Author: alyalia

Ah, what does it matter if he comes or not? Selleana found it absurd how she kept thinking about that gloomy tower master.


“…Coming here after a long time and immediately talking about a deal.”


“Well, I didn’t come yesterday, so maybe it’s been a long time?


Yes. Someone who waited eagerly for her day in and day out, and since she couldn’t visit for nearly five days due to her birthday preparations, wouldn’t he have been restless?


But who would have thought that preparing the dress and accessories would be so hectic?


So, she was just a little thoughtful towards the man who might have been waiting for her.


Selleana decided to focus on thinking about Collin instead. The fair and solid jawline like a marble statue, the cool gaze visible beyond the mask… And what about his lips?


“…So, Lady.”


“Yes, yes?”


Startled by the sudden call, Selleana looked up. Emperor Tashur III was looking down at her from his throne. It was unexpected to be directly addressed by the emperor in such a setting, so Selleana hurriedly composed herself.


“Please speak, Your Majesty.”


Even without looking, she could feel Peredo gave her a look of disdain.


“Today, you attended with Priestess Agnesia of Orot.”


Ah, yes…”


The news spread fast. It was natural since the servants checked everyone upon entry, but she didn’t expect it to reach the emperor so quickly. It meant the imperial family was closely monitoring her situation.


It’s a shame… If I had brought Collin, it would have been really effective.


Selleana bowed deeply as a sign of respect. “I modestly assisted Priestess Agnesia on her first venture outside the temple.”


“That’s good. You did a good deed. However, it seems different from what I expected.”


What he expected.


…The empress must have told him everything. And it seemed the emperor was aware of her actions, whether from the hideout or the tower. At least, he knew she hadn’t found someone presentable to the imperial family.


I only told my family I was looking for my ideal type.


But entering with Agnesia was a signal that she hadn’t given up. Emperor Tashur III was testing her intentions.


…This is an important moment.


The imperial family gave only one justification that they could accept. But she couldn’t present that justification today. So, the imperial family probably hoped to firmly establish at this publicly watched event that Selleana had no other alternative.


If I gloss over it now, it will look like a hasty arrangement if I bring Collin later…


Could the Empress have set this stage, knowing she couldn’t just present anyone as her true love? The empress’s face bore a gentle smile, but her black eyes were unreadable.


Then, the answer lay with herself. What did she want?


Right… Happiness that meets my standards.


Selleana recalled a few things she was certain of. Life with Pavellian might be interesting at the honeymoon phase, but it would be dull overall. Meanwhile, there was a man whose mere conversation brought her joy, existing somewhere. The most effective move she could make here was…


With her thoughts organized, Selleana smiled brightly. “Your Majesty.”


No matter how she thought about it, Selleana had been too patient since recalling her past life, and once she decided to defy fate, she had nothing to lose.


“Though I regret to say.”


Sensing something wrong, Peredo hissed a warning, but it made no difference.


“In fact, there is a man whom I had hoped would accompany me today.”


The crowd gasped, and her family’s sharp gazes turned towards her instantly. Pavellian’s brows furrowed in an undeniable irritation.


Once she set her mind to it, her words flowed seamlessly. “I have fallen for him at first sight and am currently courting him, but regretfully, I have yet to win his heart. I had hoped to present my true love on such a blessed day as Your Majesty’s birthday, but I failed to do so, causing Your Majesty concern.”


With every word from Selleana, the hall stirred greatly. Although Emperor Tashur III’s expression remained unchanged, the storm in his eyes was evident to Selleana. The imperial family knew she had no true love. It was a declaration of her stance against marrying Pavellian.


“I’m very grateful that Your Majesty even looks after my love life, even though I’m just a daughter of your vassal.”


Selleana bowed deeply again, a perfect closure if not for the imperial family’s effort to pair her with Pavellian. Formally, there was no engagement between them, so there was nothing to criticize. But…


With Emperor Tashur III not speaking, the hall fell into an icy silence. When the empress finally broke the silence, a sigh of relief swept through the audience.


“Elard is a friend of the imperial family. A friend’s joy is the joy of the imperial family.”


“Thank you, Your Majesty.” The Empress’s gentle voice prompted Selleana to bow even deeper.


“I pray for a successful end to the Lady’s journey. This too, is part of the journey of life and death… But if I may advise.”


The momentary pause in the Empress’s words gave Selleana a chilling sensation. Was it because of the divine nature of her words?


“Destiny will find its way.”


The emotionless tone sent shivers down Selleana’s spine. As she barely raised her head, the empress simply smiled warmly.


…What was that?


“Oh my, Lady Elard is still alone.”


“It seems even her brothers are ignoring her.”


“Could that outburst have been without her family’s consent…?”


Possibly as punishment for her impulsive act, Selleana found herself isolated. She had never missed the first dance at a banquet since her debut. Either Pavellian or one of her brothers was her partner. And right after the first dance, young nobles rushed to ask her for a dance. But now, men of Elard didn’t speak to her, and the nobles only glanced at her from afar, not daring to approach.


Everyone’s quick to change their stance.


Selleana had effectively made herself an outcast at the emperor’s birthday by her defiant act. No one dared to ask her to dance.


“Another glass of wine? Isn’t it too soon?”


Only Michi remained by her side. It was because Michi wouldn’t dance with anyone as a precautionary action against her reverse harem.


“No, it’s fine. The wine tastes good today.”


“Right? This variety, especially from the central continent’s Oterdel region, with grapes…”


As Michi excitedly explained, Selleana sipped her wine. It was her second glass, but it didn’t matter. She didn’t plan to stay long anyway. Her sole purpose at today’s birthday banquet was to publicly declare her disinterest in the selection contest while also showcasing her well-being.


All done here, then.


She had planned to slowly spread the news about her romantic interest, but the emperor’s premature meddling turned out to be helpful.


Nesia said she would stay here until the High Priest left. Should I say goodbye to my mother and leave after the next song…? Leaving first would be most memorable, right? As Selleana was contemplating her next move.


“Oh my, Lady. You’ve been standing for a while. Aren’t your legs tired?”


A classic provocation. Selleana recognized the voice without needing to see the face.


“What a pleasant evening, Lady Jenon.”


Curly tawny hair and deep green eyes. It was Lady Eunice Jenon who entered as Pavellian’s partner today.


“Yes, a pleasant evening, Lady Elard. Did you have a chance to eat? The pumpkin soup served as an appetizer was delicious. Standing so long must have swollen your legs.”


The continuation of the provocation was predictably petty.


She’s mocking me for not dancing and just sanding. How simple.


Eunice Jenon. A pitiful lady who longs for Pavellian but suffers silently because the imperial family eyes Selleana as his partner.


…It’s time to end this bad relationship.


Selleana smiled beautifully as if delighted to see her. “Did you enjoy your first dance with His Highness?”


“Of course, what an honor, right?”


“Honor, huh.”


“Well, you wouldn’t understand what kind of honor it is, hence your antics…?”


“Antics, huh.”


Selleana smiled broadly. Let’s see what more you have to say. 


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