I judged the situation calmly.
Jason Evanders was a man who was admired and respected by all the nobles, so it would have been a shock to the nobleman that Clyde could somehow beat him up.
He hadn’t just attacked a man named Jason Evanders, but the face of nobles as well as being the idol among them.
Everyone was looking at me with eyes asking for Clyde to be punished severely.
Jason Evanders said in the midst of this situation.
“I think jealousy must be really scary.”
“Don’t you think so, duke?”
Jason turned his head and looked at me after he stared at Clyde with a look of contempt.
“I need to be treated because I’m hurting a lot. I would like to be moved somewhere for a bit accompanied by the Princess.”
“And Duke Darrenhill.”
Clyde got up from his position and bowed his head without even making eye contact with me.
“Wait for me in the drawing room. I’ll decide on what to do about you at that time.”
I added as he looked distressed and really helpless.
“This time… Promise me that you won’t leave first.”
When I said that, he raised his head to look at me. I smiled softly at his shaking gaze.
“I’ll be waiting for you. Promise me.”
“Let’s end the ball here. Let everyone return home safely.”
“Your Highness, please… akhem, I mean, you have to give proper punishment to Duke Darrenhill.”
“I only asked you to take good care of Lord Evanders.”
“I think he is hurting a lot…”
I nodded when the nobles looked hesitant and were about to voice their thoughts.
“Indeed. I’ll take care of this on my own. Everyone, please do not worry and return home. Security guard.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“Then, anyone over here?”
“I’m here to accept your order.”
The servant bent one arm slightly in front of me and bowed his head.
I told them.
“The guard will tell the rest of the soldiers that the ball ended earlier than scheduled and keep the guests safe while they are leaving. And the servants also have to inform all of the servants to escort guests with utmost courtesy and clean up the ballroom afterwards.”
“I will take your order.”
I nodded my head at their determined voices and turned to Jason Evanders who was waiting for me.
I took the lead. It was extremely a relief that the nobles disappeared and there was no need to flash a smile at home anymore now.
I had imposed the task on all of the servants and said I would have to talk with Jason alone before heading to a quiet room.
As soon as the door closed and I turned around, Jason locked me up between the wall and his body.
He spoke quietly while tilting his head and turned his back against the light.
“Your Highness… Would you like to take a look at my wounds?”
He lowered his head and leaned closer to me with his arms against the wall.
“I think he hit not just one or two places on my shoulder and body but I felt pain all over the place.”
I stomped hard on the man’s feet because I had enough listening to his rant.
Jason bit his lower lip, which had already beaten up once with a painful expression on his face.
I took the opportunity when the gap emerged between us to escape from his arms. And I looked at him while speaking up.
“What did you do to your Clyde?”
“You should’ve stayed quiet if you are doing a favor for me. And don’t be mistaken. I’m not on your side right now, I’m simply angry at you.”
He replied sulkily.
“I’m your man yet you are siding with Clyde? Even though I got hurt?”
He walked slowly and drew near to me.
“Didn’t you just tell me you would treat me, Your Highness? Isn’t this a little different from what you had promised in front of the nobles a moment ago? Was I just fooled by you?”
“Why did you do that?”
I looked up straight at him without avoiding him approaching me.
“I’m not as stupid as you thought, so let’s just get to the point, okay?”
“Why did you mess with someone who was just standing still and quiet? Do you think I would assume Clyde Darrenhill had hit you first out of nowhere? Don’t be ridiculous. Nobles believe in those foolish words, but I’m not. You were the one who did something first to him. You were the one to bother him first.”
“How can you say that?”
He said as if he just realized something.
“Eh… Do you like that person more than me? Is that the reason?”
“I even got hurt.”
“Have you gone crazy?”
“Stella, I was wrong.”
He came closer and caressed my cheek.
The man moved his lips slightly as he licked his lips slightly. Just like when he was thirsty.
His drooping eyebrows and darkened gaze caught me. Was he going to use his beauty and pulled a badger game now? I shook his hands off while thinking about those ridiculous as well as funny ideas and said to him.
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“You should have apologized to Clyde in front of those nobles earlier. That is the thing which has been bothering me since earlier.”
When he tried to reach out to me again, I grabbed his wrist and said.
“Don’t say my name so carelessly. Unless you want me to reveal blatantly that I’m not your princess. Do not dare to presume I would tolerate your action.”
After saying those words, I shook his hand with all of my strength.
“Call me Stella one more time.”
