Two Swords and the Angel's Feather - Chapter 8
“That can be settled by the royal treasury.”
Ellen shook her head and hugged the baby prince as if he was a shield. “No, I-I’m not in a position to attend such an event. Rather, I would be a nuisance to the Queen…”
“What do you mean by ‘nuisance’? Don’t leave me alone with those awful women. No, Ellen’s definitely going.” Celia said with a smile.
Ellen bit her lip and stared blankly at the royal couple. Her heart felt heavier than the prince she was holding in her arms.
“I heard you’re attending the National Day party. Then, you’ll have a chance to dance with me, right?”
Ellen flinched in surprise after seeing River, who had approached her without a sound and swept her hair down with one hand. Her face blushed subconsciously for no specific reason.
“No. That- I have to help Her Majesty. I probably won’t have the time to be dancing or anything of the sort.”
“I’ve also been placed in charge of the security during the party so I shall also be busy. However, I can still make time for one dance. After all, what’s the point of attending a party if you can’t dance at least once?”
He looked down at her and smiled brightly. Ellen, who was unaccustomed to flirting with men, blushed and lowered her eyes.
“You’ve met my brother, haven’t you? How was he? He looks a bit cold at first sight.”
Ellen briefly recalled the Duke of Madison. After the conversation on coordinating the party had ended, the Duke surprisingly took hold of her elbow, as one would when escorting a noblewoman, and led her out of the drawing-room elegantly and politely. But once they left the room, he simply nodded a greeting and disappeared without saying a word.
For some reason, the elbow he held prickled. Perhaps it was because she was not used to a man’s touch. At first, nobles who were interested in prying into the privacy of the royal family approached her, but now they all ignored her just as they treated the queen. That was comfortable for her. That was much better. That way she would not be led to expect anything.
Expectations, it was yet another thing that did not suit Ellen. She had betrayed everyone’s expectations for her from the moment she was born, so she, too, was not allowed to hold expectations.
At the touch of River’s gloved hand, Ellen came to her senses in a flurry. He was still looking down at her with a smile on his face.
“It seems my brother didn’t leave a good impression after all.”
His words reminded her of his question. All flushed, she shook her head.
“No, no. The Duke is very…he fits his role very well.”
“He is indeed a little too stiff. But don’t be fooled by his appearance. Inside, he’s softer than blanket stuffing.”
Ellen blinked as she looked at River. Her surprise must have appeared blatantly on her expression because he giggled amusedly, but at the same time, he didn’t lose hold of her hand. Rather, he wrapped it tightly with his big hand, placed it on the inside of the crook of his arm, and walked forth.
“It’s true. But he can’t let it show because of his position as a duke. On the other hand, I can live as I wish because I don’t have a title. I often thank the heavens for not having a title.”
“Even if you don’t have a title, as the brother of the Duke of Madison, so aristocratic young ladies would surely be interested.”
In other words, even if River himself had no title, she was not an appropriate match for him. To be honest, she could not understand why he was interested in her. There were many women in the Royal Palace. There were more than enough to choose a romantic partner from them.
Could he be curious about the Queen? But Duke Madison frequented the Royals’ private chambers. There was not much more he could find out from her.
“Ah, of course, many women are interested in me. Even if I don’t seem like it, I am somewhat of a public figure. But I have no obligation to pay attention to them. I have something called ‘preferences’ as well.”
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