An evening party was held at the Lombardini household around the time that Elsa had recovered. Although Elsa usually avoided it every year, this year her family was hosting so she was cooperating with them. Of course, since she had no sense, she wasn’t doing anything like decorating the venue. Instead she was matching the faces of the invitees and their servants, as well as things like double-checking the food that was being served. In order words, they were jobs that required the use of one’s head. Her mother Palmyra would say, 『What should we do if we don’t use your useless head? 』
Four of the family members were preparing for the evening party, Dainele was, of course, also dragged into it. The day of the evening party arrived without incident as expected of the Lombardini family, whose family name was said to be one of the best. There were a large number of guests. Elsa who had finished greeting everyone, quickly escaped to the second floor.
Elsa could see the whole saloon area from the second floor but, unfortunately, she wasn’t wearing her spectacles so she couldn’t make out the faces. She could barely see the people close to her.
Elsa, who was leaning against the handrail and looking down at the saloon, turned towards the place where her name was called. She didn’t recognise for a moment but soon realised that it was someone in her family.
Teresa, who had a gentle smile on her face, met Elsa half way up the stairs, accompanied by her husband, Lionelo.
The Duke Aquafresca and his wife gave their appreciation.
“Thank you for inviting us.”
“I am honoured to have you here.”
Elsa lifted the sides of her skirt and curtsied. These were the manners ingrained into her, so it looked elegant, if only by appearance.
“You look bored. I wonder if it’s because Duke Inglacia isn’t here?”
Fufufu, Teresa said while laughing. Lionelo also said in a subtle teasing tone, “Your work’s just dragging on, isn’t it?” Elsa shrugged.
“I just don’t know how to pass the time at a time like this.”
She wasn’t interesting in talking nor dancing. The music was beautiful and the food was tasty but it wasn’t enough to draw Elsa’s attention.
“You, you’ve always been a kid who enjoys reading books in a room since long ago.”
“You forget that I used to dig up the garden to find historical ruins.”
Elsa had been that kind of child a long time ago. That was already 20 years ago and she thought that she had changed since then.
“I see…… There’s some historical ruins in my territory, do you want to try excavating them?”
They’re half buried though, Lionelo added. Elsa thought: This person, he’s a really good person.
“…… If it’s a tour of the historical ruins then I would like to go.”
Elsa answered, deviating the conversation a little. Even so the two laughed, ufufu. She was a little scared to pass through the calm.
Her name was called again. This time it was a servant of the house. He came to a halt at the chamberlain just a distance away from Elsa and the Duke Aquafresca couple and bowed deeply.
“I am sorry to disturb you while you are talking. The Master has called for you, Elsa-sama.”
Elsa pulled herself away from the handrail and bowed to her sister and her husband.
“I will be excusing myself.”
“Ah, we’ll come with you. It seems interesting.”
Elsa had an unpleasant feeling.
She walked down the stairs, went to where her father was and saw a tall and familiar body.
“Elsa, where were you?”
Luca, who had arrived unnoticed, was standing there. “I was on the second floor.” Elsa gently replied, then she turned to the man and woman who were with him and greeted them.
“Thank you for coming.”
“Thank you for inviting us.”
It was the man who smiled and answered…… He was a gentleman around 50 years of age. He was the former Duke Inglacia and Luca’s father, Giotto. Which meant that the woman next to him was his wife, Luca’s mother, Lorena.
Giotto looked gentle compared to his strict-looking wife, Lorena. Elsa thought, perhaps Luca resembled his father.
“It’s been awhile, Elsa-san.”
“Yes it has, Lorena-sama.”
Even Elsa got nervous when talking to Lorena. She didn’t have a warm atmosphere like Elsa’s own mother so it was difficult to talk to her.
“I hope that my son hasn’t been troubling you, since he’s quite an idiot.”
“Oh, I can say the same about my daughter. She’s always been a little strange since long ago and I’m worried she might be imposing on you.”
Fufufu, the scary laughing mothers and the child who couldn’t deny her mother’s words (28 years old).
“When I heard that my son was dating a woman, I wondered what kind of catastrophe had passed. But if it’s Elsa-san, then I can understand. I can leave my son to her.”
