The inside of the banquet hall was warm.
It wasn’t that hot, but I could feel my face get flushed.
The brilliantly glittering chandelier and its light reflection off splendid shiny statues made me squint and close my eyes. As I opened my eyes, Juliana, the saintess, and I accidentally met each other’s gazes.
Her eyes smiled at me.
She seemed busy talking to people from the temple.
“Lady Melford, your dress is so beautiful.”
A voice from my side drew my attention. It was a group of young ladies.
“Your outfit…. Did you match it with the Duke of Agernia? Is that a couple outfit?”
What an extraordinary coincidence. The design of the dress I wore was subtly similar to Alastair’s.
When I had first seen his outfit I thought it looked similar to mine but had dismissed my thoughts as wishful thinking. No, it couldn’t be.
“No. It’s just happenstance.”
“Oh my. Is it a coincidence? It looked like a couple’s look….”
She seemed convinced that we were doing a couple’s look.
I didn’t bother trying to persuade her.
I doubt speaking would work. I turned my head towards Alastair.
Naturally, many aristocrats swarmed around him. Alastair rarely participated in banquets, so plenty of nobles wanted to be introduced to him.
“Are you two courting?”
A young lady who could not hold back her curiosity asked openly; her friend glared at her for her breach of manners. But in the end, they both looked at me with inquisitive eyes full of anticipation for my answer.
“No. It’s just we’ve been friends since childhood,”
I said dryly.
The girls’ sparkling eyes grew dim with disappointment at my sour reply.
Many others were pretending not to eavesdrop released a breath with relief.
Alastair had a talent for captivating people.
Thanks to that, ladies continued to fly towards him.
-“You must be delighted to be so popular, huh?”
When we were younger, I looked at him and teased him of his bewitching ways.
-“Then what are you going to do? I’m not popular with you.”
I had clicked my tongue at his displeased face.
It was a memory from my childhood.
“What are you talking about?”
Young ladies were chatting next to me when someone approached me with a question.
“I was wondering what Madame Blanche’s design the Lady Melford would wear. It’s an exquisite dress.”
It was Erzea Sylvania.
She was a friend to the heroine Juliana.
If it goes according to the original story, she loved Alastair and hated his beloved Serina.
Her goal was to hinder her enemy, Serina and interfered with her affairs while she informed Juliana of everything.
“Thank you, Lady Sylvania. Lady Sylvania’s dress is also stunning.”
“By the way….. did you two dress as a couple?”
Did you approach me to ask this? She had the same reaction as those girls before.
Are our outfits that similar?
“It’s just a coincidence.”
My denial did not look suspicious, and I smiled brightly—mainly because I enjoyed watching her stomach turn due to her unpleasant personality.
“But aren’t your outfits too similar for it to be a simple accident?”
“So what would the lady like me to say? I replied no because it isn’t. And if it was really a couple look, there’s no reason to hide it, right?”
I retorted and glanced discreetly at Alastair’s clothes.
He turned his head.
Ekk! My heart leaped. He caught me staring.
His red lips drew a pleased line.
I turned right away.
Erzea Sylvania entered my sight again.
“I apologize for the misunderstanding, Lady Melford. But it’s better to be careful next time. If the ensembles are similar, the Duke could be embarrassed. I’m just saying this because I’m just worried about your ladyship.”
You’re worried about me? Bullshit.
She was subtly blaming me that my dress resembled Alastair’s
Why is it my fault when Madame Blanche designed my dress?… Surely not?
As far as I know, Alastair also gets his clothes at Madame Blanche’s dressing room.
It was highly likely that Madame Blanche intentionally gave a similar suit to Alastair.
Madame Blanche was convinced that there was something between Alastair and I.
How annoying. To think such a big incident would occur because I didn’t bother correcting her.
“You don’t have to worry about that. I know the Duke of Agernia doesn’t get embarrassed by these little things, and he doesn’t care.” You’re the only one that’s sensitive.
Erzea’s eyebrows went up.
She unfurled her fan quickly, trying to cover up her distorted expression.
“And if you keep saying that they are similar …. I think that would be offensive to Madame Blanche.”
Every artist wants their work to look creative and original, especially when it came to Madame Blanche, who had a high degree of pride in her work.
“She said that this dress was one of her masterpieces of which there are only enough to be counted on the fingers on her one hand. Wouldn’t she be saddened to hear your assessment of her work?”
I made the most troublesome expression possible.
Several pairs of eyes pointed towards Erzea, but then they immediately lowered their eyes.
It’s not hard to sway fickle people.
“Oh my! Is this a dress designed by Madame Blanche herself?”
“A dress that is counted on Madame Blanche’s fingers…”
Their concerned looks turned to gasps and exclamations
“But Lady Melford….”
“Young Master Mikhail Melford arrives!”
I looked right at the door.
Erzea was speaking, but it was as if a fly was buzzing.
All the sounds and noises of the banquet hall blurred out to an indistinguishable din.
My nerves were all over the place. After I left the Melford mansion, I had written him many letters.
I was really anxious about him, so I wrote several letters to him, feeling apologetic that Duke Melford would have punished him.
[Are you okay, brother?]
This sentence was repeated countless times.
Every time I wrote down each letter, it was as if there were thorns on the pen I held; my hand hurt in guilt.
I knew you were only trying to appease me.
“I’ll talk to you later.”
Erzea cried as if she didn’t believe what she heard and thought it absurd. I slipped past them.
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