It is a gorgeous scene.
A magnificent banquet had been prepared, glasses of champagne were served generously. The beautifully constructed and decorated dance hall was filled with the movement of vibrantly colored dresses of the latest fashion, and sophisticated tailcoats and tuxedos.
Yet this was just one of the many sites that this world called society was made of; I could not take this too lightly.
A normal child would have surely been awestruck at seeing something so gorgeous for the first time. Either that or they would be overly excited and act in a very unladylike manner.
However, I was a genius. I had to show them all that I was not to be compared with other children.
I would fulfill my obligation as a single element that made up this gorgeous social scene. And I will show them that I exist here. I, Christina Noir.
And so I gracefully pulled one foot inwards at a slanted angle, bent the knee of my other leg softly and bowed, as I lightly lifted the hem of my skirt.
“I am pleased to meet you. My name is Christina Noir, I am the only child of the Noir family.”
I had to repeat this ceaselessly. But even so, my courtesy was never short of perfect and the portly man now in front of me could not help but smile with pleasure.
“How polite of you. I am Augustin Istar of the Istar family.”
“Lord Augustin of house Istar…oh! Why, my family has been long acquainted with your most noble house. Father has told me that he’s known you since you were students.”
It was one thing for someone my age to speak appropriate and rehearsed lines, but a child speaking so fluently amongst adults was a rarity. Furthermore, there were certainly no seven-year-olds other than I, a genius, who could tell you of the relationships between families by just hearing a name.
Count Istar’s eyes widened in surprise when I not only introduced myself but started a conversation.
“That is correct… But, what a surprise. You are not only lovely and graceful, but you carry yourself in a way that suggests greater intellect and breeding than most grown-ups. My, my, Duke Noir, you are truly blessed to have such a wonderful and enviable daughter!”
“No, no. You are much too kind. …No, really. Is he not, Christina?”
There was something of a twitch in father’s smile as he answered Count Istar. I wonder why? As his daughter, I did the perfect greeting and even brought up a topic of conversation, yet his eyes when he called me seemed to say:
Are you really Christina?
It was horrible. As his daughter, it hurt me to have my own father look at me that way. I gracefully lowered my eyes, and with a show of embarrassment, agreed with my father.
“Yes. I have only just begun with my studies. I am just filled with worry that I may not be following the rules of etiquette correctly. …Lord Augustin, how do you feel I am doing?”
“I do not see a lady here that can be considered superior to you, and that includes the grown-ups! Your father here has often excused your absence from social events as being due to you being an ‘incurable tomboy’, good gracious! Excessive modesty can quickly become disagreeable, Count Noir!”
My father laughed weakly. I, on the hand, gave my best princess smile upon hearing this reputation my father had bestowed upon me in the past.
“Oh, no Count Augustin. My father spoke truthfully. I am very different back at the mansion compared to a public events such as this. I am most ashamed to admit it, but I do like to frolic a little in the comfort of our mansion…”
My father’s eyes looked like they desperately wanted to ask, ‘A little?’, but he kept smiling in silence.
“Dear, dear. If anything, I am much relieved to hear it. You have the grace of a grown-up, yet you still have a childish side as well. After all, the fact that you can navigate between the two means you have the intelligence to distinguish.”
“Oh! Please do not flatter me so much. So much praise might cause my spirits to rise to the sky.”
“Hahaha! And you even have a sense of humility, you are a most wonderful young lady. I very much look forward to meeting you again.”
“I would be delighted.”
We lightly take each other’s hands as a show of friendship. And with an elegant smile, I sent Count Istar off on his way.
Hmm. I really was perfect. Count Istar would, without a doubt, have the name Christina Noir engraved in his brain as a most accomplished young lady. At this rate, it would not be long before I was known far and wide within society. In other words, it would not be long before the day that I can laugh in Mariywa’s face.
A wave of laughter was already threatening to force its way from my lips, but clearly, a haughty laugh in this place would do me little favors. I swallowed it down, digested it and tried my best to hide it from my expression.
Count Istar had gone, and as no one else had come to greet us, we had a short moment to rest. My father spoke in a quiet voice so that he would not be overheard amongst the pleasant chatting of the other guests.
What was it now? Protected in my princess skin, I reacted by slowly lifting my eyes upwards to look at him.
“Are you really Christina then?”
My father, now he’s actually putting his doubts into words.
Along with the reputation he had spread, this was beyond offensive. I am a genius and a child who can do anything. And more than that, I am the daughter of a noble family who could be presented anywhere without shame. Any disparaging of me, be it from family or others was quite unforgivable.
Perhaps I would punish him a little for this.
As I was very, very hurt by these suspicions from my own blood, I held a hand up to my mouth and chortled in an attempt to prompt his anxiety even further.
“Oh, have you not noticed yet? I am not Christina. I am a fairy who was attracted to Mishuly, the most adorable angel in the world. I wanted so much to be with the archangel Mishuly, that I switched places with your true daughter, Christina.”
I gave him a threatening and pretty smile, as a fairy would. Father sighed in relief.
“Ahh, thank heavens. Yes, you are unmistakably Christina.”
“What gave it away?”
He had seen through my lie, a lie which anyone else would have agreed was perfectly reasonable. I continued to cover my mouth so that no one could see and pouted.