Chapter 03: Extravagance
Nabel, the capital of the Kingdom of Valkenburg.
Otto Street, named after the founding King, is lined with historic red brick buildings and trees and was filled with high-end shops used by the upper echelons of society.
The stone pavement was packed with two-horse drawn carriages and dressed up ladies and gentlemen. This street had a quieter atmosphere compared to the other streets.
There were a large number of tailors and jewellery shops on this street. A carriage ran through this street, which was also known as the birthplace of Valkenburg fashion and stopped in front of one of the shops.
The name on the floating signboard engraved with gold letters was Charmes Mondt.
It was a famous tailor shop that had produced several well-known designers, including Lady Frau Bernhard, the most talked-about woman in high society today.
Charmes Mondt didn’t just sell dresses; they also sold shoes, accessories, costly jewellery and perfumes to match with clothes. Only this store provided an array of products.
Incidentally, the sapphire necklace I’d bought the other day was also from here.
When I got off the carriage, I received glances from all the ladies and gentlemen on the street.
They probably saw the Rosenstein crest on the carriage and were curious about who would come out.
They secretly started gossiping as soon as they saw me, but I pretended not to notice this and walked into the shop with my two maids.
Inside, there were a lot of women in colourful dresses, and the sickly perfume aroma that was often associated with places like this filled the room.
The customers were talking noisily, but they froze when they saw me, and a hushed silence reigned in the shop.
This also happened often, so I warded off the glances until a calm and well-dressed, classy older gentleman appeared from the back of the shop.
“Well, well, Lady Rosenstein!”
“How do you do, Bauer?”
The man who was smiling broadly as soon as he saw me is Klaus Bauer, the owner of Charmes Mondt.
The owner, who I was acquainted with, gave me a brief greeting before showing me to the back of the shop where he’d just came out of moments ago.
“Please come to the back. We’ll talk about what you need in the reception office.”
Charmes Mondt had several private reception offices for their top customers. The one that Bauer showed me to was one of those offices.
The floor was made from amber oak wood and looked perfect with the white-based furniture.
There was a large vase by the wall, and it was filled with crimson roses and white baby breaths; it was so vivid that it was dazzling.
I sat down on the white leather chair, and a blonde beauty appeared with tea.
The beauty was wearing a stylish dress and made me think that she was a lady from some noble house. The shop clerks in this shop are also elegant.
The beauty bowed and stood in the corner of the room. We talked a little, and then Bauer brought up the topic, “What item are you looking for today?”
“I want a necklace. Something in sapphire or blue diamond would be nice.”
Bauer widened his eyes a little, but soon returned to his friendly smile and said softly, “I’m sure you purchased a sapphire necklace the other day.”
“I want one that I can wear during the day and goes with a light-coloured dress. The other one is a bit heavy. But the blue jewel is nice,” I said as childishly as possible.
I made myself look as if I wasn’t smart, and just wanted to obtain what I wanted without giving it much thought.
“Alright. I will have some prepared right now, so please wait a moment.”
Bauer looked at the beauty, and she left the room.
I took a sip of my tea as I sunk deeper into the comfortable chair and leaned back. Then, I looked at the roses and baby breaths in the corner of the room.
I actually don’t want dresses or jewellery.
I wasn’t beautiful, and they couldn’t make me beautiful, so they were just meaningless things to me.
No one would look at me even if I dressed up, and no one would be pleased to see me dress up.
That wasn’t why I wasn’t being extravagant for myself.
I buy dresses and jewellery to devalue myself when I wear them.
――― How stupid.
I sometimes think this even though I’m doing something that I need to do.
Why am I doing something so stupid and meaningless?
But I’m planning to sell them for cash one day.
――― I actually don’t want to do this. Shopping wasn’t fun at all.
I wonder what kind of face Renee would make if I told her this.
Would she be surprised if I repeated something confusingly selfish?
I thought depressingly and the owner and clerk came back with several jewellery boxes.
From Bauer’s proud look, I could tell that he was trying to sell me something costly again, ――― or he was trying to sell me the best selection of jewellery.
“I have brought what you wanted. I want you to look at this first,” he said as he took out a magnificent and extravagant necklace with a large drop of sapphire and blue diamond inlays around the edge.
It glistened brightly because of the light coming in from the window, and it was more magnificent than mysterious. It was so beautiful that I was hesitant to touch it.
“This is a star sapphire necklace.”
I honestly thought so, but this wasn’t something I could wear during the day; this necklace was probably made for evening parties.
I wanted a necklace that I could also wear during the day, but the owner was working hard to sell it, so I listened quietly.
“This is the pride of our shop. I have run this shop for a long time, but I have never seen such a splendid necklace. This is the highest quality star sapphire. Lady Rosenstein’s stunning blue eyes suit any type of jewellery.”
“Thanks. So, how much is it?” I lightly brushed off his compliments and asked for the price.
And, the price which he stated made me freeze, “Four million marcas.”
I almost fainted, but I heard the two behind me gasp, so I managed to bear with it.
The necklace that I bought the other day was five million marcas.
Even though the price was lower than that necklace, it was still a ridiculous price.
When the bill arrives, both my husband and the butler will probably lecture me.
But I had no choice but to buy it.
Or more like, the two behind me will be suspicious if I don’t buy it. I always buy the items that the owner recommends.
Countess Rosenstein, who was selfish, arrogant, moody, and did whatever she wanted, must buy whatever she wanted without thinking about it.
“Then I’ll buy it.”
――― My voice was trembling not because of fear, but because I was happy.
If Renee asks me why I was trembling, that would be how I would answer.
“Thank you very much. I knew you would buy it, Lady Rosenstein. You have good eyes.”
“It’s because you recommend good things. I’m always grateful, Bauer.”
Bauer grinned widely and instructed the clerk to wrap up the necklace.
Meanwhile, cold sweat was dripping down my back.
I held my hands together so that they wouldn’t notice the trembling of my fingertips.
――― It’s okay. I should still be able to sell it for a reasonable price even if a few days have passed if it’s just this.
If it’s not enough, then I can compensate him with the money I make from investments.
It’ll work out somehow.
“I’ve also prepared other sapphire and blue diamond necklaces for you, so please have a look at them,” Bauer said as if he was delivering the final blow.
I would typically nod because that was what I wanted, but I don’t want to see any more jewellery today.
I would feel sick if I look at any more jewellery, and I would probably go crazy because of anxiety.
However, I wouldn’t be a spendthrift if I don’t buy anything else.
Then, I said this to Bauer, “I’ve already had enough of necklaces. I want more hair ornaments. And a hat. I’d like a straw hat. One with a cool colour. Do you have any new designs?”
This is still cheaper than jewellery, and I would still seem moody if I change my mind on what I want.
I feel bad for Bauer who brought me all this jewellery, but he was used to my whims, so it was fine.
“Yes, Lady Rosenstein. I’ll go prepare those right away.”
Bauer smiled as I expected he would, and he arranged so many items on the table that it looked like it would overflow.
In the end, I bought a terribly expensive necklace, three relatively cheap hair ornaments and two hats for summer before leaving the shop.
The owner looked pleased with himself and Renee, and Claire looked as if they had mixed feelings. I couldn’t tell whether they were tired or stunned.