Regarding the Duke with Gynophobia and the Eccentric Lady Scholar – Chapter 08

8th Lecture

The day of the evening party came in a blink of an eye, while Elsa was learning etiquette, recent influential aristocrats and fashion from Palmyra. By the way, Elsa was pretty busy because the academic conference was in three days.

“Elsa-sama, you look pale.”

Ashia, who was helping Elsa dress, retorted. Elsa who was also aware of her own complexion replied, “You’re tightening the corset too much”.

“I know that it’s nearly time for the academic conference but please don’t stay up late too much.”

“…… I know.”

This was Ashia’s foresight, she was like an older sister to Elsa. Elsa shrugged her shoulders. Elsa had a weak body so it was easy to guess that she would collapse if she pushed herself too hard.

“Okay, I’m done. I’ll put your spectacles in your purse just in case, okay?”

“Yes, okay. Thanks.”

Elsa properly replied and stood up. Like they had decided, she took of her spectacles and wore heels that she normally wouldn’t wear so she staggered a bit.

“This might be my imagination but aren’t these heels a bit too high?”

“It’s fine. Duke Inglacia is tall.”

“No. That’s not what I’m asking.”

Luca was indeed tall, so even if Elsa, who was also tall, wore 10cm heels she wouldn’t be taller than him.

“If you can’t walk then ask Duke Inglacia to help you. Those heels match best with this dress.”

“…… Fine……”

Elsa gave up on complaining to Ashia and took her bag. She walked as far as the entry hall before using Ashia’s arm for support. Luca had already arrived when she entered the entrance. No, she couldn’t see his face so she concluded this from his height.

“Ah, Elsa. The finishing touches are very beautiful.”

Palmyra said amusingly. The man standing next to Luca and talking to him was Duke Lombardini, Dino. A man with blonde hair and grey eyes. Elsa and her older sister, Teresa inherited their features from him.

The arm supporting Elsa changed from Ashia to Palmyra. Indeed, Elsa could make out his face now that she was this close to him.

“Good evening, Luca.”

“Good evening, Elsa.”

As expected, Luca was now used to seeing Elsa all dolled up and didn’t panic. She was kind of happy about that but it was also kind of boring.

“…… Elsa, what’s wrong?”

“…… I can’t see……”

Luca said as he saw Elsa staggering and Elsa replied honestly. Luca wryly smiled.

“If you’re wearing such high heels……”

Elsa looked up at Luca, who consented. Yes. She looked up at him. Even if Elsa wore heels, Luca was still taller than her.

“Fufufufu. Duke Inglacia, please take care of Elsa.”

“Yes. I will take care of Ojou-sama.”

Luca responded in an aristocrat way but Elsa who somehow managed to stand next to him by grabbing onto him, poked the side of his stomach.

“Hey, it’s embarrassing for you to say that now.”

She was mostly getting her just deserts but it was embarrassing for him to call her 『Ojou-sama』 at her age. Dino looked at the two warmly.

“It’s fine, Elsa. To me, you’ll always be my cute daughter.”

“I’ve thought this before but father, you’re missing the point.”

Elsa rebuked without hesitating. Elsa can immediately react like this. Even though Dino was talking about her, he was flabbergasted.

“…… Well then, let’s meet at the venue.”

Luca concluded as silence filled the air. He might have been uncomfortable. Elsa took his hand and was escorted outside.

“Wa-wait! You’re too fast!”

She wasn’t wearing her spectacles and on top of that she was wearing heels that she wasn’t used to so her balance was bad. Luca’s legs were long in proportion to his height, it looked as if he could stumble at any moment.

“Ah, sorry.”

Luca noticed Elsa and stopped. He supported her body up. And then he started walking slowly.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah…… Sorry. I’m not used to this and on top of that, I don’t have my spectacles……”

“No…… It’s my fault for asking you……”

Elsa’s parents were watching the two’s conversation with warm eyes.

◊♦◊♦◊♦◊

It was only natural that Elsa and Luca looked like 『Husband and Wife』instead of『Sweethearts』because of their age. People were saying things like: Elsa didn’t come out to the high society much and she was suddenly Duke Inglacia’s sweetheart?! They were very rude discussions.

But the conversations suddenly died out. It was not Elsa, the eccentric second daughter of Duke Lambordini that they saw but a dignified and intellectual aristocrat. This was a bit of an advantage for Elsa.

