Chapter 61 - Dancing
At first glance, Jubelian’s gift looked suspicious to many onlookers. ‘What is that?’ Everyone observed the flat, round object decorated with a rose. It looked like a small, aesthetically pleasing container used for storing miscellaneous accessories, but it was difficult to tell if that was actually the gift’s purpose. It was only when Rose opened the case did people exclaim.
‘Puff? Is that a powder container?’ Everyone felt like they had been hit with a ton of bricks. When noblewomen went out, a maid would usually bring puff to correct their makeup throughout the day. But since this was impossible to do if they weren’t accompanied by a maid, a dull and greasy face was a discomfort many ladies had to endure alone. Jubelian’s gift easily solved this common problem.
“Oh, a powder container small and thin enough to fit inside a purse!”
“I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
“To think of such an object and request production of it… incredible.”
The object was both charming and practical, so it was no wonder many eyes possessed a covetous gleam.
“If she’s presenting something like that, wouldn’t this year’s Star go to Lady Floyen?”
The Star was a brooch awarded to the person who spearheaded the biggest trend in high society that year. This annual event was a great honor, as nobles tended to be sensitive about outward appearances.
“I agree. Seeing as so many people’s eyes are already shining… Isn’t that a sign it’ll become a trend?”
“Of course, but I doubt Lady Floyen will disclose which workshop she ordered it from.”
Although everyone was curious about this, it was a sensitive subject because nobles rarely disclosed such information. Moreover, it was difficult to approach the lady in question, who was notorious for her wickedness. As everyone cowered, someone struck a conversation with Lady Floyen and brought up what no one dared to ask. The girl was none other than Rose, the star of today’s banquet.
“If you don’t mind, could you tell me the workshop you commissioned to make this powder container, Lady Floyen? I would like to order one for my mother as well.”
Even those who had openly disapproved of Jubelian were nervous by this situation. If she was the Lady Floyen they thought they knew, she wouldn’t stop at just causing trouble. Unexpectedly, a soft voice came from Jubelian’s red lips.
“Ah, it was Fyodor’s workshop. The craftsman is young but skilled, so you can trust him.”
Many people became amazed by her smooth response.
“Thank you so much for giving me this valuable information,” Rose gushed.
Jubelian waved her hand. “It’s nothing much. I’m quite embarrassed by your extensive praise, so I’m not sure how to react. I can only thank you for liking the gift I gave you.”
She had not only answered, but also answered humbly. At this point, people were wondering if someone was impersonating the lady. While everyone’s minds were in disarray, it was Countess Arlo, Rose’s mother and the lady of the Arlo household, who set out to calm the chaotic atmosphere.
“I am very pleased that you gave my daughter an unforgettable gift today.”
In response to her gratitude, Jubelian gracefully lowered her head. “And I am honored to have been invited to such a high-class banquet, Countess,” she said.
The countess unconsciously marveled at her response. ‘This lady is pretty good.’ Jubelian had not only praised the Arlo family and other guests but also herself to avoid seeming servile. She had truly mastered the aristocratic manner of only saying what was necessary. The countess’s expression, which had been frozen like ice in the middle of winter, became warm like the spring breeze.
“I hope you have a great time, Lady Floyen.”
“Thank you for your consideration.”
When Jubelian expressed her gratitude, the countess and her husband bowed at Duke Floyen, who stood next to her. The duke likewise bowed in silence, then reached out to his daughter.
They walked toward the corner of the banquet hall. It was usually an inconspicuous spot, but everyone’s attention strayed there to observe the lady.
“How can she be so different?”
“She’s really pretty when she smiles. Did you catch a glimpse of her face?”
In response to the numerous praises from the surrounding noblewomen, who had been gossiping about Lady Floyen just yesterday, Countess Arlo spread her fan.
“My daughter certainly has an eye for people. The lady I met today was befitting of Duke Floyen’s prestigious household.”
People noticed her shift in attitude and nodded in agreement.
* * *
I sighed softly as the banquet hall became noisy, a bit taken aback by everyone’s unexpected attention. ‘I thought it was a simple gift… but I guess it wasn’t.’
‘This isn’t what I wanted.’ I forced a smile, tired from all the unanticipated curiosity I drew from other people. ‘I want to go home and rest.’
At that moment, my father reached out to me. “Let’s go.”
It would be nice to go home at this point, but we simply moved to a set of chairs by the window and sat down. ‘It’s a bit awkward to sit with my father like this.’ I looked at him with this thought, but he was staring at a distant place with a cold expression.
