1.6

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(This chapter is going to be double the length of a normal chapter due to some filler-fluff between side characters in the first half and some spicy drama in the second half. Consider it a special for 1000+ readers. Thank you all for your support!)

"Lady Marzinal!" The woman awkwardly stutters, dipping into an exaggerated curtsy. "What're you doin' in this part o' town?" 

Liliana gives a wide grin to the older woman.

"Thank you for having me come your home, Mrs. Florentine," Liliana greets. "You don't have to hold any formalities with me whatsoever, as I am a guest here."

"B-But you employ my daughter!" She stutters, gesturing to Amelia as her daughter removes Liliana's winter cloak. 

"She's on a break," Liliana waves off.

"The more you insist on a certain thing, the more My Lady will disregard it," Amelia adds on while laughing lightly, covering her mouth with the back of her hand. "Besides, I invited My Lady to come after she had nagged me constantly about it."

Mrs. Florentine gapes at Amelia and begins to scold her for saying the Marzinal heiress was a 'nagger,' but Liliana merely laughed. Amelia was quite headstrong and Liliana felt guilty for suppressing any of her sentiments, even if Amelia was only a servant. For example, when Liliana had tried to convince Amelia to not use 'My Lady' anymore, Amelia refused to and said it was the "only appropriate thing left" that she had. 

Now that the two are side by side, I can see where Amelia had gained her anxious, yet formal, nature from.

"Anywho, I thank you for allowing me into your abode." Liliana turns to the elder woman and presents her a basket of oranges. Her grey eyes widen in surprise, "I-I don't know if I can accept!"

"Please do," Liliana nods lightly. "Consider it a gift from my family to yours for Amelia's service."

Mrs. Florentine exchanged glances with her daughter before tentatively taking it. "T-Thank you! Do you, er, wish fer a cup of tea?"

"That'd be lovely." 

"Alright! Then follow me," she beams, walking towards her kitchen dining room. "I'm sorry it's not as large as yer manor-"

"Don't be, it's quite lovely..." Liliana inhales lightly. She could smell the warm scent of fresh firewood from the hearth mixed with faint traces of lavender from the window sill's decorations. "It feels more like a home than the cold confines of the marble manor..." she murmurs to herself.

"Don't be silly," Mrs. Florentine snorts, finally adjusting to the lady's presence as she turns around and begins to boil the water. "Most of the lot out 'ere would kill a man to live in your manor, or even visit it."

"You should stop by for tea next time, then," Liliana calmly suggests, causing Mrs. Florentine to choke.

Amelia looks at me with arched brows. "Would the Lady of the House permit it?" Amelia asks in hushed whispers as Liliana shrugs. "She's always off at events with other high ladies and is never home during this season. My father is always at the Court.  After that, the two will travel for months until summer's end. Who will know the difference between a rich and a poor woman if they were to hear I had another lady arrive at my house?"

Amelia's face turns red but Liliana ignores it, looking over at the elderly woman as she brings over the hot kettle of water. Mrs. Florentine poured the water into mismatched cups, giving Liliana the least chipped one, then handed small packets of tea in thin bags to soak.

"What tea is this?" Liliana asks and Mrs. Florentine's face glows with pride. "Lavender tea, with chamomile blossoms and spearmint leaves. Made the mix myself," she humbly brags and Liliana takes a sip. The refreshing taste, although still extremely hot, was amazing.

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