Author: alyalia

After Navier left the parlor, I repeated his words.

 

“It’s my birthday…”

 

Since eleven years old, to be exact, after the cake incident, I would be nervous when it came to my birthdays, so I never had it again. By the way,

 

“I’m an adult from today.”

 

It was not that I felt happy about my birthday. Still, I was starting to feel awkward and excited about the fact that I finally became an adult. And,

 

I must drink alcohol today!

 

On the first day of entering the Duchy, I couldn’t even taste the finest wine that Sebastian, the butler, brought to welcome me. That’s right, because of the upright Charter. So I was looking forward to the day I became an adult, but I forgot about it because of my busy schedule.

 

There are days when Navier is helpful. If it weren’t for that idiot, I wouldn’t even know I had already become an adult.

 

I went to my room excitedly.

 

Today is the day I become an adult, so I should cheer myself up~

 

And when I had dinner, I should order Sebastian for a drink.

 

Bump. I, who opened the door, could not enter my room and hardened due to the strange situation.

 

“Madrenne?”

 

At my call, Madrenne approached me and talked as if she had been waiting, “Lady, you’re finally here. Look over here.”

 

I’d already seen it before she even asked me to see it. A pile of boxes piled up at the end of my gaze.

 

“What the hell is that?”

 

In response to my question that I couldn’t understand, Madrenne grabbed my hand and pulled me away.

 

“What else? It’s your birthday present.”

 

“What?”

 

What was she talking about? The only birthday present I’ve ever received in my life was a disgusting filth cake, though?

 

I stared at Madrenne with a cold stare.

 

“You. If you’re tricking me again—”

 

“Lady! I’m not tricking you! This is a gift from madam. And that cake was definitely not made by me…”

 

“Shut up.”

 

At my cold words, Madrenne pursed her lips.

 

Surely, I still remember that you were the one who brought the filth cake with a big smile.

 

Madrenne had nothing to say as she had sinned. However, she was curious about what was actually in those enormous presents.

 

“Lady… can you open the presents now?”

 

I, who was twisting my body and glaring at Madrenne, shifted my gaze to the pile of boxes.

 

Can’t I? Are you kidding me?

 

“Why not? Hurry, open up those!”

 

What birthday presents from the Duke’s family! What did they give me?

 

With my permission, Madrenne excitedly began to open the boxes.

 

“Whoa! Lady! This is the dress from Chabel’s dressing room! And this too! Oh my gosh! Is this really from Gaveniel?”

 

Madrenne opened the large boxes and checked them, then opened the small boxes. The small boxes contained gloves and a fan from a famous dressing room, and Madrenne screamed repeatedly.

 

“Ooh, Lady, this… this is…”

 

Madrenne, who opened the dark blue velvet box that looked luxurious at first glance, couldn’t continue her word but eventually covered her mouth with her hand.

 

“What is it?”

 

In the box almost snatched from Madrenne, there were crystals of something brilliant and pure.

 

“…a diamond set.”

 

Three dresses from the famous dressing rooms and even a diamond set. In front of those expensive presents, I somehow felt depressed.

 

“Lady, what’s wrong?”

 

I, who was pouting my lips, shouted back.

 

“Why the hell did I sell my jewels!”

 

“Lady~ Calm down and look at this.”

 

Madrenne said soothingly, holding up the dark violet dress. I glanced sideways at the dress and got up from my seat as if I couldn’t win.

 

“It’s beautiful. But did she order it to fit my size? I’ve never told her, though? I also never take any measurements for them.”

 

“I told them.”

 

What?

 

Sting. Madrenne, who felt Arianne’s gaze, waved her hand in surprise.

 

“No! It’s not that I was selfish, but madam said she wanted to surprise you! It’s real!”

 

Then what?

 

I took a look, then spoke coyly, “Should I try it on?”

 

“Yes! Lady, there are three candidates for the dress you will wear for the banquet. The dress you bought last week can’t even compare to those. Just throw it away to me,” said Madrenne, who was trying to gain something.

 

Normally, I would say at least 10 words before saying what I really want to say, but since I felt good today, it seemed I have broadened my mind as an adult.

 

“It was feeble compared to those. Okay. I will give it to you. I have to take you with me anyway.”

 

She’s still my person, so she can’t lose her shape in the eyes of others, right?

 

With the diligent touch of the excited Madrenne, I finished the satisfying fitting and decided to wear the most elegant dress for tonight. It was a polite start since I got good presents.

 

“Lady Arianne is here.”

 

Sebastian announced my arrival, and the dining room door opened. I thought I was already fast, but it seems I took quite a while to appreciate the presents. Madam, Charter, and Layla were already seated.

 

“Forgive me for being late.”

 

“No, we just got here. Sit comfortably.”

 

Madam welcomed me with a kind smile.

 

“It was not polite to keep people waiting like this,” said Layla, who had been late a while ago but blamed it when it was someone else’s business.

 

I went to the seat next to Charter without looking at Layla. And the moment I was about to sit down.

“What? That dress? Why did you…”

 

Layla asked, widening her eyes in disbelief.

 

“Yes. It’s Chabel’s dress.”

 

Arianne smiled at the madam as a sign of her gratitude. Layla looked as if she had been robbed of her house documents.

 

No way.

 

Layla, who liked to dress up in her daily life, was so passionate about dressing up to the point that touring the dressing room in the city was her main routine. Among them, Gaveniel and Chabel were her favorite brands. Those two were the best brands in the name and reality, not only from her but also from the people of the empire.

