Be Fascinated - Chapter 8
Translator and Editor: Effe and Yonnee
Looking at the button that was closed over the tip of her neck, Philia sighed. She knew that the fashion in the capital city tended to expose the collarbone, but she couldn’t do that.
It was due to none other than the marks he had left on her neck. It was the first time she knew that kissing the neck left these red marks, and it was the first time she knew of the shame that followed.
Dressed in an understated light gray dress, Philia sat at the table and looked at Claude.
Philia laughed bitterly. He was late because he overslept. How startled he was when he realized that he had put his arms on her body during his sleep.
Waking up with his arms removed, she burst into laughter as soon as she got up. She always thought he was perfect, but he seemed so human at that moment.
Thanks to this, the mood of the morning, which was almost embarrassing, was softened.
“The clothes look good on you.”
“Thank you for the gift.”
Claude grinned at the word ‘gift’.
“Clothing is definitely one of the things that will be provided while you are here.”
“If it’s a real ‘gift’, it should be a banquet dress.”
Banquet dress. It was unimaginable. In fact, she had never even seen such a glamorous outfit in her life.
“A banquet dress?”
Was Philia’s voice too high? Claude looked at her face and asked.
“Do you want to have one?”
Philia smiled sheepishly and shook her head. In fact, she was a commoner living in the countryside, and she wore only a priest’s uniform every day. She saw the clothes of the nobles who came, but she did not find the clothes of those who visited the temple very flashy.
Just thinking of the festivities held at the Imperial Palace every ten years made her anxious, and she couldn’t even see the clothes of the nobility there. She could barely tell that the colors were bright and splendid.
“That is… I just want to see it.”
“It’s embarrassing, but I’ve never really seen anything like that… I only know it’s pretty…”
“I don’t go to banquets, and I heard from a maid that a dress like that is very heavy.”
“And that they come in bright colors.”
Still, Philia suddenly became worried. What the temple emphasized was asceticism. The teachings were full of rejecting any luxury. Wouldn’t he be disappointed if he found out that she was interested in fancy clothes?
Philia didn’t know exactly why this man was interested in her. Did he have feelings for the opposite sex in a normal manner? Did he want to covet a woman who was a ‘saint’, who was pure without having been touched by a man’s hand? Or perhaps he was attracted to her body…?
Claude smiled and looked at Philia. Philia’s cheeks were red.
“You want to wear it?”
“No! Not really!”
She didn’t know if she actually wanted to wear it or not. She didn’t think she would wear it anyway because one thing’s for sure—all she wanted was to see one up close.
“It’s nice to know that you’re easy to understand.”
“No… That’s not it! Really!”
Philia tried to hide her face which had turned bright red.
“Then, how about going out to the boulevard?”
“Let’s visit a boutique later.”
“Your Grace, I really don’t…”
Philia really felt like she was going to die. She just showed interest in clothes and he said as if he would do anything. He even looked happy.
“So, we’re going to leave behind that mindset of just ‘seeing’ things and actually buy them.”
“And I don’t think you have ever done a proper tour of the capital.”
“…Aren’t you just doing it because of me? You’re busy.”
Philia’s voice was meek, but Claude shook his head.
“Not at all.”
“I already planned to go out together with you.”
Claude’s words left a strange feeling behind with her. However, Philia only smiled.
“I like it better if things are easy to understand. Philia.”
“And now that I know, it’s really good.”
“What do you mean?”
Claude looked at Philia without saying a word, with a passionate gaze.
‘Is it because he really wants to go out like that…?’
She couldn’t understand his words, so she just wondered if he was in a good mood.
Philia’s mouth was wide open as she gawked. What she previously thought a banquet dress had been… was beyond her imagination. She thought it was a single color, but it was actually a subtle harmony of many colors, and there were dresses made of cloth that became darker as they went down.
“It has a different color when illuminated with different lights.”
Philia wanted to share this novelty with Claude, but he was far away and only smiled picturesquely. He seemed to be observing her.
Philia wondered if she might be too excited herself. Why was he keeping his distance? Then Philia realized it.
‘It’s because of the rumors.’
If people knew that the Crown Prince was with her, the false Saintess, he, too, would be in trouble because of her.
‘He’s already considerate enough.’
The friendly boutique clerk explained the colorful dress more, and Philia liked her friendly disposition. Even though she said she wasn’t buying, the clerk was being really kind.
Seeing the large bell-shaped dress skirt, Philia admired it. It seemed like a pretty good thing that she wasn’t a ‘saint’ anymore.
Philia looked at the fancy dress, and she walked over to Claude. She glanced at him.
“Did you wait long?”
“Um, longer than I thought?”
At Claude’s words, Philia put on an apologetic look. Claude burst out laughing.
“It’s fine. I wasn’t bored.”
Claude led Philia to the main street. Philia looked at Claude and she fell behind a couple of steps away.
When they walked side by side, he didn’t even make eye contact with her as if they didn’t know each other. Claude saw this and his expression hardened.
Claude was about to say something, but then cheers could suddenly be heard. Their gazes naturally turned towards the sound, and it seemed there were people marching from afar.
Philia, becoming a curious spectator, watched the march with an excited expression on her face. Then, her expression hardened.
Philia bit her lip. She didn’t want to say anything.
The ‘real’ Saintess was marching with the high priests.
Watching the real saint, Bianca, Philia realized her own position. With Claude, she could dress, eat, and sleep in nice clothes, but her identity had completely changed.
Bianca was now the most prominent person, and Philia was now just nothing more than a spectator.
The priests, smiling happily around Bianca, were those who had once admired Philia ever since she was a child. Did they even remember her?
Philia saw the marchers. The real saint, Bianca, unlike Philia, was dignified and exuded confidence. She heard that Bianca was a fallen aristocrat, but she was of a different origin than hers.
As she watched the march blankly, she was astonished. A young man with short brown hair, wearing the high priest’s white robe, was leading the priests.
There was a taste of fishy blood on her lips. Irik. He was with her as she grew up. He took care of her like he was her actual older brother… So, even when she was driven out as a fake, he protected her to the end.
Even if he came out of prison, she didn’t think he would at least not march alongside the saint. Isn’t it natural? The high priests can choose whether or not to participate in these marches.
Was it a coincidence, or was it God’s will to punish Philia? The ‘real’ saint turned back and glanced at Irik, and Irik approached her with a wide smile.
The streaming light of the sun shone upon Irik’s handsome features. The appearance of the only young man ordained as a high priest in the temple made it seem like even the sun’s beams were evidence of his eminence.
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