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She gradually explained her plan. Everyone had a strange look on their faces as it was the first time they were doing it, but they quickly agreed.

After a while, Dalia sat at the far end of the table where the three-tiered cake was at. The cake was in the middle and everyone was seated around it.

Hikan put candles on the birthday cake equal to Dalia’s age and lit it.

She was debating whether or not to sing the birthday song, but decided not to. Dalia was too embarrassed to teach them that.

Dalia put on a polka-dot party hat and pulled herself closer to the cake. And blew out the candles. Everyone clapped their hands in joy.

“Thank you all for coming here. Now let’s have fun together.”

Dalia smiled widely.

However, it wasn’t long before a fight started. Merida, sipping her tea, asked Dalia.

“Miss Dalia, have you picked out the dress and accessories for the coming-of-age ball?”

“Yes. Adrisha helped me.”

“I want to see it too, will that be okay?”

Merida said with a smile.

She was voted as the most fashionable lady in the society every year.

For the first time at the New Year’s ball, she achieved the feat of changing the trend from high heels of over 8cm to flat shoes.

There was even a time when she appeared at the ball in horseback riding clothes. At that time, people criticized her for being irrational, but gradually, a modified dress of horseback riding clothes appeared at the ballroom.

Dalia was also perplexed at her suggestion.

“Shall we?”

“Yes, please come here.”

Merida naturally helps Dalia up with her unique cheerfulness.

Adrisha, who was talking to someone else, saw the scene in horror. She jumped up from her seat.

“I’ll go with you too!”

“Will you? I don’t think it’ll help that much.”

Then Merida smiled.

Adrisha’s mouth twitched slightly, but she quickly calmed down. Instead, she holds Dalia’s arms.

“Let’s go, Dalia.”

Merida, of course, didn’t even snort.

* * *

“...... Did you really intend to go like this?”

Merida tilted her head when she saw Dalia change into the dress in the dressing room.

“It’s not bad, but it’s a design that doesn’t take advantage of Miss Dalia’s strengths at all. Miss Dalia is now an adult....... The person who chose this outfit seems to see you as a fourteen-year-old. And if you tie your hair like this, it doesn’t look right. It would be a hundred times better to untie it.”

The corner of Adrisha’s mouth twitched again.

“Miss Merida, I’m the one who chose it. You are being too rude.”

“It’s up to me, Miss Adrisha. I think you’ve become arrogant now because you’re close to Miss Dalia, but you’re only a young lady from a count family and I’m an Artus. Be careful with your words and actions.”

“.......”

“Since we’re talking about clothes, you can just trust your face and body and wear whatever you want, but don’t spread your strange art philosophy to others.”

“Wh, what did you say?”

“You can just trust your appearance and wear whatever you want. Miss Dalia needs a more delicate touch.”

Adrisha gritted her teeth.

Dalia hurriedly tried to help to defend her.

“Please stop it, Miss Merida. The dress that Adrisha picked out for me last time was really pretty.”

“Ah, is that the one that Sir Cedric ruined by attaching the back?”

Dalia looked at Merida in surprise. She shrugged her shoulders.

“I also receive the catalogs too. I admit it. It would have been pretty if the back wasn’t attached. But it’s useless since it was stuck together.”

Adrisha chewed her lips.

“I......”

“Come here, Miss Dalia. Now that it is too late to receive the catalog again, we need to find a way to improve it.”

In the end, Adrisha had a gloomy expression. Dalia was also hurt when she saw her friend’s heart broken.

She refused Merida’s hand that was trying to pull her.

“Miss Merida, if you’re going to keep criticizing Adrisha, you don’t have to look at the dress.”

“.......”

Merida flinched slightly.

Of course, she was always quick to grasp the situation and change her attitude. She bowed her head with a hurt expression.

“I did it because I was thinking of Miss Dalia.......”

Seeing Merida with that expression for the first time, Dalia was confused. Merida then apologized to Adrisha.

“I understand. Miss Adrisha, I’m sorry. Let’s not fight.”

“......Yes.”

Adrisha nodded helplessly.

“You can take a look at Miss Dalia’s dress. It’s because I’m not good at it.......”

As expected, she was depressed again.

Dalia looked at Adrisha and eventually, as Merida said, she tinkered with her dress and accessories little by little. She also decided to just let her hair down and decorate it with a diamond crown.

She felt sorry for Adrisha but......it was much better. Even though the dress was a bit revealing by Dalia standards.

“I should at least take revenge on His Highness.”

Merida murmured as she slightly opened the front part.

