HAPPILY EVER AFTER(3)
Translated by: Miss Ruby
Edited by: ShadowDog
Every three months, a joint conference was held by the king and it was attended by all the key figures in the nation’s leading administration. It was an important state conference with the largest number of personnel attending.
The attendants of the meeting began to arrive one at a time, from early in the morning, to participate. And as they entered the conference hall, they took at least one glance at the pair of handsomely tall young men standing some distance away.
The two of them were young men around twenty-odd years of age. They conversed briefly with each other while reading the documents they held in their hands. One of them had dark hair and the other, silvery blond hair, and when they stood side by side, the contrast of vibrant colors on their head was eye-catching.
A pair of red eyes quickly skimmed through the meeting files for today, then he spoke to the blue-eyed young man next to him:
“The contents are different from what I received a few days ago. Why has the agenda for today’s meeting changed so much?”
“Indeed. I should have double-checked it yesterday.”
A man in his mid-thirties was about to enter the conference hall when he discovered the two young men, so he turned and approached them. Damian and Bruno halted their conversation and bowed in greeting towards the man walking to them.
Robin’s eyes had a hint of wonder in them as he looked at the two young men who were stirring up all the young women in the high society recently. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that any party attended by these two youths would be crowded with ladies.
“Observing again today?”
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
After Duke Ramis passed away two years ago, his heir, Count Ramis, succeeded him. Robin, who became the new Duke of Ramis, took a different path from his father. Although his sharp political insights fell short compared to his father, he was recognized for successfully and smoothly establishing himself in politics with a gentle character.
“Why are you standing here instead of going in?” (Robin)
“When all the empty seats are filled, we’ll go in. I don’t think it’s appropriate to take a seat first when we’re just observing.”
Robin nodded, pleased with the answer the tall, dark-haired young man gave him. This merely 18-year-old youth didn’t show off his power, even though he held the honor of being the youngest Count and was the successor to the Duke of Taran, a man who held power second only to the King. Robin really like the young man’s prudence.
‘He looks so much like the Duke of Taran but he’s the complete opposite.’
There were people who were put off by the Duke of Taran’s powerful arrogance, which feared nothing in the world, but even those people were in favor of the next Duke who was both courteous and civil.
The platinum-haired youth that was always next to him, was also a desirable talent. He was rumored to have an extraordinary mind from a young age and as he got older, people said he was equipped with wisdom too. The Duke of Taran set his mind on the youth early on and even asked the king to grant him a title. Bruno was born the third son of a Count and currently, he was a Count alongside his elder brother, Count Matin.
Robin admired the Duke of Taran’s ability to recognize talent and marveled at the bold rewards he gave them for becoming his people.
“What interesting story might you discussing?”
Marquis DeKhan slipped into conversation and greeted the three men, who were gathered together. The Marquis looked at the two youths, with a gaze just as pleased as the Duke of Ramis’. Perhaps because he had gotten older, whenever he saw young people with manners towards adults, he was very happy.
Since the next Duke lowered himself, other people had to do the same. The Marquis was very aware of the younger people suppressing their youthful feistiness and being careful with their attitudes. It was all thanks to Count Taran’s initiative.
“I remember Sir. Matin caused a huge incident not long ago.”
Bruno grimaced slightly, looking troubled. It was something that happened a week ago or so, but everyone he met brought up the same story.
“By ‘a big incident’, you mean…?”
“I suppose Ramis Gong hadn’t heard of it yet. Sir. Matin here, poured cocktail on a Count’s daughter’s head.”
“Oh no, that is quite the mistake.”
“It wasn’t a mistake though, so the social circle was abuzz. He poured it on her head deliberately and embarrassed her.”
No one had ever done such a thing in the social circle, where being courtesy to a lady was the virtue of a gentleman; even if they were a troublemaker. When the Marquis was told about the incident by his son, he had laughed for quite a while. He couldn’t remember the last time he had laughed till his stomach hurt.
When you met a lot of people in the social circles, it was inevitable to meet at least one woman who made you think, ‘what? such women exist?’. But you still had to endure it and be courteous with good manners. This was the etiquette they had learnt from as they grew up and they couldn’t do something that would bring criticism to their family name.
There were a lot of men who were extremely delighted to learn that Count Matin did something others hadn’t dared to do, and boldly at that. Robin was also momentarily surprised to hear this news, but his mouth twitched as he tried to suppress his laughter.
“People’s interest fade quickly, Sir. Matin. But you’ll still have to watch yourself for a while.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll be prudent.”
Ever since the incident, Bruno had refrained from going to gatherings, but honestly, it felt more like a reward than a punishment. The few days he had spent relaxing in the evening was more than satisfactory.
