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    Translated by Tam
    Edited by Genie


     

    As the time of the party approached, nobles began to gather one by one at the party venue. The aristocrats normally would have been late on purpose, but today they hurried their steps. This is because they had to arrive before the Emperor. 

     

    The nobles gathered in twos and threes to talk while waiting for Serwin to come. Most of the conversation topics were about Amelie. 

     

    Some people saw her in the imperial palace or library, but most did not even know what she looked like yet.

     

    Some people were a bit hostile, but they were still more curious about her. 

     

    Many people also observed Renia since Renia was the main candidate for Empress for the past few years. But when Amelie suddenly appeared, her position was shaken.

     

    People were very interested in Renia’s condition and behavior. There was a lot of speculation whether she would be jealous, anxious, or ignore Amelie all together. 

     

    “Did you hear about that? The fact that Young Lady Manvers was completely ignored by His Majesty last time.”

     

    “What happened at the meeting? I only heard some rumors.”

     

    “There is, too, and there were times when she was waiting on the road that His Majesty often passed, and then she was ignored. She tried to use a shallow trick and got frustrated.” 

     

    “I feel bad for her!”

     

    The nobles murmured. The incident was already famous enough that there was no one in the capital who didn’t know that Renia was anxious.

     

    Renia was conscious of the surrounding gazes mixed with sympathy and ridicule. 

     

    ‘Anyway, when it comes to other people’s rumors it’s like having four feet.’ (Means like an unnecessarily added remark or action.)

     

    While she cursed inside, she smiled brightly. As she heard them speak she could only straighten her back and smile as if nothing happened. 

     

    ‘It’s only for a moment that they get to laugh at me.’

     

    Renia deliberately spread rumors that Amelie was as beautiful as a goddess. It was simple to use her connections. As the party drew closer, their curiosity and expectations for Amelie grew stronger. It was just as Renia intended.

     

    ‘The greater the expectation, the greater the disappointment. I’ve been spreading rumors, so as soon as everyone sees her, they’ll be disappointed that she’s not even close to the rumor.’ 

     

    As disappointment with Amelie grew, it was natural for Renia to be evaluated more highly. 

     

    ‘No matter how much His Majesty tries, he will not be able to cover up the disgraceful behavior from today.’

     

    Renia used Charlotte to put something on Amelie’s dress without anyone knowing, and had also found someone to rip off her skirt while pretending to make a mistake. It was a plan suggested by her father, but looking at the current atmosphere, she thought it was a good idea. 

     

    ‘Will she get hurt?’

     

    Renia suddenly remembered Amelie’s round eyes. The mint-colored eyes were transparent enough to reflect her inner feelings. When she imagined those round eyes filled with tears, she felt somewhat uncomfortable in her stomach.

     

    ‘But there is no other way. So you shouldn’t have threatened my position without knowing what you were getting into.’ 

     

    Renia made up her mind. 

     

    When the attendant announced that Serwin and Amelie had arrived, the room that had been buzzing quickly became quiet. Everyone held their breath and stared at the door. 

     

    Soon after, Amelie walked inside, with Serwin’s escort. Everyone gathered in the hall looked at her. Their gaze could have discouraged Amelie, but Amelie was confident. Every step she took, the hem of the dress shook. The color of the dress changed little by little due to the overlapping thin fabrics. The somewhat heavy-colored dress gave Amelie a bright smile while holding the appropriate weight.

     

    Her accessories also played their part. The hair ornaments glistened brightly above Amelie’s head. The light emitted by the jewels created the illusion of a halo shining from Amelie. 

     

    ‘It’s like being surrounded by stars.’

     

    ‘As the rumors say, she’s beautiful.’

     

    The nobles lost their sense of propriety for a while and openly stared at Amelie. They couldn’t take their eyes off the dress that changed according to the movements of her body.

     

    Meanwhile, Serwin finished his speech and stood in the center of the hall to perform his first dance. 

     

    ‘Ahhh— Everyone is looking at me.’ 

     

    Amelie screamed inside. The people who filled the hall were only looking at the two in the center. She was nervous as if her heart would pop out of her throat. Serwin held her hand a little more firmly. 

     

    “Be careful. If you dance like last night, you will bump into people, right?” 

     

    At Serwin’s words, Amelie recalled last night, playing with him in this hall and dancing recklessly. Later, she went around stiffly holding only his hands and fell down in the middle of the hall because she was tired—. 

     

    Amelie smiled and replied. 

     

    “Be careful, Your Majesty. I could throw Your Majesty to the floor like yesterday.” 

     

    “I should take good care of you.” 

     

    “Of course.”

     

    Amelie laughed playfully. 

     

    ‘Like yesterday, I can leave it to Serwin.’ 

     

    When she thought that the place where she danced with Serwin was the same place, she felt less burdened.

     

    The music played, and the two began to dance smoothly. 

     

    Whenever Amelie made a big move, the hem of the skirt spread out. Embroidery glinted as the silver thread reflected the soft lights in the ballroom. She seemed to be surrounded by starlight. 

     

    Serwin’s golden eyes did not fall from Amelie. Following his gaze, Amelie was smiling lovingly. She revealed her strong belief that Serwin would not harm her. It also looked like the two were familiar with leaning on each other.

