The baron's daughter spent the afternoon in her room, tidying up with the attendants.
As time passed, evening soon followed.
“Miss Titonsser, though the distance between the baron's estate and the capital is not far, you must have had a long and tiring journey.
Please rest first, Miss Titonsser.”
Those were the final words spoken by the Duke of Honeywell after the meal and tea time with the Honeywell siblings.
His Grace and Lady Rose then said goodnight, and I left to organize the room assigned to me.
The rooms in the Titonsser Manor weren't lacking, but in comparison to the Honeywell Manor, they still fell short.
The Honeywell's guest room was spacious and elegant.
Each and every piece of furniture exuded exquisiteness.
Ilya thought that if she had to return to the Titonsser estate and ask her parents to refurbish the furniture and rooms to emanate grace and elegance to match the Honeywell Manor, her parents' first reaction would be to yell at her.
With the help of the maid, who served her during her stay at the manor, Ilya changed her clothes after taking a relaxing bath.
The maid spoke of many things.
One that stood out to Ilya was of Rose's personal maid, Anne, who often tidied Rose's hair when she was busy.
Maybe it was the comment of the maid, but Ilya felt that the hand that dried and combed her hair relieved her body of the fatigue and aches it had developed over the period of their journey to the capital.
Preparations for bed were done quickly and efficiently before the maid left the room for Ilya, who excitedly jumped onto the soft bed.
I felt it earlier today, but this bed is so soft that I can just sink in, and it wraps around me, giving me a hug.
“I love it.
I want to continue living in the Honeywell Manor.”
Burrowing under the thick blanket, Ilya rolled about the wide bed before she sat up and straightened her posture.
“The debutante ball.
I never thought I could introduce myself to society at an event hosted by the Imperial Family.”
She raised her hands to her face and pinched her cheek.
Her white cheek turned red, along with the tingling sensation, proving that her experience was real.
Smiling calmly, she stroked her wounded cheek.
Now I can also participate in the social gatherings of the capital's aristocrats.”
Her Titonsser family had no connections or ties with the nobles of the capital, and Ilya was well aware she would never have had the chance to step foot in the capital.
If she had been desperate enough, she could have chosen to use the son-in-law system, but finding an appropriate Lord of the Capital to marry her would never have worked in her favor.
After all, who would marry below their station to a baron's daughter?
She belonged to a family that lived with their heads buried in the soil, without any real power, so to speak.
Her opportunity came with Wells Honeywell.
He appeared on that dreary, rainy day.
He truly was a divine opportunity and a gift for Ilya, who had planned to run away to the capital without her parents' knowledge as soon as she came of age.
Raising her hands to her chest, Ilya clasped them together tightly as if in prayer.
“If I make my debut under the name of the Honeywell family and not the Titonsser family, everyone will never connect me as the daughter of an insignificant baron.”
The Honeywell family said that her dress was being prepared for her and that she would not have to worry about the quality of the dress.
Maybe at the debutante banquet, my dress will be the most glamorous!
Barely covering her mouth, she laughed with joy.
Ilya was looking forward to seeing herself make a splendid debut at the Imperial Palace.
What color is my dress? What jewelry have they prepared for me? I wonder what makeup is popular in the capital?
Imagining this and that, Ilya almost couldn't contain her excitement as she fantasized about her debut and the dance she would perform for it.
It was not just the baron's daughter who would get to have their first dance at a fancy banquet hall.
It was a longtime dream of every young lady who was about to make her debut.
Born and raised on the Titonsser estate, Ilya learned to dance from her mother, Baroness Titonsser, so that one day, she too could dance with a handsome man who would come to sweep her off her feet.
I am confident I will not embarrass my partner during the dance.
“But they said my dance is out of fashion.”
If Rose had not offered to invite a dance teacher, Ilya would not have been able to dance on the day of her debut with her outdated dance routine.
She would have had to stand and watch the excitement from a distance.
The young lady felt dizzy just imagining that nightmare.
“If it wasn't for Lady Rose's consideration, my night would have ended in disaster.”
She breathed a sigh of relief and turned her attention to the young lady of Honeywell Manor.
Ilya had learned of her.
Occasionally, news among the nobles would be carried to the barony of Titonsser, and there were a variety of stories of high-ranking aristocrats.
She recalled the first time she laid eyes on the Rose of Honeywell.
Flowing blonde hair reminded Ilya of the dazzling sun, and even though Rose wore her nightwear, Ilya had wondered if she was an angel who came down to grace them with her presence.
Rose had been the first beautiful aristocratic woman she'd met since her birth.
But that beautiful woman refused to make eye contact with her.
Maybe she was uncomfortable?
“I want to get close to Lady Rose.
Lady Rose must be the most well-known, famous person in the entire social world, right?”
Ilya never expected that the truth would be different from her expectations.
Rose had never properly attended a banquet or social event, excluding her debut and coming-of-age ceremonies.
The future Ilya could only watch in surprise, mouth agape, at the future that unfolded brilliantly.
“If I go to a gathering with Rose, how would the people who are close to her react? Maybe then I can meet a wonderful young Lord and fall in love…”
Screaming softly like a young lady in love, she struggled to hide her blushing cheeks.
“If I want to go all the way and get married, I'll have to meet someone who has a title like Duke Honeywell or someone who is an heir to their family.
At the corner of her vision, blue hair danced.
Ilya rubbed her chin in contemplation.
A vision of a blue-haired man with his back slightly bent to reach the beauty, kissing Rose on the cheek.
