It is advised not to eat or drink at an evening party.
Of course, just because I had a nap doesn’t mean that the food I ate at the luncheon should have been quickly digested, and I was a little relieved that I didn’t have to eat any more.
The evening party is a ball, so the food isn’t the main focus of the evening, unlike during the day, but I was told that there is a table by the wall with a variety of food on it. It’s like a buffet where you can take as much as you like.
I haven’t fully digested it yet.
“Luthia, are you okay?”
I give him a soft smile.
I was told that I have a fever, but my feeling is that I was just a little hot, and it was nothing to worry about.
When I look at His Highness, my cheeks relax.
Just being with him is enough to lift my heart.
The hand that is put around my waist…I’m glad that he can escort me in this way instead of picking me up.
How simple of me.
“Lean on me.”
Just because I feel a little hot doesn’t mean I feel dizzy or unable to walk.
“Don’t overdo it.”
“Yes, of course.”
In front of our whispered conversations, the ceremonial officer announced the arrival of His Highness and me in high spirits, and the trumpet sounds upon the signal.
The front door leading to the great hall is opened heavily.
Not to mention the glittering chandeliers and the everlasting lamps here and there.
With all these lights, it becomes bright enough not to feel the night even if without electricity
The slightly sweet scent of roses in the air is due to the generous lighting of high class candles.
“…How many people are in attendance?”
“A little over two hundred and fifty at the most.”
We secretly exchange words.
“Two hundred and fifty…”
I don’t know if that’s a large number or a small number of people attending an evening party. But this is the first time I’ve seen that many people in one place since ‘I’ came here.
Even in Utoria, where I was taken for food, there were never that many people gathered there.
I think of the scene in the downtown area, which is still busy at night.
“The one hundred and twenty-eight families above the baron’s level have received invitations for today’s evening party. From the text of the invitation, only the head of the family and his wife have the right to attend. Of course, if his wife is not present, he may bring his daughter or fiancée instead of her. However, concubines and mistresses are not allowed. So, even if every house participates two people each, the maximum number of people is two hundred and fifty-five. If you add to that the royalty, me and you, and then Al and the twins, that’s two hundred and sixty people.”
Well, two hundred and sixty people, I thought, and stepped through the open door into the great hall.
This is the most prestigious and widest hall, and even with that many people in it, it doesn’t feel crammed at all.
The gaze directed at us…and the tense air scares my heart just a little bit. It’s no surprise that this is my first evening party, and I’m not used to being the center of attention like this.
I realized something as I was trying to think of else to escape from it.
…Isn’t it two hundred and sixty-one people?
I guess he knew what I was thinking. His Highness laughed at me a bit and continued.
“There will never be two participants from Elzevert.”
“Oh, I see…Oh, you don’t qualify the Duchess to participate?”
Come to think of it, the duke decided to participate alone, rightt? Doesn’t a post-wife qualify to participate? I wonder again.
“If it’s just an institutional or rule-based, she qualifies. She’s a duchess. But she won’t be attending any function hosted by the royal family or attended by the royal family. Rather, she won’t be able to. I don’t think the Duke of the East has any more intentions of bringing his wife near us all considering.”
“He’s brought her in a few times. But me, Al, and Alienor will also leave when she comes.”
His Highness said once and for all.
His Highness escorted me through the middle of the crowd, which was split in two, and I smiled at the people on both sides. Of course, I have no idea who is who.
His Highness also makes a smiley expression that makes it hard to believe that he is talking about this kind of content, and he receives and exchanges greetings with acquaintances just by looking at them.
“It’s quite deep-rooted, isn’t it?”
“Yes…It’s only natural that personal feelings should not be reflected in political decisions, but this one case is an exception. It’s not that the Duchess personally did anything to Efinia, but because we believe that her presence and what she accomplished killed Efinia…the princess.”
Yup. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this story, but it’s still ongoing. It’s been over a decade now.
“…Doesn’t His Highness Nigel think it’s my fault that my mother died?”
“…Why is it your fault?”
His Highness looks down at me with a bewildered expression
“I believe the cause of death was the damage to her body due to giving birth to me.”
I return my gaze to look up to wave a smile at everyone. His Highness must have understood why I had looked away. The hand on my back gently moved to soothe me.
“…The fact that her body wasn’t very strong may have been one of the causes of her death. But it was the insensitive existence of the duke and the duchess, who was only his mistress at the time, that most affected her. It is not on me to complain about the fact that he had a mistress. But do you think Efinia wasn’t heartbroken by a newlywed husband going to his mistress in a remote house on the same estate the night after the wedding?”
I’d like to say that only the mother can understand her true feelings, but that’s all I can say. Even if she didn’t have a heart for her political marriage partner, I don’t think any wife would allow her husband-to-be to go to his mistress on that wedding night.
…It’s impossible, but even if you could emotionally forgive that, you would never forgive it if it was a political marriage.
Because it is a political marriage, there are certain rules that must be followed.
What the Duke did was not only to neglect his new wife, who was married for political reasons, but also humiliated her. He neglected his wife’s family, the royal family, and caused them the greatest humiliation.
To this day, the royal family has not forgiven him for that. His late Majesty, of course, but also His Royal Highness Nigel.
“I will never forgive him for this one, no matter how much you try to put in the way of a good word.”
“Well, why would I want to?”
“You have no memory of it. You might feel sorry for the Duchess.”
“…I want to be in Nigel-sama’s heart as much as possible, since my most important person is Nigel-sama, right? I have no desire to ignore Nigel-sama’s sentiments when he says that, and I have no desire to interfere on behalf of the Duchess, whose face I do not know.”
His Highness’ feet stopped for a moment.
His eyes softened.
I smile at the color of his eyes, which seem even sweeter than usual. His Highness returns the smile—although it probably didn’t look like His Highness smiled to anyone else.
And when I was escorted to the two luxurious chairs, the temporary thrones, there was no longer any tension left in me about the evening party.
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