Giotto also said such a thing. Elsa excused herself and dragged Luca a short distance away from the group.
“I know this but this is the so-called, meeting the parent’s thing, isn’t it?”
“I’m also that for not avoiding it. I’m going to lay the groundwork, is that fine?”
“I don’t mind if I’m with Elsa. I also noticed that I haven’t been doing anything. Elsa do you hate that?”
“…… That’s not true though.’
Basically, there was no one who would hate gaining favours. She said to Luca, “You……” She was amazed but she didn’t think she hated it.
If she hated it in the first place then she would have refused the sweetheart role in the first place.
“Then there’s no reason to stop me. But if you hate it then I would stop……”
“…… I didn’t expect that we’d come this far even if you don’t look at me with eyes of expectation. Troublesome things will be mixed in if there are misunderstandings, you know.”
Luca was looking at Elsa with big puppy dog eyes and Elsa inadvertently leaned over and stroked his head while saying, there, there. Luca stared at her blankly.
“…… It’s fine. I want you to stroke it more.”
Elsa immediately responded, grabbed Luca’s arm and returned to where their parents were gathered. Something happened while Elsa and Luca were having their strategic talk and the number of people once again, increased. The people who joined were: Luca’s older sister, Fiona and her husband and Elsa’s younger sister Alesia and her husband.
“Well, it’s good that you’re on such good terms but keep it moderate you two.”
It was Lorena who said that. She probably meant that they shouldn’t flirt in public but Elsa and Luca didn’t know how they were 『flirting』. Alesia and Palmyra, however, were smirking so Elsa and Luca might be the ones who were wrong.
“I’m glad I could see you, Giotto-sama, Lorena-san. You both rarely come to the capital now that you’ve returned to your territory, isn’t that right?”
“I rushed here when I heard my son was being intimate with a woman. How about we go out for a meal next time? Is that fine, honey?”
“That sounds great. Let’s go, Dino.”
“We will be staying at our residence in the capital during this time. This child said he won’t be hosting any evening parties.”
The conversation between the two mothers progressed. By the way, the husbands nodded along with what their wives were saying.
“Elsa-san should definitely come to the Inglacia household but in due time.”
“Yes, in due time.”
The two mothers laughed. Palmyra looked like she was scheming something and Elsa could also feel the same vibe from Lorena, even though she looked really strict.
The organisers of the party couldn’t afford to talk to the same people for the whole party and they found an opportunity to split up; but it seemed that they had arranged a time to go have a meal. Of course they would be taking Elsa along too.
“Mother made most of the decisions, are you alright with that father?”
Elsa asked to confirm. Her father Dino, who was being pushed around by her mother, looked like he was going to cry for some reason.
“Eh, why do you look like you’re about to cry?”
“No…… I was just thinking that you’re also going to get married……”
He was overwhelmed with emotions. Anyway, what should she tell him?
“I’m not getting married yet. I might never get married.”
“Really? But you love Duke Inglacia, don’t you Elsa?”
Alesia teased. Elsa didn’t refuse and nodded, “Well, that’s true”. Alesia said innocently:
“Then isn’t it fine? Be in a loving marriage like Teresa is.”
“We suit each other. We also understand each other. Everything’s great.”
Teresa also joined in. Elsa didn’t know how to rebuke back to them. She wondered where they both left their husbands.
The family head, Dino, suddenly said in a serious tone and Elsa straightened up at once. Dino said with a serious look on his face:
“I won’t oppose if it’s something you decide to do Elsa. Honestly, when you were sixteen, your engagement was cancelled, then you went to university and became a scholar. From there you wrote articles and presented them at the academic conference, so I thought you wouldn’t get married; but I couldn’t say anything. That’s why, father is happy……”
“…… Ah, is that so?”
That was the reason why he looked like he was about to cry. She felt that what he said was a bit illogical but she could understand what he was trying to point out to her. Elsa also felt that she was in the wrong and was filled with guilt.
“Anyway Elsa. Let’s go eat with Duke Inglacia-sama.”
“I thought you would say that.”
Palmyra laughed and informed her. Elsa thought about how serious she was.