“They’re a good pair than I thought.”
“Well, even at the banquet held at the residence of Duke Khalid, her dance was really beautiful.”
“I couldn’t help but look at her.”
“Then why did she only receive one rose?”
Those who were whispering while looking at a pair of beautifully dancing, moved quietly after looking at the second royal daughter, Mariette.
How could she not know that even that action was to mock her? Mariette tried hard not to show his inner thoughts and bit her molars. She caught the first prince, Cairos and Raenel, in her eyes.
In front of the emperor and empress watching. Raenel was dancing with Cairos, showing off graceful movements without any timidity.
Far from being compared to the second prince who danced together, it was a flexible and delicate movement like flowing water without overlapping their movements.
In addition, they seemed to get along quite well, whispering something obvious every time their bodies were attached.
At a formal ball like this, Cairos had never danced with any woman except his mother, Marquis Calvin, who gave birth to him. As the first prince, the influence was even greater.
“Looking at it now, she looks very pretty…”
“Her smile is lovely…”
“I hope the two of them are lovers…”
“Then the rumors so far…”
“Oh, don’t you know? Those rumors…”
In an instant, dozens of pairs of eyes flew at Mariette at the same time. She could tell without having to check. That they belonged to Marquis Calvin’s social circle.
Biting hard on her lower lip, she looked at them one by one. All the nobles pretended not to notice those ferocious eyes and scattered. A giggle leaked from the fan-covered mouth.
‘How dare you…disrespectful!’
‘What would you do if you were born as the daughter of an emperor and an empress? You were not recognized as the princess and were ridiculed by the nobles.’
The first royal daughter, who was in the same situation as her, married a prince from a distant country.
The night before she left for the Kingdom of Canel, she came to the palace of the second princess and took her sister’s hand who had fallen asleep.
‘Remember, Marie. I’m always on your side. If you want to leave this damn empire, come to me anytime.’
Born as a princess, she was the person who made this country, which she should have loved more than anyone else, hate this country even more than a wasteland where not a single blade of grass grows.
‘That lowly illegitimate child should not have dared set foot at such a fancy ball.’
However, because of the excellent pattern, The first prince received the status of the prince and was respected by everyone. Even the second princess had to bow to the first prince.
‘That pattern, pattern…!’
‘If you are born with the bloodline of the pattern, there is a way to artificially manifest the pattern.’
‘Isn’t the princess the daughter of His Majesty the Emperor and His Majesty the Empress? You have nobler blood than anyone else on this continent. ‘
‘Yes, more than the first prince.’
‘I bet you. If you do us a favor, we will make the princess her Highness.’
clap clap clap!
The loud applause woke Mariette from her thoughts.
When she turned her head at the intense gaze she suddenly felt, the emperor, who was slowly clapping his hands, was looking at her with an expressionless face.
Seeing that gaze with a blatant meaning, Mariette bit her teeth and clapped her hands.
After confirming that, the emperor withdrew his gaze.
In the center of the hall, the second Prince and His partner, and the first Prince and Raenel were exchanging gracefully with the cheers of the people.
illegitimate and adopted children.
Mariette finally made up her mind, clapping with a smile to them who looked so good together.
‘What can I do?’
‘I will not walk out of this imperial palace on my own two feet. Even if I die, I will die in this imperial palace.’
* * *
“Nell, what the hell is going on here?”
“Did you meet the first prince? When? How?
“Don’t tell me you don’t intend to marry Marquis of Ajas because of him…”
“I don’t even know what happened. Maybe he felt sorry for me being ridiculed by the rumors. I’ve run into him before, but that’s all, and it’s only my second time seeing him today. I don’t think we’ll meet again until coincidence leads us. That’s all I can say. The reason I don’t want to get married is because I like Howard.”
The older sisters and brothers who surrounded me only blinked their eyes and did not ask me any more questions.
It was the prospective brother-in-law, Benjamin Theord, who spoke to me with a smile on his face.
“It was a very beautiful dance, Nell. If I had it in my hands right now, I would have wanted to give you a hundred roses as a gift.”
“Oh, I’ll count it as what I got. Thank you, brother-in-law.”
