Chapter 02: The Ideal Prince and the Perfect Lady
The Rowlands Kingdom—a major nation located in the western region of the Parfian continent and founded over 300 years ago.
Although landlocked, it had a surplus of water thanks to the two large rivers flowing through it.
Additionally, it experienced four seasons, and the fertile land was able to support the cultivation of various crops.
The monarchy was stable, and the nation thrived in peace.
The kingdom was founded by a hero.
300 years ago, the neighboring nation, the Diaghilev Empire, experienced its golden age and aggressively waged war with every other nation in hopes of extending its dominion.
The nations that fought back had their royalty and nobility executed and villages ransacked by the imperial army.
The imperial people ruined the land and arrogantly strutted around, forcing people into submission through fear.
Those who opposed were mercilessly killed.
People fell into despair.
As they were about to lose hope, a young man stood up.
He was the founding hero—Abel Rowlands.
Together with several comrades, he stood up against the empire, and in the blink of an eye, his influence expanded.
He freed the villages oppressed by the imperial army and unified three small nations that had lost.
This marked the birth of the Hero King, Abel Rowlands, and the formation of the Rowlands Kingdom.
Afterward, the Diaghilev Empire attempted numerous times to wage war, but they never once succeeded.
Every citizen was proud of their country, and royalty, nobility, and the knights swore to protect the nation till the end.
Those who fought, those who couldn’t, those who protected, and those who were protected—every one of them were patriots proud of their country.
The strength of their unity taught those who sought to do the Rowlands Kingdom harm that they would be met with severe retribution.
Before long, the Rowlands Kingdom became known as the “nation of heroes.”
# # # # # # #
Surrounded by water lilies in the royal castle of the Rowlands Kingdom, a gorgeous party was being held.
This evening party was in celebration of the 300 years since the kingdom’s founding, but the whispers among the nobility hinted towards their true purpose in coming: to identify the candidate for the second prince’s bride.
In the hall decorated with vibrant water lilies, dancers glittered like multicolored jewels.
They matched the waltz melody being performed, changing the scenery like a kaleidoscope.
The men and women at the center shone the brightest.
There was a large crowd of people in the eastern part of the hall.
A man stood in the center.
His name was Edward Rowlands.
He was the second prince and first in line to ascend the throne.
Contrary to the expectation for a cunning beauty, his well-featured face, accented by his platinum-blond hair and clear, blue eyes, carried a gentle smile, giving a lovely and kind impression.
That was how those who viewed him as the “ideal prince” appraised him.
He was like the embodiment of a fairytale prince.
Surrounding him were elegantly dolled-up young ladies ogling over him.
Not a single hint of displeasure appeared on his smiling face.
He was the ideal prince today as well.
“Would you like to dance with me, Lady Macmillan?”
“Lord Edward, I believe I’ve always told you to please call me Isabella, yes?”
Seeing Edward smile and offer his hand, Isabella blushed bright red and answered with moist eyes.
The ladies who had been surrounding him looked at the chosen Isabella with envious eyes as Edward and Isabella moved to the center of the hall.
On the opposite side from where Edward was, at the western part of the hall, another large crowd had gathered.
A woman stood in the center.
Her name was Julianna Lewis.
She was a direct descendant of Marquess Lewis, one of the “Three Pillars of the Royal Family” and loyal retainer of the king since the nation’s founding.
If ten people saw her, all ten would consider her beautiful with her loose, wavy, honey-blonde hair and deep purple eyes.
That was how lovely and attractive her appearance was.
Surrounding her were young men dressed formally in evening attire.
She greeted these men with a graceful smile.
Everyone in Rowlands recognized her as the belle of society.
Appearance, pedigree, refinement, dance, and gestures—all were perfect, earning her the name of the “perfect lady.” People said that she was like a fairytale princess.
“Lady Julianna, w-would you like to dance with me?”
“Y-yes… it would be my pleasure.”
Julianna replied bashfully to the young man offering his hand.
Seeing that such a timid man, stuttering in the face of Julianna’s smile, should be chosen before them had the surrounding men oozing with frustration.
The two, hand in hand, moved to the center of the hall.
A new tune began to play in the dancehall.
The two sparkled like the most remarkable jewels, the centerpieces of the constantly changing dance floor.
Each time the tune changed, Edward and Julianna changed partners, but they never once danced with each other at this party.
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