Immediately after finishing Astita’s Sunflower Festival, the noble ladies of Izbe went straight up to their place. 

With the passing of autumn and the arrival of winter, the social circle was buzzing with anticipation.
Many people said that Prince Dianel would choose a bride this winter. 

If they wanted to be prepared in advance, they had to come up to Huangdo early.

Duke Izbe spared no expense for these ladies, so Izbe’s mansion in Huangdo was already filled with clothes and decorations, and the noble ladies received dozens of boutique invitations sent by a madame to be selected.
The noble ladies gladly enjoyed this attention and investment in their preparations.

Indeed, autumn was one of Izbe’s noble ladies’ favorite seasons.
However, despite the dazzling jewels and dresses, the expressions on the faces of Ashley and Riott, the sisters, were not pleasant.

The maids speculated that the reason the noble ladies were upset was that the Prince disappeared before the masquerade ball at the Sunflower Festival in Astita.
But there was another reason why the noble ladies were upset.

As Ashley threw down a dazzling dress that she had spent a year creating, she exclaimed, 

“These are all mediocre.
Aren’t there any more extravagant ones? Don’t you know this is the most important day of the year?”

Although Riott did not throw away her clothes like Ashley, her expression was not good either.
She pressed her lips together and brought a pumpkin necklace the size of a fist to her neck, only to grimace and put it back.
Then she tried an emerald necklace. 

“This isn’t it either.”

With her fair skin, red hair, and beautiful face that suited anything, Riott had an aura that was hard to resist.
But her heart was not content. 

The madame sneakily handed Riott a diamond necklace and asked.

 “My lady, I prepared these with more care than last year.
Do they not please your heart?”

“Well, maybe I’ve seen too many nice things, so my standards have risen.”

“…Are there others who brought better things than the noble ladies?” 

The madame was genuinely surprised.
After all, the only place where there were noble ladies in the Orthodox Empire was the Izbe family.

Duke Izbe was an ambitious figure, and he wanted his daughters to shine in the social circle.
As a result, other nobles made great efforts to dress their daughters more elegantly than the noble ladies, always mindful of the count’s watchful eye.

The Izbe noble ladies were so dazzling, thanks to the power of the elves, so they could not be outdone.
This was fortunate for the Duke, as it allowed him to exert greater control.

Nevertheless, madame found it hard to believe that someone had come more splendidly dressed than the noble ladies.
Moreover, the festival the noble ladies had just attended was the Sunflower Festival in Astita.
It was hard to imagine that there was something in that rural domain that could make the noble ladies gloomy.

Seeing madame’s astonishment, Riott’s expression turned bitter. 

“I thought there wasn’t, but there was.”

Her fiery red eyes, which had always been full of determination, seemed to lose their strength as if tasting the bitterness of the world.

Madame quickly lowered her head, realizing the seriousness of the situation. 

“I-I apologize, my lady! I should have prepared more thoroughly for this social event—”

“Why are you making such a fuss? Who said anything about you?” 

Riott interjected in annoyance.


“Just shut up.
I’m already agitated enough.”

Madame closed her mouth tightly in the face of Ashley’s sharp remark, then stood up and looked around discreetly.
Lady Riott let out a sigh and spoke up.

“It’s beautiful, but it lacks the atmosphere.
I don’t feel the same as back then.”

Ashley also chimed in.

“It should be placed next to someone like that…”

“Our family’s healer wouldn’t have such abilities, right? Look at our complexion, it’s already turned pale.”

They both let out a deep sigh.
The space between their unresponsive brows, which did not move like dolls, narrowed gracefully as if to avoid the appearance of wrinkles.

Madame couldn’t understand the situation at all.
But if she intervened without reason, she felt she would receive another scolding.
In the end, she just stayed in her place, unable to do anything. 

The ladies chatter continued for a long time.
They had already spent a considerable amount of time choosing eight dresses and matching accessories for the tea party.

Just as they were engrossed in conversation, Lady Ashley suddenly exclaimed, startling everyone.

“Riott, look over there!”


