Home Post 729-chapter-143


Her head was heavy, and there was a stifling feeling inside. It felt like swallowing something that shouldn’t be swallowed.

Inside the swaying carriage, feeling nausea would strike at any moment, Andra leaned against the window, pressing her forehead. Something was strange. Why was her body like this? It wasn’t her usual physical condition.

And she felt as if she had forgotten something. What was it?

“What’s the matter? Are you feeling sick?”

Ansel, noticing his sister hunched over with narrowed eyebrows, asked with a face full of concern.

Andra’s complexion hadn’t been good since earlier. Was she feeling unwell? Or did she eat something wrong? Ansel was worried. Should he ask the carriage to stop for a moment? There might be an infirmary nearby.

Ansel was about to signal the coachman when Andra weakly waved her hand towards him.

“No, it’s just… I guess I’m nervous. Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. We’re almost at the imperial palace, right?”

Beyond the window, the magnificent imperial palace came into view. There wasn’t much time left. If her condition didn’t improve even after arriving, she could see the imperial doctor at the palace. She didn’t want to make a fuss on the road. She wanted to let it go quietly if possible.

Andra was on her way to the palace for the coming-of-age ceremony.

This year, she turned twenty, officially becoming an adult in the Ishur Empire. In fact, she had been preparing for the ceremony for a month, coming from the east to the central region. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and as the only daughter of the Avelin family, she couldn’t afford to be negligent.

The coming-of-age ceremony held in the imperial palace was an important ritual that formally announced the debut of noble youths who had come of age into the social circle. Unless one’s life was in imminent danger, everyone, regardless of age or status, was required to attend. It was one of the few events in the empire personally attended by the Emperor.

Although the coming-of-age ceremony, where everyone gathered, was scheduled to begin in the evening, the participants, the newly-adult youths, usually arrived at the palace half a day earlier to hold a light ceremony among themselves.

This was a considerate gesture for the newcomers debuting in society, providing them with the opportunity to arrive early, relax, and adapt before the official event.

Due to this, Andra, who became an adult this year and had to attend the coming-of-age ceremony, was inevitably heading to the palace half a day earlier than her family. Ansel took it upon himself to act as her guardian.

Ansel, noting Andra’s still pale complexion, spoke with a hint of reproach.

“It’s not good to just endure, Andra. You should know how to take care of yourself. No one will say anything if you’re a little late for the ceremony.”

“I think it’ll get better soon. I used to be like this when I was nervous before.”

Trying to appear fine, Andra added a forced smile. Ansel, knowing that his younger sister could be stubborn, didn’t insist on stopping the carriage. Instead, he attempted to change the tense atmosphere, speaking with a gentle tone and a small laugh.

“But seriously, Andra, you get nervous too sometimes.”

“I’m only human. It’s my first time stepping forward in front of so many people in such a grand event. It’s only natural to feel tense.”

Fortunately, as Andra continued her conversation with Ansel, her body gradually calmed down. The heaviness in her head and the stifling feeling in her chest returned to normal, and the nauseous sensation no longer bothered her.

Andra took a short deep breath and continued speaking.

“Ansel, did you feel like this too when you attended the coming-of-age ceremony?”

“I was just fine. But ask Adego about it. He was really nervous. The sound of teeth clattering was no joke.”

“From a distance, he looked perfectly fine.”

“Yes, that’s right. Don’t worry too much because it looks fine from someone else’s perspective. Andra, once you experience it yourself, you’ll realize it’s not a big deal. It’s not much different from the social gatherings occasionally held in the east.”

Ansel spoke to ease Andra’s tension.

Honestly, looking at it, the coming-of-age ceremony wasn’t a big deal. It was just larger in scale than local gatherings, but in substance, it wasn’t much different from the usual social events. It was just the newly-adult leads coming forward and greeting the others one by one.

Moreover, although the event introduced the young nobles who came of age into the social circle, there weren’t many who were making their actual debut. They had already attended numerous events held by their own families or unofficial social gatherings. It may not be an official debut, but in reality, most of them had already participated in such events.

The same goes to Andra. As someone with roots in the eastern region, Andra, too, had received quite a few invitations related to social gatherings during her time in the East. Of course, she could count on one hand the number of times she attended such events.

“Just mingle appropriately and when the time comes, you can leave. Above all, the first day is just about making your face known.”

“I know that much. I’m just a little worried, that’s all. You know, the first step is crucial. Even if it’s not a big deal, the coming-of-age ceremony is undoubtedly an important event.”

However, the significance of the coming-of-age ceremony in noble circles was mainly due to the ‘official’ title. It involved introducing oneself in front of many people under the Emperor’s observation. For those whose family influence was minimal, it could serve as a good opportunity.

