~ 50 ~
“I am disappointed that you came here only when the Crown Prince has come here and stayed in another continent…”
“Haha. It’s the performance you have seen multiple times already since I became a member of the troupe.”
“Oh, you’re saying something you don’t know. How is the performance of Prima Donna the same when she was in the choir only?”
“Really? Therefore, today is the day when you will watch the continent’s best soprano, who is incredibly famous.”
“Hoho, the best on the continent? You are exaggerating!”
At Diego’s nudge, Calista laughed wildly.
Calista, who was occupied at talking with Diego, after a long time not seeing him, suddenly became conscious of the Crown Prince, and hastily bowed her head towards him with a respectful smile.
“Oh gracious, Your Highness. Please forgive me.”
“No, I did not know that the two of you are friends. Its’ hundred times better to be friendly around guests than having an awkward one.”
Ikshid gestured to Calista to lift her head, putting her hands on her chest. She smiled at Diego before opening her mouth.
“When I was just a member of the troupe, I received support from Marquis Miller here.”
“It’s sponsorship. Very good. No matter how great an artist, it all starts with the patronage of a nobleman.”
“Oho! It was a very small favor that could not even be called a patronage.”
“Again, again! He is very humble!”
Calista pretended that she had tapped Diego’s arm lightly.
“Weren’t you the one who introduced me to one of the managements of the theater companies, whom I had no connections with?”
A vocal of a commoner is the only way to gain her wealth and power. Of course, she had to be backed up by someone strong and at the perfect timing, effort, and talent, but it was by no means easy for all of those probabilities to interlock.
Calista was a woman who had overcome all the countless odds.
There was a certain person who caught Calista’s eyes. Her eyes traveled to the sister of Marquis Miller.
‘As rumored… she is indeed the younger sister of the marquis.’
It was because of her eyes, which had seen countless people here, standing or sitting. Among them, she is the most attractive person.
Calista still couldn’t forget her first day when she saw Marquis Miller. She looks like Miller’s younger sister after all.
As she expected, Lady Miller was very much like her brother. To borrow a cliché, she was like an angel who had just come down from heaven. Her dense rain of eyes and mouth trapped in the small, white face perfectly interlocked and harmonized.
Even her tiny freckles that had settled down on the back of her nose seemed to have been sprinkled with golden dust.
However, she was quite small compared to Marquis Miller, who was quite tall. Rather, because of that, she looked like a wax figure in a glass bottle that someone had cut. She was lovely and perfect.
“Hello, Lady Miller, I’ve heard a lot about you from Lady’s older brother.”
Eun-woo bowed her head to her while Calista bowed with her knees, who greeted her supporter’s sister. After giving her greeting, Calista’s eyes turned to the duke behind Eun-woo.
Eun-woo could see how Calista’s eyes opened slightly after seeing Tashian. It was an expression of surprise and wonder at the same time, but it was only a fleeting time that only a few people noticed it.
“Then, I shall prepare for my upcoming performance…”
She immediately bowed to the duke, and Lady Wellwoods, who was sitting next to the crown prince. After her brief farewell, she respectfully asked to leave before her performance. Ikshid’s consent fell then she proudly left with a smile.
After she disappeared, Ikshid lifted his glass in a timely manner.
“It looks like the show is about to start. Come on, let’s all have a drink first.”
At that signal, the servants began to deliver the luxurious supper prepared in advance to the table.
Eun-woo’s eyes widened at all the delicious food on the plate they brought in.
Boiled aged salmon serving, lime, kale, and pork topped with ground grain, honey and sauce. Soft baked potatoes topped with white bread and yellow butter, over it was poured melted cheese. There was a whole beef cooked with red wine near it, mixed with olives, fresh lettuce, and onions.
As soon as the food was put on the table, Tashian cut the tender veal and placed it on Eun-woo’s plate. Embarrassed at his kindness, she grabbed the food he handed to her and unwittingly picked up the fork and knife.
When she turned to look around, everyone was already enjoying the food and were chatting.
The performance is nearing, is it really alright for them to do this?
She swallowed her saliva roughly, looking at the delicious foods in front of her. Tashian, seeing her, urged her.
“What are you doing? Eat. It tastes good.”
But didn’t Ikshid say that the show will start soon?
Tashia smiled, assuring her that it’s fine, who was confused. He handed her a glass of wine and she pretended that she took a sip.
Eun-woo looked into his eyes and sipped his glass with an unsure attitude. The sweet and strong alcohol filled the tip of her nose with a fragrant scent.
“Even from below, vendors are traveling around to sell snacks, don’t they?”
When she looked down, vendors were indeed walking around, carrying yakitori, candied fruits, and some other food, placed on the boards.
Eun-woo put an apple coated in caramel syrup in her mouth and muttered while muttering.
“… It seems like everyone doesn’t even care about the performance.”
“They will ring the bell for such an important event, what are you worrying about?”
Diego said as he put the grilled fish in his mouth.
Indeed, as he said, there was a person waiting with a large bell in a corner of the stage. Eun-woo returned to the freshly reserved foods, with a fresh shock from the new culture in this world.
