Thank you so much for the support, Curufin! (9/10)
Enjoy reading and hope this can make your day better!
After the dance was over and the lingering feeling of regret in my mind had yet to go away, he began to speak again.
“Your feet …is it alright?”
Only then did I feel a sore sensation at my feet.
I was hurt.
“It just got scraped a bit.”
“Your Highness’ feet might look alright by the time you wore your shoes again, but because blood doesn’t always ooze out as soon as you get an injury, I think it’s better for you to go back and check your feet once again.”
“…It was okay the whole time I danced with you. If I was in pain, I would have said so.”
“Your Highness, but you definitely…”
“I’ll get the wine for you. Since you’re here, drink a little more and enjoy yourself.
He spoke after being quiet for a while.
“Then please stay here. I’ll be right back.”
I headed to the winery and left him alone.
Some of the young ladies I met on the way complimented my piano skill and asked in detail about what happened earlier, but I didn’t answer and just smiled at them before rushing past them.
I went to the winery section and stood while holding onto the table.
Then the stinging pain rushed to the under part of my feet.
I also felt a slight tingling sensation inside my shoes.
Did it bleed?
When I turned my head after picking up two wine glasses with trembling hands, the sound of another shoe drew closer.
There was a really beautiful woman when I lifted up my head.
A woman greeted me shyly while adjusting the white shawl wrapped around her long and black straight hair.
Her blue eyes were as clear as the sky.
It seemed like I couldn’t miss her eyes out when I was talking about blue eyes which were as cold as ice.
Then, her greatly surreal lips moved.
“Please forgive me for introducing myself first. Your Highness the Princess, I’m Angelica Rize….”
Then I heard the screams and shouting noises of people behind my back.
The terrified lady’s voice made me realize I couldn’t stay here for long. Clyde.
Obviously, something must’ve happened to Clyde while I was away for quite a while.
“I’ll get the wine for you. Since you’re here, drink a little more and enjoy yourself.”
Leaving with those words, Stella headed for the wine and Clyde just stood still as he watched her walk away.
He should’ve left right away. Clyde reprimanded himself inwardly.
He should’ve told her back then that he wouldn’t go when she offered him to return to the ballroom.
He should’ve refused even if she wanted him to return with a good intention.
He had to warn her that the nobles wouldn’t be pleased if she stayed with him. That must be it.
He couldn’t say anything at that time.
She pulled him by hand into the room when he was forced to utter an answer.
Even though it was a very light pull, he surprisingly moved his legs at the small force tugging him forward.
Now he should’ve left for her because he had enough of enjoying this kind of sweet moment.
He was about to leave and suggested that she should rest and referring to her feet that ran barefoot earlier, but she left before he was able to say so and even saying she would bring wine for him.
He thought about whether it was fine to keep Stella standing in the ballroom like that just because of him with her injured feet, and eventually thought about how to leave quietly. The gazes of the nobles who looked at Clyde were as cold as ever.
He had no problem if people to see him like that, but he just couldn’t stand it if Stella also looked at him like that.
It was a very long wait for him.
However, the bitter thing about it is that nothing has changed.
He was still nothing but an illegitimate child as well as a good swordsman, and she was a princess.
This situation made everything clear.
As an illegitimate child and the slave of the Imperial Family, his existence would naturally remain as an obstacle to Stella, and that fact has yet to change even if he turned the empire upside down.
Such a thought made Clyde angry.
After returning from Jason Evans’ office the other day, he smashed and destroyed everything in his office like a madman.
What else he has to do to be next to her if nothing changes even if he turned the empire upside down?
However, his anger disappeared as if it washed away when he saw her affectionately treating his hands as well as asking him to go to the ball together, and all I had left was the thought that I could do anything for her.
Therefore, he couldn’t even go to the ball with her.
I couldn’t go to see her without feeling ashamed.
Like Jason Evanders said, his existence will only get in her way.
And his judgment seemed to be right as well.
Looking at Stella staying among the nobles, Clyde thought that Stella had finally found her place.
Karen’s voice from ten years ago was still fresh as if it was burning in her mind.
“…Ha. Did you not know? Yeah, you didn’t know it because you could confidently say you like Stella.”
“How dare you say that. There’s something you didn’t know. She’s not my maid, but my real sister. She is a real princess who is not supposed to be touched by just anyone, well, people call her my maid, imitation of me, and a bait. That’s just it because she’s an empty shell. It’s just too embarrassing to say that she’s a princess!”
“…however she’s still a princess. She’s as noble as I was born. Then, how dare you say that you like Stella? Is that so? Yes, like her as much as you can. You’ll still suffer for the rest of your life. I know it. Later on, she will marry an old nobleman and give birth to a child who resembles the old nobleman himself, meanwhile you will wipe the floor and serve the household as a servant. As you teach swordsmanship to the child of your master’s wife, whom you like so much.”
Clyde shut his eyes tightly.
Even if he became a cotton cloth, even if he rescued the emperor, the blood flowing through his blood vessels was deep.
The title of duke was merely a title and a symbol of power, but it did not give Clyde a sense of nobility.
He was just the master on the battlefield, however at the party hall where people gathered, he was a mere stranger.
As he was about to turn around with a bitter smile, Clyde faced the person he didn’t want to see the most at this moment.
