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Stan started preparing early in the morning to attend the tea party at the Palace of The Crown Prince.
“Your Highness, Her Highness the Princess is waiting for you.”
He could bear this much just to see Ciel’s face once. No matter how harshly she treats him, he can’t give up because there are things that keep happening.
“Mom, this is Stan.”
The door opened, and Stan walked into Princess Lotte’s dressing room. Even though Princess Lotte had a grown-up son, she was still extremely beautiful.
If Eve, who was considered to be the most beautiful woman in the empire, was likened to a lily, and Princess Lotte to a rose that was in full bloom splendidly. The standards of beauty are different for everyone.
Princess Lotte, who was clad in a dress with a shade of red that rivalled the colour of blood, carried her status as a member of the imperial family’s noble bloodline proudly.
“Mother always wears a red dress at important events.”
“This is my battle uniform.”
This dress was the one she wore the first time she met his father. Princess Lotte finished her makeup with an expressionless face, neither smiling nor frowning.
As he grew older, the features of Princess Lotte disappeared from Stan’s face. They didn’t need to tell him who he resembled; he could tell it himself.
“Remember whose son you are, Stan.”
Stan was born to the Mercenary King Winterbaum and Princess Royal, Lotte.
“How dare they compare him to the emperor’s illegitimate son.”
Stan would not be satisfied with a companion that was worthy of a noble bloodline unless it was Valentine’s daughter, who was born for the first time after a hundred years.
He liked those things, but his mother didn’t, so Stan silently listened to the story and escorted his mother.
When word got out that Princess Lotte was coming, there were a lot of people in the party hall. Princess Lotte called the chief maid, Jean Morrigan.
“What about the rabbit?”
“They say they arrived early.”
Princess Lotte hid many things, even from her son, Stan. Feeling a bit ominous, Stan hinted at his mother.
“Ciel is a very important person to me.”
“Yes, I know.”
Before anyone knew it, the carriage carrying the two of them had arrived at the palace of the crown prince.
“It is beautiful.”
The detached Crown Prince’s Palace has now been transformed into a liveable setting thanks to the emperor’s substantial expenditure. The edge of the flower bed where Ciel came in and out was full of colourful flowers.
Stan got out of the carriage and helped Princess Lotte, leaving the beautiful scenery behind. The princess smiled warmly as she looked at her son, who had grown up in a dignified manner.
“The bigger you grow, the more you resemble your father.”
“Let’s go in.”
Although he had heard stories about his father from others, the only ones he could count were those he heard firsthand from Princess Lotte. Without a chance to ask her anything back, Princess Lotte headed for the party before her son.
“Princess Royal, Your Highness Charlotte, and Grand Duke Winterbaum are entering.”
After the call was made by the attendant, those who were seated immediately turned their attention to them. Ciel, the hostess of today’s celebration, greeted the two as they passed by the loud entryway.
“Thank you for coming. Your Highness Princess Lotte, and Your Excellency Stan.”
The pure white dress embroidered in gold looks like a bride’s wedding dress. It was difficult to believe that Ciel, who wore her light blonde hair pulled back to her shoulders and carried herself with an air of dignity, was a young girl who hadn’t even made her debut yet.
Behind Ciel stood the Duchess of Valentine and Clara, who was her older sister. Since Ciel is always today’s hostess and main character, the two of them were happy to greet her behind her back.
“It’s been a while, Eve.”
Instead of speaking to Ciel, the princess addressed her old friend, who hadn’t even greeted her.
If her opponent had been any other aristocratic wife, she might have been shaken by the words of warning spoken by the emperor’s sister; unfortunately, her challenger was none other than Ciel’s mother, Eve Valentine.
“Pardon me, Ciel. You have to greet a precious guest like Her Highness once again.”
“Yes, mother. Your Highness, thank you for taking the time today.”
Therefore, it was only natural for the Duchess to persuade Ciel to once again welcome the princess without even responding to her. Even if she can ignore it once and move on, the second time is troublesome.
