Act 61: Noble Beliefs, Blooming with Resolution
When Cordelia got home, she immediately asked Emina to arrange for a tailor.
Emina was a little surprised that Cordelia wanted to have a red dress tailored as soon as possible.
“Ojou-sama, this is the first time that you’ve requested for a red dress, isn’t it?”
“But I’m sure it’ll look nice on you.”
She couldn’t feel happy even though she was told it would look nice on her because of her complicated feelings.
Dark red gave off a strong and distinct impression, and it was also a suitable colour to wear for matches. And Emina was right, it was definitely a colour that suited Cordelia. After all, it was a colour that 『Cordelia』knew suited her very well.
But she still wanted to avoid it because in a way it was her 『burial clothes』.
(But if Shelley is convinced that I’m the 『Cordelia in the red dress』, then I’ll take up the gauntlet. And I’m pretty sure I should put it on at least once as a way of bidding farewell to 『Cordelia』.)
She decided that she would face this head on.
She couldn’t help but feel like she was losing the fight before it even started since she compromised.
“Would it take a bit of time if I commissioned for it now?”
“But as a matter of fact, Lindsey-sama, who has always been tailoring your dresses, has been making red dresses that fit you in her spare time, so I’m sure that she can have them ready after she’s made some adjustments and adds the finishing touches to them.”
“Huh? I don’t think I’ve ever paid for anything like that.”
She did remember Lindsey recommending her red dresses a number of times, but she had always chosen a different colour each time.
“Lindsey-sama likes to think of ideal dresses for people, so she makes them in hopes that the people, who she made them for, would wear them even if they don’t order them. I’m sure she would be delighted if you purchased it. ”
“I, I see…”
“It’s just that even if you’re satisfied with the dress, she might get new inspiration once you try it on and want to make small adjustments on the dress. But it’ll still be ready in time for the banquet.”
“That’s good. Thank you.”
Cordelia had no way of knowing what evening party Shelley would attend, but she did know of one evening party that Shelley would attend without having to inquire.
That was the 『Stargazing Banquet』.
The Stargazing Banquet was hosted by the royal family; young men and women were invited to the banquet, and Cordelia also received an invitation to the banquet. Sylvester, who had just come of age, was this year’s host, and she had no reason to decline as long as she was in the royal capital and was depressed about this at first.
But there was no way she wouldn’t take advantage of this period if she was going to face Shelley face on.
(If she takes the initiative to misbehave in order to recreate her dreams even at a banquet hosted by the royal family, then she will finally be completely obsessed with her dreams. Kids who misbehave must be reasoned with.)
Actually, all Shelley was doing was throwing her temper mostly at Cordelia. There were other parts of her personality that were like the in-game 『Cordelia』, but she hasn’t acted as radical as 『Cordelia』yet.
(Even so, there might be a chance that she would go out of control and lose her life. The Clydereine House has as much magic power as I do.)
Cordelia had always felt that Shelley was troublesome and a bad omen.
But she has never wished that Shelley would lose her life.
Cordelia wasn’t good at dealing with Shelley and didn’t want to approach her, but Shelley had said that she wanted to be of use to her benefactor, Sylvester, unlike 『Cordelia』, who wanted the position of Queen. It seemed like Shelley was running wild right now, but if she doesn’t use her power in the wrong way, then she might actually be of use to him.
(I guess no one by her side properly reasons with her because of her powers. But I also know very well that she isn’t someone who would listen either.)
Still, if Shelley had someone who had told her off then she probably wouldn’t have become like this. Cordelia felt that this was truly regrettable.
Cordelia walked down the corridor alone after she had left Emina and muttered to herself.
“I hope that I can bid farewell to 『Cordelia』and Shelley’s dreams…”
When she got closer to her room, she decided to turn back and visit Ronnie. There was one thing she wanted to confirm before confronting Shelley.
Ronnie was relaxing before dinner in his room at the magician wing. He blinked when he saw Cordelia enter his room with a serious expression on her face.
“Ojou-sama, what’s wrong? You look very serious.”
