A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke - Chapter 85
Esther, veiled in a beautiful purple dress, entered the party under the escort of her twin brothers.
‘I’ve been here a few times so I recognize everyone’s faces.’
The aristocrats who took a fancy of socializing were all the same. Every time she attended such events, the same faces seemed to overlap.
It wasn’t long after Esther lost interest in her surroundings and searched for a place providing nourishments.
“Esther, wear this.”
Dennis adjusted the puppy mask that he had brought for Esther.
Today’s banquet was a masquerade, as Sebastian noted in the invitations.
Those who attended the party presented their individuality with masks of their own.
Judy burst into laughter at Esther’s appearance.
“What do I do~? You’re so cute for no reason!”
He pulled her hair, squealing over how she resembled a puppy with her two braids.
“It’ll loosen if you continue doing that.”
“But I still want to touch it. What should I do~~?”
Even as Esther wailed, Judy continued fiddling with her plaits with the excuse that they felt nice.
“Esther doesn’t like it.”
As Dennis attempted to break Judy from Esther, a young girl approached him with a flushed face.
“Sir Dennis, I’m Laura Elasia. If you don’t mind, will you dance with me later?”
Despite her rather attractive appearance, Dennis refused at once. No, he didn’t even bother to look at her face.
This happened during every party, and there weren’t only one or two infants rejected by the twins.
“Why don’t my brothers dance?”
Judy and Dennis answered simultaneously.
Of course, there were also young lords who approached Esther. At first, quite an amount made a conversation with her, although;
“Nice to meet you. You’re as beautiful as I’ve heard.”
“Any business with my sister?”
Judy or Dennis always stepped forward to rebuke them, so they all stumbled away in fright.
Thanks to this, no one approached Esther with any other intention.
‘Well, I’m comfortable this way.’
Esther smiled and picked up a pudding encrusted with gold powder.
At the same time, a boy wearing a badger mask appeared and swiftly joined the three.
“It’s me, Sebastian.”
Judy giggled and mocked Sebastian’s mask.
“Why are you walking around already? The main character should appear last.”
“I’m here to see Esther, not you.”
As he spoke, Sebastian slipped beside Esther and fidgeted shyly.
“The dress suits you well. Um… You’re the most beautiful of all the young ladies that came today.”
“…? The outfit looks good on brother, too.”
“Really? Should I wear this next time?”
Although her response was a compliment said without much meaning, Sebastian’s lips reached his ears from delight.
“See you later. I’ll come eascort you at the beginning of the second section.”
Sebastian then left to prepare himself for the introduction.
“Esther, do you have to dance with him?”
“Right. You can say it now.”
Judy and Dennis took turns in presenting their dislike.
They were clearly displeased with the fact that Esther would dance with other people.
“Why are you doing this only now?”
Esther scooped two bites of the pudding she held and fed the twins to soothe their anger.
After a while, the party proceeded and people congratulated Sebastian for his anniversary.
Esther stood beside her brothers throughout the ball when she suddenly felt a gaze. She flipped her head.
A cat-masked boy her age stood in a far corner of the ball.
His fierce glaring almost seemed intentional, as if he did so on purpose in order to catch her attention.
The boy’s clear eyes and light black hair appeared strangely familiar.
‘…He looks like Noah.’
Esther, now disconcerted, continued glancing the boy’s way. She ultimately resolved to find out for herself.
“I’m going to the restroom.”
“Do you want me to take you there?”
“No, it’s right here anyway.”
Dennis was now deeply absorbed in the books he had accompanied from the mansion, so he nodded and allowed her to leave.
Judy was briefly caught by his academy friends, so now was the best time to leave.
Esther headed toward the boy standing in the corner. As their distance narrowed, she nervously bit her lower lip.
Although, as Esther approached him, the boy turned to the terrace.
As the masked boy disappeared before her eyes, Esther’s urgent steps accelerated.
Esther opened the glass door of the and entered the terrace. The cool outside air swept her body.
‘No one’s here?’
The terrace wasn’t very spacious, but she couldn’t see anyone. It was then that a finger tapped her shoulder.
Esther turned her head and froze. It was the boy wearing a cat mask.
The closer she scrutinized him, the more certain she grew.
The boy grinned and extended his arm to Esther in a courteous manner.
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When Esther baffledly accepted his hand, he raised her hand and delicately kissed her knuckles.
