Where in the world are we going where we need to put so much effort into our outfits?
Asked Lara several times. Eunice and Ximena did not answer, only giving her a smile in place of an answer. They just got on the carriage and moved a great distance toward an unknown place.
Soon afterward, they arrived at a dessert shop in the Dandelion luxury shopping district.
It was the place where Demian and his comrades were kicked out for being Barbarians and where they resorted to violence. It was said that Lampion destroyed the shop, but by the time Lara and the gang arrived, it had already been fixed. The shop was packed, rich customers stopped their carriages and went inside in pairs. The shop was decorated with fancy and bright lights. The employees were dressed in nice clothes. The shop was so successful that everyone passing through the street peeped through the shop at least once.
Lara clung to the window with her shoulders giddy with excitement. She kept losing control of the corners of her mouth so it was difficult to control her expression. Eunice poked Lara on the side.
“Hey, it’s going to be fun, right?”
“Don’t lie. I can hear your snorting.”
Eunice opened the carriage door with her shoes on. Ximena pulled out a black fan the size of a tray. Lara managed to hold her composure but she followed her two friends with a lot of laughter around her eyes.
Not enough with fancy dresses, they were even wearing expensive ornaments. The three ladies who had unique vibes got off in front of the dessert shop.
Eunice said with a smile.
“This shop is lousy.”
Ximena chipped in.
“I’m here because I heard this shop holds a high standard for their customers. Doesn’t seem so though, so disappointing.”
Lara almost developed cramps in her stomach, trying to hold back her laughter. They entered the shop under the guidance of the workers who had become stiff. When one of them told the employees to bring whatever the most expensive one is, Lara laughed again. After sitting down, Ximena covered her face with her fan and whispered to Lara.
“Now tell me who it is.”
“The people who bullied your lover, just tell your big sis. I will dust off their souls.”
“What? What are you going to do?”
“You don’t have to know that. Hurry up and tell me. I can’t just take anyone and harass them. We’ll just get another innocent victim then. My dear Lara can’t bear to see such a thing because only her mask is a villainess.”
“I don’t know who it is.”
“It can’t be helped then.”
Ximena leaned her back against the chair and sat in an arrogant position. Her pink dress spread out and she slowly waved her black fan.
The shop was crowded and the table where Lara and her friends were sitting was close to the center in the large hall. As they were dressed up in fancy and intense outfits, it was only natural for them to catch the eyes of other customers. If Lara had not been familiar with such gazes, it would have been very uncomfortable.
But this was nothing to her. Lara opened her arrogant eyes languidly and whispered to Eunice.
“Everyone must have fallen for you,”
Eunice laughed out loud. She replied.
Soon after, the dessert they ordered came out. The nicely dressed employees put a bite-sized dessert on a pretty plate and put it down one by one. The dessert itself was not bad. They could see why this shop was the most famous dessert shop in Dandelion.
However, Ximena glanced at the place with no interest and opened her mouth.
She was about to tell them spitefully that she wanted to speak to the manager. But, suddenly, there was a huge commotion outside. Exclamations that were close to screaming, heavy footsteps that sounded like the army was moving, and the roar of the well-spoken aide.
“The promised glory of this land, Acerus Elin Tarragon! His Imperial Highness, the Crown Prince!”
Get out of the way, shut your mouth, and lower your head.
The voice of the aide was clearly heard in the ears of Lara and her friends in the store. Ximena, who raised her nose and was about to cause trouble, stood up first.
“Hey, why would the Crown Prince come here?”
“I don’t know.”
“You didn’t hear anything about this? I thought you’re close to him.”
“Nope. He is close to Demian.”
Lara also wondered why Acerus came to the shop. He had to be busy preparing for the Northern expedition.
Eunice reluctantly stood up and said with a face of disapproval.
“This doesn’t feel good.”
“He beat us to it. Why else would the Crown Prince come here? You said he’s your lover’s friend.”
Lara thought that was impossible. Even though Acerus was an extraordinary member of the Imperial family, there was no way the Crown Prince himself came to the dessert shop to get back at them for Demian.
“Here comes the Crown Prince!”
