Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
I left the dumbfounded Aldor and headed to the dining room in the main building.
Apparently, there’s no one in the dining room except for an empty table.
Looks like everyone hasn’t arrived yet.
In case I was late, I hurried my steps, so it was a relief.
Having spare time, I leisurely looked around the dining room.
The dining room was as big and grand as the mansion.
The sunlight coming through the stained glass that occupied one entire wall shattered into various colors.
There were expensive sculptures everywhere, and even the paintings on the walls all looked expensive.
There were a lot of paintings in the annex too, so it seemed that Marquis Hutton liked paintings.
As I was looking around the paintings closely, the door swung open.
“Oh, there’s already a guest here.”
It was Marquis Hutton. Beside him, there was Marquis Valdir, and other nobles were seen behind them.
Everyone came together, so am I the only one who came alone?
Aldor said he would escort me, so maybe they counted me out on purpose.
Marquis Valdir called me in a displeased tone. He looked angry.
Knowing why Marquis Valdir looked like that, I answered immediately.
“I loved the dress you gave me as a gift. However, I accidentally spilled my tea and couldn’t come here wearing the dress. I’m sorry, Marquis.”
Marquis Valdir’s eyebrow slanted.
I nodded calmly.
“Yes. A mistake.”
“Why are you angry, Marquis Valdir?”
Marquis Hutton stopped Marquis Valdir with a friendly smile.
“The envoy from the Natsha Kingdom will be coming soon, so we must not harden the atmosphere.”
“Come on, don’t frown and hurry up to sit down.”
Marquis Hutton took Marquis Valdir and headed to the higher seat.
Next to him, other nobles sat side by side.
After everyone was seated except for me, the only remaining seat was the farthest one.
At other times, I would have sat there without saying a word, but not now.
I passed by the people who were sitting and stood in front of the nobleman sitting right next to Marquis Valdir.
So his name is…
“Viscount Malven. I think this is my seat, could you please move out?”
Viscount Malven looked up at me as if it was ridiculous.
“Why does the Lady think this is her seat? You’re not going to say it’s because you’re a count’s daughter, are you?”
I heard someone laughing next to me.
It was obvious ridicule, but it didn’t shake my heart or my mind.
I said, looking straight at Viscount Malven.
“No way. The Viscount is higher than me simply by our rank.”
Strictly speaking, count’s daughter was not a title.
I originally had a lower rank than a baron, but he only respected me because my father was a count.
“I’m glad you know that. But why are you asking me to move out?”
“Because I’m the Emperor’s agent.”
I swept the back of the chair he was sitting on with my index finger.
“The Viscount is not going to say that he has a higher position than I, who is His Majesty’s agent, is he?”
In private places, rank was given priority, but in public places, position took priority.
It rarely became a problem because usually, their rank and position match, but… everything had exceptions.
That’s the case right now.
Of course, from that point of view, it was right for me to sit where Marquis Hutton was sitting, which was the higher seat, but since everything had its order, I compromised that in moderation.
“My legs hurt, could you please move out?”
Instead of saying anything, Viscount Malven looked at Marquis Valdir for help.
But Marquis Valdir said nothing.
Of course, he is. Because everything I said is true.
“Or, should I report this to the Emperor now?”
Eventually, Viscount Malven got up from his seat, and the atmosphere in the dining room subsided coldly.
Everyone looked at me, but I drank water calmly. It was just plain water, but the water was very sweet as if it had been mixed with honey.
I should’ve done this earlier.
I didn’t really like to control someone with power, but I couldn’t help it.
Because if I didn’t do this, they would control me.
While everyone was quietly staring at me, Marquis Hutton smiled and spoke to me.
“When I first saw you, I thought you were weak, but you’re more daring than I thought.”
I smiled and put down the glass of water I was holding.
“I have something I want to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“It doesn’t matter if you call me Lady Thebesa in private, but I would like you to call me Sir Thebesa in public.”
If it had been Marquis Valdir, he would have been furious, but Marquis Hutton didn’t do that but smiled instead.
“I’ll have to use honorifics too along with it then.”
Is he being sarcastic? Or, is he being serious?
I looked closely at Marquis Hutton’s face to find out which side it was, but it was difficult to guess what he thought from the smile on his face.
Then, it would be better to answer in moderation.
“It’s okay. I don’t wish that far.”
“Haha, that’s a relief. Don’t you think so, everyone?”
“Ye… yes, haha.”
Under Marquis Hutton’s lead, everyone except Marquis Valdir and me was forced to laugh.
