Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
Is it because the one who said it is a woman?
Or is it because Diane’s words didn’t feel strange to me?
Although I was embarrassed by her words, I didn’t feel insulted.
As I blushed and waved my hand, Diane laughed out loud.
While we were chatting about this and that, we arrived at the main hall.
The chandelier’s light was reflected on the clean marble and sparkled like stars.
On one side of the hall, a small band was playing music, and in the center, fancy-dressed people gathered in twos and threes and chatted.
Marquis Hutton put in a lot of effort, doesn’t he?
Well, it’s only natural because the diplomatic missions from the other country were here.
“Oh, Sir Thebesa is here.”
Marquis Hutton approached with a pleasant smile.
He greeted Diane lightly and then looked around me.
“Why are you alone? Didn’t Aldor go to escort you?”
“He came, but I refused.”
Marquis Hutton’s expression hardened slightly.
“Why did you refuse? Has my son perhaps done something rude to Sir again?”
What to do? I can’t directly say that I refused because I didn’t like it.
“It’s because I applied for an escort to Lady Thebesa first.”
When I was contemplating, Diane interrupted the conversation with a smile.
“I think she refused because she already had a prior appointment with me. I’m sorry, Marquis.”
“Hmm, there’s no need. If there’s a prior appointment, there’s nothing she could do.”
Thanks to Diane, I was able to get through the difficult situation flexibly.
I said thank you to Diane through my eyes.
Then Diane responded with a wink.
She was really a pleasant fellow.
That’s why I liked Diane even more. I wanted to emulate her cheerful personality.
“Then let’s do this.”
After thinking for a moment, Marquis Hutton smiled brightly again.
“You can have the first dance with Aldor.”
Usually, the first dance was performed with someone closely related, such as a family member or lover.
But first dance with Aldor?
It was absurd and disconcerting.
I wanted to refuse, but it was difficult because I had already rejected Aldor’s escort. Not once, but twice, and it was an insult to the other person if I refused again.
There’s nothing good for me to insult Marquis Hutton’s son.
But I didn’t want to dance, so what should I do?
“Sir Thebesa seems to dislike dancing with Lord Hutton.”
As Diane spoke my mind, I hurriedly stopped her and looked at Marquis Hutton.
His expression looked worse than before.
Of course, he would be like that. Because no one liked to hear this.
“Is what Sir Andrian said true?”
“You can tell the truth. I’m not forcing you.”
Back when I had breakfast for the first time with Kalian, I heard a similar thing from Baron Delrond.
‘If you don’t want to eat, you don’t have to eat it.’
‘I’m not forcing you.’
At the time, I really was unsure, but I seemed to know for sure now.
This was definitely a compulsion.
If the Marquis forced me to, I, a count’s daughter, could still refuse. Because I was the emperor’s agent now, but it’s ridiculous if I asserted that position in such a private matter.
There’s nothing I could do. I smiled bitterly and accepted Marquis Hutton’s suggestion.
“…no. Of course, I should dance with Lord Hutton.”
“Ho ho. Well thought.”
Marquis Hutton then left with a satisfied smile.
“Why did you do that?”
Diane frowned and looked at me.
“Didn’t you not like to dance with that guy?”
“It’s not that I don’t like it. It’s just that I was unwilling.”
Diane hit her chest as if she was very frustrated.
“Go now and tell him you don’t want to dance with him.”
“How can I do that? When the opponent is the Marquis.”
“That’s right, but the Lady is the Emperor’s lover!”
Right now… what did Diane say?
I’m the emperor’s lover?
Her words were like saying that I was his lover and not his mistress.
The person concerned was in front of her and she just said it after making it more gentle.
I didn’t expect I would hear that thing from Diane’s mouth.
It was more embarrassing and shameful than when I heard that thing from other people.
I blushed and stepped back from Diane.
Diane called me as if she was wondering.
I said without looking directly at Diane’s face.
“I don’t know why Sir Andrian has such a misunderstanding, but I’m not. I’m simply an aide to the Emperor.”
Is Diane being kind to me because she thought I was the emperor’s mistress?
Thinking like that made my mouth feel bitter and I had mixed feelings about it.
I thought I had a good friend with whom I could talk well, but I guessed it was all my delusion.
“I’m going to others now. Have a great party, Sir Andrian.”
“Hold on, Sir…!”
I left Diane and headed to the place where the nobles of the Empire gathered with Marquis Valdir in the center.
As I approached, Marquis Valdir looked at me with a vigilant look.