“Say, Ronnie. I have a question for you… Of all the magic I can use, there’s nothing that can kill me if I use it too much, right?”
Cordelia still didn’t know what magic 『Cordelia』had used to kill herself. Of course, she wasn’t going to cause an uproar, so she wouldn’t be using such magic, but she wanted to confirm this just in case.
“As far as I know, nothing you use can cause that. But you can faint if you overwork your magic. You couldn’t move in the woods before, right? But with that, you won’t die from the magic itself, because you won’t be able to move your body before you die.”
“I see. That’s good.”
“I don’t know what you’re thinking of doing, but you’re not trying to do something dangerous are you?”
“Of course not. I like peace too, so I don’t want to do anything dangerous.”
That was why she came here to confirm this, but Ronnie wasn’t convinced.
“I’m telling you this just in case, but if you find a curse or something, never try to break it yourself. If you do it on your own, then you’ll just be eaten by the curse.”
“As expected, I won’t often come across a situation where I need to undo a curse, right?”
He had probably given her that advice because of what had happened with Lara in the past, but Cordelia didn’t think it would be necessary this time.
Anyway, Cordelia couldn’t use magic that could kill her. It was reassuring to know this when she confronted Shelley.
(But, was Lara’s curse also from Dulaus?)
She was reminded of Ghost for a moment, but she sincerely hoped that nothing unnecessary would happen at the Stargazing Banquet.
The day of the Stargazing Banquet.
Cordelia was a little perplexed when she saw her dressed up figure in the full-length mirror.
The in-game 『Cordelia』had been stubborn, domineering and mean, but her appearance was gorgeous and lovely.
However, for some reason, Cordelia’s current appearance made her look strong.
“Won’t… people around me see me as domineering like this?”
The words spilled out of her mouth and her cheeks twitched.
(Red? Is it because of this red colour?)
Even though she had thought that, 『Cordelia’s』dress had been the same shade of red, so she didn’t think that it was because of the colour. She thought she looked calmer than 『Cordelia』, but it was still a little shocking to see herself like this.
“Please relax a little more. Ojou-sama, you’re too nervous today.”
Cordelia’s expression was so stiff that it made Emina smile wryly.
Cordelia smiled again and she felt like the intimidating aura that surrounded her earlier had faded a little.
Although her makeup was done modestly, she had on a bright red lipstick so that the dress wouldn’t overshadow her. She chose the rose that Gille had given her for her hair accessory, and it stood out even with her red dress.
Finally, she sprayed on some rose fragrance, and her preparations for battle were done.
“Well, shall we go now?”
Cordelia spoke to her reflection in the mirror.
Cordelia had been to the castle many times now and was already used to it, but this was the first time she was heading to the Great Hall where the evening party was held.
While people who were attending the evening party were coming and going, Cordelia stopped once at the entrance of the venue.
Isma was dressed in his knight uniform, and he probably was working and wasn’t here to attend the evening party.
“You’re dressed in a more spirited manner than usual today.”
“Do I give off the impression that I’m domineering, after all?”
“No, you don’t look like you’re domineering. But… every time I see you outside of home, I feel like you’ve grown up.”
Cordelia smiled wryly since Isma had celebrated her coming of age ceremony with her.
“Onii-sama. That’s something Otou-sama would say.”
“I’m worried since I have an adorable little sister.”
“Oh my, it’s an honour to hear you praise me.”
They laughed, then Isma spoke quietly.
“Lately, the relationship between father and Earl Clydereine has been dangerously bad. Father never cared even if the Earl had been openly hostile towards him, but nowadays, he clearly harbours ill-feeling towards the Earl.”
“That has… something to do with me, doesn’t it?”
“So, you know what is going on. If you need help, talk to Father. Of course, you can talk to me as well. However, I can’t stay near you much today since I have to work.”
“Thank you very much, Onii-sama. But don’t worry. I always talk to you two whenever I have a problem.”
“Really? Then, I feel at ease.”
Cordelia couldn’t tell from Isma’s expression whether he took it as a joke or seriously. Bowing at Isma’s back as he made his way towards his post, Cordelia slowly took a deep breath then stepped forward.
