The imperial palace summer ball was always held in the most beautiful of the flower gardens, Lection Pavilion.
By the reign of the current emperor, Lection Pavilion had become a masterpiece.
Therefore, the summer ball was the main event of the social calendar.
The Pavilion had established itself as a place where nobles would gather to chat.
In this environment where low ranking nobles could not enter, a baron’s daughter, Citrina Foluin, entered.
Her mind was filled with doubts.
‘Why did the emperor personally invite me to the summer ball? This glittering dress was even gifted to me.’
No matter how much she thought about it, she could not understand the emperor’s actions.
However, she could not decline the invitation.
‘News about my jewelry shop couldn’t have spread yet.’
Citrina’s jewelry shop was only just opening it’s doors to customers.
‘It makes no sense for the emperor to invite me.
Something is off.’
It was said that the emperor was merely a puppet of Duke Pietro, but he was still the emperor.
A baron’s daughter did not have the authority to reject his invitation.
Citrina was quick to figure out the situation.
Let’s just eat lots of delicious food.”
Citrina muttered to herself as she picked up her dress a bit.
The fabric between her fingers was exceptionally soft.
The elegantly woven silk dress shone silver in the light.
Citrina tried not to think about the diamonds embroidered into the bodice up to her shoulders.
The crowd was packed inside Lection Pavilion.
It was a blessing in disguise that Citrina was a little bit late to arrive.
She stood in front of the food table, in the middle of the Pavilion.
Her stomach rumbled when she saw the desserts in front of her.
As she bit into some finger food, the flavor spread through her mouth.
‘Ah, it’s sweet.’
As she was enjoying the food, Citrina heard a voice behind her.
“Over there, who is that lady?”
“This is the first time I’ve seen that lady.”
The topic of conversation between the noblemen and noblewomen was Citrina.
‘I’m also curious as to why I was invited.’
She decided to get away from the gossip and grab a drink.
The server handed her a slightly alcoholic cocktail that smelled fruity.
“Don’t mention it, beautiful lady.”
The server smiled at her and walked away.
The cocktail fit her taste perfectly.
As Citrina was enjoying her sweet drink, she was brought back to the conversation at hand.
“The dress that lady by the entrance is wearing.
The elf made it… isn’t it the only one of its kind?”
The chatter was getting even noisier as people raised their voices.
The cocktail must have gotten to her.
Feeling better, Citrina turned away from the crowd when something caught her attention.
At the entrance to Lection Pavilion, an attendant shouted loudly.
“Duke Pietro, His Excellency Duke D..Desian Pietro is entering!”
“Oh my god! Did I hear it wrong?”
“The duke is here?”
A noblewoman screamed.
Men stopped talking as their faces turned pale.
Someone stopped the noblewoman from screaming, but the atmosphere remained tense as people scrambled around.
Citrina remained calm in the middle of it.
She was lost in thought.
‘Desian? That Desian Pietro?’
Citrina knew Desian Pietro well.
She might know him better than anyone else in the world.
Four years ago, she had met him.
He was the final villain of this world in which she had been reborn.
How much had she struggled to better him?
As Citrina was lost in memories, that Desian Pietro slowly entered the Pavilion.
As soon as the man himself appeared, the crowd froze as if they had been doused in cold water.
Citrina didn’t notice the frozen atmosphere, and instead looked at the duke.
Desian was still beautiful with long eyelashes and outstanding cheekbones.
He had delicate features, black eyes, and black hair.
It was a lazy yet decadent beauty that made even Citrina nervous
‘Shouldn’t there be a bloody sword in his hands?’
He was holding a bouquet of roses instead of a sword.
The original Desian could cause everyone within a 1 kilometer radius to freeze.
‘I’m proud of how much he’s changed,’ Citrina thought.
Citrina did not notice the terrified crowd around her.
While Citrina was thinking of the past, Desian came to her side.
His gaze on her was unwavering.
Citrina slowly looked up from what he was holding to make eye contact with him.
The normally expressionless Desian was smiling in delight.
Citrina smiled back at him.
“Welcome back,” Desian whispered as he bent down to put him mouth next to her ear.
“My ear tickles, Del.”
Perhaps it was the proximity or the fact that she called his nickname, but Desian’s smile grew darker.
Citrina didn’t notice and pushed his shoulders away gently.
He didn’t resist and let her put some distance between them.
“Have you been doing well? I missed you.”
Citrina gave a light greeting, but Desian’s expression froze and became anxious.
It was not a normal expression for him to make.
Citrina smiled lightly again and his nervousness melted away.
“I really missed you too.”
He slowly handed the bouquet of roses to Citrina.
“Is this a welcome home present? Thank you, Del.”
Citrina thought her childhood friend had become very friendly.
When Desian heard her, his smile brightened.
Citrina’s heart fluttered at the sight.
A warm breeze blew between them.
It looked like a beautiful reunion.
But to others ….…
Actually, all of the high ranking nobles around the pair were wondering if they were dreaming.
” Is this for real?”
While Duke Desian Pietro was human, he was treated as an alien species.
That’s why his nicknames were ‘Blood Crazy Duke, The Picture of Death, Iron-Blooded Duke, The Only One Who Would Come Down the Mountain in the Land of the Dead’.
No one saw him smiling.
The only time his grim face showed a grin was at the end of a war.
Who knew ‘that’ Desian Pietro could act so sweet!
He was even holding flowers than the cursed sword he was always carrying!
“Those, are those flowers?”
“I think so…”
Something else surprised them as well.
That lady called Desian by his childhood nickname.
This alone was enough to surprise everyone.
The situation was too much for anyone there to comprehend.
Despite what the others were feeling, Citrina and Desian’s reunion in the garden was beautiful and fantastic.
Citrina Foluin was sixteen years old when she remembered her past life.
Thanks to her baronial family’s fallen circumstances, she had been working to pay off their debt since she was a child.
She worked as a companion to noble children and put up with their petty insults.
But it had grown more serious recently.
She had to deal with the nobles’ pranks, such as spilling filthy water on her.
I can deal with it for the happiness of my family.”
Citrina calmly recited these words to herself.
She was doing the same on the day she remembered her past life.
Citrina was ridiculed as a disgrace by the nobility.
And now the countess was passing her along to another assignment.
“If you work as a playmate for the children of the Pietro Dukedom, it’s like a death sentence.
But you really need the money, right?”
“Don’t die and come back alive, okay?”
Citrina clenched her teeth and answered.
It was easy for a noble lady in a position of power to slight the fallen baron’s house.
She recalled some disturbing rumors she had heard about the Pietro Dukedom.
“Then go ahead, lady.”
The title of ‘lady’ was another offhand insult for someone from a poor house.
Citrina smiled at the insult without flinching.
Resolving her situation, Citrina made her way back to the baron’s place.
She had no idea that this day would change her point of view 180 degrees.
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