* * *
The ballroom, where there was a moment of silence, became noisy again.
There was no aristocrat who didn’t know about the friction between the Crown Prince and Birce.
At the time of the fire, rumors that the flames threatened to surround the Crown Prince’s palace had already spread throughout the empire.
The Crown Prince smiled.
“When I was in Elheim, I often watched you, Young Lady. It is only today that I have got the courage.”
He was the Crown Prince, who came to Elheim many times but never gave Liarte a glance.
“I recall that Your Highness and I are not on good terms to dance.”
“It’s worth asking for a chance to dance with you, Young Lady.” (TL/n: Fuck you, Crown Prince)
The Crown Prince thought Liarte would be conscious of the public eye if he said so.
‘Princess Elhiem was relatively normal.’
The Crown Prince of the Empire reached out to Birce first.
In addition, instead of casual language, he even used honorific and formal language to entice Liarte.
If she refused or became rude, a negative gaze would follow her.
However, what the Crown Prince didn’t know was Liarte’s impression of him.
“Well, I do not see you with such value.”
It was a cold, cold voice.
“In that case, it may be the second dance or the third dance, so I’ll wait.”
“No. There won’t be a second dance, a third dance, or more.”
Liarte said it without any expression.
“It sounds like you don’t want to dance with me.”
The Crown Prince could not hide his displeasure.
Liarte answered clearly.
“I don’t want to dance with you. I believe that Your Highness knows the reason better.”
She knew he would ask for a dance request or ask for a second dance, obviously being a troublemaker.
It was an unexpected answer for the Crown Prince.
Meanwhile, Liarte thought, ‘This person…’
Her impression of the Crown Prince was at its worst.
The one who caused Aaron’s mania by feeding him the Black Powder.
Michael was on the verge of being blinded by the curse, and Carmen almost lost his father and son at once.
But it wasn’t just that.
It was an unforgivable sin to set fire to the deep forest where Birce’s power was released.
‘I almost lost the people of Birce.’
Even though they were in danger, there were good voices telling them (Liarte) to flee to the outskirts of the Duchy.
Merlin, Andre, Walter, and John, the Black Knights. And the many people of Birce who were friendly to Liarte.
The mere thought of the Crown Prince, who almost trampled Birce, made her angry.
“My dear Highness.”
Michael spoke softly.
“I am always grateful to Your Highness for his broad grace.”
Contrary to what he said, however, the red-eyed child looking down at the Crown Prince from Liarte’s side looked horrifying.
“I was very worried because I didn’t know how to pay you back, but you came to see me in person.”
The Crown Prince was startled for a moment.
That was how strong the murderous intent emanating from Michael Birce was.
“I think you know very well that Birce doesn’t forget about its resentments.”
It was a blatant threat.
To enter this land while trampling Birce, which even the Emperor wouldn’t dare to touch.
Even if the Prince was killed and sent back under the guise of an accidental death, the Imperial Family wouldn’t have been able to protest.
“I will never forget your noble bravery.”
This was the place to celebrate Liarte’s coming-of-age ceremony.
Even if the Crown Prince didn’t know how to ask for a dance, how dare he mention the value of Liarte.
Liarte looked at the Crown Prince without any expression.
“Let’s go dancing without dealing with this.”
When she was in Elheim, she didn’t have much contact with the Crown Prince.
She just thought of him as a man of power or the brother of Ninian.
If the deep forest had burned properly, the power of Death would have spread beyond the Birce estate and into the Empire.
The innocent people of the Empire could have died in rubbish not even worth scorning.
As the Crown Prince of an Empire, his vessel was narrow.
“I sent back all the gifts you gave me.”
Liarte said, looking coldly at the Crown Prince.
“No matter how many times you give them to me, I will always do the same.”
Then Liarte and Michael moved away.
The sound of music was heard in the ballroom as if it were on cue.
What Liarte said just now was to admit that she had destroyed what the Crown Prince had been doing.
It was a warning.
It meant, ‘Don’t touch Birce.’
‘Have you already done Birce?’
The Crown Prince thought that Liarte would try to conceal her abilities.
He thought it would be fun to push him because he knew that the person who solved the incidents was a princess.
But it was Liarte who held the knife.
The Crown Prince laughed.
She didn’t know that the more she did this, the more he wanted her.
