Twelve years ago the eldest daughter of Duke Lombardini, Teresa, married the Prince, Duke Aquafresca. Even though she was the wife of a member of the royal family, she wasn’t much different from the other aristocrat wives. She stayed in her territory in the off-season. However, she had probably returned to the royal capital upon sending this letter.
“No matter how you look at it, it’s a tea party invitation.”
“That’s right, what should I do?”
“How about refusing?”
“It’s His Highness’s invitation, you know!?”
“The one who sent it was my sister.”
Therefore, it was also 80% Elsa’s problem. To begin with the problem was that Luca had asked her to be his pretend sweetheart.
“Oh well, isn’t it fine? Just go.”
Elsa said casually to which Luca replied tearfully, “By myself!?” What is this adult saying? Elsa said in amazement:
“I can’t go. I’m currently in the middle of preparing for the academic conference.”
“I won’t give you your funds.”
“You, you’re able to say that now?”
It hurt whenever she received the funds. Even now she was using the technical book that Luca had brought her to prepare for the academic conference.
“Okay. The one who invited you was probably my sister and I also feel that this is half my fault too.”
She had said 80% before but she didn’t want to admit it so she went with half.
Her older sister probably heard something from Alesia. Elsa didn’t know how much Alesia had told her but at the very least she knew that Elsa and Luca were good friends (or so it was decided).
“As expected of Elsa. If you don’t come then…”
Luca encouraged Elsa with a relieved appearance, which meant.
“You’re wearing it again……”
Whenever she went out with Luca, Elsa tried to pick her own clothes. She couldn’t do something as advanced doing up her hair so she decorated with hair accessories.
The clothes that Alesia had brought her all suited Elsa well. So it’s became fairly common for her to pick suitable clothes depending on the destination.
However this time it was an invitation from her relative, the Prince. Elsa felt that her clothing choice would be unsuitable.
“Men have it easy.”
Elsa said as she looked at Luca. He was also wearing something stylish today so she was a little angry.
“I think that Elsa’s a handsome man inside.”
“Hey you, you obviously don’t think of me as a woman, do you?”
Elsa, like Luca, also didn’t think of him as a man. She felt as if she’d had this conversation before.
“Should I start preparing things on my end? This is surely an invitation from Teresa-san but the main cause is probably me, right?”
“That’s probably true.”
Her sister, Teresa, knew that if she invited Luca then it was a high possibility that Elsa would come along as a set.
“If you bring the dress then I’ll tell the servants at my place to help you with the preparations.”
Luca said. Elsa could go to the Lombardini household as well but if she was going to attend with Luca then she might as well be with him from the beginning.
“…… Then, could you ask them for me?”
“Ah, yeah I’ll let them know.”
There negotiations came to an end. She still had time before the tea party but until then, she had to hasten her preparations for the academic conference.
The day of the tea party. Elsa, who would be in the care of the Inglacia household, was surprised that Luca had came to pick her up at the university. She was planning to catch a carriage to his mansion.
“Good morning, Luca.”
“Good morning. Your package has already arrived.”
The day before yesterday, Elsa chose a dress by wringing out her non-existent fashion sense and sent it to the residence of Duke Inglacia, addressed to Luca.
“But when the maids saw that the dress was sent to me, they screamed……”
“Isn’t it because they thought that you would be the one wearing it, Luca?”
Elsa began bantering, amused.
“Well, let’s go.”
“Yes, we should.”
Elsa nodded and held the hand that Luca had offered to her. She had somewhat grown accustomed to this type of behaviour.
Today’s carriage was one with the crest of Duke Inglacia engraved on it. The carriage jolted and entered the aristocrat town. Elsa felt as if she hadn’t been here for a long time but the residence of Duke Inglacia hadn’t changed. As ever, it was an impressive mansion at the royal capital.
As expected of the residence of a Duke. The residence of Duke Lombardini at the royal capital was also impressive but Duke Inglacia’s mansion was, what do you call it…? Yes, it looked like something a little girl would prefer, like a castle in a fairy-tale.
Anyway, Luca lead Elsa into the mansion and the servants who were already waiting for him were crying agonisingly.
“She really came! She really came!!”
“The Master’s sweetheart really exists ~!”
The ones who were kicking up a fuss were the young maids. Elsa, who had came to visit this mansion many times in the past, didn’t know any of the maids so they probably came here for training. They were probably girls from good families. Perhaps, they were aiming to become the Duchess Inglacia.
“What are you doing? Go back to work.”
Upon hearing the stern voice, the young maids went back to work. The woman, who had scolded the young maids, stood in front of Elsa and Luca and bowed.
