The Camellia Party was originally a royalty-hosted event.
As soon as the tyrant Nicolai ascended the throne, he entrusted the responsibility of hosting the event to Lady Kensing.
The Countess will only selectively extend invitations to the handsome and beautiful individuals from prestigious families and high-ranking officials.
Elisabeth, despite being an heiress to a massive fortune, never received an invitation due to her commoner status.


“Isn’t that Miss Elisabeth?”

“How strange, the Countess would’ve never allowed it!”

As I made my entrance wearing a butterfly mask, curious gazes were instantly drawn towards me.
The mask couldn’t conceal my vibrant red hair that radiated like the blazing sun, nor could it hide my slim yet glamorous and statuesque frame, adorned with exquisite jewellery that rivalled those of high nobility.
I had deliberately chosen a discreet black silk gown from Elisabeth’s collection in order not to stand out.
I had thought it wouldn’t attract much attention, but to my surprise, amidst the flamboyantly dressed ladies, my black dress emerged like an elegant black swan.

“She hasn’t been to any parties in a while, I wonder what had piqued her interest?”

“Perhaps another handsome gentleman has caught her eye? Hahaha!”

A giggly voice echoed through the air and broke me out in a cold sweat.
Will I be able to fit in at this party? Was the atmosphere becoming tense? My concerns were short-lived, for my body reacted instinctively the moment I stepped inside. 

‘The vibe, the lighting, everything feels familiar.
Isn’t it like a cosy homecoming? Elisabeth must be a natural at socialising!’

As I began to relax, my gaze fell upon the array of dishes arranged on the table.
There were delicacies like lamb pie, foie gras pâté, and escargot in cream sauce.
However, the unfamiliar menu coupled with the corset squeezing my ribs, my appetite remained subdued.
It would’ve been a different story altogether if spicy tteokbokki, yukgaejang, or chicken feet had been on the menu1.

“I miss gochujang, Cheongyang chili peppers, and capsaicin.
The fiery smoky flavour, those bizarre food combis, the ER level crazy spiciness, the inferno spiciness that’ll send me straight to hell…”2

Unfortunately, in this world, there was no presence of chili peppers.
While black pepper existed, it fell short of satisfying the taste buds of a Korean.
Unlike the original Elisabeth, it seemed unlikely that I would be able to fully enjoy the party.
The loud music, the heavy scent of perfume, and murmuring crowd weren’t the only things that bothered me.

‘The dress code’s too revealing, isn’t it? That lady seems to be skimping on the fabric around her chest! Are leggings a trend here for men? Gosh, it’s so cringe.’

My inner prude3 clicked her tongue disapprovingly.
But I couldn’t go home empty-handed.
I had asked Douglas’ sister, Susan, to yield her invitation to me.
Although it would’ve been her first Camellia Party, Susan readily obliged.
That’s how she had always been since we first met. 

‘Susan became infatuated with Nicolai, who she met today.
She had a major crush on that Casanova Emperor and ended up taking her own life.
Susan’s death then became the catalyst for Claudia’s awakening.’

I had to seduce Nicolai and prevent them from meeting.
But no matter how hard I looked, the handsome Emperor with black hair and green eyes was nowhere to be seen, and that’s when Elisabeth’s followers swarmed in.

“I never thought I’d see Miss Elisabeth at Camellia Party! She looks exceptionally beautiful today.”

“She’s as enchanting as a night fairy! I want to become just a part of Miss Elisabeth’s skirt folds, even if only for a moment!”

While the men were tall and handsome, not all of them were my type.
The overly greasy tone in the way they speak was the worst.

‘What are you trying to achieve by becoming a part of my skirt? If you’re sick, go to the hospital, you sorry bunch of losers!’

In my previous life, my parents divorced as the result of an affair when I was five years old.
They treated me, their only child, like unwanted baggage.
As a result, I grew up constantly shuffling from one relative’s house to another.
I constantly kept my nerves on edge by striving to be faultless in everything I did, as the last thing I wanted to hear was that I was like my parents.
How could I, cursed with the fate of a ‘Confucian girl,’4 see men who judged solely based on appearance as attractive? I lowered my head to conceal the disdain on my face, but the men cheered, oblivious to my true feelings.