What had he said before?
“But my Rose is ignoring me.”
His voice was as sweet as chocolate, and even if his words weren't directed at her, Ilya pulled the blanket to her nose as her face turned red once more.
“He's a very nice person, that Duke Proud.”
You said you were Rose's fiancé, yes? Do you have to be from a family of the same standing to get engaged to such a cool man?
Rose's words rang in her ears.
Ilya had lost her appetite during the meal out of regret.
“My engagement will not take place; I'm breaking off my engagement.”
The Rose of Honeywell was determined to do so.
Ilya could not forget the look in Rose's eyes when she said that they looked good together.
I don't know if it was directed at myself for my comment or her fiancé, Duke Proud.
It was dripping with mockery.
“Are they not on good terms? Duke Proud seemed to really like Lady Rose…”
I do not know much about the Duke of Proud, but our first meeting was good.
“I don't understand.
He has such a handsome face, a good voice, he's tall, and most of all, he's from an exceptional family.
Why would Lady Rose want to break up with such a man?”
The baron's daughter rolled over and laid on her side, her eyes dimmed.
“He's the man I can only dream of marrying, but it's not like that for Lady Rose.”
If only I could have been born into a ducal family.
Her excitement over her expectations died down instantly.
With a heavy heart, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.
After sending Ilya off to her room, Wells walked his sister to his room.
His room was the perfect place for their long, complicated talk.
After dinner, they had tea time.
Now, the two sat down on the couch in Wells' room with nothing to do.
As soon as his sister sat down, Wells launched into his vault of questions.
“My Rose, could you please explain your letter to me?”
Fingering the hem of her skirt, Rose peered at her older brother, trying to determine his mood.
“You read the letter, brother.
I want to cancel my engagement to Duke Proud.”
Wells rested his forehead in his palms and his elbows on his knees.
“Yes, I know.
What I'm curious about is why you want to suddenly cancel your engagement.
Surely nothing bad has happened after I left for the Tuga Mines?”
“I thought Older Brother was against my marriage to Duke Proud?”
“Of course I'm against it, Rose.
No, I feel like cheering for you for making the correct decision.
But Rose, do you know that the marriage approval was gained with His Majesty's permission? Reversing his permission is an important and complicated matter.”
Rose remained silent.
How do I tell you, brother? He will kill us in the future.
I've returned to the past, and I can't let it happen again.
It was unknown if Wells, who never failed to believe her, would even believe in her return.
“Brother, I know it might sound strange, but know that I'm not saying this on a whim.
My decision is firm, and I will never love the Duke of Proud again.”
“Haa, if it was before His Majesty added his seal, then…
Is that a big problem, brother?
Rose moved closer to her beloved brother and grabbed his hand.
Her tiny hands couldn't fully cover his larger palms.
“Brother, this is my fault.
If His Majesty gets mad, I'll take responsibility and take the punishment.”
I'll say it again.
I will definitely break this engagement, and if His Majesty takes offense and wants to punish us, I'll take it all by myself.”
“It's just an engagement, my Rose.
I don't think His Majesty will punish me for this.”
“Brother, it's better to assume the worst and prepare for it!”
Wells lowered his gaze, and his sister, who sat beside him, noticed he was deep in thought.
Her older brother remained silent for a moment longer before he pulled his hand away and wrapped his arms around his sister's shoulders.
“My Rose, I will cancel the engagement with Duke Proud.
Don't you worry, trust your brother.”
He gently ran his fingers over her hair.
“Thank you, brother.
I'm sorry for asking this of you.”
I can finally have nothing to do with that scary Duke.
Rose buried her face in her brother's arms.
Could it be so easy? Will we be saved if we move past this engagement and away from one another? Should I stay by Elliot's side and figure out how he is going to harm us?
Her complexion, which was once rosy, paled.
I tried to spend my day peacefully, but Elliot scared me earlier.
He pushed me off the cliff.
I couldn't see any hint of emotion on his face as he did.
Rose withdrew from Wells.
“I'm going to bed now.
I feel tired, brother.”
“Yes, that would be best.”
Wells leaned forward and, like a father to his daughter, lovingly kissed her cheek.
“Sweet dreams, my Rose.”
“Yes, sweet dreams, brother.”
Rose returned his kiss on the cheek and left his room.
In the midst of the cold hallway, Rose tightened the shawl draped over her shoulders and moved slowly.
The next day, Wells went to work, as usual, in the Imperial Palace.
Before boarding the carriage, he met the worried eyes of his darling sister, recounting the conversation they shared the night before.
They would require a firm will to get the emperor's permission to break off the marriage.
After her brother left, Rose started her routine, including Ilya.
I still feel uncomfortable being alone with her, but I can't let the staff know of my fears.
Reluctantly, Rose spent the day with the baron's daughter, hoping that her brother would find a tutor for Ilya quickly.
Then, for the time Ilya studied, Rose would not have to see her.
Reading in the library, Rose inspected Ilya, who sat across from her, engrossed in a book.
She looked down at the pages of the book in her hand; the contents had blurred until they were unreadable.
I wonder where she went that day.
Did she really go to the banquet with Elliot?
One glance at her book, then a peek at Ilya.
Rose's eyes met Ilya's emerald-green stare.
Flinching, Rose saw Ilya smile.
Looking at that innocent smile, Rose has a sudden hypothesis.
What if Ilya was also used by Elliot?
If that's true, then that hypothesis…
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