if she was the most foolish person in this house.
“There’s no way you’re going to get a formal engagement anyway.”
“Then, shouldn’t you just go up to the capital and find a man to trust?”
She raised her head. Her uncle smiled brightly.
“As you know, we in the Laszlo County are in a difficult situation, so it’s impossible to keep you with us any longer.”
“You even have some history of harming the family, so this time you should help the family.”
In other words, beg for a man and go away. She felt her head going faint.
“Why? Are you not confident?”
“You can give up your greed and enter as a Duke’s second wife or concubine.”
Her aunt looked at Amelia with her fists clenched and said this sweetly. Amelia stared at her aunt who had an excited look in her eyes, then Amelia looked at Natalia. She had a wry smile on her face.
“You know I can’t go there.”
“No. You need to leave.”
Her uncle said quietly.
“Because I have no intention of letting come back home after that party.”
Her face went white as she received an ultimatum.
* * *
Even in the capital, as she arrived after several days on the carriage, Natalia and her situation were incomparable. She stayed in a shabby inn while Natalia stayed in the house of a capital aristocrat, who her uncle barely had any connection with.
Maybe it’s the last favor? The quality of the dress, which she wore for the first time in a long time, was not bad. She could see that the design explicitly emphasized her breasts. In the dark green dress, she leaned against the old carriage with a pale face. The ball lasted for a total of five days, with the Emperor personally attending on the final day.
This was unnecessary information. It was absolutely impossible for her to be chosen as the Empress. She was already fortunate if she did not get kicked out.
She remembered her own precious little brother. After that day, Amelia seldom saw the child because she was afraid that she would harm him.
[ When I grow up to become a Count, I will definitely save you, Sister. ]
The young Colin didn’t know why people criticized her. Maybe that’s why. He said he would save her by becoming the Count. He seemed to think it was unfair that his sister, who had only been loving to him, had suddenly become like this.
Her uncle and her aunt didn’t want her to see Colin, chasing her away and shipping her off in a carriage. They didn’t listen to her pleas. They simply said that they would raise him well. So she couldn’t even say farewell to her brother.
When Amelia arrived at the Imperial Palace, she quietly got out of the carriage.
When she still had her fiancé Elliot, he said he would show her around the Imperial Palace. She was sometimes frightened when he was angry, but when he was kind, he was infinitely kind.
She wanted to see the capital so much, but she was only able to enter the palace now. The gatekeeper, standing in front of the palace, checked the invitation sent to the Laszlo County, and let her in.
She looked at the banquet hall with blank eyes. She finally saw one for the first time after six years, however, it was her first time to attend a ball held in the Imperial Palace. She had to try not to unwittingly open her mouth because she might humiliate herself.
There were quite a few well-dressed ladies, probably because of the Empress candidate, so her shabby outfit was not very conspicuous. Watching the ladies chatter with a little excitement, she thought about what she had lost. When Amelia was eighteen years old, she was young, confident, and very happy.
But after that happened, she gave up her life. She would have rather died, and when her ailing father passed away, with his last breath, he told her to take care of Colin. With that, she couldn’t even die. What would happen when those people recognize her? Her heart was pounding.
No one had recognized her in the banquet hall yet. It was natural because she had not been to a ball in six years and a generational change had already taken place in high society. The young ladies were busy talking to each other.
Amelia became interested in them, and she quickly looked around, looking for a man who would buy her expensively. Because she could not marry an ordinary man. She felt the gaze of several men looking pointedly at her exposed chest, then looking away.
Her gaze reached somewhere? The closer a woman stood in the middle of a crowd, the higher the status she had. The women standing around the throne looked different from the ladies who chattered outside. All the women were gathered in colorful dresses suitable for the splendid Imperial Palace, gorgeous outfits that could not be compared with Amelia’s. They all stood there with confident faces and elegant smiles.
‘I’m sure one of them will become the Empress.’
She didn’t even know who she would be, but she must be noble enough to be incomparable with her, lest to envy her.
When the time came, the magistrate began to call the names of those invited. The young ladies of influential families she had heard of before were called out.
“Clara of Butler!”
When she heard that voice, her heart started pounding. Butler was of Elliot’s family, who was her fiancé. Did his little sister already reach this age? When she saw one unexpected person, her heart was shaken. Clara, who had just debuted, was beautiful and refreshing. As she walked to the middle of the banquet hall with a confident expression on her face, Amelia quickly hid her body behind a pillar. And she breathed out a sigh of relief.
Some were being called. They seemed to be strong candidates for the Empress. She held her breath and looked at them. Fortunately, they were distracted by the big event called the Empress Candidate.