By the time the meaningless laughter died down, the envoy from the Natsha Kingdom entered the dining room.
Everyone, including Marquis Hutton and Valdir, got up from our seats to greet them.
“Thank you for inviting us to the dinner, Marquis Hutton.”
Marquis Azef greeted Marquis Hutton lightly and sat opposite Marquis Valdir.
The others sat next to him.
And Diane sat opposite me, right next to Marquis Azef.
When Diane saw me, she raised her eyebrows, slightly surprised.
Why is she like that?
Is it weird that I’m sitting here?
When I looked at her in confusion, Diane calmly turned her head as if nothing had happened.
Soon after, food began to come out by course.
Starting with appetizers, cold appetizers, soups, hot appetizers, and more.
Throughout the meal, I watched the food eaten by the Natsha Kingdom envoy.
Surely, my speed of eating was remarkably slow. And the fact that I wasn’t really hungry also played the part.
“Sir Thebesa, is the food not to your liking?”
But Marquis Hutton, who was talking to Marquis Azef, asked me as if he was concerned.
For a moment, everyone’s attention was focused on me.
I wiped my mouth with a napkin and answered.
“No. It’s delicious.”
“But you don’t eat much.”
“You don’t have to worry about it as it’s to eat the main dish.”
“Haha, I was going to say, ‘what lose weight.’ if you said you want to lose weight. I have nothing to say if you said so.”
Unlike Marquis Valdir, Marquis Hutton was good at joking and gave off a warm image in many ways.
Rumor had it that his sharp personality made sailors and navy nervous, but I didn’t feel that way at all.
Again, the conversation was led by the three marquis.
I and the others also participated in the conversation but to an intermittent level.
I wanted to talk to Diane, but there were too many people so it was impossible.
The marquis was talking right next to me, so it was difficult to suddenly bring up another story.
There’s nothing I can do. I’ll just look for another opportunity.
I swallowed my regret and focused on eating the main dish.
Just before the dessert came out, Diane suddenly called me.
“Are you going to attend the meeting in two days, Sir Thebesa?”
There’s silence for a moment in the dining room.
The nobles of the Empire looked at me in unison.
The gaze was also that gaze, but Diane’s question was so sudden that I stared blankly at her for a moment.
Taking advantage of that, Marquis Valdir opened his mouth.
No. If I lose the chance to answer her to Marquis Valdir here, it will be difficult to turn back.
I clenched my fists that I had placed on my lap and answered her right away.
“I will attend too. As the Emperor’s agent.”
After the meal, Marquis Hutton left first with the Natsha Kingdom envoy.
I was about to go too, but Marquis Valdir caught me.
“What are you thinking?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I knew what he was asking, but I pretended not to know and asked naturally.
“Ha, are you pretending not to know?”
Then Marquis Valdir snorted like an angry wild boar and asked in more detail.
“Who are you to attend the meeting as you please? Do you not know that I have all the authority to decide whether someone can attend the meeting or not?!”
“Of course I do. But I am His Majesty’s agent.”
I continued to speak while looking straight at the furious Marquis Valdir.
“I don’t think the Marquis has more authority than me, who is His Majesty’s agent, am I wrong?”
At my words, Marquis Valdir couldn’t say anything and kept his mouth shut.
The wrinkles on his forehead showed that he wasn’t in a good mood.
After being silent for a moment, Marquis Valdir sighed deeply and said.
“What can the Lady do at the diplomatic meeting? Are you going to tarnish the name of the empire?”
“Why do you think I can’t do anything?”
“Then, do you mean you can do something? Ah, there must be one. It’s that you’re just taking up space uselessly!”
I frowned at the blatant criticism.
Even if he was a marquis, which was a higher rank than me, there’s no reason for me to keep listening to such abusive speech for no reason.
“If there is nothing more to say, I will get going.”
“Give up right away.”
As I turned around, Marquis Valdir grabbed my shoulder and said.
“Give up on attending the meeting!”
“I don’t want to.”
“Have you forgotten why I was included in this delegation? It was to prove my ability at the meeting.”
For that, Kalian even gave me the privilege of being the emperor’s agent.
“But now, the Marquis’s action seems to be against the Emperor’s will.”
Marquis Valdir’s mouth was closed like a clam.
Even if he ignored me, it’s impossible to ignore His Majesty.
“So, no matter what happens, I will attend the meeting.”
I stared straight at Marquis Valdir and made sure of my words to him.
“If you want to stop me, you’ll have to get the approval from His Majesty.”
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