Author: lipzoldyck

 

Eleanor indifferently opened the luxurious invitation with the seal of the Imperial Palace and read the short letter.

 

[Lady Alanore Avorett.]

 

Prince, I’m not ‘Alanore Avorett’, but ‘Eleanor Everett’.

 

From the first line, the misspellings made her eyes dizzy. However, the sincerity written in crooked handwriting was quite cute. Eleanor smiled and read the next line.

 

[Hello, I am Prince Lucas. I hoqe you are doing well.]

 

You should write ‘hope’ instead of ‘hoqe’, Prince.

 

[I apologize I didn’t send you my invitation sun when you were waiting for my invitation eaglely. There was a reason for that.]

 

Not ‘eaglely’, but ‘eagerly.’ Not ‘sun’, but ‘soon’. Ah, and she wasn’t waiting. Rather, she was surprised that the letter arrived so early.

 

[Still, I am going to write to the Lady fist. I haven’t written for the Duke of Valentine yet.]

 

It’s ‘first’, not ‘fist’. She thinks his generosity of caring for her before the Duke is a bit cute.

 

[Everything is fine with me, but Brother Izmel says he only has time in the evening. So please understand. If we missed the chance to eat outside, let’s have lunch next time.]

 

She’s not disappointed. Really.

 

[See you then, bye.

 

Written by Lucas.

 

P.S. I invited the rude Pink Hair, but I don’t like it.]

 

***

 

Time passed quickly and the promised day with Lucas arrived. A few days were short, just thinking about what kind of dress to wear at a dinner with the Imperial Family. Of course, that concern belonged to the maids and the Countess rather than Eleanor.

 

“It’s just a normal dinner, Mother. You don’t have to be so enthusiastic about my dress. They don’t even know what color the dress I’m wearing is.”

 

Despite Eleanor’s weary pleas, the Countess didn’t budge.

 

“Even if it’s an ordinary normal as you said, the people who gather there aren’t ordinary at all.”

 

“You’re right, Miss. His Grace the Duke, Young Master Blake, His Highness the Crown Prince, and there’s even His Highness the Prince.”

 

“There must be thousands of young ladies who would give up, at least, their gallbladder if they could fit into that position.”

 

…Yes, but where are they all? I’ll give you my gallbladder, so please go there instead of me.

 

“Aren’t those three really the best grooms in the Empire?”

 

“Mother!”

 

“I know, I know. You’ve been telling me that it’s not like that until a scab forms over my ears.” (a scab forms over one’s ears: to hear somebody repeat something over and over.)

 

When Eleanor flared up, the Countess waved her hand to calm her down.

 

“But don’t you think I can have my own romance too? It’s already hopeless for my husband, I can, at least, imagine what it must be like to live with such a wonderful son-in-law.”

 

There was a subtle playfulness in the Countess’s voice. Eleanor, who had always hated it all the time, just laughed at her this time.

 

“Father will be upset to hear it.”

 

“Of course I love your father. Your father was pretty cute when he was younger. However, those three are really… You know what I mean?”

 

And it’s a girls’ secret, Eleanor. Got it? You can promise me, right?

 

The Countess, who had her to promise several times, as if feeling uneasy afterward, touched Eleanor’s hair one last time.

 

“You’re pretty, my daughter.”

 

Eleanor wore a modest dark green dress and tiny peridot earrings. She didn’t stand out, but it made Eleanor’s fair skin and her green eyes stand out.

 

“No one can take their eyes off you. Of course, if those gentlemen have the right eyes.”

 

***

 

As a result, the Countess’ sweet words became a reality. However, in a slightly uncomfortable way.

 

“Teacher, try this too.”

 

“Ha, even though you didn’t prepare it, you’re showing off.”

 

“As I felt last time, Your Highness is very talkative.”

 

Sienna and Lucas started bickering the moment their eyes met. Eleanor felt like they were trapped in their own world, as if they couldn’t see other people. Demian, as always, was sitting quietly, clearing the plate in front of him.

 

In case you’re wondering whether the world of adults is a little different, no, it’s not. The corners of Eleanor’s lips kept twitching as she sat upright and smiled politely.

 

“Ellen, the table looks a little high, would you like me to cut the meat?”

 

Adrian smiled softly and suggested.

 

“I just cut them all up, it seems that ours can be changed.”

 

Before Eleanor could say anything, Kaidel interrupted. Kaidel, who elegantly swapped his plate with Eleanor’s, greeted her with a blunt look.

 

“Thank you, Duke.”

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

“The Duke’s knife skills are very… impressive.”

 

Do innate warriors use cutlery perfectly? The steak cut by Kaidel was different from the cut side. The pieces of meat arranged in rows all boasted a certain size and shape. Eleanor stared at her plate with slightly weary eyes.

 

Izmel, who was looking at the three of them, burst into laughter.

 

“The two of you, excessive kindness is a burden. You don’t know what…”

 

It was surprising that the person who made her feel most comfortable in this place was the Crown Prince. How can a handsome person have a good sense? The sky sure is unfair.

 

“Was it not difficult to get here?”

 

“Yes, the Imperial Palace garden is so large and beautiful that I enjoyed watching it.”

 

For some reason, Kaidel’s shoulders twitched slightly.

 

“I’m glad you did. Actually, I thought it was sometime next month, but Lucas seemed to have a lot of fun that day, so he persistently scolded me.”

