e? What happened?’
There was no person who would search for Citrina.
Her best guess would be that it was from Baron Foluin.
But Baron Foluin had no reason to send a knight.
He also wasn’t in a position to hire a knight.
“Nice to meet you.
I am Arte Pianan, vice captain of the spear knights of the imperial palace.”
Citrina thought for a moment.
His introduction was fairly neat and clear.
She remembered hearing about the spear knights.
They were a spear carrying unit, and were an elite force at the imperial palace.
This person was the vice captain of such a unit.
In other words, Citrina Foluin was a person way below his level.
Then…why had this guy come to see her?

“Can you show your identification?”
“I’ve brought my knight’s badge.”
The man waved a round jewel through the door.
The blue fluorescent lights sparkled like fireflies.
But what caught Citrina’s attention was the short sword next to his pack.
Citrina could recognize the sword at a glance.

“That’s…a sword made by a dwarf.”
“…Ah, yes, that’s right.”
The man readily agreed.
His face lit up with pride as his dwarf-made sword was mentioned.
‘That’s the sword I finished up myself.’
That sword had wound up in the hands of this person.
Her wariness quickly diminished.
Looking at Arte, Citrina opened the door once more.
Arte stepped through the doorway.
The man walked into her living room with quick, measured steps, then smiled refreshingly and lowered his head.

“Nice to meet you.”
“…Yes.”
After giving a stiff answer, Citrina slowly grasped both sides of her dress and bobbed up and down in a curtsy.
It was a basic etiquette in acknowledgment of his greeting.
“I’m here to present you with an invitation.”
“An invitation?”

“Yes.
This is an invitation to the Summer Ball at Lection Flower Garden.”

The knight presented her with an invitation.
It wasn’t the courtesy of a knight to a lady, but it was a very polite attitude.
He didn’t need to do that.
Besides, there was weight to his words.

“It’s an invitation…”
Citrina tilted her head as she accepted the invitation.
This was an incomprehensible thing that she couldn’t understand.
The Summer Ball at Lection Garden was a space for high ranking nobles.
Citrina Foluin was a baron’s daughter, though even that was nominal to be honest.
It was an unconventional situation.
Citrina quickly sealed her lips.
There was no way someone would want to trip her up.
After all, she was still at the bottom of the social pyramid.
However, she had to deal with the possibility of a trap seriously.
Citrina asked cautiously.

“… Who sent the invitation?”
The knight’s face hardened a little.
Citrina looked him.
Nevertheless, the words from the knight’s mouth were unexpected.
“The emperor himself sent it.”
“His Majesty?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Citrina peered at the knight’s face.
He didn’t seem to be telling a lie.
It was a serious crime to impersonate the imperial family.
Faced with Citrina’s mysterious gaze, Arte cleared his throat.
The knight must be inexperienced in managing his facial expressions.
He must also not know why had had come to this townhouse.
He spoke with an air of ambiguity.
“I’m following orders as His Majesty’s knight.”
“Yes, I understand.”
An invitation to Lection Garden had been sent to Citrina, who was merely a baron’s daughter.
Citrina smoothed out a look of embarrassment off her face.
No noble would dare to doubt the intentions of the emperor.

“Your dress and accessories will arrive soon.”
“Are these also given by His Majesty?”
Arte’s eyes veered strangely away from her.
He began to speak with a hint of disapproval.
“I don’t think that’s something I can answer, Lady Citrina Foluin.”
“…What do you mean by that? I’m terribly intrigued.”
Citrina’s gaze was on him.
“I’m curious…”
The atmosphere was tense.
However, it was easily broken by the knight’s response.
“I’m heading back now.
I’ll come back to escort you when you go to Lection Garden.”
Arte bowed with a troubled look on his face.
He seemed to be in a hurry, as if he couldn’t speak even if she questioned him.

-Thud-

The door closed.
Long after the door had been shut, Citrina opened the invitation in her hand.

——
Lady Citrina Foluin,
On bright green day when the wind blows beautifully,
We invite you to attend the Imperial Palace’s Summer Ball held at Lection Flower Garden.
May you please grace the ball with your beauty.
x month x day, summer.
Banquet Room Inside the Palace.
—–

It was an invitation to the banquet inside the palace, bearing the emperor’s seal.
Citrina looked at the invitation.
No matter how much she looked at it, it didn’t seem like a counterfeit.
‘Did some unwritten rule about Lection Garden get broken? This couldn’t be true.’
Citrina leaned back slowly against the wall.
Then Gemma who had been silently holding her breathe, revealed herself.
-Citrina, isn’t it all thanks to me?
-Why do you think so, Gemma?
-Isn’t everyone doing this to see the great Gemma in person? It means you’re rumored to have a contract with a spirit.
-You think there’s rumors I’m working with a spirit?
Citrina stared intently at the invitation.
Somehow, Gemma’s ego had risen, but it didn’t make sense.
Spirits and alchemists were rare in the empire.
Therefore, they were certain to have some level of clout.
‘No one knows yet about Gemma, and while they may have heard about the alchemy….’
Citrina hadn’t told anyone but Oslo that she had awakened the jewel spirit.
She had learned some alchemy as a disciple of the dwarf, but she hadn’t told anyone she knew how to do it.
‘What the hell is going on?’
Confused, Citrina shook her head a few times.
Gemma was looking at her with happy eyes.
-It’s all thanks to me! It’s because I’ve brought luck to our future!
-Alright, let’s do that.
Citrina gave a small smile.
Before the Summer Ball, she wanted to send a letter to Count Hailey.
She glanced towards the bedroom.
She could already imagine Adilac’s surprised reaction when she heard about the Summer Ball.

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