Elena confirmed the dates of the social events she would attend and checked the one that would happen the soonest. Her reputation had changed dramatically in the days after the ball, but she had given them her word that she would go.
‘To prove my innocence…I have to make Lady Selby a liar.’
That was her best course of action. Her accusation wasn’t untrue either, as Helen was now spreading false stories about her.
‘To start, I need information about Lady Selby.’
Just as Helen had done, information would be her the trap. It was key the Elena could gather as many witnesses and evidence against Helen in a short amount of time.
‘Let’s start with when she tried to give me the salty tea.’
Elena would seem more credible if Margaret offered to testify on her behalf, unlike Helen, whose witness was Sophie. Margaret was a noblewoman, and as such would be considered more trustworthy than a maid.
But that wouldn’t be enough. Just like the story of Elena meeting with a different man every night, there had to be something tantalizing and provocative. Only then would the rumors would stop at once.
After thinking it over, Elena stood up and headed towards Mirabelle’s room. Before entering, she knocked lightly on the door.
“Yes, come in.”
When Elena opened the door, the sound of the sewing machine at work flowed out.
With the help of a few maids, Mirabelle was devoting herself to fixing up the dresses that Carlisle had sent. When Mirabelle looked up and saw who entered the room, she rose from her seat.
“What’s going on, sister?”
“There’s a social event in a few days and I was going to ask for a dress, but you appear to already be working on one.”
“I already mentioned at the ball that I’m going to refit the dresses for you. And with so many invitations coming in, I had an idea that you’d need them sooner or later.”
Mirabelle was so charming that Elena couldn’t help but smile.
She was right. Elena had to be just as beautiful as everyone else at the upcoming events. Appearances weren’t everything, but she wouldn’t lower her standards either. And on that day…she would turn the tide on all the rumors spread by Helen.
Elena recalled the invitation to the soonest date. She didn’t know how many nobles would attend, but it was clear that there would be quite a crowd. With so many things to prepare, it was a relief that a dress was one less thing on her mind.
“Then I’ll come back later, Mirabelle.”
“Yes, sister! I’ll let you know when it’s finished.”
“Yes, thank you.”
When Elena returned to her room, she immediately tied a red handkerchief to the window. She judged Kuhn to be the quickest and most secretive way of gathering information compared to the Blaise’s resources. She was never disappointed by the information he brought.
As usual, Elena kept the windows open and waited for Kuhn to slip past everyone’s eyes. She settled at her desk, putting the plans in her head to paper. If her counter offense failed, the vicious rumors about Elena might feel more true. She might not be able to do anything about it at that point. Time was short, but she couldn’t leave any holes in her plan.
‘Lady Selby…I will pay you back twice over what you’ve given me.’
She did not intend to sit still like a fool. Not after her reputation was tarnished like this. Today, Elena was not a naive young noblewoman. While it was true that she was less skilled in social politics than with her sword, she wasn’t so soft as to allow herself to be subjected to a shameful deceit.
Elena’s momentum was building.
She asked Kuhn to collect information about Helen and bring it back as quick as he could. Soon after, she summoned Michael and ordered him to set up an appointment with Countess Viviana.
Stella Viviana. She was a leading figure among the nobility and was one of the most mentioned names in Kuhn’s report of the capital city. The reports were not Elena’s only source of knowledge, however. She still remembered the name after a shocking revelation in the future.
There was only one reason why Elena wanted to meet such a person. She needed help from an influential person in high society.
‘No matter how much I target Helen’s weakness, people won’t believe me easily.’
Elena was still uninitiated to the capital’s social circles. She had no connections, no one to listen to what she said, and with her image in tatters, she would likely be ignored and avoided by other nobles as well.
‘I need someone else to spread the rumor that Lady Selby is a liar.’
She needed someone to back up her words, and for that, Stella was the perfect choice. However, that woman’s nose was held as high as her reputation. She wouldn’t do Elena a favor so easily, and even Elena had no idea if she would receive her. It had taken Stella a few days to respond after Michael visited her personally, and soon the butler finally delivered the answer Elena was worried about.
“My Lady, I’ve heard from Countess Viviana…”
“She says it’s too difficult to fit you into her busy schedule.”
A long sigh escaped from Elena’s mouth.
Elena hadn’t been able to sleep much because of the rumors. She rubbed her fingertips against her stiff eyes and spoke again to Michael, who was looking at her concernedly.
“Wait there for a moment.”
“Yes, My Lady.”
She went straight to her desk and began writing something down. Then she placed the paper in an envelope, sealed it, and handed it over to Michael. He took the envelope curiously.
“Give this to Count Viviana and ask her to make another appointment.”
“She had already turned you down once…Will it be possible?”
At the butler’s doubtful expression, Elena answered determinedly.
“Yes. Maybe this time.”
She didn’t wish to use her knowledge of the future as a weapon so soon. But now that the situation has come to this, she had no choice. She regretted sending threatening letters, but she was in no position to wait any longer.