Busy movements were heard early in the morning.
She took a longer than usual soak in the bath and let the maids take care of her, spreading the thick fragrant oil on her body.
She was seriously worried about how tight her corset was. It seemed to choke her, and if it didn’t, her stomach and intestines would pop out and suffocate her before she could do anything else in this life.
Filina, yawning with a bored face at being surrounded by servants, was richly dressed.
She turned to Laura, who was busy smoothing her hair.
“Please, just do it roughly.”
In her bored voice, Laura spoke with a deliberately serious look on her face.
“Miss, what do you mean? The Crown Prince will be coming to this ball. You have to be more gorgeous than anyone else.”
The meaning of “more than anyone else” that came out of her mouth was probably referring to the Hailey family’s daughter, whom the Crown Prince had earlier identified as his fiancée.
A weary smile escaped from between Filina’s lips.
No matter how glamorously she decorated, how could she take the place of the heroine whose only illumination falls between the shadows?
“As soon as your hair is done, it will all be over, so please be a little patient. My Lady. This is also a matter of pride for me.”
“…How can you put your pride on my hair?”
Gathering Filina’s red hair in one fluid motion, Laura hung it high and pinned it in place with deft hands.
Her face repeatedly moved this way and that to show how tightly she held it in place.
“Lilly, wouldn’t it be nicer to put a feather here? Or would it be more beautiful with a rose?”
Laura asked Lilly, who was helping her with the preparation, with a serious look on her face.
“Of course roses. Lady Filina looks best with red roses, don’t you think?”
Lily didn’t hesitate to offer the red rose corsage to Laura.
Laura quickly took the rose from Lilly’s hand and placed it classically on Filina’s head.
Finally, all the hair work was done and the maids gathered around Filina exclaimed in admiration.
“You are so beautiful, Young Lady. You look like a noble queen born in a rose garden.”
Wearing a dress decorated with frills as colorful as excessive, her appearance stood out.
Her upper body was tightened as much as possible and the contour lines of her body could be clearly seen, and the deep open collar showed her protruding bones above her white skin were very striking.
It was, as they said, very beautiful.
If a beautiful rose were to turn into a person, this was what it would look like.
If the glamour went beyond the limit, it was burdensome, but the dry expression on her lips naturally adjusted the beauty that may be excessive to the appropriate temperature.
No one thoughtlessly pointed out her cold face, as if it was natural for roses to have sharp thorns.
In fact, it would have been much more awkward if they had genuinely laughed in Filina’s face.
“Miss, everyone is waiting for you outside.”
The butler’s voice was heard with a polite knock.
Without saying a word, Filina stared into the mirror and moved her feet carefully so as not to wrinkle the dress made of expensive fabric.
As she stepped out of the bedroom, she looked unconsciously at Enoch who was waiting in front of her, startled.
“Can you hold my hand?”
Filina held out her hand to him, as it was difficult for her to walk.
After a moment’s hesitation, Enoch took her hand in his and escorted her.
“Filina, please, can you go faster?”
Her mother, Amy, who had been waiting outside all along, was terribly annoyed.
When Filina got closer, Amy gave a little snort.
“Hmm, but perhaps it’s because you look so much like my beauty, now your face is worth looking at. You’re late, get in the carriage quickly.”
Amy walked up the black carriage. The hard closed door opened and Filina saw Bruno with brown hair inside.
He was her adopted brother, one year younger than her.
Their eyes seemed to meet for a moment, but as soon as the door closed, Filina turned away and walked to another carriage, somewhat smaller.
She saw Ariel inside, jumping up and down with a surprised look on her face. (*Ariel, Filina’s step sister.)
“It’s not safe. Sit down.”
Filina climbed in and sat down across from her and said indifferently, and Ariel finally sat down. At the same time, they heard the carriage leaving.
Today was Ariel’s debut. Perhaps that was why she was sitting with a more serious expression on her face than usual.
Every once in a while, there was a glance at Filina.
It was really pathetic to see the cold sweat running down the side of her forehead.
She was sure that if Amy saw it, she would give Ariel the full force of her annoying petulance.
Filina, on the other hand, seemingly indifferent.
After a while, the carriage slowly reduced its movement as it had arrived at its destination.
Filina stepped out of the carriage, leaving Ariel, who was too nervous to get up.
“Thank you, Enoch.”
Filina gave a small smile as Enoch held her hand.
