Chapter 1 - Part 1
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She didn’t want to go there, but she had no choice.
Ruth looked excited. He was already heading towards them with a spring in his steps. Lelia followed after him reluctantly. Among the two vacant seats, Ruth occupied the seat closest to Princess Julianna. For that reason, Lelia had to sit face-to-face with Prince Cedric.
‘Of all the people…’
Princess Julianna greeted them with a brief glance. Lelia and Ruth bowed slightly in answer to her greeting.
Just as Lelia expected.
As soon as she took her seat, she felt the gaze of all the people sitting at this table.
‘Why did I come here?’
Even though she had no choice but to do Ruth’s quest, regrets continued to pour in. This table was the largest of all the tables in the party hall, and there were many people seated here.
Lelia felt the stinging gaze of the young lady to her left, so she couldn’t even look in her direction.
She knew that as soon as their eyes met, the girl was ready to start a conversation.
When Princess Julianna greeted those in attendance, the servants began to pour tea and serve desserts.
Light conversations began to come and go over the table.
Prince Cedric, who was sitting opposite her, rapped on the table in front of him to draw Lelia’s attention.
“Where in the Roseberry Empire are you from?”
At the first question, Lelia was stunned for a moment.
The prince’s etiquette is lacking. She muttered to herself, and then remembered what Romeo had told her.
“I am from Parmenia in the northwest, Your Majesty.”
“Yes? Are you from a rural area?”
At that, Lelia was worried.
‘Is it rural…?’
She hesitated to answer Cedric’s question, as she did not hear the specifics about the Le Vester Family.
But Prince Cedric nodded his head as if her silence was an answer and smiled.
It was an oddly sneering smile.
‘Are you belittling me now because I’m from the countryside?’
Lelia looked at him with dissatisfaction. He has a good reputation among the people, so she thought he grew up to be an upstanding adult. To be honest, Lelia couldn’t forgive what they did to her as a child.
She did understand in her head.
‘Your mother died, so you must have been petrified.’
They must have been furious when they saw Lelia. They thought she was the daughter of their aunt, who tormented their mother.
Growing up on the Superion estate, she saw how grief stricken her mother’s family was over her death.
So, she could understand Cedric and Damien to some extent.
Just because she understood doesn’t mean that they’re good people.
It also doesn’t mean she has to forgive, or accept them, unconditionally.
Despite being her siblings, born from the same mother and father, Lelia was reluctant to acknowledge the two as her brothers.
As she looked into Cedric’s hostile eyes, it felt like her old wounds were being reopened.
She became anxious that he might recognize her.
If he hadn’t, is there any reason for him to look so hostile?
“What kind of place is Parmenia, Sir Raymond?”
One of the young ladies sitting to her left asked.
Lelia had been turning her gaze away from her until now. She was trying to only look towards the front or down at her teacup. As soon as the young lady spoke, Lelia couldn’t ignore her anymore. She reluctantly turned her head towards the young woman.
“Oh, my God…!”
Gentle exclamations broke out among the young noble ladies. The four young women all looked like they were on cloud nine. They were Princess Julianna’s ladies-in-waiting who were accompanying the princess last time they met.
When Lelia was taken aback by the overly blatant articulations, the women giggled among themselves.
Cedric was watching the scene before his eyes, and made an annoyed sound.
Lelia hesitated because she didn’t know how to answer.
‘I haven’t heard much about it yet, but…’
She only knew that there was a manor in the northwest, and that the family had developed their mining industry.
Lelia had her mouth open to answer them, but Cedric answered for her.
“What difficult questions you’re asking. I know that Parmenia is a very barren countryside, to the extent that if precious young noble ladies went there, you would be shocked.”
Lelia, and the young ladies, looked at Cedric wondering what was wrong with him.
“What stories are you having so much fun telling?”
Julianna had been talking with Prince Damien and Ruth, whe she suddenly interrupted and asked Cedric a question.
“We were talking about a place called ‘Parmenia’ in the Roseberry Empire. It’s the hometown of Sir Raymond, Princess.”
“Right, I think Parmenia is a really quiet and quaint place. Right, Sir Raymond?”
Lelia answered her question in a low voice, making eye contact with the young lady, whose face turned red.
The rest of the women were still looking at Lelia the way a cat looks at a mouse.
Prince Cedric was taken aback by their reactions, so he sneered for a while and then got up to leave. Prince Demian followed him blindly.
“Why is Brother Cedric acting like that?”
