Standing in front of the emperor, Mariabelle gave an imperial address, feeling the piercing gaze from the guests downstairs on her skin.
Everyone was probably wondering why an aristocrat from another kingdom has become the Crown Prince's fiancée.
There were few favorable glances.
“We met at the Flower Festival.”
The phrase “met at the Flower Festival” refers to two people who have fallen in fatal love.
With this, all the guests present knew that the Crown Prince and his new fiancée had been brought together by love and not politics.
“What does this mean…?”
“Does it mean that His Highness favored the girl despite the fact that he had a fiancée?”
“But she had been ill for a long time, so there was nothing he could do.”
“But for the Grand Duke Marini, this is unforgivable.
It's only been three months since his daughter's death.”
The murmur of the nobles reached Mariabelle's ears.
However, Mariabelle remained calm and kept smiling gracefully.
“I, Joseph Marini, extend my heartfelt congratulations.
I do not mean to be presumptuous, but I am sure that my daughter would also be pleased with your decision.
I congratulate you on your engagement.”
From among the subjects, a mature nobleman dressed in black stepped forward and bowed to Mariabelle.
He was the Archduke Marini, father of Monica Marini, Renato's former fiancée.
As Grand Duke Marini took the lead in congratulatory speeches, the other nobles could not help but follow suit.
One after another, words of congratulations were offered to the emperor on the stage.
When most of the nobles had finished their congratulations, Renato raised his hand to subdue their voices.
“Most of you are probably surprised at the suddenness of this event.
Mariabelle and I met by chance at the recent Flower Festival, and we met again at Count Fidelo's library.
Some may say that it is hasty to decide on our engagement so soon, but if I do not decide on a partner, my brothers will have to wait a long time for their marriage as well.
I could not just let them wait until the flowers were in full bloom.
I have decided to marry Mariabelle, whom I think is the perfect match for me.”
Saying this, Renato took Mariabelle's hand and looked at her lovingly.
Then, as if to reassure her, he tightened his grip on her hand.
“As some of you may know, Mariabelle was once betrothed to the crown prince of the kingdom.
But the engagement was annulled by the crown prince, who said he had found true love with a commoner's daughter.
The king on the other side admits that Mariabelle was not at fault in any way.
It was also approved that a portion of Berkeley's territory be made a dowry at the time of the marriage.
Berkeley Territory is adjacent to the Empire.
Trade with the empire will thrive from now on.
I know this may be abrupt to you, but Mariabelle is my fiancée.
I ask you all to take good care of her.”
Renato took Mariabelle's hand and turned to his brothers Rinaldo and Angelo, who were behind him.
“Well,” he said, “I am very happy to announce my engagement, and that my betrothal has been finalized.
You may now ask the woman of your dreams to marry you.
“What are you talking about out of the blue?”
His brothers' eyes were black and white at this sudden declaration.
But when they saw the emperor's amused face, they realized that he had already obtained their father's permission.
Their father, the emperor, sometimes acts in such a surprising way.
And of the three brothers, Renato resembled the emperor the most.
Rinaldo and Angelo looked at each other and spoke in unison.
“None of your business!”
“Well, that's too bad.”
Renato shrugged his shoulders and stepped back with Mariabelle.
The emperor's voice was heard instead, “Now, play some music.
Let the ball begin.”
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