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The one who appeared was the Father of Ortansia and Gérard, The Duke of Verite.

   He walked towards them with a cheerful smile on his face, oblivious to the strange atmosphere in the room.

When he came up to Ortansia, he squinted happily at her.

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"You look good, Ortansia. You are indeed my daughter. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for congratulating my beloved daughter... Ortansia on her new beginning."

When her father announced this without reading the atmosphere at all, smiles finally began to return to those around them.

When the nobleman's relatives timidly explained the situation, the Duke smiled and even joked:

 "Well, it seems that Gérard can't help but adore his little sister and he may have been too strict in his judging."

 The atmosphere immediately softened, and Ortansia's tongue rolled back in her mouth.

'As expected of Father. It's not that he can't read the air, it's that he doesn't care to read the air!'

Ortansia was impressed by his imposing attitude. How many decades will it really take for her to become like him?

Conversations began to blossom around her father.

He took the lead in the conversation, introducing Ortansia to the people around him in a natural way.

 Ortansia seemed to be able to get by if she just smiled and gave a few words.

'I always knew Father was amazing. Okay, this will give me a chance to…!'

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Ortansia concentrated her spirit and activated the blessing of the goddess.

'Listening ear!'

Her hearing sharpened and she heard distant conversations at once, which she would not normally hear.

"That's the Duke of Verite's…"

"Did you see Master Gérard just now?"

"You must love your sister a lot…"

Ortansia laughed inwardly as she immediately overheard the conversations about her.

She eavesdropped on the conversations, glancing from one person to another, and so far Ortansia's reputation seemed to be generally good.

'Good thing. It would have been unfashionable if I failed in my social debut.'

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However, her relief was short-lived, and her heart thumped at the words she heard next.

"But she's a concubine's daughter, isn't she?"

'It's the same if the duke recognizes her. If she gets it right, she will have a reverse fortune.'

"But you didn't dance with anyone earlier."

"She is just pretending to be a highbrow, isn't she? She will realize her position sooner or later. After all, she is a damaged woman kidnapped by a group of pagans."

 "...A wounded girl kidnapped by a pagan group"

 As soon as she heard those words, she felt as if her eyes had gone completely dark.

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'Calm down, you knew there were people who thought that way, too."

Even Ortansia knew that people might think that way about her.

Although it had not been publicly announced, it is an open secret that Ortansia was kidnapped by a group of pagans. She had been absent from social life for several years since then, so it was not surprising that some people looked at her with pity or oddity.

 But still…

'No. I can't believe I'm so hurt by all this.'

No matter how well educated one was, it was difficult to become strong even in one's heart.

 When she heard people rumoring about 'hurtful things' like that, the scene of that time came back to me and she almost choked.

Ortansia suppressed the expression that was about to inadvertently cloud her face with a desperately made-up smile.

 In aristocratic society, deception and trickery were an everyday occurrence.

Annabelle, too, had repeatedly told her in her lessons that a lady should always smile and not let her true intentions be known.

'Smile, smile'

Ortansia was hiding her throbbing heart and flashing a happy smile to those around her.

Fortunately, no one around her noticed anything unusual about Ortansia.

Gently looking around, her eyes suddenly met those of her brother, Gerard.

 As soon as his eyes met Ortansia's, Gerard's expression, which had been as expressionless as ice, instantly became stern.

Furthermore, Ortansia became anxious as Gerard approached her quickly.

'Eh, what's wrong...? Don't tell me I've committed a terrible breach of manners without knowing it!'

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 When he approached her, Gerard touched Ortansia's shoulder and said to his father at his side.

"Father. Ortánsia's complexion is not good, so I will let her rest a little."

Ortansia was the most surprised by these words.

She had thought she had everything under control. In fact, no one had noticed.

Except... Gerard.

 The Duke looked surprised for a moment, but then immediately smiled cheerfully.

"Oh, I'm sorry I didn't realize that. I'm sure Ortansia must have been nervous at her first ball. Go and have a good rest."

As soon as Gérard heard those words, he  began to walk away with Ortansia.

"Let's go."


Ortansia did as she was told and moved her feet timidly.

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