18. When the Magic Ends
…What could’ve happened—?
I almost closed the door again.
Since I had already entered the hallway, it would be really embarrassing if I turned back now. Fighting the urge to go home, I scanned the venue, figuring out the situation.
Illuminated by the glittering chandelier, was the Future King of our kingdom. Before him was that girl I had just met a week ago.
Because her back was turned towards me, I couldn’t see her expression.
“Lady Schmia, does your silence indicate that you have nothing to explain…?”
His Highness announced in a stern, firm voice.
As if shocked by it, Baroness Schmia lifted her face.
…umm, wait, what—?? What’s happening right now—??
No matter how many times I looked around, I still couldn’t keep up with the current situation—what happened, exactly—!?
That Baroness Schmia was being accused in public…
Not only women, the men also weren’t moving.
In addition, His Highness was also glaring at Baroness Schmia with such a severe expression…
…I wish I had the slightest clue of what’s happening right now…
“…Y-you’re mistaken—!! Your Highness, what are you talking about…!? Isn’t this something that His Highness has given me—!?”
“Forgery, not to mention, the crime of perjury… you’re beyond saving.”
His Highness’ voice was so cold, I found it terrifying.
Even though he was far away, his voice penetrated me.
“Wha—!? But, but…!! Tiarize—!? Hey, Tiarize, at that time, you were there, too, right—!? You saw me recieve this from His Highness, yes—!?”
Seeking salvation, Baroness Schmia desperately looked around the venue.
Strangely enough, no one came to her aid. No one stood up for her, either.
On the contrary, most men were looking at Baron Schmia with a dubious, contempt, gazes.
…I still fail to understand anything—!
How long should I hide like this—?!
When I thought so, my gaze met with Baroness Schmia.
Don’t involve me in this seemingly troublesome and annoying situation—!!!
Not only that, she was referring to me by name, again—! Even more reason to disappear from this place—!
Why, why wouldn’t this girl understand—insert honorific, that’s what I keep telling you—!!
Ah… truly, she was a bird brain…
It has only been a week since our last meeting, yet it seemed that her brain had reset the entire conversation with me…
…no one will favor such a bird brain of a lady, you know—!?
Causing me endless trouble was all that you have ever done—!!
Here I thought I couldn’t hate her more, but I was proven wrong. Just the mere sight of her caused my stomach to ache. I wondered if it was truly impossible to avoid meeting her. This girl was akin to a very lethal poison.
“…I’m sorry, what?”
To ignore her was unbecoming of the Duchess of Merfan. I could feel everyone’s attention shifting to me.
Ugh, I don’t want to get caught up in this—!! Don’t involve me any further—!!
Don’t make it harder for me to break my engagement with you—!!
I’m just an outsider, please! Just treat me like an outsider!
Couldn’t I hide in the crowd?
I wished I could stay as someone who watched this entire scene through the lens of a bystander.
I wished I had come back from the powder room a little later. I regretted not being able to foresee such a thing happening.
“It’s this hair ornament—! Look—! His Highness clearly gave me this in his office a week ago—!”
Hair ornament? Ah… speaking of which, His Highness did hand her something… is that it?
I was about to open my mouth when His Highness’ voice interjected me.
“Tia, you needn’t indulge her delusion. Baroness Schmia, I don’t know what kind of misunderstanding you’re having, but, I love Tia. Moreover, in the first place, for us to get along—such a prospect is unthinkable.”
I heard the surroundings’ footsteps as the group of people split into two, making a path—I remember this kind of thing happening in Moses’ Ten Commandments…
…however, considering the situation, it wasn’t godly at all. The entire thing only made my stomach churn.
Where, where could I at least acquire an explanation about the situation? I didn’t understand anything.
He loves me, he said?
I wondered what caused such a change in the wind.
After all those displays of affection you had with Baroness Schmia, you expect me to believe such words?
Was I that big of a fool to him? You’re the one who’s stupid!
Involuntarily, I sent a glance towards His Highness, however, there was relief on his face.
—what the heck?
“But, isn’t it a fact, though—!? Your Highness, aren’t you in love with me—!?”
“’I love you’—have I ever said that to you?”
So he hasn’t—!? Then what is she being so emotional about—!?
Other than that, here I was, suspecting that their relationship had already progressed so far, it could be considered an adult relationship…
When I turned towards His Highness, he was already making his way to stand beside me.
“That hair ornament is a special gift, it’s only been bestowed to the future Queen for generations… as for the proof, look at Tia’s hair ornament for this evening’s ball. Therefore, Lady Schmia? That thing you have in your hand—which is an obvious replica, where did you get it from?”
“I, I’ve said it already, didn’t I?! I received it from you, Will!”
“Correct the way you refer to me in this instant, Baroness Schmia. I don’t recall ever giving you permission to address me in such a disgraceful manner.”
Eh, eh, wait—what happened to His Highness—!?
Up until this point, hadn’t they been in such a lovey-dovey, kyakyaufufu, relationship—!? I wasn’t really a reliable source for this, but I recalled that their exchanges were quite strong in closeness… wait,
…he didn’t even give her permission to call him by that nickname—!?
