Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
As the banquet was just a week away, the entire Imperial Palace became bustling.
As an aide to the emperor, all that was left was to make sure that each department was doing its job well.
“I can do it myself. So Sir Thebesa, please go write the report on the child care institution.”
Ver said as he handed the documents he had brought to the servant.
“If it is delayed, the establishment of the health institution will also be delayed.”
“Thank you for your consideration.”
When Leila bowed her head, Ver shook his hand.
“No. Thanks to Sir Thebesa’s early arrival, the work was done quickly. This is only natural.”
If Leila hadn’t come, Ver would still be struggling with the documents.
Was that all? Each department would have constantly urged him to finish them by saying, ‘there’s not much time left until the banquet.’
It was terrible just thinking about it. Ver shuddered inwardly and thanked Leila.
“Thank you for coming early, Sir Thebesa.”
“No. I was just doing what I had to do.”
A pure smile was drawn over her lips. It was a light smile without a single speckle.
“Then I’ll get going now.”
Leila bowed politely to Ver and turned around.
Ver looked half absentminded at Leila, who was getting farther away.
The servant, who was holding the documents on behalf of Ver, looked at him curiously.
“What’s wrong, Baron?”
Ver, who turned around scratching his head, was indifferent when a group of attendants passed by.
And he greeted the attendants lightly.
Since the Imperial family was served closely, most of the attendants working in the inner palace were the children of nobles higher than Viscount.
Although they didn’t have titles, Ver had to greet them first because their status was higher than Ver.
[T/N: Title here refers to a title or rank of honor conferred on royalty or nobles with outstanding achievements.]
The attendants didn’t receive Ver’s greeting. They whispered as they passed by him.
“Look at how that person greeted us…”
“Even if he receives a title, it doesn’t mean that his low bloodline is going anywhere. He must be mistaken for becoming a noble like us.”
“Maybe that’s what it is. Basically, things like that are kind of stupid.”
They were gossiping about Ver.
When Ver looked at them, the attendant’s faces who met his eyes changed slightly.
They coughed as if they had never done so and disappeared quickly.
Things that can’t be said in front are always done on the back.
It was so childish that Ver turned his head with a small smile.
The servant asked anxiously as if he was worried.
“Are you okay, Baron?”
“I’m okay. It’s not something that happens once or twice.”
Ver shrugged casually.
About 10 years ago, when he came to the Imperial Palace to serve Kalian, he was used to it as he had suffered countless times.
At first, he was hurt and shed tears at their words and actions, but not anymore.
It had reached the point where he heard with one ear and let it out through the other. He didn’t even blink most of the time.
But these days, the reason he kept getting disturbed was because of Leila.
At first, he was enchanted by the perfect answer sheet and forgot about it for a while.
Soon after realizing that Leila was a count’s daughter and a duke’s fiancée, Ver was seriously worried about whether he would be able to work with her.
However, Leila and he were in perfect harmony to the point where his worries were overshadowed.
Was that all? Leila, unlike other nobles, didn’t ignore Ver.
Not only did she respect Ver’s opinion, but she also used honorifics to him.
Although he’s bothered about it, it was the first time he had ever been treated like this by a noble.
Of course, people like Rahel and Audrin treated Ver to some extent, but that was extremely clerical treatment.
They didn’t treat him as warmly as Leila.
Because of that, Ver was dazed whenever Leila did that.
He even hinted about the fact in case she might not know that he wasn’t a nobleman.
However, Leila’s attitude didn’t change at all.
Rather, she said that it was great to receive the title even though he wasn’t a nobleman.
She’s a strange woman.
Of course, she was strange in a good way, not a bad way.
So Ver didn’t dislike Leila’s strangeness. Rather, it was fresh and eye-catching.
If Leila asked him, he felt like he would do anything for her.
“…I think I can get you a star if you feel like it now.”
“Yes? What did you just say?”
“No, it’s nothing. Let’s go.”
Embarrassed with his own words, Ver roughly equivocated and headed to the outer palace with the servant.
As I frantically searched and organized the data in the library, it was almost time to go report to His Majesty.
As Baron Delrond was busy with final preparations for the banquet, it was still my job to report.
There’s nothing else to do, and I was going to see His Majesty, so I couldn’t be late.
First of all, I have to stop by the office, put down the data, and take the report.
I have to take ‘it’ too.
I hurriedly headed to the palace where the office was while holding the data in my arms.
But then, I fell down when something caught my foot.
The data I was holding spilled out.
When I fell, I could feel the pain in my knee as if it was broken. My elbow also felt stinging.
