Chapter 60 - Truth Behind Gossips
As soon as I entered the banquet hall, I detected the scent of lilies.
‘Wow, what a pretty house.’ Rose’s mansion wasn’t as big as ours, but the antique interior sported mahogany walls, lily decorations, and cream-colored fabrics that made the place look elegant and spacious.
‘I might live somewhere like this when I become independent.’ My current home was made entirely out of white marble, so the servants had to do a lot more work than usual to clean it every day. In addition to sweeping and wiping the floors and walls, they also had to polish them. For this reason, I always felt bad when I came home after spending my day outside on a rainy day.
‘I’ll decorate the interior with wood when I live on my own! It’ll be nice to have a rocking chair in the library as well.’ I was planning out my future when my father suddenly released my hand and wrapped his arm around my shoulders.
“Don’t worry. Just have fun.”
‘What? I was daydreaming about my bright future without any worries.’
I was dumbfounded by his words when he took off his hand and whispered, “Don’t forget whose daughter you are.”
I gulped nervously and flashed a smile. For some reason, my hands were starting to get sweaty. ‘He will probably kill me if I make a mistake today.’ Even if my father didn’t warn me, I had every intention to behave properly and attend this banquet inconspicuously.
“We greet our empire’s hero and his daughter.”
The Arlo family rose from their seats and stepped forward to greet us, as it was customary for the host and his family to greet guests of higher status. I observed the girl who seemed to be around my age, standing at the very end. As soon as our eyes met, she smiled like a blossoming flower.
‘Rose. Now that I’m looking at her closely, she seems to be a very lovely lady.’ I could only recall Mikhail’s appearance from the memories of the past Jubelian, so other people were merely formless figures.
‘It seems like I had been missing out on a lot of precious things…’ People would often overlook the stars in the night sky because they were distracted by all kinds of artificial lights and neon signs. My past life was like that as well. But now, I simply wanted to live happily and enjoy what I had missed out, instead of obsessing over Mikhail, the very light that had been distracting me.
‘To do that, I must be reserved today and go home without making any mistakes.’ As I repeated this inside my head, members of the Arlo family bowed.
“It’s an honor for Your Grace and the lady to attend my daughter’s birthday banquet,” Count Arlo said.
After the royalty, dukes were the highest rank in the hierarchy, so we weren’t expected to maintain the same formality. My father opened his mouth after bowing silently.
“Happy birthday, esteemed daughter of Count Arlo.”
“Thank you, Your Grace.”
The scene of Rose receiving a congratulatory message from my father highlighted the fact that she was the banquet’s main character. She approached me while I was still observing her, then took my hands.
“Thank you for coming today, Lady Floyen.”
Although this was the first time I was seeing her in person, she was very friendly to me. Perhaps it was because of all the letters we wrote to each other, but I also felt very close to her.
“Happy birthday, Rose,” I greeted. Then I turned around to look at Merilyn, who was holding her present. Noblewomen usually exchanged expensive perfumes, poetry books, tea leaves, and teacups as gifts. What I had prepared was neither flashy nor substandard, which made me think she was at least not going to become offended by it. When I signaled Merilyn, she presented the gift.
I smiled at Rose, who was looking at the box with slightly trembling eyes. “I sincerely prepared this small gift for you, my dear friend.”
Rose burst into bright laughter, her eyes brimming with anticipation. “Ah, thank you so very much!”
Although her smile exuded a teenage-like vitality, the countess frowned at her daughter’s reaction, which may have seemed unrefined by some onlookers. ‘Hm… As expected from a lady who’s rumored to be strict.’ Even so, her displeased reaction was somewhat justified, as her daughter was being friendly towards a lady rumored to be rude.
“You can hand the gift to me,” a servant said.
As the servant accepted the gift from Merilyn, I noticed that Rose was looking at the box with curiosity. Although it was good manners to check gifts after the banquet was over, an exception could be made if the guest gave permission to open them. ‘It’s not a big deal, so it should be okay,’ I thought. I smiled at Rose, who continued to stare at the gift box with eyes full of anticipation.
“You can open it if you’re curious,” I encouraged.
Rose didn’t hesitate at my approval. “Thank you,” she said.
She took the gift with twinkling eyes, then unwrapped the ribbon and opened the box to reveal what was inside. The black object was almost as big as a fist, but it was shaped like a flat cylinder. The surface possessed a smooth luster and bore a delicately crafted red rose on the top, giving it a very beautiful appearance.
‘Even so, it doesn’t serve a great purpose.’ Rose soon opened the lid and widened her eyes. Any young lady who wore makeup could identify the fluffy velvet puff, which was somewhat thinner than the ones used here. Its design was also improved to look like the portable compact powder with an attached mirror commonly used in my past life.
‘Well, I don’t think she’ll like this gift very much because it’s just a modification of something that already exists…’ Rose had been murmuring to herself, but at that moment, she frowned slightly. ‘She’s probably disappointed. It seems like she doesn’t need my gift because her maids already carry all her makeup supplies.’
I was a bit taken aback because I didn’t think her reaction would be this bad, but her disappointment was justified when I thought about it again. She had spent so much time writing letters to me, but I had given her such a common gift. ‘I’m just grateful that she wrote me all those letters until now.’ I tried to be unfeeling about this situation, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry that she had been so kind to an outsider like me.
“I should get going now…”
I was about to leave when Rose’s voice held me back. “Please wait for a second, Lady Floyen.”
I braced for what was coming, wondering if she was going to criticize me, but her next words were so unexpected that I doubted having heard them correctly.
“To give me such an innovative gift! I’m touched.”
You are required to login first