39;s gaze scanned the nobles beneath his feet, and briefly, Rose had the illusion that her eyes met with his.
Their Emperor spoke.
“I express my gratitude to all the distinguished guests who came to this royal year-end celebration.
This year has passed splendidly and without any major incidents.
There are only a few hours left in this year, so let's wrap up the year here and welcome the new year together.”
The applause of the nobles rang loudly throughout the hall.
Russell turned and walked away from the podium.
Only after he was entirely hidden away did the band start playing their instruments.
Sweet melodies echoed throughout the room as those who made their debut a few weeks ago announced the start of the dancing.
Among them were Ilya and Stanley.
Watching them dance, Rose drew a picture in her head of what she was supposed to do.
Wells was her dancing partner, so she wasn't worried about dancing, but she was worried about dancing in a place where there were so many people.
What if I make a mistake and stumble?
Rose, looking anxiously toward the center of the hall, frantically recalled her dance steps when she heard the whispers of those around her grow louder.
Wells, standing next to her, even clicked his tongue.
Rose quickly understood why they were reacting this way.
Elliot has come.
“Long time no see, Rose.”
He warmly greeted her.
Rose, who was trying to answer, felt her mouth shut tightly.
She struggled to separate her lips, which further sealed up at the curious gazes around her.
“Yes, long time no see, Elliot.”
“If I had known you were coming to the year-end celebration, I would have come with you.
I missed the honor of being able to escort you.”
“I don't really want to give you that kind of honor, you peacock.”
Wells retorted at Elliot's words.
Elliot didn't respond to Wells as if he was used to it, and took a step toward Rose.
The melody flowed in the hall and slowly approached its end.
The dancers stepped the final steps, and as the music ended, Elliott extended his hand to Rose.
“Would you like to dance a song with me?”
The women around her exclaimed.
It was to see Elliott, who seldom asks for a dance, ask a woman to dance that brought about a bout of chatter.
The promise to Wells was also a promise she wanted to keep, and she truly did not want to dance with Elliot.
With Wells by her side, she didn't show it, but she was rather afraid of Elliot.
On the day of the debutante ball, what happened with Elliot, who arrived at the manor, came to mind.
“Peacock, my Rose is already going—“
Are you going to cheat on your fiancé?”
Elliot cut Wells off quickly.
When Elliott mentioned that word, Rose felt numerous gazes center on them.
Mostly— No, except for those close to me, everyone was unaware that I was trying to break off my engagement to Elliot.
The engagement ceremony was only postponed, but to them, Elliott and Rose were no different from lovers, symbolizing the empire's strength.
As Rose's silence lengthened, whispers rose here and there.
Before it spread further, Rose let go of Wells' hand.
Hearing Wells call her name in dismay, Rose laughed.
She couldn't help but laugh.
I couldn't dance the first song with my older brother.”
Rose grabbed Elliot's hand before Wells could say anything.
His hands were large, and through the thin gloves he could feel the hardened calluses of his swordsmanship.
Elliott escorted Rose like a true gentleman.
In her memory, she had never seen Elliot escort anyone, but he led Rose skillfully.
The two stood in the center of the hall as a different kind of sweet music played.
Hand joined with his and the other on Elliot's shoulder, the two moved in sync with the beat.
Rose danced as Elliott led.
In the middle of the large banquet hall, only Rose and Elliot were dancing.
“It is quiet.”
As Rose silently danced to the beat, Elliot spoke first.
Rose chuckled wordlessly.
“Then shall we chat?”
“That's not a bad idea.”
Rose looked over Elliott's shoulder, raised her head, and replied in a relaxed voice.
With a shift of his head, their eyes met, and his smile caught her eye.
“Now you see me.”
Rose lowered her gaze again and pursed her lips.
If it's good even once, the wish to beat Elliot with insulting words rises.
“Didn't you always only look at me?”
Elliot wrapped his arm around Rose's waist and gave strength to his arm.
The gap between the two narrowed as her light frame was led by the hand holding her down.
“Ahh! What—what are you doing?”
“What? Are we not dancing?”
“Stop! This, here! This hand!”
Rose glanced at her waist.
Elliott's gaze landed on Rose's waist, then rose again.
“You have to be this close when you dance.”
“It's true that I haven't danced much at banquets, but I know that's a lie.”
“Then remember this.
New information must be learned quickly.”
“Why are you doing this…!”
Dealing with Elliot, who never lost a battle of words, made Rose feel as though she would develop high blood pressure.
Rose's eyes flashed.
But maybe I'm just too anxious because of the excitement?
The rhythm, which had been going well, was twisted in an instant.
…Why? Why do I have to fall like this only in front of Elliot?
Rose convinced herself into thinking that her next actions were for a better cause.
If I fall hard on the ground during the dance, the music will stop, and naturally, the dance will end.
Rose threw herself as hard as she could toward the floor.
However, there was one thing that she had forgotten for a moment.
The man in front of her was a knight by profession.
There was no reason why he couldn't hold onto the falling Rose, as he often lifted and trained with weights heavier than her.
Rose's vision suddenly changed as she tilted toward the floor.
Elliot lifted Rose's hand and waist with pure strength.
Her feet lifted slightly off the floor, and her dress unfolded like a flower around her.
The music ended as soon as Rose's feet gently kissed the floor.
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