‘It seems like being here has put him in a bad mood.’ Although I didn’t force him to come with me, I felt somewhat uncomfortable. ‘No, I shouldn’t pay so much attention to him.’
I turned away from my father and looked at the center of the banquet hall, where men and women were dancing in pairs. ‘What a pretty sight.’ I was quite entertained by the beautifully dressed couples moving expertly, so much so that I felt like I was watching a splendid performance of professional dancers. ‘As I thought, it’s more fun to watch other people dance than to dance myself.’
I was still sitting next to my father when I saw the backside of a familiar figure, who was surrounded by many women. ‘Huh? He looks a bit like Mikhail. Is that him?’
Even if it were really him, I remembered the warning I had given to him in the past. “Fine, I’ll trust you. Just don’t appear in front of me ever again,” I had said.
‘It’s a small world, but he couldn’t have possibly come to this banquet, right?’ I knew that Mikhail didn’t enjoy banquets, so it was unlikely it was actually him. The last thing I wanted to do was get involved with him since many people perceived him as a pitiful, handsome man who had been harassed by me, a villainess, for two years.
“I’ll go to the terrace and stay there for a while, Father.”
He sighed in response and said, “Okay.”
I had been worried that he would order me to fulfill my responsibility as his partner, so I was relieved that he granted me permission. I rose from my seat in a good mood when he spoke again.
“Don’t forget that I’m here.”
When he said those words, a burdensome feeling weighed on me. ‘I can’t even rest in peace.’ The thought of staying in the banquet hall any longer made me exhausted, so I trudged towards the terrace.
* * *
Many people watched Lady Floyen enter the terrace with regretful gazes. ‘Ah, it’s a pity I couldn’t ask her to be my partner.’ The duke’s hostile glare prevented people from approaching her, much less asking her to be their partner.
Mikhail frowned. As one of these people, he had been conscious about Jubelian’s presence since she entered the banquet hall. ‘She went to the terrace. Is she signaling for me?’ He was about to follow Jubelian when Duke Floyen, who had been sitting, stood up and leaned against the wall near the entrance to the terrace.
‘Darn it!’ Mikhail couldn’t even move one step forward because the man who had once shown him favor was now exuding candid hostility. Although this uncomfortable encounter left Mikhail feeling uneasy, Regis lifted a corner of his lips.
‘This is ridiculous. I can’t believe he was such an unpleasant person.’
In the past, Regis approved of Mikhail simply because Jubelian liked him. But now that they had parted ways, Regis couldn’t bother with someone who was nothing more than a nuisance. When he turned around, the duke relaxed his fierce gaze. ‘I can’t ruin the banquet my daughter is enjoying just to deal with a bug like him.’
* * *
When I left the stuffy banquet hall and entered the terrace, I felt like it was easier to breathe. Because I was on the first floor, the Arlo family’s garden sprawled out in front of me.
‘It’s nice that it’s quiet.’ I stared blankly at the garden and took a deep breath. The wind carried a fresh and fragrant scent towards me. Although the colorful flowers were trimmed by human hands, they were still beautiful products of nature. I began to feel at ease as I watched the roses sway in the wind. ‘I should move to the countryside when I become independent. It’ll be a good idea to plant some flowers and start a farm as well.’
As I was making a plan for my future, my eyelids slowly lowered. ‘I’m sleepy.’ I felt them getting heavier. I was about to rub my eyes unconsciously when I stopped. ‘I almost forgot I had makeup on. I could’ve messed it up if I touched my face.’
At that moment, I felt the sudden urge to yawn, so I covered my mouth and exhaled with a lowered head. ‘Ah, the tears are coming out again. The makeup shouldn’t be erased because of a few tears, right?’ They always came out when I yawned, but I couldn’t help this physiological phenomenon.
‘I left my powder compact at home…’ I nonetheless wiped my tears, hoping there wouldn’t be an unfortunate event where I had to correct my makeup.
“What are you doing?”
I turned towards the direction of the familiar voice and saw a very attractive face come into view. He was the last person I had expected to see. ‘What is my father’s disciple doing here?’
“Hey, how did you…?” I tried asking him for an explanation but stopped short when his long, masculine fingers gently wiped the area around my eyes.
“Did someone harass you by any chance?” he asked with a harsh voice, akin to a beast’s growl. Unlike his tender touch, which had wiped away my tears, my father’s disciple stared at me with fierce red eyes.
* * *
You are required to login first