Chapter 1 - Part 1
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Grace’s voice trembled like a leaf as she spoke. Lelia pondered for a moment and asked,
“Ah, if you’re saying that out of fear that Prince Damien might misunderstand…”
When asked if it was because she really liked Prince Damian, Miss Grace waved her hands and denied it.
“I didn’t stalk him! I never had it in mind in the first place. I was just misunderstood….”
“I thought so.”
Grace was choked up.
For she never thought that Sir Raymond, whom she had only talked to properly a couple of times, would trust her.
He also came to her while she was standing all alone.
Even her fiancé was laughing at her over there with other male nobles.
Her heart felt like a smoldering wreck, and she wanted to run away from this place. She was holding on because she feared that her family’s honour would be irrevocably damaged if she fled.
Lelia began to say a few words instead of suggesting a dance again since Miss Grace was stiff with tension.
It was all small talk.
“It seems that many birds live in Auraria Imperial Palace. Thanks to them, no matter how late I fall asleep, I wake up early in the morning.”
In times like these, light conversations can make a person feel more comfortable.
Lelia knew Grace’s heart.
When she was younger, she was bullied by Superion territory nobles her own age. She did not tell her grandfather, uncle or aunt.
“Thank you, Sir Raymond.”
Thanks to Lelia’s consideration, Grace gradually felt better.
Just by having Sir Raymond stand with her, the eyes of the people no longer felt as frightening as the blade of a knife. Those who had been openly staring at Grace now glanced at the two of them and began to whisper.
Some nobles, who still had sympathy for Miss Grace, praised Sir Raymond.
“He is a true gentleman.”
Most valued their positions and were wary of Prince Damian, but there were male aristocrats who valued chivalry above all else.
“You have such a beautiful appearance, but you also have a righteous side.”
“Oh… It’s so cool. I’m so envious of Miss Grace, it’s so romantic.”
The noble women looked at them with warm eyes, while smiling softly.
On the other hand, some male aristocrats gasped at the sight.
“Is that okay? To be a foreign aristocrat and openly disregarding Prince Damian.”
“That’s impudent of him. He looks so weak and nervous, women don’t know what kind of man they like…”
“They must have damaged their eyes.”
Romeo, who was watching this all from the terrace, rested his arms on the handrail upstairs and continued to observe Lelia.
His eyes were as sharp as a blade.
Lelia had her conversation with Grace, where she listened closely to her details of the misunderstandings about her.
Lelia pressed her lips together as she contemplated after everything she heard.
[Oh, my God.]
As expected, Miss Grace was in a really unfair position.
From what Lelia heard, all of Julianna’s companions were recently changed because one of the ladies had a big fight with Julianna. She even dared to shout and criticize her openly, the young woman was almost punished.
[So what must have happened was the news reached Emperor Perseus, and he must have tried to deal with it….]
The young noblewoman that caused the incident was in a position to be socially buried in the aristocratic circles, but Julianna asked the Emperor not to do so. That was how the woman escaped from that situation.
But she seemed to have her own version of what happened.
In the first place, she’s a young woman with a fiery personality. She said that she couldn’t stand that Julianna kept ignoring and interrupting her.
She was very angry about the whole situation and gave interviews to several newspapers. She eventually stopped because she feared that her family would be executed by the Emperor.
After that incident, Emperor Persues changed all of Julianna’s companions completely. Miss Grace was one of those new companions, and she said that she had visited the fiery girl’s house a few days ago.
She had known her since childhood, and had heard that she was ill. So Grace went to visit her.
However, Princess Julianna’s other companions heard about it and started kicking up a fuss. They were saying that Grace had betrayed Princess Julianna.
Suddenly, rumors began to spread that Miss Grace was stalking Prince Damien. The reason given was that she forgot to return the handkerchief that Prince Damien had previously lent her.
[That’s so childish…]
Lelia let out an internal sigh.
It reminded Lelia of a factional struggle between the young nobles in the Superion territory when Lelia was 14 or 15.
Of course, Lelia was not in a position to interfere in such matters, since none of them interacted with her. She just heard about it from other people.
It seems that 14 and 15 year old children are no different from factional strife.
Grace was the biggest victim here.
After saying that Grace betrayed Princess Julianna, they even went to Prince Cedric and Prince Damian for help.
[Being princes of an empire and pulling childish bully games…]
Lelia thought Cedric and Damien were pathetic, but what she thought didn’t matter.
It didn’t matter to her whether or not the royal family raised immature children.
Lelia decided to be nicer to Grace because both Cedric and Demian had turned their backs on her.
“It must have been hard, Miss Grace. I have been in a similar situation before, so I think I know how you feel.”
Grace gradually relaxed at her warm words of comfort.
She began to apologize to Lelia.
“By the way, I’m worried that Sir Raymond will be in trouble because of me…”
Saying that, Grace looked at Cedric and Damien.
“I don’t care as long as Miss Grace is fine. After all, I don’t really like those two princes.”
“But… those two are more sensitive when it comes to Princess Julianna. You might lose.”
“That is what I wish for.”
When Lelia said so, Grace burst into laughter.
The two talked a little more on a topic of conversation that was brighter than before.
Was it because she had been standing with Grace for a while?
