Chapter 3 - The Perfect Lady
Aris had always longed to go to the palace but had yet to be formally invited to do so. Every time her father went there, she thought of the garden filled with ever-blooming flowers.
Ian looked up at her with a warm smile and said, “Come home safely.”
“I will.” Aris grinned at him and turned her attention to the plate of tender meat and roasted vegetables the chef had brought out for her.
Ian watched her eat for a moment, then got up from the table, saying, “Well, I’ll leave you to finish your meal.”
She gave him one last smile, noting with delight how her normally stoic father seemed to brighten at her expression. Thanks to her constant displays of affection, Ian was practically wrapped around her little finger.
“I’m sure he’ll bring home an excellent suitor for me one day,” she murmured to herself.
If all went according to the original plot, the marquis would come home bearing the news of her engagement to the male lead. However, Aris knew things could change. She had, after all, changed her entire life to benefit her.
From the moment she transmigrated, she’d cultivated an image as an earnest, hardworking girl and not some silly good-for-nothing. This allowed her to earn respect and admiration from her father and those around her.
The only way to find a worthy suitor was to have good social standing. Looks meant next to nothing in the grand scheme of things. While Aris was a beautiful girl, she wasn’t the beauty of the century by any means.
Any man worth marrying would consider his future wife’s reputation. After all, she would be the woman he’d spend the rest of his life with. It was only natural that he would look for someone with a decent upbringing and looks, but most importantly, a good personality.
Every action Aris took was for her future and to ultimately gain the affections of the male lead. She wondered just how handsome he was for the Aris Horissen to have fallen for him at first sight.
‘I’m so curious.’
However, there were still two and a half years left before she would start receiving any offers of marriage. The original Aris Horissen had received her first offer when she turned 19 years old. She would have to find a way to make the next two and a half years go by faster.
‘I’d like to go to the palace too,’ she thought.
After she became a lady and got exposed daily to plenty of finery and elegance, Aris grew interested in such things. She wanted to sit within the palace gardens and enjoy high tea while admiring the blossoms someday.
’Actually, I changed my mind.’
In this world, coffee was a rarity, a precious delicacy afforded only to the upper class. Even the marquis only had it once or twice a month.
‘Coffee. I’m going to have coffee in the garden, not tea.’
She liked this adjustment. After finishing the rest of her meal, she got up from her seat, prompting maids to file in to clear the table.
“Thanks,” she said before leaving. This was the best way to get the maids to like her.
“Of course, miss.”
Aris was much pleased with their response.
Her next lessons were for dance. When a lady of the nobility turned 17, it was customary for her to enter high society by throwing a debutante ball at the palace. As Aris was already 16, she needed to learn how to dance. Thankfully, she was naturally graceful and could follow the steps with ease.
Once she arrived at the third floor, Aris bowed to her dance instructor. It was a woman in her late thirties, and she was the most highly regarded dance instructor in the capital. Ian had specially invited her to teach Aris—he wanted only the best teachers for his little girl.
He never expressed it, but Ian loved his daughter terribly. The only person who didn’t know this was the original Aris. Ian had only accepted the marriage between Aris and the male lead after making sure he was a man worthy of his daughter in the first place.
The original Aris would never know that.
“Good afternoon,” she said with a cordial smile. She had practiced this smile countless times in the mirror; it was the smile that made her look the most beautiful.
“You’re always smiling whenever I see you, Lady Horissen,” the instructor said, happy to see her. She was quite fond of her pupil, as the young lady always made such an effort to remember everything she’d learned the day before. “Did you practice late into the night again?”
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