Chapter 41

Meanwhile, the nobles were busy talking inside the walls of the splendid mansion.

“Have you heard that the illegitimate girl is attending?”

A woman spoke from behind her fan.

“There was a reason why the venue of the banquet was changed to a larger one.
We’ve all come to see it.”

The hall was 50 feet wider than the previously organized place, but it was still packed with people.

Women, with heavy lipstick painted on their lips, kept chatting only about one topic.

“This is the first time for the Ducal family to attend a gathering after escaping the stigma of treason.
I never expected him to have an illegitimate child as his wife, but…… it’s a miracle in many ways.”

It was inevitable that the Duchess was the second most noble woman in the current state of the Empire.

This was because Prince Oscar did not yet receive the title of the Crown Prince.

“Haven’t you heard? According to Miss Rose Brumayer, it’s been one month since the Imperial Palace has reinstated the documents.”

Rose spread those false rumors to her advantage, while Laritte became known as an illegitimate child in luck.

The old lady nodded.

“No wonder there are too many unmarried young girls.
He would surely go under the government procedures in order to seek an heir.”

The group burst into laughter among themselves.

“Minya, you look so gorgeous.
Which boutique is that dress from?”

Minya, the daughter of Marquis, smiled modestly.

“Not something to brag about…… but a new collection of Nicholas Boutique.”

She pretended she wasn’t, but she was proud inwardly.

That was the level she wanted.

When she heard the rumor that the Duke was attending, she begged her father to buy the dress for her.

It was the work of an assistant of the famous designer, but it glimmered as the finest quality of dress in the hall.

She could feel the envious gazes on her.

“Oh my God! Nicholas Boutique is the best in the Empire.
It must be very expensive.”

“I’m so jealous of you, Lady Minya.
The Duke would definitely fall for you.”

Minya shook her head.

“Oh my, how could you say that when the Duke is attending along with his wife? That’d be very disrespectful to her.”

But no one knew about Minya’s real intention, which was to apply for a post in the government for the Duke’s heir.

All the girls in Minya’s age were present for the Duke.

Then, Minya blurted out in the end.

“But of course, when the Duchess arrives, I’ll be sure to greet her……”

“That’s right.
If you become his mistress, it will be difficult for the Duchess to attend the party.
You should take this opportunity to show her around.”

“It’s almost time…… When will they arrive?”

Then her flitting gaze stopped at Ian and Laritte, who were standing at the front of the banquet hall.

“The Duke – Ian Reinhardt, and the Duchess – Laritte Reinhardt has arrived!”

That announcement immediately caused a dozen pairs of eyes to shoot at the entrance.

Minya, the Marquis’ daughter, took her steps toward the Duke.

“Well, I’ll have to go greet the Duke now.…..”

Seconds passed as the Ducal couple entered the hall.

The hall fell silent as if time had been stopped.

Everyone’s eyes were on the most beautiful and shining couple.

Unable to stop herself, one old lady murmured an exclamation.

“Oh my goodness……”

If you were an aristocrat who knew anything, you couldn’t help but realize that Laritte’s dress was manufactured by the Nicholas Boutique.

It could not have been the skill of just an assistant of his.

An embroidery of a rose on the dress, a symbol of designer Nicholas’ work, was visible to everyone.

Minya stopped in her tracks.

Why was such a dress worn by the illegitimate girl?

Someone behind her asked.

“…….Didn’t you say you were going to greet him, Lady Minya?”

I think I’ve just got a stomach ache.”

She couldn’t go.

Now that she was struck by that high-end dress and the captivating beauty of Laritte.

As long as such a beautiful Duchess was beside the Duke, she would never have the chance to make her stand.

The girls, who were envying Minya not long ago, held back their laughter.

Pfft, Minya’s face sure was worth looking at after her condescending behavior.

Others were eager to make their presence known to the Ducal couple.

“Ah! Duke, it has been so long!”

Ian responded indifferently.

“How have you been?”

He naturally introduced his opponent so that Laritte wouldn’t be left out.