As Dalia left the dressing room and showed the people her modified dress, Cedric glared at Merida as if he were going to kill her. Merida smiled nonchalantly at Cedric.

* * *

After unwrapping the presents and doing this and that, it was time for the party to end. Dalia was greatly satisfied.

Meldon and Merida left first, saying they had somewhere to go. Beolde hugged Dalia and rubbed her head to purify, and then left without saying anything.

Adrisha was quickly sent away by Dalia. When she whispered, ‘but that dress was really pretty’, she nodded with determined eyes for some reason.

‘I hope she doesn’t do anything similar to the gun store this time.......’

The Emperor also rose from his seat after whispering to the Empress.

“We should get going too. I had a great time today. The foreign custom of putting candles on cakes matching how old they are was quite fascinating. It would be nice to try it out at Leonard’s birthday ball.”

“Oh my, that sounds like fun.”

“Cedric, are you coming with us?”

“I will go back on my own.”

When Cedric said so, the Empress laughed.

“Yes, yes. I hope your love bears fruit.”

“......Mother.”

“Oh my, am I not supposed to say it? If you succeed in winning Miss Dalia’s heart, I’d like to push for an engagement.”

Hikan hastily intervened at her remark.

“......Dalia will not be engaged to anyone, Your Majesty.”

“What? But Dalia is old enough to get married in a few years. It’s not good to be too overprotective, Duke. It may be blocking Dalia’s marriage for no reason.”

“.......”

Hikan closed his mouth with an expression that he wanted to refute. Then he repeated the same words like a parrot.

“Anyway, she has no intention of getting engaged for the time being. Please don’t suggest it anymore.”

“But......”

“Mother, please stop now. No, that’s it. I’ll just go with you now”

Cedric gave a very awkward smile. The Empress’s smile grew slightly awkward at the several people’s defiance. She seemed a little intimidated.

However, when she greeted Dalia, she smiled brightly like a young girl. Then she took the Emperor’s hand and climbed into the carriage.

“Cedric, are you really coming now?”

The Empress asked from inside the carriage.

Cedric touched his forehead. He hurriedly whispered into Dalia’s ear.

“Don’t mind her, Dalia.”

Dalia nodded and said.

“Yes. Since we’re friends.”

Cedric paused for a moment, then changed his expression and smiled again.

“Yes, that’s right.”

He immediately climbed into the carriage without waiting for an answer.

Dalia absentmindedly saw off the people, returned to her room, barely changed her clothes, and flopped onto the bed.

Then her face turned red.

This was the first time she heard an official engagement suggestion from the Emperor or Empress directly. Of course, she heard a similar suggestion from the Emperor a long time ago...... Apart from that.

‘......E, engagement?’

Engagement with Cedric?

Dalia twisted her body wildly.

It felt so strange.

One day, Dalia will be engaged to someone, even if it’s not Cedric. Of course, if she doesn’t have a partner, she may not get married for the rest of her life, but she had a dream to build a family with someone she liked.

Dalia pondered the image of herself married to Cedric. She then ripped off her pillow by herself.

‘It’s weird!’

No. Not yet.

In any case, they are not in a relationship yet, aren’t they?

“Yes. Since we’re friends.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

For some reason, Dalia felt disappointed that she had said it.

‘Do I like Sir Cedric?’

It was hard to say whether it was true or not.

‘It’s probably because the situation was so chaotic.’

But now.......

She was thinking about it for a while before eventually covering herself with the blanket. She didn’t want to think about it.

‘Besides, Sir Cedric’s death flag isn’t over yet.’

Above all, she would be able to put her mind at ease once she was certain that she had completely saved him.

Lewayne Blueport is coming to the capital soon.

The point where Cedric dies is always at the climax of the original. It was before and after the war in the Aceras route, so maybe it’s around the time of this treaty discussion.

Cedric has changed a lot, unlike the original. His relationship with his mother has improved, and he knows what kind of affection a person gives to another person.

So she believes that he’ll never die, but.......

‘If Sir Cedric really dies.......’

“Miss! How can you go to bed without washing up!”

“.......”

“Miss, miss? Are, are you crying?”

“I’m not crying.”

“......My, my lord!”

“Don’t call my brother!”

Dalia held on to the hem of the maid’s robe with tears in her eyes.

Translator Note: First chapter of 2023!!

TMI on my new year’s story...I can see the fireworks from my room and tried to record it until......I realize that I didn’t press the record buttonso I’ve been holding my phone throughout the fireworks show for nothing