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I picked that dress because I liked it the most.

* * *

The clothes I chose made me shine with accessories the next day.
Although it was more uncomfortable than I thought because of the lace, it didn’t feel that bad.

“It looks like we have to leave soon.”

“I’ll be right out.”

It seemed that all preparations for the carriage had been completed.
I left the mansion after checking the dress to the last.
Ian, who had been wearing only black clothes, wore a tuxedo of a color that matched my dress.

I’m going to make a social appearance on behalf of Blake Ariandel’s father, who had been busy with his business abroad, and Ian was going to act as my longtime aide.
As my mother had ordered, I had to choose one of the members of the imperial family who would be on my watch and make acquaintance with other nobles.

Yes, only to this extent.
That way, I can fool my mother’s eyes.

The Imperial Palace was the highest in the capital.
The road to it was wide and long, so it was impossible to know how high it was when riding a carriage.
Still, even outside the capital, the top of the Imperial Palace was visible.

As we got closer to the Imperial Palace, more carriages of the nobles were seen.
Today, I was riding in a carriage bearing the mark of the Ariandel family, not Sir Shubart’s carriage.

The carriage slowed considerably when we reached the entrance.
I brush off my dress, waiting for my turn to get off.
I took Ian’s hand and got off the carriage.
Immediately after that, I looked around before climbing the stairs.
I just got off in front of the banquet hall, but the surroundings seemed wider than the capital square.

Some nobles glanced at me, covered with fans.
On the other hand, some people went up without paying attention because they were talking to each other.

“Did you bring the invitation?”


“Let’s go up.”

I got escorted by Ian and entered the banquet hall.
As soon as we entered the banquet hall, we headed to a place that looked quiet.
Because today I didn’t come to stand out.
I just have to wait for the imperial family to appear on the spot.

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After waiting a long time, the entrance to the main gate was closing, as if almost all the invited people had gathered.
As the entrance closed, the music inside grew bigger.
And not long after,

“His Majesty the Emperor and Her Majesty the Empress are entering!”

The time has come.

* * *

The coming of the Emperor and Empress were announced, and the names of the first and second princes were announced one after another.

I stood at a distance and saw them.
The Empress walked slowly with her arms folded next to the Emperor.
They were the old friends of my mothers and the person my mother would harm, so they were also the person I had to protect.

The figures of the princes following them were seen.
Valery Ahibara Kasinev with his older brother, the first prince, Delkian Elova Kasinev.
The first prince had black hair that resembled the Emperor.
At first glance, it was clearly contrasted with the second prince’s bright hair.
Valery’s physique was exceptionally large, which made their comparisons even greater.

Unfortunately, even though the first prince resembled the Emperor, he didn’t take the throne in the original story.
Because everything about him was weak and lacking compared to Valery.
Fortunately, he stepped down on his own because he had no greed.
Since he’s such a good person, I hoped he wouldn’t get tangled as much as possible.

The nobles gathered around the upper center of the banquet hall, where the imperial family was.
After greeting the Emperor, they left their seat with the high-ranking nobles to enjoy the banquet.

I was leaning against the wall, holding low the champagne Ian had handed me.
On the other side of me, there was a group of young ladies.
They were glancing at me as if gossiping about me.  I was always used to being alone and to that gaze, so I drank champagne without paying attention.

“Drink a little slowly.”

Ian was worried about me when I had a one-shot without realizing it.

“I’m a heavy drinker.”

Ironically, it was five years ago that I found out that I’m a heavy drinker.
That was when I was a minor.
The cause of it was that I thought it was water in a pretty bottle and drank it without even checking it.
It contained the strongest alcohol, and I, who was thirsty, drank almost a full cup at once.

Sir Shubart, who belatedly noticed it after I finished drinking, stopped me.
Still, the alcohol had already got into my throat.
The ground seemed to shake for a moment, but that’s it.
Within an hour later, I was sober.

I had to listen to Sir Shubart’s bombardment-like nagging for hours and face my mother’s ridiculous laughter after she returned from an outing.
Maybe the reason I didn’t get drunk is because of the medicine my mother has been giving me for a long time.
She said it was good for my body. 

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