Translator: Skye Editor: herkawaiidramas
* * *
Madam Freesia’s Salon–Salon Blooms. Here, several women in masks were gathered and discussing the party that would be held in a week’s time.
“I can’t wait to see how the Arlos will decorate the mansion.”
“Me as well. They decorated the entire mansion with red roses last year, it was gorgeous. I wonder what they’ll do this year….”
“I’m curious as to what dress Lady Arlo will wear.”
“She’s a lovely lady, so I’m sure she’ll look pretty in anything she chooses. It’s just….”
The one who had just spoken trailed off her words but the other ladies who were listening urged her to continue, their eyes shining.
“What is it? Go ahead and tell us.”
As if she were waiting for the cue, the woman’s lips parted to continue, “I’m really curious as to who Lady Floyen will attend the party with.”
The talk about the birthday girl was pushed aside, and as the topic of the conversation shifted, the hidden intentions that had been concealed behind their masks slowly began to reveal themselves.
“To be honest, I’m only interested in this party because of Lady Floyen. Since she tends to always cause some kind of trouble…”
“Not to mention, there’s also that scandalous rumor that’s been going around.”
“Oh, the one about her new mysterious lover?”
As soon as the words left the woman’s lips, a loud crash rang violently throughout the hall. And on the floor, fragments of transparent debris scattered about.
Everyone glanced briefly at the wreckage of broken glass, assuming that it was just an accident caused by a clumsy person, and attempted to return to their earlier conversations.
However, the one who broke the silence first was a low masculine voice.
“Does uttering such baseless talk make you feel gratified?”
The man’s face was covered by a mask, hiding his identity, but this was a gathering of nobles. In this place, where only nobles could gather, there was an unwritten rule that you were to address and talk to each other formally and with respect.
But because of the way the man had spoken down to them, the women who were chatting away furrowed their brows. One of the women snapped at the man while fanning herself.
“How dare you speak so rudely, I’m telling you that I heard it from someone who witnessed it herself!”
She had spoken with vigor, but that was short-lived as her body soon warned her against the threatening aura coming from the man. The woman became overwhelmed by the intense pressure she felt radiating from him to the point where she found it hard to breathe.
The corners of the man’s lips raised into a crooked smile.
“So, did you see it yourself?”
“E-Even if I didn’t see it for myself, she’s known for her terrible behavior so would such a rumor really be groundless?”
“Is that so?
The man’s lips twitched into a smirk before his face returned to its original state, regarding the woman coldly. “If you can say those words in front of Lady Floyen, then go ahead.”
He looked over the many faces before him. All of them avoided eye contact and remained silent. He barely held back a snort.
“So, you don’t even have the courage to say it in front of the person directly. It seems you were just spouting nonsensical rumors.”
The nobles remained silent and an answer was still not returned. The man turned and coldly gave an order to the salon’s employees.
“Clean it up.”
Intimidated by the order that seemed to have come naturally, the employees moved to pick up the broken shards of glass. Meanwhile, the nobles started to regain their senses and began criticizing the man.
“Who the hell is that rude man?”
“He shows no respect towards the ladies either, how rude….”
At that moment, the man turned around and shot them all a piercing glare.
Overwhelmed by the frightening gaze, the nobles shut their mouths and became silent once more.
The man sneered at them. “Pathetic scum.”
Although the man had been even blunter with his insults this time, no one dared to come forward and call him out for it. Unlike before, they made sure not to make a slip of tongue, in fear that they may face his wrath.
The man turned his back and walked away as if he had no further business with them. The nobles managed to let out the breath they had all been holding only once he had completely vanished from their view.
* * *
After finishing my meal, I returned to my room with the intention of writing and sending overdue replies.
“I’ll need to write a letter to the other two who requested to be my partner and turn them down. There are also a few others I need to write to.”
Then, someone knocked on my door.
“Milady, it’s Derrick.”
It seemed to be a matter I couldn’t ignore. If Derrick was the one looking for me, it usually meant he had something that needed my permission in place of my father who was away, or it meant we had a visitor.
“Marilyn, please open the door.”
As soon as my maid opened the door, I could see the butler bowing his head with a slightly stiffened expression.
“Derrick, what is it?”
“Count Rowain’s second son, Lord Edmund, is here. He said he’s here because of the letter you sent him, milady.”
Oh, to think he would come here in person directly instead of just sending a letter.
I was slightly perplexed by his sudden visit, but if we were going to be partners, it wouldn’t hurt to get a little closer in advance.
“I’ll get ready and come down. Could you tell Lord Rowain to wait for a moment?”
Once Derrick left the room, I turned around to address my maids.
Although I had yet to give them any orders, they were already moving about, preparing to get me ready.
“Milady, please come this way. We’ll do our best to be quick while making sure you look as pretty as possible.”
I sighed as I looked at Sella and Marilyn’s determined expressions.
“I was only going to change my clothes….but I guess that won’t be possible.’
* * *
“Oh my, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it?”
Madam Freesia, the owner of Salon Blooms, warmly welcomed the man before her, but the man only gave a curt response.
“You’re just letting anyone in here, aren’t you.”