Amy, who had gotten out of the carriage before her, was meticulously straightening out Bruno’s clothes.
“Where did you leave Ariel, and did you get off by yourself?”
Amy asked in a curious voice when she finished smoothing out Bruno’s clothes.
Filina replaced her reply with a shrug of her shoulders.
Bruno, who had a stiff expression on his face, moved quickly and walked to the carriage where Filina had rode in.
“…Thank you, Bruno.”
As Bruno took Ariel’s hand to help her get off the carriage, Ariel sobbed and muttered softly.
Amy, who looked at the scene pitifully, clicked her tongue and and snapped at Filina.
“You’re a big sister and you can’t even look after your little sister properly?”
Filina said, smiling faintly.
“If you’re feeling sorry for her, mother can help her.”
When she finished her sentence, Filina walked off with Enoch. Looking at Filina’s back, Amy snorted as if she was bewildered.
Bruno’s eyes, which was quietly following the dark purple dress, stared at Enoch’s hand as he clasped Filina’s for the last time.
As they entered the banquet hall, the gorgeous chandelier and the luxurious patterned wallpapers were the first things that caught Filina’s attention.
The otherwise dazzling lighting made her dizzy, and the large staircase seemed to distract her mind even more.
Moreover, as Filina entered, people who were talking loudly on various topics all at once fell silent and stared blankly at her.
The stares were very burdensome. She hoped that her name would not be the subject of their next conversation.
“Enoch, you should take it easy from here.”
Filina told him that there was no need to be nervous, not even at a party.
She knew how tiring it was to look around nervously at all times.
The Crown Prince would appear soon.
No one would do anything dangerous here unless they had 10 lives.
Looking around, she saw her mother busily moving around, introducing Bruno and Ariel to the nobleman’s daughters and sons.
Filina stared at Ariel’s shy smile with a sour look on her face.
The traces of the sad tears that Ariel had shown when she came out of the carriage had long since disappeared without a trace. Bruno, who had been standing with an expressionless face by Ariel’s side, turned his gaze and looked at Filina, who was standing in the distance. (*Does Bruno like Filina?)
She also stared at him for a while.
Then Filina averted her gaze.
“You look so beautiful today, Miss Debussy, I’m surprised.”
Marquis Edwards, who had approached her with his son by his side, spoke to her with a smile on his wrinkled face.
“Long time no see, Marquis.”
Filina greeted him with a bored expression.
Edwards opened his mouth with a friendly smile, as if he hadn’t seen the expression on Filina’s face.
“Everyone seemed to want to speak to Miss Debussy, so I came quickly.”
At his deft voice, Filina replaced her reply with a small smile.
‘Everyone wants to talk to Filina. That’s ridiculous.’
It was rare that anyone, unless they were as thick-skinned as the Marquis Edwards, would greet someone who was expressing the need to not talk to them with one look.
The more she mingled with people, the more exhausting it was.
She was tired of playing with emotions.
She didn’t approach strangers unnecessarily because she didn’t want to add more to her troublesome life.
Filina just wanted to keep her seat quietly and disappear before anyone knew she was there.
“Miss Debussy, this is my second son, Eddie. He’s always been wanting to meet you. That’s why he was so excited about today’s ballroom.”
“Is that so? It’s a pleasure to meet you. Lord Eddie.”
Filina raised her lips in a formal greeting.
Eddie, who had been hiding behind Edwards, staring blankly at her face, flushed and slowly parted his lips.
“Ah, it’s an honor to meet the daughter of the Debussy family.”
But his face was worth looking at.
The way he hid behind his father’s back to greet the woman was terrible, but he seemed to be new to the social scene, so Filina let it go.
“Oh, Marquis Edwards. I’m so glad you’re here!”
Amy, who had come over and pushed Filina aside, stood Ariel in front of Edwards.
Amy’s face was filled with joy as she looked at Eddie, as if she had found a good groom for Ariel.
However, Eddie’s bewildered expression was pitiful.
It was rather a good opportunity for Filina to get away. Ignoring the gaze of Bruno, who was staring at her, Filina moved her feet.
’It’s stuffy. I want to get some air.’
As Filina slowly made her way to the terrace, the sound of trumpets echoing loudly in the banquet hall brought her to a halt.
“His Royal Highness Prince Ian Alvar and Lady Cecilia, daughter of Count Haley, will now enter!”