Filina forced a smile and spat out her words.
“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear what you just said.”
She immediately turned around and tried to return to the banquet hall.
But Ian grabbed her wrist and blocked her way.
“I know it will give you pressure.
I’ll give you enough time to think.
I just hope you will give me the answer I want.”
Filina said with bewilderment.
“You said that you would end the relationship when I came here.”
“I never said I was going to end it.
I just said I would make a decision.”
“Do you just decide on your own? Do you not care about my opinion?”
“It’s a position everyone desires.
If you choose it, you will occupy the top position in the Alvar Empire.”
Filina said in a nervous voice.
“I don’t need a position like that.”
She glanced at Ian once more with a dry expression.
“I’ve never wanted Your Highness ever.”
Ian’s face turned cold and stiff.
But Filina shook off his hand and turned around coldly.
Ian’s small murmur stopped her movement.
Breaking the still air, his pitiful voice spread out.
“If I break my engagement with Cecilia……your thoughts remain the same?”
Filina answered with a small smile.
“I told you.
I don’t need the Empress’s seat.”
Filina moved the paused steps.
Ian said nothing more and stood there blankly.
Filina was confused as she walked towards the banquet hall.
Ian’s words made her dizzy.
Perhaps it was because she didn’t think his feelings would be so great.
She thought it was just a matter of liking her.
She thought Ian was just greedy because he didn’t have the toys he wanted.
But it was much deeper than she expected.
Filina lifted her head and looked up into the sky.
The high crescent moon was particularly bright.
‘Is it okay if the story goes like this?’
It was a fleeting moment, but she imagined accepting Ian’s confession.
‘If so… will the ending be different?’
Would she not be dead? Would she survive in this world?
She already knew the answer.
Her death was unpredictable.
No one knew when, where, or how it would change.
In the end, the only thing she could trust was herself…
She had to be stronger than she was now.
That was the only hope for surviving in this world.
Filina entered the banquet hall and grabbed a glass of champagne on the table.
It was a transparent champagne.
It was a different type of drink than Bessie gave her, and the alcohol flavor was stronger.
She was already distracted by Ian, but she was determined by the presence of alcohol.
She devoured the entire glass on the spot and walked with a new glass of champagne.
After the first piano piece was over, the orchestra invited by the Imperial Palace played in the center.
The people who each decided on a partner were showing off their wonderful dance moves.
As Filina was walking down the stairs on the other side of the banquet hall, her eyes met Henry, who was walking towards her from afar.
The young ladies were seen hurriedly following behind him.
Henry paused for a moment as he felt the presence behind him and then resumed his walk.
He walked to where Filina was.
Filina said, giving him a snort.
“Sir Argeny is so popular, isn’t he?”
Henry turned his head slightly and looked behind him with a frown.
The ladies who were pursuing him couldn’t get any closer and were spying on him from afar.
Filina brought the glass of champagne to her lips and snorted in a sarcastic voice.
“Sir Henry is being cold hearted.
How could you run away leaving those beauties who desperately needed to talk to you?”
Henry stared intently at her without speaking.
Filina raised her lips again.
and she spoke her words firmly.
“It is not polite not to invite a beautiful woman to dance at a wonderful imperial ball.
Come on, invite your favorite young lady to dance, Sir Argeny.”
The champagne she drank was stronger than she expected.
She only had two drinks, but she felt slightly dizzy.
Filina’s voice slowed down a bit as she spoke.
She brought the champagne glass to her lips once more, looking at Henry.
A sweet, bitter alcohol scent ran down her throat.
Suddenly Henry smiled curiously.
Henry reached out to her and asked with a soft voice.
“Would you like to dance a song with me?”
Filina replied with a noble smile.
“I don’t like it.”
Henry said once more with an exclusive smile.
“Please give me a chance to be polite to a beautiful lady.”
The eyes of the people around focused on them.
People who like gossip were looking at Filina and Henry and chattering.
She frowned, finding a suitable excuse.
“I’m seriously bad at dancing.
After the dance, perhaps Sir Henry won’t have anything left of your foot.”