“Oh my goodness. Are you okay, Ms. aide?”
As I was about to check the wound, I heard a high-pitched voice above my head.
I looked up and saw several women.
One of them was a familiar woman I had seen at the party before.
I couldn’t remember which family she was, but I remembered her being with Sophia.
Are they Sophia’s followers?
They were smiling down at me.
It wasn’t the kind of expression that could be made while looking at someone who had fallen.
That means they knocked me down on purpose, right?
“Here. Come on, stand up.”
A woman reached out to me and stepped on a piece of paper that had fallen on the floor.
Footprints were clearly engraved on the white paper.
“Oh my, my mistake.”
The woman opened her eyes wide, covering her mouth with the hand that she had held out to me.
Contrary to what she said, she didn’t look sorry at all.
As expected, it’s intentional.
I stood up with a smirk.
And when I looked at the woman without saying a word, the woman raised her nose bridge and asked brazenly.
“You aren’t going to blame me for making a mistake, right?”
If I answered yes, she would do this again.
And if I answered no, it was obvious that I would be treated as a petty person and they would make strange rumors.
Either way was a trap.
…I’m sure it is for other people.
In response to my answer, the women smiled with expressions that said ‘of course, it is.’
The women’s eyes twinkled unusually.
It was clear that they were delighted to see my submissive attitude, thinking about tricks that would be great for me in the future.
“But I’m a little worried.”
What to do? Those smiles won’t last long.
I smiled brightly in response to their smiles.
“Will His Majesty forgive you?”
When the emperor was mentioned, their expressions changed in an instant. Their faces hardened and their smiles disappeared.
“The paper that the Lady has stepped on just now is the report for His Majesty.”
It was a blatant lie.
It was simply the data I organized, but I lied without blinking an eye.
“Since the Lady stepped on it, I have no choice but to tell His Majesty the truth that it was because of the Lady.”
The woman, who stepped on the paper, turned white. It seemed that she feared the emperor.
“A… are you trying to get revenge on me for making a mistake?”
“Revenge? No way.”
“If this isn’t revenge, what is it?! You can report with the new one you write…!”
“I would love to, too, but that document is the one His Majesty asked me to bring right now. I don’t have time to write a new one.”
I put my hand on my cheek and tilted my head slightly.
“Well. After telling His Majesty the truth and asking for forgiveness, I might have time to rewrite it.”
“So, shall we go ask His Majesty for forgiveness together?”
At my words, the woman was startled and shouted.
“Wh, why me? This is the Lady’s fault!”
“Didn’t the Lady just say it with your mouth? ‘My mistake’.”
Still, the woman couldn’t continue her words, whether she had no conscience enough to say that she didn’t say what she had said.
“Well, if the Lady sincerely apologizes for her mistake, I won’t tell His Majesty that the Lady made the mistake.”
“What will you do?”
The women looked into each other’s eyes without a word.
The woman, who stepped on the paper, bit her lip with her face red.
“What will I do?”
The woman, who was watching silently, hit the woman, who stepped on the paper, on the back with her arm.
The woman, Lisa, bit her lips to the point of bleeding, then bowed her head.
“It’s… my fault.”
“I beg your pardon? I can’t hear you well.”
“I said it’s my fault!”
Lisa closed her eyes and screamed.
I didn’t feel the sincerity at all, but should I stop here?
If I touched it more for no reason, she could have harbored a grudge and made something worse.
“Okay, you can go.”
“…you’re really not going to tell His Majesty about this, are you?”
“I keep what I said.”
Lisa and the other women looked at me and left in a hurry.
In the meantime, it was funny to see them being careful not to step on the paper again.
“They should have picked it up before they left.”
I didn’t have time, and I couldn’t believe I had to waste my time in this place like this.
I sighed deeply and picked up the papers, but then I felt someone’s presence behind me.
As I turned my head, I saw a silver-haired knight I had seen before.
He picked up the papers that fell on the floor and handed them to me.
Thanks to him, I was able to save time. I smiled brightly and took the papers the man had handed out.
The man’s expression changed subtly. It’s as if he didn’t know I’d say thank you.
Why? Do I look like such a rude person?
It’s kind of awkward.
If he was the emperor’s escort knight, he was someone I might see often in the future.
“My name is Leila Thebesa.”
It’d be better to simply make an acquaintance.
“If you don’t mind, may I ask your name?”
The man hesitated for a while and opened his mouth.
I gathered some of the paper that had slipped down slightly and bowed my head.
“Thank you so much for your help, Sir Hiltine.”