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“Is that all the evidence you have to suspect me as this criminal?”
“The name, age, and physical appearance all match. I thought it was a matter that the public was sufficiently suspicious of, therefore I couldn’t help but be concerned.”
I laughed inwardly at the voice that sounded very concerned to me.
Now that I see it, Count Paras was just blowing smoke.
[PR/N: try to mislead or threaten someone by giving false or exaggerated information/to deliberately confuse or mislead someone in order to deceive them.]
‘Listen, everyone in this salon can hear.’
“It’s correct that our descriptions are similar, but you know my name is very common and also the same age doesn’t prove anything either.”
I spoke timidly. Count Paras seemed surprised I didn’t panic at all.
“And… ah, yes. Did you say I have the same appearance as them? What a relief. I can get rid of Count’s ‘worry’ right here.”
When I smiled broadly at the Count, he looked perplexed.
Don’t be fooled; everyone in the salon is listening. I had to put an end to Count’s suspicions. In other words, I had to nip it in the bud before these accusations spread.
Hu, After that, I sighed softly and ran my hand through my hair.
‘I just thought it was a terrible thunderbolt in the morning.’
To think it would be helpful in this way.
“Do you have any cutlery?”
When I looked around and asked, Lady Hana handed me a paper knife with a bewildered face. I took it to the tip of my hair.
A lock of my hair, about a finger’s length, was cut.
Surprised sounds erupted from everywhere. My unexpected action baffled the Count as well.
“Ah, Lady Irene. What is this all of a sudden… Huh?”
The Count’s voice soon became strained with embarrassment.
My hair turned into a different color once it was no longer a part of my body. It became pink like cherry blossoms.
“What is this……”
The Count’s mouth was puffed up with surprise. I smiled and said,
“Brown isn’t my natural hair color. It’s actually pink.”
I said as I looked at my lock of hair. The Count still seemed dumbfounded.
The Count stuttered.
“You changed your hair color using magic…?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
The Count gave a blank expression when I spoke with a bright smile. You must have been surprised – of course you would have been;
I was surprised as well this morning.
After a while, the Count barely managed to counter as he came to his senses.
“Forgive me, but I think it’s strange. Why were you using that expensive transformation powder? Do you intend to hide your identity?”
Well, it seems to have come out like that. My smile deepened, Count Paras was right; I have an identity that cannot be revealed.
That was why I couldn’t let anything else slip through the gap.
I spoke softly, tilting my head.
With his chin raised as if to say something, the Count looked at me. With a grin on my face, I said,
“I liked a pink dress.”
The Count’s voice was twisted, as if this was an entirely unexpected response. I continued speaking, looking as if I didn’t know what was wrong.
“I’m obsessed with pink these days, but my hair is pink as well.”
The Count puffed, his expression puzzled.
“Do you think that makes sense? That’s why you used transformation powder?”
“I’m not sure what you mean when you say it doesn’t make sense. Isn’t it true that you can’t have pink hair and wear a pink dress? You’ll look like you’ve been devoured by the color pink.”
I made a face as if I didn’t understand. It was a strategy to use bold acting skills to overcome the lack of rationale.
“What kind of…”
Count Paras flustered. The Bishop, who stood next to the Count, nodded with a bemused expression.
“That is a little strange.”
“Yes? I’m glad you understand, Bishop. For your information, Ian came up with the idea for me, since I was worried about it.”
People were riled up again by the new lies.
“Ian bought the transformation powder, right?”
“You’re not arrogant in the least. This time they’re really falling in love.”
“No, that’s ridiculous!”
The Count raised his voice. When the weapon he brought turned into nothing more than an unloaded gun, he looked very embarrassed.
“I can’t believe it. Don’t make excuses like that, tell me the truth! What kind of past are you hiding? If you can tell me honestly right now-“
“Who are you pressing right now?”
At that moment, a cold voice pierced my ears. Count Paras’ face hardened and froze as he turned to the side.
‘When did you come?’
The unexpected appearance of Ian surprised me as well. Though I didn’t show it on the outside.
“You seem to have a lot of questions about my fiancée.”
Ian strode up. His blue eyes were cold.
The Count attempted to take a step back, but the terrace railing quickly blocked his path.
“You should have dealt with me. How dare you threaten her?”
Ian glared at Count Paras as if he were a petty bug.
He was not only the righteous Commander of the Holy Knights, but also a member of the Royal Family, the former Emperor’s son and the first heir to the throne.
“Sir Ian, I did not mean it like that.” Count Paras stuttered.
Ian seemed pretty scary.
That’s why he took advantage of the after-party banquet and aimed at me when Ian wasn’t here.
‘If you’re that scared, you shouldn’t have done it in the first place!’
You were surprised. Huh.
I glanced over at Count Paras and organized my thoughts inside.
