Earlier, Susan had temporarily put a halt on her "investigation." She had thought about it and felt there was no need to think wildly and suspect Damian had a hand in everything and was making Tyra lie for him.
She thought thinking so was silly, and now that they had raised the topic of finding out what happened to Sir Wilson, they were already a step closer to finding the real culprit.
But Susan had a curious spirit. And after someone had secretly given her a note telling her to find Katherine, she could not just sit back. So even though she was no longer suspicious of Damian, she still wanted to know who Katherine was, and this time, she decided to ask two people who were closer to her than other maids.
Susan had found Paulina in the painting room, and when she entered, Paulina looked very tense and jumped from where she had been sitting, painting.
Susan stood by the door awkwardly when she noticed Paulina's reaction. She didn't know whether it was because Paulina knew who she was now or because her brother had scared her by kissing her. Either way, she didn't want to scare her.
"Can I... step in?" Susan asked from the door. Even though it was a general painting room for the palace, she felt this place was more of Paulina's quarters, and she didn't want to be rude by forcing her way in.
Paulina nodded and put her painting things aside, also turning the board away from Susan's direction, and just stood nervously.
Susan entered and walked towards her, but she still kept a significant distance between them as she said, "I realized I didn't get to apologize to you--"
Paulina immediately shook her head, asking in confusion, "Why would you apologize to me?"
"For keeping things from you and Princess Amber..."
"You are a Lady." Paulina reminded her. "I... am a maid."
Those words made Susan frown. Why did all of them like to always draw lines between them?
Why couldn't they all be equal? But Susan knew that equality was not possible in their world. It would never be possible.
However, she didn't want this invincible ladder separating her from Paulina. Or Alvin.
"You are my friend," Susan said to her in a firm voice. "We've dined together. Bathed together and travelled together. If I did something wrong, I should apologize to you. Likewise, you doing the same if you did me wrong."
Paulina said nothing and just looked at her in amazement. How were Susan and Williams very different from the queen and Ivan?
"What... are you here for?" Paulina politely asked instead.
"I came here to ask you a question."
As soon as Susan said that, she noticed how Paulina tensed up, and her heart began to pound.
She narrowed her gaze to stare at Paulina, wondering why she was so scared before it occurred to her.
Williams had said he kissed her on the head, and that had unfortunately put Paulina's life in danger. She guessed that was the reason the girl looked so scared now, and she was correct.
Paulina had been thinking about it and all the trouble that one action would cause Alicia if people heard about it. Because it would be right to punish her for presenting herself for a Lord to taint himself with her, but she knew Alicia wouldn't simply let it happen, and that was going to cause even more problems for Alicia now that they weren't done fixing the others.
She has been hiding since it happened.
"Do you know who Katherine is?" Susan asked.
It took a few seconds for Paulina to process the question, and when she realized it had nothing to do with what happened the other day, she almost sighed in relief.
"I heard she is a maid," Susan added.
Paulina nodded her head. "She... supervises the maids' quarters."
"Have you seen her? Do you know where she is?"
She shook her head. "She has not been in the palace for a long time. I cannot tell."
"Do you know anything about her at all? Anything else?"
Paulina thought about it before answering, "She is usually the one we report to if any maid falls sick."
Susan pondered it. It wasn't different from what she had learned from Luciana's maid.
She had said, "Katherine is like an assistant to Beth, but they never get along. She is also in charge of our quarters, and she is the one we report to if any of us fall ill. She stays in the room with the physician while the maid is being treated in case there are some physicians trying to take advantage of us. It has happened before."
When Susan also asked if she knew where she was, she answered, "I haven't seen her in a long time. But she used to say that her mother makes pottery in the east part of the village market. Maybe she went there?"
Susan sighed as she walked down the hallway, thinking about this. How was she going to leave the palace to go look for Katherine?
Although she had gotten similar answers from the two, she had a feeling Katherine would know something.
If she was in charge of the maids' quarters, it meant she knew all the maids. Therefore, she must have known Agnes and maybe learned a thing or two from her to know if she has ever met Tyra privately.
There she goes again, suspecting Tyra.
As she absentmindedly walked towards a corridor, she bumped into someone and stepped back immediately. She was about to apologize when she looked up and realized it was Damian.
"What... are you doing here?" She asked before she realized she had just asked a silly question because they were within the palace walls and she was bound to bump into him.
"I was looking for you, my lady." He said with urgency, which made her look at him in alarm.
"Did something happen to Princess Tyra?"
"Not Princess Tyra. But you." He said to her and looked around them. When he found no one, he kept his voice low as he said, "The queen seems to know of your relationship with Alvin."
Her eyes widened as she stammered, "W-What? How? I... but... nothing is going on between us so --"
"I have no idea what she knows, but she knows something. And she is going to threaten your father with it to be on her side. She has instructed me already."
That made her begin to panic, and she nervously bit her nails.
"But nothing is going on between us. How can she do that to me?!"
"The queen is desperate now. If she has a hand in any of this and your father gets involved and tries to save her, he will also be held responsible."
"You've already been in the queen's bad books the moment you hurt Prince Ivan. Many people know about it too. If they hear a rumour about you and Alvin, whether it is true or not, it is going to greatly affect your family. And Alvin too."
Susan's face paled immediately. "Oh no... what... what do I do?" She asked in fear.
"I think... you should tell your family first." 𝒊𝒏nr𝐞𝘢𝐝. 𝒄𝒐𝗺
"What? Tell them what?" She asked in horror. What was she going to tell her father?
It was already difficult that her mother knew and has always been giving her the side eye. She couldn't afford for her father to even hear a rumour about it or for other aristocrats to find out. It was going to destroy her family. She didn't even care about her reputation or that no man would want to marry her.
"Think of something. Lie if you must or act like the victim and tell your parents you heard some rumours about you and Alvin. Just be the first to tell them before someone else. Then you will be saved." He advised with concern. "Your father must not fall for her plan and help her out." He added.
Susan bit her nail nervously, and her anxiety became very obvious.
What was she going to do?
Harold met with Lady Victoria again, who handed him a small bottle of potion. She had told him the previous day that the potion itself was not ready, but the man had given her the partially made essence with some of the ingredients she could use to complete it, and with his permission, she would prepare it.
He had given her the go-ahead and said they were going to meet again when it was ready today, and now it was.
He took the bottle, surprised to find how clear the liquid was. It looked like plain water.
"I do not know who you are going to use this on, but you have to think about it very carefully. You don't want to bring out something you didn't plan for." The woman said it with concern.
Harold looked at the bottle closely, asking, "How many hours would the effect last?"
"I don't think it would be more than 2 hours." She answered skeptically.
He looked at the bottle again and nodded.
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