Chapter 103

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A silhouette flitted silently across the expansive rooftops of the Imperial Palace, dancing lightly as if ridiculing the vigilance of the Imperial Knights. Finally, it landed gently on the roof of a certain building, cold wind whipping at its dark robes. Its face was hidden, lit only by the dim shine of moonlight.

Aim for the moment when he’s dancing, drunk in the mood. You only have one chance. If you fail…

The silhouette burrowed its frigid fingers deeper into its pockets. The freezing sensation was becoming familiar, and it reminded the figure that it was still alive.

“I’m still… alive.” It was difficult to tell if the figure’s voice belonged to a man or a woman.

The silhouette pondered.

The birthday banquet would be a horrific affair, filled with screams rather than cheers—but the blue eyes behind the robes shone calmly in the dreary darkness.


Everyone was staring at Charles. The men were praising her appearance, but she was angry. Her family, which used to stand among the most affluent in the Empire, was on the decline. The title of “Duke” felt like a joke now. Everyone seemed to be gossiping about her family as they stared at her.

I can’t run away. I need to be brave for my father. Charles bit her lip and moved confidently into the throng.

The center of the banquet hall was particularly boisterous.

“Who does she think she is?” Natasha mumbled. “Her family is in decline and she still has the gall to dance?”

“Oh.” Natasha clapped her hand over her mouth and giggled. “Maybe she’s here because of her father.” She reached over and nudged the man next to her.

Gehog, son of Marquis Crombell, returned Natasha’s gaze with a menacing expression.

What’s her deal?

Natasha shrugged absently, drawing a scowl from Gehog. He seemed anxious, but then his eyes gleamed.

“Maybe she’s here to save face. Show everyone that her family is still strong.”

“Yeah. Right.” Natasha covered her lips, astonished.

Gehog cast a glance at Natasha before returning his gaze to Charles.

“Her face has changed since I last saw her.” Gehog flashed slyly, like a polite pig. “She’s like a trophy. I want to break it.”

Charles came closer and closer, but was interrupted by a fat man.

“Hello?”

Charles turned her head towards the voice.

“I am Count Shibre’s eldest son, Pig set Shibre.” A pleasant smile graced his lips. For obvious reasons, Pig had only been greeting the nobility.

“Ah, Count Shibre.” Charles nodded. It didn’t take long for her to grasp the situation; in her family’s situation—practically total war—she had to keep her ear to the ground. Knowing which families could become friends wasn’t an option, it was a necessity.

“I am Charles du Pontier.” Charles gracefully lifted the hem of her dress. “It’s great to meet the son of the illustrious Count Shibre.”

Pig’s grin widened. Charles hardly looked like the daughter of a dying Duchy; each action dripped with dignity, embellished by her stunning looks.

I could tell from the way all the men’s eyes look at us. I can work with this. Pig clenched his fists, his heart pounding with possessive lust.

I want this woman. It was a completely different feeling than when he was looking at Natasha: this had nothing to do with his family, this was about his manhood. I want to see more of her reactions. Her looks aren’t bad.

Pig brushed his thoughts aside and resumed the conversation with a smile.

“Rumors had it that the daughter of Duke Pontier was one of the most beautiful ladies in the Empire. It seems to me that it’s not a rumor at all.” Pig let out an uncanny laugh, his eyes sparkling. “By the way—it must’ve hurt. Your family’s situation and all that, I mean.”

Charles trembled, but she quickly responded with a small smile.

“Thank you for your worries, Pig. Yes, as you said, we were in a dire situation, but I know that I’ll be able to fix it soon.”

“Ahh.” Pig’s eyes glowed. He saw Charles shift her gaze towards the center of the banquet hall—specifically, towards the child of Marquis Crombell.

Pig grinned. “If you believe that,” he muttered to Charles, “I believe I can assist you in some way.”

“Yes?” Charles’s eyes widened.

“Just as I said,” Pig muttered. “My family just recently uncovered heaps and heaps of mana stones. That means money—the most crucial thing in a war. Between your family and my family, who knows what we could achieve?”

The bait had been thrown. Given the Pontiers’ current predicament, it was a difficult thing to resist; there was a good chance that Charles wouldn’t be able to turn him down.

No, he was certain she would say yes.

I own 10% of the mana stones, but that will suffice. The Pontiers will slowly regain their name if they secure a highly profitable business.

Pig stared at Charles with a malicious smile, who bowed politely but had yet to reply.

“Please, would you allow me to accompany the Young Lady?”

“I—” Charles sighed. “Thank you for the thought, but… I’m afraid I have to decline.”

“Yes?” Pig was puzzled—and skeptical.

“Money is indeed vital, but that’s not our family’s only problem right now—And I don’t want to trouble your father.” She bowed and sighed again. By all appearances, it seemed she was totally unbothered by the fact that Pig came from a lesser social class. “Thank you for the thought, Pig.”

Pig’s expression twisted, jaw clenching as he stared blankly at Charles. His ears rang, deafening him to everything but the sound of his rejection—again.

His feelings of inadequacy finally came to a head.

“Are you full of yourself, or are you just blind?”

He spoke just loud enough to reach Charles, who stood right in front of him.

“What… did you just say?”

“I said… You have too much pride for a dying family.”

Charles’s eyes widened.

“Shocked? You shouldn’t be. That’s why the Duchy is failing—because Duke Pontier has a daughter like you.”

“You can’t talk to me like that?”

“You must be wrong, Princess.” Pig gestured around them, smirking. “No one here will help you.”

“What the—”

“No one except me is willing to speak to you, because they don’t want to look bad in front of Marquis Crombell. Hm. I heard you’ve lost more than 70% of your business, right? Don’t forget that it’s money that brought you here. It’s your father’s only talent—but, oh, now it’s all ashes… What else are you going to do? You’re too cheeky for someone who has practically nothing.”

Charles clenched her fists, but couldn’t come up with a reply. Everything Pig said was true.

You can’t show them that you’re weak. Slowly, she pushed it down. Tears threatened to burst forth at any moment, but Charles tolerated it.

She was the eldest daughter of Pontier, Charles du Pontier.

“Now think carefully, and take my hand. Not many people would be willing to help you, Princess Charles.” Pig offered his hand once more with a smirk.

Gehog, watching from a distance, burst out laughing.

“This is fun… Hey, dance with me for a while.”

“I will grant you the honor of touching me because you’re the great Crombell’s son.” Natasha took Gehog’s hand, laughing cheerfully.

Charles slowly raised her head, fighting to control her trembling body.

“I—”

“You—You!” A high-pitched voice drew everyone’s attention away from Charles towards a corner of the dance hall.

“Hey, Senna! What is your problem?!” One of the other young ladies held Senna, casting her a puzzled glance.

“It’s him—!” Senna pointed with a shaking finger.

“Who the hell is ‘him’?”

They all turned to follow Senna’s finger.

“Ah!” Immediately, exclamations escaped from their lips.

There stood a man, over 180cm tall and proportioned like he’d been sculpted by the gods themselves. He had exceedingly rare dark blue—almost black—hair, matched with deep blue eyes dark like the depths of the abyss. His pointed nose and sharp features aroused images of the goddess of beauty; indeed, he was more attractive than any man Senna had ever seen.

He eventually arrived in front of Charles and Pig, who shared the same blank expression as the rest of the crowd.

“You—”

“Young lady Charles du Pontier.”

“Yes?” Charles stared at the man’s face, awed by his visage and his deep voice.

“Would you grant me the privilege of dancing with you?”

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