Home Post 1080-chapter-177


“Why are you going there?”

“I have someone to meet.”



Laria lightly touched Evan’s hair and chuckled.

“Fred doesn’t ask me in such detail. Can you respect my privacy?”

“But I am…”

“You are?”

“…Your closest friend, right? And you’re not going to tell me?”

At his words, Laria gazed at him with her purple eyes before tilting her head and asking.

“You never step foot in the card house anyway. You might be the only one in the Capital who’s never even been there. So why the interest?”

“That’s because…!”

Evan started to respond heatedly, then hesitated and turned his gaze to the window.

“…It’s because your father likes gambling.”

Her eyes widened at this response.

“So that’s why you… dislike gambling.”

Laria didn’t reply to that. She just coughed lightly and turned her gaze to the opposite window. She just looked the other way, idly holding the hem of her skirt.

“Hey, this Icard carriage is really cramped… With all your money, why did you bring such a small carriage?”

“I wonder.”

Evan replied nonchalantly, still avoiding her gaze.

“I don’t mind it, really.”

Silence fell in the carriage until they reached the restaurant. It was the first time they had been so quiet for so long.

When getting out of the carriage, he asked again, more insistently.

“So, who are you meeting?”

He even raised an eyebrow as he added.

“…If you don’t answer, I’ll ask again tomorrow.”

“It’s nothing strange like you’re thinking. Just… someone I want to help.”

Evan asked confidently.

“What are you planning, Laria?”


“Don’t I know you? You’re plotting to send off a few from the social circles. But who?”

Nevertheless, Evan couldn’t get an answer until Laria’s debutante day. By then, she was too busy to even meet him.

A few days later, it was the day of Laria’s lavish debutante ball that was prepared by Esther.


* * *


Laria’s debutante ball was held at Count Rostri’s residence. Every decoration was luxurious, and the tea food prepared was of the highest quality, eliciting admiration from many. The guests were very impressed. They enjoyed the party with cheerful expressions, praising Esther’s taste.

“Matilda, did you see?”

Esther spoke to Matilda, who was sitting beside her.

“To avoid criticism while flaunting wealth, we must feed them something even better.”

“Oh, you and your jokes. Using food in such a way, you sound just like my husband.”

Matilda smiled and put her hand on Esther’s shoulder.

Esther looked straight at Matilda and replied.

“…Did you miss out on eating something you wanted here? Why the complaint towards me?”

At that moment, the sound of a bell rang, signaling the entrance of Laria, the star of the day.

Descending slowly down the specially crafted spiral staircase of the mansion, Laria looked stunningly beautiful. Despite Fred, who was escorting her, being a remarkably handsome man with a gentle demeanor, all eyes were fixated solely on Laria.

She was dressed in an ivory gown adorned with small beads, complemented strikingly by a sparkling ruby necklace. Small ruby earrings and a ruby headpiece added to her ensemble, creating a harmonious blend with the simple elegance of her dress.


Matilda exclaimed, momentarily forgetting her conversation with Esther as she was genuinely impressed.

“…She’s so pretty, isn’t she? It’s such a shame that man can’t see this… He sings every day about wanting Laria as his daughter-in-law.”

Kallaudin and Evan could not attend as they had to leave early for the Dukedom due to an urgent matter there.

Matilda was the only one who regretted their absence. Kallaudin, not particularly interested in high society or politics and focused only on his family and the Dukedom, wasn’t very popular. He was mostly seen as ‘the man who makes strange jokes at home,’ so it attracted little interest.

Of course, this was specific to Kallaudin.

Matilda’s situation was different.

People were still envious of her, a former assistant in a dress shop, becoming a duchess. If not for Esther, who was fiery in protecting her from such torments, she would have been even more isolated and worse off in high society.

“I’m truly grateful that you all could attend my debut.”

Laria opened her mouth, elegantly raising her wine glass.

“Please, enjoy yourselves comfortably.”

With these words, applause filled the room.

The event was so large and well-attended that not only the mansion but also the garden was bustling with guests. Given that Laria and Fred were influential figures in their social circles, almost all the noble youths in the Capital seemed to be present.

“Countess Rostri? Laria is so beautiful. When did she grow up so well?”

Laria and Fred quickly mingled among their noble peers, and people began to gather around Esther, the mother of the debutante and organizer of the event.

In the meanwhile, Count Rostri, Laria’s father, was notably absent. Only Esther knew he was at a huge illegal gambling house that was supposed to open that day.

“Ah, Marchioness Melinia, thank you for coming. It must have been a long journey.”

