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The salon seemed to be in full swing with the story of the ‘lucky color’. With eager eyes, everyone asked as to what color was their lucky charm.
In modern Korea, it was a bit cute to see people who rise up with a topic that had been out of fashion a long time ago. But I’m not a personal colorist, and I couldn’t possibly find a color that works for everyone.
“Everyone, calm down.”
Cordelia with a coy face said, then clink, putting the cup down.
“Lady Irene will feel burdened. Divine power is not a convenient power that always manifests itself. I don’t always make you tea with my power, do I?”
“Oh, that’s right… I’m sorry, Lady Irene.”
“We were frivolous.”
Cordelia’s decorous attack calmed everyone down. Cordelia said -hmm-, raised her neck and spoke to me.
“Since we are talking about tea. How does the tea taste? Lady Irene.”
I looked down at the tea I’d been sipping without giving it much thought until now. I don’t know much about tea because I don’t have much knowledge of it, but it seemed fragrant and softer on the throat than the teas I usually drink.
Then I honestly expressed my feelings about it.
“I love the smell of flowers. What kind of flowers do you use to make our tea?”
“Really? Are you curious?”
Cordelia’s eyes twinkled with joy. The woman’s smugness quickly returned as she covered her mouth with a folding fan and said,
“Well, nothing special, but I did add a bloomed flower petal. It’s not a lot.”
I opened my eyes wide and looked down at the teacup. Then I looked at the tea again. I can’t believe this was a tea with the power of a Saintess in it!
“No way. This is such an honor, Lady Cordelia.”
“What do you mean honor? Hmm. It’s really nothing.” Cordelia said, her eyes softly lowering.
“I’ve been working hard on blooming that flower for quite a while. It’s not something important.”
“I can’t believe you treat me with flowers that have bloomed with so much care. I’m so touched, Lady Cordelia.”
“Hmm, well… It wasn’t a big deal.”
Cordelia said while fluttering her fan.
I quickly sipped tea again.
Is it the placebo effect? Certainly, I felt like I was gaining energy from deep inside my body.
[TL/N: Placebo effect is The idea that your brain can convince your body a fake treatment is the real thing — the so-called placebo effect — and thus stimulate healing has been around. (Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mental-health/the-power-of-the-placebo-effect)]
“I feel like I am already energized.”
“What? It can’t be that quick yet.”
With an absurd response, Cordelia flapped her fan faster.
“Lady Cordelia, I seem to be feeling refreshed too.”
Then Aden sneakily intervened. Cordelia’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Huh? I didn’t put the petals in Aden’s tea with my power…”
Aden’s face was visibly cracked.
“I’m sorry. I don’t have enough flower petals, so I used it on Lady Irene. But it’s made of good leaves, so it’ll work.”
“It’s……okay. It still smells really good.”
Aden said that sounded like he was holding back. Then, as expected, he stared at me, and his eyes were not pretty.
‘Uh-huh, you better control your facial expressions if you want to keep the title of most handsome man.‘
It would be until the ‘Flower of Reheart’ vote next year. Tsk tsk.
“Ah. Have you ever heard of that?”
A young lady said with her eyes twinkling as if she had come up with a topic.
“I heard the Magic Tower has invented a new toy this time.”
I was almost choked up about the subject of the Magic Tower, which I had never thought of.
“Oh, the portable fireworks kit? It was fascinating. If you draw a picture on the drawing paper, you can shoot fireworks just as it is!”
“Ugh, my younger brother was begging me to buy it. Eventually, I sent a maid to the Magic Tower, but I heard there was a long line.”
“I don’t know who the Master of Magic Tower is, but I’m sure he sat on the money cushion comfortably.”
“Yeah. It’s a pity right? Even with that amount of money, he can’t fix the smallpox scars that had pittied his face.”
Huh? I blinked at the unexpected story.
“Oh my, smallpox scars? I heard that there are scales on his face.”
“I heard that his liver spots are huge.”
“Everyone was wrong. I’m sure about the information I’ve got. He said he never takes off the mask because of his inferiority complex about having a huge bulbous nose.”
I quietly looked back at Ray, listening intently to the stories that bounced back and forth like a ping-pong ball.
Ray Monaghan, a.k.a. Rizello, was listening to the story with a naive smile on his face.
“I see. Bulbous nose. That’s interesting.”
He said it with small gestures.
I laughed inwardly as I examined Rizello’s nose, which was well-shaped rather than bulbous.
‘He has a thick face.’
He’s probably the only man in the world who enjoys hearing them deride him in front of him.
This Master of Magic Tower, Rizzello Romulus, was famous for never taking off his mask wherever he went. As a result, it seemed that the rumors about it were spreading.