“Can’t do much about it. You know how those people love gossiping about others,” she said, sweeping her long, glamorous, red-blonde hair over her shoulder.
The man’s lips twitched at the woman’s response.
“It seems the master of an informant guild is quite pragmatic.”
“My, my. A guild would be ruined if one doesn’t have a sense of reality.”
Freesia’s answer came out playfully and the man proceeded to pour himself a glass of alcohol before gulping it down. The price of the liquor he had chosen was enough to buy a house, causing the woman to frown at the sight of him casually pouring himself a glass and drinking such an expensive bottle.
‘And of all people, it just had to be someone with a high alcohol tolerance….’
It was a pity, but she couldn’t just scold her benefactor. Instead, Freesia told him what she had planned on telling him the moment he stepped into the room.
“You usually hide your emotions so well, so how come you became angry and lashed out today? You didn’t treat the nobles as humans at all.”
The man turned a deaf ear to her remark. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. All I did was silence a bunch of barking dogs.”
The woman let out a sigh.
‘He’s been strange ever since he returned from Duke Floyen’s residence.’
But she had no plans to let the lord do whatever he wanted. Her mission was to protect him, after all.
“I hope you will be more careful with your words and actions next time.”
Instead of answering, the man sat on the sofa and took off his mask, revealing the young face that had been hidden behind it.
“Gather all the information you can regarding the rumors going around about Lady Floyen.”
Freesia frowned at the word “rumor.”
“Ah, you mean the rumors about Lady Floyen’s secret love affair, meeting up with a lover, who she can’t make public, every night?”
After all, there was the possibility that he would have to take responsibility for her.
As he was deliberating over those thoughts, the man felt a tingle in his chest, but showed no indication of such a thing as he continued, “Anything that has to do with her, I want it all reported.”
‘To think he would take an interest in someone else….is he trying to take a hold of the Duke’s weakness?’
Freesia gave him a strange look for a moment before soon bowing her head.
“As you wish, Crown Prince Maximillian.”
* * *
After dolling herself up–though making sure to make it look like minimal effort had been put in–Juvellian entered the sitting room where her guest was waiting.
The handsome blonde-haired man had his eyes lowered with a bored expression, but brightened as soon as he saw her.
“It’s been a while, Lady Floyen.”
“Welcome, Lord Rowain.”
The young man stood up from his seat and approached her, bowing politely. “I apologize for coming to see you without notice.”
“It’s all right, guests are always welcome. Please, have a seat.”
“Thank you for your warm welcome,” he said, smiling at her when she offered him a seat.
Blonde hair resembling golden thread, blue-green eyes, and cute eye bags* that appeared underneath his eyes when he smiled.
Although he wasn’t up to Mikhail’s level, in terms of reputation, he was still rather well-known for his good looks.
‘It seems there’s a lot of good looking people who are extras in this novel.’
The thought suddenly reminded her of the man who she had been with for a few days not too long ago.
‘Father’s apprentice, even though his personality was so-so…he’s definitely the most handsome so far.’
Whenever she had opened my eyes in the morning, she often wondered whether she was still dreaming as she stared blankly at his sleeping face on the floor next to her bed.
Only then did she realize the strange feeling she was experiencing and let out a sigh.
‘I hope he’s not starving and doing all right somewhere.’
Juvellian was lost in thought for a moment but came to her senses at the sound of the low voice that called her.
‘Ah, that’s right.’
She was reminded of her current situation when she saw the blonde-haired man, Lord Rowain, in front of her.
“Marilyn, please bring us some refreshments.”
Once Marilyn left, only the two remained in the room.
“Milady, I would like to tell you the reason why I came to see you today.”
Frankly, it seemed quite obvious why he was here. It was most likely to exchange greetings and something along the lines of “Please take good care of me at the ball next week, where we will be attending as partners.”
“Yes, go ahead.”
“If I have to be honest, I was surprised to receive a letter from you, milady. It was the opposite of what I had expected based on what I’ve been hearing.”
“Pardon? What do you mean?” she asked with a puzzled look, but he returned a confused look of his own as he responded, “Are you not aware of the rumors going around in high society right now?”
I have been living as a homebody these days, there’s no way I would be up to date with the latest rumors!
“I haven’t been to any social gatherings lately, so I’m afraid not. What kind of rumors are you talking about?”
His face hardened at her question, but he soon sighed and spoke, “There’s been a rumor going around that you are in the middle of a passionate relationship with someone. That is why I was surprised when I received your reply.”
I’m in a passionate relationship? What kind of nonsense is this?
Until now, she had been holed up in her house, rolling around and reading books. The few times she did leave the mansion, she was always surrounded by at least ten guards.
Most importantly, as a solid homebody, she had no opportunities to find someone to be in a relationship with.
As Juvellian was taken aback by such an absurd rumor, a sudden thought passed through her head.
‘Don’t tell me someone saw my father’s apprentice come in and out of the window??’
T/N: *Cute eye bags = 애교살 — apparently called pretarsal fullness in technical terms. Basically a lump of fat underneath your eyes (or I like to say fatter lower lid — koreans/asians tend to have thicker eyelids). It’s seen as a sign of beauty/cute/makes you look younger.
thanks to hazelnothazelnut for this chapter’s raws!
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