The eyes of the people around focused on them.
People who like gossip were looking at Filina and Henry and chattering.

She frowned, finding a suitable excuse.

“I’m seriously bad at dancing.
After the dance, perhaps Sir Henry won’t have anything left of your foot.”

She meant she would step on his foot if she danced with him.

But Henry only answered with a blank face.

“I’ll take my chances.”

Filina knew that no further refusal was possible.

Placing her champagne glass on the corner table, she reached out with an unwilling face, Henry grabbed her hand and led her towards the center of the stage.

The music that was playing in the banquet hall was changed to another song at good timing.
Previously, it was a cheerful type of music, but now it was a song with a slow tempo and beautiful melody.

Henry’s large hand wrapped around her slender waist.
His other hand was still holding Filina’s hand from the beginning.

Soon after, their feet began to move to the soft music.

Filina’s feet, however, kept stumbling because of drunkenness.
Each time she stumbled, Henry’s hand wrapped around her waist tightened.

Their distance was too close.
Their bodies touched and they could feel each other’s heartbeats.

Her whole body felt numb.
Filina rested her forehead lightly against his chest.
Then she felt Henry’s shoulders tense up. 

Filina let out a quiet laugh.

“Henry….”

She muttered softly and called out Henry’s name.

“…you are still a good dancer.”

Filina sighed.
Then she distorted her face.
The smell of alcohol flowed over her lips.

She had forgotten for a moment.

The fact that Filina in the original novel was much weaker against alcohol than the woman who lived in Korea.

Filina furrowed her brow and tightened her hand holding Henry.
He just stared at her silently.

When the sound of music that filled the banquet hall completely stopped, the people dancing with their partners dispersed.

Filina, too, left Henry alone and moved on with her steps.
She could feel his dark gaze following her like a shadow, but she didn’t look back.

Trying to break her drunkenness, Filina walked to the terrace.
A throbbing headache swept over her, and she exhaled, placing one of her hands on her forehead.

Filina in the original story was terribly weak at drinking.

What’s more, she’s just reached the age of adulthood.

She had never drank alcohol before, so the aftereffects from the champagne she drank in succession were significant.

Filina looked out over the terrace.

Passing through the expansive rose garden, the fountain in the middle was in harmony with the beautiful statues.
A cool stream of water spurted out white foam and flowed down.

She felt someone coming into the terrace from behind.
A large shadow created a strangely heavy feeling.

He asked Filina in a friendly voice.

“Are you okay?”

It was Leon.

She leaned her elbows over the railings and turned her head to stare at him.

“I saw you drink a good amount of champagne.”

“Did I?”

Filina let out a windy laugh and turned her head forward again.
Then Leon naturally came to her side.

Filina glanced at him and asked.

“You said you would keep your distance from me.
Why are you here?”

Leon didn’t respond in any way at Filina’s rebuke.
Filina looked forward again with her lips curled.

A light breeze blew through the quiet space.
The trees that reached high in the sky shook gently.

The green leaves and pretty petals rolling on the floor were finding their way.

“……Why did Sir Leon join the swordsmanship academy?”

Filina asked, with her gaze still facing forward.

She hoped her voice wasn’t awkward.
She hoped it would flow naturally as if she were just asking the other person’s well-being.

Leon was staring at her without saying a word.
Then with a soft voice, he asked.

“…Why did Sir Debussy? As a woman, it must have been a lot of trouble for you to join the swordsmanship academy.”

She raised her lips and answered.

“I wanted to be strong.”

Filina turned her head to look at Leon.

“And at the same time, I wanted to get revenge.”

She could see Leon’s pupils widening slightly at her words.
Still staring at him, she spoke again.

“It takes strength to get revenge.”

She once again faced forward.
The cold night sky exhaled lonely air.

“I sometimes imagine that.
How horribly I would kill the people I hate, and be intoxicated with victory.”

Her expression, which had a twisted smile, hardened in an instant.

“But the reality is different.
Every time I resent someone, I feel exhausted.
I can never trust anyone and I can’t give up my heart.”

Filina moved her gaze to face Leon.

“Sometimes I feel like doing the same thing as Sir Leon.
A mask over my face, hiding myself, and won’t give my heart to anyone.”

She smiled bitterly and continued.
“It’s lonely, because the damned world made it so you can’t live alone.”

***

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