“You have no idea how noisy it is outside, Young Lady.
Even though it’s night, it’s as noisy as during the day.”

Amy, the maid, combed Adeline’s hair and chattered.

“Because it’s His Highness the Crown Prince’s birthday festival.
There is even a ball tomorrow.”
“A ball in the Imperial Palace! It’s been a while since we had an imperial ball, right? And it’s even a masquerade ball! I can’t wait to see how spectacular it will be.
The Young Lady will stand out the most.
We put so much effort into it!”

Unlike Amy, who was resolute, Adeline was infinitely calm.
She just gave a pale smile and didn’t show the slightest anticipation for the imperial ball that was happening again after five years.

‘The day of the ball has come at last.’

Of course it did.
Adeline knew the ending of all events.
It’s already been eight years since she opened her eyes and possessed ‘Adeline Tien’ in the book.
Adeline’s role, which she was now accustomed to, was none other than that of the ‘villainess’.

And she was a terrible villainess who was killed at the hands of the male protagonist while plotting to poison the female protagonist.
And tomorrow’s ball was the day that the male and female protagonists first met and fell in love with each other at first sight.

‘That’s right, if I can hold out for just three months from tomorrow…’

That meant that if she could endure it for three months from tomorrow, she would be able to die at the hands of the male protagonist and end this tiresome possession.

Others would be surprised by what was so good about dying, but being trapped in a life that didn’t change no matter how hard she tried was more despairing than what she thought.
One small corsage, one big saving someone’s life.

Even if Adeline eagerly wanted it, if it went against the contents of the original work, it would never happen as she wished.
So, a spectacular imperial ball? A secret masquerade ball? It was none of Adeline’s business.

‘Please let the two of them meet safely tomorrow and fall in love at first sight.
Please!’

She had only one wish.
For the male and female protagonists to fall for each other without complications.
That way, she would be able to say goodbye to Adeline Tien.

 

***

 

“Oh my, Young Lady, you are so beautiful.”
“That’s right.
You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen!”
“How can you be so pretty… It’s a shame you have to cover your face with a mask, Young Lady.”

The maids were in awe, expressing their admiration.
It wasn’t lip service or an overreaction.
Adeline, who was decorated and dressed for the ball, was really beautiful.

Even her beautiful, wavy, blonde hair, which had been put up and adorned with jewels, her pale green eyes that shone brightly as if they were embedded with emeralds, and her red lips, which contrasted with her exceptionally white skin.
Everything was dazzling.
On top of that, the sky-blue dress, which exposed her shoulders, also enhanced the elegant and graceful atmosphere that was unique to Adeline.

The problem was that Adeline wasn’t at all impressed, whether she was beautiful or not.

“Young Lady, are you sure you don’t want a flower decoration on your hair? Just two of these…”
“The jewelry right now is enough.
This too is too much for me.”
“How can it be too much! The other ladies also have all kinds of flowers and jewels!”
“That’s enough.
This much is enough.”

Adeline was very adamant.
The main character of today’s ball was the female protagonist ‘Vanessa’ anyway, not Adeline.
No matter what the other ladies did, including Adeline, Vanessa’s role was to get all the attention.
That was the predetermined development.

‘It has never been different from the book…’

Her spectacular debutante, which was regarded as one of the best in the history of the empire, the process of becoming a social butterfly, and even the lining up of prospective marriage partners before the ball were all the same.
For a long time of eight years, there was nothing that went against it.

“Young Lady.
The Marquis is waiting for you.”
“Alright.
I’ll go right away.”

Adeline looked at her appearance for the last time, and then slowly stepped out into the hallway.
She went down the white marble staircase calmly, and at the end, her brother, Marquis Enoch Tien, stood with a smile on his face.

“Dear heavens.
It’s a pity that it’s a masquerade ball today, Adeline.
You’re too beautiful.”
“Please don’t make a big deal out of it too, Brother.
Rather, it will be more comfortable wearing a mask, so that’s a relief.”
“What do you mean, a big deal! As I see it…”
“Let’s go, Brother.”

Enoch looked at Adeline as if it was unfair, but she didn’t pay him attention and climbed onto the carriage with a calm face, not feeling any excitement for the ball.

 

***

 

“It looks like all the nobles of the empire are gathered.”

Enoch’s words were not exaggerated.
The huge hall of the imperial palace where the party was being held was filled with nobles who had already arrived.
As he was greeted by other nobles and moved away for a conversation, Adeline, who was left alone, naturally mingled with the madams and young ladies.

“Ah, it’s the daughter of Marquis Tien.”
“It’s been a long time, Duchess Flora.”
“Even with a mask, you can’t hide your beauty.”
“You flatter me.”

Even Duchess Flora, who was famous for being stingy with her compliments, was impressed by Adeline’s beauty, but Adeline was still consistent.

“Five years after the Empress’ death, and there’s another ball happening in this hall.”
“It took them a long time.
His Imperial Majesty is pitiful too.
He sent his wife away first, who he loved so much.”
“Still, the living should live.
Isn’t that why he’s moving slowly now? Even His Highness’ national marriage can’t be postponed anymore.”
“That’s right.
Probably today’s ball too… Ho ho.
Old women like us don’t have a chance anymore, but the young ladies are really excited.
Isn’t that right, Lady Tien?”

The other women that were next to the duchess laughed and spoke to Adeline.
However, Adeline just looked at them with a light smile.
Nothing came into Adeline’s mind right now.
Behind the half mask adorned with deep-blue feathers, her big, pale green eyes were busy looking for Vanessa.

