"Lady Holly, I'm so glad you could make it" as the serene afternoon sun warmed us with its presence, the guest had begun to arrive.
"Lady Ophelia, I am very thankful for your invitation" her kind smile with her beautiful long curly blonde hair and her blue eyes mimicked a saintess.
"Oh please, don't be so formal with me. I am truly happy to be able to finally meet you" as Holly heard the cursed child's words she finally understood what Patricia meant on their last encounter.
'What a silly little sheep...' she couldn't help but consider Ophelia as a weak being, ready to be used and abused at her hands.
"Then Ophelia, please call me Holly too!" she kindly smiles.
'I've got you now Statton' Ophelia thought as her emotions were being covered by a soft chuckle.
"I'm sure you have many guests to greet soon so I won't disturb you any further! Lady Patricia...!" Holly walks towards Patricia before starting a conversation.
Ophelia takes a look around. The garden was beautifully organized, the several tables were covered in a gorgeous white cloth with several snacks that gave it some color. The servants were extremely well dressed making this seem like an event organized by a Duke.
'Not like I was expecting anything less from those two' Ophelia thinks as her eyes meet Jade's. He was between some trees and bushes, keeping her under his watch from afar.
"Milady, your ribbon is falling off. Should I tie it for you?" Ivy politely asks.
Ophelia nods and her maid quickly removes the silky purple bow from her head, redoing her braid in an instant.
Everyone present knew how important it was to maintain the best appearance today. While Holly had a beautiful light pink gown, appealing to her pure side, Patricia had a pale orange dress that highlighted her brown hair. On the other hand, Ophelia was wearing a gorgeous long dark purple dress, with black flowery embroidery at its end while her corset was simple with a big amethyst jewell right at its center. Her hands were covered by black gloves made of lace while her ears were adorned by two medium-sized dark purple earrings.
"Earl Hillgarden, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance" Ophelia greets Patricia's father once he arrives on his carriage. His appearance was a lot older than what she had previously expected: his brown eyes looked tired while his short hair was starting to lose its color, embracing the whites and greys.
"You flatter me, Lady Ophelia, I am the one who is honored for being able to help in such a great event" the Earl replied politely after bowing.
'So this is Ophelia... She looks smart and polite but something doesn't seem right...' even if Ophelia had no trouble catching Patricia and Holly, the same couldn't be said by the Earl. He was suspicious of her and she knew it.
'I wasn't expecting you to be easy...' she realized that this man would be a lot harder to convince than the rest of the nobles.
Ophelia had heard the rumors about Earl Hillgarden, he came from a very poor village, he used to be a farmer to be precise but, gradually, managed to climb ranks and now owns a title. The majority of the commoners wouldn't even consider dreaming about owning a title and, if they do, it's only as a Baron but this man managed to be several ranks above it.
"Father!" Patricia runs as she sighs the Earl and quickly hugs him, " I'm so glad you could make it!"
"Of course my dear, I wouldn't miss this for the world" he kindly smiles at his daughter but soon turns his attention to his servants, "Make sure you work diligently and don't stain our family's name."
"The guests have arrived" a young butler declares interrupting the conversation.
"I shall take my leave then, Earl, Patricia, Holly" Ophelia smiles politely and walk towards the big entrance gates just to see a line of several carriages waiting to be attended.
'Well then, let the games begin' she thinks as a grin is portraited on her lips.
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"Are you new here?" as Bradley watched Ophelia question her servant and ignoring his presence he felt a growing sense of annoyance.
"Someone bring me a wooden plank" her harsh words made him grin. He had seen several sides of Ophelia but this was the first time he had seen such cold eyes coming from her, eyes filled with hatred and disdain, eyes just like only he knew.
"Do you think that's how you punish someone?!" Bradley's annoyance turned into anger as he saw the older butler beat the servant with barely any strength. He was well aware that this was not the butler's fault, once one becomes as old as that man was, the strength was for sure enable to stay in the body but, even then, this new servant needed to know his place. Bradley had seen how he had treated Ophelia and he hated important matters such as these to pass by.
"Then how would you deal with this situation my lord?" as he heard Ophelia's words Bradley understood that he had been given a chance to show his dominance.
"Aiden, beat this man ten times for his impertinence. Rats should know their place" his servant walks forward and grabs the large wooden plank.
"Milady, please have mercy...!" the servant begged loudly making Ophelia's disgusted expression turn darker.
"A man should bear the consequences of his actions, wouldn't you agree?" she questions making Bradley eager to touch her beautiful face.
He wanted to grab her and place her against the wall while his hands would caress her cheeks. He wanted her to look like she had lost it all while Bradley was her everything.
