Chapter 2: I will definitely avoid the original route
On the day of the coming-of-age ceremony, Lila ruined her face with more force than usual.
The butler hurriedly turned his eyes when he saw Lila, who came down with a triumphant look after all her preparations.
You can see the tip of her lips quivering even though she was trying to hide it, Lila put on a satisfied expression.
All the employees who encountered her were busy turning their heads.
Just like the young ladies at the banquet hall, you could hear the sound of retching.
Lila smiled widely as if the gagging were a compliment.
She parted her hair, twisted it into a bun, and smoothed it down with her hand.
Her beautiful mauve hair was curled up like a mountain goat’s horn.
It wasn’t a style you’d see in the Empire.
Her dress, which swayed with her every move, was a deep, muddy green.
It’s a dark green juice-like color that looks bitter just by looking at it.
A large yellow ribbon was tied around her waist, which was rounded by the fluffy material she wore underneath.
It looked more like a child’s ribbon than a grown woman’s, and the hired help giggled and covered their mouths with their hands.
It wasn’t a monthly banquet, but a coming-of-age ceremony held once a year in the imperial court, a traditional banquet to celebrate the children of noble families who had reached the age of majority that year.
Even if she was ugly, they should have stopped her at once, but none of them did.
Or rather, they didn’t.
They were too busy biting each other for fear of catching even the slightest glimpse of her.
Finally, the butler, pushed aside by another servant, said with an arrogant scowl.
“Ah, miss, you may go ahead.”
Lila was quite pleased with the butler’s behavior.
This was no ordinary banquet, this was a coming-of-age ceremony.
She’d be lying if she said she wasn’t afraid, but she was more afraid of not being able to avoid the original route.
She shuddered involuntarily as the carriage set off on an uncomfortable ride.
Lila gripped her dress tighter, squeezed her eyes shut, and took a deep breath.
The coming-of-age ceremony that had been so prominently featured in the novel was just around the corner.
As the golden, rounded roof came into view, Lila muttered the same words to herself.
“A moment of shame guarantees a secure future.
Shame has no place in my life.
I am not the main character here.”
With each nervous breath, the large black mole that sat securely beside her nostrils shook violently.
Her cheeks generously dabbed with a dull dark pink, flushed redder at the memory.
Every time I inhale and exhale, my dark purple lips, glistening like meat grease, open and close.
When the carriage finally came to a halt, her eyelashes that had been curled with an eyelash curler were glued together with a thick red eyeshadow, giving strength to her narrow eyes.
Without waiting for the coachman to call her, Lila opened the carriage door.
As she dismounted, she heard a loud intake of breath from the servant who was checking the invitations around her.
Small screams began to echo as Lila entered the ballroom, down a more ornate path than usual.
As it was an important banquet called the coming-of-age ceremony, the atmosphere was different than usual, and Lila was so nervous that she couldn’t hear her screams.
She couldn’t stop worrying and watched the three male leads, even though they had gradually lost interest in her since they met as children.
The story hadn’t really begun yet, not with her coming-of-age ceremony, the most important part of the novel, and Charlotte, the villainess who would torment her afterward.
Even in the midst of her nervousness, her back twitched and she waddled like a duck, as was her usual habit.
“You’ve got to be kidding me, you’ve come to the imperial banquet hall looking like that?”
“My lady, are you all right?”
Screams and gagging noises gradually spread through what should have been a beautiful musical melody.
“Seriously, isn’t she going too far?”
“No, I mean, how could the lady, who’s going to have her coming-of-age ceremony today, come in like that, and what the hell is her cousin, the Baron, doing?”
Word spread that this wasn’t just a problem for the baron’s lady.
Louis’s mouth dropped open and his eyes widened as he watched his cousin enter the room.
He could hear the word spreading around him.
He tried to follow her, angry to the point of madness that he was being talked about.
Just then, Charlotte entered the noisy room.
The hall became even more tumultuous as she and Lila exchanged words.
“Oh my god… Isn’t that the dress that was on display in the Raphael costume room?”
“I thought they said that was a dress that wasn’t for sale…”
“It’s so beautiful.”
Unable to take their eyes off Charlotte’s dress, the young ladies quickly covered their mouths with their fans.
Charlotte, with her crimson hair, pulled back into a bun, wore a figure-flattering evening gown.
It was the same shade of green as Lila’s, but the mood was completely different.
The subtle gradient green dress had a hint of crimson at the hem.
The birdcage-like skirt swirled and swayed with her every step.
The silhouettes of her slender arms were bare, and her round, exposed white shoulders were dusted with fine pearls that glistened in the chandelier light.
Her round, golden eyes were mesmerizing, albeit fake, they curved upward as people greeted her.
Charlotte entered, followed by the three original male leads.
Theobald entered, and finally the Emperor and Empress.
“Their Majesties, the great Emperor and Empress of the Empire of Vassium, will dine with you all! Everyone, show your respect!”
The noisy hall fell silent in an instant.
The nobles bowed to the moving emperor and empress.
Seated in the golden chair at the head of the table, the Emperor spoke in a stern voice.
“Everyone, raise your heads.”
At the Emperor’s permission, everyone slowly raised their heads in unison.
“Today we are celebrating a coming-of-age ceremony for those who are coming of age this year.
I hope you will make this once-in-a-lifetime occasion a memorable one.”
The Emperor smiled kindly as he spoke, and the young lords and ladies who would be coming of age today were once again lined up in order.
It was a customary event in May when all sorts of flowers bloom.
The coming-of-age ceremony for the children of noble families who had reached the age of nineteen was like a formal greeting to society.
Before that, they could attend social events, but it was not the same as being accepted into society, and it was a sign that they were now adults and should be considered for marriage.
‘It’s a coming-of-age ceremony, to put it nicely, but it’s no different than a place to stand.’
Lila stood in a corner, out of sight from the crowd, and watched the three original male leads.
Young noblemen and women, who were participating in today’s ceremony, looked excitedly at each other, and Lila felt a pang of envy as she watched.
How much better it would have been if the place she started her new life in hadn’t been in this trashy novel she knew.
Then she could have worked harder, met the one she was meant to be with, and have the wedding of her dreams, just like the others…
The emperor’s grave voice reached Lila’s ears, who was experiencing a wild imagination.
“Let us begin.”
At the Emperor’s words, a servant began to call out from the side.
Pinatelli, daughter of Count Pinatelli, please step forward.”
Charlotte stepped from the crowd and approached the Emperor’s seat with graceful strides.
She rose like a single rose and bowed with a graceful gesture.
The eyes of the Emperor and Empress, who were seated at the head of the table, were dazzled.
“Greetings to Your Majesty the Emperor, the Sun of the Empire of Vassium, and Your Majesty the Empress, the Moon of the Empire.”
Charlotte greeted them in a voice as pure as a bird chirping in the morning.
People looked at her in wonder as she remained unnerved in the presence of the Emperor and Empress.
The eyes of the crown prince, Theobald, who sat at the head of the table with the emperor, were no different.
His fiery red eyes sparkled as if he were coveting something shiny.
“Charlotte Pinatelli, congratulations on your coming of age.
I hope you will serve the Empire well in the future.”
At the Emperor’s words, Charlotte replied calmly.
“I’m grateful, Your Majesty.
I will do my best to serve the Empire of Vassium.”
With that, Charlotte bowed again and stepped back.
The others were then called in order of rank.
Lila was last in line, and as she waited for her turn, she said to herself over and over again.
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