“I don’t think any consolation is necessary. This incident does Sir. Matin more good than harm.”
The Marquis had been watching the situation with interest because it was flowing in a different direction that he’d expected.
“At first, public opinion was mostly sympathizing with the Count’s daughter. But as time went by, the critical gazes on her began increase.”
“Well, because the two gentlemen who have stolen the hearts of all the ladies in the social circle, stopped going to parties. I hear the ladies’ resentment for the culprit, aka the Count’s daughter, is unspeakable.”
Since Bruno was under self-probation, Damian decided to put off outside itinerary for the time being. As the two of them disappeared from parties in the social circle, the number of party participants also dropped significantly. And it was practically only girls.
The number of attendants was a major factor that contributed to the success of a party. Especially for parties with a lot of ladies attending, the number of men that came was always proportional to the ladies. This event had led party organizers to realize the value of Bruno and Damian.
There were already a lot of invitations going to the two young men, but now, they were practically pouring in. Previously, the invitations to Damian were overwhelmingly more, but now it was almost the same. Bruno’s popularity had increased explosively. Now, when people said ‘Count Matin’, they were referring to Bruno, not Bruno’s elder brother who was the actual lord of the Matin family.
Bruno’s actions deserved to be criticized. However, the criticism of Bruno lost its power when Bruno went to apologize to the Count’s daughter personally and expressed that he was reflecting by not show himself even after a week went by, despite people expecting him to show up at parties like nothing had happened.
Bruno was a friend and close aide of Damian, who was no doubt going to succeed the Duke of Taran. In people’s eyes, Bruno’s future was promising. Even though he was young, he was in a position comparable to those with significant power.
Traits of humility in those in power was something that cultivated favorable impressions. As the favorable gazes towards Bruno increased, the people critical of him were careful with their words. No one wanted to provide a reason to become an enemy that could never build a relationship with future powers.
‘Why did he do that?’
Robin wanted to ask Bruno for the details of the incident, but he pushed down his urge. Asking about the situation would be gossiping about the Count’s daughter, and to the public, gossiping about a lady was an act more vulgar than dumping alcohol on one.
‘If it was someone else that did this, he would be buried in the social circle.’
But according to Marquis DeKhan, rather than being buried, Bruno was boasting unabated popularity. Robin had never understood Bruno’s popularity. He was surprised to hear that Bruno had poured alcohol on a lady’s head, but he wasn’t shocked. To him, it was something very possible for Bruno to do.
In the social circle, Bruno was originally famous for being rude to young ladies. To older noblewomen, he was courteous and well-mannered but to the ladies who approach him as women, it was common for him to spit out hard words and for the girl who were courageous enough to ask him to dance, he rejected them right to their face.
The older noblewomen called him a polite young man and were pleased, while the young ladies watched Bruno’s every move during parties and giggled happily amongst themselves.
Now, it wasn’t even a humiliation to be refused by Bruno for a dance. Bruno was known for not saying a lot but when he was rejecting a dance request, he spoke longer than usual so the girls who wanted to hear that, constantly asked him to dance. Thanks to that, Bruno was annoyed to death.
Robin simply couldn’t understand, so he asked his female relative, who had recently debuted, about the reason for his popularity.
[I mean, he’s rude to everyone fairly. Whether it’s a Marquis’ daughter or a Baron’s daughter, they’re the same to Sir. Matin. Do you know how cute Sir. Matin looks when he’s annoyed?]
As he watched his female relative cup her reddened cheeks with a dreamy expression, Robin thought to himself that he would never truly understand a woman’s mind.
While Robin was preoccupied with the secret that was Bruno’s popularity, Marquis DeKhan looked at Damian, covetously.
‘He will be such a perfect partner for Molly.’
Marquis DeKhan really desired Damian as his future son-in-law. His status as the next Duke was certainly part of it, but whether it was in his character or capability, there was no undesirable part. Compared to Damian, all other guys were dead wood.
His daughter, Molly, was thirteen years old. An age difference of five years was absolutely desirable. However, Molly had yet to make her social debut. There were a lot of individuals who drooled over having Damian as a future son-in-law. The Marquis was anxious about someone swooping in within the span of a few years, so he was considering pushing Molly’s social debut a little earlier.
The sight of the Duke of Ramis and Marquis DeKhan chatting amicably with the embarrassed young men at the side, attracted people’s gazes as they entered the conference hall, one after another. As they glanced over, repeatedly, their eyes were filled with the desire to be engaged in that conversation one way or another.
 Not sure how to word this sentence. He’s asking what interesting thing they are talking about.