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    [TL/N: Young Master Siegmund → Eldest Young Master Siegmund]

    A gentle tone of voice and a compassionate smile.

    Princess Amelia, who usually brought a warm breeze to the palace like a single spring rose, was now approaching them with a very unfamiliar expression on her face.

    “…Princess Amelia?”

    Click-clack.

    Her figure, wrapped in a sharp aura as if to pierce through, resembled an ice flower extending its frosty petals in all directions. Her mineral-cold eyes bore a striking resemblance to those of the Emperor.

    And so, Princess Amelia approached.

    She stepped into the space between Seongjin and the young man with an indifferent expression.

    Click.

    “……!”

    An intense, invisible clash filled the air, fraught with tension.

    Even for Amelia, who had exceptional talent in aura cultivation, it must be incredibly difficult to withstand this pressure, considering she had only just surpassed the level of a beginner.

    Having exchanged glances, Seongjin and the young man, as if by agreement, gradually reduced their intensity in accordance with her movements.

    Thus, when Amelia walked up to the two men, they completely withdrew their fighting spirit and ended their confrontation.

    “I greet Your Highness.”

    The young man bowed stiffly to Amelia.

    It was impossible for a noble of Delcross not to recognize this beautiful princess, especially known to be dearly cherished by the Holy Emperor.

    Amelia, who had been observing him for a moment, replied in a cold voice.

    “Have you forgotten whom you should first pay your respects to? If you show further disrespect to a member of the imperial family, I can no longer overlook your circumstances, Young Master.”

    Caught off guard by the unexpected situation, a complex look briefly crossed the young man’s eyes.

    The answer should be simple if it’s about Amelia’s brother and a member of the imperial family. Yet, he couldn’t come to a quick conclusion, probably because the impression of the chubby troublemaker had changed too drastically.

    After briefly gauging Amelia’s mood, the young man stiffly bowed slightly to Seongjin.

    “…I greet Your Highness, the Prince.”

    Such a stiff fellow.

    “Oh well.”

    “……!”

    Seongjin, after briefly mocking the twitching of the young man’s eyebrows, turned to Amelia and asked.

    “Why did you come all the way down here, sister?”

    Then, she smiled softly at Seongjin.

    “How could I not know when you were spreading such a presence? Sorry for interrupting at such an interesting moment, Morres. But if you had crushed the face of Eldest Young Master Siegmund like that, people would surely have blamed you for being inconsiderate against the promising heir of a border count.”

    “……?”

    At her reply, Orden Siegmund’s expression turned strange.

    Although he was known among the young Delcross as the most promising genius swordsman, the princess genuinely believed her younger brother could have beaten him.

    ‘Wow…!’

    And Seongjin was purely amazed.

    ‘Princess Amelia is so kind, even when she’s angry, just like an angel!’

    […What exactly is your standard for kindness?]

    Thud!

    At that moment, the sound of someone collapsing to the ground was heard. It was the woman who had been threatened by the young man until recently.

    Now freed from the terrifying aura, her legs had given way without her realizing.

    “Ah… Ahh!”

    She was completely drained, unable to even speak properly.

    As she trembled and sweat, a pitiful sight, Amelia approached Seongjin and whispered in a low voice.

    “Morres. I will take the Siegmund aside, so please take care of her. Once she calms down, it would be best to take her to a private room for protection.”

    “…Wouldn’t she feel more reassured with you, sister, if she knows you?”

    At Seongjin’s question, Amelia smiled awkwardly.

    “I know you don’t remember her. But Morres, this time, it’s better for you to help her, both for her sake and in the eyes of others. After all, you are in talks of marriage with her.”

    …What?

    “Isabella Scarcepino. Lady Scarcepino had been your fiancée for years, celebrating birthdays together.”

    “……!”

    Ah, right, that Scarcepino!

    No wonder the name sounded familiar!

    While Seongjin was in shock, Amelia gracefully walked past the young man, saying,

    “Then, Eldest Young Master Siegmund. Would you have a moment with me?”

