“How was your audience with the Emperor? Did you succeed the Viscounty safely?”
Leone asked, taking a piece of chocolate from the new dessert plate they had brought and putting it in his mouth.
Naturally, I was taken aback by it.
I did not know if I should say that I succeeded the title safely or not.
“I think I’ll get it, but…”
“I provoked the Emperor a little.”
Leone was bewildered as if he was having a hard time understanding what I said.
Feeling a little embarrassed, I told him what had happened…
“…so that’s what happened.”
“This time, I was too careless.
If I had waited without the need to provoke, there wouldn’t have been a chance of losing the approval.”
I sighed lightly.
What’s so wrong with being treated like a fly that I had to do that?
When I first fell into this world, I was treated even worse than that.
Nevertheless, it had been a long time since I was last treated like that, and my self-control was disrupted.
“That might be better.”
“If the Emperor’s business goes well with Eureia’s advice, it can be a source of strength when you return to the Guild.”
“Hmm, is that so?”
Maybe it was because my first impression wasn’t good, but somehow I didn’t want to get involved with the emperor anymore.
Well, if I planned to return to the Merchant, I would have to be associated with him sooner or later even if I didn’t want to anyway.
“But you’d better not get too close with him, Eureia.”
“Because he became the emperor by rebelling.
Besides, something about him is off.
In fact, it is unknown what kind of life he lived before the rebellion.”
There was a point I also partially agreed with.
It was difficult for me to know what kind of person the emperor was.
Even though I prided myself on having an eye for people.
“For that, just use him as a tool for you to get back to Cheshire.
Don’t get any closer than that.”
Use the emperor as a tool.
If someone had heard Leone’s words, they would have been stunned.
Of course, no one was listening to our conversation, and I did not have any problem with Leone’s words.
I nodded meekly.
Leone was startled as I grinned looking at him.
“You’ve been calling me Eureia for a while now.”
“You’ve been able to call a woman’s name now.
You truly have grown a lot, Leone.”
“…don’t make fun of me.”
It was rare for Leone to call anyone by name, let alone a woman.
But I couldn’t believe he called Eureia so casually.
Even though I knew that Leone would be embarrassed, I couldn’t help but mess with him.
I actually wanted to tease him a little more.
“Huh? No matter how I am, aren’t you addressing me too comfortably? I thought you’re a shy person, but guess you aren’t though.
Come to think of it, it’s already been 7 years since I disappeared…”
I slowly rocked my head back to forth.
“It’s enough time for you to experience a romantic relationship.”
I was only trying to make fun of him a little, but Leone grabbed my shoulder in an exasperated voice.
Startled, I blinked blankly.
Leone, who saw me up close, muttered with a distorted face as if he was about to cry.
“…that can’t be.
How could I…when you’re gone…”
Leone’s eyes fluttered.
Seeing him biting his lips as if in pain made me think that I shouldn’t have said anything.
I was just teasing you.
The time I disappeared must have been very painful for Leone.
Seeing him, someone who was not that expressive of his emotions, reacted so intensely…
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
I’m sorry to have startled you.”
He nodded softly at me and said.
“And I called you by your first name because I thought it would be awkward for me to address you as ‘young viscountess’ or ‘lady’.
But I’ll call you that way if you want.
At his question, I took a moment to visualise how he would call me ‘viscountess’ or ‘lady’.
The title of ‘Viscountess’ was probably too awkward, and ‘Lady’… To be honest, it cringed.
I shook my head.
“Just call me by my name.”
Leone chuckled as if he had expected it.
If anyone in this place had seen Leone like this, they would have been shocked.
It’s a bit of a shame.
By the time Leone’s dessert plate emptied, the noisy surroundings became quiet.
And there was a loud announcement.
“His Majesty Kaishan Euclid Cliff arrives!”
The curtain on the podium was lifted and a man walked out.
The light of the chandelier fell on his silver hair.
Cold dark red eyes swept through the crowd.
He was still indifferent as ever.
“Thank you all for attending my third anniversary ball today.”
His deep voice resounded through the ballroom clearly.
He seemed to have used amplification magic.
“Since it is a special day…”
His eyes moved as if looking for something.
His gaze then stopped at one point.
Leone, who felt the same gaze as me, whispered quietly.
I nodded quietly.
The emperor looked at me and the corner of his mouth went up.
Like a hunter who found a prey he had been waiting for.
“I hope you enjoy it.”
As soon as he finished speaking, the paused performance resumed.
The song was a waltz.
According to the traditional ceremony, the emperor, the main character of the event, would have a dance first.
But the emperor, without a partner, buried himself in a huge chair.
The crowd looked at the emperor and went out to the center one by one.
Under the twinkling lights, men and women dancing was a splendid view.
Of course, I had no intention of partaking in that spectacle, so I backed off again.
My only purpose for today’s ball was to get to know the faces of those who stood at the top of the empire.
But as Leone followed me back to the furthest corner, I glanced at him and asked.
“Are you even supposed to be here? There will be a lot of people you need to meet.”
“Eureia is here, so where should I be?”
“I am not a child…”
I grumbled a little, saying he was overprotective, but it wasn’t too bad after all.
Well, I too have just entered Eureia’s body, so I still need time to adjust.
And with Leone by my side, there would be no man approaching me unnecessarily, so it was comfortable.
But there were also inconveniences.
“It is not good to eat too much.
Do you know how many plates has it been already? Didn’t you promise me before? The amount of sweet food for a day…”
As I put the macarons I had taken into my mouth one after another, I frowned and protested at Leone’s continuous nagging.
“Oh give me a break.
Today is a special day.
I’m barely holding back my desire to drink fruit wine here.”
“Haa, seriouly, you are really…”
Leone sighed deeply at my words.
Who said he was a cold duke again? Reality had proven that he was just a nag.
I watched the people with one earful of Leone’s never-ending nagging.
Then I suddenly felt someone’s gaze and turned my head.
A man with light blue hair, as soft as cotton candy, along with blue eyes.
Heights Henness was watching me from the crowd.
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