Stanley questioned Rose, who shook her head with an awkward laugh.
“I heard that you can attend without hunting.
I don't think it's bad to visit at least once…
I want to go with Ilya.”
You will definitely not have a boring time.
In the space for women, small animals are also released, so it will be fun to look around.”
Rose and Ilya, who were new to hunting, had their eyes light up at the thought of small animals.
Ilya dreamed of all the small animals before suddenly asking another question.
“Is the hunting festival just about catching the prey? Don't they give prizes to those who catch them?”
“Of course there is, Lady Ilya.
Did you know that in the spring there is a coming-of-age celebration for those who have come of age?”
Ilya nodded vigorously and pretended to know.
“A woman I met at a banquet told me the story.
She said that as I am an adult now, I will receive an invitation from the Imperial Family.”
“Yes, there is a lot of prey at the hunting festival…
An award will be given to the contestant who catches the trickiest ones.
The winner of the hunt can perform the first dance with a partner of their choice to kick off the coming-of-age debut for everyone.”
Rose let out a short exclamation.
She attended the coming-of-age celebrations held at the Imperial Family the year before and thought of the first person who danced with her.
At that time, I didn't know who they were, so I didn't know why they danced with me in the first place, but now my curiosity has been answered.
As Rose was reminiscing about her coming-of-age banquet the previous year, Ilya had another question on her mind.
“Hunting is also a skill, so wouldn't the person who always danced dance every year?”
[TL/N: Won't the same person use his outstanding skills to win every year and choose whoever he wants year in and year out.]
“It's not like that.
The winner of the hunting festival will have their first dance with their partner that year, and even if they participate in the hunting festival for the next five years and catch an excellent game, it will be invalid.”
“It is so romantic— Uh! Then, Rose, have you ever danced…?”
Elliot was the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Knights and had extraordinary skills.
It must have been easy for him to catch various prey at the hunting event.
After winning, she wondered if he had applied to partner with Rose, but ever since Ilya heard that Rose would cancel the engagement, Ilya's question was spoken very cautiously.
“No, I remember hearing that Elliot never won a championship.”
While Rose was passionately in love with Elliot without knowing anything about it, she happened to hear about the hunting tradition from Wells that the winner chose a partner and danced to the coming-of-age party that year.
Rose was confident that Elliott would win the hunt.
He was so good at swordsmanship that even Wells sometimes praised him.
However, when she heard that she could not go to the coming-of-age banquet as she was still a minor, Rose prayed over and over again that Elliot would not win the hunt.
She didn't know if God listened to her earnestness and prevented Elliott from winning.
But Elliot didn't win as she had hoped, and he didn't dance with another partner at her coming-of-age celebration.
Rose picked up the teacup and brought it to her mouth.
…Is His Majesty also attending? So what if he wins? What kind of young lady would you like to perform your first dance with, Your Majesty?
At the year-end celebration, Wells had asked Russell if he was going to hunt.
I should have heard an answer from him then, but I missed the most important part because Wells followed up with his own answer.
…Will my brother come early tonight? I'll have to ask him indirectly.
Filled with thoughts of Russell, Rose didn't notice the gaze looking at her.
It was an unpleasant glance disguised as goodwill.
That night was deep.
Rose was reading a book with the bedside light lit, when she heard the sound of carriages outside the quiet window.
Without hesitation, she closed the book, got out of bed, and ran to the window.
When she pulled back the heavy curtains to check outside, the Honeywell family carriage, with Wells on board, was pulling up into the manor.
“Brother, you're here now!”
It was almost midnight.
Rose put on a coat she found hanging on a hanger stand and left the room while holding a lantern.
Wells entered the manor at the same time that Rose stepped down the stairs to the first floor.
His eyes widened when he glimpsed his beloved sister.
“My Rose? Aren't you asleep yet?”
“No, I can't sleep…
Brother, you've done a great job with work.”
Rose kept pace with Wells until she noticed his steps leading toward her room and stopped.
“Let's go to my brother's room.
I will guide you.”
“Hm? The hallway is dark, so I will take you to your room first.”
“No— Oh, you must be tired.
Let's go, brother's room is this way.”
Rose stubbornly tugged on his sleeve, while Wells, unable to overcome the tiredness that had accumulated throughout the day, was guided by her obediently.
“This is the first time Rose has ever led me to a room.”
“Is that so? Oh, oops.
Brother,I have a question.”
“What is it?”
“Is my older brother attending the hunting festival too?”
Rose guessed Wells' answer before he could reply.
He would say no, because Wells wasn't good at hunting.
He never was.
“No, my Rose, I am not attending.”
I knew it.
Her prediction was correct.
Rose asked the next question as naturally as possible.
“Then, His Majesty? Will His Majesty go to the hunting festival?”
“Go? Others will hunt, but he will not participate in the hunt.
It has been like that every year.”
“I see, so he is attending.”
Rose pursed her lips to still the corners of her lips that were about to rise.
Wells's room appeared after walking down the slightly chilled corridor.
He leaned down and kissed Rose lightly on the cheek before entering the room.
“Go back to your room carefully, my Rose.
Sleep well, brother.”
Wells straightened his posture, staring at Rose without entering the room.
His sister tilted her head at her brother, who made no movement and instead chose to smile at her.
After a while of silence, he acted first.
“Rose, if you have His Majesty in your heart, it would be better to withdraw it.”
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