Chapter 32 - A Man’s Privilege
But today, she was not waiting purposelessly. She could confidently say that he would also be attending this banquet. Hiding behind a pillar, as usual, Isabel looked at the entrance and waited for his arrival.
“Allow me to express my gratitude for your hospitality despite my sudden arrival, Lady Garth.”
Isabel overheard a nearby conversation but did not recognize the owner of the voice at first since it was different from the voices she usually heard at these functions.
“Not at all. I’m grateful that a person as beautiful as you, my lady, is here to make your seat shine. You may call me Lana.”
In noble terms, that was an invitation to be friends.
“Can I really do that, Lana?”
Isabel was sure she had heard that emotional voice somewhere before but higher-pitched and a little harsher…
“Certainly. I would like to be good friends with Lady Lance.”
“Oh, please call me Lilith, Lana.”
That voice… Isabel focused more closely on the voice she was hearing while her nerves grew increasingly agitated. As she turned her head slightly, she saw something she should not have.
Isabel gasped and almost screamed but managed to close her mouth with her hand. Of course, the voice was familiar. It belonged to Lilith, who stood there beautifully dressed as usual. Fortunately, Isabel was hiding behind a pillar, otherwise, one wrong move would have made her meet Lilith directly. ‘W-was this where she was going?’
Isabel was meticulous about choosing which banquets to attend to avoid ever encountering her half-siblings. If it was discovered that she, an illegitimate child, was running around banquet halls, they—the Baron, the Baroness, and Lilith—would not have stood still. They would castigate her for carelessly running about in their eyes and not being ashamed of her tainted blood. She had no idea why Lilith was at this kind of banquet. Lilith, of course, did not discover her presence yet, thanks to how well she had hidden.
Isabel swiveled her head around and saw Allen conversing with other gentlemen. He was always accompanying Lilith as her chaperone.
She turned around so that they would not see her face and slowly made her way to another pillar. Cold sweat rained down her back. Isabel had initially been near the entrance so that she would see his arrival sooner, but now she was suddenly at the innermost corner of the banquet hall. Even though she was now far away from her half-siblings, her body continued to quake with fear for a long while. ‘S-should I go back? What do I do?’
Isabel peeked out from behind the pillar and looked at Lilith, who was smiling brightly. Her demeanor was completely different from the acerbic one Isabel was used to being at the receiving end of at home.
While watching Lilith smile and exchange pleasantries with the other guests, Isabel brought her fingertips to her lips and started to chew while she agonized over the situation. The right decision would have been for her to return immediately, but something chained Isabel’s ankle in place. If she went back now, she would not be able to see Agares again, and they would be unable to plan when to meet next.
‘Maybe if I keep hiding behind this pillar, Lilith wouldn’t find me, right? Wait… can I just sneak a peek at his face before going back?’ she wondered.
Her timid mind was telling her to go back quickly, but her heart was persuading her to stay long enough to at least catch one glimpse of him first. Fine. Since she had not been discovered yet, she figured that if she kept still here, then perhaps she could continue to avoid detection.
Lilith was the most glamorous among the women surrounding her. Even though the young ladies with her would have had similar titles, Lilith stood out and sparkled. She was undeniably a beautiful woman. Her mother, the Baroness, was prickly, but her sharp features made her attractive, and her daughter resembled her. Allen also did not take after his father and had a sophisticated face that was more similar in appearance to his mother.
Isabel also did not resemble the Baron. She could only guess whether she did or did not resemble her mother because she had no way of knowing since she did not even remember her.