Chapter Eleven: The True Beginning

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Since I turned fourteen although Uken stopped visiting the estate, the same couldn't be said about his father. In fact, Duke Orion would visit more frequently, each time looking more haggard than the previous and around that time he proposed an engagement between Uken and I. Father initially was completely against it. Afterall the mere thought of sending away his daughter filled him with fury. However, as days passed, he noticed his friend's concerns increasing regarding his son committing unthinkable acts with a woman who was older than him. Eventually father agreed to the proposal.

Of course, father asked me for my opinion and I said yes to the proposal. I had two pivotal reasons for my decision. Although Duke Orion was a good friend, he was also someone who would not hesitate to use his status for his own benefit, even against his own friend. If I had said no, he would use his power as a Duke to force me into this marriage because he believes no other girl is better suited for Uken than me. Duke Orion was more desperate as the rumours about Uken and the Countess were circulating throughout the high society. This would ruin the image of House Valerio and unfortunately, he cared more about the prestigious Dukedom than his own son. Thus I did not want to strain their friendship.

There was another reason behind my actions. I would not be having my revenge if I easily let Uken go. I wanted to hurt him, see him make a painful expression. I pondered on how to do that and an amazing plan popped up in my mind. Just as the famous saying goes 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend', I would join hands with Duke Zenos who despised Uken for trying to steal his woman.

Time flew by and finally it was the day of my coming of age ceremony. Mariah and some other maids dragged me out of the bed and I wondered whether the sun was even up at that time. They forced me to take a bath with rose petals which I almost drowned in because of my sleepiness. Then they continued to massage my entire body using essential oils.

After the massage I looked into the mirror to see that my face was glowing.

"Miss, your skin is so smooth and soft today!" Mariah squealed in joy.

Is she indirectly saying I don't have good skin normally...?

She sensed my thoughts based on my expression and added, "I mean, most of the time you are lost deep in thought with furrowed eyebrows. I don't know what you are so stressed about but that has bad effects on your skin, Miss," as she made funny faces, trying her best to imitate me.

Obviously, I can't tell Mariah about how I am concerned about breaking the engagement in a way where Uken is tortured and also thinking about how to exact my revenge against Raelia. Ah the tragedy of a 15-year-old.

"Now then Miss, it's time to do your makeup," Mariah said, enthusiastically.

I am so exhausted but I must look pretty to make Raelia what I thought three hours prior to Mariah starting to do my makeup.

"Mariah how much longer?" I asked, impatiently.

"We just finished doing half of your makeup. Miss please have patience," Mariah replied with a strict look.

Even the motivation I gathered from the thought of my revenge is not enough for me to survive through this. Is this also some sort of revenge? Is it because I threw away the broccolis on my plate through the window a few days ago? Did she even see that? I was being careful as to not get caught.

"I am sorry Mariah if I ever wronged you. This kind of revenge and torture...maybe I should take lessons from you," I said, apologetically.

Confused, Mariah replied, "What are you saying Miss?" and then whispered into my ears with an evil smile, "If you are perhaps talking about the broccolis, I hope you will eat them from now onwards for your own betterment."

I really don't want to know what she would do if I don't listen to her. More than my future I am afraid of Mariah. I should never get on her bad side.

I nodded silently as my eyes fell on my dress. I had to choose a dress which would make a deep impression on people. For that I had to make some bold fashion choices. I, together with the most skilled designer and dress maker Rovelia Salou created a dress and the result surpassed our expectations. The floor length dress was midnight black with golden embroidery on it and hugged my body perfectly. It was sleeveless with a high neckline made with lace which had small amber coloured stones studded on it so a necklace was not required and I paired it off with golden earrings.

Just wearing black itself will make me stand out as black was a colour worn at funerals. It isn't like wearing black elsewhere was a crime but no one really wore black except for funerals. Another factor is that currently ballgowns are famous with a lot of frills on them so I will be different from the other ladies.

"Miss we are done. Take a look into the mirror," Mariah said after what it felt like a hundred years.

As I looked into the mirror to be pleasantly surprised by my appearance, Mariah began to compliment me, "You look heavenly, Miss. The golden embroidery matches your amber eyes and also suits your crimson red hair. It looks like a night sky filled with golden, shimmering stars."

I smiled gently and replied, "It's all thanks to your hard work. Isn't it time for the ceremony? Let's head out."

I walked down the hallway, all the maids staring at me and praising my looks.

Raelia and Uken, this is the start of your downfall.

With my heart pounding in my chest, I stepped into the ballroom.

Writer's note: Heyy guys. Thank you to all of you who have stuck with The Golden Rose till now. Although my writing is still lacking in many ways, I hope you guys will continue to read The Golden Rose and support me. Next chapter will Zenos and Eli finally meet again?? Well even if they don't interesting things are sure to ensue.

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