When I arrived at the palace, I stepped out of the carriage in a good mood.

“Is it effective?”

“Yes, it’s super good.”

I lightly waved the bracelet Lanoa gave me.
I guess he was worried about me almost dying from motion sickness yesterday, so he threw it to me this morning saying he picked it up on his way.

“Ho, this is the power of your brother.”

“I know it was Yujin who made it.”

I knew that Yujin stayed up late to make it, but here he was bragging about someone else’s efforts.

“I’m the one who ordered Yujin to make it.”

“I know.
Thank you.”

Lanoa turned his head quickly, as if he didn’t expect to hear me say thank you.

“……Just grab my arm.”

Perhaps he was shy, because he grunted and grabbed my hand.
I calmly placed my hand on Lanoa’s arm.

When I entered through a large golden door, a magnificent interior appeared in front of me.

I slowly took in the subtle melody of the orchestra and the shining chandeliers, as well as the exquisitely dressed nobles.

The noisy banquet hall suddenly became silent as I entered holding Lanoa’s arm.

Countless eyes were drawn to me.
I could hear people gossiping about us here and there, and I even heard people calling us ‘crazy dog’ and ‘jerk’ on occasion.

When the two infamous villains entered the hall together, there was a huge impact.

“Is your reputation bad too?”

“Not as bad as yours.”

Despite what he said, neither Lanoa nor I cared about the people’s murmurs; Lanoa was a person who didn’t care about other people’s gazes, and it was enough of an opportunity for me to show Asila’s work by drawing their attention to it in any way.

Sitting in a suitable place along Lanoa, I looked straight ahead, ignoring all the gazes directed towards us.

“Don’t do anything that would catch the eyes of the Empress.”

“I know.”

I nodded at his warning.
Just then, the trumpets sounded loudly.

“The Emperor, Empress, and the Second Prince are entering!”

The empress and second prince followed the emperor in turn.
Strangely, Sihael was nowhere to be seen.

‘Is he planning to make a surprise appearance?’

After confirming that Sihael was not present, my gaze was drawn to the empress.
The blonde woman with neatly brushed hair crossed the banquet hall with an elegant gait.

Perhaps she anticipated her victory in Sihael’s absence, but the empress’s face revealed a deep sense of satisfaction.
As I watched the empress stride across the hall, the diary came to mind again

‘It’s not strange that they have known each other before, but it’s uncomfortable.’

At first, I assumed they knew each other and had a good relationship.
However, according to the diary, Rosetta was clearly apprehensive about meeting the empress.

She evolved from the Rosetta who was terrified of the empress to the Rosetta who attempted to exploit the empress’s powers.
The six-year gap was far too large.

As I looked at the empress, who was slowly moving away, my eyes met with red ones in an instant.
Out of all those many gazes, I don’t know how I could pinpoint hers.
The empress’s blood-red eyes gleamed sharply.
I wondered if the emotions flashing through her eyes were ones of hostility and resentment.

I couldn’t read it easily because of the conflicting emotions that were present.
But there was one thing I did know.

That the Empress despised me.

‘It’s a good thing I went with Lanoa’s choice.’

Even if the Duchy had been quiet, it was clear that the Empress had been staring at us.

The Empress’s gaze, which I expected to fade quickly, remained steadfast.
It didn’t go away even after I sat down in my seat.

I missed the timing to avoid her gaze and instead ran into the Empress’s gaze again.

‘Is this okay?’

I’m not sure if the Empress saw my attitude as a challenge, but there was a deep furrow between her brows.

“Lanoa, the Empress is staring at me.”

Should I avoid her or not? When I covered my mouth with a fan and murmured, Lanoa freaked out and grabbed my shoulder.

“Hey, what did you do?”

“Start a staring contest?”

“Are you out of your mind…….?”

Lanoa sighed and touched his forehead.

* * *

“My ears hurt.”

“Try doing it one more time.
It hasn’t even been an hour and you’ve already got yourself in trouble.”

Lanoa, who was firmly threatening, pinched my ear.
After hitting his hand in the prickly pain, I poked my mouth.

Lanoa scolded me and pinched my ear.
I clenched my hand at the stinging pain that came up.

“Can’t you even understand a joke?”

I grunted, rubbing my tingling ears.

I was just kidding, what kind of mess is this?

I just joked with Lanoa to relieve his nervousness as he was too wary of his surroundings.
But I didn’t know I’d be dragged to the terrace and nagged for a long time.

“Don’t raise your eyes like that.
All the men who came here have seemed to run away.”

“I don’t need such a weak man.”

I responed bluntly and sat on the sofa prepared on the terrace, patting my stiff shoulders.
When I remembered the empress’s persistent gaze, I felt extremely exhausted.
The gaze that chased me while pretending not to was like a snake seeking food.

She was too wary to say it was just because I was by Sihael’s side.

“Lanoa, what happened to the empress when I was young?”

I asked quietly, lowering my voice in case anyone heard me.
Lanoa frowned and inquired as to what I meant.

“I don’t recall much, but I believe there’s something.”

“Would I have brought you here if it had been like that?”

“That’s true, but…….”

Why is this guy so brusque?

Perhaps it was because he was less angry at my prank, but it felt like he had purposefully blocked my question.

“You’re hiding something, aren’t you?”

“What do you mean by hiding something? Think about it.
You’re as small as a rat.
What would you have to do with the busy empress? Did the Empress meet you? You have to say something that makes sense.”

Lanoa turned his head as if he didn’t want to hear about it anymore.
I was suspicious of the sensitive reaction.

What are you hiding?’

Lanoa’s delicate manner, the Queen’s gaze, Rosetta’s diary, and the missing memory.

There must be something I’m missing.

“Stop thinking about insignificant things and go down because your dog is here.”

Lanoa, who lightly tapped my brow, motioned towards the banquet hall, and as soon as I cleared my mind and lifted my head, I heard a distant voice.

The loud sound of trumpets announced the appearance of the late male lead.
After tidying up my messy dress, I opened the door to the terrace and saw Sihael entering the banquet hall.

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