“Welcome home, Master. Thank you for coming, Elsa-sama. It has been a long time.”
“It’s been a while, Clarissa.”
“…… Elsa-sama, it looks like you have not changed.”
Clarissa, who looked older than Luca by about 40 years old, is the head maid of Duke Inglacia’s household. She is also from a good family but she married the butler of the household so she lived in this mansion. She was also acquainted with Elsa and Elsa was no match for her because she knew various things about Elsa’s past.
“You have finally arrived, we have already prepared everything. There is plenty of time but it is an invitation from His Highness, the Prince so let us hurry.”
“Okay… I’m sorry but I’ll leave it to you.”
“Please do. I will turn you into a beautiful woman who would not look bad standing next to the Master.”
“No, that’s fine. Or rather, that’s impossible.”
While they were arguing back and forth, Elsa entered the mansion that she knew well, along with Clarissa. Luca cried, “What about me?” from behind but Clarissa splendidly ignored him.
Luca was caught by Clarissa’s husband, the head butler and he would probably be finishing up his work until Elsa was finished.
There were maids already waiting inside of the dressing room. Everyone was smiling. Elsa felt that the young maids who had greeted her at the entrance way were also here but she decided not to care.
“Elsa-sama, this way please.”
A maid who was obviously younger than Elsa, took her hand and stood her in front of the mirror. Another maid said, “I will be taking off your spectacles”, and took her spectacles. Elsa’s vision blurred.
“Ta~dah! I made some minor adjustments to the dress, so please wear this Elsa-sama.”
The maid showed Elsa the dress that she had sent here prior. Her vision was blurry but the alterations were evident.
“I made some changes according to Elsa-sama’s image ~. It will surely look great on you.”
“…… I’ll leave it to you.”
“Yes, here you go ~.”
Elsa recalled this drawling voice. It belonged to Clarissa’s daughter, Katiya. She was a little younger than Elsa but she had been serving the Inglacia household with her parents since she was young so she was acquainted with Elsa.
“Elsa-sama, you can still see even without your spectacles, is that right?”
The maid who looked like a make-up artist asked. Elsa replied, “Well, it doesn’t interfere with my life”, and the maid smiled and said:
“Then let’s go without your spectacles. Please keep it with you just in case and if anything happens just rely on the Master.”
Elsa laughed dryly. In the meantime, the maid quickly took off her best green dress and tightened her corset. It was not an olden day torture tool but rather it felt closer to a bustlier.
The purple dress that had been adjusted was fitted onto her from above. Elsa had typical brown hair and grey eyes so she suited anything. However, the old fashioned clothes that she wore when she visited the other times, did her no favours.
Elsa was taken to a dressing table with three mirrors and sat onto the chair. The maid took Elsa’s long hair and asked, “Can I cut your hair?” Elsa nodded.
“Just do whatever you want……”
“Then, I’ll do just that.”
The maids of this mansion are strong. She relentlessly cut Elsa’s hair tips. Elsa probably had split ends.
Her makeup was done at the same time as her hair. Since she wasn’t going to an evening party, her makeup wasn’t applied on thickly. Elsa wondered how long it had been since she had on perfect makeup. Her hair wasn’t tied up, instead it was loosely braided to the right and dangled from her shoulder. Her hair accessories were silver and aquamarine. Those were the few 『decent』hair accessories that Elsa had. Incidentally, they were a present from her sister, Teresa.
“Now then this.”
“What’s that? It’s the first time I’ve seen that.”
Elsa, who had been wearing earrings, narrowed her eyes and looked at the necklace in the elongated box that Katiya presented. She couldn’t see well because her vision was blurry but it was a necklace with a blue gem. It looked like lapis lazuli.
“This is from the Master.”
Elsa was strangely impressed that Luca’s tastes were better than hers. He went out of his way to pick it for her so she wore it. She thought that it would be unclear against her purple dress but since her dress was a light purple, the dark blue necklace stood out.
“It suits you.”
Clarissa smiled and said. Elsa, herself, probably also thought that it suited her.
“Yes, thank you.”
“Well, we had fun too. It has been a long time since I’ve helped a woman dress up.”
“Ah… That’s true.”
Elsa nodded at Clarissa’s words. Luca’s mother was here until three years ago. When Luca succeeded the title of Duke Inglacia, his mother went to their territory with his father, the former Duke. Since Luca had that condition, there hadn’t been a woman of high rank living in this mansion in at least three years.
“We will be waiting for you again!”
Katiya said brightly. Elsa was glad that she was welcomed but it was troubling for them to have early expectations.