“What are you going to do, then?”
He didn’t yield and retaliated against me.
“What can you do?”
I took one step closer and overwhelmed me with his frame.
His face while looking down at me was cold.
“What could you take from me? Not even a scratch on my face. You, how far could you go when you couldn’t even reprimand me in front of the nobles earlier? You knew better than anyone else that they would trust me, not the dog-fighter duke, Stella.”
At the end, his hand slipped through my hair and grabbed my chin. His thumb pressed against my lips firmly.
“What are you going to take away from me, properties? Even if they are gone, money would still come back to me. From the moment I breathe until this moment when we are fighting, my time is turning into money. But you…”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“So, does the great Jason Evanders even like me, the ragged princess of the Imperial Family, who has already been ruined once and returned with many sorts of difficulties with the power of the duke?”
I held his hand which was wrapped around my cheek. His face remained cold.
I took a step closer to him after turning away his hand from my cheek. He flinched when the drops of blood ran down his dotted cravat.’
“No. It was just ridiculous. It must have been fun and cute to use and take advantage of the princess in your own way. You must’ve thought Clyde was also a mere toy for you. You must have wanted to ruin my debutante from the beginning. That’s your real intention.”
I poked his hard chest.
“…How dare you, don’t ever call me by my name whenever you want. It makes me feel dirty every time I hear it.”
“Don’t touch my people. I can’t stand it because I’m really upset by the fact that Clyde was hurted by a person such as you.”
He was still looking at me with an expressionless face without opening up his mouth to speak. I took a step back and stared at him.
“You have a knack for making people feel miserable. Do you know that?”
“Don’t ask Clyde and me to side with you after making us both feel miserable. Because I’m conscious of you who were surrounded and supported by those people? Don’t get me wrong.”
I grabbed his cravat and spoke while looking straight at him.
“Because you value the trust of the nobles in you too much. I was trying to get it and use it as a knife to aim at you when things go awry for you.”
“I hate the Imperial Family, you, and those nobles in the same way.”
I left the room after uttering those words for the last time.
Lady Fairfax, the maid, repeatedly told me when I headed to the drawing room after finishing my first business.
“He is also the one who brutally assaulted Sir Jason Evanders and ruined the ball. Please be careful.”
“I will, Lady Fairfax.”
“Your Highness, if you need an escort, I’ll call in your mercenaries…”
“It’s fine. I can go alone.”
Leaving behind the maid and the servants who looked at me with concerned gazes, I opened the door of the drawing room with both hands.
After the door had been closed behind my back, Clyde and I were the only people in the drawing room just like the first time we met. Clyde was lowering his head while looking out at the window.
He spoke in a tormented voice when I tried walking closer to him.
“I will gladly obey you if you punish me.”
“Therefore, please just stay right there. You don’t have to come to me.”
“Why can’t I go there?”
I spoke calmly like the princess who needed to adjudicate on something before deciding for a ruling, however I couldn’t help being unwavered at the end of my words. The man spoke with his head down.
“Because I’m a monster. I, the subject of an unwelcome illegitimate child, appeared in Your Highness’ debutante and assaulted the nobleman.”
“Why did you do that?”
He couldn’t answer my question.
Then he answered after quite a while.
“Because he said something offensive to me.”
“Yes. That’s all.”
He told me not to come to him earlier, but I took a step forward and headed toward him.
He didn’t look at me and was still lowering his head.
“Raise your head and look at me, Duke.”
When I said so, he carefully raised his head and looked at me standing next to him.
The miserable tears in his eyes made my heart throb. But he still smiled brightly at him without showing his feelings.
“Duke Darren Hill is a great knight for my beloved sister, Daisy and was sweet enough to build a mansion that his childhood friend dreamed of together with him when they were still young.
The piano, the ceiling that went well with the scenery of four seasons, and the spacious garden were so beautiful, enough for me to run around it.
“There were so many furniture in the hallway to make our hide-and-seek game fun.”
“You promised to protect my secret place, and even when the emperor asked you to bring me back into the room again, you disobeyed your superior’s order and took me out.
Is that all? I told him I don’t belong to anyone. So Clyde Darrenhill, as the Princess of this Empire, I said you are not a monster.”
The tears in his eyes formed into a drop and slowly passed down his cheeks.
“And as your childhood friend…”
I took a step closer to him.
“Are you alright?”
The man bit his lower lip and bowed his head when I said that. He couldn’t raise his head for a while and I patted on his back.