‘To put it another way, the Count is nothing more than a minion thrown in frontline.’
Who would it be?
The real culprit who controlled the Count.
“I just, I was just worried about the growing misunderstanding surrounding Lady Irene, therefore.”
“Are you now saying that’s an excuse?”
Ian looked back at me this time. I was surprised when I looked into his cold dark blue eyes. Ian approached me and asked carefully.
“Are you surprised? Your complexion.”
Inadvertently, I caressed my cheek. It has to be the same complexion as before.
But I opened my mouth softly and spoke in a trembling voice.
“A little… I was a little surprised.”
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have left you.”
“No. It’s not Ian’s fault.”
“You look so pale…”
Ian’s eyes were concerned as he looked at me.
I looked at his eyes, secretly admiring them. He seemed to be a melodramatic actor who had been performing in melodramas for over a century.
‘You’re a virgin, with no experience with love… but you’re portraying it well enough?’
Then there was an odd sense of competition. I couldn’t lose because I’d improved my acting skills by reading a variety of romance novels and dramas.
“Sir Ian, you don’t look very well either. Are you worried because of me? Don’t do that… It hurts my heart more.”
I wanted to stroke Ian’s cheek, but I didn’t have the courage to do so, no matter how competitive I was.
“You really are… you always put my thoughts first.”
Ian was also a formidable opponent. His sweet voice gave me creepy goosebumps. I felt like all eyes in the salon were focused on us.
Now is the time. I scraped together my shoddy acting skills.
“Of course. The most important thing to me is… It’s always you, Ian.”
I didn’t forget to flutter my eyelashes as I said that.
If you watched the drama, you may have noticed that the impressive scenes had nutritional value in their own right, as I’ve always tried to recreate the scene with my best friend Soyeon.
I was excited and wrapped my hand around one of Ian’s cheeks.
“Therefore, don’t worry about me. As long as I have you, I’m fine.”
For a brief moment, Ian was deafeningly silent. When there was no response back, I felt a little proud.
‘I think I won.’
It was a victory for K-drama fans. Then Ian opened his mouth after a few seconds.
“Irene. How about taking a break today?”
“Shall we? I’m a little bit tired.”
I quickly accepted Ian’s suggestion.
As I boasted about my phony love story with Ian, the goal of today’s after-party banquet was accomplished.
Ian, who was escorting me off the terrace, looked back at Count Paras.
“You should think about how you’re going to make amends for your rudeness.”
Count Paras hardened like a stone.
Ian left the terrace without looking at the Count. Of course with me.
“I’m sorry I have to retire first.”
After coming back to the salon, I apologized to the young ladies.
“No! Hurry up and head out.”
“You did a great job today. I’m sorry that you went through something unfortunate at the end.”
“I hope to see you again soon.”
Saintess Cordelia greeted me with her eyes full of jealousy. I left the salon with Ian after greeting the young ladies.
I sighed as I walked back to my room through the hallway. Then Ian spoke in a low voice.
“They’re moving faster than I thought.”
“But I handled it well.”
I said without hiding my pride and Ian turned to me.
“Are you really okay?”
What. Are you still worried about my acting?
I chuckled, as if I wasn’t bothered by it.
“The Count was so low-key that he didn’t even seem afraid. Once he started panicking, he fell onto the grass.”
[TL/N : falling onto the grass means getting tired and eventually giving up.]
Even if Ian hadn’t shown up, Count Paras would have been slowly but steadily digging his own grave. He felt like a Level 1 enemy, as befitting of the first confrontation.
“By the way, it seemed like everyone was interested to know about my past. Well, of course they are.”
I looked up at Ian after a few moments of thought.
“Can I tell them about my past as a runaway slave?”
“Will you be fine?”
Ian asked if I was fine again. It seemed to be a question of whether I would be okay even if such a past were revealed.
‘You’re very considerate today.’
In a nostalgic mood, I scratched my nose. It felt strange to be considered by someone who had stated on the first meeting that he would kill me.
“Hey, it doesn’t matter to me. The problem lies with you, Ian. Is it acceptable if your fiancée is known as a runaway slave?”
“It doesn’t matter to me where you’re from.”
Ian said it straightforwardly.
“Whether you were a slave or a member of the Royal Family, you were a hindrance to me.”
“Yes, Yes. I am really sorry.”
I apologised soullessly, without feeling remorse.
Ian stared at me. Wasn’t that not sincere? It was then when I began to feel guilty towards him.
“However, if the truth is revealed, there may be a group of people attempting to torment you, taking advantage of it.”
I nodded slowly at his words. Slavery was considered uncivilized in this country, Rehart Empire.
Even so, if I said I was once a slave, I’m sure some people would look down on me.
“I have an idea.” I perked up my ears at Ian’s next words.
“What is it?” Hearing the explanation, I opened my eyes wide after a while.