Julianna was puzzled and moved to where Cedric had been sitting. She seemed to want to talk to her ladies-in-waiting.
The problem was that she was now opposite Lelia.
Princess Julianna blatantly stares at Lelia and smiles. Immediately, Lelia felt the full glare of an enemy to her right.
It was Ruth.
“I do not know why, but he seemed angry all of a sudden.”
“Why did my brother get angry all of a sudden?”
Julianna puffed her cheeks and she asked cutely. She looked as if she was going to chastise the person who offended her brother. Her ladies laughed at her cute expression.
“I think he is jealous of Sir Raymond. Rumor has it that Emily, Cedric’s fiancée, is collecting Donatelli’s paintings.”
“Is that so? I almost bought myself one a while ago, but Miss Emily beat me to it.”
“He’s a fiancé who becomes jealous of other men. His Majesty Cedric also has a cute side.”
She actually thought that side of them was a little ugly, but one of her young ladies-in-waiting laughed and acted like it was fine.
Julianna looked at Lelia across the table and laughed at their words.
‘Even my brothers can get jealous.’
Julianna grew up thinking that her brothers were the strongest and the coolest in the world.
Of course, Ruth was a little nicer than them. She was sure that he would be jealous if even such perfect older brothers felt that way…
‘Will Ruth be jealous too?’
Julianna raised the corners of her lips slightly.
She wanted Ruth to confess quickly and wanted to confess her feelings to him as well.
‘So I’m really sorry… I was thinking of flirting with Sir Raymond in front of him.’
If she deliberately pretends to be interested in Sir Raymond, Ruth will definitely become impatient.
But she also had some concerns.
‘No way… What if Sir Raymond confesses to me?’
When Julianna became a princess after her mother’s remarriage, she grew up like the most precious jewel in the world. The emperor protects Julianna down to even a single strand of her hair. He trembles in fear that she might get hurt, and anyone who offends Julianna in the slightest is removed from her sight.
Her biological mother, the Empress, also wanted Julianna’s childhood wounds to be erased. So she gave her daughter whatever she wanted.
Cedric and Damian were the same, the two older brothers treated their younger sister like a fragile treasure.
As a result, the only people she interacted with liked her.
So the whole world couldn’t help but look beautiful and positive to her.
She basically has a lovely and bright personality, but she was like a flower in a hothouse. When it was revealed that one of her own ladies hated her, she was deeply shocked. Other than that one time, all the women around her loved and admired her. All the men of her age adored her, she could tell by the look in their eyes.
So she had no choice, but to be courteous to Lord Raymond. While she worried about what to do if he misunderstands.
At that moment, Julianna’s eyes met ‘Sir Raymond’s’ eyes.
With a little smile of courtesy, ‘Sir Raymond’ forced himself to smile and quickly avoided her gaze.
He then turned to talk to Ruth in a low voice.
Julianna tilted her head slightly in amazement.
‘Is it because he’s the popular type?’
‘He feels a little conceited.’
Is it because of the forced smile from a while ago? Oddly enough, Sir Raymond seemed reluctant to look at her.
‘That can’t be true…’
She felt offended for some reason.
‘He’s not as cool as Ruth anyway.’
Julianna was embarrassed, she snorted inwardly and criticized him. She justified to herself that she had grown up like a beautiful flower in her greenhouse, and that he was a nobody.
To be honest, Julianna couldn’t understand the ladies collecting Donatelli’s paintings while making a fuss over them. It was hard to comprehend the excitement they were feeling at the sight of Sir Raymond.
Of course, she could appreciate his beauty. Still… Julianna thought the masculine Ruth was nicer to look at.
But it was really strange…
As she watched, Sir Raymond really seemed to be avoiding her gaze.
When their eyes met, he didn’t stare at her for more than three seconds. He didn’t even glance at her like most men do.
She smiled when they made eye contact, but he would force himself to smile back and turned his face away almost immediately.
‘What the hell… ?’
Rather, it seemed that a more natural smile came out when he talked with her ladies-in-waiting.
Julianna was very confused as this was the first time something like this had happened to her.
After the tea party, Lelia was dragged by Ruth to a quiet place.
It was a small promenade behind the Crystal House.
“How does it look to you? If I confess, what do you think would happen? Do you think Julianna will accept?”
Ruth asked with a flushed look.
Lelia was exhausted both physically and mentally. Throughout the tea party, she was exhausted from answering the young ladies who kept asking questions one after another and being careful while answering.
“Answer me, Sir Raymond. How does it look?”
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