    The young man, who had been frowning with his mouth tightly shut, glanced at the woman on the ground with disdain before reluctantly turning away.

    Please take good care of her.

    Amelia gave Seongjin one more pleading look before leading the young man away.

    “…….”

    Well, this is awkward.

    Left alone with the woman, Seongjin scratched his head awkwardly before turning to her.

    “Um… hey, are you okay?”

    The woman, who had been staring blankly ahead, slowly refocused her eyes. She lifted her head and looked straight at Seongjin.

    “So… Lady Isabella? Can you stand up?”

    As Seongjin bent down to ask, the woman’s eyes widened in surprise. Then, hesitantly, she stammered,

    “Ah, since when…….”

    “Huh?”

    “Since when have you started treating me as a lady…!”

    What’s this? I’m trying to help, why the quarrel?

    Confused, Seongjin watched as the woman suddenly started to shed tears like raindrops.

    “Uh-huh-huh!”

    Seongjin was startled.

    Crying? Why all of a sudden? What did I do wrong?

    But her words, amidst the sobbing, were astonishing.

    “Why, why are you pretending to be so kind all of a sudden? Are you mocking me? Why are you doing this to me!”

    “Huh?”

    “Always ignoring me like that! As if I wasn’t even human!”

    “…….”

    “Why only to me? Why are there rumors that you treat that little girl so well, and not me! Uh-huh-huh!”

    …I’m not sure, but it seems like another victim entangled in the troublemaker Morres’s karma.

    Isabella continued to cry for a while.

    Seeing her state, Seongjin offered a handkerchief, which she used to blow her nose loudly.

    Then she began to ramble incoherently.

    “Sniff! Uh-huh! As Your Highness knows… I’m not usually like this! But just now, I was so scared and couldn’t calm down… Sniff!”

    It’s impossible for an ordinary person to maintain composure when exposed to such a menacing aura. However, instead of explaining, Seongjin just quietly listened to her.

    “Of all people, to show such a side of me to Your Highness, sob, it’s just the worst! Sniff! Anyway, you must never tell anyone about today’s incident, okay? Sob.”

    “…….”

    Sob! But don’t misunderstand! You know, right? I am the flower of the social circles! The elegant and noble Scarcepino!”

    Wow, is that something you say about yourself?

    Noticing Seongjin’s evident expression, Isabella blushed and muttered.

    “Ah geez! It’s so embarrassing to say this myself… Thinking about it, Ricardo orabeoni seems to be out of his mind, sob.”

    After some time, her sobs gradually began to subside.

    Just then, Seongjin sensed the approach of several people in the corridor. The chatter of guests in the dressing room was faintly audible.

    Judging the distance from them, Seongjin extended his hand towards Isabella and said.

    “Lady Isabella. People seem to be coming this way; you don’t want to stay here, do you? It would be better to leave this place for now.”

    Isabella looked at Seongjin with doubtful eyes.

    However, the prince’s gaze, unlike before, met hers directly, fully capturing her appearance.

    “…Then, let’s best leave, Your Highness.”

    After hesitating for a moment, Isabella, fiddling with her hair and clothes, embarrassedly held Seongjin’s hand with her reddened face.

    Meanwhile, Amelia was leading Orden towards the entrance of Salon de Merci.

    Walking in silence, Orden finally couldn’t hold back and spoke first.

    “Amel… just how far are we going……”

    “Even in a private setting, you should maintain proper etiquette, Siegmund.”

    Without turning to look at Orden, Amelia cut him off with a cold voice.

    “Don’t be mistaken. I am now a member of the imperial family. I’m no longer that little girl locked in the attic of the count’s house.”

    A fleeting look of dejection crossed Orden’s stoic face.

    “That was… all grandmother’s orders. We had no choice then. I do feel sorry for you.”

    “…….”

    “But not everyone in the family agreed with that. We still cared for you……”

    “I won’t warn you twice. Maintain proper etiquette.”

    Stopping in front of the entrance, Amelia slowly turned to face Orden.

