Chapter 64 - Caught Red-handed
‘Huh?’ I looked at my father in surprise, wondering why he was now holding me.
“Because she’s my daughter,” he said with a slight smile.
In the past, I would’ve been shaken by his words because I was a child yearning for love, but I wasn’t like that anymore. ‘I can’t expect anything from him.’ My past expectations were only false hopes that always let me down. I thought that he might love me if I acted cutely and humored him, but I had no intention of continuing such stupid behavior anymore.
‘Because I know how this story ends.’ I was immersed in bitter thoughts for a while when I heard my father speak.
“I will visit you in the future, so don’t come to my home anymore.”
As someone who didn’t travel for most things, my father personally told his disciple that he would visit him. It seemed like he really cherished him, but when I glanced at the young man, I saw that he was slightly frowning. ‘Isn’t his expression a little strange for someone who should be deeply moved?’ I frowned as well.
‘Wait, Father. Isn’t this a little too much?’ I didn’t realize that he would enter the banquet hall while holding me like this, but he did.
When I called out to him, his blue eyes turned to me. “You injured your ankle. There’s no need to push yourself and stay at the banquet.”
‘No, that’s not it! I want you to let go of me because I’m embarrassed!’ But if I quarreled with him over this matter, I would only stand out more. The attention I was already receiving was more than enough. ‘I want to disappear quietly.’ Despite my wishes, reality wasn’t as merciful. As everyone’s attention in the banquet hall turned on us, so did Count Arlo’s, the owner of this mansion.
He approached us. “Your Excellency, did something happen…?”
“My daughter isn’t feeling well, so we must depart,” my father said.
I sighed. ‘Ah, this is so embarrassing.’
My original plan was to go home after quietly attending the banquet, as it was the only way to avoid further backlash. But now I was receiving attention from being held in my father’s arms, with the excuse of feeling sick, on top of the attention I received from my gift to Rose. ‘By tomorrow… I’ll be the prime subject of gossip.’
Well, this wasn’t anything unexpected or surprising because I was often the subject of hostility from many people. But at the thought of suffering from strange rumors again, I began to have a headache.
* * *
When Duke Floyen and his daughter left the banquet hall, guests who had frequently targeted Jubelian began gossiping.
“I can’t believe she caused such a commotion at someone else’s banquet!”
“I don’t understand how someone who was doing fine a moment ago could act like that.”
“She’s not doing this intentionally to get attention, right?”
At that moment, a cold voice fiercely stifled their conversation. “I guess everyone forgot that Lady Floyen was down with an illness a while ago.”
At the words of Rose, the star of the banquet, silence fell upon the banquet hall. She stared at the guests who had just gossiped about Jubelian. “It seems like she hasn’t fully recovered from her illness, but she came to my birthday banquet despite being unwell… I think that’s really considerate of her,” she said.
Many people began to agree with her words.
“Just a while ago, she was sitting with a pale complexion before going out to the terrace.”
“Yes, I saw that as well.”
Rose became teary-eyed after listening to this and said, “Although it hasn’t been long since I’ve become acquainted with the lady, I have gotten to know her through exchanging letters and feel like she’s a very kind person.”
Several nobles agreed with Rose and expressed their own opinions.
“Lady Arlo is right. I didn’t expect anything when I received a letter under her name, but when I learned that Lady Floyen wrote it herself, I realized that its contents were distinctive.”
Among these voices was the esteemed son of Count Rowen as well. “I made the mistake of finding another partner before the lady could answer me. She forgave me nevertheless and looked like an angel while doing so…”
Rose ignored his words, which were full of ulterior motives, and said, “As the host of this banquet, I am grateful to her. So…”
When Rose became at loss for words, Count Arlo wrapped his arm around his daughter’s shoulders and said, “Dear guests. Since we’re all comrades with the same political position, shouldn’t we all be united? Moreover, if the duke finds out that we have spoken ill of his daughter today… he will really be disappointed.”
Guests who had been gossiping about Jubelian gulped in response. It was known that people slandered the emperor when he wasn’t present, but the atmosphere a little while ago was becoming too overheated. Moreover, the sight of the duke holding Jubelian in his arms was quite different from the rumors, which claimed that their relationship was one of indifference. As the silence settled, Count Arlo smiled pleasantly.
“It seems like liveliness has died down because the music has stopped. Please resume the performance, Maestro.”
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