Saying that, Findar smiled and slowly put the dress she had brought onto Azela.
Even though she was wearing a dress, she didn’t even feel it touching her skin, thanks to the soft fabric. Not only that but contrary to the usual heavy dresses, Azela liked the light feeling. Perhaps Findar had modified the fit, unlike the last time, the dress fit Azela’s body perfectly.
Azela, looking at her reflection in the mirror, opened her mouth.
Indeed, Findar had the ability to graduate from the Imperial Academy at the top of her class. Findar, who was pleased to see Azela’s figure, saw the trinkets brought by the staff and seated her in front of the dressing table.
“I’ll lightly modify your makeup to match the dress.”
After she clapped lightly twice, the staff behind the curtain moved in perfect order. They fixed Azela’s hair and make-up, changed her shoes, and changed her plain earrings, necklace, and her bracelets.
It happened in an instant.
As Azela kept her mouth open at the actions done without even a chance to refuse, the image of herself in the mirror was completely different from before. It was something she hadn’t seen before. She was far more glamorous than when Sylvia adorned herself, but she was much more beautiful than then.
As she was still staring at her own face in the mirror in disbelief, Findar put her hand on Azela’s shoulder and painted a smile.
“The mistress who caused a stir at the boutique shop the other day is also coming to the party today.”
“Go and crush her.”
Then, Findar held out a fan with feathers that could only be collected from the spot where rare birds had left. It was a precious fan that could not be obtained at any cost, thanks to the limited quantity.
Findar was smiling.
Seeing her smile, Azela reached out and grasped the fan.
* * *
‘It’s too late.’
Arriving at the Imperial Palace in a splendid carriage prepared by Findar, Azela frowned as she heard the music playing inside.
The party was already in full swing, and laughter could be heard from inside. Azela got off the carriage and entered the palace with hasty steps without an escort. From her point of view, this place was certainly like a den of enemies.
“Could you show me the invitation?”
As it was the birthday of the Emperor, security was tight. People would think that someone would get hurt in a place like this though this tight security was more dangerous to Zagnac. It was because the Emperor had many sides.
When Azela held out the invitation, the attendant politely bowed his head before opening the door to the ballroom.
Everyone’s eyes turned to the door when they heard the loud voice announcing Azela’s appearance.
For a moment, the party hall was enveloped in silence. Under the bright light of the chandelier, she was shining brighter than anyone else. Her long flowing light blonde hair, her fair skin, and her red lips made a perfect match.
The air made her feel cool, giving her whole body a sense of refreshment.
The dress with a light shawl underneath was also captivating as the intense red color dress was greatly revealing her presence. The golden pattern embroidered on it also played a part in making Azela stand out even more.
That wasn’t the only thing. Unlike the curled skirt, the sky-high cut of the dress was eye-catching, and her white legs revealed a little bit with each step she took.
“Oh, my gosh.”
“Where is that dress from?”
The men, and even the women, could not take their eyes off her, and everyone in the ballroom took notice of her.
That also included the Emperor, who was enjoying this party at the high table, and Crown Prince Chises and Princess Livia, who were quietly enjoying food in a corner at the party. Not only that but Daniel, who was waiting for her, and Sylvia as she was wagging her tails to please the noble wives.
Even Zagnac was waiting for her.
Entering the party, she looked for him, completely ignoring the gaze of others. The men, whom she hadn’t seen before, handed her glasses of champagne and hoped to talk to Azela, but she dismissed them lightly. She’s not here to enjoy herself.
Soon, she heard a familiar low tone in her ears.
Before she could turn to the voice, his hand lightly wrapped around her waist. Zagnac lightly hugged Azela around the waist and snuggled her close to him as he sent a murderous gaze towards the men who were looking at her.
So that it could not be heard around, she called his name very softly.
Zagnac, who had hugged her by the waist, turned his gaze to Azela. As his eyes, which contained her, were shaking, she lightly ignored them and hurriedly spoke as she inspected his body.
“Did something go wrong? Findar says that Benjamin came as an escort while I was gone.”
“Does Benjamin know how to use a sword? It looks like he’ll just eat bread next to you.”
As expected, it was more reassuring with her there. Azela thought so as she calmly checked every part of his body while muttering to herself. Seeing that, Zagnac unknowingly raised his hand and touched her shining hair.
He had already called her name four times… no, maybe he kept calling that name that was too sweet to stay in his mouth. Azela raised her head at the calm voice calling her name. And then, with a half-closed gaze, she saw the expression on his face as he gazed down at her.
Holding the tip of her hair strand in his hand, he brought it to his lips before kissing it very carefully. His eyes were filled with darkness against the bright light.
“You look pretty today.”
Azela sniffed at Zagnac’s unusually impulsive behavior, thinking that he was perhaps drunk. However, there wasn’t the slightest hint of sweetness to him. Not knowing how to react, she then whispered softly with a shy face.
“The dress is pretty after all, isn’t it? Because Findar worked hard to…”
Denying her words, he looked at Azela with a bewitched gaze and lifted the tip of her chin, as she kept her head down. The moment she glanced into his eyes, she felt trapped in space, deep enough to forget where she was.
Zagnac whispered clearly between his slightly parted lips, his cheeks flushed like someone addicted to drugs.
“You are so pretty.”
Hearing that clear sound, the ladies around her, including Azela, opened their mouths. Of course, Princess Livia, who was enjoying food nearby, kept her lips firmly shut. Azela did not avert her gaze at his voice that made her heart quiver.
Azela, swept up in the atmosphere and about to call his name, was able to keep her lips shut thanks to a tactless nobleman who came up to them and greeted Zagnac.
As she was about to call out his name, she almost threw her heart for him out of her mouth. Azela let out a sigh of relief. When she greeted the nobleman who had come to greet her, Zagnac untied his hand from her waist.
Her heart was beating loudly. She could feel it.
“…Haha, congratulations by the way.”
Zagnac tilted his head with a smile replying to the noble who tilted his champagne glass. When he asked what kind of congratulations the noble was talking about, the noble burst out laughing.
“You don’t have to pretend you don’t know! I heard that the Emperor is making an announcement today! Everyone already knows.”
“…An announcement from the Emperor?”
Zagnac sipped the champagne and raised his gaze to the Emperor seated in the high chair. His gaze was cold.
Unnoticed, the noble continued his words without even reading the atmosphere.
“Yes. I heard you are marrying the Eighth Princess?”
Zagnac furrowed his eyebrows at his words.
It was Azela who widened her eyes. Her heart was beating loudly, in a different way than before. That was right… how could she forget? The other purpose of the Emperor’s grand party today was the announcement of the marriage between Princess Livia and Duke Ferial.
“Is that true?”
The nobleman who was congratulating him looked rather absurd when Zagnac asked if it was true. Suddenly seeing Zagnac’s cold face, he seemed to sense that something was wrong.