22. Distorted Affection
Two weeks had passed since I received the invitation. It was the day of the party.
By the way, I wasn’t supposed to be aware of the party.
Perhaps because of that, for the past few days, I often saw my brother grinning as he passed by me in the mansion.
Moreover, Grace, who was also smirking, was following my brother around.
It seemed that her relationship with my brother had continued ever since.
…So, that’s your decision.
Well, either way, I’m glad, Grace.
My mouth, hidden by my fan, twisted. As I entertained those thoughts, the carriage arrived at the party venue.
I was looking forward to the reaction it’d cause.
While tidying my ringlets, I went to the party.
Of course, Luria was behind me. But besides her, no one was escorting me.
As expected, His Highness brought Baroness Abazn along.
Just recently, His Highness and Baroness Abazn had kissed in the academy.
For quite some time now had passed since Baroness Abazn had successfully captured His Highness.
As for my brother and Count Kayes who became her “confidants”, they were dying to make her the queen.
I wondered if the four were now united to triumph over me, the supposed villainess…
“…What a bunch of fools.”
As soon as I entered the gorgeous party venue, Marquis Dantov called out to me.
“Thank you for attending, Duchess of Samaria.”
“My, thank you for coming all the way here to greet me.”
While saying so, I bowed like a proper lady. When I tried to look for the crown prince of Neonhart, Marquis Dantov helpfully pointed the way.
“His Highness is currently being surrounded by the escorts we’ve prepared and is speaking with the hosts of this party.”
“…Is that so? Then, I will say hello later.”
“Yes, please talk to me until then.”
“Is it alright for Marquis Dantov to not exchange greetings with anyone else?”
Marquis Dantov sighed.
“…To tell the truth, while having this conversation, I’m searching for anyone suspicious.”
Marquis Dantov approached me and whispered.
Thus, I was made aware that Marquis Dantov was intentionally keeping his distance from crown prince of Neonhart.
“Then, let’s look for anyone suspicious together.”
When I said that, Marquis Dantov laughed after making a thoughtful gesture with his hand under his chin.
“Haha, you’re better than I thought. Let’s move slowly and talk.”
With that said, Marquis Dantov casually escorted me. I couldn’t help but sigh in admiration at his graceful movements.
Furthermore, not only was Marquis Dantov attentive, we also had broad range of conversation. I inadvertently forgot the purpose of the stroll many times and became immersed in the topic.
However, that fun time didn’t last long.
That was because His Highness had appeared—of course, along with Count Kayes, my brother, and Baroness Abazn. Neither of those three had invitations, of course.
The faction’s aristocrats immediately went to greet His Highness. But the others left so as to not approach them.
I laughed at the scene.
It had reached the aristocrats around me.
While I was thinking that, my existence was noticed. All four looked surprised.
Thus, His Highness and my brother approached me in a hurry.
His Highness was glaring at me.
“Violet, why are you here…?”
“Because I was invited…?”
When I answered that, Luria, who was behind me, showed the invitation to His Highness.
His Highness was shocked and immediately turned towards my brother.
“What is the meaning of this!?”
“…This is, but the invitation… is in the mansion…”
“Oh, so it did reach the mansion?”
While my older brother was talking, I interjected. The two immediately became quiet.
I looked down on those two.
“What a very telling response. Why would you hide the invitation?”
Because they remained silent, my annoyance only grew. Especially when I thought that they might be thinking about something silly. Then, Marquis Dantov, who was next to me, turned to me apologetically.
“It might be because His Highness Rolaud didn’t want Duchess Samaria to meet with my crown prince.”
“…What do you mean?”
“My crown prince especially came here to meet the rumored daughter of Duke Samaria. After he had heard that she was being treated coldly by her own fiancé, my crown prince wanted to welcome her as his fiancée.”
“I see, so your crown prince intents to make me his fiancée. But, what does that have anything to do with hiding the invitation? His Highness Feld doesn’t even care about me—no, he despises me. Was hiding the invitation his idea of harassing me? Then, I should tell His Majesty the King to just remove me as his fiancée candidate as soon as possible…”
When I said that and glared at His Highness, for some reason, Marquis Dantov began to laugh.
“Hahaha! It seems that your distorted idea wasn’t well received by the noble Duchess of Samaria!”
For some reason, His Highness Feld lowered his face with a regrettable expression. His entire body trembled.
Then, as he raised his face to stare at me—he ran away. Just like that. Right in front of Baroness Abazn and Count Kayes.
Then, my brother tried to chase after His Highness in a hurry. But he immediately stopped and stared at me in disdain.
Although my brother said that, I considered it a waste of air. I smiled with sarcasm, and he left while gritting his teeth.
Looking at the back of my older brother, I smirked behind my fan once again.
Fufu, what kind of idiocy is this?!
My brother has decided to direct his murderous intent against his own sister!
Well, if it was that easy for him, then it’d be even easier for me.
…While looking at the back of my frenzied brother, I had an idea.
Perhaps, my brother hid the invitation not to help His Highness but to frame me.
If I went to a neighboring kingdom, his plans would go awry.
I didn’t know if His Highness was aware of it, but my brother probably hid the invitation with that in mind.
To effectively eliminate me from His Highness’ side, and to frame me as a criminal who wanted to poison the crown prince of Neonhart.
…I didn’t even have a reason to poison the crown prince, yet he wanted to frame me as the culprit.
Well, if poison was found inside my room, it wouldn’t matter what the reason was.
In addition to that, if my target of poisoning was instead Baroness Mia Abazn, she’d be painted as a tragic heroine who was being oppressed by a villainous noble lady—namely me.
The final touch would be the declaration of true love from His Highness in the staged condemnation at the graduation party.
To everyone else, I was put arrested for a good reason, letting them acknowledge Baroness Abazn as His Highness’ true partner.
…In my previous life, such a grand scheme was magnificently enacted.
When he saw the unity of the four, Marquis Dantov sighed from beside me.
“…What a united front. Duchess Samaria, are you alright?”
“I’m alright… is what I’d like to say, but I want to get some air. I shouldn’t detain you any longer, Marquis Dantov.”
“Alright, if I don’t return soon, I get reprimanded… then, I shall make my leave. See you again, Duchess Samaria.”
“Yes, once I feel refreshed enough, I’ll greet the crown prince.”
When I said that with a smile, Marquis Dantov nodded and quickly left.
…He’s a no-nonsense type of person.
Luria then called out to me.
“Milady, would you like to have a drink?”
“Yes, please. I’m heading to the balcony first.”
With those words, I went to the balcony and breathed in the outside air.
Thanks to that, I felt refreshed and the unpleasant things I mentioned earlier were blown away.
Then, while I was zoning out, I heard a voice and the sound of a glass breaking from nearby.
I had an unpleasant premonition. As I turned around slowly, there stood Baroness Abazn. That pink hair was definitely hers. Her flashy dress, which was unsuitable for that party, was also worth mentioning.
The same dress was drenched with wine.
B** HOL’ UP-
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