How to Avoid Becoming a Vicious Stepmother - Chapter 5
Agatha, who entered the Duke’s castle in the carriage of the Count of Petrika, seemed embarrassed by the atmosphere in which no one welcomed her after coming to the castle with a raised nose. What the Duke was doing had never been seen by me since Merilyn’s labor, and I pretended not to notice that the Count of Petrika was auditioning her for the new Duchess position.
He didn’t come to see Agatha or me, the new Duchess candidate, and Agatha seemed very offended when her aide, not even the Count of Petrika, welcomed her. After getting off the wagon with an aide’s escort, I laughed when I saw her pushing his arm. I watched her through the window, listening to Merilyn’s cough. Agatha didn’t immediately act like she had forgotten that this place was a Duke’s castle. Because she didn’t hit the maids who greeted her.
Soon Agatha learned that Merilyn was still alive, that the Duchess was alive, and that I was also a guest at the Duchy.
“Why are you here?”
Agatha complained to me with an angry face. Carrying Carlos in the nursery and heading to Merilyn’s bedroom with the nannies, I stopped because of Agatha, who blocked me.
“I’m here because it’s Merilyn’s house. Get out of my way. I’m on my way to Merilyn.”
Agatha looked at me with a fierce look and turned to Carl in my arms. Her eyes gleamed with subtle glitter.
“Is that baby ‘him’?”
“This is Young Master Carlos. Keep your manners.”
Agatha snorted at my words.
“Isn’t he my son now?”
She reached for Carlos and I took half a step back, hugging the child tightly.
“It’s Merilyn’s son. Come on, don’t be impolite to Young Master Carlos!”
Agatha was dumbfounded, but when I didn’t back down with a tough face, she clenched her teeth and lowered her head. Carlos was a young baby less than a year old, but he was the Duke’s only son. If Carl were to grow up, he would be the Duke’s successor, and the next Duke after the Duke’s death.
“This is Agatha Blanche De Bell, daughter of Viscount Bell.” I said to Carlos.
I could feel Agatha grinding her teeth. Originally, a high-class aristocrat who was greeted had to be greeted to stand up, but Carlos was not a big enough child to do so, so Agatha raised her head and was quiet for a while.
With her head up, she glared at me with sharp eyes.
“You still believe in Merilyn, don’t you?”
Her voice was sarcastic, but it didn’t hurt or itch at all.
“It’s the Duchess of DeMancier. How dare you say the Duchess’s name?”
Agatha snorted with a furious look and murmured in a low voice,
“Stump with the soon-to-be-dead duchess.” Then she turned around and left.
Watching her step away slowly, I didn’t seem to forget my hand and I grabbed her hair saying,
“What do you mean by that!” Thinking about the baby crying in my arms, I clenched my teeth and took Carl to Merilyn’s bedroom.
Since then, Agatha has remained calm for a while, perhaps conscious of my existence. When she saw me, who was in a similar situation to her, sitting next to Merilyn while taking care of Carl in the Duchy, she thought of me as a rival for the position of next Duchess. Trying to find fault with me somehow, she tried to appeal to Carl whenever I was away, but she repeatedly failed. However, she looked at me without getting angry.
Then she found out that I had a fiance named Oscar. I never thought I’d hear Agatha congratulate me on my engagement in my life, but I’m sure she’s starting to show her true colors. When Merilyn was only slowly debilitating while Count Petrika was not calling for a new candidate, she began to act as if she had already become a Duchess. At first, she slapped or punished the young maids for one reason or another, and when no one stopped her, she gradually became bolder.
“Lady! Lady, now in the nursery! Lady Bell!”
A maid who became contemplated ran to me and said, who was wiping Merilyn’s body with a towel soaked in warm water. Merilyn and I made eye contact. Before the Duchess, I noticed Merilyn’s look at the maid who was making a fuss in the castle to me, but she was just surprised and urged me to go. Eventually, I handed the towel over to another maid and headed to the nursery with the maid.
“Lady Bell is hitting the nanny and the Young Master is crying!”
“What? No, why?”
“The nanny said that the necklace and brooch that Miss Bell wore are big, so why doesn’t she take them off and hold the Young Master?”
As I rushed to the nursery, the maid informed me of the origin of the incident. She was in such a hurry that her words mixed in with a harsh breath. The moment I heard the maid, I could guess the situation. I didn’t expect her to think about touching a nanny.
In this society, nannies of high-ranking nobles were different from the common nannies that took care of Agatha when she was growing up. They were all wives of the Duke’s Vassals! So one was the Baroness and one was the Viscountess. The wives of his subordinates who the Duke trusted enough were made his son’s nanny!
“What are you doing?! Are you crazy, Agatha?!”
The nanny, tangled with Agatha, was the Viscountess Desmond. And she wasn’t being beaten unilaterally by Agatha. Both of them forgot their dignity and everything, were tangled tearing off each other’s hair, and occasionally hitting each other’s cheeks with their palms. Another nanny, the Baroness, was nowhere to be seen as if she had left. While the nanny and his stepmother were fighting each other, Carl was crying his head out in the cradle. I hugged Carl in a hurry. Carl, who was crying loudly, cried at the top of his voice when he hugged me.