Chapter 2: I will definitely avoid the original route
She doesn’t think much about the future.
She doesn’t care if she wasn’t a noble, as long as she was guaranteed a safe place to live.
In fact, she was bored with nobility.
Barons were nobles, but they were no different from well-to-do commoners when it came to how they lived.
Besides, she doesn’t understand why they throw so many banquets.
It was quite a hassle to attend each banquet, and it cost a lot of money.
If she were to reduce the amount of money she spends on luxuries, she can probably repair the mansion she lives in now.
Lila was lost in thought when a voice called out to her.
“Lila, Baroness of El Este, please come forward!”
A small squeal and gagging sounded familiar as she emerged from the crowd.
The brows of the Emperor and Empress wrinkled at the same time when they saw Lila stagger out of the crowd.
The crown prince was no different, as well as the expressions on everyone’s faces.
The emperor, who would have been the first to speak, spoke a beat later.
“Lila El Este, congratulations on your coming of age.”
The others, including Charlotte, had given longer speeches.
But the Emperor spoke to her briefly and turned his head away altogether.
Lila also gave a short thank you.
“Thank you, Your Majesty.”
As she turned to leave, bowing even more curtly than the Emperor, someone shoved her.
She tried to pretend she hadn’t made a mistake, even if she hadn’t, but the sudden shove sent her tumbling to the floor.
Lila landed with an audible thud, and despite what she had told herself, she felt so embarrassed.
Unable to hide her reddened face, she struggled to get up on her own as the wide hem of her dress held her down.
There were several pairs of eyes watching her, but no one reached out to help.
In spite of her misery, Lila tried to smile as she felt the stares of the three male leads pretending not to notice her.
She bemoaned the fact that she had to embarrass herself to avoid the fool’s errand, but she told herself it was for the best.
It was then that she heard a small voice behind her say something sweet, but somehow prickly.
“You waddle like a duck.”
Lila turned to look for the voice, but it was too late, each of them had flocked away with their partner or group.
The emperor, empress, and crown prince also descended from their seats and entered the dance hall.
Unable to get up on her own, Lila saw Theobald and Charlotte dancing at a distance.
Then she glanced at Alfonso and Heinrich, who were standing around them.
‘Yes, it’s done.
She hadn’t gotten the attention from the original characters that she had hoped for.
But she couldn’t help but feel bitter about the current situation.
With her cousin also turning a blind eye, Lila managed to stand up alone with tears in her eyes.
She couldn’t stay like this any longer, so she made her way to the break room.
In the break room, she wiped away her tears and opened her pouch to touch up her tear-stained makeup.
She added freckles, red eyeshadow, and reapplied her lips.
As soon as she walked out of the break room with her pouch, all the younger girls in the hallway shot her a look as if they’d been waiting for her.
As she ducked to the side, she heard a booming, mocking voice in her ear.
“Lila El Este?”
She turned to face the giggling ladies.
“Charlotte, are you okay?”
Covering her mouth with a handkerchief and ducking her face, Charlotte’s luscious red rose-colored hair swayed with her nod.
“Thank you, Monaca, but I really can’t open my eyes to look at her.”
“I told you, you don’t have to look.
How could she come to a coming-of-age ceremony in a dress like that.”
“Monaca, you’re so right, how could she be so ugly, with all those freckles on her face… I can’t believe it, is she really a noble?”
Charlotte’s nervous voice was clearly audible to the young people around her.
The youngsters chorused in agreement.
Lila felt uncomfortable.
This was what she wanted, of course, but she didn’t like the idea of having a bunch of them pushing her around.
But there was only one thing she could say.
“Pardon me, would you mind if I excuse myself first?”
Lila, who usually tried to keep her voice deliberately muddy, panicked and spoke in her normal voice.
Charlotte raised an eyebrow, puzzled by the strangely mellow voice.
The gentle voice didn’t match the ugly face.
Was that why? Charlotte felt a vague sense of malaise.
After hearing Lila’s request and not giving her an easy answer, Charlotte pinned her down and searched her like she was going to tear her apart.