Then, the older sisters and older brothers scrambled to give compliments one by one.
“Yes! It was a really cool dance. As expected of my sister.”
“I was a little nervous, but she didn’t make a single mistake. Good job.”
“Yeah. I was watching, and the top of my feet were all itchy. I’m so glad that the first prince’s foot is safe.”
“Hey, now that I have done that, you should fall and bow down, right? Brother-in-law is the best.”
Benjamin, helplessly ashamed of her brother-in-law’s remarks, pointed to the central hall to change his mind.
“Ah, The second princess’s dance begins.”
We wanted to tease more, but it was true that the dance had started, so we focused our attention on the central hall.
Because the first princess was leaving the empire, only the second princess and Leonhard stood in the central hall. At the beginning of the performance, the two began to dance.
I stared at him and remembered the moment when I met Leonhard’s eyes.
‘Well…he was staring.’
Like there are so many things he wants to say. But is there anything left to say between him and me?
‘It wasn’t really something he should apologize for, but he apologized, and I accepted the apology and sent him a message wishing Him happiness.’
‘Isn’t that enough…? What? ‘I think we just made eye contact. isn’t it? Is it an illusion?’
However, as if that thought was an illusion, Leonhard’s gaze, which should have looked at his partner, kept reaching for me.
I hid behind my younger brother because others might notice the gaze.
“No, just the chandelier is blinding me.”
The little brother did not doubt the words I said around him with a smile. After hiding behind my older brother who nodded in agreement, I secretly looked over his shoulder at the central hall.
‘We Made eye contact again! But what if someone really notices?’
‘I think you just pointed at something with your eyes?’
I hid behind my little brother again and pondered in which direction Leonhard cast his eyes.
So maybe… I think he pointed a little down.
Only after glancing over my little brother’s shoulder again, I know what Leonhard was pointing at.
His eyes were on the boutonniere that stuck in his chest. A single white rose.
‘It was strange that you put something you didn’t have to do even though you didn’t match it with your partner…’
‘Did you plug it in to show it to me from the beginning?”
Perhaps knowing that his intention had been conveyed, Leonhard stopped looking at me.
I got out of my little brother’s back, looking at the rose on Leonhard’s boutonniere and searching through my memories.
‘The flower language of a white rose is innocence, innocence…I guess that’s what it’s like.
‘What? Is he emphasizing that he is an innocent and chaste man? I don’t think he’s brazen enough to emphasize that.’
‘Isn’t it? Can he do it unexpectedly?’
‘Hmm…No, no matter how I think about it, that’s not the case.’
Oh, right. Roses have different meanings depending on the number and color of the flowers. I wonder if Leonhard paid attention to that, but he already apologized to me with yellow Moonflowers.
Just in case, I sneaked up to Benjamin and tapped him on the shoulder.
“Nell? What’s wrong?”
“Well, there is something I want to ask you.”
I took Benjamin and quietly headed behind the stone pillar. At this, I entered the safe zone where everyone didn’t know if I did anything else, and I whispered to him to check.
“I know, brother-in-law remembers all the books you have read once because you are smart, right?”
“I can’t remember the number of pages, but I remember the content. why?”
‘Remembering the contents itself is already awesome, right? Why are you pretending to be nothing because you don’t remember the page?
After glancing at the nasty genius, I asked Benjamin one more time.
“Do you remember when you gave me a flower language dictionary? Have you read that too?”
“Yes. Is there a flower language that suddenly makes you curious?”
Benjamin looked down at me with loving eyes as if he were looking at his little sister. I glanced at him and nodded.
“What is the meaning of a single white rose?”
“A single white rose?”
Benjamin looked down at me with slightly surprised eyes. Soon, his eyes took on a different light, indicating that he had noticed something.
“Well, because Nell is now an adult too.”
“What? What does that have to do with me becoming an adult?”
“Can we meet again?”
I blinked in surprise at the sudden remark, but I belatedly realized. That is the meaning of a single white rose.
“Usually when they end a date and break up…Or at a ball like this, it’s a flower that they secretly exchange.”
Benjamin whispered in my ear the reason for the secret exchange at such a ball.
“It means to meet secretly. Avoiding other people’s eyes.”
* * *