Lelia turned her head abruptly, and she felt gazes on her here and there.
There were glances of favor and respect, and there were expressions of shock and betrayal.
In particular, Damien and Cedric were staring at Lelia like they wanted to kill her.
[It’s a success.]
Lelia thought so and looked towards Ruth. His mouth was hanging down in shock.
[What a pathetic b*******.]
Lelia turned her head again.
The unexpected part was in a different direction.
It was in the direction of Princess Julianna’s companions. They looked at Lelia like she was a villainous turncoat.
Their trembling faces were full of betrayal, as if their world had collapsed. They must have thought Lelia was on their side because they had a tea party together a few days ago.
Julianna’s expression was a bit strange.
She didn’t feel betrayed, rather she looked embarrassed.
It was surprising to see her smirking at Lelia.
[What is up with that?]
Lelia wondered what the hell Julianna was thinking.
At that time, the song changed and beautiful music in the adante tempo began to play.
Lelia felt that Miss Grace’s expression was much more relaxed than before and asked.
“May I request your first dance, Miss Grace?”
Perhaps because of her renewed confidence, she took Lelia’s outstretched hand.
Compared to her friends Lelia looked petite, but she was on the tall side for a woman. Miss Grace was about an inch shorter than Lelia.
The height difference meant that Grace and Lelia, who was disguised as a man, looked like a couple.
Lelia took Grace to the center of the dance floor to show off how eager she was to dance with her.
Having the gazes of everyone at the ball is a little scary, but she doesn’t seem to have anyone doubting her own gender.
[Like a playboy… Like a flirt…]
Lelia chanted inwardly and started dancing with Grace.
Someone burst into laughter among those who were watching.
Among Donatelli’s recently released new works, there was a painting called <Dancing Beautiful Man>, Lelia’s figure was just as elegant and beautiful as if it came straight out of the painting.
“It’s so beautiful… I wonder if there really is a man who looks like that in the real world…”
The aristocratic women sighed ecstatically and captured the scene in their minds.
On the other hand, male aristocrats looked as if they had chewed on rotten meat.
Still, they smiled as if nothing was wrong.
“Can he even dance the role of the man, right?”
“What can he do right? Just looking at it makes me laugh.”
They made bad jokes and demeaned Sir Raymond.
At that moment, a nobleman said something as if he had just remembered it.
“Oh! Come to think of it, I heard this a while ago. Prince Romeo was buying clothing for a beautiful man that looked like a ‘Donatelli’ painting…”
“What do you mean?”
He spread the rumors he had heard.
All of a sudden, the rumored ‘Sir Raymond’ had become an item with Prince Romeo.
The gossip evolved into ‘Sir Raymond’ being made out to be Prince Romeo’s male mistress. They added some vulgar content to spice it up.
“Then, pretending to be a decent guy like that, laughing and talking with women…”
“How can a man do that?”
They all clicked their tongues together.
People looked at the two of them dancing gracefully on the stage like they were looking at a painting.
Princess Julianna, who was watching from her seat, burst into laughter.
“Princess, how could Sir Raymond betray us?”
The companions burst into outraged tears when they heard her laughing.
“Princess, why are you laughing? Is it because you’re so kind and you’re hiding your true feelings?”
“The princess is so considerate of him, but he betrayed her! I didn’t know Sir Raymond would be so disrespectful!”
The ladies were united in accusing Sir Raymond.
But Cecil defended Sir Raymond in a voice just short of weeping.
“Surely Miss Grace seduced Sir Raymond like a vixen!”
Even with those words, Princess Julianna didn’t budge.
She knows why Sir Raymond is doing this.
[It’s so childish.]
But it looks cute… .
Julianna raised the corners of her lips and looked at Sir Raymond.
At first she was very angry.
She thought the favor she had bestowed upon Sir Raymond had returned in betrayal.
But when she thought about it more closely, it wasn’t.
It is the same as when Sir Raymond praised other men at her tea party.
[You’re trying to make me jealous…]
Like when he was trying to make her jealous of Ruth.
Sir Raymond seemed to be more advanced than herself.
‘I must not be swayed.’
Julianna snorted inwardly, but she couldn’t take her eyes off Sir Raymond.
[T/N: I seriously don’t like where Julianna is going…]
After the banquet, Lelia returned to her room exhausted.
Romeo said he had business outside of the Imperial Palace, and told her to return first.
Thanks to this, Lelia was able to comfortably spread out in the carriage.
[It’s not normal to dance so much.]
She put in a lot of effort tonight to dance like a man at the ball.
[No one seems to be suspicious.]
Lelia exhaled her breath of relief and laughed. She seems to have done well in her role as a playboy, and she was hated by the princes as Ruth wanted.
When Ruth finally confesses, all of this will be over.
Lelia got off her carriage with a light heart and walked down the quiet hallway.
It was late, so the servants seemed to have gone to bed. It was time to muffle her footsteps as much as possible and head to her own room.
Suddenly, a speech bubble appeared in front of her.
Ugh!! ୧(๑•̀ᗝ•́)૭!!!!! Someone nearby is in danger! 3000 Crystals if you help the person in danger! (/・0・)/!! 3000 Crystals if you help the person in danger!
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