Arc 5 Chapter 4

 

 

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The Eve. It is a festival organized by the Academy on the eve of the opening of the semester. It was aimed to increase the morale of freshmen and students who have to concentrate on their studies throughout the year. On this day, there were many things to see and enjoy as outside stalls came in and performances were held inside the academy.

Some students from the aristocracy criticized the eve as a dirty event.

However, as it was an opportunity to experience the lives of ordinary people indirectly without caring about their status or authority, many students from aristocratic families also joined together.

On contrary, students from ordinary families who received sponsorship or entered the school through donations welcomed the eve of the festival. 

Art festivals, swordsmanship, and academic events are cited as the three major festivals of academic institutions.

However, students from ordinary families can only enjoy the Eve since the other three festivals requires to show results of their performances. 

“I heard the eve was held, aren’t you going?”

Anne asked Elena, who was stuck in the bedroom all day long. In the past, it was inconceivable that Anne would speak to Elena first. However, after receiving the ruby ring, she often asked her about different things to feel trusted.

“I don’t have to participate just because it’s a festival, do I?”

“Still…”

“It doesn’t fit my class. I’m not interested in playing at a vulgar level.”

Elena said so and peeked at Anne. Her drooping shoulders and facial expressions showed signs of regret that she could not go to the eve event.

“Why don’t you go alone?”

“What? Oh, no.”

Elena gave an angelic smile.

“I heard there are a lot of things to see at the night market on the eve. If you don’t see it today, you’ll regret it forever.”

“C-can I really go?”

“Well, if I need anything, I’ll have May do it. Take it easy.”

When the unexpected permission fell, Anne hurried out of the bedroom, looking exhilarated. Elena heard busy footsteps downstairs, and Anne was seen running out of the window.

“May!”

Elena, after confirming Anne’s departure, summoned May and ordered her.

“Bring me what you bought and left with Sir Hurelbad.”

Elena got up from her chair when May brought a bag wrapped in a wrapper.

“Let’s go out for a while.”

Elena left the dormitory with May without telling her the destination.

“I’ll accompany you.”

Hurelbad, who was in charge for the safety of the dormitory, tried to follow as if it was natural, Elena shook her head and dissuaded him.

“You don’t have to go with me Sir. It’ll be rather troublesome, if you do.”

“There are a lot of outsiders coming in today because of the festival. Moving alone can be dangerous.”

The eve is a festival. Non-student citizens can freely enter academic institutes today. However, few people or groups might cause accidents or trouble at academic conferences guaranteed by the imperial family.

“I’m not interested in the eve. I’m going to read some books at the central library.”

“But…”

“I think it’ll be uncomfortable if you follow me.”

When Elena was adamant, Hurelbad was unable to insist and stepped down. The institute boasted excellent security because nothing unsavory had happened since its opening. Hurelbad decided to trust the guards and the deployed capital knights.

After leaving the dormitory, Elena passed the street trees and headed to the central library. Enrolled students whom she had met while going to the library, didn’t mind her presence and just crossed their fingers. 

In the central library, although in minority, there were students from low-ranking aristocrats or commoners who devoted themselves to their studies regardless of the festival.

Elena passed the reading arena and went up the stairs.  When she went up to the fourth floor, around the corner at the end of the hall, there was a quiet corridor.

May was puzzled. She couldn’t guess why Elena suddenly decided to visit the library.

There was a library-like atmosphere up to the third floor, however, the fourth floor had an old-fashioned feel, as if the Imperial Palace had been relocated.

Elena opened the marble door in the middle of the hall and entered.

There were neatly displayed bookshelves, sofas, and wooden desks made of paulownia. The wood on the desk faded as if it were a very old thing, and the sofa was worn out.

“This is a recording studio. It’s a space that the Royal Family gave to our family when the academy opened. These desks are historical items used by my father, my great-grandfather, my great-great grandfather, and perhaps even higher-ups.”

Elena’s tone was dull, even though it had pride. If it had been her previous life, she would have been overwhelmed by herself living as a daughter of such a great family, but now there was only detestation left in Elena’s heart.

