Chapter 19

***


Philen Williot’s fiancée.

 

She was cherished by the former Duke and Duchess of Williot like their own daughter as if she was a treasure.

 

All of them were referring to Leila Thebesa.

 

Kalian didn’t believe it when he first found out about it. When he confirmed that all of that was true, he got curious.

 

It was purely out of curiosity about a woman named Leila Thebesa. He was very curious to see how a young girl could do a job that even an adult couldn’t do. If possible, he wanted to meet and have a serious conversation.

 

However, as he went to war, Kalian’s curiosity for Leila was folded and stuck in a corner.

 

It wasn’t long ago that his curiosity re-emerged when he met her and dealt with a rude person.

 

Kalian snuck out of the Imperial Palace to find something he was looking for and wandered the streets. He happened to witness the scene.

 

He didn’t know who she was at first, but he recognized her when he saw the Duke of Williot’s crest engraved on the fan she was holding.

 

That woman was Leila Thebesa.

  

The curiosity that had been put aside rekindled, and he got interested. His interest grew more as he talked with her, and it turned into greed.

 

There was no such thing as greed for the opposite sex. It was his greed as an emperor to have someone as capable as her by his side.

 

Leila was too good to be around a fool like Philen Williot. Very much. He wanted to let Leila swim freely in the bigger water.

 

“Your Majesty.”

 

Kalian woke up from his thoughts at Ver’s calling and looked at him with blurry eyes.

 

“It’s time for you to go to the banquet hall.”

 

“Is Duke Williot still alone?”

 

“If you’re asking if his fiancée, Miss Leila Thebesa, is here… Yes. Miss Leila Thebesa isn’t here yet.”

 

“Really?”

 

There’s no way she’d be absent on such an important day. Maybe something happened on the way here.

 

He was worried. He was seriously thinking about whether he should look into it, but Ver spoke up again.

 

“Your Majesty, you must go to the banquet hall now.”

 

“Delay it.”

 

“Yes?”

 

Delay it? What kind of bullsh*t is that?

 

Mumbling inwardly the words he couldn’t bring to say, Ver looked at Kalian.

 

Whether or not he knew Ver’s mind, Kalian leaned deep into the backrest and continued.

 

“The person I’m waiting for hasn’t come yet, so let’s wait a little while before going.”

 

*****

 

I changed into an ivory-colored dress that was similar to the silver dress and hurriedly headed to the banquet hall.

 

However, it was much later than expected. It was already time for the banquet to begin.

 

Coming later than the emperor was a great disrespect. There was nothing to say if the Emperor deplored this. 

 

In that case, I’d have to deal with it on my own so that it didn’t damage Philen.

 

I made up my mind and entered the banquet hall.

 

The banquet hall is usually closed when the banquet begins, but strangely, it was still open. 

 

Don’t tell me, the banquet hasn’t begun yet?

 

I cautiously entered the banquet hall with half anticipation and half worry.

 

Perhaps the banquet hadn’t really begun yet, the emperor’s seat was empty, and no one was dancing. People were gathering in groups and talking.

 

I came here prepared to be greatly humiliated, but I couldn’t believe the banquet hadn’t begun yet. 

 

The string of tension that had been tightened was loosened. I was truly relieved and rubbed my chest.

 

“What a relief…”

 

“What are you relieved for?”

 

I turned my head when I heard Philen’s voice next to me.

 

Philen, who had approached me, was looking down at me with a blunt face.

 

His silver suit matched him well as if they were one body. Thanks to the suit, his dark blonde hair stood out even more.

 

I wish I could wear the silver dress too. I felt sad again.

 

“Do you know how much trouble I’ve been through when you came late, Lady Thebesa?”

 

Whatever the reason, it was true that I was late.

 

So, as I was about to say sorry, his handkerchief caught my eye.

 

The handkerchief had an elaborately embroidered crest of the Duke of Williot. 

 

Don’t tell me, he came wearing the handkerchief that Cecily embroidered? 

 

No, it didn’t seem like that. When I thought about it, the handkerchief was much older than Cecily’s.

 

So what’s that? Who made it? No way… Did he have another lover?

 

I had all kinds of weird thoughts.

 

As I stared at the handkerchief, Philen gave a bitter expression and fiddled with the handkerchief.

 

“It was made by my mother a long time ago. If I come without doing anything, not only me but also the lady will be in their gossip.”

   

“Ah.”

 

Oh my gosh. What was I thinking now? How dared I doubted what the Duchess made. 

 

I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I missed the Duchess again, so I stared at the handkerchief.

 

“Why do you look like that?”

 

Philen looked at me and tilted his head slightly.

 

“Are you unhappy with me doing this?”

 

“No. There’s no way I would do that.”

 

I added hastily, fearing that Philen might misunderstand.

 

“It just reminds me of the former Duchess…”

 

I suppressed my emotions as much as I could, but I couldn’t stop the emotions from coming out. I thought I would cry if I said more, so I kept my words inside.

