Unable to endure the people’s peering gaze, the Whigette girl left the garden with a pale face. The other two girls who had been by her side looked around confused before trailing behind her.
With the three of them now gone, all of the wives and daughters in the garden turned their gazes to Tiana. Did I make myself stand out too much? But I needed to do something about those girls’ disgusting behavior toward Angelica, she thought. Had Tiana not stepped up, they obviously would have tortured Angelica during the whole tea party. It was better to subdue them early than to wait for things to worsen. The situation had drawn more attention than she expected, but she had still decided to do it anyway.
Standing nervously, trying her best to avoid the endless stares, Alexandra flashed a grin and approached her.
“That was really cool, Tiana. Just watching it made me feel energized. I was annoyed because they kept splashing water, but thanks to you, they won’t be back for a while.”
“Sorry, Alexandra. I didn’t mean to leave you behind. Just watching them do it, I couldn’t just let it go,” replied Tiana.
“There’s absolutely nothing to be sorry about. Instead of me, you’re the one who stood up for them. It was rather better for you to do it. And since their families are empiricists… They would have said something behind my back if I stood up.”
“Oh, they sure would.” Tiana smiled bitterly. As a matter of fact, she was an empiricist, so if she were to impose sanctions on the same faction, people would have no choice but to talk. “I also spoke up thoughtlessly, but was it okay?”
“During a time like this meant for enjoying each other’s company, such girls who purposely pick a fight are the ones at fault. Why they can’t purely enjoy the party and instead choose to fight over family politics is just… It’s so annoying, I can’t understand.”
“I feel the same way,” Tiana sighed.
Alexandra had prepared the tea party wholeheartedly for Tiana, but looking at her as she sucked her teeth at the ruined mood made Tiana upset. In the original story, Alexandra, who hated fighting over family politics or factional relations, was famous for deliberately living without any factional disputes.
It even seemed like she had invited the others evenly with no regard to their distinguished factions, but it was so annoying to watch those bullies rain on her parade. No matter how political social activities could get, it was best to give details about the time and place ahead of time.
“I should tell my maid to bring us some fresh tea.”
Looking around to freshen up the atmosphere, Alexandra called some nearby servants. After hearing her order, they immediately started moving about busily to bring out a fresh pot of tea and clean cups.
“Uh, Your Highness.”
Tiana was watching the servants moving for a while when she heard Angelica’s voice next to her. Looking at her with a peculiar expression, she humbly gathered her hands and bowed toward Tiana.
“Thank you for your help,” she hurriedly spoke.
“No, no. It’s okay. It isn’t something I really need to be thanked for.”
“No. If you hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have been able to speak. I might not have been able to stand up to them.”
“Alexandra acknowledged that you deserve to be here. I don’t know how difficult your situation is, but stay confident and don’t be intimidated. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Yes… Thank you so much.”
Seeing Angelica crack a smile also made Tiana’s lips curl. Tiana was relieved to see her face more relaxed than it’d been earlier. As her dark expression cleared, her clear sky-blue eyes sparkled beautifully. They even went well with her shiny blond hair sparkling in the sun, giving her the appearance of a fairy tale princess. Tiana was quietly admiring her looks when a maid approached carefully.
“Excuse me. Your Highness and Lady Angelica. The broken teacup down there looks dangerous; should I clean it up?”
“Oh, sure. Be careful getting it up.”
“Yes, I will.”
Bowing her head, the maid gathered the shards of porcelain with a broom. And after a while swept it into a dustpan brought by another maid. When Tiana looked at Angelica, who couldn’t take her eyes off the broken shards the maid took away, she asked her, “I guess you like that teacup.”
“Huh? Oh, yes I do… Through my family’s business, I’ve come to like all kinds of ceramics, but that teacup is my favorite. Even though that one belongs to the Whigette family… Oh…!” She looked at Alexandra, surprised as if she had suddenly recalled something while speaking. With a slight blanched look on her face, she hurriedly bowed her head and said, “I am sorry Your Royal Highness. I should have apologized for the broken teacup…”
“What? Oh, no. It’s okay. You didn’t break it on purpose. Right?”
“Right. The words from that girl made me so angry that I dropped it when I tried to stand up.”
“It happens. People like you who care dearly for teacups can’t deliberately break them. It’s all right. It wasn’t even that expensive, and there are plenty others like it, so don’t worry about it.”
“But I still want to reimburse you,” she insisted.
“You don’t really need to do that.”
Embarrassed by Angelica’s determined attitude, Alexandra looked at Tiana. There was nothing she could do for her even if she looked at her like that. Tiana thought while looking at the two for a while and came up with a good idea.
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