“Your shy demeanour is also lovely, Miss Elisabeth!”

“A beauty so brilliant that even the moon and the stars would pale in comparison!”

A lady wearing a yellow oriole mask glared at him with irritation.

‘It’s hard to make a move when the Countess is watching me like a hawk.
Should I try to charm her?’

I thought for a moment and decided against it.
People who harboured hostility or perceived me negatively were not easily swayed by my power.
Even if I succeeded, deep exhaustion would overwhelm me.
The original Elisabeth might not have known, but there were individuals who were completely immune to charm magic.


‘Like a person with a conviction worth risking their life for.’

Claudia was a prime example of this.

‘Ignorant of the fact, Elisabeth’s attempt to charm Claudia led her straight to the guillotine.
Let’s just be content with the fact that we’ve protected Susan today.’

My steps were light as I turned to leave, eager to sink into my comfortable bed.
Then, I heard a sarcastic voice from behind me.

“So, the cat in heat is trying to escape.
Has she finally come to know her place?”

That tone… tch.

Countess Kensing and a few others around her sniggered.
What bad luck, but I should at least exchange greetings.

“I apologise for the delayed greeting, Lady Kensing.”

“Nice of you to finally speak! I thought you were completely ignoring me.”

“Of course not, how could I possibly do that? If I was rude, I sincerely hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, my Madam.”

With an elegant posture, I lifted the corner of my skirt.
The Amsters spared no expense on their only daughter’s education.
Elisabeth’s governess was a former royal etiquette teacher, and Elisabeth herself was a fairly bright pupil.
It meant that she could act however she pleased while still maintaining a noble demeanour.

“How can I be at ease when an uninvited guest is lurking around? Especially if it’s a low-class individual trying to worm their way into high society.”

“I’ll take your advice and be more mindful of my conduct.”

“Do you think it’s even possible? It’s not even a funeral and yet you’re wearing a black dress… It seems like a desperate cry for attention.”

“……”

“Now that the engagement that was out of your league in the first place has been broken, I’m sure Miss Elisabeth must’ve realised it as well, right? Pedigree isn’t something you can hide with a few pennies, ho-ho!”

Isn’t this woman out of line? My principle was to never back down from a fight sold.
I learned at a young age that showing courtesy to rude opponents only resulted in my own disadvantage.
In the first place, wasn’t Lady Kensing the one who needled Elisabeth into breaking off the engagement?

“My Madam, did the elders in your family taught you how to be sarcastic right to someone’s face?” I asked with a bright smile.
Lady Kensing, whose face had turned red, snapped back.

“Are you talking back to the lady of the house?!”

“Oh no, I’m simply giving you some guidance.” 

“Wha-what did you say?”

“I don’t know if you’ve heard before, but there’s a saying that the best medicine tastes bitter5, so I’ll leave it at that.
If you’ll excuse me, I shall quietly take my leave.”

“You little bitch! how dare—…”

“Looks like you’re not familiar with the saying, huh? I guess books aren’t your thing.”


Sneers could be heard from the onlookers.
It was an open secret that Lady Kensing failed her studies despite having made a significant donation to the academy.
Feeling insulted in her own home, Lady Kensing raised her hand towards me in response.

 “Low-class folks need a good slap to come to their senses!”

“Who do you think you are to raise your hand at me?” I slapped her slender hand away and she missed.
Taken aback by the unexpected counterattack, her lips trembled.

‘They don’t call me a hidden assassin disguised as a part-timer for nothing.
Don’t you dare underestimate us Korean part-time workers!’

Provoking the nobility could have serious consequences, but I had no intention of backing down.
An eye for an eye, isn’t that how it goes?

“I must’ve hit a nerve since you’re resorting to violence.
How classy.
Did you know that your husband has accumulated a debt of 60 million gold with us?”

