he past
Citrina looked at Estelle to try and repair the situation.
But Estelle wasn’t looking at Citrina.
Instead, she stood by Citrina with a red face, staring at Phantemang.
No, it was more of a glare than a stare.

“Lady Phantemang!”
“… Estelle?”

Phantemang looked at her with a perplexed face.
Estelle and Phantemang’s families were close.
In other words, they were on good terms on the outside, but she didn’t know what they were like behind closed doors.

“This kind of behavior is plainly disrespectful.”
“Now, are you taking Citrina-nim’s side?”
“I’m not taking any sides, but Lady Phan’s at fault.
I can’t forgive a quarrel in Cheyenne Hall.”
“Ha! That’s ridiculous.
Since when have you been so righteous.”
“I can’t stand by, so please leave.”
“You want me to leave? Me? Not that lady?”

Estelle issued the order to leave with a cold look.
Phantemang blushed, aghast.
She looked around with a bewildered look.
But embarrassingly, so did Citrina as she was stuck in the middle.
There was no reason for Estelle to come to her defense so much.

“I’ll remember this moment, Lady Estelle and Miss Citrina…”

Citrina answered first, calmly.
With a glance at Citrina, Phantemang turned around coldly.
Silence drifted through Cheyenne Hall.
It seemed as if people were choosing whether to follow Lady Phantemang or Lady Estelle.
Most struck up a new conversation and continued on as if nothing had ever happened, but a few ladies followed Phantemang out the door with anxious faces.
A while after the situation had been sorted out, the beautiful orchestra music began to flow through the hall once more.
Estelle was still with Citrina.

“… Lady Estelle?”
“Ah, Citrina-nim, please head to the balcony.
The fuss has ended, but I’ll clean up a bit first!”
“Yes, thank you.”

But at the same time doubts rose up in Citrina’s mind.

‘Why are you so considerate of me?’

Her steps towards the balcony were both light and heavy.
She felt a slight tension and dizziness as Estelle’s intentions were unknown.

“Are you Lady Citrina Foluin?”

The knight opened the heavy doors to the balcony as if Estelle had arranged everything in advance.
Citrina picked up the hem of her dress and strode forward.

‘What is she thinking of…’

As she looked at the view from the balcony, Citrina was lost in thought.
The soft summer wind tickled her cheeks.

“The scenery is nice, right?”

Citrina heard a refreshing voice behind her.
It was Lady Estelle.
She heard the lady’s steps coming closer.

“Yes, I like it.”
“Don’t worry too much about today!”
“Thank you.”

Estelle stood side by side with her and looked out at the scenery.

– Citrina, that person is nice.
– Right, so don’t do anything bad.
-Got it! I’m the hidden card! I will hide well!

Inside of the pendant, Gemma fussed about with the phrase ‘hidden card’ in mind.
In fact, the spirit’s radar of what it liked and disliked was extremely simple.
It liked people who were favorable to their contractor, and disliked people who felt ill-will towards their contractor.
Unable to hear Gemma’s voice, Estelle turned away from Citrina.
The conversation took place while gazing outside, standing side-by-side.
It was a conversation that took place without looking in each other’s eyes.

‘There’s a lot I want to ask, but I think Estelle has a lot to say.’

Citrina decided to let Estelle take the lead in the conversation.
Estelle continued to speak slowly.

“Are you wondering why I sided with Lady Citrina Foluin?”
We don’t know each other all that well.”
“… I know Lady Simon, the young lady of the Hailey County, quite well.
That person has helped me out a lot.
The same goes for my family.”
You mean Count Hailey?”
“Yes, Count Hailey.”

It was a familiar name.
Count Hailey.
Hailey County was the place where the mine was located.
And the count was the former owner of the mine Desian had recently bought.
Citrina somehow already knew what she was going to say.
She was really interested in jewels.
That’s why she wasn’t bringing up the mine.
note: not clear who is the subject]
However, Estelle brought it up in a roundabout way.

“The count’s young lady was lucky enough to visit the imperial palace summer ball the other day and she happened to see Citrina there as well.
Well, and that young lady saw you near the count’s mine the other day.”

A keen and sharp gaze was directed at Citrina.

“Yes, that’s right.”
“And…you were w, with Duke Pietro.”

Estelle’s voice trembled.
It seemed like she was scared to mention the name Duke Pietro.
In response to her quivering voice, Citrina answered briefly.

“Yes, that’s right.”

There was no reason to lie.
Up till now, the Desian she knew was a good friend and a big help, so there was no reason to deny being familiar with him.

“…Rea, Really?”

Citrina nodded her head.
Estelle let out a colorful word.

“That famous Duke Pietro, you know him? How could you hang out with such a scary person?”
‘Such a scary person?’

Citrina was rather taken aback to hear such a diverging story about Desian from what she knew.
It was plain to see.
She thought he did good things and was friendly.

‘People…are they misunderstanding?’

That was what first popped into her mind.
The Desian that Citrina knew was a good person.
Though in the original work, , he was infamous throughout the empire.
Whether she could tell how much Citrina was troubled, Estelle answered in a low voice.

“Well, I think I made a slip of the tongue.”
“A slip of the tongue? Is there by any chance some bad rumors going around?”
“…it’s nothing serious.  I don’t believe those bad rumors!”
It seemed like Estelle couldn’t bear to say that it was about the curse of the devil.
‘…if it’s a bad rumor, do you mean it’s about the curse of twins? If that’s not the case…it’s suspicious.’
The ‘twins curse’ is terrible but you couldn’t fake such a primal expression of terror.
‘I’m sure the bad rumors have just tailed along.’
However, she thought it was suspicious, so she didn’t think Estelle would talk about it even if she dug further.
Estelle hastily changed the subject.

“How do you know each other? Lady Citrina.”
“He was a childhood friend.”
“Ha, ha, ha….
Tha, that’s so?”

Estelle smiled awkwardly, avoiding her gaze.
Estelle’s attitude towards Desian was strained.
Though the Desian Pietro she knew was gentle enough.
Citrina decided to listen and learn little by little.
“Then you’ve had a relationship since those days up till now…”
He has been a good person since then.
Even now, he is sweet.”
She crossed her arms.
There was no reason to inflate the rumors or deny them.
Unlike the enthusiasm of their previous conversation, Estelle gulped.

‘Sweet? Are we talking about someone else you know?’

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