“Amelia of Laszlo!”
Amelia heard herself called. She was astonished. This cannot be. She never expected that she would be called among the names of the young ladies who participated as the Empress Candidate. Clara opened her eyes wide at the sound of ‘Laszlo’ and looked around her.
“Was there anyone like that in County Laszlo?”
“Oh my God!”
She bowed her head at the giggled sneering. The magistrate, too, clicked his tongue.
“Wear this here at all times.”
To the magistrate’s blunt words, she answered in a voice as small as a mosquito’s. It was clear that the magistrate also felt that he did not need to treat her well.
After everyone received their nameplates, they had to wait for another period of time, which Amelia took as a queue to quietly go back to the corner.
“Are you really sister Amelia?”
At Clara’s words, she stopped. The other women stopped chatting, looking at her and Clara alternately.
Amelia could see Clara’s face closely. She had platinum hair and blue eyes that resembled Elliot’s. A pretty face like a doll. In a sky-blue dress, pearl necklaces and earrings, she already looked like an Empress.
“Long time… no see.”
Clara heard that and raised the corners of her lips.
“‘Long time no see’? Are you out of your mind? After killing my brother!”
“You don’t seem to have heard properly about His Majesty the Emperor, have you? If His Majesty knew that a woman like you dared come here, he would lop off your head!”
She heard people gossiping. She bit her lip.
“How can you—how can you think you can show up here?”
Amelia bowed her head.
“Truly disgraceful. You’re pathetic and an eyesore, sister.”
Clara giggled, not wanting to talk to her anymore and went away. Amelia closed her eyes.
“If it’s the Laszlo County, then I’ve heard of it. You mean that woman who killed her fiancé?”
“Oh, don’t tell me, that woman is her?”
“Oh my gosh!”
“I can’t believe she’s here!”
She ended up getting the attention she didn’t want to receive.
“I heard that the lady of Laszlo is still not married.”
“Is that the ‘dirty lady’?”
Amelia was well aware of the titles she received in the social world. She wanted to steel her heart. But her heart broke down helplessly. As expected, she had not yet been forgotten.
“What is she doing here! Shouldn’t she get out?”
“Poor Miss Butler!”
Amelia felt their cold gazes. Eyes as if looking at a dirty thing. She felt suffocated under those eyes, so she bit her lip and ran out of the hall. The laughter and accusations of the women filled the background.
Amelia wanted to leave the palace immediately and go home, to lock herself up in the dark room again. to that comfortable place. But there was no carriage to ride. Her uncle told her not to come back.
It’s as simple as returning where she had come from, but lost her right to stay in her own home, which was her only sanctuary. She was caught in a daze. Should she go back there again? A world full of enemies? Wasn’t she going to fall anyway? Moreover, listening to Clara’s words, the Emperor’s personality seemed unusual. What should she do? She wandered aimlessly through the Imperial Palace.
Come to think of it, her uncle’s words were strange.
Who’s going to take responsibility for her after meeting her for the first time and mixing bodies? If she thought about it, the Empress candidate party was a trick by her uncle to kick her out. She was kicked out like this. When she realized it again, it seemed that her mind had blanked out.
Misery and despair took over her body.
She wandered around the Imperial Palace, not knowing what to do. Her dress felt heavy. There was no one out there to help her.
She knew her uncle’s intentions. He wants to use her to establish ties with the nobles at the capital. It didn’t matter how dirty the method was. That was her ‘usefulness’ according to her uncle, and she had no right to refuse. She had no place to live, and her younger brother remained in the mansion.
She would do as her uncle commanded. She knew very well which method to use. She was still young, so she could do it. But wasn’t that something she’s never done before? She bit down on her lips.
Just then, someone was coming from across the corridor where Amelia was. He was a middle-aged man in colorful clothes. She grabbed the hem of her skirt and greeted him.
“Empress Candidate. What’s your name?”
The man looked at Amelia’s dress and quickly realized that he was the one who could speak down on her.
“Oh, I am Amelia Laszlo.”
“Amelia Laszlo? Laszlo. Ah, that’s right. I guess like ‘that’ lady .”
He smiled as he said the ‘Laszlo’ word with emphasis. The eyes looking up and down were unusual. Eventually, the man’s gaze reached her bare chest. It might make things easier. Still, the feeling of humiliation was unavoidable.
“Lady Laszlo is participating in the Empress’s candidate ball. Well, it’s not too far-fetched.”
“You’re beautiful. You must be beyond the age of marriage. How… alluring.”
Alluring… Realizing what he meant, she bowed her head in shame.
“Thank you for the compliment.”