Chapter 13 Royal castle evening party (1)
“I’ll teach you the basics of etiquettes.”
I was told that by Eva and I obediently accepted her lessons.
I didn’t want to keep Nonna waiting at the end of each day’s work or in between work, so I decided to set myself up as ‘someone who can learn after being taught once or twice’.
“Wow. How can you learn so quickly?”
“Actually, this isn’t the first time I’ve been asked to act as an insect repellent. But that was a long time ago, so I’m not confident.”
“Ah, I see. That’s why.”
I explained to Eva that, “When I used to work at a noble’s mansion, I played the role of a temporary lover of the master to get rid of the young women who were aiming for the position of the second wife.” It was the truth. However, my purpose at that time was to find out who the noble was connected to in another country.
I’m prepared for her to think that I might have been a mistress. I considered I could just look for another job if she said she couldn’t hire such a woman. But Eva didn’t change her attitude even after hearing that. She didn’t seem worried for Mr. Bernard either.
Ten days after Eva measured my body, a resized, ready-made dress arrived at Mrs. Yorana’s mansion in the name of Mr. Asher. The delivery person must have thought that the aristocrat from the main house ordered it. The light purple dress with an elegant design had a nice neckline and open back, and the shoes of the same color arrived in a separate box.
Mrs. Yorana was there with the lady attendants who brought the dress and box of shoes to me.
“Are you still in a relationship with the Commander?”
“I don’t know if I can say that I’m in a relationship with him. The Commander comes by Mr. Bernard’s mansion from time to time.”
“What about this dress?”
When I explained the situation, Mrs. Yorana smiled happily.
“Such a clumsy man. He could have just invited you directly without giving a reason like that.”
It was hard to say that I had already been invited to a meal and a picnic, so I laughed along vaguely, when Nonna happily reported, “The three of us went on a picnic.”
“Oh, I see. That’s great. You and the Commander are single. The difference in status is a thing now. Anything can happen.”
“No, we’re not in that kind of relationship.”
“It’s okay. You need the spark of love in life. You’re still young after all.”
Mrs. Yorana’s support confused me a little. As long as I act as an insect repellant for him, people will think we are lovers. It looks like there will be a lot of trouble in the future, but since I said I’d go, I’ll prepare myself.
‘I will not make promises that I cannot keep. I will keep the promises that I have made.’ That is my creed.
On the day of the party, I spent some time in the morning getting dressed and waiting for the Commander.
At four o’clock in the evening, as promised, the Commander came to pick me up in a carriage. And as soon as he saw me dressed up, he looked surprised.
“No matter how I look at you, you’re the image of a beautiful noble young lady. I knew you would look good in light purple. Looks like tonight I will be bathed in looks of jealousy.”
“Thank you very much. Please keep the compliments coming, I accept them all.”
Commander laughed as he lifted my chin with a pompous gesture on purpose.
At her request, Nonna ended up being looked after by Susan, the attendant of the main house.
“I’ll take care of her until morning. You don’t have to come home tonight.”
“Mrs. Yorana, I’ll be back tonight. What kind of delinquent do you want me to be?”
“Fufu. Go. Have fun.”
I bowed to Mrs. Yorana who sent me off with a wink, waved to Nonna, and got on the carriage. Mr. Asher held out his large hand, calloused from wielding a sword, as I boarded. It was dry and warm.
“I heard from Eva that it isn’t your first time acting as an insect repellent.”
“Please leave it to me to act as your personal insect repellant for today. So, could you tell me the names of the people who persistently bring up marriage proposals? I must keep them in mind before we meet.”
“Ah. I’ll tell you when we see them. Maybe they won’t come.”
(Then isn’t there no reason for me to attend?) I thought but didn’t say it. While chatting, we arrived at the royal castle in no time.
In addition to the many lamps placed and hung in the royal castle, there was also a large bonfire burning in the garden. The darkness in the garden stood out because the venue was bright. Outside the venue were guards in navy blue uniforms, and inside were royal guard knights in pure white uniforms with gorgeous gold decorations.
The venue was filled with women wearing dresses that looked like giant flowers. This night party at the royal castle is the fourth night party, including those held in other countries, but it’s the most gorgeous party so far. Befitting of a mercantile empire.
When we stepped into the venue, a wave of commotion spread among the people already there, and everyone looked at us. Some casually glanced at us, while others stared at us bluntly. Just how popular is the Commander? And those gazes were also directed at me who was next to the Commander.
(Well, I’ll have to start acting my role.)
For the first time in a long time, I was surrounded by a pleasant tension, and I looked up at the big silver-haired man with a smile while extending my back and putting my hand on the leader’s arm.
“Commander, you’re popular with both men and women, aren’t you?”
“It’s been ten years since I’ve participated with a woman. They must be surprised.”
I hadn’t heard that. Ten years? This handsome man? What does that mean?
“Lord Asher, it’s been a while. I am surprised that you are participating with a woman.”
“Earl Wald, a woman I want as company finally appeared.”
“Miss, may I ask your name?”
“My name is Victoria Sellers. I am from the Kingdom of Randall.”
“Is that so? I knew I hadn’t seen you before. So you are a young lady from our neighboring country.”
According to our discussion before the party, I am the young lady relative of the Anderson family who married into a neighboring country’s aristocratic family. Lady Eva said, “If you reveal honestly that she is a commoner, that would turn into the only topic and I would feel sorry for Victoria”. Just in case, I had my self-made Randall Kingdom ID card in my pocket.
After that, they talked to me one after another.
Before long, a young lady in her twenties approached, dragging her companion with her. The strength of her gaze made me think (Ah, I need to be careful with this), so I gently sent a signal through Mr. Asher’s arm. Mr. Asher nodded, still facing forward.
“Ah, Countess Gilmore, good evening.”
“Lord Asher, I have asked you many times to call me Florence. Tonight is an unusual night, isn’t it?”
While saying that, the evaluating way she scanned at me from top to bottom felt really bad. Moreover, her expression was so unrefined that it was hard to believe that she is the daughter of a Count. It appeared that she was so jealous that she forgot to control her expression. I let the rude gaze flow over me with the smile and composure of an adult.
“Victoria, this young lady is Countess Florence Gilmore. Countess Gilmore, this is Victoria Sellers. A young lady from a neighboring country viscount house.”
“My my, from a neighboring country.”
Miss Florence’s gaze became even meaner when she learned that my social status is lower than hers.
(You’re such an idiot. Exposing such bad personality on your face in front of the person you’re interested in), I muttered in my heart.
“I am Victoria Sellers. I am deeply moved by the fact that all the young ladies of the Ashbury Kingdom are very elegant and kind.”
The one who stifled a laugh was the Commander. He seemed to have picked up on my sarcasm.
“She’s my beloved lady. I’ll be delighted if you are to be on good terms with her.”
Saying that, the Commander hugged my shoulder and kissed my hair.
Lady Florence froze in surprise. Her face and neck turn red with anger.
That gesture, coming from the Commander who had not brought a woman for 10 years, made the surrounding spectators stir. I was also surprised, but during the discussion we had in advance, I was told, “I want to play as two people who are very close.”
“My, not here Jeffrey.”
I replied in a sweet voice. I twisted my upper body a little and looked up at the Commander, choosing an angle where other people could easily see my genuinely happy expression.
All was well up to this point.