The Tragedy of The Villainess (Novel) Chapter 22


Chapter 22


 —Dear Santa. I am Simon, a knight of Count Charlotte. Please call me Sir Simon. It’s a pleasure to meet you…

—It’s an honor to meet you, Santa! I’m from the Liam family of the east!

Lina, feeling suffocated by the self-introduction of the passionate knights, stared fixedly at the dance floor when the music began as if possessed. Lesche and Seria were dancing.

The grand banquet hall was very beautiful and filled with sweet melodies, but she couldn’t help but sigh.

Although most people were conversing with each other, they still watched them. Occasionally whispers could be heard, but they kept their eyes fixed on the dance floor.

“Sir… Sir.” Lina asked Baron Aison, who was beside her, in a low voice.

“Why are His Highness and Seria the first to dance? Is it because they are the hosts? If I host a ball, can I do that?”

“Oh.”

Baron Aison responded with a smile.

“This is because His Highness’s hierarchy is very high, as stipulated by imperial law. For generations, the Archdukes of Berg and the Imperial Family have had the same rank.”

Berg was a family of imperial merit, one of the few families that had been allowed to have a considerable private army to protect the empire from glaciers for generations.

“So, what about Kalis and me?”

“Hmm… Santa is, of course, an incredible person, but in the empire, the division between nobility and royalty is strict.”

The imperial family of the Glick Empire was relatively generous in dividing noble titles.

This didn’t mean they would buy and sell titles, but they were humane enough to at least grant a county to heroes who returned from war with achievements. It was a generosity that could have benefited the entire empire, as it was vast and had its own population.

However, this generosity was limited to the rank of Count. The probability of a Count rising to Marquis was very low. It was as rare as finding a needle in a desert for a noble, especially one below the rank of Count, to enter the imperial lineage.

Even as a Young Master or Lady below the level of Countess, whose beautiful appearance and graceful manners had attracted attention in social circles, it was rarely achieved to join the Imperial Family through marriage or war merit.

It was common for most of the royal family to marry members of the aristocratic families of the marquises and above.

The Santa would probably receive at least a county.

Even so, the emperor was very happy that a saint was born in the Glick Empire.

However, it would be difficult for the custom of the Glick Empire to continue. If Lina didn’t marry a member of the royal family, it would be difficult for her.

“Yes…”

As Lina stared blankly at Lesche once more, she saw a group of noblewomen approaching. They were noblewomen from the estate of Haneton. They were from families closely linked to Haneton, so high society sometimes referred to them as the “Ladies of Haneton.”

“Countess Martyr!”

Lina, who had followed Kalis for a few days and had met the ladies of Haneton, exclaimed happily. But she immediately panicked. Because the way the noble looked at Lina was not so friendly.

Countess Martyr, who was the most influential among them and thus effectively the head of the group, spoke first.

“Santa, I thought you wouldn’t come to the ball.”

“I received an invitation.”

“Oh. I see you still don’t understand the physiology of society.”

“What?”

The ladies exchanged glances.

“The host of this place is the Grand Duke of Berg. So, isn’t it correct for Santa to attach flowers to the invitation and send it back?”

“That’s right.”

“Of course.”

Lina didn’t feel well about the Haneton ladies who agreed with Countess Martyr. Lina gritted her teeth.

“No.”

“Huh?”

“No, no. That’s what my master taught me. To become the Grand Duchess of Berg, you need the permission of the imperial family. So, Seria is still Lady Seria Stern. Isn’t that right? And… it’s not right to mess with me like this.”

“What do you mean by messing with you? How dare we? Aren’t you the Santa?”

Lina responded resolutely.

“Yes. This is not moral.”

(N/T: her talking about morality hahaha what a joke)

She could hear the women around her gasping for air.

‘Oh, I’m in trouble.’ Baron Aison touched his forehead in distress.

Lina hurried to absorb knowledge. But there was absolutely not enough time for her to learn to fully understand the subtle conflicts of this society and how to respond to them gracefully.

With a perfect understanding of the social scene, a young lady would naturally leave such a bad situation or escape the situation with sharp but perfect courtesy, letting people know she was the guest at this occasion. It was an elegant and normal way to handle the situation.

Lina would have been able to handle the situation this way if she had studied a few more months, as Baron Aison had predicted.

That way, if Lina had debuted in the social world with plenty of time, he would never have had to deal with such immaturity.

However, they had already returned to the overturned tray. Furthermore, those noble ladies seemed to have a very good impression of Seria Stern, who was originally scheduled to be the Marchioness of Haneton. That’s why, even though Countess Martyr wasn’t the hostess herself, she came to Lina unwillingly.