Elena walked alongside the opposite wall. There were portraits of the ancestors of the Friedrichs. Among the dogs, there were  portraits of Grand Duke Friedrich’s youth.

“You guys have such ugly faces. Isn’t that right?”

“…”

May didn’t know what to answer, so she remained silent. Although Elena revealed that she loathed her father, Grand Duke Friedrich, she could not recklessly agree. 

“May, open up what you brought.”

May quickly opened the wrapping paper and arranged the items she had bought out on the table. There were various types of wigs, eyelashes, and color cosmetics, of  thirty different types alone. 

“Do you have any idea what I’m going to do?”

Elena asked, touching the stuff one by one.

“… I don’t know.”

“I will be in trouble if you don’t know. From now on, you have to help.”

May blinked as if she didn’t know what she was talking about.

***

<The Alchemy of Makeup>

It is the book that Elena was most interested in during her stay in the safe house. The book was about the secrets of costumes, makeup: makeup of actors, mostly in plays, operas, and musicals. Practical make-up techniques were also important, however, Elena came up with a more important element.

The atmosphere changes when the impression changes.

When the impression changes, people change.

What does Princess Veronica look like in other people’s eyes? She thought that if she could erase that, she would be able to wear perfect makeup.

“Please draw the ends of my eyes a little droopy.”

A person’s impression varies from his or her eyes.

“Shade the jawline. Let it lose its shadow.”

If you kill the jawline, you’ll get a soft impression.

“Remember this makeup. Do you understand?”

“Yes.”

May answered, but couldn’t stop wondering why she wore such makeup.

The make-up hid Elena’s noble features in her nature and made her into a common impression.

“That’s not bad. Can you help me with my wig now?”

May, who rolled Elena’s blond hair tightly so as not to be disturbed in advance, grabbed a bobbed-haired wig and put it on her head. When the inner pin was locked to the hair and fixed firmly, the original blonde disappeared without a trace.

“May, take off my necklace and earrings.”

Elena’s long white neckline was clearly revealed. It was long and beautiful like a deer, but she couldn’t get rid of the feeling of boredom.

“Glasses.”

May picked up the black rimmed glasses and handed them to her.

A prop is the completion of makeup. Glasses were once popular among middle-aged aristocrats, and recently developed into a practical form for vision correction. These days, it was worn by many people regardless of age or gender. Elena wore the glasses.

“What do you think? It’s pretty cool, isn’t it?”

May was at a loss how to react. Elena’s satisfied smile spread around her mouth as she stared into the mirror.

“Who would look at me like this and think I’m Princess Veronica?”

Impression was not at the level of change. Elena in the mirror was like a completely different person.

Drooping eyes that made her look gentle. A round jawline that killed the sharpness. Neat yet gentle straightened, bobbed hair. Black horn rimmed glasses that made her look studious. She was confident that even if Baron Frederick or Chesana saw her, they wouldn’t notice her.

“……I can’t find traces of you anywhere. You’re like a different person.”

“That’s a good answer.”

May,  watched Elena who was satisfied without words, couldn’t bear the question and asked.

“With all due respect, may I ask you why you’re wearing this disguise?”

“Because I have to deceive.”

“Who do you think you’re deceiving?”

May asked back, feeling answerable to an unsolved mystery.

“Not one or two. There are a lot of times when you can’t see it inside.”

Elena, who left a meaningful remark, woke up from her chair. Maybe because of her changed appearance, May felt Elena was so heterogeneous.

“I’ll have to go to the eve.”

“In that outfit?”

“Didn’t I tell you? I have a lot of enemies. The name Veronica, its identity, is all a burden to me.”

Elena left a meaningless remark and grabbed the doorknob that went out.

“You’re going to wait here.”

“Are you sure you don’t mind going alone?”

Although the academic institution’s security is good, the eve was a festival where even common people hang out. She was afraid that she might be involved in an unsavory affair.

“The institution’s security is pretty good. Who else would see me as a Princess on such a day? Don’t worry and rest.”

Elena, who said goodbye, turned around and left the recording room.

Notes

N/A

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