At least when it came to fighting, the other side had the upper hand. When her own provocation came back as her own attack, Princess Lotte clenched her fists and tried to pretend to be calm.
“Right. Ciel. How do you feel about having your first party?”
“I’m embarrassed. I’ve always admired Your Highness, so I asked my mother for help and tried my best to throw a great party like Your Highness does, even though I lacked skills.”
Simply put, it was an expression of unending praise for Princess Lotte, but Princess Lotte’s expression was not comfortable.
“This party was held because I wanted to invite Your Highness. It’s full of shortcomings, but I hope this party goes well so that Your Highness will not be disappointed.”
Looking at the energetic Ciel, Stan barely understood the meaning behind her words.
It was a warning that she is the only reason the party is happening today and that if anything bad happens, she won’t be able to keep still.
Both sides were suffocated by the tense atmosphere of confrontation. As Princess Lotte’s expression hardened, this time Stan stepped forward and moved closer to Ciel.
“Kyaaa- Sir Isaac!”
Stan opened his mouth to say something, but a huge scream came from the other side. Isaac showed up while passing through the group of young ladies. He was wearing the same golden embroidered robe as Ciel.
Honey dripped from the ladies’ eyes as they gazed at the image of a prince who seemed to have stepped out of a fairy tale book. Isaac, who would normally hate it, stretched out his hand to the ladies lined up side by side with a kind smile today.
“Thank you for coming to my sister’s party. Allow me to guide you.”
“Thank you, Sir Isaac. Thank you.”
Isaac, known as a handsome boy, was extremely popular with the ladies of his age. One of the reasons that everyone attended this party was because Isaac himself helped guide them.
“Anyway, what’s all the fuss about?”
The youngest brother of Ciel, Louise, grumbled from behind. Ciel looked at his brother and gave Stan a big smile.
“Your Highness, thank you for coming like this. I was really happy with the gift you gave me last time.”
“I’m glad you liked it.”
“Then, please, both of you, come this way.”
Ciel was in charge of making sure everyone knew what to do for an important guest. Princess Lotte appeared pleased with Ciel’s kindness to her son, so she said nothing negative about her and simply followed her.
It seemed to be going well, but on the other hand, he had an ominous feeling. Stan asked as he looked around.
“Where is Alex?”
“His Highness Alex…
Did they say that if I said it, even a tiger would come? He was about to ask Alex where he was when he heard Alex’s voice behind him.
If the beautifully shining Ciel is the sun, Alex resembles the darkness of the deep night.
“Your Highness. Where have you been?”
“I was looking for you.”
Alex approached Ciel and held out his hand casually. Ciel’s small hand rested on Alex’s. It was an intentional act.
An invisible war has started. Stan couldn’t help but stare at the scene. Alex and Stan, who don’t typically get along, as well as Ciel, are having trouble getting along because of a single thing.
Before Stan could say anything, Princess Lotte muttered first. The corners of the princess’s mouth twitched at Alex’s action of deliberately showing off his good looks.
Stan knew that if this kept going on, it would become a problem, so he went straight to the main topic. Regardless of how much he despises Alex, this party is a meaningful event hosted by Ciel. He looked around for a moment before getting his mother’s attention.
“Mom, would you like something to eat?”
“I will bring it. Ciel, can you recommend some good food?”
“There are Valentine’s special cookies. Let me guide you. Your Highness, I ask you to guide Her Highness to the garden.”
“Sure. Your Highness, the princess, please come this way.”
Ciel boldly entrusted the princess to Alex. All eyes were on them as she bound two people who would never get along, like oil and water.
Ciel took advantage of this by taking Stan and recommending a sweet herb cookie.
“Does it smell really good? It’s a recipe from my sister, so it’s healthy and delicious.”
After seeing Ciel take a mouthful, he took up the cookie.
When Stan looked at Ciel, who was only happy in the sun, his heart got heavier. His mother is definitely setting up something, but he doesn’t know exactly what the conspiracy is.
Sad at his helpless position, Stan spoke carefully.