"Please milady! I beg of you!" the servant grabs Ophelia's skirt making her step back immediately. Bradley notices the fear in her eyes and soon his lust gives birth to unsatiable anger.
'Who does this rat thinks he is? You can't touch what's mine you filthy thing... She's mine...' Bradley's mind was in a completely dark place.
"Aiden... Make it fifteen" right after catching Ophelia, he pushes the servant back with his foot as he imagined, within the deepest part of his mind, how he could kill such a filthy human being.
'Maybe I can cut all his limbs so that he can never touch her again... No that's too easy... I know... I'll cut his tongue so he can never stain her with his impertinence...' Bradley kept on thinking about several scenarios as Aiden beat up the arrogant servant. He was so consumed by the hatred of the man standing before him that he didn't notice the Duke's arrival.
"What is with all this racket!?" Duke Wharton questions and as his eyes wander through the view before him, Bradley realized he was in a tough situation.
"Duke, what a surprise seeing you down here!" he tries to soothe the situation quickly right after signaling Aiden to stop and removing his hand from Ophelia's waist.
"Why was your servant beating up my butler!?" the Duke's eyes were focused on him and Bradley knew he was extremely upset. He clenched his fists behind his back in frustration as he had understood that there was no easy way out of this mess.
"The butler was rude towards Lady Ophelia and at her request, I punished him" that was the only thing that Bradley was able to think about in such a short amount of time. He knew that for him to be able to leave unscattered he needed Ophelia's help.
"Is that true Ophelia?"
"The butler was indeed disrespectful to me, however, I didn't ask anything of our beloved guest" her polite smile made Bradley grit his teeth in frustration. He had been played again.
'She's right... She never asked me to do it... This girl...'
"I apologize for my rudeness Duke, thank you for having me" Bradley quietly leaves as he glances over at Ophelia. Her wicked smile showed her pride in her victory and that only made him angrier.
"Master, do you want me to do anything to that lady?" Aiden questions as they both enter the carriage however, much to his surprise, after hearing his words, Bradley's expression darkness in a way the servant had never seen.
"If you touch as much as of a hair of her head I will kill you myself" Bradley was completely blinded by his emotions.
"As you wish milord" Aiden grows quiet. He was scared of this new side of his master, he had never seen him like this. He knew how bad Bradley's personality was but this obsession, this lust, and this desire for Ophelia were nowhere near anything he had witnessed in all the years he had been with the Trace's.
"A letter? I already told you to throw all of them out" Bradley was resting on the couch while a book covered his face.
"It's from Lady Ophelia master" Aiden states just to see his eyes sparkle with interest.
"Is that so... Give it to me" he sits down hurriedly and opens up the envelope just to see the invitation.
'Why did she invite me? Is she going to try something?' even though his heart was thrilled, his mind was still suspicious. Bradley was well aware that Ophelia was not on his side and that she didn't like him but, even then, he couldn't help himself but to chase her down.
"Send a letter to my tailor, we have a party to attend" he grins while Aiden takes his leave.
'This time you will play my game, Ophelia... I won't let you win' his mind was set on having his sweet revenge on that little puppy. He knew that she would be his soon so he would just enjoy seeing her struggle in the meantime.
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"Lady Ophelia, you look stunning as usual" Bradley is the first one to leave his carriage.
"Lord Bradley, you look angelical" Ophelia smiles politely and he quietly takes his leave. He knew he would have his chance to talk with Ophelia during the rest of the party.
As the guests kept on entering the garden Patricia and Holly walked them towards the area where the event was being held. Everything was going according to plan, so far everyone Ophelia had invited was present.
Lady Catherine, Bradley Trace, Holly Statton, and several other noble houses.
"Oh my sister, I'm so glad you could make it. It seems you were able to recover from your sickness rather quickly" Ophelia states as she greets Amanda and Duke Criswell.
"Of course I had to come sister, it was a personal invitation from you after all!" her fake smile made Ophelia feel disgusted on the inside.
'Should I just break her teeth?' she considered right before her line of thought is interrupted by the Duke.
"Ophelia, it's good to see you my child" he smiled politely.
"Of course Duke, I am honored you were able to attend despite your busy schedule" Ophelia wasn't going to let her father play with her emotions. When she invited him she already knew he wasn't going to appear out of goodwill but honestly, this was the perfect opportunity for a scandal.
Knowing about her father's desire to kill her Ophelia already predicted that he would attempt something during this party and so, it only makes sense to give him the opportunity to do so.
'Let's see if you can control your greed' she thought as she watched Patricia take them both into the inner garden reluctantly.
"I hope I'm not too late..." my body stiffens as I hear a male's voice, "...Lady Ophelia"