Chapter 21: The Dream of Saint Iris

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A girl leaned out of a window on the second floor of the mansion and gazed at the large front yard of the duke’s house.

Her long blonde hair, half up, waved softly in the spring breeze, as beautiful as a shining streak of light.

Her light red lips drew a lovely arc with uncontrollable excitement, and her white porcelain cheeks were slightly tinged with vermilion.

“Gideon, are you almost home? Are you here yet?”

The Duchess of Lancaster, in the drawing room, smilingly chided the girl.

“Iris, you’ll be waiting for another thirty minutes.
Why don’t you sit here and have some tea? Would you like another tart?”

Iris, the daughter of the Marquis of Zefarm, who lives next door, has been a frequent visitor to the Duke’s residence since she was a baby.
She is also the daughter of the best friend of the Duchess, and she has loved her like her own child.

Gideon, the next in line to Duke Lancaster, and Iris grew up like a brother and sister.

When Iris learned that Gideon would be returning to the Duchy today for the first time in a long time, she came to the duchy in the early afternoon to talk with the Duchess.

However, as time went on, she became more and more distracted by looking out the window.

“Because Gideon is finally coming home from the royal palace today!”

When Gideon started working at the royal palace, he stayed in the dormitory and rarely came home.
The long student life at the National Academy of Magic was also spent in the dormitory, so Iris, who loved Gideon, really missed him.

She waited for an hour.
The sound of rattling wheels could be heard in the distance and soon a black carriage stopped in front of the Lancaster family gate.

“It’s Gideon!”

Iris pulled herself away from the window and ran down the hallway, hurrying down the stairs.
Unusually for Iris, she skipped down the stairs two steps at a time, but the fluffy carpeted stairs did a good job of muffling the impact and sound.

She opened the double doors with both hands and ran out of the entrance hall.
As she ran past the fountain in the front yard, she saw Gideon walking from the other side.

“Welcome back! I’ve missed you so much!”

She spread her arms and hugged Gideon.

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He wore a purple robe, laughed a little tiredly and gently pushed Iris away.

“Hey Gideon, how was work at the palace?”

“It wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be, which is a relief.”

Gideon slung his bag over his shoulder and walked straight into the house.
Iris followed him, thinking that a maid of honor or butler should be allowed to carry the bag.

Gideon hugged the Duchess, who was standing in the entrance hall waiting for him, and after a brief conversation, he went straight to his room.

Walking down the long corridor of the Duke’s house, Gideon was strikingly beautiful enough, even in his all-purple robe.

Iris looked up at Gideon enthralled as she walked next to him.

There is no other man in the world as perfect as Gideon, is there? Compared to Gideon, any man would look hazy.
Or so it seems.

“Gideon, there are some delicious tarts.
I got one too.
Come to the living room for tea.”

“Iris, I worked until late last night.
I want to sleep in my room for a while, please let me rest.”

Iris followed Gideon down the corridor to his room.

The Duchess has invited me to dinner as well.
I’ll go home and come back in the evening.

“Thank you.
I’ll be up in time for dinner.”

Iris followed Gideon to the front of his room and reached out with both hands to place them on his shoulders.
She stretched out and kissed him lightly on the cheek.

“Have a good rest.
I’ll see you later.”

Iris sighed as the door slammed shut in front of her.

Back at the Marquis of Zefarm’s house, Iris passed the time in her private tea room.

Sitting at a round table covered with a lovely little bird embroidered cloth, she drank the tea brought to her by her maid.

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Playing with a small piece of chocolate at her fingertips, she eats it little by little.
The sweet chocolate goes well with the dark, unsweetened tea.

At the corner of the table, there were several envelopes.
Most of the letters Iris received were invitations to parties.

However, she found one of them with a familiar shape of a seal and pulled it out of the stack of letters.

A cream-colored envelope with a hexagonal seal.

(You sent another one…)

It was a letter from Iris’s friend, Mia Jumeau.

She knew what it said even before she opened it, but just to be sure, she opened the package, took out the letter paper and opened it.
The stationery was elegant with a rose pattern, but the ink was smeared with tears and the content was pathetic.

Mia had a fiancé, but last month he suddenly asked her to break off their engagement.
Since her fiancé was the legitimate son of the Trevor family, one of the four great noble families, the Jumeau family could not protest strongly, so they were in a state of crying themselves to sleep.

