Abandoned by my Childhood Friend, I Became a War Hero Chapter 97

Chapter 97- Imperial Palace Ball (3)

༺ Imperial Palace Ball (3) ༻





  Just before entering the ballroom, Elizabeth put a mask on me. It was a black wolf mask, intricately engraved with golden patterns.


  “…If we’re going to wear masks, why did we bother with makeup?”


  I asked, awkwardly fiddling with the ends of my oil-slicked hair. The elegant suit, not at all designed for activity, was uncomfortably constricting.


  Elizabeth turned to me, her smile genuinely carefree.


  “I wanted to see you all dressed up, Instructor. Plus, when people see a mask, they tend to imagine the face hidden beneath it.”


  She said in a teasing tone, and then she herself donned a white fox mask.


  “From now on, we need to be careful with what we say. As soon as we enter, we’ll be the center of attention. And you mustn’t call me Elizabeth here.”


  “Then what should I call you?”


  “People usually choose pseudonyms. They often name each other after the masks. Hm… then I’ll call you Wolf Gentleman, and you can call me Fox Lady.”




  “Or if you don’t like it, you can call me Elise.”


  Frankly, I didn’t like either, but regardless of my feelings, it was time to enter the ball.


  As it was a masquerade, there was no special announcement upon entry. But Elizabeth’s silver hair was an unmistakable feature that no one could fail to recognize.


  Just as she had predicted, as soon as we entered the room, the surroundings fell silent. All eyes were on Elizabeth and me.


  “Look over there. That’s definitely…”


  “My goodness, she’s really safe!”


  “But who’s that person with her?”


  Unbothered by the public gaze, Elizabeth leaned softly against my arm and walked, as if to show off. Because of her, the expressions around us turned into a mix of shock and bewilderment.


  It seemed that Marian and Schultz had recognized me from afar, as their gazes joined the general astonishment.


  “After the party today, there’s going to be a fuss to identify any nobleman with black hair. Of course, there’s likely no such person.”


  Elizabeth murmured in a low voice, giving me a secretive smile only visible from my angle. Thanks to the soft music, the murmur of the crowd, and our unnecessarily close distance, her whisper wouldn’t be heard by anyone else.


  I responded in a calm tone, “They don’t necessarily have to look among nobles, do they?”


  “True, but it won’t be easy to find. I’ve already sent people to the intelligence agency. You wanted to stay hidden, didn’t you?”




  Could this be considered hiding in a situation where everyone’s attention was focused on us…


  Elizabeth had invited me to this party for sure as it seemed a suitable place to have a conversation. However, this attention-drawing venue didn’t seem to be the ‘appropriate place’ she had mentioned.


  I frowned slightly, “I’d like to get to the point. Why did you bring me here?”


  “Oh, so soon? The ball has just begun. Wouldn’t it be okay to enjoy at least one dance?”


  “Sorry, but I’ve never learned to dance.”


  “Don’t worry. You’ll do fine if you’re with me.”


  I still couldn’t figure out what Elizabeth was thinking. But now that we were already in the ballroom, refusing seemed meaningless. I decided to follow Elizabeth’s lead for the time being.


  Elizabeth led me towards the center of the ballroom, a place that garnered even more attention than the entrance.


  She placed her hand on my shoulder, and with her other hand, she clasped mine.


  “Place your right hand below my waist,” she said.




  “No, not there… a little lower. Yes, there. That’s right.”


  We started to move slowly with the music. Elizabeth led with her light and skilled steps, and I gradually followed her.


  Elizabeth’s dancing skills were truly exceptional, fitting her title as a princess. Even to me, who knew nothing about dancing, this was noticeable. Her lead was very natural, and she seemed to even match the pace for me.


  She drew her upper body closer to mine and whispered in her red lips, “Don’t think of it as dancing, think of it as matching your breath with mine.”


  “Breath, huh…”


  From that moment, I started focusing on Elizabeth’s movements as if we were in a duel. When she pulled, I followed, and when she gently pushed, I let myself be pushed.


  At first, I was solely concentrating on matching Elizabeth’s movements, but as time passed, I gradually got used to the dance. Before I knew it, I was the one moving to the rhythm of the music.


  Elizabeth looked at me with a faint smile, “You’re now dancing better than me. No one would believe it if you said this was your first dance.”


  “It’s not difficult once you get used to it.”


  As the orchestra’s performance reached its peak and the tempo increased, our steps also became more lively. Despite the faster tempo, Elizabeth followed my lead with fluid movements.


  As the climax of the song quietly came to an end, our dance also stopped. At the same time, cheers and applause erupted throughout the ballroom.


  Clap, clap, clap, clap!!


  “Incredible! It was such a perfect dance!”


  “How can they move so beautifully!”


  Standing in the center of the stage, we were now the focus of all the nobles present.


  Entering the ballroom alone wouldn’t have drawn this much attention. I had a hunch that these cheers were what Elizabeth had been aiming for from the start.


  At this moment, the stars of the ballroom were none other than Elizabeth and me.


  And there was one person who was not pleased with this.


  “What a wonderful dance! Absolutely spectacular!”


  It was Prince Wilhelm.




  He was a man with various entanglements with me. Our eyes met for a moment, but only for a moment. The days when I would feel anger from just that had long passed.


