Title: The Villainess Whose Engagement Was Annulled Was an Ally of Justice: You’re Making Fun of Commoners!
Summary: “—Adele Murray, I hereby annul my engagement with you!” / “Is that so? May I ask for the reason?”
“—Adele Murray, I hereby annul my engagement with you!”
When her fiancé uttered those words, Adele wasn’t even the slightest bit surprised.
“Is that so? May I ask for the reason?”
However, she didn’t raise such a question to satisfy her own curiosity, but instead to report to her stepmother. Despite not being Adele’s biological mother, her stepmother made sure to raise her as a daughter of a marquis—one that wouldn’t be ashamed wherever she went.
…In truth, she understood why he’d annul the engagement.
If not for the beautiful, younger countess with solid backing beside him, why else?
“You still dared to ask why? I knew all about it! You tormented those who’re of lower stature than you!”
“By the word ‘torment’, what exactly are you referring to?”
“Hmph—! During lunchtime, you’d cuss at the ladies! So terrified they’re of you, they couldn’t utter a word! Moreover, it happened on a daily basis to the point that everyone knew!”
The hall clamored with giggles and contemptuous laughter.
Adele let out a sigh—
—Aah, I’m sick of this.
To begin with, she didn’t expect anyone to help her. Her fiancé, who stood before her, was also the third son of a duke. Meanwhile, in that hall, there was no aristocrat equal to or better than him.
“Not only that, but you’d also lambast the etiquette of the other ladies, and all because your mood was sour that day! As if I’d accept someone like you into the duke family!”
“Is that why you want to annul the engagement?”
“Precisely! Besides, it is an undeniable truth that your mother is a lowborn! Even if you’re half-aristocrat, the other half of you will always remain a commoner! For your manners to be so crude, it must’ve been because your mother was poor!”
Adele twitched, which was her first reaction ever since the whole thing began. However, she concealed that fact by holding a fan over her mouth.
Adele’s mother was indeed a commoner. She worked as a laundrymaid for the Marquis of Murray. Thus, with the involvement of the former head of the family, Adele was conceived.
What right does this guy have to chastise my mother? Even though he knew nothing of her suffering…
Inwardly, Adele was furious. Nevertheless, she didn’t say anything and only narrowed her eyes before showing her dignity as a high-ranking noble lady.
“I have accepted the annulment of the engagement. I’ll tell my brother as soon as I get home. Everyone here will be the witnesses. Are you satisfied with this?”
Adele spoke while looking around the venue. All that was left now was to report to her half-brother. Afterward, she’d leave the marquis’ house and live freely. Her stepmother, the madam of the house, raised Adele to be the daughter of a marquis. If Adele was lucky, then she might be able to become an etiquette tutor.
After all, that place was none other than the Royal Academy, a school attended by the children of aristocrats—and at the same time, a social gathering place. If such a scandal were to spread in that place, it was unlikely for any nobles to ask for her hand in marriages. Well, except for the dubious ones. For that reason, Adele didn’t mind being a commoner.
But of course, if her older brother told her to marry, she’d do so.
Her older brother, the current head of the Marquis Murray family, resembled her stepmother. He was kind to Adele in both name and reality.
As such, if it was for the sake of her older brother, she’d do her best.
Adele bowed to the beautiful lady whom everyone admired, before turning her back on her soon-to-be ex-fiancé.
With a firm posture, she gracefully made her way to the exit. Only the quiet rustling of her dress could be heard.
She didn’t care if words of ridicule were thrown at her back.
However, if asked about regret, then it’d be about leaving her friends.
Among her peers, Adele had the highest rank. While they were by no means low in status, the hierarchy that came with her title was a nuisance. As such, it fell on Adele to ward off any idiots who merely wanted to boast about having someone like her as a friend.
…But I’m sure they’ll be fine.
After all, they were despondent tragic heroines no longer. Instead, they had become strong heroines that could overcome any adversities.
Hence, they’ll be alright.
At that moment, one of the graduates who had been keeping a distance rushed to her.