As if to ridicule Lara’s expectations, the loud voice of the aide came into the shop. The confused workers gathered on one side, bowed their heads, and bent their backs. All the customers in the shop also got up from their seats and bowed as much as they could to greet him.
Lara and her friends were also obliged to bow their heads.
Step, step, step.
The sound of Acerus’ military boots resonated inside the quiet shop.
Acerus laughed. Somehow she had an ominous hunch. When Lara slightly lifted her head and looked toward the entrance, Acerus’ aide turned to the opposite side. She could see that he was cursing. It seemed that he was saying ‘fucking lunatic’ or something like that.
Without even knowing that his aide was committing blasphemy, Acerus said.
“The shop is lousy.”
Eunice’s shoulders were stiff.
Acerus said again.
“Oi, I want to speak to the manager.”
This time, Ximena’s jaw dropped.
“Can a Crown Prince act like this?”
Eunice asked in Lara’s ear. Lara replied.
Acerus harassed the dessert shop’s manager until his face was as pale as marble. He asked him if he was the culprit who kicked out the Barbarians, he dared him to ask all the customers to leave because he—a member of the Imperial family—had come. He asked him to bring the precious desserts that the Barbarians could not eat. He acted childishly.
Lara pretended to be a stranger, turned away from him, and tried to leave the shop. But as Acerus uselessly had good sight, he found her.
Then, he strode over to her with a joyous face.
“Why is he coming this way?”
“Do we have to greet him? Do we have to pretend to know him too? No, right? This is my first time meeting an Imperial family member. Does the Royal family and Imperial family have different greetings? Nope. Is the etiquette in Tarragon different from Hautean? Huh?”
Whispered Eunice standing next to Lara while a terrified Ximena hid behind her.
“I also don’t know.”
As Lara mumbled that, Acerus stood in front of her and opened his mouth to say ‘Saintess.’ Then he hesitated and bit his mouth. He seemed perplexed, not knowing what to call her. They were not on a friendly footing where he could call her by name. For him, the saintess was a saintess, not his friend.
Besides, if he made a mistake here, it could do great damage to Lara. Because he was the Crown Prince.
He was also well-aware of how much attention he got from the people of Tarragon as the unmarried Crown Prince. The rumors about the suspicious relationship between them were already spreading here and there. He did not want to add fuel to the fire.
Acerus vaguely opened his mouth and searched for his aide with a face asking for help. However, his aide had already quickly left the shop when his superior ran wild. Everyone in the shop was now looking at Acerus and Lara.
“Who is she?”
“She looks very scary…”
They could not dare to point their fingers at the Crown Prince so they sneakily talked about Lara. Lara and her friends caught the other customers’ attention from the time they entered the shop so their curiosity only grew.
Funny enough, it was not his aide who saved Acerus from the crisis, but the impatient Eunice.
Eunice wore a red and black ombre dress with the black fading into red toward the end of the skirt. Among the three, she had the fairest skin. She did not even put on any other makeup, but just red lipstick. Her overall look reminded people of a real vampire.
Eunice was so nervous, her whole body became stiff and her voice came out monotone. However, reflected in other people’s eyes, Eunice looked like the most wicked woman in the world who had the gall to open her eyes wide and smirk in front of the Crown Prince.
Eunice reached out one hand to Acerus. Wearing a ring with a large stone and several thin rings, her fingers fluttered in front of Acerus’ eyes.
The Crown Prince grabbed Eunice’s hand and lifted it slightly. Then, he bowed his head and kissed her fingertips. He said with all his heart.
No one opened their mouths.
What kind of situation is this? Why is the Crown Prince thanking her? Who are they?
Gazes full of curiosity shot like arrows.
Lara poked Eunice on the side. Then, Eunice opened her mouth reflexively.
“Why are you here?”
“I came here to vent my anger. I don’t feel so right before going to the battlefield.”
I see. So he’s here to vent his anger.
After having been stiff due to tension, Eunice’s shoulders were finally relaxed.
The Imperial family is not that big a deal. They’re no different from us.
Eunice stared at Acerus with an intimate and loving gaze as if looking at an old friend.
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