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* * *
“Don’t be so angry.”
“But, Marquis Usher…!”
“It’s because everyone is so passionate about art.”
Marquis Usher smiled, pretending to be generous.
“But don’t you know it well, too? To work as an artist in Lancaster, you must have a lot of experience.”
The faces of the nobles, who had been puzzled for a while, turned bright.
“As expected, the Marquis has an idea!”
Marquis Usher enjoyed countless compliments with a pleased face.
Then he opened his mouth sternly.
“As long as I am president of the Royal Art Association, the Countess of Brierton will never be accepted by the Royal Society of Art.”
A despicable light flashed over the eyes of Marquis Usher.
“Of course……she won’t be able to get an individual exchange exhibition.”
* * *
The exchange exhibition was successful, and highly praised by Kaldorov and the public.
It got a backlash from the Royal Art Association, and it was unexpected from the beginning, so she thought she didn’t have to pay much attention.
Ines was still in agony.
Ines exhaled a long sigh.
She knew that the Royal Art Association was hostile and sensitive to Ines’ actions.
‘…I didn’t know that no matter how much they kept me in check, they would interfere like this.’
One needed some conditions to be recognized as an artist in Lancaster.
Among them, an individual achievement from the exchange exhibition under their name was included.
Thus, while successfully completing the exchange exhibition, Ines tried to proceed with the individual exchange exhibition as well.
Meanwhile, she ran into an unexpected wall.
‘I didn’t expect the Royal Art Association to find fault at every turn.’
Ines narrowed her brows.
Although the exchange exhibition was definitely a great achievement as an artist, it was not enough.
The only exhibition that Ines participated in so far was the winning works of the art exhibition that Enoch hosted.
However, it was better not to hold an individual exhibition at her own expense.
If the artist was not talented enough for an individual exchange exhibition, the artist would be ridiculed behind scenes.
Thus, ordinary artists would hold individual exhibitions with the certification of the Royal Art Association.
In Lancaster, the Royal Art Association was a influential group.
The certification by the Royal Art Association itself meant that the artist’s talent was recognized in part by the official institution.
So, of course, Ines sent a request for certification to the Royal Art Association…
She was rejected in less than half a day.
Ines, who was determined, continued to make requests, and was rejected one after another.
No matter how deep the emotional goal was in this exchange exhibition, she didn’t know they’d be so mean to block her way.
If so, it should be considered that the way to hold an exchange exhibition in Lancaster was completely blocked.
When Ines was drooping on the desk, unable to overcome her frustration.
Knock, knock, knock.
There was a short knock.
Ines answered helplessly, leaning against the desk.
Mary, who came into the room, opened her eyes wide.
“Master, you have to keep up your spirit.”
“Tell that to the Royal Art Association. How ridiculous they are being.”
Ines’s sullen reply made Mary feel pity.
Mary knew that Ines was having a hard time recently because of trying to open her own exhibition.
“So, what’s going on?”
Mary looked at Ines in a straight posture.
“A message came from the royal family. Her Majesty has ordered you to enter the palace.”
Ines’ eyes widened.
Now that the exchange was over, she thought she wouldn’t see the Queen anymore.
Until then, Ines had no idea.
The long-thinking individual exhibition problem would be solved in a completely unexpected way.
* * *
Ines, who entered the royal palace, faced an unexpected person.
“The Duke of Sussex?”
“Oh, Countess of Brierton.”
Enoch welcomed her with a pleasant smile.
“Did the Countess also receive the Queen’s call?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Ines nodded eagerly.
Since the recent exchange exhibition was over, she was glad to see Enoch again.
‘……However, I hope the Duke will be pleased to see me.’
Ines, who was glancing at Enoch, soon came to her senses.
‘Oh, my God, what am I thinking?’
At that moment.
Ines made eye contact with Enoch.
“You look happy.”
“Yes. You’ve been smiling since a while ago.”
For a moment, her face flamed up.
Recently she had been rejected by the Royal Art Association over and over again, so why was she happy?
Objectively, there was not a single good thing.
And yet, the reason why she was smiling so lightly that Enoch said so…
‘As expected… It’s probably because of seeing the Duke.’
Ines hurriedly schooled her expression.
No matter how determined she was to admit her interest in Enoch, it was another matter to make it obvious.
If it went wrong, the current smooth relationship could be ruined.
Not knowing the turmoil of her mind, Enoch spoke.
“Shall we go?”
“Yes, let’s go.”
Anyway, they entered the palace at the invitation of the Queen.
‘I need to get my act together.’
Ines took her eyes off Enoch on purpose, and walked only looking forward.
Otherwise, she thought he’d notice her thumping heart.
* * *
“I’m sorry I couldn’t make you a member of the Royal Art Association this time. I really wanted to appoint you.….”
Queen Helena looked really sorry.
Ines smiled softly.
“That’s all right. I don’t mind at all, so don’t worry about it, Your Majesty.”
Helena could not hide her regret.
That’s because Helena herself wanted to somehow appoint Ines as a member of the Royal Art Association.
Ines had long been shadowed as Ryan’s shadow painter, despite the successful conclusion of the exchange.
Therefore, being a member of the Art Association, which was once Ryan’s, must mean something special to Ines, too.
‘But the opposition was too much…….’
Helena pressed her fingers against her throbbing temple.
[‘I understand that the Queen wants to congratulate the Countess of Brierton’s achievement, but!’]
The artists of the Royal Art Association spoke out against Ines’s appointment.
‘[The Royal Art Association has never received a woman!’]
[‘No matter how much the Countess of Brierton has achieved remarkable results, we cannot ignore the history and traditions of our art association like this!’]
[‘That’s right! Please reconsider!’]
It was what they said…
Faced with numerous objections, Ines eventually failed to become a member of the Royal Art Association.
Helena sighed deeply and opened her mouth.
“Thank you for saying that. Rather, the reason why we invited you two today is because of the official request from Kaldorov.”
“What do you mean, a request?”
“In Kaldorov’s art world, they were very impressed with the success of exhibition achieved by the Countess.”
At the unexpected news, Ines’ eyes grew round.
At the same time, Helena smiled gracefully.
“So they want to officially invite the Countess of Brierton and the Duke of Sussex, who were the leaders of this exchange exhibition.”
“Yes. They said that they wanted to hear the experience of the management team who successfully conducted the exchange exhibition.”
Helena shrugged her shoulders and asked Ines.
“Come to think of it, the Countess of Brierton has never held an individual exhibition, right?”
“Yes, that’s true.”
Ines nodded with a puzzled face.
Then Helena winked playfully.
“That’s great, in Kaldorov, they seem to want to take charge of the Countess’ first individual exhibition.”
‘How can I explain this feeling?’
An indescribable emotion raged to her neck.
Ines couldn’t answer and only her lips were trembling.
It was a dream come true.
It was a great honor as an artist to receive such an offer.
Even Ryan, who used Ines as a shadow painter in the past before her return, did not experience such an experience.
“…Can I really go to Kaldorov?”
At Ines’s worried question, Helena looked puzzled.
“What does that mean?”
Ines, who had been agonizing for a while, carefully continued.