“What do you need?”
“I’m just… thinking of greeting you.”
“Are you pretending to be polite now? It’s not even funny.”
Marquis Valdir snorted and turned his back.
And so did the other nobles.
Since I didn’t have any business with them in the first place, I stood calmly and drank the champagne brought by the servant.
I could feel Diane’s gaze behind my back, but I tried my best to ignore it.
To be honest, Diane didn’t do anything wrong. Because rumor that I was the emperor’s mistress, not an aide, had spread widely throughout the empire. Maybe she heard that rumor and thought I was the emperor’s mistress.
I knew that, but it’s still awkward to see Diane. It seemed like I couldn’t treat her with a smile like before.
Am I losing such a good conversation partner?
I sighed endlessly. Everyone was having a good time, but I couldn’t.
I kept drinking the champagne out of frustration.
It was champagne with little alcohol, but as I kept drinking it, I got a little drunk.
It wasn’t to the point where I couldn’t control myself, it’s just to the extent that I felt like I was drinking.
Someone said they feel better when they get drunk, but it was all a lie. I felt down instead.
“Lady Thebesa, would you like to dance a song with me?”
The fact that I had to dance with Aldor in such a situation made me feel terrible.
Aldor’s expression brightened at my answer.
He also seemed to be a little conceited.
As Aldor and I came out to the center of the hall, the people who were occupying it naturally moved aside.
It would have been difficult if it wasn’t a waltz, but fortunately, the song that played was a waltz.
Still, I was nervous. It’s because I had never danced with anyone other than the dance teacher and Philen.
I have to do well.
I didn’t want to become a laughing stock by making mistakes such as stepping on his foot for no reason.
And so I moved my body mechanically to the sound of the music.
As I danced without looking at Aldor, my surroundings naturally caught my eye.
Marquis Hutton looked at this side with a happy smile. While Marquis Valdir and the nobles of the Empire looked dissatisfied.
Then I saw the diplomats of the Natsha Kingdom talking without paying any attention to me.
I also saw Diane looking for a chance to talk to me somehow.
The music got faster and faster. I moved away from Aldor for a while, and then back to him again.
“You’re good at dancing.”
I was praised, but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.
“Thank you. The Lord is also good at dancing.”
“Well, because this is my specialty.”
I was just saying it, but he bit it.
As I spat out a small laugh because I was speechless, Aldor grinned and pulled himself closer to me.
Due to the nature of the waltz, both bodies often stuck to each other, but… it seemed that this was too close.
I thought it was a mistake, so I pulled myself away, but I was pulled to him again.
Because of that, I could feel something that I didn’t have, but Aldor had.
What bizarre thing is this?
I frowned and looked at Aldor.
“What are you doing?”
Aldor replied skillfully.
“What do you mean?”
This man is really…
I was about to say something, but the music ended.
I immediately pulled myself away from Aldor.
There were many things I wanted to say to him, but… let’s just not do it.
Now that the dance was over, there was no need to be close to him or talk to him anymore, so what should I do?
I didn’t want to get involved with Aldor any further by talking needlessly.
“Then I’ll get going.”
I said goodbye and went straight to the corner, but for some reason, Aldor followed me.
“Do you still have something to do with me?”
“There is always something to do with a beautiful lady.”
Such greasy words with a lot of butter covered on it.
I already stared at him coldly and turned down the escort twice, but he kept sticking around to me like this.
Only his tenacity is uselessly good, huh?
“I want to rest alone. Why don’t you go to someone else?”
I expressed my wish for him to go.
But he stood there naturally, whether he was tactless or pretending not to know on purpose.
“After dancing, I feel thirsty. You, there!”
Aldor was given two glasses of champagne by the servant and held one of them to me.
“You’ll be thirsty, so drink it.”
I, too, was thirsty, but I refused because I didn’t want any favors from him.
Then Aldor said as if he was disappointed.
“For the last time, let’s drink the champagne and I’ll go.”
Looking at him suspiciously, Aldor nodded.
“It really is. I won’t bother the Lady anymore. I also don’t want to cling to a lady who is not interested in me.”
Aldor complained, saying it was because of his father’s order.
With that said, I glanced at Marquis Hutton.
Marquis Hutton looked at us from time to time while talking to the other nobles, smiling happily.
“If my relationship with the Lady doesn’t progress even after we danced and drank champagne together, my father will probably give up, right?”
Aldor looked at Marquis Hutton and spoke to me in a low voice.
“That’s why please help me only this once, Sir Thebesa.”