  I knew I would meet him anyway. It wasn’t surprising at all.


  Meeting face-to-face like this… it’s been five years already.


  Wilhelm walked towards us, applauding with a bright smile. It was a very hearty smile, but the stiffness of his lips made it easy to read the discomfort he was feeling right now.


  He naturally blended into the crowd’s attention and spoke with an exaggerated tone.


  “My dear fri… ahem! The lady in the… um, fox mask? Your dance was as beautiful as a painting.”


  “Oh, thank you. I am embarrassed by such generous praise for my modest skills.”


  “Modest, not at all. My applause was not in vain. So, what about me as your next dance partner? I will not be lacking in any way.”


  Wilhelm’s tone was certainly inviting, but there was a confidence in his voice that did not consider the possibility of being rejected.


  His intent was clear. He probably wanted to dance with Elizabeth to redirect people’s attention back to him.


  However, Elizabeth responded with a polite smile.


  “Thank you very much for your kind words, but I’m afraid that will be difficult. I have already danced with my partner for today, and I don’t plan on dancing with anyone else.”


  “What, what did you say…?”


  Wilhelm’s voice was colored with surprise. At the same time, the murmuring among the surrounding nobles became even more intense.


  It was a natural reaction to have rejected the prince’s proposal, but the degree of that reaction was more intense than I thought. I felt something more than just a rejection of the prince’s proposal.


  Could there be some meaning I didn’t know about dancing with only one person at a ball? It was a fact unknown to me, completely ignorant of the culture of the nobility.


  Finally, Wilhelm’s gaze turned to me.


  “No, are… are you two in such a relationship? Really? It’s hard to believe….”


  He looked at me with a skeptical eye.


  I calmly met Wilhelm’s gaze.


  Despite direct eye contact with the prince, there was no fear or politeness in my attitude. Wilhelm’s face distorted slightly at my impassive gaze, but soon he tilted his head and opened his mouth with a puzzled voice.


  “Hmm? Wait… Have we met somewhere?”


  He stroked his chin and sunk into deep thought, and finally, he continued with an uncertain tone.


  “Well, it’s natural that we’ve met somewhere. I meet so many people. But it really feels like I’ve seen you somewhere….”


  At that moment, Elizabeth gently interjected between Wilhelm and me.


  “I’m sorry to interrupt your conversation, but I’m a little tired after a vigorous dance. Would it be okay if I take my partner and spend some time alone?”


  “…Ah, I see. Then I can’t disturb you. Have a good time.”


  “Thank you. And, sir….”




  As Elizabeth elegantly bowed, lifting the ends of her skirt, she halted Wilhelm, who was about to leave.


  Elizabeth lifted her red lips and spoke.


  “Did you hear the news by any chance? Traces of powerful dark mana were found in the ruins of the destroyed airship.”


  “…What? What does that mean?”


  “Goodness, dark mana! Isn’t it too scary? Surely no one is conspiring with the demons? Especially, it seems like someone deliberately blew up the airship… As a proud member of the empire, it is deeply worrisome that our country’s security has been compromised. The rumors say that the culprit is actually the empire’s noble little sun……”


  At Elizabeth’s frightened voice, the surrounding nobles became even more noisy. Their faces showed both shock and confusion.


  Wilhelm, noticing the murmuring around him, yelled as if he were having a seizure.


  “Nonsense! The explosion at the airship was an accident! And demons! Prince Wilhelm! That’s really preposterous! How do you intend to take responsibility for your words now!?”


  “…Oh my, I apologize if it wasn’t so. It was just a trivial chatter of a girl who loves rumors. …And I never mentioned Prince Wilhelm. Is that your personal opinion?”


  At those words, Wilhelm looked as if he had made a mistake. His clenched fist trembled. Elizabeth laughed with a grin.


  “Don’t get so angry, sir. This is a masquerade. The words behind the masks are just a dream of a night. Or perhaps… are you going to take off your mask and reveal your true identity? Surely not? I believe you’re not the type to ruin the charm of the masquerade.”


  “You, you…! How dare you! Flapping your lips like that… Someone like you…!”


  Although Wilhelm looked enraged, in the end, he didn’t do anything.


  He knew that revealing his identity here because he couldn’t tolerate a ‘mere rumor’ would truly mar his dignity.


  At that moment, Elizabeth winked at me, and I knew it was time to retreat.


  “…Let’s go, Elise.”


  “Hehe… Yes. We will take our leave. I hope you all have a good time.”


  There was no one who didn’t know that it was a nickname for the princess. Leaving behind the prince’s anger and the surrounding shock, we entered the terrace attached to the ballroom.


  As soon as the curtain fell behind me, I said to Elizabeth.


  “Get off me now.”


  Only then did she let go of my arm.


  “Was this what you wanted to show me?”


  Elizabeth said with a smile.


  “Did you like the one-act play I prepared?”








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Abandoned by my Childhood Friend, I Became a War Hero

Abandoned by my Childhood Friend, I Became a War Hero

Score 9.00
Status: Ongoing Released: 2023 Native Language: Korean
After experiencing heartbreak from being abandoned he enlisted in the military. And then, he became a war hero.


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