     

    “Oh my, am I really seeing His Majesty?”

     

    The nobles doubted their own eyes. 

     

    “Honestly, I thought it was a political show to beat the Manvers family— I guess it was real.”

     

    “That’s what I’m saying. There’s no doubt.” 

     

    “Rumors of the beauty of the century seem exaggerated, but she is no less lovely than the Lady.’

     

    “His Majesty’s heart will be stolen by the end of this year.” 

     

    The nobles began to praise the two, saying they were a perfect pair. 

     

    Renia and the girls who followed her also looked at them and praised them. 

     

    “Was she always like that? She has the same face but looks completely different, right?” 

     

    “I mean. Last time she felt friendly and approachable, but now it feels like there’s a wall—” 

     

    “I think I know why His Majesty brought her to the Imperial Palace.” 

     

    “Looking at it like this, His Majesty has a human-like side. I can’t believe that tyrant sometimes looks like a person.” 

     

    They were so startled by Amelie’s change that they even forgot to look at Renia. 

     

    Renia, like the others, stood blankly looking at the two. The stage where the two were dancing was so full that no one had time to squeeze in. Obviously, today’s protagonist was Amelie. 

     

    ‘It was that woman who intervened, so why do I look like a hindrance?’ 

     

    Amelie was perfect in Renia’s eyes too. She was very clumsy when she saw her at a tea party, but now she looks elegant and confident. The moment she entered the hall, she had even lost her childish gaze. 

     

    At that moment, Renia realized. No matter how much she loses weight and polish her beauty, she can’t be the main character of this party. 

     

    ‘Then, what should I do now?’

     

    How can she become an Empress? Renia’s eyes roamed the party hall. Then she made eye contact with Count Manvers. 

     

    Like Renia, the Count was in a very impatient state. He quickly grasped the atmosphere of the nobles. 

     

    ‘Tsk, everyone is already ready to flatter that woman.’ 

     

    Most of the capital nobles survived lying down under Serwin’s tyranny, so it was most important for them to follow Serwin’s will. Wherever Amelie was from, it was best to win her favor if Serwin had such deep feelings for her. 

     

    Count Manvers would have thought and acted the same way as others if it had not been for his ambition to make Renia the Empress.

     

    However, when the situation became like this, he could not give up his ambition. 

     

    ‘Let’s do it right.’

     

    Count Manvers looked at Renia’s eyes. 

     

    ‘Yeah, there was the last effort left.’

     

    If everything goes according to her plan, the friendly gaze of the nobles toward Amelie will also turn into laughter. Just like not so long ago, the same people who envied her would sneer at her. 

     

    Renia waited for the right time. 

     

    *****

     

    Soon after, the first dance ended, and before the second dance began, the accompaniment flowed out. People grabbed their partner’s hand and flocked out to the center of the hall. 

     

    Renia found Serina among the people.

     

    This was because Serina decided to pull Ameli’s skirt in this chaotic moment. Because she was small and slender, she would be able to hide among people after doing things. 

     

    People panicked more than usual because Renia used her influence to have the band play the interlude a little faster. 

     

    ‘Now.’

     

    Serina approached Amelie with an uneasy step. Amelie and Serwin were distracted by their conversation and were not aware of her. 

     

    Renia nervously looked at Serina and found Gilbert standing in the corner.

     

    ‘Gilbert? Why is he here?’

     

    He has never been to a party in the Imperial Palace. He said it was boring, but Renia knew that he was scared of Serwin.

     

    ‘It was my father’s plan, so there’s no way Gilbert didn’t know. He’s here to watch. He wants to see someone being humiliated.’

     

    Although he was her younger brother, he was pathetic. He giggled as he looked at Amelie. Seeing his sinister gleaming eyes, Renia’s mind flashed as if she had splashed the cold water. 

     

    What does it mean to be no different from her younger brother, whom she has dismissed as vulgar? Goosebumps ran down Renia’s arms. 

     

    ‘This isn’t right. I can’t believe I’m trying to humiliate her by taking off her clothes in front of so many people. That’s something a person like him has to do.’ 

     

    Renia pushed people forward and stepped forward. People murmured as they watched her, but Renia called Amelie regardless. 

     

    “Hey!”

     

    Amelie looked at Renia. As soon as Renia was about to say something, Serina pretended to fall and pulled Amelie’s skirt. 

     

    ‘It’s too late!’

     

    Renia closed her eyes when she saw Amelie’s skirt being torn off. Now Amelie will be greatly humiliated and laughed at. However, the situation went against Renia’s expectations. Despite Serina pulling the dress without circumstances, Amelie’s clothes were fine.

     

    “Huh?”

     

    At the unexpected development, Serina forgot to run away and stared blankly at Amelie instead. 

     

    “Be careful.” 

     

    Amelie casually grabbed Serina and helped her up. Serina looked at Renia with a strange face, but Renia couldn’t say anything.

     

    ‘Now, what is this?’

     

    Apparently she was sure that her skirt hem would be torn, but it’s holding up well. 


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    Tam

    Travis Translation

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