“What? What utter nonsense!”

“I guess you haven’t heard.
It seemed like he’d forgotten because he was too engrossed in gambling.
The interest is snowballing even as we speak.”

“This vulgar woman is even lying now?”

“Even if I’m vulgar, the promissory note doesn’t lie.
It’s also high time you stopped making a fool of His Majesty.”

“You bitch! Are you trying to use the Emperor’s name to slander me?!”

‘You think I showed up here unprepared? I know exactly what you did to Elisabeth!’

“Are you playing dumb with me? Aren’t you selling the invitations to the party on the black market?” I glared at her, who had nothing to boast about except the bloodline she was so proud of.

“Th-that’s…!”

“You’re making money off the parties entrusted to you by His Majesty, allowing those nobles without townhouses in the royal capital to gain entry into high society….
What kind of sad scheme is this? Or should I say this is how beggars behave?”

A mix of heavy sighs and murmurs could be heard.
Those who had bought their invitations from the black market daren’t even look up.
I whispered into Lady Kensing’s ear, who was frozen like a statue, “Now, kindly beat it before I blurt out everything, including your affair with the stable boy.” 

It was something that Claudia would discover later on, but that doesn’t matter.
I called out loudly as the Countess staggered away from the party, “Let’s give a round of applause to the Countess for all her hard work! This may be the last Camellia Party at Kensing Manor!”

A maid holding a silver tray passed by in front of me, surrounded by people.
On the silver tray, there was a chocolate cake topped with cherries.

‘Isn’t that the only food that Nicolai likes? Have I finally found him?’

I followed the maid and headed towards the terrace.
My heart pounded at the thought of finally meeting the original antagonist of this novel.

“Elisabeth!”

A noble young lady with pink hair and gentle eyes approached me.
It was Susan, Douglas’s younger sister, who shouldn’t be here!

“Sister, I have something important I must speak to you about, so I got myself another invitation from an elderly relative.”

I had a strong fondness for the character Susan, who was frail but strong-willed.
So much so that I even left negative comments on the chapter where she took her own life.
However, it was troublesome when that tenacity was directed at me.

“I know it’s rude, but could you reconsider cancelling the engagement with my brother?” 


“Susan…”

“Just once, please reconsider.
You’ve always listened attentively and gave me your unwavering support when I talk to you.”

“I’m sorry, Susan.
It’s over between Douglas and me.”

“Then what about us?” Susan asked uncertainly.
Her eyes shimmered with tears.

“I love you as much as my brother, and I’ve been waiting for the day we could become a real family.”

It must’ve taken all of Susan’s courage to convey these words.
I wanted to hug Susan, who was trembling like a fawn caught in the rain.
If Douglas hadn’t arrived at that moment, I might have.

“Susan, what are you doing here right now?”

“Brother!”

“My sister pestered me to escort her… I didn’t know it would cause trouble for you instead.
I apologise on her behalf.” Douglas bowed his head deeply.
He seemed uneasy about this situation.
It must’ve bothered him as well to realised that even his sister’s plea couldn’t sway me.

“It’s because I don’t want to lose her.”

“Still, you can’t be like this.
How uncomfortable do you think Elisabeth would be because of us?”

“I’ve committed a grave offense.
Please forgive me, sister.” The deer-like siblings, on the verge of tears, clasped their hands together.
I screamed silently inside.

‘If you guys keep acting this way, I’ll feel too guilty! Truth is, I’m not really used to playing the role of a villain!’

Brother deer asked cautiously, “Elisabeth, you don’t look so good.
Why don’t you get some fresh air?”

“Let’s go together, sister.
That terrace over there seems nice!” Sister deer, of all things, pointed to the terrace where the villainous emperor happened to be hiding. 

“Would you mind if I accompanied you, Elisabeth?” Brother deer looked at me with hopeful, sincere eyes.
I answered coldly on reflex, “I’m sick of you.”