It was none other than the countess—and at the same time, her friend, Fleur.
To the wide-eyed Adele, Fleur showed a graceful curtsey.
“Lady Adele, if you’re going home, I shall accompany you.”
Surely, Fleur looked out for Adele out of kindness.
Nevertheless, she couldn’t let Fleur’s reputation suffer.
Thus, Adele tried to dismiss her coldly.
“I don’t need company.”
…However, right after Fleur, some ladies broke through the crowd and elegantly came over. They were none other than those who were on good terms with Adele.
“Lady Adele, let me accompany you.”
“I shall, too.”
“Please wait, I shall follow as well.”
“Without Lady Adele, the life of the party is gone.”
Indeed, those who rushed over were none other than Adele’s friends.
“We can’t possibly let Lady Adele return alone, can we?”
The earl’s daughter, Georgina—with whom Adele had worked hard together—smiled.
“Fufu. Then, instead of staying in this place, should we hold a tea party at my house? It’s a casual one, reserved for my close friends.”
Odette, the baron’s daughter, made such a wonderful proposal with gestures as sophisticated as a high-ranking lady.
Apparently, they took her side.
…Then, what I did wasn’t entirely mistaken.
Adele was so happy that she removed her façade and smiled wholeheartedly.
“W-what is the meaning of this—!?”
The wet blanket was none other than my ex-fiancé, who had just announced the annulment of our engagement a moment ago.
With a poker face, Adele turned to look at her ex-fiancé, who shouted in a hoarse voice.
“Why are the victims of bullying siding with Adele!?”
Adele was stupefied.
After some quick glances, she immediately realized that everyone had a similar reaction to her ex-fiancé.
…Well, it might be unavoidable, since most of them assumed the worst from the get-go.
In the next moment, elegant laughter resounded in the quiet hall.
It was Odette.
“Since many seem to have misunderstood, I’d like to clarify something in honor of Lady Adele—I haven’t been bullied by her. She taught me etiquette so that as a daughter of an aristocrat, I wouldn’t embarrass myself.”
“My family is a new aristocratic house for my father who has just been ennobled. Inherently, I was a commoner. Back when I first entered the academy, everyone laughed at my rough mannerisms. At the same time, they made no attempt at helping me to correct my mistakes. During those days, I felt like I was grasping at straws. Originally a commoner’s little girl, expecting me to instantly shape up to my role as a noble lady is asking for the impossible. At that time, Lady Adele reached out to me. While anyone else refused to even speak with me, Lady Adele offered to teach me.”
“The same goes for me.”
Fleur followed after Odette.
“My family is an aristocratic house in name only. To buy even a single dress, I’d have to scramble for money. My knowledge of etiquette was also hearsay from my mother. Upon enrolling, I’d often get mocked, just like Lady Odette. But Lady Adele was different. When asked for advice about table manners, she’d tirelessly teach me every day at noon, which everyone misunderstood as an act of bullying.”
“Me, too. I consulted Lady Adele because my gait was disgraceful, and she tutored me in the corridors and stairs of the academy, as well as in the outdoors—which everyone also misunderstood as bullying.”
“I didn’t know how to hold a tea party properly, and Lady Adele kindly taught me how. We’d practice at the academy… Thanks to her, I didn’t end up as an embarrassment.”
One after another, the ladies testified that Adele had helped them out of their predicaments.
Indeed, Adele didn’t bully anyone.
Instead, she taught her friends how to conduct themselves as proper noble ladies.
To them, Adele was a role model, and she herself tried to fulfill that by maintaining her smile. To those who knew nothing about her, it must’ve seemed as if the marquis’ daughter was tormenting the lower-ranking nobles.
“Why…!? Why would Adele…!?”
While coldly gazing at her ex-fiancé, who widened his eyes in astonishment, Adele delivered a statement to the entire hall.
“The ladies here, including myself, are those you’d call a ‘lowly peasant’ or ‘commoner’. However, you only looked down on them and did nothing else. As a marquis’ daughter, I’ve learned etiquette, and as a young lady who hailed from the same origin, I took it upon myself as a noble to teach them both etiquette and manners.”
