Chapter 63 – Diana & Tiana (I)
Two months had already gone since Tiana had visited Alexandra with Lucius to modify their wedding outfits. And now the wedding was just a week away. With the wedding so close, she thought about things she needed to do. When she asked Inabelle and Loanna, the head of the court maids, they assured her that everything was under control and she didn’t need to worry about anything.
So, Tiana stuck to the schedule that was given to her: eat all day and sleep a lot. She realized that the diet provided to her was adjusted specially to maintain her physique and weight for the upcoming big day. This was the schedule which was normal for a bride-to-be.
“Ma’am, which book do you want to read today?” came the question from her maid.
Her days were so uneventful that she spent most of it reading in the mansion’s study when she wasn’t eating or sleeping or resting. It had a wide array of books; she could read anything she wanted. Sometimes she whiled away her time reading romance novels, and other times history of the world, and other books related to the Empire.
“Maybe I will continue with what I was reading yesterday,” said Tiana.
“Would you like to read this one, perhaps?” asked Inabelle, bringing a book to her.
“Which one?” asked Tiana lazily.
How A Count’s Daughter Can Kiss a Knight was the title. The title was common enough for a modern web novel, but for the world she was in, and the timeline, the book would be rather scandalous. Tiana was surprised seeing it here in the library of a noble family. The book would fit in with the commoners who enjoyed these kinds of books in hushed whispers. But it was odd seeing it in a well-respected family. But what did she know? Perhaps nobles loved to indulge in these kinds of stories, too, seeing that there were three volumes of the same title on the bookshelf.
“It’s quite popular with the ladies these days,” said Inabelle, “I have enjoyed reading it as well.”
“I didn’t know you liked such books,” said Tiana pleasantly surprised.
“It was recommended by one of my colleagues,” said Inabelle, “This is a secret but Loanna loves it as well.”
“Loanna?” asked Tiana, incredulously. She couldn’t imagine the blunt, strict and straightforward Loanna reading such a book.
“Yes,” said Inabelle, smiling as she noticed Tiana’s surprise. “She recommended it to me. She said it is quite helpful for newlyweds and young brides-to-be.”
“Really?” asked Tiana, taking the book. Inabelle nodded.
It must indeed be very interesting if even Loanna liked it. The series had twenty books in total, it seemed. The golden letters on the title at the spine suggested that the book would be very pricey. It was clearly directed to an aristocratic audience.
She opened the cover and read a few lines. The storyline was quite eye-catching and flowed well into the plot. It was really just a modern novel that she would have read in her world.
“I can’t take this to Grand Duchy, right?” asked Tiana wistfully.
Lucius was bound to say something on it if she took it. Or maybe he would just get excited and read it with her. That made Tiana blush.
“That might not be a good idea,” said Inabelle, uncertainly, “Or maybe it is a good idea! But still….” Tiana understood her. It would be awkward if anyone else found it since the contents were rather scandalous.
Tiana flipped through the pages, thinking if Lucius read it, he would indeed learn more about getting physical. He would make more progress than her. Would that be good for her? She blushed.
She closed the book and got up from her seat. She put the book back in its place on the shelf and picked out another. The old book with a navy-blue cover was covered in dust. It looked like it had been there on the far corner on the shelf for a long while. She wiped the dust from the cover and trailed her fingers through the cursive writing on the front of the book:
Diana & Tiana
The two names side by side gave her a pang of sadness. The name of the dead duchess and Tiana. She was fond of the slightly slanted, cursive letters. Seeing her mother’s name and her name together made her feel nostalgic. With a bittersweet feeling, she opened the book.
It might have seemed like a diary to outsiders, but it wasn’t. It was a ledger they had made together. Each page had a list of names with personal information about the servants working in the mansion. There were also records of internal management of the mansion. The records were meticulous and detailed on each page. She could tell from the slanted, elegant writing just who had written it.
Tiana had written on the left, and the duchess on the right. The information had a slight difference and Tiana wondered why. She scanned the page attentively. Every information was from five years before. The duchess had been teaching her. They would document every information and the slight differences that interrupted the writing showed that the duchess would add extra information if Tiana missed it. She also saw her own clumsy writing marked in the pages which were filled with the duchess’ elegant writing.
“Like this?” Tiana had asked, in a different time.
“Yes, my dear,” the duchess had said, “Very good, my darling.”