“Laritte, this is Count Anderson Whitney.
He’s the President of Whitney productions, which is famous for manufacturing cosmetics.
Count Whitney, this is my wife.”

Count Whitney chuckled while touching his mustache.

“It’s an honor to meet you, Duchess.
You truly look magnificent.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Count Whitney.”

“It’s so great to hear that the treason was just a misunderstanding! I knew the Duke wasn’t capable of doing that.”

With countless people saying one word at a time, Ian could anticipate what they had been talking about so far.

He was sure they’d cut off Laritte’s words and ignore her for the false rumors Rose had spread out.

His mouth drew into a line out of annoyance.

“Wouldn’t Miss Rose attend, Duke? How very proud she was of keeping a close relationship with the Ducal family!”

And Ian knew what would effectively show them the truth.

It’s cold here as well.”

He removed his coat only to put it around Laritte’s shoulders.

Others’ intent gaze didn’t falter at his actions.

And Laritte was silent, as usual.

It seemed like it was a normal gesture between them.

Ian turned to Count Whitney.

“Anyway…… Miss Rose? I’m not sure I know of someone with such a name.”

The way he spoke was cold unlike when he talked to Laritte.

The others were more familiar with this tone of Ian’s.

However, the Count of Whitney noticed Ian’s intentions.

“Ah…right, right!”

He realized.

The family of Count Brumayer wasn’t much favorable to the Duke! Miss Rose must’ve made a false rumor.

He deliberately raised his voice to secure himself by calming Ian.

“The Duke is very kind to the Duchess! He cares a lot about her.
Hey, there.
Bring a sweet cocktail for this couple’s affection.”

“Thank you for your concern, Count.”

“Actually, I’ve heard a terrible rumor.
That Duke was given this lady because of his paperwork…….”

That rumor originated from Rose.

The Count set a proper foothold to explain what she said.

Ian nodded inwardly.

As expected, the Count was a sensible person.

“There is no way that is true.
Laritte is the woman I brought myself.
She is very kind and wise to each of my employees.”

“That is very great!”

The people who believed in the rumor looked very confused.

They busily whispered behind their fans and white gloves.

“If that’s the case, then what did Miss Brumayer say? Didn’t she say that the Duke was forced to marry an illegitimate child, and that he only pretended not to be with the Brumayers?”

“Is there a reason why she did such a thing? She’s going to get caught soon anyway.”

Of course, Rose had a reason.

Somehow, she had to marry someone else and pay back the money that the Duke had lent her family.

To do so, she needed a good reason to not marry the Duke.

“……But look at the Duke and his wife.
They seem like they have fallen for each other no matter where they’ve come from.”

“She’s the one who needs to see them.”

Just when they were thinking of meeting Rose later and discussing the facts…

A person was trying to enter the hall.

“Oh, God.
It’s terrible to be here alone without an escort!”

It was none other than Rose.

The origin of all the rumors.

Originally, Rose thought she was going to attend the gathering with other well-to-do family members.

But she had to cancel her appointment due to an urgent issue at the business this morning.

For that reason, Rose didn’t want to come, but her father told her to look for another groom, so she arrived late.

‘If it weren’t for Laritte, I’d have my world by now.’

The Brumayers have experienced their worst situations in recent years.

There was no way for them to come up with a plan to repay the amount Ian demanded for.

The only way they could do so was for Rose to get married and seek help from another family.

‘Why is it so noisy inside anyway?’

Rose stood at the door of the hall.

The Duke had replied that he would be attending the banquet with his wife in an abrupt manner.

Therefore, a very small number of people did not hear the rumor of the Duke’s arrival.

And Rose was one of them.

And when she entered……..

“Oh my, look, there’s the liar.”

A cold stare stung Rose.

Rose unwittingly breathed in.

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The eyes of the aristocrats, which were kind not much long ago, shot daggers at Rose.

Rose stepped towards the President, who was standing in front of Ian and Laritte.

‘What? A liar? Is that what she called me?’

When she was thinking if she had misheard someone’s words, her eyes made contact with Laritte’s, who was standing under the chandelier.


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