    “It seems unlikely that we will ever have a private meeting again, so let me be clear now. There’s no need to explain the Count Siegmund family’s position to me at this point. No need to apologize either. I won’t make an issue out of anything.”

    “…….”

    “Anyway, the time I spent there holds no meaning for me.”

    Orden’s eyes wavered.

    “But, I……”

    “Since we seem to share the same sentiment, let’s end the conversation here. I was of no significance to you either, wasn’t I? Until His Majesty my father took me from there, I might as well have been non-existent in the count’s family.”

    “…….”

    “Then, I’ll see you at the birthday celebration. Take care on your way.”

    It was a cold dismissal.

    Orden, with a rigid face, looked at Amelia for a moment before obediently bowing and turning away.

    Ting.

    After he left and the door of the entrance closed.

    Only then did Amelia, her tension released, clasp her trembling hands and bite her lip.

    Although she had faced him as if nothing was wrong, the shock of being exposed to the fierce clash of auras, if only for a moment, still lingered within her.

    Most of all, the memories of her childhood that surfaced the moment she faced Orden.

    She had said those memories meant nothing to her now, but that didn’t mean the events of those times simply ceased to exist.

    So, Amelia stood there for a long time, staring at the entrance where Orden had disappeared.

    Until Seongjin, who had come looking for her, called her.

    “Sister, why are you standing here?”

    “…Morres.”

    Amelia turned around, her eyes wide.

    “What about Lady Scarcepino? How did you come here?”

    “She seemed to have calmed down, so I left. It seemed like you were taking too long.”

    “Were you worried? Why?”

    “Why? What kind of question is that? You went off with such a violent man, how could I not be worried?”

    “…….”

    Amelia looked at Seongjin thoughtfully for a moment.

    “…I see. Right.”

    Soon after, as if a small realization had dawned on her and the ice was melting away, a gentle smile spread across Amelia’s face.

    “So, to you, I have such a clear meaning. Back then, and even today.”

    “……?”

    “Thank you for worrying about me, Morres.”

    Amelia’s hand, which lightly wrapped around Seongjin’s arm, had completely stopped trembling by now.

    Together, the two of them, arm in arm, arrived at the special room.

    But when they opened the door, an unexpected scene unfolded inside. Lady Isabella was in front of the mirror, thrusting a hairpin forward with a grimace.

    “Put down that aura right now! If not, I’ll just use this dress pin!”

    Then, seemingly dissatisfied with something, she squinted at the mirror and tilted her head.

    “Hmm, this isn’t right…”

    She switched the hairpin to the other hand and, placing one hand on her hip, lifted her chin defiantly.

    “I’ll show you how this hairpin can become a weapon! So immediately… Gasp!”

    She gasped in surprise upon seeing Seongjin and Amelia reflected in the mirror and hurriedly hid the hairpin behind her back. Then.

    “Yikes!”

    She screamed at the sight of the hairpin stuck in her arm.

    “…….”

    Wasn’t she said to be the flower of the social circles?

    Could it be that standing comedy is the latest trend in the Delcross social scene?

    * * *

    That evening, upon returning to the townhouse, Isabella immediately sought out her second older brother, Riccardo.

    Sitting in the study flipping through a book, Ricardo greeted her with his usual sly smile.

    “So, you’re back? How was it, my beautiful Bella, the fairest in the capital?”

    “…Ah, really! Stop doing that, will you!”

    Isabella, brushing off the goosebumps on her arm, opened her mouth with a serious expression.

    “Actually, brother, something strange happened at the dressmaker’s today.”

    “Strange?”

    “Yes, it was about Eldest Young Master Siegmund…”

    She poured out the whole story to Riccardo.

    How, while fitting her dress smoothly, he suddenly demanded a clear answer. When she tried to avoid responding, he changed and began to threaten her.

    “…I’m sure he must have heard something about you, brother… Are you listening, brother?”

    Noticing Riccardo’s unnaturally calm demeanor, Isabella asked with puzzlement.

    Then, as always, he smiled gently and whispered quietly to his younger sister.

    “Yes, I’m glad you’re back safe. Now, let it all go and rest easy. Isabella.”

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