A greeting that was common at parties.
Esther didn’t think much during the times she was previously greeted by other noblemen, but her face strangely heated as he did so now.
“You recognized me right away. How did you know it was me?”
Esther’s eyes widened in response to the familiar voice that resonated from the boy’s mouth.
“…I knew it.”
Esther’s voice trembled thinly. She was relieved he was safe, but the whole thing felt like a bitter aftertaste.
“Where have you been?”
“Here and there. I couldn’t stay in one place, so I kept moving around places.”
Noah fixed his gaze on Esther and slowly removed his mask.
The two faced each other silently rather than conversing.
They could feel each other’s overflowing emotions through their wavering eyes.
‘You’ve gotten more handsome.’
The Noah she hadn’t seen in a year was as attractive as she recalled; no, he was even more striking than before.
Esther, somewhat embarrassed, wriggled her fingers and avoided his eyes.
‘Do I look good today?’
It wasn’t that important a party, so she didn’t pay too much attention to her dress or makeup.
She belatedly regretted dismissing Dorothy’s advice to check herself in the mirror at least once.
“It’s been a long time.”
Noah was the first to open his mouth and recite in a mellow tone.
“Yes. It’s already been over a year.”
Esther was abashed at the sulky tone that unconsciously slipped her mouth.
Noah didn’t miss her change in tone and grinned as he moved closer.
“Did you wait for me?”
“No. There’s no way.”
Esther vigorously denied his statement and retreated a step. She then abruptly changed the subject.
“But how did you enter the ball? What if people recognize you?”
“Palen put in tremendous effort for me to sneak in.”
Noah put his finger to his lips and lowered his voice as he playfully noted that it was a secret.
“What?! You’re crazy! If you get caught…”
“It’s alright. I won’t get caught.”
His unfounded fearlessness was sudden, but Noah’s eyes filled with poise. She decided to leave the matter as is, seeing his nonchalant expression.
Noah’s height was now cowering compared to Esther’s, causing her neck to turn stiff from looking his way.
Noah noticed her inconvenience and bent his legs to meet Esther’s eye level.
Then he spread his arms and playfully flexed his shoulders.
“Didn’t I become cooler?”
To be fairly honest, Noah’s manly appearance made Esther’s heart pound uncontrollably, but she shook her head and pretended to be unimpressed.
“You’re the same as before.”
“Really? You’re become even more beautiful.”
Esther’s cheeks reddened noticeably as she heard his comment.
Noah’s smile deepened as he looked over the adorable Esther who was at a loss of what to do.
“I missed you. A lot.”
Esther almost voiced her sincerity by saying ‘Me too’.
There were many things they wished to talk about with each other, but Esther couldn’t leave the banquet for too long.
As Esther glanced back in regret that she would have to leave now, Noah asked her intently.
“Are you close to the one hosting of the ball?”
“Close? We know each other a bit.”
Sebastian was the only person she interacted with, excluding her family. She considered their relationship as close.
“Would you like to leave with me?”
Noah grabbed the hem of Esther’s dress and requested, his expression somehow anticipating.
Esther flusteredly glanced at the banquet hall and fell into agony.
She wanted to follow Noah after their awaited reunion and exchange stories.
However, it was impossible for her to escape the eyes of her brothers. If not for that reason, she couldn’t break her promise with Sebastian during his birthday.
“I’m sorry. I will be Sebastian’s dance partner today.”
“Is that true?”
Noah’s eyes drooped to the side. Esther perplexedly tried to make excuses to the downcast Noah.
“It’s because you weren’t here…”
“That’s right. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s because I wasn’t there. Sorry. It’s just that I’m a little bit jealous.”
Noah smiled bitterly and raised the corners of his lips.
“Can you come see me tomorrow instead? At the cabin from before. There’s something I really want to show you.”
Esther willingly accepted his request. She had no intention of parting with him now.
“What if you disappear after this?”
“That will never happen.”
Noah lovingly looked into Esther’s eyes to prove his sincerity.
Esther was only able to release Noah assuredly after looking into his transparent eyes.
“Okay. See you tomorrow.”
“Don’t dance too much!”
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Noah’s screams reverberated as Esther stepped towards the banquet hall.
She didn’t look back, but a bright smile existed on her still dazed face.
Her flushed face did not easily subside.