The man smiled when their eyes met. A confident smile was a worthy sight for people to look at.
The words that came out of the man’s lips were beyond Clyde’s expectations.
“Why did you not kill him?”
Jason Evanders said as if he could see through his mind.
“It would have been easier to have the Princess if you kicked out the Imperial Family and became the Emperor yourself. The Princess will be the survivor of the fallen Imperial Family, and the duke will be the Emperor. But the duke didn’t kill the emperor. And he’s standing here in the ballroom as a monster.”
“…Get lost, Evanders.”
“I’ve always been curious. The Guardian of Heaven as well as the liberator of the oppressed. However I have always believed in human desire rather than justice, duties, and such noble things as restoring the Imperial Family with the support of the people under such names. And if what the Duke wanted was power, he would’ve really dreamed of becoming an Emperor?”
“Why did you not kill the Emperor? The reason for the mystery had never been solved all this time, however it was interesting because it was simpler than I thought. All the people here looked at the duke as if you were a monster, and how would the returning Princess look at the duke?”
Clyde had to clench his fist to suppress his anger.
“Because you are an illegitimate child, and you just didn’t want to be the same monster to her, so you restored the Imperial Family.”
At that moment, Clyde couldn’t suppress his emotions anymore and grabbed Jason by his collar.
People around both of them stopped talking, they pointed toward them with their fingers while gesturing at them.
Jason spoke leisurely in the midst of silence as people’s eyes gradually fixated at them and the surroundings became quiet.
“Are you doing this rude thing out of jealousy?”
“How could you make such a fuss at the Princess’ debutante? Was it because you got so angry that you lost the chance of doing the Princess’ first dance over me?”
Jason’s words were like a ripple that shook the tranquil waters.
Laughing erupted from all over the place.
How dare he be jealous of Lord Evanders, who was no other than a monster!
Jason said calmly.
“It seems that the anger on the day Duke Darrenhill came to my office without making any appointment and breaking the table has not been resolved just yet.
From what I could remember, I had tolerated your rudeness on that day. …Ah, as expected from an illegitimate child, it seems that you are not fully aware of noble etiquette.”
His remark made the mockery become even more blatant. Clyde’s hand shook as he grabbed Jason Evanders’ collar.
Clyde spoke in an angry voice.
“I regret that I didn’t break your handsome face that day.”
The atmosphere has reached its worst starting from that point. Monster! The screams erupted from all over the place.
“Could you possibly do that?”
A smile filled with contempt flashed across Jason’s face.
Clyde spit out the words without thinking.
“Why do you think I can’t do it? Your handsome face here, and those bunch of stupid nobles of yours…”
“That means all of us here are enemies of Duke Darrenhill, isn’t it?”
At Evanders’ persuasive words which drove him even more mad, the atmosphere easily turned from fear to hatred.
Jason shook off Clyde’s hand with his grip. Then he walked past Clyde and whispered closely so the conversation could only be heard by both of them.
“You were curious at that time. Why did the Princess come back to the Imperial Palace?”
“It’s simple, I threatened her family under the order of the First Princess.”
At those words, Clyde finally lost his control and knocked Jason down.
[T/N: Yes, I’ve been waiting for this blow!!!]
He thought he heard the scream of the noble lady in a flash. He also thought to have heard an old man telling someone to stop him.
But Clyde couldn’t see nor hear anything. Everything was going so slowly, as if he was deaf.
Well, he finally felt like the mystery had been solved.
The reason why Ethel had to be Stella.
How did Ethel know Jason and take billions of money from him?
He felt like he finally knew about it now.
He was the dog of the Imperial Family.
Jason Evanders said so because he was trying to keep himself away from her all this time.
“These things you are currently doing now, how much of this would really be of help for Her Highness?”
So today Stella has been spending time with this trash. With this trash who was holding her breath.
[T/N: From what I got, this line basically means that he was threatening her family which pressures her, hence the idiom ‘holding her breath’ is used here.]
It was as if he had tossed the lovely Stella into the devil’s hand and he took a step back foolishly.
Clyde couldn’t even breathe properly.
He returned to his senses when he heard Stella’s voice.
Stella’s face in front of me seemed to cool down in his head, filled with anger. His head felt like calming down once he saw Stella’s angry face right before him.
Blood was dripping down on Clyde’s fingertips. Then Clyde’s eyes were shaking when he finally realized it.
Jason Evanders took the opportunity to stand up from his seat while wiping blood flowing from his lips.
Soon after, the angry voice of the Emperor could be heard.
“On such a great day, you ruined the Princess’ debutante with a fist fight! Are you out of your mind?”
Clyde only lifted his head and barely looked up at Jason Evanders who stood in front of him as he remained still in his position.
A nasty smile flashed across Jason Evander’s face for a brief moment.
Stella was the first to open her mouth in the midst of intense silence.
“Father, the rest would be taken care of by myself.”
“Because it’s my ball. Please let me take care of it.”
Clyde was quiet as he waited for Stella to give him a death warrant.”
It didn’t matter whether it was a death warrant for his own life or the end of the relationship between both of them. Since it would be the same thing after all.
He was scared.
He was afraid this day would come someday.
So he thought that he might have been struggling too hard to see Stella and impede society’s inclination.