Asha’s slender body fits perfectly in Karaf’s strong embrace.
The sound of his rapidly beating heart reached her chest, as memories engraved in her body came flooding back.
Memories engraved in her body were always vivid.
Suddenly, the memory of the day she jumped off the cliff came to mind, causing Asha to tremble in his arms without realizing it.
Karaf felt her trembling body and was taken aback, but he slowly hugged her waist and pulled her closer to comfort her.
As Asha’s feet touched the floor again, she couldn’t bear to lift her head.
“It’s scary…. when you suddenly appear from behind like that.”
Karaf was embarrassed and quickly let go of her body.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you…..”
Suddenly, Asha smelled a strong scent emanating from Karaf and looked up at his pale face, noticing his trembling hands.
She felt a pang of guilt for reminding him of his own traumatic experience.
It was clear that he too had just remembered the time she had fallen off the cliff.
Asha asked him cautiously.
“By the way, what brings you here?”
“Ah, I heard you’re going to the Duchess of Lilac’s tea party today……”
Although his words were vague, Asha sensed that he was concerned about her.
It seemed like he thought that because she had memories from her past life, she might encounter trouble among the nobility.
Asha smiled confidently.
“Don’t worry. I’ll do well and come back safely.”
“Alright….. but if anything happens, I’ll immediately… No, I will rescue the Empress.”
Asha chuckled softly. However, their conversation was interrupted by a voice from outside.
“…… Your Majesty, are you here?”
Karaf frowned at the chamberlain’s voice.
“Oh no…I think I have to escape. That old man keeps bothering me….”
“Is he bothering Your Majesty?”
Asha asked in surprise, unable to imagine what the poor chamberlain could have done to bother Karaf.
However, from Karaf’s anxious expression, it seemed like the chamberlain had found a weakness.
Karaf said goodbye to Asha.
“Well then, I’m off. Have a good time at the tea party.”
And with that, he quickly descended to the lower floor through the terrace railing.
Asha was taken aback and grabbed onto the railing, peering down below.
Karaf smiled mischievously at her and ran down the corridor.
Asha let out a small sigh and left the room, with Sonya following closely behind like a soldier going to war, wearing neat clothes to avoid appearing shallow and fearing that her presence as a maid might make Vanessa the subject of ridicule.
Asha quietly chuckled as she noticed Sonya proudly displaying the necklace she had given her, which was previously kept hidden under her clothes.
As they stepped outside, a luxurious carriage adorned with golden decorations was already waiting at the main gate.
Asha blinked in surprise as the chamberlain said something.
“His Majesty has chosen the most skilled coachman to safely and comfortably escort you, Lady Vanessa.”
Karaf already anticipated the tea party and took care of everything beforehand.
Asha felt grateful for his consideration as she received the escort of the knights and boarded the carriage.
Several Cactus Knights rode horses behind the carriage for added security.
Though it was just supposed to be a simple tea party, it looked like they were on a parade in front of the imperial citizens.
Initially feeling a bit embarrassed, Asha saw how excited Sonya was to ride in such a luxurious carriage and began to loosen up.
Sonya, who had never ridden in such a luxurious carriage before, couldn’t contain her excitement and kept exclaiming and chatting while looking out the window.
Asha was grateful for Sonya’s enthusiasm and chatter, which made the ride in the carriage much more enjoyable and relaxing.
Upon arriving at the outdoor tea party venue, Asha gazed at the opulent landscape of the mansion and paused for a moment to calm her nerves.
As she entered the venue, the gathered noblewomen turned their gazes towards her, some of whom had previously flirted with Karaf and been snubbed by him.
Nevertheless, Asha walked gracefully and confidently.
With every step, the transparent lace on her dress fluttered softly in the wind, evocative of a butterfly floating in a flower garden.
Everyone instinctively felt a certain aura from her and discreetly swallowed their saliva.
Asha spotted Duchess René Lilac and greeted her with a smile.
“Thank you for inviting me to the tea party.”
“Ah, Lady Vanessa. It is an honor that you accepted the invitation.”
Asha put a smile on her lips and leisurely followed the Duchess to the prepared seat.
However, even though she smiled on the outside, memories of her previous visit to this place suddenly resurfaced, causing her to sweat inside.
The noble ladies had made fun of her in a clever and subtle way in the past.
‘Lady Vanessa must be so scared to be around His Majesty. Oh, but since you don’t see His Majesty’s face often, you should be okay, right?’
‘It is said that minorities have many unique abilities, right? When will we be able to see the most important ability? We are all eagerly awaiting news of His Majesty’s flowering.’
