have to correct all your bad habits before you can become a lady-in-waiting later, won’t you?”

And right on cue, Missus Seymour interfered once again.

“Lily, I don’t think this child’s habits matter at the moment.”

“Yes, Missus Seymour, you’re right.
So let’s hurry up and do a body search for all the people here.”

“Do we really need to do that? I’m more curious about why Charlotte Brandon entered the knight commander’s room.”

“Actually, Missus Seymour, she did that because I told her to.”

When Missus Seymour spoke, she had a smile on her lips.
But now, as she heard my answer, her eyebrows wriggled.

“Don’t you think it’s strange for Charlotte to steal a gold brooch like that when she went to the knight commander’s room under my order? It’s not just anyone else’s order—it’s mine, the Duchess’. By chance, will you say that I ordered her to steal that brooch? Or perhaps, do you think that she impulsively pocketed it in there? She didn’t exactly enter that room without anyone knowing.
She went there because I gave her an order to do so, didn’t she?”

“……”

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Missus Seymour’s eyes were blazing with fury.
But regardless of that, I turned to the three maids and two ladies-in-waiting.

“Now, come forward, let’s search you one by one.
Or whoever did it, just come forward and confess before the search.
If you do that, I’ll spare you from any corporeal punishment.”

However, no one admitted anything, so the search eventually commenced.

The search was conducted by Charlotte.
Missus Seymour glared at me with blazing eyes, but at that moment, Charlotte paused when she took off one of Serena’s socks.

“Oh, this…”

As her left foot was raised, Serena remained frozen and speechless.
Her face was completely pale.

The gold brooch slipped out the sock.

She was walking so strangely because the brooch was hidden in her sock.

Serena stumbled back and soon collapsed to the floor.
I already expected it, but her conviction really was weak.

And I already knew the answer, but I still asked.

“Serena, did you steal it?”

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“N-No…”

Her shoulders shook as her lips opened and closed.
Tears welled up in Serena’s eyes as she shook her head vigorously, as if she really was innocent.

When she was about to say something, the unmannered lady-in-waiting stepped forward and shouted.

“You! You’re the one who stole it, but you tried to pin it on someone else?! You also stole Lucy’s silver earrings last time, too, didn’t you? Your younger siblings must be so proud of how you’re making a living!”

The situation started irrationally, and this time, too, it would end irrationally.
And it seemed like the most irrational person here was the one who characteristically had no self-awareness.

As that lady-in-waiting pointed at Serena, her finger was shaking.

I grasped that hand and held it still.
Shocked by this, the lady-in-waiting turned to me.

With a somewhat bored tone, I said,

“Stop it, Ayla.
It’s no use.
Unfortunately for you, even if you sell the knight commander’s gold brooch… No.
Actually, no matter what else you steal, you won’t be able to settle all of your lover’s debts.”

“What, w-what are you…”

This lady-in-waiting’s name was Ayla.

I had quite the laundry list of the disgraces of each and every servant working in this household.

And of course, this included Ayla.

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