I don’t know any men. Even when I was in the castle, I only saw knights from afar and never really had a conversation with them. Even at the monastery, as a nun, men were hesitant to talk to me actively. In a remote monastery where I never had any interaction with men or women, I spent ten years with the old nun Yorgia.
Even I, who had lived a life where nothing and no one mattered, understood that Paulina’s words were too rude. I understood that Paulina was trying to trap me, make fun of me, and tease me.
But I couldn’t overlook this. Paulina went too far. Her words were so hurtful that they ignited a dim but intense anger in my heart, even though I thought nothing in life mattered.
I realized that the words that came out of my own mouth felt colder than I had imagined.
“You don’t have to insult me. Let’s not listen to it.”
“Insulting you? That’s rude.”
“But if it’s about disparaging Prince Athanasios, I cannot tolerate it.”
Paulina’s expression changed. Despite being a sheltered noblewoman, she knew the power of the Styx Kingdom and the recklessness of openly disregarding the prince’s high and noble status.
But above all, she seemed unaware that it was impossible for a wife to not defend her blameless husband.
Paulina’s eyes were clearly swimming with tears, but she couldn’t stop the words that had already been spoken.
“A-Ara, it’s quite admirable of you to defend a man you’ve never even met.”
“Even if we haven’t met, Prince Athanasios is the one who will become my husband. Therefore, I must protect my husband’s honor. And as a noble lady, isn’t it shameful for you to speak so lightly and obscenely about intimate matters between men and women? As the daughter of Duke Uranos, shouldn’t you be ashamed?”
One by one, my words seemed to cut into Paulina’s pride like a knife, quietly and steadily.
The maid behind her turned pale, while Paulina’s face turned red. She had reached the peak of her anger, being insulted by someone who was supposed to be a toy that wouldn’t argue back, and especially having her dignity as a noble child questioned.
Finally, Paulina slapped me across the face with an open hand. She screamed as spit flew everywhere.
“Shut up, you mistake of a daughter! Otoo-sama was deceived by your mother who tried to win him over, and made a mistake! Hmph, in the end, it seems like you were born in vain without being able to win anyone’s favor!”
Without covering my cheek, I stared straight at Paulina. Strangely, my heart was calm and I realized that the woman in front of me was someone who was trying to harm me, my mother, and my husband’s honor. Therefore, Paulina was my enemy.
I calmed my heart and spoke up for the first time in my life.
“Shall I prove to you that it was not in vain?”
The maids grabbed Paulina’s arms and tried to pull her back.
Paulina left with a parting shot, screaming.
“If you can, go ahead and try! You’re such an annoying and disgusting girl! Get the hell out of here!”
She had come to see me on her own accord.
I swallowed those words and bowed, turning my face away.