 

When making new dresses, famous dressing rooms in the capital used to work on first fitting by setting up workstations in one corner of the store, not in separate workstations. At first, it was made in separate workstations, but the problems were soon revealed. They couldn’t brag about it first unless someone asked where their dresses came from.

 

“This is the dress from the Chabel dressing room. Ohoho.”

 

They were proud of it because they had the spirit to brag about it. Eventually, the noble lady came up with the idea.

 

“I want my dresses to be made where people can see them. That way, they will know that my dresses were made by Chabel.”

 

That was a good suggestion from the perspective of the dressing room. They couldn’t put the brand logo or trademark on the dress in a visible place, but it was a natural way to promote the dress by working on it in public.

 

Since then, the dressing rooms have worked in the store so that customers who stopped by the store could see the process, and as the volume of orders from customers who saw it increased, it eventually became a culture.

 

A few days ago, Layla stopped by the Chabel dressing room and saw the dress they were working on, which blew her completely away.

 

“Oh my gosh… this is very neat and elegant, and it’s really looking pretty.”

 

“Right? The person ordered it for casual wear, but Madame Chabel designed it so it could be worn for a banquet.”

 

‘What? Wasn’t it for the banquet? Has anyone ever ordered such an expensive and luxurious dress for casual wear?’

 

How rich were they?

 

Gaveniel and Chabel’s dress was worth at least 1000 gold, and the amount was equivalent to the cost of living for three months of an ordinary noble family. Even for the nobles, Gaveniel and Chabel’s dresses were the most luxurious and high-class items they had to cherish.

 

Luxury goods were used for showing off. The nobles mostly ordered banquet dresses from Gaveniel’s and Chabel’s dressing rooms because their dresses were too expensive to wear as casual attire.

 

It wasn’t that Layla didn’t have the spirit to show off to anyone, but she couldn’t afford to spend such large money as long as she didn’t have so much money that she couldn’t use it all.

 

But how on earth could that woman do that?

 

Layla belatedly remembered that woman was the daughter of Count Borness.

 

That’s right. Because she was the daughter of the empire’s wealthiest family, it was possible for her.

 

Her stomach felt twisted. 

 

‘Why on earth did my dad make me so miserable by living in the countryside with a modest income?’

 

Layla felt that her family was not good enough and that she was not being treated as she deserved. And,

 

That woman! Again! She blocked my way!

 

The aimless anger was directed at Arianne again.

 

A few days ago, when Layla received an invitation to the imperial banquet, she visited the Chabel dressing room. She had to somehow wear Chabel’s dress at the imperial banquet in a few days. Even if she mentioned it to the Duke’s family, she couldn’t afford Gaveniel, so Chabel was her only hope.

 

Before Arianne appeared, Layla was the closest candidate for Duchess Kaien’s position. Most of them didn’t deny the fact, and thanks to that, she was well-established in society. But one day, rumors came that Duke Kaien was engaged to someone.

 

Layla couldn’t believe it. Duke Kaien? It was nonsense.

 

Duke Kaien treated women as less than rocks. Rather, stones would have been more useful than women to him. His attitude was the same even to her, who was praised for her appearance. Layla was offended at first, but it was tolerable if he treated other women the same way he treated her.

 

She believed that as long as she held on, the seat next to him would be her. Because he was the pillar of the empire and had a duty to have a successor. If she waited, one day, the opportunity would come to her. But that man, let alone dating someone, she had never seen him looking sideways at a woman, even at the age of 25.

 

And now that man engaged? In addition, the rumors were too specific to let go, thinking they seemed to be spreading fake rumors somewhere.

 

The rumors said someone saw them together at the imperial banquet on the terrace. Someone also said they saw the two sitting in the theater’s VIP room. They also said they were going to the night market together.  

 

Duke Kaien ate skewers at the night market?

 

That was the same man who hates their food being touched by others? Layla remembered him, who had never eaten the food she gave him during the meal. When she visited the madam out of fear, she found out that his engagement was true. But there was still more shocking news.

 

He’s bringing his fiancée into the Duchy? Even before they got married?

 

When she heard about it, she was so shocked that she lay ill for two days. 

His fiancée was that kind of person like that. That pretentious, shameless woman was now even wearing a dress supposed to be her…

 

Yes, that’s what happened. If it wasn’t for her, Layla could have worn that dress. By mentioning Duke Kaien’s name, she could order ahead of other customers’ reservations. That was the power of the name Kaien and the sweetest taste of power in the world.

 

However, Chabel’s employee refused Layla’s request by apologizing with an ambiguous smile to her, who mentioned Duke Kaien. Duke Kaien’s current fiancée was more valuable than a noble lady acquainted with the Duke.

 

It can’t be this way…

 

The news of Duke Kaien’s engagement had already spread throughout the empire. And everyone must be laughing at Layla, who was in a hopeless dream.

 

How ridiculous would everyone think of me!

 

Far from cursing the shameless woman who took her place, they would be busy mocking her and criticizing her for coveting the Duchess’s position without knowing her subject. That was the nature of this social world. And Layla was sure everyone expected her to hide like a mouse without even being able to come to the banquet. That’s why she should have somehow appeared wearing Chabel’s dress to show that she was okay… but everything went wrong.

 

It’s all because of my mother! This wouldn’t have happened if her mother had put the wedge more firmly.

 

Layla tore open the innocent napkin she loved. And Arianne, who didn’t care about her at all, asked Sebastian, “Where is the celebratory drink?”

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Comments (1)

  1. All supporting characters so far are so ridiculously delusional