Everyone there except for Asha had laughed heartily at their remarks.
‘Are you nervous, Lady Vanessa? It seems like your first time in a gathering have you feeling tense and quiet.’
‘It’s okay, just relax. Besides you, Lady Vanessa, there is no other butterfly here to seduce the flowers.’
Asha suddenly felt a queasy feeling in her stomach, but she didn’t show it on the outside.
She had experienced this kind of thing too many times before, so she had to be wise in how she dealt with it.
Suddenly, Karaf’s advice came to mind.
‘You need to be a bit of a villainess.’
As she thought about this, she decided that she needed to become bolder.
She silently chanted to herself, “Be an evil woman… evil woman.”
Determined to become a villainess, Asha managed to put on an expression similar to Karaf’s.
The Duchess of Lilac spoke up in a composed manner.
“As I mentioned in the invitation, the reason I invited you, Lady Vanessa, was because I hoped you would choose a lady-in-waiting from among us noble ladies.”
“Yes, I was already considering it, but thank you for thinking of me first.”
Asha replied with a smile, letting the noble ladies know that she was already considering a lady-in-waiting.
The noble ladies, who had previously thought of avoiding her, showed some interest and their expressions changed at her words.
Asha calmly scanned the faces gathered there.
Since she didn’t participate much in social gatherings, she still couldn’t discern what kind of personalities everyone had, except for those who had previously looked down on her.
However, since everyone there was ultimately just a bystander, she didn’t feel like getting close to anyone either.
Then, one of the noble ladies spoke up.
“Lady Vanessa, I’ve heard a lot about you. Are you interested in crafts? His Majesty showed off the suncatcher you made, so rumors have already spread.”
Asha suddenly felt embarrassed and her face turned red.
Her poker face that she had been maintaining had crumbled.
In the end, Karaf couldn’t resist showing off the suncatcher to everyone.
The noble ladies chimed in and said.
“Oh, I’ve heard about it too! It’s supposed to be very unique. I want one too.”
“Me too! Although I don’t know much about minority cultures, it’s probably the most valuable and distinctive craft item to have at home.”
As they finished speaking, they narrowed their eyes and chuckled.
Asha couldn’t help but feel the prickling of thorns in their words, but she kept her composure and spoke casually.
“Unfortunately, my skills are not good enough to give it as a gift.”
“Then how about choosing a tutor with good crafting skills as your lady-in-waiting? I think it would be perfect for a hobby.”
“They say Lady Rien is very skilled in crafting, right? She would make a great tutor.”
The noble ladies laughed as they spoke, but Asha read their thoughts and her expression hardened a little inside.
They all knew that the suncatcher she had made was nothing special in terms of skill.
Their praises of wanting the unique craft item from a minority culture seemed like a lie.
Although not as much as Karaf, they, too, hated and disregarded the minority groups.
Asha politely declined.
“It’s alright. I don’t think I need a tutor. Contrary to what you may think, I’m not really into crafts.”
“Oh, is that so? But even Lady Vanessa may need a tutor. To be honest, all previous commoner-born butterflies received empress education for a certain period to adapt to palace life.”
They chuckled and smirked once more.
Their words were true.
It was typical for ladies of commoner origin to have tutors while in the palace.
In the past, Asha had also learned various skills, including dance and other virtues that a lady should possess, in a short amount of time.
She believed that if she adapted too quickly to the palace, the nobles might become suspicious.
So, she pondered whether she should start acting differently and hire a tutor from now on.
A woman with thick blonde hair approached them from the crowd while holding a large box.
She held her skirt in one hand and greeted Asha.
“Greetings, Lady Vanessa. Nice to meet you. My name is Nia Delphinium.”
Her smiling face, full of devilry, was exactly the same as that of Count Kiam Delphinium.
However, unlike her father, her hair color was not purple.
Usually, those who inherited the most blood in the family tended to have hair that symbolized the family.
The birth of a dark blonde child, unprecedented in the Delphinium family, was likely to pique Kiam’s interest.
Normally, he would have criticized her as a girl who didn’t have even a drop of the family’s blood, but the blonde was also a symbol of a butterfly.
Asha knew that the Count had gone to great lengths to make his only daughter into a butterfly, and she made sure to dress accordingly so as not to fall short.
Her black dress hugged her figure, featuring seductive cuts and glimmering with gold dust that resembled embedded stars.
Asha felt a little uncomfortable because it seemed like she was claiming to be the lover of the black rose.