It is difficult to treat the annex of the Grand Duke as a simple annex. It was bigger and more majestic than the Sarubian Palace, where events organized by the imperial family are held. There were so many aristocrats that there was no room to step in such an annex.
There was not enough space in the inner hall alone, so this was the case even though the outer fountain was used as a banquet hall by opening a glass wall. It was realized that the Grand Duke being above the imperial family was not a myth.
Elena looked down from the window of the waiting room on the second floor to the nobles who visited to celebrate. She stayed in the palace at the expense of the crown prince and held a few national events, but she has not seen a feast as grand and splendid as it isnow being held in the Grand Park. It was obvious that the Grand Duke’s power was higher than the imperial family.
“Grand Duke Friedrich.”
Elena looked down on him, the owner of the hall and the organizer of the banquet. Countless around him, Elena looked down indifferently at him, the owner of the hall and the organizer of the banquet. Countless aristocrats gathered around him, trying to build a bond with him and flattering him.
“Wait for me. I’ll pull you down one day.”
The waiting room door opened and Leabric came in.
“It’s time. You need to go down to the celebration.”
“Liv, I’m nervous.”
Elena shrank and shivered.
“I’ll be standing in the back. I’ll come out in case of trouble, so relax.”
“Yes, I’ll just trust Liv.”
“Let’s go down now.”
Elena rose from her chair and Leabric signaled out of the room. Ann and Lunarin came in quickly and smoothed out the dress.
Elena, who finished her final preparation in the mirror, came out of the waiting room and stood in front of the stairs going down alone. As it was a blind spot on the corner, Elena on the upstairs was not seen in the hall.
When the maid approached the conductor who was playing a symphony in the hall and said something, he nodded and stopped.
Then he changed the song and swung the baton again. The song is. The melody of the violin and cello stood out as a song praising the queen’s beauty and piety.
“Princess Veronica is entering.”
The people of the banquet hall turned to the stairs leading to this floor, holding their breath at the powerful cry of the butler who was in charge of hosting the hall.
Tak, tak, tak.
Elena, who was waiting, turned the corner and stepped on the stairs. A proud, slightly raised chin, distinctive authoritative eyes, and symbolic blond hair of the Grand Dukedomdom. The graceful walk that makes even the dress that may seem monotonous stand out, at first glance, captured the attention of the nobles.
No one noticed that she was a substitute. They looked alike from head to toe. The atmosphere of Elena, who even rose to the top as the empress, was beyond comparison with Veronica herself.
Clap, clap, clap.
In the hall filled with silence except for the performance, the applause of the aristocrats continued. Most of them were aristocrats lining the Great Dynasties, so they welcomed the return of Princess Veronica. There have been constant rumors about Princess Veronica’s escape from the grand duchy. He was not a great man to be swayed by a rumor, but as Veronica’s absence lengthened, he had no choice but to talk more about the succession of Grand Duke Friedrich. In particular, the Bastasche family, which gained independence from the Grand Family Friedrich, was likely to bring about a change in the power structure as it was possible to inherit the title. Elena’s health today will dispel such concerns at once.
“Have you come?”
Grand Duke Friedrich came to the front of the last step and escorted her.
Elena smiled openly as she held his hand. Grand Duke Friedrich was also pleased with Elena’s quite plausible performance. The woman stood side by side on the platform, looking at the aristocrats of the banquet hall. The Duke had a cocktail glass handed over to a maid.
Grand Duke Friedrich said to the crowd, looking at Elena with a warm gaze.
“Today is a very happy day. On the anniversary of the birth of the Friedrich family, I was able to express my gratitude not only to myself but also to my precious journey.”
The nobles applauded. Grand Duke Friedrich lifted a glass of cocktail.
“Thanks to the nobles who gathered here, I think we were able to make the House of Friedrich more prosperous today, which was founded by our forefather, the Duke of Rosette. Let’s raise our glasses together and pay our respects. For the Duke of Rosette!”
The aristocrats all raised their cocktail glasses high and shouted.
Then, the congratulatory speech ended by emptying the glass. It also marked the beginning of a full-fledged banquet.
“You’re not in good shape yet, so go in moderation.”
Grand Duke Friedrich showed the aristocrats the image of his father taking care of his daughter, and left an excuse for Elena, who is poor at posing as Veronica under the pretext of health, to leave the banquet hall early.
