“I must buy that dress.”
Alfred barely managed to steady his violently shaking pupils, and, following the Duke’s command, had to enter the boutique.
The boutique owner’s face showed great dismay at the Duke’s arrival.
Although the landlord, the Duke had never visited the boutique in person before.
His very appearance was an event in itself, and then he made an unbelievable request.
“Yo, Your Grace. I am sorry, but that dress has already been reserved…”
“I will buy it.”
“O, of course, you have an excellent eye. It is indeed the newest product we are most confident in showcasing…”
“I said I would buy it.”
Lennaeus’ cool blue gaze did not falter even at the proprietor’s desperate plea.
Alfred was restless beside the two, merely looking around anxiously.
“Lady Whitaker has already placed an order…”
Then, a look of displeasure crossed Lennaeus’ face.
“You haven’t forgotten who I am, have you?”
“Y-Yes, Your Grace, Duke Adler.”
The boutique owner answered in a trembling voice.
No matter how much a VIP Whitaker was in the boutique, Duke Adler wielded about three times the influence of any Count.
Crucially, the Duke was the landlord of this building.
‘Above the creator is the landlord.’
The boutique owner tightly closed his eyes in confusion.
“Buy it for three times the price.”
“That should be enough for a cancellation fee, shouldn’t it?”
The owner’s face lit up.
The dress the Duke intended to buy was the most luxurious one from his boutique ‘Emerus’, renowned as the best in the empire.
It cost nearly a commoner’s annual salary, and he offered to pay three times that.
With that money, he could afford the cancellation fee for Whitaker and a new dress with profit to spare.
“Finally, we’re getting somewhere.”
Lennaeus looked pleased. The boutique owner also smiled broadly at the successful transaction.
Only Alfred by his side had an expression as if something was wrong.
From buying the dress to the debutante ball of Countess Mosston, Lennaeus was oddly excited.
Of course, the poisoning incident targeting the royal family was an unexpected event for him too.
That day, he was about to offer the dress as a gift to Charlotte.
But due to the incident, the palace was closed, and his work piled up, preventing him from meeting Charlotte.
The fact that Charlotte played a significant role in preventing the Emperor’s assassination was one of the surprises.
However, Lennaeus paid more attention to the fact that Charlotte had first recognized his face in that situation.
He also felt a peculiar sense of pride that Charlotte had first checked on his well-being in a dangerous situation.
Seeing Charlotte wearing the dress he sent on the day of the ball satisfied him even more.
Apart from her reputation, he knew she was quite beautiful. But the lilac-colored dress and her pink hair were exceptionally well-matched.
A smile appeared on Lennaeus’s lips without him realizing it, yet he felt an inexplicable emptiness.
“Then, don’t you have any thoughts about my evening wear?”
He casually asked Charlotte.
“Of course. I can’t stop thinking about how elegant, dignified, sophisticated, and refined it is. Surely, there will be no one more splendid than you at the ball tonight.”
Today was also a revelation.
Charlotte’s compliments always thrilled him. Finally, he smiled with a sense of satisfaction.
As expected, Charlotte seemed smitten with him again.
While crossing his legs in a pleasant mood, Charlotte’s leg accidentally touched his. Lennaeus flinched and looked at Charlotte.
Charlotte also gazed intently at him. As if enchanted by her gaze, Lennaeus’s body was drawn towards Charlotte.
The more he did, the more Charlotte looked at him with eyes full of longing.
Before he knew it, Charlotte’s honey-colored eyes were burning brightly towards him.
Lennaeus couldn’t help but smile at that intense gaze, surely filled with ‘love’.
He tried hard to keep his composure, not wanting to look like a frivolous man.
Lennaeus decided to give Charlotte a chance, as she seemed to be holding back something she wanted to say.
“Do you have something to say?”
“No, Your Grace. It’s just that I like it.”
It was the sweet answer he had anticipated.
Somehow, there was a fluttering sound in Lennaeus’s heart.
He quickly closed his eyes, feeling a tingling sensation from Charlotte’s lovely smile directed at him.
How long had they been riding in the carriage?
Upon arriving at Count Mosston’s estate for the debutante ball, Lennaeus was displeased as usual.
