The next day, I was able to hear from Chloe in the afternoon.
The reason it was afternoon was that the interrogation by the royal guards of the three court ladies had taken longer than expected.
I thought they would quietly admit their guilt, but it seemed they were blaming each other for the crime.
The civil official who was present during the investigation handed over the report with an exasperated look.
Reading the report that was handed to me, anger welled up again.
Chloe had been saddled with work for three years now.
The violence had been going on for about a year. . .
I can’t believe she had been subjected to violence like that for a year.
I wish I had noticed it sooner.
I was always working with the civil officials, and I hardly ever had the chance to meet the court ladies.
If I had been working with the court ladies as well, maybe it could have been prevented.
Chloe, who had come to the crown prince’s office alone, was still somewhat lacking in confidence, but
She was no longer as timid as she had been at first.
It might have been because she had gotten used to David and us,
Or maybe she felt relieved that the three court ladies had been caught.
“So, can you tell me how Chloe ended up doing those three people’s work,
Can you tell me what you remember?
Does it also have something to do with Chloe transcribing Celine’s reports?
“Yes. I believe the initial trigger was when I transcribed Celine’s reports.
I was asked to do it about four years ago.
At the time, I had been a court lady for three years, but
I couldn’t do my job at all, and I was just cleaning the court lady’s room every day.”
“Your senior in charge didn’t teach you the job, did she?”
“Yes. I couldn’t perform my duties as a court lady, and,
I should have actually quit being a court lady,,
But I had nowhere to go if I quit my job.
. . .So, even though I could only do menial tasks, I continued as a court lady.”
Speaking of which, the Count’s family had said that their adopted younger brother would inherit.
Even though Chloe was there, they took in a mistress’ child and made him the heir.
She probably couldn’t go back home even if she quit as a court lady. . .
“Celine was a friend from school, and
I think she couldn’t stand seeing me, who wasn’t working properly.
She asked me to copy her report.
Certainly, the chief court lady was having difficulty reading reports because of her poor eyesight,
But Celine’s handwriting wasn’t that hard to read.
Still, I was happy to be asked to work. . .so I accepted.”
“So Celine asked Chloe to copy to help her?”
“I felt that way.
She had thought of a job I could do.
As I copied Celine’s reports over and over, I gradually understood how to write them,
And after a year, I thought I might be able to write the reports myself.
. . .In retrospect, that’s probably what led me astray.
I was told by those three that if I could write Celine’s reports,
I should write theirs too.
Even though I told them Celine’s were just copies, they wouldn’t listen,
And told me to finish writing them by the deadline. . .”
Ah, I see, that’s what it was.
Even though she was supposed to be unable to do anything without being taught,
I wondered how Chloe was able to write the reports.
The reason why the writing styles of the four reports were so similar as well.
Chloe learned how to write them from Celine’s reports.
“When did the violence start?”
“At first, I didn’t mind writing the three reports.
Even though I couldn’t submit them under my own name, I was happy to be able to work.
But as the work they pushed onto me increased,
And I ended up doing most of their work,
I began to think that this was wrong.
So I tried to refuse to take on any more work.
That seemed to anger the three of them,
And that’s when I started to be abused. . .”
“Haaah. So that’s what it was.
I understand, just like yesterday Chloe tried to refuse.
David, is Chloe accused of something?”
David, who had been quietly listening to Chloe’s story, has an uncharacteristically absent smile.
“. . .Yes.
It could be considered that she was forging documents,
But only the signature was wrong, there was no problem with the report itself.
There’s also the matter of her being threatened and subjected to violence,
So Chloe’s guilt would be a minor thing.
Yes, I think it will be over if there are words of reprimand from Sofia-sama.”
“Eh? From me?”
I scold Chloe?
. . .I recall the lectures from Kyle and Chris, Lisa, and Yuna last night.
Could I even scold Chloe?
“Um. . .Chloe.”
“You must never do such a thing again, okay?”
“. . .Yes.”
“You can report to Celine or David if something happens, right?
Don’t try to handle it all by yourself, Chloe,
Consult with everyone properly, okay? You understand?”
“. . .Yes!”
Chloe, who might have thought she would be scolded by me,
Smiled with a tearful face.
I want to help her before she goes through that again.
That’s why I wanted her to consult with everyone.
“David, is this okay?”
“Hmm, well, it’s fine, isn’t it?
It might be different from scolding, but that’s what’s important.
Chloe, you understand now, right?
Sofia-sama will worry if something happens to you.
So, don’t bear it alone anymore, please.”
I’m glad. She properly understood, and answered with a smile.