Wisteria left the mansion with Bright leading her by hand, and they got into a carriage.
A short while later, they arrived at the venue.

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Feeling terribly nervous, she gently entwined her arm with Bright’s, who held his arm out to her, and they entered the hall.

Under a glittering chandelier, colorful refreshments were displayed on tables, and waiters stood quietly around with trays of wine glasses in their hands.
The invited men and women, all of marriageable age, were like brightly scattered flowers.

But when Wisteria and Bright arrived, all eyes turned to them.

——Wisteria knew that most of them were directed at Bright.

Although she experienced it every time she was escorted by Bright, she still wasn’t used to it.

The conversations that were being secretly exchanged behind open fans made her shoulders reflexively tense up.

She didn’t have to ask to know what the young ladies were whispering to each other behind her back.

“How is it that an adopted child of the Count of Vatue…”

“Why is such a shameless girl with Lord Bright?”

“I hear that she is still passionately devoted to her incomprehensible research…”

Even when she wasn’t at a party, those were the words that were said to her both openly and privately.

(…It can’t be helped now.)

Wisteria repeated over and over in her mind to calm herself down.

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——In fact, all of them were right.

She was in an incredibly fortunate situation, being close with Bright, even though she was the adopted daughter of the Count of Vatue, who was not related to her by blood.

I don’t even want to think how much she would be criticized if it were known that she was shamelessly wishing for something more.


The voice was not loud, but it was more vivid than anything else Wisteria heard.

Wisteria, who had been unconsciously slumped over, reflexively looked up.

She looked up into golden eyes that shone like jewels, and her heart skipped a beat.
A faint, gentle smile was on his well-shaped lips.

“It’s all right,” he whispered to her. 

——Wisteria’s whole body became hot, and she felt as if her body, which was about to shrink under his gaze, was slowly relaxed.

The young man, who reminded her of a mythical god of beauty, took Wisteria’s right hand in a fluid motion and brought his lips to her fingertips.

“O beautiful one who has come down to earth, will you grant me the honor of being your partner for the first song?”

His elegant voice sounded as though he was singing.

Wisteria’s cheeks immediately warmed and she simply nodded, unable to respond in any sensible way.

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Wisteria’s hand was taken by Bright, and she was led out under the light of the chandelier.

Even though they were wearing gloves, Wisteria still felt a tightening in her chest from their overlapping hands.

——Bright was always like this.

He wasn’t just a living jewel because of his looks.
He himself radiates a clear light from within, illuminating everything.
He reached out his hand to her.

Facing each other, they put their hands on top of each other.
Wisteria’s other hand was on his broad shoulder.
Bright’s large hand touched her slender waist.

His gentle golden eyes are staring at Wisteria.
Suddenly, like a mischievous little boy, he closes one eye and makes a playful gesture.

Momentarily caught off guard by that familiar gesture, Wisteria involuntarily turned her head away.

Her head was dizzy, as if it had boiled all at once.

Her heart was pounding wildly. If only time would stop like this…

(…I love you)

She whispered those words, which she could never say out loud, just once in her heart.

“…Bright, don’t worry about me.”

Wisteria smiled at Bright, whose brow was slightly wrinkled with worry.

“There are plenty of people who want to talk to you.
I would feel sorry if I kept you all to myself.”

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Bright chuckled as she said it as ladylike as she could, hiding her shallow true feelings.

“I came here today so that you can have me all to yourself, Wis.”

“! T-That’s…!”

But it seems that I would make some people terribly jealous if I kept you to myself too much tonight.
All right, I’ll leave for a little while.
I’ll be right back.”

Bright gave a slightly playful bow and walked towards an acquaintance.

Wisteria, unable to cool the heat in her cheeks, unconsciously followed his back with her eyes and hurriedly pulled them away.

——It was too much of a luxury to feel lonely or not want him to go.

(…At least for now)

Bright wasn’t Wisteria’s fiancé or anything of the sort.

Like other noble girls, Wisteria went to evening parties to find a marriage partner, and it was only due to the fortunate relationships of her adoptive parents that Bright often volunteered to be her partner.

But there was no telling how long this fortunate and perilous equilibrium would last.

At the very least, Bright would be urged to take a wife soon.
All manner of unmarried ladies must be vying for that position.

She glanced over at Bright, who was chatting with a man who appeared to be a friend of his.
But like a butterfly drawn to a flower, women quickly joined them.

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——I guess it’s because if they waited for Bright to speak to them, they would never be able to talk to him.

Even though she knew this in her head, Wisteria’s heart was in turmoil.

(……I have to produce results soon.)

She squeezed her fan.
The research on the “Land of Grey Dawn.”

Even without everything else, Rosalie was worried about her.
She had said something reasonable, like how it was for their family’s sake, but her true feelings were more shallow.

If she achieved success in her research, she might be able to get engaged to Bright.

Even though they were closer to the Reunings than other families, it was different when it came to marriage.

If she wanted to marry Bright, who was so much higher in rank, she would have to have a considerable amount of achievements to make up for the difference.

No matter how much they might laugh at her or scorn her, she had no time to dawdle.

If she sat on her hands and done nothing, she would never get that beautiful golden-eyed person.

In fact, the name of the daughter of a distinguished family has repeatedly come up as a candidate for Bright’s fiancee.

“Miss Wisteria.”

Wisteria was startled when she was suddenly called by that voice.

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