Elena lifted the hem of her skirt and played a submissive daughter. So far, there was nothing special because it was already talked about in advance.
‘It’s my time now.’
Elena had never spent a minute in vain before leaving the duchy. In particular, she moved under a thorough plan right after she came to the duchy. It was the same today. Elena will not miss this opportunity.
It is a banquet organized by the Grand Duke. The birthday banquet was a day when all the aristocrats in the Empire gathered together. It was a great opportunity for aristocrats, who could not be free from political relationships, to build friendships or find a marriage partner for their children. Elena was going to make full use of this.
‘There’s something I have to do before that.’
Elena glanced back. Sure enough, Leabric was stuck behind her back like a leech. She’d come forward and try to control her.
‘It’ll be easier if I take Leabric off first.’
Elena was not impatient. It was because she could make a mistake if she were hasty.
“Greetings to Your Highness the Princess. My name is Serena Williams.”
“I’m Daisy. Does your Highness remember me?”
“How can you be so beautiful, even after such a long time?”
In a blink of an eye, aristocrats surrounded Elena. They were all eager to talk to Elena and build a favorable impression. Elena responded with a smile.
“I’ve heard of the beautiful young lady under Count Williams. You’re even more beautiful in person.”
“Oh, you know me.”
Elena’s head turned.
“How can I forget Daisy?”
“Do you remember me?”
Elena, who once had a reputation as the queen of society, faced the majority with equanimity.
“To the point that Leabric doesn’t doubt me.”
At the same time, Elena didn’t forget to make her appearance often awkward so that she didn’t look too experienced.
“Did I do that?”
“Huh? Can’t you remember what you said?”
When Elena showed her embarrassment, Leabric, who had been silently behind her, stepped out.
“Your Highness seems to have forgotten that. It’s rude to keep talking about the same thing.”
“I-I’m sorry. I just…”
The lady who was trying to talk about the past, stepped down without a word under the influence of Leabric.
Meanwhile, a group of people surrounding Elena split up as if the sea opened. Beyond that, a group of women with bobbed hair approached
Like the Grand Duke, she is the eldest daughter of the Reinhardt family, one of the four great families of the Empire. She had a great influence in the social world despite her young age, resembling Duke Chrome, her father whose political sense and knowledge were unrivaled.
Throughout Veronica’s absence for the past two years, all the young children who followed her were under her influence. In the future, she and Elena fought a faction over the leadership of the social world, and competed for the final decision for the appointment of Crown Princess in many ways. She smiled bitterly.
“Sister, how long has it been?”
Avella pretended to know her in a friendly tone. She felt the skill of hiding herself even though it was a young age from a happy
expression that she could not feel any pretense.
‘You’re still like a kid, though.’
Elena thought Avella’s behavior was cute. It was Avella, who had established an unrivaled faction in society, but was brutally trampled by Elena. However, now Avella was no match for Elena.
“Avella, how long has it been?”
Elena welcomed her as if she had met a long-lost child.
“I know. You don’t know how much I was worried about you.”
“Why wouldn’t I know? If Avella was sick, I would be, too.”
Elena responded skillfully. Since she couldn’t really do that, she returned to say that in the same situation, the same would be true for her.
“Can we see each other often now?”
“Yes, of course.”
“That’s good! I have a lot of young people I want to introduce to my sister.”
Avella turned her body around and seemed to boast a crowd following her. Some dogs included young ladies who said they were good at following Veronica.
Elena snorted at Avella’s child-like boast.
“Really? I’m already looking forward to it.”
“Me, too. So, are you going back to the academy?”
Elena paused for a moment.
Frontier Academy. It was the largest academy on the continent. It is well-known for its long history and high educational standards as a place where any child of the Imperial nobility, royalty of the minor kingdom, or aristocrats, would like to graduate.
It was also the place where the connections leading the empire were completed, and royal families and nobles in other countries regarded graduation from academic institutes as a symbol of the elite course. Its reputation was so strong and high that the Lun Academy of the Kingdom of Royer could hardly be comparable.
‘Leabric, you’re about to step up, aren’t you?’
Elena hesitated and waited for Leabric to answer.
“Your Highness is scheduled to return to the Academy.”
When Leabric answered instead, Avella lightly slapped her back and laughed.
“Really? I’m happy. Then, sister, we can see you often at the academy.”
“Is that so?”
It was time for Elena to answer the meaningless conversation in a perfunctory manner.