Chapter 15 - The Unexpected
Ella’s expression darkened. Then, Evan faked a smile as he replied, “It’s nothing. Are you ready?”
“Yes! Has his highness arrived yet?” asked Ella anticipatingly.
Without realizing it, Evan sighed, which surprised her. She turned to look at him. Trying to hide his emotions, he tried to fake another smile. For some reason, his father had ordered him not to tell his sister anything. He had no choice but to obey the duke even though he couldn’t understand why.
Evan automatically offered his hand to Ella and told her what she wanted to hear, “Yes. He’s waiting for you below.”
Filled with satisfaction, Ella smiled and placed her hand over Evan’s. She couldn’t wait to greet the crown prince and for her debutante. Because of her eagerness and excitement, she didn’t notice her brother’s strange behavior. She was more excited than Evan, who was currently escorting her courteously. Unlike three months ago, he wasn’t acting like the prankster that he normally is, which made her realize what day it was today. The time she spent adjusting to this world was like the prologue of a story. Perhaps, today was the beginning of her new life here. The person she was supposed to love was at the end of the corridor. He was the one who would be her first love.
‘Will my heart pound? Maybe, I’ll see him shine like a prince in a novel,’ thought Ella, who didn’t notice Evan’s expression darkened.
There was a time when Ella wasn’t sure if her feelings for the prince were her own or Luciella’s. Regardless of whose feelings it belonged to, none of that mattered anymore. Anticipation and excitement, feelings she had never felt before, overwhelmed her. Her body shook in excitement because the love she felt was waiting for her. She couldn’t even remember how she walked past the corridor. All she could hear was the sound of her heart beating. At last, the door opened.
Standing by the door, there he was. Prince Cladis, who was waiting for her with his deep-golden eyes, pushed some strands of his black hair away from his face. He was much more handsome than she had imagined when she had read the original novel. His clothes had luxurious gold embroidery on them. This outfit wouldn’t have suited anyone except for the prince. His unbelievably luxurious appearance was engraved and embedded in Ella’s eyes.
Suddenly, she stopped as she wondered, ‘Where is… the boutonniere?’ Ella couldn’t believe what she saw, so she stood still as her mind went blank. She was confused to the point that she even forgot to greet the prince. The boutonniere wasn’t some ordinary accessory in the novel, because there was a special meaning behind it. It was the first accessory they wore when they became adults. The novel described that day as a special one, and they always talked about it with a smile on their faces. From that moment on, they always wore it on every special occasion.
The prince wasn’t wearing the boutonniere. It wasn’t something he could just forget to wear. Ella felt as though the magic that had captivated her had shattered. The excitement that filled her heart as she walked towards the door was now fading into nothingness. Her consciousness returned, and she hid her shock with a smile. What’s done is done. She had to walk over to Cladis to greet him.
To Ella, this world was inside a novel, but to Cladis, it was his reality. He wasn’t obligated to wear that boutonniere, so she couldn’t blame him for not wearing it. She avoided looking at Evan’s worried expression as she walked towards the prince. As she approached him, she respectfully greeted him.
“Luciella of Constance, the Guardian of the Blue Moon. May the Blue Moon’s glory lie upon you, your highness.”
Looking awestruck, Cladis watched Ella. The young girl who cried whenever they were apart was now a grown lady who could easily mask her feelings. Seeing her maturity was making him even more uncomfortable than he already was. He glanced down at his clothes and clicked his tongue. The dilemma he was facing was unbearable. After contemplating for a while, he greeted her to the best of his abilities, “It’s been a while, Lady Constance.”
Ella, whose face was looking down as she bowed with a calm smile, froze for a moment then eased. Evan froze as well.
Ever since Cladis had met Ella, he never, not even once, called her by her official title. Although their marriage was arranged before they met, they never shared such formalities. Without anyone to tell them to, they learned to care for each other. That was why everyone remembered a young Ella who was barely able to bid Cladis farewell as he left for the Academy. But was it possible for him to call her ‘Lady Constance’ after only three years of being away from each other?
Estinu, who was waiting to cast magic on them, was now making a troubled smile at her. Ella had to push the urge to sigh as she felt her servants’ eyes directed at Cladis and her. She couldn’t let anyone see her disappointment at this moment, so she replied, “Yes, your highness. While waiting for your return, I’ve been doing my best to become a flower worthy of you.”
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