A guest of Awning? A suspicious look appeared on Sonia’s face.
Then, Awning quickly introduced him.

“Count Burns, this is my mother, Viscountess Sonia Rencid.
Mother, this is Count Elliot Burns.”

Count Burns would know.
Sonia finally cleared her doubts and greeted Elliot.
It was surprising that her son even knew someone like this, but now was not the time to ask such things.
She went up to this floor, leaving word that she had to change her clothes.

“Did you invite him?”

After the Viscountess left, Eugenie asked Awning with a surprised expression.
She thought he hated being friends with Elliot.
At her question, Awning put on a puzzled expression again.
He couldn’t help it.
Because Count Burns, whom she had met at the club, had to be invited, he said.

But he couldn’t tell the truth, so he nodded.

“Well, we met at the club.”

Eugenie nodded.
Aside from Awning’s disapproval of Elliot and her friendship, she felt sorry for Elliot and Awning falling apart.
Both were good people.
She hoped they reconcile and get along well.
Eugenie thought so.
But before she could open her mouth she was approached by Julia.

“Eugenie, help me.”

Didn’t she go looking for Lauren earlier? At the request for help, the eyes of Eugenie, Awning, and Elliot turned to Julia.
It seems that she was in a hurry and didn’t even see the two men standing next to Eugenie.

Julia then found Awning and Elliot and greeted them with a blush on her face.
And she whispered to Eugenie again.

“Lord Sekei is here.”

What? As Eugenie was about to ask what the problem was, it came to mind that Lauren and Lord Masterson were there.

“Where is him?”

It didn’t matter how Lord Sekei came to be.
He was investing in businesses here and there, so he must have been accompanied by someone he knew.
Or Viscountess Rencid invited him.

At Eugenie’s words, Julia tried to guide her.
However, Awning came first.

“Don’t interfere, Eugenie.”

Not only Eugenie but also Julia hesitated at Awning’s dissuade.
As the two turned around, Awning spoke in a low voice so that the others could not hear.

“It’s their job.
I like not to care about other people’s business.”

“It’s my friend’s business.”

When Julia, who was angry, retorted, Awning put on a sad expression.
Of course, he didn’t feel sorry for Lauren, but she felt sorry for innocent Julia.

She sighed and told Julia.

“Miss Escalee, you too should know the reality.
Becoming Lord Sekei’s mistress might be a better option for your friend.”

“I beg your pardon?”

Julia gaped her mouth at her disbelief.
She now turned her head to Eugenie to ask if what she had heard was correct, only to find that she too was making the same expression.

“Awning, be careful with your words.”

Eugenie warned him, but Awning didn’t think he was wrong.
He thought Eugenie was too soft.
A child named Lauren was a fallen nobleman.
She has no one to take care of it either.
Who would marry a woman who has no decent family or money? He opened his mouth with a sad expression.

“That girl is from a ruined house.
Who would want to take a woman with no dowry?”

It’s a story everyone knew, but it was also something he didn’t dare to say.
Eugenie was surprised that Awning could speak so cruelly, and Julia immediately hated Awning.

“Lauren is pretty.”


Eugenie scolded Julia for intervening to refute Awning.
Although her wealth and looks were important in finding her mate.
But Eugenie believed that she had more important things than that.

“Because she has that beauty, she can become a mistress.
Miss Escalee, what do you think would have happened if your friend had been ugly?”

“Awning, stop.”

She couldn’t possibly listen.
Like a child, Eugenie stopped Awning from arguing with Julia.
And she said to Julia.

“You go first.
I’ll follow you.”

Julia’s gaze turned to Awning.
She heard he was a quiet and nice person, but… He actually seemed like a nice person when they met and briefly said hello.
Was he in a bad mood today? Or maybe he just didn’t know Julia, and what kind of person she was.
But if that was the case, there was no way that Eugenie didn’t know about him.
Julia realized that Eugenie was also taken aback by Awning’s words.
In this case, she had to leave.
She let out her sigh and backed off.

“Why are you doing that?”

When Julia left, Eugenie scolded Awning in a low voice.
His words and actions just before were really rude.
No, being rude was not enough.
However, Awning said with an expression that he did not know why Eugenie was doing this.

“What am I doing?”

“That’s what I said a moment ago.
You don’t have to say that much, do you?”

