With long platinum silver hair and jewel-like amethyst eyes, Lucretia Adallindus would catch anyones eyes as she passed by. If someone said that she was beauty personified, no one would come out to disagree.

However, superficial beauty was all Lucretia had.

”Ah. Lady Irene, I hadn known you would be attending Lady Odelias tea party today. ”

”Lady Lucretia… ”

Standing in a beautiful rose garden, a girl with shoulder-length brown hair and some specks of freckles on her face looked uncomfortable, as she muttered under her breath. She had a cute stature as she dressed in a green dress that matched her eyes. Though, none of her appearance stood out, when she stood in front of the enchantingly beautiful girl in front of her.

”I-it is a pleasure to see y— ”

”Especially since you had rejected my previous invitations recently. Did I do anything to upset you? ”

The silver-haired girl stared at the cowering girl in front of her, as she rested her hand on her cheek in a concerned manner. However, her tone and attitude clearly showed that she wasn actually concerned. The brown-haired girl could feel the gaze on her, and looked away nervously.

”N-no! Of course… not… I was feeling a bit unwell, b-but Ive recovered now… ”

”Ah~ thats great, isn it? You must come to the gathering Ill host next time, then. I would be quite delighted! ”

”Y-yes… of course… ”

With an angelic smile, people would normally not find anything wrong with what she had said, but the brown-haired girl trembled at that smile.

As her brows knit, she remembered the torment she had to go through whenever she had gone to a gathering hosted by Lucretia. Whether it be having hot tea poured on her or forcefully cutting her hair, just the thought of having to attend made her stomach sick.

The other ladies in attendance could feel a tension in the air, but they all turned their eyes away, not wanting to poke a sleeping bear.

Seeing a vague silence within the air, Lucretias sparkling eyes wandered around, until she stilled. A devious smile appearing on her face, she hid it slightly with her delicate fingers.

”Lady Irene, I really am worried about you, since you seem to have a weak constitution. ”

”Eh? Um… Im really better now. Thank you for your concern, Lady Lucretia… ”

Taken slightly aback, Irene was cautious and wary. As she took a step back, Lucretia took two steps forward.

”No, no, I can see that you haven fully recovered yet! Look how sickly pale you look right now. ”

Tilting her head slightly to the side, she held her head with her hand.

”But don worry! I know the perfect way to help with your complexion! Beauty is important to a lady, after all. ”

Irene couldn help but feel a chill travel down her spine, as she saw Lucretias beautiful amethyst eyes lid in excitement.

”Since you
e much too pale, why not darken your complexion? Since we
e in a garden, wouldn the dirt do the trick? ”

”Eh— ”

With that one sentence, the mood of the venue completely turned cold. Even Lady Odelia, the host of todays party, only uncomfortably hid her face with her fan as she looked away.

”I-I… t-thank you for your concern, b-but Im really alright… ”

Forcing a smile on her face, Irene stepped back as cold sweat traveled down her body. A deep and dark churning feeling couldn help but create painful knots in her stomach, as she only wanted to escape from this hell.

However, as she took a step back, she could feel a firm grip on her wrist.

”Where are you going? ”

With wide eyes that looked as though she could look into your soul, Irene felt her legs weaken as Lucretia stared at her with expectation. The latters hand held on tightly, stopping the former from moving another step.

”Come on. Do it. I recommended this because of my concern for you. You aren going to embarrass me in front of everyone by rejecting my suggestion, right? ”

As she leaned closer, Irene could feel Lucretias eyes pierce right through her. Tears started to well up in her green eyes, but she tried her best to hold it back.

”Y-yes… ”

”Great! ”

Almost as if she had two different personalities, Lucretias frightening expression soon changed to her usual cheery attitude.

Irene walked towards where Lucretia had pointed out, near the rose bushes. With each step, she felt as though she couldn breathe, and the ladies watching felt the same.

Stopping, she looked at the ground, her hands trembling. Taking a glance to her side, she could see the silver-haired girl look down on her with a gleeful expression filled with anticipation.

With the weight of that gaze on her, she knelt down and lowered herself, with every part of her body hesitating and shaking. Closing her eyes in a wince, she moved her hands to grasp the loose dirt on the ground.

As she opened them, she could see the brown dirty mass in her hands, causing her to stop moving. Tears welled in her eyes, and she couldn stop it this time. Her whole body froze and the only movement was the trembling of her body.

”Hm? Whyd you stop? ”

”… ”

Lucretia looked questioningly at her.

”Lady Irene? ”

”I… I can do… it… ”

A large silence filled the area as she muttered under her breath. Irene turned her head toward Lucretia. Looking up, she had tears streaming down her face, as she begged and pleaded.

”P-please. J-just this once. Forgive me. I don know what I did wrong to offend you, b-but please just forgive me. ”

”… ”

Lucretia looked at her, her eyes not revealing what she was thinking. However, she breathed out a sigh, as she held her chilling smile.

”Lady Irene, with how you
e acting, people would think Im bullying you. You know Im only doing this for your own good. ”

As she retained her smile, the silver-haired girl widened her eyes as she rested her unwavering gaze at the girl below her. The pressure she exudes from just her stare caused people to feel weak.

”So. Get on with it. Unless you would like for me to help you? Though, I would have to warn you it might hurt, since I chose to wear my heals today. ”

Feeling a chill spread across her entire body, she didn want to be stepped on, nor spread dirt over her own face. However, she realized she only had those two options.

Lucretia only gave her those two options.

”Oh my! You already look much better! Aren you glad I suggested this? What does everyone think? ”

Scattered claps followed after a moment of silence, as the audience of ladies averted their gaze, not wanting to become the next victim to Lucretias whims.

e truly a genius Lady Lucretia! ”

”I-it looks amazing! As expected of you, Lady Lucretia! ”

”What an innovative solution, Lady Lucretia! B-beautiful! ”

A trembling girl clenched her hands into a fist, digging into her own skin. Her hands had become rough and covered in the brown dirt. Her green dress had become mixed with a murky brown color, as some dirt fell back to the ground. With a forced smile, Irene tried her best not to look away from Lucretia. Despite how much dirt had been smothered on her own face, it couldn hide the tears running down her face.

”Y… yes… thank you… Lady Lucretia. ”

This was but one moment in Lucretias life.

One of many like this in fact.

Her reason for targeting Irene Glaucina?

Irene had worn the same accessory as her at a banquet.

Though, Lucretia wouldn even need an excuse to behave the way she has. After all, who could ever reprimand her?

She was the daughter of the glorious Adallindus family. Everybody should be begging to wait on her by her feet and sing her praises.

But, what if she wasn the real daughter?

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