“Oh, right, I’ve always wondered about this. Just because they were born as an aristocrat, why do you immediately assume that they’re good people? On the contrary, just because some people are born poor, does that mean they’re evil? For example, Lady Odette’s father. Instead of using the huge business profit for self-gain, he used it to build orphanages and schools for orphans and poor children. Meanwhile, there are aristocrats out there who abuse their power to entrap women.”
The poker-faced Adele icily glared at her ex-fiancé.
“My mother was a laundrymaid who worked for Marquis Murray. At that time, she was already betrothed. However, the former head of the Marquis Murray family assaulted her, before ultimately imprisoning her. How laughable, don’t you think? That man, who selfishly destroyed the happiness of a woman, is the so-called aristocrat. Did you know that after the tragedy, my inconsolable mother committed suicide?”
The entire hall was paying attention to Adele.
“Although, when people heard this story, they immediately assumed that my mother made the first move. Even if such was the case, for someone with a high social position and great responsibility—especially one with a wife and children—to be so incapable of reigning his own desires, wasn’t he akin to a beast? In this world, there are senseless creatures who declare that it’s only natural for men to lack self-control. But how many do you think have suffered because of that? At the request of the former marchioness, our family sheltered many women who suffered the same fate as my mother. Some of the gentlemen here might know who I was referring to?”
At several places in the hall, some young men cowered under Adele’s gaze.
“These are the people you used to look down upon just because they were commoners. Now, they’re respectable ladies. Things such as commoner, nobleman, or lineage have nothing to do with that. No matter who they’re about to marry, they’ll surely become wonderful ladies.”
Adele turned to look at her friends.
“Everyone, you’re already fine ladies. For three years, you’ve endured well under my strict tutelage. Lady Georgina, thank you very much for helping me with my guidance.”
“Fufu, no problem, it’s for our own sake after all.”
Among them, only Georgina received a strict education as a countess’ daughter, just like Adele.
However, from the get-go, it was already decided that she’d marry a man 20 years older than her, who was famous for being lecherous in social circles.
When Adele first met her, Georgina was a weak-willed young lady who could only weep. Adele listened to her story, and tried to motivate her to the best of her ability.
As a result, she vowed to join Adele’s cause in helping other vulnerable ladies.
“From now on, we’ll keep in mind what Lady Adele has taught us. Even if we can’t make the best decision all the time, we’ll do our best to attain happiness.”
“Then, that’s good. I’m sure you’ll be able to. Alright, everyone, let’s go.”
“Of course, Lady Adele.”
All of them bowed to Adele in a beautiful, sophisticated, and flawless manner.
Afterward, Adele’s engagement annulment was settled quickly. Upon listening to the whole story, her brother was furious and directly went to the duke’s house to personally sign the papers.
…Is it alright for you to do so?
After all, the other party was a duke family.
Although, her brother was a successful man. Besides, Adele’s engagement itself was proposed unilaterally by the former head of the family out of his own accord.
Adele never referred to the man who was blood-related to her as father. When necessary, she’d only address him as the former marquis.
The man himself was so loose, he’d fall for all kinds of women. In order to prevent the marquis family from falling into ruin, her stepmother and brother forced him into early retirement. Thanks to that, Adele could avoid the man who snatched her mother’s happiness.
…Thus, at last, that man’s last curse—the engagement, was broken.
Adele was dancing wildly with joy.
With this, I’m free—!
While she felt remorseful towards her stepmother, Adele had no reservations about working. Hence, she said goodbye to her stepmother and brother and tried to leave the marquis’ house. After all, her brother was getting married soon, so she couldn’t remain in that house forever.
…Or so she thought.
“How did this happen?”
“Hmm? Do you dislike it?”
“No, not necessarily… I’m just… too surprised to comprehend anything at the moment.”
For some reason, the third prince of the kingdom stood next to Adele. The third prince was three years younger than her brother, making him five years older than her.