The high society was none of Elsa’s business. She was supposed to attend the academic conference. Nevertheless, Elsa walked around with Luca and greeted many people in order to spread the word, 『This is my sweetheart』.

There were some who knew. Those who were going to the academic conference. They came up to her and said, “You got married? Congratulations!” They did indeed look like a married couple.

“They see us as a married couple, they don’t even see us as sweethearts. Is that okay, Luca?”

Elsa said half-jokingly and Luca replied meekly.

“If it’s with you.”

“…… That’s the wrong reply.”

Because it was Elsa, it wouldn’t happen so she rebuked to end the conversation.

“How are you liking high society after such a long time?”

This time Luca asked her a question. Elsa grabbed a glass from the waiter and said.

“I’m more concerned about the academic conference happening in three days.”

“If it’s Elsa, then it’ll be flawless, wouldn’t it?”

“That’s not true……”

Elsa dropped her head and said at Luca’s useless faith. It became excessive when put into words. Luca, who saw her looking like that, said:

“I’m deeply moved by how peaceful I feel whenever I’m with you.”

“Well, that’s good……”

Elsa was glad if she was able to be somewhat useful. Let’s think that she was. The young ladies and sexy woman were indeed looking at Luca every now and then but when they saw Elsa standing next to him, they grimaced. Even so, Elsa didn’t have her spectacles on so she didn’t see it. Therefore she wasn’t concerned about their gazes so it wasn’t very amusing for the women.

“Elsa. How about a song?”

Luca took Elsa’s hand and she gave an unwilling, “Eeh”.

“I haven’t danced in a while and I’m wearing shoes I’m not used to. On top of that I can’t see so I think I’ll step on your feet.”

“It’s fine, I’ll lead. If you step on my feet then let’s deal with it then.”

Luca said something unexpected and Elsa said in amazement.

“Is your aim also to dance?”

“No, I just thought that if you do something you’re not used to, it’ll take your mind off the academic conference.”

“Uh huh. It’s stressful in a different sense. But I won’t rebuke you since you’re doing it for my sake.”

Elsa said, a little happy inside. But his next words were excessive.

“If we were intimate then people wouldn’t approach me even if I’m alone.”

In short, she was insect repellent. Return her happiness from a while ago.

“…… Well, fine. I’ll say it once again. It’s been a long time since I’ve danced and I may step on your feet and also, I can’t see.”

It was dark at night, but Elsa felt it was too dark. She was also annoyed at how dim this place was. The back of the venue was bright so it was hard to for her to see what was in front of her.

“It’s fine. You know the steps, don’t you? So you can dance. Even if you can’t see, you can see me, right?”

“Ah, yeah. Fine, I’ll leave it to you.”

Elsa felt as if she had said something embarrassing but she decided to ignore it and dance to the song. How long had it been since she’d danced?

They moved in time with the music that the orchestra was playing. There was only Duke Inglacia, everyone else avoided them. In a way, it was very conspicuous.

“…… I didn’t even step on your feet.”

“Don’t do it on purpose now.”

Feeling embarrassed, Elsa exaggerated but Luca returned it with a rebuke. Elsa who basically liked to rebuke people was unsatisfied. No, it was her natural response.

“Anyway, you have gynophobia but you’re fine with me, aren’t you?”

“If it’s just dancing then I’ll probably be fine but I feel most calm around Elsa.”

It seemed that he made a mistake and diverted the conversation. For some reason, Elsa’s back was itchy.

“…… See, there’s children glaring at me with malice from behind. So don’t dance with them.”

The young ladies were indeed, 10 years younger than Elsa but they were glaring at Elsa with malice. The one dancing with the number 1 bachelor was a middle-age woman who wasn’t even pretty. Elsa understood why they wanted to glare at her.

Then, Luca shivered when he heard what Elsa had said.

“No way! I won’t! I absolutely won’t!”

“Are you a child?”

Elsa rebuked him for refusing so childishly. She laughed lightly and the song ended.

“Yeah. I was able to dance properly. You’re a good lead.”

“Elsa, it’s not like you’re bad at it.”

“Thanks for your subtle responses.”

They went back to the wall while exchanging such meaningless conversations then Elsa heard a voice call, “Elsa!?”

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