The night was more splendid, and bustling than ever before.
The sound of music, laughter and the scent of street food never stopped wafting even when I was passing through the city in a carriage.

As a result, though I had been leaning against the wall while enduring motion sickness, my insides were shaking nonstop.
If there was a hell, this must have been it.
The desire to return to Ezelot arose within me very strongly.

“If anyone saw this, they would think you are going to the funeral house.”

Rick, who was quietly flipping through a book in front of me, eventually spoke up.
Unfortunately, I didn’t even have the energy to refute it.
It’s hard to do that when I felt sick to my stomach.
Even without a mirror, I could imagine how disfigured my complexion would be.

“Did you get any sleep?”

I was so nervous I couldn’t get a wink of sleep.”

“At this rate, His Highness will faint the moment he lays eyes on you when meeting face-to-face.”

It didn’t take long to pass through the south gate of the imperial castle and reach Cassandra Hall.
As we crossed the bright and crowded space, reaching the grand palace, I felt the motion sickness getting worse.
Rick, who dragged my hand to support my staggering legs, frowned with a look of incomprehension.

“Hey, Kate.
What’s wrong? Did you get an upset stomach after staying up all night?”

“It would be easier if it was just as simple as having an upset stomach… I was worried that my face would swell*, so I have starved myself since last night, and my legs don’t have any strength now.”

T/n: she’s referring to facial bloating – Normally after eating a meal that is high in sodium, your body needs to balance itself out, so it will end up holding onto water in certain places, which can include the face, making your face look unusually puffy, like it’s swelling.

“Seriously, you really perturb people in many ways.
Grab my arm and lean in.”

Actually, I had already seen this coming.

“Thank you, Rick.
I like Rick the best in this world.”

“Stop saying horrendous things.”

Skipping meals from the day before the banquet was something that most women always risked.
Even though the dress line did look nicer, how could they have survived this pain?

For this incident, I was able to realise that this method was too lethal for me.

From now on, even if I were to get a little belly and become less beautiful, I would still have dinner the night before.

“I feel like a flower in the greenhouse* when walking around like this.”

T/n: a flower in the greenhouse – a child loved, treasured and pampered to bits by their family.

“Stop talking nonsense, and walk properly now that we’ve arrived at the hall.”

My eyes widened in surprise at Rick’s words.

“Professor Rick Ezellot and Lady Katrina Ezellot of the Ezellot county are entering!”

It seemed like 30 seconds has barely passed, but how come we have already arrived?

I grabbed Rick’s arm tightly and searched hard for my mother and Caron’s whereabouts.

This was exactly why I didn’t want to go to crowded places.

“Tell me if you find mother.
She told me to get permission whenever I want to pick up food to eat…I’m afraid if I endure any longer, I will die of starvation.”

“Mother will accompany father in right before His Majesty’s entrance.
She should be with father in the break room nearby now.”

Darn it! I clung to Rick’s arm with a half-crying face.

“Then can you stay by my side until Caron comes?”

“No problem.
As long as you can hold on.”

Cassandra Hall, befitting the largest one-story building in the Empire, was filled with stunning luxury and gilded interior decorations.

Even at the first glance, the interior seemed overcrowded with famous artists, merchants, and high-ranking aristocrats from newspapers and theaters.
If I looked up, I felt like I would be blinded by the huge chandelier, and if I lowered my gaze, I felt lost, not knowing where to go.
The stuffy feeling did not get any less even when I was next to Rick.

“Professor Ezellot, this is Dr.
Brihamden, this is Professor Ezellot, whom I spoke of before.
A young master of physics and astronomy.
I heard that recently he has been into history studies as well.
Am I right?”

“I have a little interest in it, but I don’t dare to show it off.”

“Hahaha! For a genius like the professor here to come from the long-established household of Ezellot, isn’t this proof that the Ezellot is blessed by God?”

“I agree.
It’s a pleasure to meet you, Professor Ezellot.
I am…”

I took a bite of the softly fragrant Mont Blanc that was served on the table while the famous scholars in the academic world flattered Rick.
I had heard that he was popular before, but I did not think that five or six middle-aged men and elderly people would come up to him at once without a break.

I slowly stepped out of the space where professional ties were muddled up together.
It was shameful for a noblewoman to move away from the centre of the hall and stay near the wall, so I had to go back and forth between the tables alone.
It didn’t matter how the people around looked at me, but it was obvious that if my mother saw it, she would nag me.

Although a few familiar noble ladies greeted me, they were only greeting and did not even say their usual regards.
What about finding Nezar’s lover? I really didn’t know what the heck I had been doing for 5 years.

“His Grace Duke Calmion and Lady Caron of the Entera family are entering!”

It was then that all eyes turned to the grand stairs.
The character who appeared along with the introduction was tall and beautiful.
Long silver hair fluttered like waves, white skin like transparent glasswork, and eyes crinkled softly.
I blinked blankly at Caron’s dazzling appearance, which was like a peony in full bloom.
I had always felt it, but it’s not a beauty that I dare to say belong to this world.

Caron slowly made her way through the admiring crowd, and arrived in front of me.
Without exaggeration, everyone within a 5-meter radius was looking at her in awe.
Caron, who was handed a glass of champagne, greeted me with a face as bright as sunshine, as if she hadn’t made an arrogant expression just moments ago.

“Kate! I’m glad I found you.
This is the first time I’ve ever had a party with so many people, I almost got left alone.”

Caron, who had come to my side, crossed her arm around mine.
At that, I glanced at Duke  Entera, who could be seen walking away.
Before I knew it, the duke was surrounded by the people approaching like a swarm of bees, even his shadow was no longer visible.

“Caron, shouldn’t we exchange greetings with His Excellency?”

“Father is busy dealing with a lot of nobles.
We have enough time, so you can greet him later.
So how are you doing, Kate? Somehow you don’t look good today.”

Caron stretched out her arm and touched my forehead, looking distressed.
Before, her eye level was the same as mine, but perhaps due to heredity, she had grown quickly and her chin was now placed higher than mine.
Ezelot must have had a tall gene too, so why was I the only one in this shape?

“I’ve starved since last night, so my head is a little dizzy.
I feel kinda sick.”

“Weren’t you like this during your debutante too? No matter how much I think about it, I don’t think Kate should skip meals.
If you don’t mind, let’s go out onto the terrace-…”

Caron’s consolation did not end before a sudden figure of a man intervened between us.

“Excuse me, ladies who are as beautiful as flowers.
If you don’t mind, can I join the conversation?”

The owner of this gruff voice was easily identified even without checking his face.
The Marquis of Philfrontz Audrine.
He was the man who was promised marriage to Caron.

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