A large number of letters arrived at the Duke of Orca’s this morning. It wasn’t the first time, which made me a little cheerful, but it didn’t make me feel good.
As soon as Damian reaches adulthood, the three of us will be of marriageable age. As such, there would be a constant stream of marriage proposals from unmarried noble families of the Empire.
The Orca family, for example, would have families offer their daughter’s hand in marriage to Bellamy and Damian, as if it didn’t matter who the man was. I was fed up with the greed of nobles who would sell their daughters off in such a way, even though arranged marriages were the norm.
There were proposals for me, too. Bellamy wouldn’t sanction the letters from the nobleman who wanted to communicate with me, but he would intercept proposals and handle them himself.
I did expect to hear the old cliche that a noble young lady must weigh her family’s interests in order to marry, though I don’t recall that being the case in any of the novels I’ve read.
I wonder how many young ladies will ask them to dance at Damian’s coming-of-age ceremony.
Last year, the young ladies even asked me to help build a bridge for them. Of course, the boys weren’t interested, so their wishes remained unfulfilled.
“Oh, wow! You’re so beautiful again!”
A month ago, I ordered a dress for Damian’s celebration. The owner of the most prestigious boutique, Lacruix, used to ask me to wear the most fashionable dresses, and each time I did, I loved them so much that I became a regular.
For my last birthday celebration, I wore a violet ball gown that matched my hair color, but this time I chose red.
I’ve always wanted to try it because my navy blue hair looks great with red, but I was hesitant because red is a strong color. But what the hell, I decided to go for it and enjoy this once-a-year event. Instead, Bellamy and Damian opted for a subdued black suit.
Still, I’d never worn red before, so I ordered a dress from the manager at Lacruis that was sexy yet innocent, playful yet seductive. Despite the manager’s initial puzzlement, the dress I’m wearing now is a beautiful mermaid shape that’s not too revealing. Again… I knew I was in good hands.
“I think this jewelry would look great with this dress!”
Mary, my dedicated maid, had developed a taste for dressing me up. In fact, two years ago, after receiving a bonus, she seemed even more enthusiastic, but I pretended not to notice.
She slipped an opal gemstone necklace around my neck, an odd mix of navy blue and gold.
Oh, it’s pretty.
“I’ll take this then.”
This would be icing on the cake. I had no intention of backing out of my plan just yet. Even though my goals were very different from the beginning.
The more time I spent with the Orca brothers and the more unanswered questions I kept posing to Ashik, the more I realized that I had to get a hold of my heart. It was my own selfishness that caused me to want to leave them.
The Orca brothers seemed to get along better without me. They’ve been making up their own secrets so it doesn’t seem to matter if they go from three to two. I hope they’ll continue to get along after I leave.
I’ve been to the palace banquet a few times now, and it’s somewhat familiar. I wasn’t as nervous as I had been the first time, but my heart would unintentionally flutter when the boys escorted me. Like right now.
I’m startled out of my thoughts by Bellamy taking my hand, as he called me several times already.
“You look like you’ve been in a daze all day, are you okay?”
“Just… I guess I’ve been thinking a lot.”
He looked so handsome in his black banquet suit. I could see the red handkerchief he’d pinned to match my dress. In a few years, he’ll probably wear a handkerchief to match his faceless fiancee’s dress. His hair will shine bright at night, his skin will be velvety soft, and his arms will be warmer than anyone else’s.
Similarly, once Damian has a fiancee, he will hide his mischievous nature and become an even more handsome man. I can’t wait to see his mature appearance with those beautiful golden eyes and blonde hair.
“You both look so nice today.”
I complimented them out of the blue, having said nothing the entire time we were traveling in the carriage, and they just smiled at me.
The two men took turns kissing the back of my hands and escorted me out of the carriage.
I dismounted with Bellamy’s help and made my way to the ballroom
Was that what Aria was talking about with her love counselor?
The entrance to the ballroom was lined with tulips. One day, Aria told Kane that she loved tulips, and he plowed the entire palace garden and planted them. She has such an outstanding lover.
What’s more, as someone who knows the original story, I found it bizarre to hear her say Kane had no sex drive. According to the original story, he should have had all of Aria two years ago. I wondered if he was relaxed now that he doesn’t have a rival, so he decided to preserve his dick.
As we approached the entrance to the ballroom, a servant bent down in our presence and opened the door.
“Duke Bellamy von Orca, Princess Rose Von Orca, and Lord Damian von Orka of the House of Orca have entered!”
The servant’s loud shot drew the attention of the ballgoers.
As the days went by, the way the nobles looked at us became more strange. As we grew older, and years of their engagement announcements remained absent, many families were eager to claim them as their own sons.
Bellamy’s coming-of-age was considered special because it was the day he received the dukedom. After that, it was just a day to see the Emperor and Crown Prince, who were rarely seen, and for young men and women on the cusp of adulthood to seal the deal.
For me, it was a day to be with the Orca brothers, who I saw every day, and Aria, Ashik, and other young lords and ladies I didn’t notice.
As I made my way down to the floor, I saw a familiar face. It was Ashik. Aria would appear later, as she is the Crown Prince’s fiancee.
He spotted us and came closer.
“I see he’s been sneaking around.”
“Sis, why are you friends with the Duke of Euassis? He’s just a dick.”
The Orca brothers’ wariness of Ashik has heightened as of late. I heard that Bellamy and Ashik had a falling out at the palace council the other day, and I wondered if that was the reason. In truth, I don’t recall seeing them ever getting along well, anyways.
“Why? He’s a good man.”
Their frowns deepened at my words.
Damian even hid me behind his back as Ashik approached. I don’t know why they’re doing this when I see him so often.
“If one were to look at you, they would think she was a loved one, and not a sister.”
Ashik, who is he and why is he saying such nonsense?
I glared at Ashik while Belle and Dami weren’t looking, and he shrugged me off.
But neither Bellamy nor Damian responded to his words. Did that mean he wasn’t worth answering?
“His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Brans Lenti, Sun of the Lenti Empire, and His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Kane Lenti, Little Sun of the Empire, and his fiancee, Aria von Euassis!”
The tense situation was cut short by the brilliant timing of the Imperial Family.
Phew… I thought there was going to be another worthless fight. The last thing I need is my best friend and family fighting.
By the way, Aria, you look like an Empress from here, standing with the Crown Prince. If only the Emperor wasn’t there, you would have emanated a different kind of elegance.
Aria’s eyes locked with mine for a moment, and she smiled with a twinkle in her eyes. I smiled in return.
A moment after exchanging pleasantries, the Emperor started to speak.
“We have guests of honor for New Year’s Eve, the King and Princess of the Zerglin Kingdom.”
It was a first for the Emperor to have guests from another kingdom at the New Year’s banquet.
The Emperor’s introduction is followed by the appearance of a middle-aged man with a beautiful woman with long, red hair.
What was the Emperor thinking this time?
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