The faces of the innocent Nettleton siblings grew pale.
Even if Susan hates me because of this, I couldn’t allow her and Nicolai to meet.

“I’m really disappointed that you’d resort to using your frail sister to try to persuade me.”

“It’s a misunderstanding, Elisabeth!”

“Just leave me alone.
I’d appreciate it if you’d disappear from my sight.” Susan shed a tear at my hurtful words, even though I didn’t mean any of it.

“This is all my fault.
Please don’t hate my brother too.”

“I’ve made you uncomfortable, for that, I apologise.
However, I’m not so callous that I’ll exploit my only sister.” Douglas seemed genuinely hurt.
I found it difficult to shake off the guilt, even though I believed this was inevitable.

‘If I’m going to fully embrace my role as a villainess, I better commit to it wholeheartedly.
Compassion is a weakness reserved for the fools.’

I turned my back coldly, leaving the two of them behind.
It was a flawless portrayal of a villainess, one that even the original Elisabeth would approve of.


I boldly pushed aside the terrace curtains.
It couldn’t be helped even if it’s against normal etiquette.
Three individuals, a combination of men and women, were intertwined on the plush sofa.
With the masked man in the centre, the two women were in the midst of staging a strange scene. 

‘What, two at once?! Did you just bagged them6?! Sort them as burnable trash!’

I found my gaze involuntarily drawn to him, even though I didn’t want to.
Reluctantly, I must admit, but the man possessed a captivating beauty.
Between the undone buttons of his shirt, his well-defined pectoral muscles stood out prominently.
His shoulders were as broad as the Pacific Ocean, and his powerful thighs were thicker than most women’s waists.
From the muscular body that exuded sensuality, yet retained suppleness and grace, a deep intensity emanated.
Jet-black hair cascaded over the mask, and amidst it, languid emerald eyes gleamed like a sated beast.
A forgotten fear surged over me.

T/N: Alright, I have translated over a few thousand words to get to this part.
I was so excited for it, the (English) words were already dancing in my head when I was reading this part.
Adios, Douglas.
The alpha male lead is here, y’all.
 The novel art is so bad though…

‘Could someone really get executed for just a slip of the tongue? Don’t tyrants execute people on a whim?’

Nicolai, who had been observing me keenly, asked in a low, grave tone.

“Do you want to join in as well?”

To be continued…

Translator’s Notes:

1 I didn’t translate ‘tteokbokki’ and ‘yukgaejang’ because I think those two dishes are well known enough in their own right.
By the way, thanks to the ever-rising popularity of Korean culture like K-pop, Kdrama, in 2021, a whopping 26 Korean words were actually added to Oxford English Dictionary.
In case for those that aren’t familiar with Korean cuisine, ‘tteokbokki’ is a saucy rice cake dish, eaten as a snack, and ‘yukgaejang’ is a spicy beef soup.

2 This is similar to note #1, but it calls for a wall of explanation rather than just a note lol The source of the sentence goes something like this  ‘고추장, 청양고추, 캡사이신이 그립다.
불맛 (bul-mat), 엽기맛 (yeop-gi-mat), 응급실맛 (eung-geup-shil-mat), 지옥맛 (ji-og-mat)……’

‘Bul-mat’ is a Korean term that translates to ‘fiery’ or ‘grilled’ flavour.
It refers to the smoky and charred taste that comes from grilling or cooking food over an open flame (think of it as similar to the Chinese’s ‘wok hei’).
It’s often associated with dishes like grilled meat, barbecue, etc…

‘Yeopgi-mat’ can be translated as ‘bizarre flavour’ or ‘eccentric/quirky taste.’ It refers to unconventional or unusual flavours that deviate from traditional or expected taste profiles.
These flavours can also be a combination of unexpected ingredients, intense seasoning, or uncommon flavour pairings.
It’s also a term often used to describe unique and experimental/novelty food creations that aim to surprise and challenge the taste buds.