He had never liked social events. He disliked listening to the nonsense of pitiful men, and he also disliked the covert glances from overly adorned women approaching him.
Therefore, it was natural for him to be displeased upon arriving at the social ball.
But today, a different kind of situation was making him uncomfortable.
Too many men’s eyes were focused on Charlotte, his partner.
He had never cared about it before, but he didn’t like the way they were ogling Charlotte, and his face hardened.
It was no surprise, given how exceptionally beautiful Charlotte looked that day.
It was fine that the dress he bought her didn’t reveal her chest.
Lennaeus slightly regretted not buying a less conspicuous dress.
Just as he was about to offer a drink to Charlotte.
An unwelcome voice was heard.
“Duke Adler! I didn’t expect to see you at the debutante ball. It’s been a while.”
Viscount Breguet had always been an unpleasant person.
He had harbored a strange sense of rivalry towards Lennaeus since military school, but feigned friendliness in a sly manner.
Disliking this, they only ever encountered each other at official events after graduation.
Breguet, appearing before him after a long time, spat out only irritating words.
“Oh, if I had known earlier that Her Highness was such a soft-hearted person, I would have proposed to her myself. That is, when His Majesty was looking for nobles to propose to Her Highness voluntarily. Hahaha.”
Every single word grated on Lennaeus’s nerves. It was rude and displeasing.
Lennaeus looked at Breguet without hiding his displeasure.
Worse yet, the princess did not object to Breguet’s words.
When would she say she likes him?
Charlotte didn’t refuse when Breguet took him away. If she had shown even a slight sign of dislike, he would have stayed by her side using that as an excuse.
He suppressed the strange emotions that welled up deep within him. While he struggled with these odd feelings, Breguet quickly led Lennaeus away.
“I never expected to see Duke Adler at the debutante ball.”
“Perhaps someone made a fuss again?”
“Exactly. How much of a fuss must have been made for you, who has never attended a ball with a partner, to be dragged out here.”
As soon as Breguet appeared with Lennaeus, noble ladies flocked around him.
Lennaeus slightly furrowed his brow at the strong scent of perfume wafting to his nose.
“Haha, that’s why I quickly rescued Duke Adler from the empire’s worst woman.”
When Breguet smirked, the gathered women burst into laughter. At that moment, Lennaeus’s jaw clenched.
Despite the fact that Charlotte had the worst reputation and he had attended the ball unwillingly.
With each word Breguet uttered, Lennaeus’s mood sank further.
A young lady with brown hair covered her mouth with a fan and looked over with a contemptuous gaze.
“Yes. The dress Princess Charlotte is wearing today. They say she snatched it from Lady Whitaker.”
Lennaeus’s ears twitched.
Suddenly, he noticed a young lady with elaborate sapphire hair ornaments and a high hairstyle.
Although he hadn’t paid attention before, she was Lady René Whitaker.
The daughter of the famously wealthy Whitaker family.
René Whitaker, as if waiting, took out a silk handkerchief and pretended to wipe her tears.
“Really… I couldn’t sleep because of the injustice. It was a dress I had reserved with much effort. Suddenly, Princess Charlotte shows up at the boutique demanding my dress unreasonably.”
“My goodness. How could that happen…!”
“What power did I have? I had no choice but to give it up, as if it was taken away, when the princess demanded it.”
“Just between us, she really is a shameless woman!”
“Wow. As always, she’s the same. Lady René must have had a hard time.”
Lennaeus unwittingly opened his mouth at their conversation. It was an absurd story.
“Lady Whitaker. From whom did you hear this story about the dress?”
In Lennaeus’s cold blue eyes, René put on an even more pitiable expression.
“It’s something I experienced firsthand at the boutique.”
It was a widely spread rumor in social circles that Lennaeus was forcibly engaged to Princess Charlotte.
She was a princess with a not-so-good reputation to begin with. He would surely lose his affection for the princess because of this incident.
Who knows? He might break off the engagement or have another lover during the engagement.
René hid her true intentions, feigning innocence with a smile.
“You would have been surprised too, Your Grace, if you had seen how harshly she spoke to me, sob.”
“Can you assure me that your words are true?”
Lennaeus’s voice, cold as ice, was directed towards René.