“His Highness’ eyes must be moving busily.
The young ladies are a bit fancy today.
Look at the daughter of Count Felix, who just arrived.”
“Oh my.”

Just then, Vanessa came into the hall.
Vanessa was a beautiful woman that everyone in the social world acknowledged.
Beautiful light brown hair, lovely light brown eyes that were the exact reproduction of that color, deep eyes that became a half-moon when she smiled, and to finish it, a perfectly sized and clear mouth shape that made a lovely smile.

The lady, who was beautiful even without dressing up, made a strong appearance today.
The pink dress, which showed her slender body line, was full of frills and floral ornaments, and the numerous diamond accessories that covered her body also shone with the light of the hall.

‘Good.
That’s a relief.
That should be enough to grab the Grand Duke’s attention.’

Adeline let out a sigh of relief as she looked at Vanessa.
As was the case with the contents of the book, Vanessa was under the spotlight today, attracting the attention of many.

‘… But why are there so many people staring at me today, of all days? No one should be interested in me.’

She tried to move to a corner of the hall while taking advantage that all eyes were on Vanessa, but the back of her head prickled strangely.
Everyone in the hall should be looking only at Vanessa, but their eyes kept following Adeline too.
That was how beautiful Adeline was today.
Although she was not aware of it at all, and had no intention to do so.

‘Now, it’s time for Grand Duke Inver…’

By the time she was thinking that the male protagonist, Grand Duke Kael Inver, only had to make his appearance, the atmosphere of the hall changed.
This time, all eyes in the hall turned to one person.

Kael Inver.
The Grand Duke, who ruled the northern part of the empire, was walking to the center of the hall in a navy uniform and a white mask.

The pitch-black hair, the blue-gray eyes that seemed like a rushing winter blizzard, and the tall and strong body that showed how long he had fought to protect the North.
Even though there were terrifying rumors that he even slaughtered people, he was so beautiful that all the ladies blushed in front of him.

“I sincerely congratulate you on your birthday, Your Highness.”
“Thank you for coming like this, Kael.
I heard the North is very busy these days.”

Everyone in the hall watched Kael and the Crown Prince’s greeting.
Except for one person.
Adeline.
Adeline concentrated on looking at Vanessa only.
Her reaction was important.
Fortunately, Vanessa was blushing shyly while looking at Kael.

‘Good.
She likes him.
Now they just need to dance together and fall in love.
I have to let go of my anxiety.’

Adeline let out a sigh of relief and quietly headed for the corner of the hall.
Kael and Vanessa just needed to dance together anyway.
She wasn’t inclined to dance as she was immersed in the mood of the party, and she was already exhausted from caring about the meeting between the two of them, so she just wanted to rest.

“Oh? Lady Tien! Why are you here! The dance is about to start!”
“Sorry? Ah, I felt dizzy for a moment…”
“Quickly! Hurry up and come here!”

When she had barely settled in the corner after walking for a while, the daughter of the duke’s family suddenly appeared, held Adeline’s hand, and led her.

‘I was avoiding it because the dance started!’

Eventually swallowing the words she couldn’t say, Adeline was dragged helplessly by the young lady.

‘Huh? The Crown Prince isn’t dancing alone first?’

As she approached the middle of the hall, she noticed that the Crown Prince was leading some of the close nobles around him together to the center.
Of course, Kael was with him.
In the book, the Crown Prince clearly danced with one of the ladies he liked first, and when the dance was over, the nobles began to choose a partner.
That was when people got mixed up and Kael and Vanessa fell in love!

‘What is this? Why is it suddenly different?’

Adeline’s eyes shook.
The flow was strange.

‘Hold on.
That can’t be.’

The Crown Prince, who looked through the nobles surrounding the center of the hall, smiled and walked towards Vanessa.
Although there were many other young ladies there, it was clear he was walking towards Vanessa.

Adeline was busy searching around for Kael.
He had to move quickly and hold Vanessa’s hand before the Crown Prince.

‘… What is this?’

However, Kael’s direction, whom she had desperately searched for, was strange.
At the end of his big strides was Adeline.
Just like the Crown Prince was heading for Vanessa, Kael was clearly walking towards Adeline.

“Would you like to dance to a song?”

Surprised, Adeline looked at Kael in front of her, her mouth slightly open without her even realizing it.

It was a ridiculous development.
Even if it went against the contents of the book, it was extremely different.
Kael shouldn’t reach out to Adeline.
He had to unconditionally approach Vanessa and step on her foot once, and yet, fall in love at first sight while skillfully leading her.

‘What, what’s going on?’

Although it was a short moment, there were tens of thousands of thoughts in Adeline’s mind.
Thinking about how to solve this twisted situation, she suddenly took off her mask and revealed her bare face.

‘I’m not Vanessa! It’s another face! Go to Vanessa before it’s too late!’

He might have confused her with Vanessa because of the mask, so she thought she should show him that she wasn’t her.
But, somehow,

“… If you want to take off your mask and dance, feel free to do so.”

Kael perfectly misunderstood Adeline’s intentions and took off the white mask he was wearing, revealing his face.

As everyone covered their faces with their masks, only the cold blue-green eyes and the warm pale-green eyes looked at each other completely, without any obstacle.
The scene was so dramatic that all the eyes in the hall turned to Kael and Adeline.
It was the advent of a huge story that would sweep the social world.

‘Is he crazy?’

Contrary to her apparent outside atmosphere, the owner of the pale green eyes was saying all kinds of curses.

 

T/N: Hi, this is Miki! I picked up this new novel and I hope everyone enjoys it! Thank you for reading~ ♡

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