Jade secured tickets to the capital’s most prestigious opera.
It was a cheerful comedy popular in the five major empires, entitled ‘Why Don’t You Wait?’.
As soon as they heard that Lobelia was going on a date with Jade, Hilda and the handmaidens rushed over to her to adorn her, flames burning in each of their eyes.
Lobelia also accepted their zealous effort.
It was the day she would debut as Jade Ferrado’s lover, so she ought to look as presentable as she could.
The maids arrived with an abundance of make-up, as well as a bunch of accessories and dresses.
As the clothes fit her perfectly, as if they were tailored specifically for her, Lobelia was suspicious.
“Excuse me,” Lobelia grabbed Hilda’s arm as she tried on a green dress, “This dress.
Where did you get it from?”
At Lobelia’s question, Hilda’s eyes widened.
The three handmaidens exchanged glances and whispered amongst each other.
“Didn’t she know?”
“Is she pretending not to know?”
“Is she testing us?”
“It fits my body so well,” said Lobelia.
“Of course it’s a good fit,” Hilda said.
“These dresses are a gift from the Duke to Miss Lobelia.
We measured Miss Lobelia yesterday.
Don’t you remember?” she asked.
Speaking of which, on the day of her trip to the Academy, the handmaidens clung to her and brought her in front of the mirror, while they bustled around her.
Oh, was that what they measured? She wondered, feeling embarrassed.
Of course she couldn’t attend a prestigious event in her ragged clothes, but she didn’t expect Jade to buy her clothes personally.
“These are still ready-made because we were in a hurry,” said Hilda, “but soon there will be customized dresses hand-embroidered by the tailors.” Lobelia was even more surprised to hear custom gowns tailored for high-ranking nobles were also prepared.
“Look at the fans, gloves, and hats,” Hilda added.
“What would you like to wear?”
Lobelia chose among the selections gloves and a hat while she pondered Jade’s romantic tendencies. Does he typically give his lover gifts? She did not intend to add to her debt.
Grandiosity can only be afforded by aristocratic women.
“Wait a minute.”
Hilda lifted her heels and placed a white, intricate lace veil on Lobelia’s hat.
Lobelia stared into the mirror quietly.
Wearing a set of emerald earrings and a necklace reminiscent of dark greenery, a woman in a light blue dress caught her eye; she appeared a little nervous.
Her hands were covered in white muslin gloves and an emerald ring wrapped around her finger.
Her face was so pale and thin that she gave off a slightly sharp impression, but underneath the lace veil, she looked elegant and her emerald blue eyes peeked through .
“Pretty!” Hilda exclaimed.
“You look so mysterious with the veil on,” said the other maid.
“That’s enough to attract attention at Serge’s opera house, right?”
The handmaidens constantly beamed, seemingly satisfied with their results.
Lobelia smiled awkwardly.
People who judged her appearance usually fell into two categories: the first are those who admire her for her mysterious beauty like these handmaidens, and the second are those who despise the gypsy’s daughter for her attempt to seduce men.
Majority belonged to the latter.
And the handmaidens would have responded the same if Lobelia hadn’t established her dominance.
Thinking about it, the praise of the handmaidens was uncomfortable to hear.
Lobelia stood up wordlessly.
“Miss Lobelia? Is there anything you don’t like?”
The maids, noticing Lobelia’s discomfort, asked worriedly, but Lobelia shook her head, replied that it was okay, and opened the door.
Down into the hall, Jade was waiting for her.
“It’s a little late.
How long have you been…” Jade paused, spotting Lobelia slowly descending from stairs.
He didn’t say anything for a while and only stared at Lobelia.
Puzzled by his gaze, Lobelia brushed her cheek with her hand.
“Is something wrong?” she asked.
“Is it too much?”
Jade shook his head as though awakened from his trance.
“No, it’s not,” he replied, “We’re going to the opera house in Serge, and that’s rather modest.” Relieved at his words, Lobelia came down the stairs.
Jade didn’t budge like a nail in the ground until Lobelia was right in front of him, and only then did he manage to speak.
“It’s just…” he murmured.
“Just?” Lobelia tilted her head.
“Nothing,” Jade said, “Let’s go.” He held out her hand, and Lobelia boarded the carriage with his escort as usual.
* * *
Wagons of aristocrats were already parked in front of Serge’s opera theater, the city’s focal point.
As Jade and Lobelia entered the opera house’s lounge for distinguished guests, men and women’s gazes fell on the two of them.
Even though they arrived together, no one thought Jade and Lobelia were a group.
Such an unrealistic sight made it appear as though they couldn’t even speculate on whether or not there was a connection between them,
Men flocked to Jade in an instant.
They put out the cigarettes they were smoking in an ashtray and scrambled to have a word with the duke.
On the other hand, Lobelia was completely isolated, surrounded by nothing but glaring stares.
“Oh my god, isn’t that the Lobelia from Evelentia?” One of the women, who had been silent in astonishment, opened her mouth.
“Aina, your handmaiden is over there.
What happened?” she asked.
Lobelia found Aina, standing among the crowd, staring at her with a pale face as if she had seen a ghost.
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