“I was just presenting the reality.
Isn’t Miss Escalee too fancy just because her father is the commander of the knights?”

“That’s up to Sir Escalee and Julia to take care of themselves.
You and I have no reason or need to care.”

Even so, Awning hated people like Julia and Lauren.
Little girls with pretty faces or good fathers.
And he began to hate Eugenie, who did not take his side.
Awning asked, placing his hand on his waist.

“Why are you so hostile?”

“What are you talking about?”

“For a while now, you keep opposing me.
Count Burns and Miss Escalee are the same.”

“That’s because you keep being rude.”

“It’s not rude, it’s realistic.”

It’s just that he was trying to teach Eugenie that Miss Escalee was catching floating clouds.
He sighed and continued.

“Be honest.
How can a woman with no family or money get married to a good place?”

She didn’t have to get married.
But yes.
Eugenie admitted that it was difficult for her to live without marriage.
It might be possible if you were a very wealthy person.
But someone like Lauren would have it difficult.
Because there was no one to protect her.

“Then what do you need?”

Elliot stepped up when Eugenie tried to ask, “Isn’t it necessary to be a mistress?” The face of Awning, who had forgotten that he was there, hardened.

“Eugenie, what do you need is to marry a good man?”

Elliot asked Eugenie this time on behalf of Awning, who was speechless.
She, too, had forgotten that Elliot was by her side.

Eugenie frowned at Elliot’s question, but soon fell into her thoughts.
And she spoke slowly.

“You have to be right with each other.”

At least they should be of the same mind.
If you think of marriage as a business, then the other person should too.
Likewise, if you think of marriage as a union of people who love each other, then the other person should too.
Eugenie’s answer brought a smile to Elliot’s face.
He said, turning his head toward Awning.

“She said that they have to agree with each other.
Lord Rencid, how about you?”

He had to say yes.
In Awning’s head, the answer was spinning round and sound.
If it was only Eugenie, she would have been able to say that.
But Awning couldn’t say that because of Elliot in front of his eyes.

Don’t you think so?”

“Oh, no…”

Awning tried to say something with a pale face.
But he didn’t know what to say, so he just opened his mouth.

“I’m a bit old-fashioned, I think a couple should love each other.”

Then, Eugenie opened her mouth again.
He said it’s old-fashioned? When Awning and Elliot looked at her, Eugenie continued with a slightly embarrassed expression.

“You think a couple should have affection.
It’s tacky.
But I like that.”

A smile appeared on Elliot’s face.
Even though she thought it was tacky, Eugenie spoke her thoughts to the end.
That part was good.
At the same time, it was nice to know the part of him that she never said, that he couldn’t.

“So do I.”

Eliot said that and took Eugenie’s hand.
He wasn’t particularly interested in being tacky or sophisticated, but if Eugenie liked tacky, he liked it too.
He kissed the back of Eugenie’s hand and continued.

“I liked that.”

As expected, it was clear that Count Burns had feelings for Eugenie.
Sparks flew from Awning’s eyes as he saw him kissing the back of Eugenie’s hand.
Anger welled up in Awning’s head.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t anger toward Elliot, who flirted with Eugenie while her fiancé, who was himself, kept her eyes wide open.

It was anger towards Eugenie who was interested in such a man.

* * *

“Women like performances, don’t they? I have a seat in the theater.”

At the same time, Lauren was at a loss in front of Lord Sekei.
She wanteds to tell her uncle to go away because she didn’t care, but Lord Masterson was standing over her, watching her.
If she offended Sir Sekei, it was certain that Sir Masterson would come after her immediately.

“How about the opera? Do you like that? Oh, you’ve never seen it.
Don’t worry, I’ll explain everything to you.”

‘Oh my god.’ Lauren started listing the reasons why she shouldn’t hit Lord Sekei here and now.
But no matter how much she thought about it, there were more reasons to hit him than reasons to not to hit him.
Of course, having more reasons didn’t mean she could hit them.
Her gaze turned to Lord Masterson.

Lord Masterson said he would take her out for a moment.
He raised her all this time, so she wondered if he had to do something like this.
He said that his business was not very good.
He said that if she did something wrong, the Master’s sons and his wife could end up on the street.

That’s why she talked to Sir Sekei.
Anyway, Lord Masterson supported her to attend the academy after the loss of her parents.

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