The warm glow from the chandeliers illuminated the marble floor in the spacious hall. Slow and quiet music was playing since the evening party hadn’t officially started yet. However, there were already a lot of men and women gathering around and talking. Perhaps because this party was for the younger generation, the women’s dresses were more brightly coloured than usual, and the venue looked gorgeous.
Cordelia briefly gazed around the hall, but there didn’t seem to be any sign of Shelley. As long as she was careful, then she wouldn’t be caught off guard.
The evening party was opened with a speech from a member of the royal family ――― that is, after Sylvester’s greetings, the orchestra will play music for dancing. After that, it was basically not too different from other evening parties, but there were scholars waiting to help the guests appreciate the night sky, and Cordelia heard that constellation boards will be loaned out. When Cordelia had first heard about this, she thought that it was an event that Gille would enjoy.
(I even thought that maybe Gille-sama would attend a night party without transformation magic cast on him… but I haven’t found anyone who looks like him yet.)
Considering that Gille-sama and Vernoux-sama get along really well, I thought that Gille-sama would be with Vernoux-sama in his original form too, but I haven’t seen a young man who looks like him yet.
He may not be here today either, but it’ll be nice if I can talk to him about my travels the next time we meet. But, will that be possible? Unfortunately, I haven’t even been able to thank him for the bracelet I’m wearing.
Cordelia proceeded to the wall while thinking. Along the way, she felt the women turn their gazes at her. They started chattering. She felt like she heard someone say they recognised her by her scent, and the women seemed restless, but they didn’t speak to her straight away.
(Maybe because it’s before the opening speech?)
Looking at her surroundings, she could also feel that they didn’t want their conversation with her to be interrupted because of the opening speech.
It’s kind of rare to be by myself, she thought as she looked slowly around the middle of the hall. She found someone amongst the crowd, who stood frozen, and tilted her head.
She didn’t say this out loud and only moved her mouth. Clive also noticed her and walked towards her in rather large strides while blinking his eyes.
“Eh? Yes, I’m Cordelia. It’s been a while, Clive-sama.”
Why did he say that in a questioning manner? She thought while curtsying.
She had seen Clive at Myles’s evening party from a distance but couldn’t talk to him because of Sylvester. But right now, he was acting cautious like he was greeting someone who he hadn’t seen before.
“… What’s wrong?”
It might have been her imagination, but she didn’t know how to react.
Clive coughed once and spoke without any particular expression on his face.
“Excuse me. I have been entrusted with a message from His Highness. He would like to have a few words with you later.”
“His Highness… wants to speak to me?”
“If he wanted to speak to someone else, then I wouldn’t have had to inform you about this.”
What Clive had said was correct, but Cordelia couldn’t understand.
“I’m sure His Highness would be able to speak to me even if he didn’t inform me beforehand… People probably wouldn’t interrupt us.”
I don’t know why he wants to speak to me, but I also don’t know how to refuse him either. I don’t want to talk to him or get involved with him, but there isn’t anyone here who he can’t talk to since this evening party is hosted by the royal family.
However, Clive sighed at Cordelia’s words.
“That’s why he’s telling you beforehand. He was worried that you might be offended if he interrupted your conversation with others.”
“I’m not that small-minded.”
“There’s no way His Highness would know that.”
Clive’s aura stated that he was only here to pass on the message and Cordelia widened her eyes.
“Cordelia-sama, what surprises you?”
“I wasn’t expecting to hear such words from you, Clive-sama. You’re aware I have as much room in my heart as everyone else.”
Clive frowned openly when he heard Cordelia’s words, but he didn’t deny it.
“I’d appreciate it if you stop speaking nonsense.”
“Oh my, it’s important.”
“Like always, unfortunately that part of you is exactly like Vernoux-sama.”
Clive expressed that his views didn’t match with Vernoux like always with those words.
“You get along well with Vernoux-sama, don’t you? Vernoux-sama mentioned that you hadn’t changed either, Clive-sama.”
“I don’t have time to listen to your nonsense either. Then, excuse me.”
“Oh my, I’m―――”