Chapter 176 Mask


My footsteps were heavy as I returned to the hall.


It had been quite a while. Bern and Ludy might be looking for me by now.


I sighed to myself and walked forward. Then I saw a familiar silhouette.


“Ah, Miss Iris.”


It was the person I least wanted to see right now.


Yuri’s smile was completely innocent, without a shadow of darkness.


“Miss Yuri…are you looking for something? The prince is likely searching for you.”


“I’m sure. I just have some things to say to you.”


What could it be? I couldn’t help but frown.


She moved close to me, pressing her lips to my ear.


“You saw?”


I understood what she was talking about, of course.


But because of shock, I stepped back.


“Well, it doesn’t matter. Nothing you say will matter to the people around me.”


She laughed.


Seeing her like that, I felt a chill spread through my body.


She was completely right.


If I wanted to make this incident public without proof, people would only attack me for attempting to smear Yuri’s name.


“I’ve said it, right? Because you’re not in the capital, plenty of people are feeling quite lonely. So I asked the queen herself to make sure that your friends aren’t so lonely after all.”


I bit down hard on my lip.


If I didn’t do that, the dark emotions surging up from my heart would force a scream out of me.


“I think it’s best that you keep an eye out for your own surroundings.”


With that, she disappeared.


In the end, the only thing I could do was clench my fists and stand there.


How long did I stay like that?


“Big Sis, what’s wrong?”


“You don’t look well. Are you feeling ill?”


Bern and Ludy found me there, still rooted to the spot.


Seeing them, I almost felt like tears were about to stream from my eyes.


But a voice inside of me scolded myself.


Don’t cry. Don’t cry. What difference would that make?


“Nothing. Sorry, I’m just a bit dizzy.”


“Maybe you should rest a bit longer?”


“No, I’m fine. Let’s go back.”


I urged the two of them forward even as they tried to fret over me further.


Maybe you should smile instead, the voice inside of me said.


Putting on a gloom look was ridiculous. No matter how sad I was, no matter how much I was wavering, I needed to hide it behind a smiling mask.


My father had left the reputation of the family with me.


I needed to see through the distribution of power among the nobles here, and how they related to one another.


You should display your charm, the voice inside me said.


Use all your nerves, increase others’ awareness of you, raise your value in their eyes.


Mother had poured her expectations into me as well.


I needed to control the situation. When people gathered together like this, there was much to be learned, and much information that was useful to my family that I could disseminate.


To display Duke Armenia’s family’s power and existence, to guarantee our survival in this bewitching yet dangerous arena.

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