Which meant she started referring to him as such without his consent…?
Such profanity… it made me dizzy… this girl, this girl was something else—of course, in a bad way. Again, another thing hit the list of the most impactful things of the year… this impressive scene should rank as second at minimum.
Sighing, His Highness raised his hand a little.
“The crime of perjury, the forgery of a Queen’s jewelry …then, there’s also that witchcraft thing, not to mention, the offensive way you address the royalty… amazing, the list goes on. Baroness Schmia, are you aiming to perfect your image as the definition of crime itself? Looking at you, all I see is an endless list of crimes.”
“…I, I don’t understand what you are talking about…”
It’s okay, we’re together in that.
Baroness Schmia was shaking. Her hand, which was holding a fan, trembled with anger. If I went anywhere near her right now, I would surely be hit.
Yes, that much anger was radiated from her.
Scary, was an understatement.
I was scared senseless, I wasn’t sure what to do.
“Tiarize—!!! What have you done—!!! There’s no way that wouldn’t work here—!!! In the world that I know, it’s foolproof—!!! Just tell me already, what did you do—!?”
Eeeh? She’s turning to me, now?
Moreover, I was accused of outrageous things—I was clueless, what was she spouting?
I narrowed my eyes at Baroness Schmia.
Her petite face was dyed red, her breathing was labored.
In contrast to the almost fainting Baroness, I was calm.
When someone was too confused, their senses would naturally dull as well.
“What did I do, you say… nothing?”
Rather, it’s you who should be explaining what you you’ve been doing up to this point…
I answered quietly, and Baroness Schmia scoffed at me.
“’Nothing’, you say—? You’re lying—!! You’re jealous over the fact that I got along so well with Will, aren’t you—!? I know everything, already—!! You despise me—yes, you hate me—!! You’re plotting on how you could harm, or poison me—!!”
When did I turn into such a downright, hostile person?
No, I didn’t recall ever having such thoughts.
—and, jealousy, she says…?
Hahaha! Don’t make me laugh!
I wasn’t that head over heels towards His Highness to waste my time doing useless things!
I answered while softly laughing. I hid my face with a fan.
“…I’m sorry to say that I’m not that invested in ruining you. Moreover, I wasn’t that interested in you to begin with. What are you so insecure about? Or perhaps, do those accusations you just spouted come with precedents?”
There was no way I could recall anything, since I had never done anything to her to begin with. On the other hand, did she not recall what she had done to me—?
Couldn’t that head of hers recall that the activity between us was those conversations, which were strained, at best—?
In response, Baroness Schmia’s face turned a new shade of deep red.
What… why are you so angry?
I couldn’t comprehend her at all.
“You think you can deflect this just like that—!? As expected of a Duchess, acting all high and mighty—!! The moment your dirty methods are about to get exposed, you shift the blame to other people—!!”
—what is she trying to imply? That I’m always scheming something in the shadows?
Baroness Schmia snorted, and I heard something snap inside my head.
I was about to open my mouth when I felt a slight tap on my waist. His Highness’ action helped me regain a bit of calm.
His Highness’ unexpected action snapped me out of my anger.
When I stared at His Highness, questioning him about his action, I realized his deep blue eyes were locked straight at Baroness Schmia.
“You sure are talkative, Lady Schmia. Do you realize that you’re standing before a Duke’s Daughter? How could you still dare to condemn Tia like that? For an aristocrat, your display of attitude sure disparages courtesy. Perhaps, that’s the reason Baron Bergner adopted you? What a nice pair of eyes he has.”
“I have already told you to not address me that way, Lady Schmia. There won’t be a third time.”
“By the way, Lady Schmia, you’re suspected of trying to overthrow the nation. Of course you remember this?”
This time, Baroness Schmia turned white. I could hear her fleeting voice uttering, “…eh?”
The same happened to me, and I inadvertently turned away from His Highness.
“Lady Schmia, too bad for you, but all the evidence is here. Kevin!”
He summoned for Kevin, and the beautiful man immediately approached and read from the documents in his hand.
Baroness Schmia was as stiff as statue, now.
“This girl is exuding a magical aura—one which contain the attribute of ‘Charm’. The potency of said fascination magic is about 75%”
The venue, which was once dead silent, became noisy due to those words.
***T/N: I’m sorry but is there any need to plant false evidence aka that forged Queen jewelry to her…? Was there any need to do that if you have all the evidences already…? Like, you can just point to her or announce her name at the peak of the party without resorting to convoluted means, right?
I’m sorry but this entire scene reads to me like a goddamn asshole with high authority power trying to clean his image. Like, he woke up from said ‘Charm’ magic and be like ‘zomg, now everyone thinks of me as a cheater! Gotta make this right somehow, anyhow–I know! How about I make the THOT seems worse than me? That way, everybody would sweep the fact that I was caught being lovey-dovey with her under the rug!’
and… how could you not have the slightest clue of this, Tia–!?
Yep, I have trust issues because the Prince(s) I usually came across in my translation projects r asshole/ have asshole-y tendencies.