The recitation of poetry was an important aspect to the culture of ladies of that kingdom.
In order to show the depth of one’s education, the recitation of poems was often performed at tea parties.
As it was related to the quality of one’s upbringing and personal reputation, every family competed to teach their daughters in that aspect.
…If it’s poetry recitation, then Corinna is definitely not good at it.
Corinna couldn’t recite poetry for a fact.
Far from reciting, she’d slur when reading aloud.
As such, Avril had no choice but to follow suit.
Somehow, I have to get through this.
Without offending her, of course.
Then, the rest should be easy.
“Anything is fine.
Can you tell me your favorite poem”
“That’s impossible, I can’t remember anything.”
Despite Avril’s flat out refusal, Alexandra didn’t back down.
“Is that so Well, it’s fine. ‘—In the evening when the sun goes down…’”
“‘…Basking in the afterglow of the leaves and the shade of the madder sun, I thought of my childhood longing.
The thought of never returning.
The desire to go home.
Amidst the darkness of night, the tears of the moon.
Longing for the voice of others.
Yet, not a soul to be seen, just as the stars didn’t fall.
There, beyond the memories, the lingering scent of Osmanthus as the morning descents.
“So, despite it being a lesser-known niche poem, you are aware of it.
Not to mention, by heart How impressive.”
Before Avril noticed it, she had recited the continuation of Alexandra’s poem.
Not to mention, flawlessly.
…! Why is this happening—!!
It was one of Avril’s bad habits to speak of whatever came to mind at the moment.
In my defense, it’s a passage of my favorite poem…!
Avril wasn’t allowed any opportunity to recite poetry.
Nevertheless, she had the opportunity to read and even admire them.
For Avril, memorizing a poem was but a trivial matter.
To Avril, who hung her head, Alexandra said triumphantly.
“Moreover, just now, I recited it in classical language.
Did you notice You continued the poem in classical language, as well.
Even your pronunciation was excellent.”
…Lady Alexandra is a superb tactician.
How amazing! …Although now isn’t the time to be impressed with her talent.
From the way she spoke to her, it was apparent that Alexandra didn’t think badly of Avril.
I’d rather be scolded…
But that seemed to be impossible.
Despite Avril’s earnest plea, Alexandra cut to the case.
“My former fiancé is quite baffling.
He attended a strange gathering called a masquerade.
It was to find a playmate, he said.”
“Afterwards, he got involved with a certain infamous girl.
As a result, I had to dissolve my engagement.
Well, due to that, I ended up engaged to the crown prince.
He’s been pestering me since childhood—my apologies, I got sidetracked for a moment.”
After clearing her throat, Alexandra resumed.
“What I’m wondering is, why would they refer to someone like you as a villainess No matter how I think about it, it’s outrageous.”
“A, although my performance leaves much to be desired, I’m truly a villainess…”
Avril was aware that she only had a few cards left.
That day, she wore a dress suitable for a duchess—as in, the dress Chris had picked.
By the way, the color of her lipstick was also pale.
Thus, to salvage her reputation, Avril thought of flirting with a man.
However, the men who had been with Avril until just before were only Dylan and Chris, her husband and his aide.
…Goodbye, my carefree life under a nice contract!
When Avril decided to tell the truth, Alexandra took an apple from the plate on top of the table—
—and proceeded to squeeze it.
—T, the talented noble lady crushed an apple with one hand!!!
“…You see, ever since I was little, I had been touted as the smartest child.
Then, a certain girl appeared.
She was rumored to be smarter than me.
Since then, I’ve always been curious about her.”
“You were like my driving force, so to speak.
I was able to overcome my father’s opposition to attend the academy because I thought that you’d be there, too.”
“Uhm, Lady Alexandra…”
Avril was truly at a loss.
Regardless, Alexandra went on.
“…And yet—! When I finally met that girl, she’s a villainess with the worst reputation imaginable—! What’s going on, here—! Who gave you such a bad reputation and labeled you as a villainess instead of giving you a proper education—! I’ll rip your younger sister to shreds—!!”
T, that’s… I, I became a villainess under my own accord, besides…
…How do I say this Lady Alexandra… is unlike what I imagined…
Where did that dignified noble lady disappear to—
In front of the confused Avril, Alexandra wiped her hand with a handkerchief and gave her a smile that didn’t at all reflect the misery of the apple.