The real problem here was Diego. He ate as if he had been starved for a few days and was watching how Tashian was feeding his younger sister.
“My sister also has hands. She doesn’t need someone to take care of her like that.”
“… Try this too. It’s tasty.”
Eun-woo lightly ignored her brother, and smiled shyly at Tashian, who put smoked veal wrapped in sweet radish on the plate.
“Thank you, Tashian. However, my brother is right. I have hands too; you can stop feeding me.”
“Ever since earlier, you had been eating two or three mouthfuls. You’re having no appetite, right?”
On the contrary, Eun-woo could not say anything other than a slight smile in front of him who asked worriedly.
Diego, who looked at them like that, muttered as if he was serious.
“Now, why do you have to worry about how my sister eats? Just because you’re a big eater doesn’t mean everyone in the world eats like you.”
“Would you like me to bring you some fruit?”
Tashian didn’t pretend to hear Diego’s words. He was completely disregarding his presence and even Diego muttered to himself, “It’s no use saying anything…”, and forked the meat.
Eun-woo slowly began to savor the food he put on the plate. The tender flesh of the calf’s hind legs seemed to melt in her mouth with the sweet and sour sauce.
Tashian, who was only carrying food on Eun-woo’s plate without saying a word, took up his share and started eating.
It was then that Diego, who had glanced at Tashan like that, moved to his side.
“Diego, if you’re about to say nice things, get lost.”
Tashian threatened in a low voice that only Diego could hear. Diego opened his mouth, ignoring the voice that looked like it was going to be frosty in midsummer. There was still food lingering in his mouth.
“Well… about Calista.”
His voice was rather serious than what he expected. Noticing the roughness of his voice, Tashian took a glimpse of the woman beside him.
She was distracted from before as she watched the audience slowly turn off the lights from downstairs, informing that the performance will soon start. After confirming that she wasn’t paying attention to their conversation, he responded insensitively with a motionless gaze.
“… The singer we saw earlier.”
The rumors surrounding Calista were plentiful, which he knew well. Rumors were going to grow with fame. Moreover, if the rumors circulating around her involved one of the nobles’ successors, it would be chaotic.
“Is Reinhardt behind her?”
Diego, who looked at the chicken before him, ripped off another leg and spoke.
He had a completely different expression from the good-natured man who showed off his friendship with Calista before. Diego’s blue eyes flashed a deep purple in the red wine bottle.
“It was him who was watching over me, whether it was about sponsorship or not. Your older brother.”
“Stop calling my brother.”
Tashian gave a warning. Diego snorted.
“What if it’s not your older brother? Are you saying that he can be your younger brother?”
Still not looking at Diego, Tashian muttered coldly. Diego opened his mouth with a serious expression on his face.
“She said that she had to do her gigs across the continent and then she suddenly came back to Cremons therefore, her connections with him are deep.”
Calista is all along a famous singer. The fact that her solo performance in front of the royalties and nobles from around the continent before she came here, was also a testament on to her popularity across everywhere.
However, to stand as a prima donna in the Grand Theater of Cremons had a different meaning.
The Grand Theater of Cremons, which is called the center of art, was a place that focused on discovering new talent, usually featuring young singers who had just made their debut. There, female solo singers would change day by day.
The competition was fierce, and there were many artists who could not survive there for long and would then disappear without a hint or rumor. In order for a mid-level singer like Calista to stand as a prima donna here, her authority and status had to be elevated enough to be considered a legend in the vocal world.
When a vocalist who debuted at Cremons returns to the grand theater as the protagonist of the play, people describe it as ‘the rise of a new queen’. It also meant that the singer had become a game-changing star in her opera market.
“Although Calista was a promising woman by nature… I think she’s still too young to be referred to as, ‘She’s the new queen’.”
Diego gulped the wine and said.
“The previous queens did not return to Cremons and began their training sessions by performing on all continents. However, Calista had only performed in Genova. Her training has even started.”
It was suspicious enough. Diego murmured, rolling the glass of wine in his hand and his finger was wrapped on the glass.
“I think it’s your brother’s influence.”
Tashian still didn’t look at Diego and opened his mouth. His eyes turned to Eleanor, who had reached the railing to Selena and looked down.
“It has nothing to do with me when he meets any woman.”
“What do you mean, it doesn’t matter? Are you talking like that because you don’t know the current situation right now? We have to make sure that we keep our keen eyes on the chief’s every move, as we don’t know when and how the attack will come.”
“The boundaries are sufficient.”
“Everyone has boundaries!”
Diego’s voice rose slightly.
“I’ll have to warn my sister about that woman earlier. She’s a woman of high status. And the chief knows well that my sister lives in your castle. As close to the Crown Prince as we are, don’t forget that we are always being watched.”
Unlike his usual cheerful face, under the dim theater lights, Diego’s face was so serious that it seemed cold at first glance. Through the distorted pattern of water glasses, his deep blue eyes shone bluer than ice.
Diego looked at Tashian’s profile, not answering. His shady eyes were closed as if contemplating something.
Then he quietly opened his mouth.
“… Don’t tell this to me today.”
Diego opened his mouth as if embarrassed.
“What do you mean…”
“Don’t tell me today. Don’t do it today.”
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