As if they were wrapping up the story, the lady who had started it spoke.
“Anyway, if he’s so talented and wealthy, why hasn’t he married yet? There’s some great secret hidden under the mask that he never takes off. I’m sure of it! Lady Irene, don’t you think so?”
Everyone’s eyes were on me. Even Rizzello. A young lady asked again.
“Isn’t it true that he has a fatal flaw in his face? That’s most likely the reason he hasn’t married yet.”
Why are you doing this to me?
I felt Rizelo’s loving gaze and I broke out in a cold sweat.
‘That’s right. His face must have been very ugly!’
If I responded like that, I think I’ll have to be careful on the road at night.
“I… don’t know if that’s why the talented and outstanding Master of Magic Tower hasn’t married yet. I’m not a huge fan of looks.”
I was just saying it roughly, but why? The room fell silent. A few seconds later, the lady who was speaking to me opened her mouth with a slight wretched expression.
“Ha ha, I see, Lady Irene. You are not a fan of looks, so you are engaged with Sir Ian.”
“I really trust you…! Hahaha.”
Hmm. I think I made a big mistake. Looking at the people who smiled strangely, I hurriedly tried to fix it.
“Actually, my ideal type was someone who was kind and good-looking. If I had to choose, I’d go with a man who resembles a puppy.”
“I see. It must be very difficult because you are engaged to a handsome man who does not fit your ideal type…”
This time, too, the response I received was cold. Hmm. I dug my own grave again.
Feeling my intuition was wrong, I decided to throw another bait.
“However, when you are in front of the fateful first meeting, everything about my ideal type is useless.”
“If it is about your first meeting, is it about the one who said Ian rescued Lady Irene from being unfairly kidnapped and sold?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
When I replied in a shy tone, the eyes of those who had grown cold began to perk up as if they were interested in hearing more.
I began telling the story of our first meeting as I had planned with Ian.
When Ian dramatically rescued me from the carriage as it was about to fall and asked, ‘Are you okay, Lady?’ everyone was about to clap their hands.
“Sir Ian, he is the perfect knight!”
“He is the role model for all knights!”
Role model of the knights?
When I remembered how he smiled while looking at my posture yesterday, my nose snorted. What kind of knight laughs at Lady like that?
“It’s a very romantic story, Lady Irene.”
“After all, you are the hottest lovers in the Empire right now.”
“Are you sure half of the people in the capital will attend your wedding?”
I blinked my eyes. I expected that it would be as glamorous because this was the wedding of Ian Esteban and the Saintess, but half of the people of the capital will attend!?
‘Wouldn’t the wedding hall burst out?’
“Come to think of it, the wedding is only about a week away. Lady Irene, you must be thrilled.”
“We are all excited. Ho ho ho. Are you very nervous?”
At first, I was nervous, but just listening to these people made me even more nervous. People nodded as if they already knew it.
“That’s understandable. The wedding culture of the Rehart Empire… You know, it’s a bit provoking.”
“Ugh, It’s a bad custom, really bad custom. I hope we can break it down now.”
Those who said it had their eyes gleaming with enthusiasm.
I returned Cordelia’s stare first, obliquely responding. With the expression of needing help.
“Nervousness… Of course. I’m worried.”
I nodded with a stiff face. Cordelia, however, slipped away from my gaze.
“Really, What kind of tradition exists without dignity? uh, hmm. I’m sorry, Lady Irene.”
Cordelia’s cheeks were slightly red as she said that.
‘Wedding culture… What is it?’
What is a culture without dignity they were talking about? Isn’t a wedding all about exchanging rings and kissing an oath at best?
‘What is it? What are people doing at weddings in this country?’
I was caught up in a sudden fear.
* * *
It was time to end the gathering. I cast a glance at Rizzello as they began to leave one by one. He was arranging his seat in a very casual manner.
“Then I’ll take my leave now. Thank you for the invitation, Lady Cordelia.”
Rizello greeted Cordelia with perfect etiquette. Several ladies blushed in secret at his gentle figure. Cordelia, who was greeted with a sly smile, saw Rizello off.
‘Are you really leaving like this?’
I stood next to Cordelia as we watched Rizello leave.
“Lady Irene, it was an honor to talk with you today.”
Saying that, Rizello politely greeted me as well.
I couldn’t feel anything like a secret password in a simple greeting.
‘Well, it must be difficult to meet people in a place like this.’
We couldn’t keep bumping into each other in the hallway like we did the last time. When should I send the money? Rizello walked past me as I was thinking about it.
And at the same time, a secret touch grazed my hand.
I reflexively clenched my fists. As he walked past me, the note Rizello had secretly given me crumpled in my fist.