12. Social Debut
Five years had passed since the Duke of Bazestilma welcomed a new family member. The second prince who was born to the queen, Valdo, had turned 5-years-old, while Eleonora had turned 15-years-old.
In that country, fifteen was the age at which a lady made her social debut. A grand party was held to coincide with Lydian’s return. However, some nobles considered it as a hunting ground.
“His Highness Lydian is about to return! Unfortunately, Eleonora is still his fiancée, but I can change that
“That’s the spirit, my daughter!!”
Daring conversations such as this could be heard amongst the house of aristocrats.
After all, the social debut was also a great place to find a suitor. By establishing a good connection, their future would be bright.
Currently, the most popular target was the future king, Lydian.
Since only a few people knew of his deeds, most saw him as a handsome and eloquent prince.
Therefore, the upper and middle-ranking aristocrats were attempting to get rid of Eleonora.
Since there was nothing they could do, the Duke of Bazestilma and his wife paid no heed to it.
Desti was the only one who paid attention to it, but he opted to just watch from the sidelines.
‘If Eleonora loses in a fight between nobles, she’s unworthy of the title queen. This will be a good test for her.’
Lydian, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed his study abroad by establishing, disrupting, and dominating trade not only with the Kingdom of Utentos but also with various countries across the sea, such as Urabezua.
“I wanted to bring home a special souvenir for Eleonora because I’ve made her lonely, but you soiled it.”
An armored warrior was kneeling in front of Lydian, who seemed frustrated.
He was Reimonpai, the Great General of the Pai Country.
On his way home, Lydian and his entourage stumbled across Reimonpai, who declared. “Anyone who crosses my path will be laid to waste by my sword!”
—But well, he bit the dust after meeting Lydian.
“By any chance, do you have any treasures that women would like?”
“O-of course!!! S-so please, please spare my life!!!”
Reimonpai tearfully pleaded and presented all of the castle’s treasures to Lydian.
That day, the undefeated record of the infamous Reimonpai, whose name silenced even the crying children, came to an end.
At last, Lydian had returned from his relaxing study trip. He immediately went to see Eleonora.
“I missed you, Eleonora! Sorry for being late!”
“I missed you, too.”
Eleonora’s face lit-up at the sight of Lydian.
The black-bellied prince and the wicked noble lady loved each other wholeheartedly.
Due to the fact that a party would be held that night, they couldn’t talk at length. Before he teleported back to the castle, Lydian made sure to give her a pile of souvenirs.
In the prince’s private chamber, Buffeg awaited his arrival.
At that time, Buffeg was checking the clothes and arrangements for the social debut. When Lydian arrived, he was caught off-guard.
“…For the sake of my heart, please appear somewhere else…”
“Isn’t it more time-efficient to teleport here? Moreover, we’ve been together for seven years, you should get accustomed to it.”
Dismissing Buffeg’s confusion, Lydian began to undress.
As Buffeg picked up the prince’s clothes, something occurred to him.
“…Wait, if you can use teleportation, why didn’t you visit Lady Eleonora while you were studying abroad?”
Lydian shook his head at the sensible question.
“Unfortunately, the amount of magic power required to cast the spell is proportional to the distance. Due to that reason, I couldn’t make a day trip.”
“Is that so…?”
When he saw that even a prodigy like Lydian had difficulty with it, Buffeg sorrowfully gave up on his dream to learn teleportation. Secretly, he admired Lydian.
The party (read: hunting ground) had finally begun.
The basic flow was to announce the debutantes and hold the unveiling. Afterwards, the dance that also served as an opportunity to socialize would begin.
“Please give me your hand.”
“Hmph. Since it’s the first song, it can’t be helped…”
The debutantes participate as a pair, so the first dance had to be performed with each partner.
However, because the ladies had identified their prey, they ignored their partner and turned their attention to Lydian.
In fact, a certain gentleman got upset because his partner was visibly distracted. The young lady wouldn’t even apologize.
“—Ugh! You’re so awful at it! Escort me with grace!”
The gentleman refrained from calling her out, apologized, and served as her dancing partner.
He was a gentleman in the truest sense of words.
At the same time, he was also lucky because a certain nobleman who saw him recognized his courteousness and introduced him to a good suitor.
Eleonora and Lydian became the center of attention at the dance hall. Yet, they only had eyes for each other. The two smiled as they danced.
“Eleonora, what an excellent dancer you are!”
“No, it’s because of Your Highness Lydian’s superb leading skill!”
As the end of the first song approached, the ladies braced themselves.
…They were truly fixated at him now.
“When the song ends, I’ll rush at him!”
“Damn! The other ladies are in the way. Now that it has come to this, I’ll just step on their dresses and trip them down!”
—As the ladies were preoccupied with their own schemes, the first song ended.
“Eleonora, may I ask you for one more dance?”
The ladies who huddled around Lydian froze instantly. Those who were about to reach for him had to stop, resulting in a very awkward pose. Some even bumped at the young ladies next to them. They looked equally dumbfounded at Lydian and Eleonora, who were dancing merrily.
“—Oh, no! My daughter is acting TOO obvious about it! At this rate, she’ll end up being seen as a crude woman!”
“Clara, not good! You look so terrifying right now! How are you supposed to marry the prince like that!?”
A group of parents stared at their dear daughters with blank faces.
The second and third songs had similar results, and the ladies were seething in frustration. Meanwhile, the gentlemen began dancing with other decent ladies.
Of course, there was no way Eleonora wouldn’t notice such a situation. Inwardly, she was laughing out loud.
‘Ohohoho—! It’s my privilege as his fiancée to dance with His Highness Lydian from the first song!’