“Are you talking to us about morality, Santa?”

“I don’t think it’s something you can easily talk about.”

Lina’s face paled at the words of the noblewomen, which meant that Lina was the reason Stern’s wedding was destroyed. She clenched her hands tightly.

“Santa, let’s go now…”

Baron Aison hurried to prevent Lina from saying anything more, but it was already too late.

“Do other people know you’re doing this to me? What about Kalis?”

….

Baron Aison couldn’t bear to look at the cold faces of the noblewomen, so he turned his head. Lina had chosen the worst possible option now.

If Seria Stern were friends with Santa, she could save Lina in a moment like this…

Seria Stern was like a viper. She was absolutely invincible even in the imperial society jungle. If they looked at her beautiful and venomous eyes, many people would tuck their tails. Rumors abounded.

When Baron Aison thought of the impossible hope, Kalis’s voice came from behind.

“What are you doing now?”

Baron Aison and Lina turned excitedly, as if the savior had arrived.

“Kalis!”

Lina ran behind Kalis and pressed her forehead against his back as if to hide. He looked at Lina, who was hiding behind him, and then looked at the noblewomen in front of him.

The noblewomen gracefully bowed while facing the lord of the estate.

“Marquis Haneton.”

Baron Aison quickly stood up.

“The noblewomen and Santa were chatting.”

“Chatting?”

“Yes. It was no big deal.”

Said the baron, hoping everything would be fine. However, the situation wasn’t going as he intended. It was because he heard sobbing sounds behind Kalis’s back.

“Lina?”

Baron Aison almost covered his mouth. Lina was crying profusely. Kalis looked ahead with an angry face.

“I would like to ask the ladies here. What is the meaning of this? Did you all gather to bully Santa Lina?”

Countess Martyr slowly bowed her head. As Lina continued crying, this situation couldn’t easily be passed over as Baron Aison wished.

“It seems our direct words have offended Santa.”

“Be very careful because it is not a direct statement when the subject is in the past.”

Their faces turned as cold as if they were carved from ice. The only thing that struck harder than jealousy in social circles was indifference. They treated Lina as if she were a nobody. It seemed the ladies had decided to cruelly suppress any trace of curiosity or emotion towards Santa. No warmth remained in their eyes.

They retreated and Lina lifted her head.

“Kalis…”

Kalis sighed tiredly, and Lina’s body trembled. Baron Aison spoke with concern.

“Santa? Your dress is wrinkled. Please adjust it.”

“Huh? Yes…”

After Lina went to the common room for a moment to fix the wrinkled dress with the maid, Baron Aison spoke to Kalis.

“That was a bad choice. How could you offend the ladies? Some families work very closely with the Haneton estate administration.”

“I know. I know, but Lina cried.”

“It’s true.”

“When we return to the territory, we will have to distribute the treasures as best we see fit. I’m sure we will be quite tired when we return.”

If Lina hadn’t cried, he would have managed to let the ladies go with the tacit consent of society. The result would have been better.

But he couldn’t ignore Lina’s tears. There was nothing he could do about it, but the situation that followed was undeniably bad. Baron Aison sighed.

But the ladies liked Lady Seria Stern, that’s why it happened.

“Kalis… Did Marquis Haneton do that?”

“Yes, that’s what he told the ladies of Haneton. Lady Stern.”

“Thank you for telling me, Lady Aston.”

“You’re welcome.”

If there were aristocrats who served as gossipers, to impress the high social class, Seria Stern would be in the gossip.

When she married Lesche, there seemed to be even more nobles of that kind. Rumors in social circles spread many times faster than when she was single.

One of the noblewomen had come secretly and told Seria what had happened while she was dancing with Lesche, and she frowned as soon as the lady withdrew with a look of satisfaction on her face.

In the original story, the noble ladies of Haneton were very friendly with Lina. There was a part where Lina made her debut in the capital, and then she was invited by Kalis to come down to Haneton’s territory. She also did very well there. She didn’t think something like this would happen.

It was no wonder that Baron Aison was strangely pale. Seria had limited meetings with the ladies because she was tired after going to the glacier in the morning. She didn’t want them to notice that her face was swollen, which would be noticeable if she had to talk to them so closely and for so long.

Maybe some had already noticed.

But what could she do? She was drinking the sparkling champagne while leaning her back slightly against the wall.

Her place was on the west wall.

On the opposite wall was Kalis, looking at her.


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