23. Bad Acting
After I had unintentionally muttered that, I regretted being alone.
Anyway, recently, whenever I was alone at the academy, Baroness Abazn would ‘tag along.’ Then, an incident such as her falling into the pond on her own or her stumbling would occur.
Of course, she’d make sure to cry about it.
“—Why did you push me into the pond!?”
Or something along that line.
Thanks to that, I was nicknamed the ‘Villainess’ amongst the student body. My image had been severely tainted.
Therefore, with the presence of Luria, I made sure I wouldn’t be alone. However, it seemed that Baroness Abazn had been waiting for such an opportunity this entire time.
Aiming for the moment when I was alone, she came to my side and spilled her wine on her own dress. It was to further taint my image, obviously.
…I’ve been had.
When I thought about that, I saw a glimpse of Baroness Abazn’s smirk. Then, she sat down on the ground and began to sniffle.
“H, how awful, Violet! Why are you doing such terrible things to me!?”
Baroness Abazn shouted out loud. Our surroundings immediately focused on me.
The past me would’ve exploded at the sham.
As for the present me, I regained my composure and stared at Baroness Abazn with cold eyes.
“Baroness Abazn, why do you insist upon chasing after me? Do you want to harass me that badly since I’m His Highness’ fiancée?”
When I deliberately raised my voice so that everyone could hear it, Baroness Abazn made a startled expression.
She probably thought that I’d become hysterical and caused an uproar.
However, while she was eager to complain about me even further, I had brought up the word ‘harassment’—the word Baroness Abazn herself had been waiting to say.
I was sure she was truly confused right then.
Therefore, I continued without losing my momentum.
“In the first place, I don’t believe lower-ranking aristocrats were invited to this party. Whose doing is this?”
When I said that and looked around, some of the aristocrats of His Highness’ faction lowered their faces.
Then, Count Kayes appeared after squeezing through those aristocrats. He immediately rushed to Baroness Abazn’s aid.
“Mia! Are you alright!? Is this wine!? What a horrible thing to do…”
Count Kayes immediately pulled Baroness Mia into a hug, as if she was the world’s most precious treasure.
Baroness Abazn covered her face with her hands and began her favorite part of the act—crying.
“I, I’m the one who’s at fault… I approached Violet because I want to get along with her, but she hates me…”
Count Kayes spoke in a coaxing tone, then he glared at me—
—if looks could kill.
“…Why would you do such a terrible thing?! Duchess of Samaria!! Do you have no heart!?”
“Unfortunately, I did nothing of the sort. No one can prove I did—and neither can you, Count Kayes.”
I said so and turned my fan towards him while laughing inwardly.
I didn’t get the chance to perform such a pose last time.
Then, when I was about to decide on another pose, Count Kayes sighed and said.
“I don’t mind if you hate me, but why are you so hostile to Mia!? She’s kinder than anyone else!!”
Count Kayes raised his head to glare at me. So, I did the same while concealing my mouth with a fan.
“Brown Kayes… you insist upon keeping a baroness, who, by the way, isn’t your fiancée, at your side. Not only that, you embraced and even kissed her. Who are you to preach about goodness and all that?”
When I said that in a low voice, Count Kayes’ gaze swam for a moment.
So, he was apparently aware of his immoral deeds. It seemed that his head didn’t entirely consisted of a flower field—like that of His Highness’ and my brother’s.
However, he was certainly the one who loved Baroness Abazn the most…
When I was thinking about that, I saw someone approaching the side.
It was none other than the principal. I proceeded to smile at him.
“What an interesting play. I wonder, what’s its title? Does a cheap play that includes you soiling your own dress with wine even deserves a title?”
When the principal looked around and asked with sarcasm, the aristocrats of His Highness’ faction immediately withdrew. They sensed that it would only get worse. The remaining aristocrats stared at Baroness Abazn dubiously. Then, they started whispering amongst each other.
They must had been skeptical about the scene.
Fufu, a wonderful display indeed, Baroness Abazn.
Thanks to that, I was able to let many aristocrats learn of what kind of person you were.
But it might not be enough, so let me fan the flame.
I thought so, and after smiling, I turned to Baroness Abazn and tilted my head.
“…I don’t know. For some reason, she decided to involve me in her play. Would any of you kindly suggest a title for her drama?”
When she heard that, Baroness Abazn shut up immediately. Count Kayes shook, his face bright red.
When I saw the two, I could barely suppress my laughter. The whole venue suddenly became noisy.
I was surprised—
—no way, did His Highness Neonhart…?
When I thought so, Luria rushed towards me.
“Milady, someone seems to have been poisoned!”
When I heard those words, I inadvertently glanced at Count Kayes—
—sure enough, he was grinning while looking in the direction of the noise.
However, he immediately steadied Baroness Abazn and attempted to take advantage of the turmoil to escape.
The principal tried to stop those two, but I extended a hand in front of him and shook my head.
“But, wouldn’t it be better to report them to the guards?”
“There’s nothing the guards can do. His Highness’ faction will just cover for them.”
“But then, what should we do…? They’ll tarnish the academy’s reputation…”
The principal said so while holding his stomach, but I couldn’t respond with anything.
…My condemnation would occur at the graduation party one month later.
…For now, I’ll just give more stomach medicine to the principal.
I looked at the center of the turmoil while thinking so.
Honestly, I was driven by an urge to see if crown prince of Neonhart was alright…
…However, I’d just get in the way.
The two of them came at the right time…
I inadvertently bit my lips.
That was when Marquis Dantov appeared in front of me.
While holding my hand, he announced to me.
“…His Highness was poisoned. Apparently, it was the glass.”
“Then, what I gave you is useless…”
I bit my lips so hard, it began to bleed. Marquis Dantov offered me a handkerchief.
“Please stop. If your beautiful face is scratched, it’ll hurt my heart.”
“It’s alright… As for His Highness… the culprit might still be in this venue. You should go home early.”
Despite the gentleness of his tone, the indescribable coercive words of Marquis Dantov made me look down.
“…I’ll see you again, Duchess of Samaria.”
Before I could answer, Marquis of Dantov had disappeared.
Perhaps he was worried about me, someone they had personally invited.
When I was staring at his back, the principal called out to me.
“That Marquis Dantov is really attentive, isn’t he?”
The principal spoke with an impressed expression, so I nodded.
Although I answered so, I couldn’t take my eyes off Marquis Dantov. My eyes kept chasing after him until he was gone.
***T/N: I’m holding on to the theory that Dantov is the real crown prince CUZ I JUST SHIP VIOLET AND DANTOV SO MUCH RN THEY GOT REAL KEMISTRI RIGHT THEREEEE BRUHHHHHH
Please also consider donating to my ko-fi! It’ll greatly support me in action, no matter the amount!