The moment the woman, who had been looking at her humble self in Elheim, grew up and looked down at him coldly, the Crown Prince felt a shiver.
His greed became even more intense because he knew it was too big of a gem to have.
He will go ahead with the operation. (TL/n: this sick bitch)
He was going to get Liarte, even if he had to force himself.
If they failed, they would have to put down everything the Crown Prince had, but they were so coveted that they didn’t even care.
* * *
As Liarte and Michael began to dance, the others went to find their partners.
The sound of music made them feel better than before.
“Should I send out the Crown Prince and his annoying people now?”
Michael asked a friendly question.
His hands that wrapped around her waist were hot. Michael arranged the hair that fell on Liarte’s face.
“No. I want to wait until they make a mistake.”
It was not uncommon for the Crown Prince to visit the Birce Estate in this way.
“I hope your coming-of-age ceremony will remain your best memory, Liarte.”
“You’re saying it’s the best memory, right? It’s a good thing, then.”
Today was the best day.
Flowers were prepared by the people of Birce, the venue of the ceremony, and the Celebration itself.
Even the illusion she saw when Carmen’s blood touched her forehead would have been memorable.
She remembered a hand that was about to pass through her cheek and down to her neck. It felt strange because it was not the same Michael.
“Your dancing skills have improved a lot.”
Michael’s hands and body continued to stick to hers.
Who said that dancing was one of the ways to bring two people closer?
“Do you think so?”
“At least that’s what it looks like to me. At first, you kept falling or stepping on my feet.”
“I certainly was.”
The more she practiced, the better Liarte got.
Now she didn’t have to say that she couldn’t dance.
Perhaps a little anger towards the Crown Prince was the driving force, but she was able to dance better than before.
Michael suddenly said, “But I liked it when you danced clumsily.”
Sometimes she fell, and sometimes Michael held her together.
It was rare, but there were times when she stepped on her.
“Because you leaned on me.”
Michael knew that his ideas were vicious.
The moment she reached out and grabbed him, only Michael would have existed in Liarte’s world.
At that time, it meant that Michael was the only object Liarte could cling to and rely on.
The experience brought out a languid satisfaction in Michael.
“Do you like it when I lean on you?”
“Very much so. I’d be more than happy if you did it often.”
The moment of him being the only one for Liarte was unbearably good.
She danced to three songs in a row with Michael.
Liarte looked around the ballroom, as she also decided to dance with other people from Birce.
‘I can’t see Carmen and Aaron.’
Walter, Merlin, and Andre said they were guarding Birce out of sight.
The Bircheans, Liarte was now a part of them. (TL/n: and yes, this is a legit translation.)
It was just a feeling, but the eyes of the Black Knights swept over Liarte once in a while.
‘Do they want to dance?’
After she came, the three direct descendants of Birce became a little better, Liarte thought, unaware that they had goodwill.
But she thought she shouldn’t dance with the Black Knights over Carmen and Aaron.
She had a hunch.
Suddenly, she saw champagne in the distance of the ballroom.
She approached in the direction of the table, as she thought the color of the champagne was pretty. (TL/n: come on now it’s a TRAP, Liarte and her alcoholic ass)
‘Aaron and Carmen will find me on their own.’ (TL/n: Bitch don’t go anywhere now)
It was a landscape that she always wanted to paint.
At the time, a Young Lady, with a young face suddenly caught Liarte.
“Who are you?”
Liarte remembered the unfamiliar face of the Young Lady. She’d seen her before.
“You’re the one who fell into the fountain.”
“Yes, no matter how much I think about it, I thought I’d have to return the favor, so I came here.” (TL/n: hestel is a menace)
No wonder, she was the person about whom she had a bad feeling for some reason, so she dismissed her earlier that morning.
Hestel, who received instructions from the Crown Prince, was in a position to induce Liarte in any way.
“Thank you so much for saving me earlier. My name is Hestel.”
Hestel’s gaze, pretending to be naive, contained a quiet malice.
Liarte had a knack for recognizing malice, although she didn’t know it too well.
“What about you, Young Lady?”
Liarte turned away without answering.
“Where are you going?”
It was only a while later that Hestel, who snapped out of her daze, grasped the situation.
Liarte was already far away.
With complete ignorance. (TL/n: Crisis averted… for now)
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