‘Eunggeupshil-mat’ is a playful and colloquial expression used to describe extremely spicy or intense flavours that can leave a burning sensation similar to the urgency and intensity of a medical emergency.
‘Eunggupshil’ literally translates to ‘emergency room.’

‘Jiog-mat’ translates literally as ‘hellish taste’ or ‘taste from hell.’ It refers to an extremely spicy or fiery flavour that’s known to be incredibly intense and challenging to handle, suggesting a level of heat that can be comparable to the fiery depths of hell.

All these terms don’t have a direct English equivalent that can capture their specific cultural connotations.
‘Yeopgimat’ for example, is a concept is deeply rooted in Korean culture and thus their culinary experience, the full nuance may not be fully conveyed in a single English term.

3 유교걸 (yu-gyo-geol) is a buzzword that combines the word ‘유교’ (Confucianism) and the Konglish word ‘걸’ (girl).
The buzzword is also a pun on a K-pop song by Lee Hyori called ‘U-Go-Girl’.
‘유교걸’ translates literally as ‘Confucian girl’, but the lyrics to U-Go-Girl preached a message of telling women to be bold and confident in themselves (be an alpha girl), which is the exact opposite of Confucianism.
The word is popularly used to refer to women who have a ‘traditional mindset’ (I quote that loosely) that disapproves of excessive exposure or explicit personal behaviour rather than expressing genuine beliefs or support for Confucianism.
It’s commonly used when one feels a sense of aversion to behaviours that are considered way too extreme by Korean standards (like the lyrics to WAP  )

I was debating how to I translate this word.
Before deciding on ‘inner prude’, I actually considered its literal meaning, and also ‘inner Confucian’.
But I want to leave no room for doubt for the readers that she’s just being a prude when its convenient for her, rather than, you know.

4 Refer to point number 3.

5 ‘몸에 좋은 약이 입에 쓰다’ This is a proverb that was derived from a Confucian saying ‘良药苦口’ (liang-yao-ku-kou).
In hanja, it would read as ‘양약고구’ (yangyak-kogu).
The original meaning of the saying is its literal meaning; good medicine taste bitter, but good for our body.
It’s still being use in that sense, but it has also evolved to convey the idea that sometimes the truth may be unpleasant or difficult to accept.
There isn’t any exact equivalent in English, but a similar concept can be found with sayings like ‘a bitter pill to swallow’ or ‘the truth hurts.’

6 Honestly, I don’t get this sentence, she was outraged at what looked like a threesome, but the sentence ‘저걸 쓰봉에 담아버려?!’ really confused me.
I thought perhaps it’s some kind of slang, a cultural thing? But whatever search term I used just tell me there’s no other meaning to it than what it means.
‘Throw that (thing) into the trash.’ However, why the question mark at the end of the sentence? To break it down, as far as my understanding goes,

‘저걸’ (jeogeol) is a contraction of ‘저 것을’ (jeo geoseul) which means “that thing” or “that one.” ‘쓰봉에’ (sseubong-eh) means “in the dumpster” or ‘into the trash can.’ ‘에’ (eh) is a locative particle indicating the location ‘in’ or ‘into.’

‘담아’ (dam-a) is the causative form of the verb ‘담다’ (damda), which means ‘to put’ or ‘to place.’ ‘버려’ (beoryeo) is the casual, emphatic form of the verb ‘버리다’ (beorida), which means ‘to throw away’ or ‘to discard.’ The verb ‘버리다’ implies getting rid of something or treating it as no longer useful or valuable.
When combined, ‘담아버려’ (damabeoryeo) expresses the action of forcefully or decisively putting something away or discarding it, often with a sense of finality or disregard.
It can imply a lack of concern or care for the item being discarded.

When I can’t wrap my head around a sentence, this is how I will break it down (I use this simple method for every language I know).
Was my understanding of this sentence wrong? What was being thrown into the trash? The Emperor? The act of threesome itself? Does this go back to the ‘Confucian girl’ thing? Yeah, obviously it was too scandalous for her, but how tf do I translate it so it makes sense?!

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like