Currently, they were inside their own residence.
They had been married for five years.
The third prince showed a dazzling smile.
“Because Reuben would often gush about his little sister’s cuteness, I secretly went to see what kind of lady she was during the graduation party. Despite being at a major disadvantage after your engagement was annulled, you made a splendid display of leaving with the ladies.”
I, I truly have no idea…
“I truly didn’t expect you to propose to me the very next day…”
Who could’ve imagined that a messenger from the royal family would arrive the very next day? On the day that Adele was about to leave the house in a hurry, her brother swore, “That bastard…!!” and had to hatefully accept the engagement.
Well, the other party is royalty, it isn’t like he can object to it…
Before she knew it, she got engaged again and had a wedding ceremony.
…And that was how they got to where they were as of the present.
“Are you having a tea party with your school friends today?”
“Yes, it’s a casual tea party attended by both commoners and nobles alike.”
“Good, I’d like to escape from Reuben and join the tea party as well.”
“I don’t think that’s possible, since my brother is the prime minister’s watchdog.”
“…To let someone as young as me become the prime minister.”
Adele involuntarily laughed.
Despite what he said, the man before her was a shrewd prime minister.
The people who had no choice but to cry until they fell asleep due to the former legislation were particularly delighted. As a matter of course, there were some nobles who opposed the development of the law. However, since many citizens supported it, they couldn’t go against public opinion. Thus, the king approved of the legislation, earning heaps of praise from his people, who didn’t know of the prime minister’s involvement.
The supposed wise and benevolent king himself was on edge, for the third prince’s mother was his own lady-in-waiting.
Inherently, the person responsible for approving the legislation should be punished accordingly, but since he was praised as a wise king, he could no longer do as he pleased.
“Come on, Dear. It’s time to get to work.”
“…It can’t be helped. Then, I’ll be going, Adele.”
“Yes, have a nice day.”
Adele waved her hand to send her husband off. However, in the next moment, he turned around.
“Oh, right. Did you know? Many young ladies dreamed of attending your tea party.”
“It was said that by attending your tea party, they could become a perfect and happy lady. Which isn’t necessarily false, because all the ladies whom Adele taught ended up becoming happy.”
“Well, not all of them, but… All I can say is that they gave their utmost.”
Adele thought about the aftermath of her friends.
The most surprising was Georgina. Despite ending up marrying the lustful older man, Georgina was such a splendid lady that she ended up winning the heart of her husband, and she was doted on every day. While puzzled at first, Georgine grew closer to him after he confessed to her countless times. As of the present, they were famous as a wonderfully harmonious couple with an age gap within the social circles.
Fleur, the girl who rushed over to her first at that time, also married a nouveau riche merchant for the sake of the house. Her attention to things that men otherwise didn’t care about paid off. She was praised by the visiting female guests and was no longer ridiculed by noble guests. As a result, her business grew. While it couldn’t be said that she was affectionate with her husband, she was certainly respected as a business partner.
As for Odette, she hadn’t yet married. Instead, she opted to shelter ladies who were despised like Adele once was, and teach them manners. Thanks to that, Odette had become a charismatic figure amongst the lower nobility and was famous for being a magnanimous lady.
Incidentally, Adele was also teaching a lady who wanted to learn etiquette through Odette.
While her other friends weren’t necessarily the happiest people on earth, they made do with what they were given and lived their best to attain their own happiness.
…Today, I’m going to meet them at the tea party.
“Come on, if you don’t hurry, you’ll be late.”
“Ugh… I still want to remain with you longer…”
“I’m delighted to hear that, but please save others from suffering the same fate as my mother and yours.”
“I can’t say anything against that…”
Presently, her husband was attempting to save his mother, who was imprisoned. Once he had managed to do that a small house would be prepared for her to live in comfort.
“Then, I’ll go, Adele.”
“Have a nice day.”
Adele waved her hand to her husband.
If asked if she was happy now, Adele could confidently say—
“I have made the best choice.”