“It’s from Lady Ariandel.”
“Blake? Give it to me.”
Valery, who was doing his work, put down his pen and received the box from his aide, Joanne.
‘Did she send this in return for my gift?’
Blake tends not to care about everything, but Vaerly still felt good anyway.
Even if she gave him trash, he would treasure it.
It was a black box with a silver ribbon, so the box reminded him of her.
Just thinking of her packing this box indifferently made him smile again.
Joanne hesitated as if he had something to say.
It made Valery raise his head.
“Do you have anything to say?”
“Your Highness, it’s nothing but… Are you planning to meet officially?”
Joanne cautiously expressed his concern for Blake Ariandel.
There was no problem with her identity, but Joanne was a person with a lot of doubts.
It is said that the meeting between men and women is natural, but for someone with the status of the prince was different.
Just one meeting attracts numerous eyes and politics.
Even more when it gets deeper just by the casual meeting.
Moreover, the casual meeting with Valery was absurd.
If you were noble in this Kingdom, you might not know the face of the prince, but there couldn’t be a natural encounter with him.
Because everyone wants to covet that person.
On the other hand, Count Ariandel was a little different.
He owns a trade ship and often stays outside, which made Joanne not sure if the Ariandel family has ulterior motives or not.
As expected, Valeriy’s face hardened slightly.
“Is there a problem?”
“No, it’s not like that, but I’m worried…”
“She’s not that kind of person.”
Joanne was startled by Valery’s suddenly polite words, which made him back away.
“I owe her my life.”
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her when I was ambushed in the North.”
The death of Marlon from the ambush was a great shock even among the counselors.
On the other hand, it was a relief that Valery returned safely.
He said that someone had helped him, but he didn’t speak in detail at that time.
The fact he was saved by her.
It was a very unexpected story because she didn’t say anything about it either.
“And that’s why I hang around her.”
“It’s me who likes her and feels anxious about it,” Valery murmured.
“I know what your worries are.”
Joanne didn’t say anything more, greeted him, and left.
“What did she send?”
As Joanne left, Valery untied the ribbon with excitement.
When he opened it, there was a pair of cuffs with red jewels.
Valery’s eyes widened.
Silver cuffs with red jewels.
It’s a color that reminds him of her that he saw on the cold winter day.
‘Is it a coincidence? She must have misunderstood something.
Perhaps these colors have nothing to do with her.’
’Or does it mean she will accept my heart even a little bit?’
Valery thought it was the latter, so he removed the cuffs attached to his sleeves and replaced them with the cuffs that Blake had given him.
The corners of his lips rose helplessly.
‘What kind of expression would she make when I show up like this?’
He hopes he can see her face soon.
Wished he could see the necklace he had gifted around her neck on the promised day.
* * *
Winter in the capital is the season when banquets are held.
People in the North desperately try to survive the harsh winter, but it’s not the case here.
Until recently, I was terrified that the firewood would run out.
But now, I got into the carriage to attend another banquet I didn’t want to attend.
It is said to be a small banquet where unmarried nobles gather.
I needed to go there because I was informed that the first prince would attend this banquet.
With the start of winter, the doors of large banquet halls, including the Imperial Palace banquet hall, opened.
The banquet continued without a day off until spring, so I couldn’t count how many days it had been.
Fortunately, the banquet is spectacular only on the first day of winter.
The number of people has decreased moderately since then, making my head ache less.
Still, I gained some confidence.
It was quite thrilling to be in a place full of people who didn’t know me.
It made me rather free from the feeling of being isolated in the North.
Of course, I still don’t like banquets.
While immersed in that thought, the atmosphere inside the carriage changed quite a bit.
Ian’s eyes felt sharper than before.
As I turned my gaze to the window, I saw a carriage following us from behind.
It was a carriage that didn’t exist before.
“Is someone following us?”
“I think so.
I’ll take care of it.”
Of course, I can’t get comfortable here.
But that carriage is a bit familiar…?
I looked carefully through the window and clicked my tongue.
“You don’t have to take care of it.”
“Just ignore them.
They won’t fall behind even if you try to stop them.”
While saying so, I kept my eyes on the carriage that followed us behind.
“Good job for noticing that carriage.
I will tell my mother later.
The dogs followed us.”
“If it’s dogs…”
I guess Sir Shubart didn’t tell Ian about this.
“What do you think? Of course, it’s the Rudbihi family.
They’ve got the wrong opponent.”
The proud Rudbihi family, whom excommunicated my mother and me from the family and handed over all their sins to us as if it was not enough.
I knew they were constantly watching us even after being excommunicated.
Still, I didn’t know they were aware of me in the capital and moved.
No matter how much they excommunicated us, they know very well that they must lie flat on their backs even if we are almost kicked out of the capital.
Let’s see if they can drag me down in front of the banquet hall.
Even someone who knows my face well won’t be able to know me.
“Tell Sir Shubart to take care of his mouth.
Otherwise, they will try to take advantage of it.”
“Yes, I will.”
I ordered Ian to drive the carriage faster.
Thanks to this, the carriage shook violently, but fortunately, we didn’t happen to be overtaken by them.
“… I’m really tired.”
I was annoyed that I had to feel so tired before I even arrived.
Still, seeing that carriage turn around as soon as our carriage moved toward the main street was funny.
That’s right, they’re scared, but they had the guts to follow me.
I snorted and got off the carriage.
Erasing my boring expression, I smiled brightly and entered the banquet hall with the invitation.
As soon as I entered, I could smell strong the perfume.
Maybe it’s because flowers are hard to find in the winter or because clothes are thicker, so they all decorated themselves as colorful as peacocks with a strong scent.
At least dozens of perfumes mixed in and created a bizarre scent.
“I will call you if I need you, so observe carefully if there’s anything suspicious.”
As usual, leaving Ian to observe the area, I quickly blended into the crowd.
It was not difficult to find the first prince in the banquet hall.
Unmarried young ladies were glancing there from time to time.
And at the end of their gaze, you could spot the prince.
It seemed so suspicious to approach him immediately, so I headed the other way.
A familiar voice called me friendly.
When I turned my head, I found Ellabrihi Hemel.
I didn’t expect the effect of a single pearl would be this great.
“You’re here too.”
“Thankfully, I was able to receive an invitation.”
“Yes, I see.
Look! The invitation started to come to you from that day, right?”
I nodded shamefully.
“Blake, look at this.
What do you think?”
I tilted my head slightly, looking at what Ellabrihi said to look at. Shioke mermaid pearl was placed on top of her voluminous hair, gently twisted and styled one by one.
It is also attached to the flower-shaped jewelry pin I mentioned before, highlighting her light-yellow hair.
“I felt it at the party last time, but Ella really has good sense.”
Ellabrihi’s face brightened at once.
“Do you really think so?”
“The colors look perfect on you.
It makes your face look brighter.
Of course, you would have been pretty too if it wasn’t for the Shioke pearl, but you look so pretty today.”
“It wouldn’t hurt to tell you how many ties they asked me about the pearl that decorated my hair.
How many times do you think? I’ve heard it over ten times.
But, above all.”
Ellabrihi slightly covered her mouth with a fan and moved her body closer.
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