 

“Really? I’m glad.”

 

“It looks like he’s happy to have friends his age.”

 

Izmel whispered softly while glancing at Lucas and Sienna, who were still bickering.

 

“By the way, I heard a rather interesting story a while ago. Kaidel, have you heard?”

 

A mischievous smile flashed across Izmel’s face as he brought up a new topic. Kaidel looked at the Crown Prince with a blunt face.

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“The Young Marquis and Lady Everett enjoyed a very noisy date.”

 

The conversation sparked in an unexpected direction. Kaidel and Demian’s eyes turned to Eleanor. Eleanor concluded that she should reconsider the positive assessment she had made of the Crown Prince earlier.

 

“Yes, we had dinner together.”

 

Adrian nodded his head calmly and carefully sliced his steak.

 

“But it wasn’t a date! There must have been a misunderstanding.”

 

Eleanor added as if she was making an excuse.

 

“Then you were so drunk with wine that you couldn’t even control yourself?”

 

For a moment, Eleanor hesitated. Clearing her throat as much as she could, she answered coldly.

 

“That, unfortunately, has some basis.”

 

“What about the loud preaching about the joys and sorrows of labor?”

 

How far have you heard! Eleanor, what nonsense were you talking about!

 

Eleanor’s cheeks flushed red with embarrassment.

 

“It’s not like a gentleman of Bellium to embarrass the Lady’s mistake by pinching it like that, Your Highness.”

 

The most elegant way to overcome an embarrassing situation would be to push it with shamelessness. Eleanor, raising her chin a little proudly, continued her words clearly.

 

“Your Highness’ eyes and ears, of course, should be open to everyone, but I think it’s a waste to use them on a trivial and insignificant person like me. It’s from my utmost loyalty to the Empire.”

 

Izmel’s eyes widened at Eleanor.

 

“I was well aware of the Lady’s loyalty. I’m thrilled that the Everett twins share your advice side by side.”

 

Eleanor nodded her head lightly to show her respect.

 

“However, I can’t agree with all of it. The Lady is neither trivial nor insignificant to me.”

 

You’re the person I’m watching the most these days. Izmel swallowed back the words and smiled.

 

“I’ll try to respect your privacy a little more, though.”

 

“Thank you, Your Highness.”

 

The meal that followed went surprisingly well. In the middle, Lucas and Sienna burst into laughter at the words thrown at each other casually, and as they paid attention to Demian, the last dessert course was approaching before they knew it.

 

While Adrian and Izmel were talking about something, Eleanor savored the delicious desserts lined up on the wide table with her eyes.

 

“Which one?”

 

Just when she thought the distance was a bit far, Kaidel asked bluntly.

 

“The raspberry tart. Over there…”

 

As she pointed lightly with her fingertips, Kaidel deftly took a piece and placed it in front of Eleanor.

 

“Thank you, Duke. That’s very kind of you.”

 

As if it was nothing, Kaidel nodded his head lightly.

 

Eleanor gave a small nod of her head as she tasted the light pink cream with a little dip.

 

It tastes sweet yet refreshing. As expected, the desserts of the Imperial Family were different from those sold in the market.

 

‘Ah, is this the taste of power?’

 

Eleanor, who was preoccupied with savoring the taste, suddenly felt a gaze intently on her and raised her head.

 

It was Kaidel.

 

Eleanor thought his blue eyes were just like frozen lakes. She inadvertently made eye contact with him and was dumbfounded as if she had been beaten in the back of the head.

 

When you face an existence that goes beyond common sense standards of beauty, you experience a brief brain freeze. Eleanor realized that by looking at the Duke.

 

Thus was that. What she did was incredibly stupid.

 

“…Would you like a bite to eat?”

 

Stunned, Eleanor unknowingly took a piece of tart with her fork and held it out towards the Duke. She was completely unaware of what she was doing.

 

“Sure.”

 

Kaidel, startled for a moment, leaned over and took the tart without hesitation. A little bit of pink cream smeared on his lips.

 

“It’s delicious.”

 

He smiled faintly as he licked the cream on his lips with his tongue. Eleanor watched clearly as his eyes curved into half-moons and the long dimples on his cheeks dug for a moment before disappearing.

 

‘Oh my God, what did I just see?’

 

Eleanor was deeply frustrated that she couldn’t capture the moment on video. If everyone saw Kaidel’s smile, mankind would be a little happier and the world would be a little more livable.

 

At the same time, her reason slowly returned and she began to realize what she had just done.

  

  1. Towards the Duke of Valentine.

 

  1. With a used fork.

 

  1. The raspberry tart I was eating.

 

  1. I fed him by hand.

 

There were four points to point out in just one sentence. Eleanor’s face slowly turned pale. She quickly studied the faces of Izmel and Adrian. Fortunately, the two didn’t seem to see Eleanor’s mistake.

 

“Why is your face like that?”

 

Seeing such Eleanor, Kaidel tilted his head and asked.

 

‘No, why did that person take it lightly in the beginning? I was distracted by his beauty for a while, but…’

 

Eleanor, muttering inwardly, answered in a low voice.

 

“Ah, no.”

 

Seeing Eleanor’s cheeks turning red, Kaidel laughed.

 

“Eat more.”

 

“Yes…”

 

Until then, Eleanor didn’t know. Six tiny eyes were staring at the two of them.

 

Author's Thoughts

this chapter is sponsored by Aris (5/5)

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