Finally, Charlotte spoke up, gently waving her fancy fan.
“Of course, you don’t intend to go back to the ballroom, do you?”
Lila, who was about to return to the ballroom, looked at Charlotte with doubt in her eyes.
Seeing her expression, Charlotte sneered.
“Do you have any idea how much of a mess you’ve made of the banquet? My God, did you pick that dress up from the dump?”
The blatant gaze swept over Lila’s dress.
Everything was going Lila’s way, but the look in Charlotte’s eyes was so unpleasant.
It wasn’t the first time she bothered her in this way, but today, memories of her past life came flooding back, and Lila wondered if it was because of the familiarity of her gaze, as if she were looking at Cho Yoon Seol, who was wearing shabby jeans and a t-shirt at work.
Lila’s mouth dropped open and she didn’t know what to say, but then a very sweet and respectful voice came into her ear.
“There you are.”
Heinrich came to pick Charlotte up himself, not waiting for a moment when she was away.
“I’m here too, Charlotte.”
Alfonso, who was usually Charlotte’s closest confidant, walked up to her, his gorgeous golden hair flying.
Alfonso pouted his lips at her calling him by his family name and stiff title, not his first name.
“Call me by my first name.”
“Marquis Benière, how dare I call you by your first name?”
“Charlotte, would you please just call me Heinrich, too?”
Charlotte’s eyes lowered, both in expression and action as if she felt overwhelmed.
Her long, crimson eyelashes fluttered like a pair of butterflies.
“But what are these beautiful young ladies doing? They’re making a lot of noise in the ballroom looking for you.”
“Exactly, and what are they looking at…”
Alfonso turned his head and spotted Lila, who had been hidden from view by the crowd of young nobles.
“Wow, are you really human?”
At the innocent-sounding mockery, Lila’s embarrassed flush deepened to a blazing red.
She couldn’t help but feel like she was being watched.
Despite Alfonso’s words, Heinrich didn’t give Lila a glance.
Regardless of what he intended, Lila’s head went down gradually because of the gaze.
Charlotte’s expression was tinged with a peculiar amusement at the sight of her, but it was hidden from the others with her fan.
Unable to do anything about it, Charlotte stammered out an excuse.
“Well… she said she’s not feeling well, and even on such a glorious day, if you’re not feeling well, don’t you think she should go back?”
Her voice was soothing and her followers nodded like dolls.
“You’re right, Charlotte.
Lady Lila, you may go back now.”
Lila didn’t know how to speak in the presence of the Emperor as if he were giving her permission, but she was eager to leave.
As she hurried away, Alfonso said something innocuous and lighthearted, but a slap in the face.
“You were pretty cute when you were younger…”
Alfonso, who had been interested in Lila as a child, murmured, his voice full of wonder.
His words made Lila sweat with nervousness.
Wiping her sweaty hands on her dress, she hurried toward the exit.
Just then, the crown prince burst out of the hallway leading to the ballroom.
Nearly bumping into him, Lila let out a small shriek.
“What the hell.”
Theobald reached out a familiar hand to receive the lady, but as soon as he realized it was Lila, he quickly withdrew it.
Barely balancing herself without falling, Lila’s voice descended to the crown of his head, full of displeasure.
“You must not have good eyesight.”
No wonder she wore such a dress, the words were full of nuance.
“Prince, His Highness the Crown Prince…”
Before she could finish her sentence, Theobald was on his feet.
Lila’s stomach sank at the thought of people judging her by her appearance and sending her ill will, even if it was her intention.
But she tried to put on a brave face, repeating to herself the promise she’d made in the carriage.
Running out of the palace, she hurried her coachman home without a second thought.
Consoling herself that she had made it through the night, she went to her room and locked the door.
She could hear Becky muttering something, but she was too humiliated and embarrassed to answer.
The limit of her struggle to escape the original was slowly approaching.
As she lay back on the bed without removing my dress, Lila murmured.
“Now, just hang in there.
Just a little bit…”
The moon shone in the dark night sky, but her room was darkened by the curtains.
A choked sob filled the room.
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