 

Knowing how I felt, Philen held out his arm without saying a word. It meant that he would escort me.

 

I wiped the slightly moistened eye area with the back of my hand and gently placed my hand on his arm.

 

“Why hasn’t the banquet begun yet?”

 

“His Majesty said he would be late for some reason.”

 

“Really? “

 

I didn’t know what’s going on, but it was a thousand blessings for me.

 

Thanks to him, I’m not late.

 

When I breathed out a sigh of relief once again.

 

Paang, Pyaam, Pyaam~!

 

The trumpets sounded consecutively to announce the arrival of the emperor.

 

The noisy banquet hall quickly quieted down. The music also disappeared.

 

Soon after, the golden door on the opposite side of the entrance to the banquet hall opened and a man with a large number of people appeared.

 

Blue hair that resembled the neatly raised sea. A mysterious yet decadent look, beautiful like a fairy that anyone would be mesmerized the moment they saw him.

 

“…!”

 

It was the man. 

 

No matter how much I rubbed my eyes and checked again, that fact didn’t change.

 

I thought he was simply the son of a high-ranking nobleman, but I never thought he was the emperor.

 

It was a shock. I stared blankly at the emperor.

 

Come to think of it, the characteristics of the imperial family were blue hair and blue eyes. It was proof that he received the blue dragon’s protection.

 

So, that’s why the man said his hair was the hint to find out his name. Now that I realized it, I laughed at my stupidity.

 

I couldn’t believe I didn’t recognize the emperor. I didn’t dare to imagine how deep he would laugh at me.

 

Now, how do I face that man, His Majesty?

 

Since I debuted in the social world, I was sure we would bump into each other a few times.

 

“Lady Thebesa!”

 

I was staring blankly at the emperor over something I couldn’t even dream of when Philen grabbed my arm.

 

I turned around to see Philen looking at me with a slightly annoyed look.

   

What’s wrong with him? 

 

“What’s the matter?”

 

“Do you know how many times I’ve called you?”

 

Was that so? I didn’t hear it at all.

 

“I’m sorry. I couldn’t hear you because I was thinking about something else.”

 

“What are you thinking so deeply about?”

 

“It’s nothing.”

 

I couldn’t bear to say that I failed to recognize the emperor and had acted like a fool. 

 

“So what’s the matter?”

 

“It’s nothing either.”

 

Philen answered with a grim look and turned his head.

 

It’s clear there’s something.

 

Philen’s expression was so bad that I wanted to ask him again, but the emperor’s speech began.

 

“I am very happy to be with you on such a meaningful day as today…”

 

I kept my mouth shut as I couldn’t chat during the emperor’s speech.

 

The emperor gave a speech that seemed to have been memorized in advance. He raised the champagne glass handed to him by his servant.

 

It’s meant to be a toast.

 

Other nobles, including myself, also raised the champagne glasses handed out by the servants.

 

“For the Cardin Empire.”

 

“For the Empire!”

 

The celebration banquet began in earnest with a glass of light champagne.

 

Gentle waltz music flowed through the hall.

 

Instead of having no wife, the emperor came out alone, holding the hand of his half-sister, Duchess Cloud.

 

After the Emperor, who danced first, was finished, the other nobles also went out to dance.

 

“Shall we go too?”

 

Philen reached out to me and asked.

 

I didn’t really like dancing, but I gladly took Philen’s hand.

 

Unless there was a special reason, it was polite to dance once. And I needed to show other people that I wasn’t in a bad relationship with Philen.

 

Fortunately, it was the only waltz that I could dance to, but there’s a chance I would be wrong if I didn’t concentrate.

 

The other ladies danced leisurely while talking to their partners, but not me. I literally just danced.

 

Occasionally, Philen spoke to me, but my mind was filled with dancing, and I had no time to answer.

  

Step right here, step to the right.

 

Ah, I have to turn my body slightly for this part.

 

After turning left at this part…

 

When the waltz passed through the middle and entered the second half, I barely did it.

 

I had never made a mistake so far, so I was able to relax from time to time. 

 

With deep relief in my heart, I exhaled heavily. Philen smiled and spoke in a low-pitched voice that only I could hear.

 

“As I’ve thought before, you’re really a terrible dancer.”

 

“…you’re not a good dancer either.” I responded bluntly to his rhythm.

 

Then Philen laughed a little louder and hugged my waist tightly.

 

“Yeah, but enough to lead you.”

 

“You’re good, really.”

 

“Did you just know that I’m good?”

 

His face was full of mischief as if he had returned to his childhood.

 

Looking at that face, I felt as if I had returned to my childhood too, so I smiled a little.

 

“I’ll tell you now. The dress you’re wearing today is pretty.”

 

It did.

 

“Your hair ornament is pretty, too. You seem to have prepared a lot for your debut stage, right?”

 

At the following words, my face stiffened and I looked at him.