“That’s true. But Andra, you are already an Avelin. There’s no one in the empire who doesn’t know Avelin. Just smile vaguely and play along. That should be enough.”

Ansel curled his eyes gently and smiled. His words were correct.

In the current Empire, there was no one who didn’t know Avelin, a prestigious wealthy family from the east. Most nobles were already aware of Andra’s existence. The only daughter of Avelin. Moreover, a prominent candidate as the second prince’s consort. Therefore, even if Andra just uttered her name during her introduction, it would be close to perfection.

At least, that’s how others would see it.

“And pay attention. Look closely at what kind of central social circles you’ll be active in the future.”

This time, Ansel added with a subtly stern tone.

Unconsciously, Andra lowered her gaze. She knew what Ansel was talking about. As mentioned earlier, it was probably about establishing a position in the central social circles as the consort of the second prince, Jonathan.

“By the way, there have been interesting rumors lately. Have you heard of it?”

“As soon as I arrived in the central region, I heard about it. I’ve received invitations related to that countless times a month.”

The rumor revolved around Lady Venetolia, a niece of the country’s consort Lord Edden. Lady Venetolia, who had long dominated the social circles, was rumored to retire soon from the central social scene. What was crucial here was the trend that pointed towards Andra Avelin being designated to inherit the Lady’s position.

“It’s not a bad idea to get in line early. You’ve already succeeded in claiming a spot, Andra.”

“You know it’s not all that great. I’m worried about Jewelie. They’re not the type to stay quiet.”

Jewelie was a prestigious family in the south, comparable to Avelin in terms of financial strength.

While Avelin made money by using the vast plains for grain production, Jewelie amassed wealth primarily through tourism, in the beautiful natural environment and foreign currency. Thus, there were jokes about how Avelin handled internal economics, and Jewelie managed external economics.

Fortunately, the relationship between Avelin and Jewelie was not as bad as that between Avelin and Airak in the north. Businesspeople had long realized that cooperating rather than vaguely restraining each other would lead to greater mutual benefits.

Jewelie played a significant role in supporting the wool exports of Eilderk. Their prowess in foreign currency transactions, built on their tourism industry, was remarkable. They understood that there was no need to turn each other into enemies.

“I don’t want to get involved in unnecessary fights. Especially not to stir up conflict with Jewelie. It’s a bit unfair, isn’t it?”

Andra’s concern and worry about the social circles issue with Jewelie stemmed from the unfavorable relationship between Lady Venetolia and Jewelie. It all began long ago when Lady Venetolia was still an innocent child, and Jewelie, through cunning means, took possession of the southern resort that she owned.

Later on, when Lady Venetolia discovered that she had ignorantly sold valuable land for a pittance, she naturally became furious. As a result, Jewelie faced disgrace with not being able to make a proper entrance into the central social circles.

“Andra, there’s no such thing as unfairness in politics and business. From the beginning, there’s no such thing as fairness. What matters is how much you can take from the other side.”

“It’s easy to say that. If you knew how persistent Jewelie’s successors are, you wouldn’t say such things. Oh, at times like this, being an Avelin is so exhausting. There’s too much to worry about.”

Andra sighed inside, letting her shoulders slump. She had been worried from the beginning, even before coming to the capital. It was an ordeal she had prepared for dozens of times.

‘Of all things, it had to be between Lady Venetolia and Jewelie.’

Their silent struggle continued relentlessly beneath the surface, and it was expected to continue. If Andra were to enter the central social circles, she would unavoidably get involved in the conflict between those two. It was a choice between the central social circles and foreign currency.

Now, it was a situation that could escalate into a family feud beyond Andra herself.

“My head hurts.”

“You’ll manage. You’ve handled things well so far.”

“Ansel, don’t casually say it’s not your business.”

“Andra, I respect your choices.”

Andra’s expression suddenly turned gloomy. She now seemed to understand a bit about the central social circles, which, compared to the local ones, were nothing. The central social circles were, in fact, a living battlefield.

How would Lady Venetolia present herself? To thoroughly mess with Jewelie, using Avelin as a tool might be a good strategy. Avelin would undoubtedly find it awkward, but Lady Venetolia might not even care about it.

Andra gazed at the approaching imperial palace.

“It feels ominous from the beginning. Like something is bound to happen. Even Airak is coming to this coming-of-age ceremony.”

Yes, Airak.

She forgot for a moment, but all the problems seemed to stem from Airak. One might wonder why Airak. But for Andra, it was an unchanging truth and a fact. Everything could go smoothly until Airak got involved. Damn Airak.

Andra clenched her fists, thinking about the rude Young Lord Airak.