She meant she would step on his foot if she danced with him.
But Henry only answered with a blank face.
“I’ll take my chances.”
Filina knew that no further refusal was possible.
Placing her champagne glass on the corner table, she reached out with an unwilling face, Henry grabbed her hand and led her towards the center of the stage.
The music that was playing in the banquet hall was changed to another song at good timing.
Previously, it was a cheerful type of music, but now it was a song with a slow tempo and beautiful melody.
Henry’s large hand wrapped around her slender waist.
His other hand was still holding Filina’s hand from the beginning.
Soon after, their feet began to move to the soft music.
Filina’s feet, however, kept stumbling because of drunkenness.
Each time she stumbled, Henry’s hand wrapped around her waist tightened.
Their distance was too close.
Their bodies touched and they could feel each other’s heartbeats.
Her whole body felt numb.
Filina rested her forehead lightly against his chest.
Then she felt Henry’s shoulders tense up.
Filina let out a quiet laugh.
She muttered softly and called out Henry’s name.
“…you are still a good dancer.”
Then she distorted her face.
The smell of alcohol flowed over her lips.
She had forgotten for a moment.
The fact that Filina in the original novel was much weaker against alcohol than the woman who lived in Korea.
Filina furrowed her brow and tightened her hand holding Henry.
He just stared at her silently.
When the sound of music that filled the banquet hall completely stopped, the people dancing with their partners dispersed.
Filina, too, left Henry alone and moved on with her steps.
She could feel his dark gaze following her like a shadow, but she didn’t look back.
Trying to break her drunkenness, Filina walked to the terrace.
A throbbing headache swept over her, and she exhaled, placing one of her hands on her forehead.
Filina in the original story was terribly weak at drinking.
What’s more, she’s just reached the age of adulthood.
She had never drank alcohol before, so the aftereffects from the champagne she drank in succession were significant.
Filina looked out over the terrace.
Passing through the expansive rose garden, the fountain in the middle was in harmony with the beautiful statues.
A cool stream of water spurted out white foam and flowed down.
She felt someone coming into the terrace from behind.
A large shadow created a strangely heavy feeling.
He asked Filina in a friendly voice.
“Are you okay?”
It was Leon.
She leaned her elbows over the railings and turned her head to stare at him.
“I saw you drink a good amount of champagne.”
Filina let out a windy laugh and turned her head forward again.
Then Leon naturally came to her side.
Filina glanced at him and asked.
“You said you would keep your distance from me.
Why are you here?”
Leon didn’t respond in any way at Filina’s rebuke.
Filina looked forward again with her lips curled.
A light breeze blew through the quiet space.
The trees that reached high in the sky shook gently.
The green leaves and pretty petals rolling on the floor were finding their way.
“……Why did Sir Leon join the swordsmanship academy?”
Filina asked, with her gaze still facing forward.
She hoped her voice wasn’t awkward.
She hoped it would flow naturally as if she were just asking the other person’s well-being.
Leon was staring at her without saying a word.
Then with a soft voice, he asked.
“…Why did Sir Debussy? As a woman, it must have been a lot of trouble for you to join the swordsmanship academy.”
She raised her lips and answered.
“I wanted to be strong.”
Filina turned her head to look at Leon.
“And at the same time, I wanted to get revenge.”
She could see Leon’s pupils widening slightly at her words.
Still staring at him, she spoke again.
“It takes strength to get revenge.”
She once again faced forward.
The cold night sky exhaled lonely air.
“I sometimes imagine that.
How horribly I would kill the people I hate, and be intoxicated with victory.”
Her expression, which had a twisted smile, hardened in an instant.
“But the reality is different.
Every time I resent someone, I feel exhausted.
I can never trust anyone and I can’t give up my heart.”
Filina moved her gaze to face Leon.
“Sometimes I feel like doing the same thing as Sir Leon.
A mask over my face, hiding myself, and won’t give my heart to anyone.”
She smiled bitterly and continued.
“It’s lonely, because the damned world made it so you can’t live alone.”
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