Chapter 173 Prologue
Everyone lowered their heads. I did the same.
Leading at the front was the queen dowager, Queen Ellia and Prince Edward…it seemed like the first prince would be absent this time too.
Following Prince Edward, Yuri appeared too, holding his hand.
I couldn’t help but stare. “Why is she there?”
Yuri was only his fiance, after all–only that, nothing more.
Even if she would be part of the royal family in the future, as long as they weren’t married, she wasn’t supposed to appear at an official event like this as a royal.
As my mother used to say, it was because you never knew what might happen until the actual marriage.
Queen Ellia had been a queen for quite some time. As a daughter of a duke’s family and a noble, there were certain manners that one had to abide by. She should be much more familiar with them than most.
Even so, she let Yuri show up alongside the royals. That means that she had earned quite some regard from her.
More importantly, Yuri seemed to be beloved by the nobles who were in the second prince’s faction.
If she wasn’t, then showing up like that wouldn’t be allowed, not even by Queen Ellia.
Although I still didn’t understand it fully, it meant at the very least that she had established herself well enough in the social world to forcefully make an appearance like that. Thinking about that was enough to make shivers run down my spine.
Today her gown was ivory-colored. There was a huge ribbon on her chest and the same smaller ribbons on her arms. The edges of the gown were decorated with several layers of lace.
While in the past her clothing accentuated her cuteness, today it seemed to also include the glamour befitting of a royal.
The royals settled into their seats. Then the band began to play.
The children who were debuting this year showed up, one after the other. Each nation had a different set of customs. This country’s custom of all them showing up at once was its own thing entirely.
In the Tasmerian Kingdom, all the debuting children would visit the royals with respect during the day, one by one.
And then at night, they would show themselves in front of the many royals who were present.
The boys wore flowers on their chests, and the girls wore flowers in their hair.
It was just like the flowers I’d seen in my previous life, of small pink flowers that looked like irises.
Although I didn’t know whether the flower symbolized the same thing in this world, irises in that world symbolized “pride”…the pride of a noble, something like that.
The girls wore simple white gowns, while the boys wore black suits. In couples, they arrayed themselves apart in the middle of the hall.
After that, they began to dance.
When their dance ended, the nobles on the side applauded them. From here on out, it became nothing more than a normal dance. Me and Bern danced together, and I also danced with a few other nobles as well.
After a few dances, I went back to the wallside to rest.
Picking up some champagne, I gazed upon the view on the dancefloor.
Bern had withdrawn at the same time as I had, and stood beside me.
Suddenly, Prince Edward and Miss Yuri entered my field of vision. They were dancing as well.
As royals who were engaged to each other, they didn’t switch out partners.
Mimosa and Dan were dancing near them as well.
Although I felt lonely at being left behind by my close friend, I watched her dance as closely as I could.
I didn’t come back to myself until Bern called out for me.
His voice was a bit stiff. Just when I was about to ask, I followed his gaze and understood immediately why.
As the tune changed, Prince Edward kept dancing nearer, bringing Yuri along with him.
I didn’t want to interact with them, so I glanced around them. Unfortunately, no nobles that I knew were around me.
During this time, she headed straight toward me with a smile on her face.
By the looks of her, even if I did try talking with others, I wouldn’t be able to escape her.
I gave up and made preparations for the worst, staring straight at her.
Because she and Prince Edward had already come quite close, the people around us noticed, and held their breaths as they watched and waited.
“It’s been a long time, Miss Iris, Bern.”
“It has, Miss Yuri.”
I responded to Yuri’s smile with a smile.
Next to me, Bern nodded quietly.
“I heard quite a lot of people discussing you. It seems like you’re always working hard, but never come to the capital. I guess it’s inevitable, but everyone is lonely without you. Although your companion is Bern this time, you should make it a point to talk to everyone here.”
“This is really…thank you for your suggestion. Miss Yuri, you’re the same way. You seem to have expanded quite a lot of effort on charity. I admire you for presenting yourself so well alongside Prince Edward.”
“To be complimented like that by you gives me confidence in myself. Your gown today is so beautiful, Miss Iris. Is it a new piece?”
“Thank you. I’m honored to receive praise from you. This is a new product of Madame Klager and the Azure Conglomerate.”
“Ah…I want to wear something like that too, but I don’t know if I could compare to you…Miss Iris, the gown is such a good match for you that no one else can hope to measure up.”
“Not at all…this gown’s design is perfect to showcase how adorable you are, Miss Yuri.”
“Yuri…we should get going…”
Prince Edward interrupted our dialogue to say this to Yuri. Our eyes crossed for a moment, and his brows furrowed like he had seen something obscene, before he looked away.
…Compared to the odd conflict we’d had last time, this was ideal enough.
“Well then. Miss Iris, we’ll have to excuse ourselves.”
Yuri left quickly with Edward.
Exhaustion filled me, and I took a deep breath.
“Do you want anything to drink?”
“No, I’m fine. Thank you, Bern.”
Was my tiredness so obvious? I tried my best to rouse my own spirits.
And then a familiar figure entered my field of vision.
“It’s been a long time, Mr. Ludius.”
“Nice to see you again, Miss Iris, Mr. Bern.”
Standing there was our cousin, Ludius Jib Anderson.
“It’s quite rare to see you here. Usually because of work, you don’t show up at this kind of event.”
“My superiors said that this event was mandatory.”
“Ah…” I giggled a bit after hearing his response.
“This is a rare opportunity. Do you want to go over there and talk? Or perhaps dance a few tunes?”
The three of us walked toward the balcony, which was a distance from the crowd.