Noticing the line of people waiting to greet Esther, Matilda tactfully got up. She whispered to her.

“Esther, I’m going to use the restroom.”

“Ah, okay.”

Esther quickly responded as she glanced at the guests before her.

“Hurry back. I’ll be waiting.”

Matilda nodded and quietly stood up, leaving to give Esther space to attend to her guests without worry.

Though Esther’s words ‘I’ll be waiting’ suggested she should return promptly, Matilda planned to take her time.

Unlike her, Esther had many friends in high society, including some who openly disregarded her. If others showed a hostile reaction towards Matilda, Esther would undoubtedly become furious, and she had no intention of creating such a scene at Laria’s debutante ball.

Lately, those who slandered her had been gathering at Madame Evynart’s dress shop, forming a new faction. These were the people who had scattered after Olivia had turned a salon upside down. It seemed like the backlash from exposing the embezzlement of funds at the dress shop under a sense of justice.

Matilda walked as slowly as possible, taking in her surroundings. Not only did no one acknowledge her, but some even bumped into her shoulder on purpose.

With Kallaudin absent, the environment was ripe for people to mistreat her.

If she had just stayed at the Duke’s residence or come with Kallaudin or Evan, such situations would not have occurred. Nonetheless, she knew she had to attend Laria’s debut despite anticipating these difficulties when her husband and son had to leave urgently for the Dukedom.

Laria was practically surrounded by young nobles. Of course, with Fred firmly by her side, no one dared to approach her for a private conversation or a dance invitation.

“Lady, you look stunning today. Have you visited the new Café Erenin in the town? It’s quite booked these days, but if I pull some strings, I might secure a couple of seats next week…”

“Oh, really? Is it good? I’d appreciate a reservation. It would be perfect for Laria and me.”

Fred was also desperately fending off various date requests.

Matilda smiled and raised her eyebrows in thought.

‘What about Evan? Why did urgent matters have to arise in the Dukedom today, of all days? Even if Fred is trying hard, Laria might accept one of these date proposals.’

Being a mother, Matilda wasn’t oblivious to Evan’s feelings. However, since both Evan and Laria were still young, and it seemed like meddling adults might only complicate things, she kept quiet.

Still, that didn’t mean she was doing nothing. She had been actively preventing Kallaudin from making jokes in front of Laria. In doing so, she felt she was fulfilling her duty as a mother, supporting her son’s love to the best of her ability.

‘I thought Kallaudin would come to Laria’s debut, no matter how big the issue at the Dukedom… But Laria wearing the jewelry Evan gave her, does that mean there’s a chance?’

Matilda pondered this but eventually sighed deeply.

Considering Esther and Laria’s tastes, it was likely that Laria chose to wear it simply because it was the most expensive piece.

It was then that someone exclaimed…

“Oh my, isn’t that the Duchess Icard?”

Right in front of the restroom, Matilda encountered Duchess Lespia. She groaned inside.

She had run into the worst possible person.

While others maintained a certain level of decorum with Matilda, given her title as a duchess, Duchess Lespia was different. She was not only of equal social standing but also a cousin of the Empress, giving her the liberty to act as she pleased without anyone daring to intervene.

“Your dress is lovely, Madam. It seems your time as an assistant in a dress shop has given you some taste.”

“…Thank you for the compliment, but I was not an assistant… I was a consultant.”

“Isn’t it the same thing? For example, if a customer at the dress shop…”

Duchess Lespia nonchalantly dropped the fan she was holding.

“If you dropped something like this, how would you have reacted?”

Matilda swallowed hard. Looking around, she noticed many people had their eyes on her.

Seeing the distinctive lace of Evynart’s dress shop on their dresses, it seemed like a planned confrontation. This unity in dress to show group solidarity was a new clique culture started by Evynart’s dress shop. It gave the impression that one person’s opinion represented the majority.

For instance, Matilda felt intimidated, as if she wasn’t just dealing with Duchess Lespia but everyone wearing that lace.

“Please, act as you would have in the old days, Duchess Icard, the former consultant of the dress shop.”

Duchess Lespia smiled slyly, lifting her chin.

Matilda swallowed again.

Causing a scene here would only trouble Esther and Laria. She wasn’t someone who put her pride above everything in such situations. What mattered most to her was getting through this situation without conflict, even if it meant being humiliated.

It was when she was about to quietly bend down to pick up the fan…

“…..What did you say?”

“This is crazy. Did they do such things at Evynart’s? No wonder my mother kept going in and out of there!”

“There are things you should and shouldn’t touch!”

A commotion had suddenly broken out among the group of young nobles near Laria.