Helen couldn’t speak at the sudden focus of attention.
At that moment Marissa’s hardened face came into her view. Helen couldn’t forget that this tea party was hosted by one of the most powerful women in southern society. She wouldn’t be the one to ruin this.
While Sarah and Margaret were distracted by the unexpected development, Helen quickly took note of the situation. She didn’t understand why Elena would knock away the teacup, but Helen quickly improvised a new plan.
She was going to bury the Blaise sisters here. Mirabelle had dared to mock her. The humiliation she received today was too much for her to back down now, just after she had added the salt as a trick.
At the sound of the teacup shattering the party had turned dead silent, but now murmuring voices began to fill the air. Everyone’s attention was turned to Marissa, who was approaching them to see what had happened.
She arrived right behind Elena and was about to ask what was going on when–
Suddenly Helen dissolved into tears.
Sarah and Margaret looked the most embarrassed to see her cry. Marissa’s face was set as she to look at Elena, Mirabelle, Sarah and Margaret gathered at the table. It was no small issue that Helen, a noblewoman, was crying at her gathering.
“What is going on here?”
Helen was the first to answer with a choked voice.
“Lady Lawrence spilled a cup by mistake, and I only asked Blaises to drink tea together as an apology…heugg.”
Helen’s eyes were wet with tears as she covered her mouth with both hands. Marissa rushed a handkerchief to Helen in an attempt to soothe her.
“Oh, dry your tears, young lady.”
“Then Lady Blaise knocked the cup to the floor and it broke…I was–I was so embarrassed and hurt…”
Helen accepted the handkerchief offered by Marissa and wiped her tears away. Then she pretended to hold back her sobs and spoke again.
“Lady Blaise, have I done something wrong?”
She clutched the handkerchief to her heart. The curious crowd turned to Elena and Mirabelle. Marissa glowered at Elena, looking colder than before.
“Lady Blaise, is this true?”
Sarah’s and Margaret’s expressions of worry turned to relief as the situation turned into an advantageous direction. Only Mirabelle’s face was anxious at the sudden change in mood.
At Mirabelle’s shaky voice, Elena held her sister’s small hand. Then Elena looked straight at Sarah, Margaret, and Helen in front of her.
The reason why she didn’t remember this incident immediately was because she was still relatively young here. In the future where she experienced hardship after her family was killed, the memory of being tricked into drinking salty tea was laughably trivial. When Elena worked as a mercenary, she was always at risk of poisoning and even nearly died to it at one point. To drink this cup of salty tea was nothing to Elena. If she had drank this alone, she would have laughed over it. But…
But not with Mirabelle. She could never forgive Helen tricking her beloved sister into drinking it. If she could wield her sword here, Elena would have defeated them with her strength without a single hesitation.
Then she would cut off at least one arm just to teach them a lesson.
However, this was high society, and Elena’s sword fighting skills were not of help. In this situation she felt more comfortable with strategizing and competing fairly with her skills.
Once again, Elena became disillusioned with society, but that didn’t mean she would be as vulnerable as before. She knew all too well that people’s words could be more frightening than knives. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. If Helen would use her tears to play this game, Elena would deal with her the same way.
“What Lady Selby says is not true, Madame.”
At Elena’s calm answer Marissa opened her mouth curiously, but Helen cut in before she could say a word.
“Not true? So I’m a liar?”
“It is true that we were going to have tea together, but it was not tea we were given.”
Marissa, who was listening to the two women, could not help but cut in.
“What in heaven’s name does that mean? Not tea?”
Helen’s face hardened in an instant. So it was true that Elena noticed her plan from the time they spilled the teacups. But how did she know? She could not understand how Elena knew the tea was salted without drinking it. No matter how hard Helen thought about it, she couldn’t understand how she was caught.
‘She suspected that something was wrong, so she stopped her sister from drinking it.’
She wanted Elena to be embarrassed in front of everyone before she could prove her claim. However, if Elena already figured out her plan, Helen was ready with another solution.
‘This is the only way…yes.’
As people began to listen to Elena speak, Helen took a step back with a resentful look on her face. The evidence was in the teapot containing the salty tea. If Helen pretended to mistakenly spill the teapot on the floor, Elena would not be able to reveal the truth not matter how much she protested.
People loved gossip. Once bad rumors about the Blaises would spread, it would be difficult to stop, regardless whether it was true or not. Such was the game in high society, and Helen had the confidence to play smarter than anyone else.
Furthermore, people’s hearts were weak at the sight of a crying woman. Helen was the first shed tears, and she knew she was still received more sympathetic attention than Elena.
Helen took a step forward with a determined face, then pretended to trip and fall into the table. And unlike Margaret’s awkward attempt, Helen grabbed at the tablecloth with natural ease.
The teapot on the table shook and was on the verge of tipping over onto the ground.
In a gust in wind, a chair skidded across the ground and the backrest blocked the teapot from plunging to the ground. The teapot balanced and stopped at the edge of the table.
Helen’s eyes widened at the dramatic stunt. Her gaze slowly moved in the direction where the chair flew from.
There stood Elena with an impassive face. Those far away did not see what had happened, but Mirabelle, Marissa, and Sarah and Margaret saw it clearly with their own eyes. With the reflexes of a feline, Elena had grabbed the chair next to her and thrust it towards Helen. Elena couldn’t possibly have that kind of agility without professional training.
But that was not the only surprise. Before anyone could say a word, Helen raised her hand and simply knocked the precariously balanced teapot over. Just before it made contact with the ground, Elena flew like a flash of lightning and her hand shot out to snatch the teapot in the air.
Helen was unable to speak, trembling with rage. Elena calmly poured a cup from the teapot filled with the salty tea, her motions as graceful as water.
“This is from the pot that was given to me and my sister. If there is nothing in it, would you like to drink it yourself?”