When she saw how envious the ladies were, Eleonora felt great. Due to how pretty she was, Eleonora had many admirers. Obviously, none of them was foolish enough to incur the prince’s wrath.
After the third song, Lydian finally stopped.
“You must be tired from dancing so much. Let’s rest on a bench over there.”
“Thank you, Your Highness Lydian.”
At that moment, a brazen young lady stood up.
“Your Highness Lydian! That was amazing!”
Luriane of Count Dhruva fell in love with Lydian at first sight.
Inherently selfish, Luriane had no intention of holding back even if his fiancée was there.
‘—I can still be his concubine. Moreover, if I give birth to an heir first, I can rise to the top!’
Enthusiastic, Luriane approached the two (or rather, Lydian), and began to compliment them.
“Ohohoho, I’ve been watching you for a while now! Your Highness Lydian was a wonderful dancer, as for you… Well, you are not to blame. Dancing is for men, anyway.”
When Luriane slighted Eleonora’s dancing skill in a roundabout manner, Eleonora’s mouth twitched.
—By the way, what Luriane said wasn’t true at all. To keep up with Lydian, Eleonora undertook spartan training and became a good dancer.
‘This girl has the nerve to mock me! Just you wait, I’ll humiliate you in public!’
Furious, Eleonora smiled bewitchingly towards Luriane.
“Oh? It seems that you’re a good dancer, by the way—”
—Eleonora came up with a list of sarcastic remarks, but before she could say anything…
…Lydian cut her off.
“And you are?”
His voice was so cold it sent shivers down Eleonora’s spine.
“I-I’m from the Dhruva family…?”
“Only my fiancée, Eleonora, and my relatives are allowed to talk to me. Do you believe that your rank is high enough to address me so casually?”
“M-my apologies! I was too excited when I saw Lydian, I got carried away!”
Luriane spoke with sparkly eyes as she folded her hands in front of her chest.
…Luriane seemed like a puppy, and that only irked Eleonora even more.
‘—D-did she just…!? How dare she address His Highness Lydian by his name! She acts as if they are close!! I’ll absolutely never forgive her!!’
Eleonora’s crimson lips parted, about to unleash a barrage of taunts—
—But before anything could happen, Lydian spoke.
“Hey, how shameless do you have to be to call my name without permission? You may be good at dancing, but it seems like you haven’t learned manners at all. Perhaps, it’s too early for you to make a social debut?”
Despite his chilling voice, Luriane was captivated by Lydian’s refined beauty and wasn’t discouraged in the slightest.
“I-I’m truly sorry!! Pardon me, Your Highness, my manners are indeed lacking. Can you please teach me? With His Highness as my tutor, I’ll definitely be able to learn fast!”
Luriane fidgeted and stared at Lydian. As she folded her hands in front of her chest, her plump breasts were about to spill out.
She was doing this in front of someone else’s fiancée, too.
…Who wouldn’t get irritated by this?
Eleonora immediately chastised her.
“You have the nerve to say that right in front of my face. If you speak another word, I’ll make you regret it!”
“H-how terrible…! Who would’ve thought that Lady Eleonora is such a horrifying person…!? As the future queen, she’s supposed to be nice, but…!”
Luriane covered her face with her hands and wept.
Eleonora, who was no stranger to that trick, could tell that she was acting. Nevertheless, this time, it was still her own undoing. She couldn’t afford to lose her position as his fiancée because of this uproar!?
‘—I’ll just back down for now and console her. Later, I’ll crush the Dhruva family.’
Even after growing older, Eleonora’s radical personality didn’t subside.
As Eleonora schemed deviously, Lydian chuckled brightly.
“Ahahaha! What an amusing thing to say! If Eleonora hadn’t spoken to you, I would’ve sold you to the circus as a dancer. Normally, I’d have thrown you in jail, but that’d be a waste of your one and only talent.”
Said Lydian with a smile.
—It was a terrible humiliation for a noble lady.
“L-Lydian? Your joke is in bad taste…”
Luriane laughed, yet her expression visibly twitched.
“Aah, you’re calling my name so casually again. Are you that eager to join the circus? But since Eleonora has spoken, I won’t do anything, for her wish is my command.”
Lydian seemed dissatisfied, yet also happy.
“You should be thankful for Eleonora’s kindness.”
When Lydian spoke in contempt, Luriane paled, before nodding while bowing her head deeply.
“I-I offer my humblest apologies!!!!”
Luriane shivered like a fawn and sobbed for real this time. She looked like a mess. To let her save face, Eleonora offered her a handkerchief.
To Luriane, who was overwhelmed with fear, Eleonora’s hand was like a saving grace.
With snot running from her nose, Luriane thanked her again.
“I’m truly sorry for being mean to you! I didn’t know how kind you are!! As expected of Lady Eleonora, our future queen!!”
Luriane sincerely apologized to Eleonora and thanked her.
However, regardless of how much she was praised, Eleonora’s fury didn’t subside. She muttered to herself, ‘Once my father returns from inspection, I’ll have him crush the Count of Dhruva family! That’s what you get for making a pass at my Lydian!’
Learning from experience, she tasked her personal knight to patrol the area around Count of Dhruva’s residence to fend off any suspicious individuals.
At last, her father returned.
“Father, you see, the Dhruva family is—”
“—No, no, I heard everything. The rumors said that after the daughter of Count Dhruva was saved by your mercy, her family began to worship you as a whole. As expected of my Eleonora! Not only are you fair and just, but you’re also beautiful inside and out! Oh, how lofty you are!”
Before Eleonora could finish, the joyful duke praised her.
—As such, there was no way she could just say, “Please destroy the Dhruva family!”
Ultimately, Eleonora had no choice but to give up on her revenge. She went back to her room, sleeping while being torn with a sense of helplessness.
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