Mia had been crazy about her fiancé for a long time.
He was a dream come true for her, and she was looking forward to their marriage.

“I don’t know why.
But he’s suddenly gotten cold lately.”

Mia, who was crying and complaining to herself, had lost a lot of weight.

“If you would like to talk to me, I’m always available.
You can write to me.”

That being said, Mia would write to Iris every week, full of sorrow, hoping to be comforted by her.

Iris used all the words she could to offer gentle comfort, but she didn’t tell her the truth.
Iris knew why Mia’s fiancé had broken off their engagement.

Mia’s fiancé has found a woman he likes other than Mia.

(It’s really pathetic.
She doesn’t even realize that it was me who stole her fiancé away.)

Iris still didn’t understand what it meant to be in love with a lover.

However, watching Mia fall head over heels in love with her fiancé and talk about him with a gleam in her eyes and a girl’s heart, she was very moved.

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She wondered what kind of man would be so captivated by her.

Moreover, he was a member of the four great noble families, the same as the Lancaster and Zefarm families.
He was gentle, sociable, good-looking and had a good reputation in social circles.

(Then maybe I’m the one who deserves it.
Not Mia.)

That was my motivation.

With a light heart, she feigned a coincidence and met Mia’s fiancé at a tea house popular among the nobility.

After chatting happily for a while, she intentionally dropped her bag as she left the tea house and had a thief attack her.
It was, of course, a fake thief that she had paid in advance.

She was so frightened that she clung to him and asked him to stay with her until she felt better.

Then she spoke to him in a slightly sweet voice, looked straight at him and made a thorough gesture that said, “I’m glad I met you.”

The next day, a rose was delivered to the Marquis of Zefarm.

In the following days, they met alone at the tea house many times and Iris easily stole the heart of Mia’s fiancé.

(But it was nothing as wonderful as she expected it to be.
He was boring and ordinary.)

Iris quickly grew tired of Mia’s fiancé.

She had already said goodbye to him.
However, when he lost her love, he was so depressed that he retreated to his estate and once he broke off the engagement, there was no chance of recovering it.

(I didn’t do anything wrong.
I had no idea that he would be so crazy about me.)

Mia’s fiancé wasn’t as nice as she had hoped.

The reason for this was that the man closest to Iris – Gideon, her next door neighbour, was too high-spec.

(Oh, isn’t there a better man than Gideon out there somewhere?)

Unfortunately, she has never seen a man as magnificent as her childhood friend Gideon.

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(Although, I’m like a younger sister to him…)

She was aware that her love for Gideon was going beyond a mere childhood friend.
The Lancaster and Zefarm families are on good terms.
At one time, there was even talk of an engagement between Gideon and Iris.

However, no matter how hard Iris tried, Gideon would not see her as a woman.
To Iris, Gideon was equally kind to everyone, but he never seemed to be attached to anyone.
So it was useless to fall in love with him.

That’s why she wanted to find a more compatible man as soon as possible.

However, Gideon had not been a gentleman since he was a child either.

Iris was too young to remember him, but the maids said that when he was a little boy, he was a bully and a jerk.
He was a mean kid who would pick up caterpillars and show them to Iris, then chase after her, laughing and twisting the corners of his mouth as she cried and ran away.

She could not imagine such a childhood from the Gideon of today.

But when he was six years old, Gideon had a high fever one morning and suffered from amnesia.
After that, he became a very mature child, as if he had changed.

Iris stared at a large portrait hanging on the living room wall.

It portrayed a middle-aged man dressed in military uniform, standing in front of a mountain.
The man was the founder of the Zefarm family and the first Marquis of Zefarm.

He was the man who helped the first king to unite the power of this land, which was only a collection of small countries.
At the same time, he built up a huge fortune in the spinning industry and ensured the prosperity of the Zefarm family.

When facing the first head of the family in front of this painting, all those who are of the Zefarm bloodline have a hard drive to achieve greatness worthy of the name.
It was now almost an obsession.

She had been born into a privileged family.
Iris considers this to be a kind of divine blessing.

That is why it is natural for her to lead a glorious life and anyone who interferes with that is going against God’s will.

“Today’s tea was brewed with spring-picked tea leaves from the highlands of Mount Alligator.”

The handmaiden said proudly as she poured more tea into Iris’s cup.

The best of the best.

That’s what gathers around Iris and only the best is worthy of being near her.

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