Riott shifted her gaze to the window that Ashley pointed to.
A carriage with a depiction of a golden sunflower, the emblem of Astita, was passing through the street.

Riott smiled upon seeing the golden sunflower on the carriage.
Ashley seemed to have the same thought and let out a burst of strange laughter.
Then the sisters gestured towards Madame, who was discreetly observing the situation from a corner.

Madame stepped forward, not knowing what to do.

“What is it?”

Riott stretched out her delicate and graceful hand, pointing at the carriage.

“The Astita family seems to be attending the social circle this year.”

Madame glanced out the window, squinting her eyes, confirmed the emblem on the carriage, and nodded.

“I see.”

“Go and make them your clients.”


Madame blinked as if she couldn’t understand the words she heard.
She specialized in making dresses for young ladies.
She was particularly known for her skill in using lace and jewels. 

However, the Astita family had only one young master.
Of course, he was rumored to be quite handsome, but that didn’t mean he would wear dresses.

As Madame looked at the sisters with a puzzled expression, Ashley kindly explained.

Her sharp tone had calmed down, and she regained her usual composure.

“There is a famous healer in that family.”

“Yes, yes.”

“We had plans to recruit that healer to our family, but it didn’t work out.”

“What? You mean she rejected the proposal from the young ladies?”

“Yes, thanks to that, we made a rather ridiculous appearance… Anyway, why do you think they’re coming here at this time? There must be someone like Count Therid among them.
I heard they hastily prepared for the Sunflower Festival, so they might not have done a thorough preparation for the social circle.
So, use your connections and give them the best clothes as a gift and get close to them.
You can handle that, right?”

Madame nodded.
For her, who had spent decades in ateliers and boutiques, it was no small feat to reserve a suit or two.
But what did it have to do with the healer?

‘Is the healer a man?’

Then Madame soon reached a credible hypothesis.

‘Could it be… they fell in love with the healer?’

Ashley and Riott, as beautiful as their faces, had high aesthetic standards.
Perhaps because it was rare for them to find someone who met those standards, the two sisters had a fatal flaw of falling in love rapidly upon meeting someone who surpassed those standards.

Fortunately, no one had emerged so far who could surpass Dianel, the Crown Prince.
Even Duke Izbe had expressed relief that Dianel became the Crown Prince.
The sisters’ obsession with appearance was remarkable.

But what if Astita’s healer was more handsome than Dianel? And that’s why the ladies had become so sensitive after attending Astita’s Sunflower Festival? What if they declared that they would marry the healer instead of Prince Dianel?

‘If the Duke finds out, it’ll be a disaster.’

Faced with an unusual situation, Madame clenched her fist with all her strength.
A drop of cold sweat trickled down her forehead.

* * *

Count Astita arrived at the palace in no time.
Thanks to Hierian, who had cast a separate spell on the carriage, they reached the palace in less than two days.

Upon arrival, the Count immediately requested a meeting with the Crown Prince.
His son had returned to the Knight Order without properly paying respects to the Crown Prince, so he had a sufficient reason. 

The Crown Prince accepted the request and set the meeting for the next day.
Moreover, he kindly offered a room at the North Palace.

“I don’t like the palace.” 

Hierian grumbled, but the accommodation was undeniably excellent.
The servants were very polite, and the prepared food showed great attention to detail.
It was truly a hospitable environment. 

However, the better the treatment, the more suspicious Count Astita became.

‘Why are they treating us so well?’

Prince Dianel was known to be opportunistic.
He only bothered to help when it benefited him.
The only reason he would treat someone well was if they were beneficial to him.

‘When it benefits him.’

But the Count had nothing to offer the prince.
He didn’t run a large business, nor did he possess significant honor or power.
Yet, the prince provided him with a room in the North Palace and promptly adjusted the schedule for their meeting, showing such hospitality that the Count couldn’t understand.

“It’s suspicious.”

Looking at him muttering to himself, Hierian clicked his tongue like an old man.

“It’s not just suspicious; it’s ominous.
Even if we don’t know what it is, there must be an ulterior motive.”

For once, the Count and Hierian’s thoughts aligned.

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