I’m Troubled That My Fiance’s A Villain – Ghost Masquerade – Episode 1

“You’re really going?”

I returned a resolute reply, ‘I am,’ without backing down as he grudgingly looked up at me.

We were across from each other, one standing up and the other sitting down on the sofa. By the way, the one standing up is me while the one sitting is Bern.

I was completely ready to go outside, all that was left was for me to get on the carriage and leave the estate but it seems that this troubled man plans on trying to stall for time till the last minute.

“I already said I’m going. If I’m not there, Ionius will be troubled.”

“I hope your plans fall through.”

He nonchalantly said so, his vest fastened around him– or rather, it’s better to say that the vest didn’t envelope him but that it molded to his body, as he smoothly brushed my waist.

Does he really hate me going out by myself that much?

Anyways, the hand he brushed my waist with felt somewhat indecent so I slapped it off of me.

Bern raised a small complaint, ‘Ow!’

From spring of last year till summer, it was short but hurried, and sometimes dangerous things happened as well– Prince Edwin’s fiancee feud.

Our prenuptial trip that came about because of Elmenhilde who intruded in on us after Bern’s funeral in the winter.

Then Bern and I safely got married in early spring, summer passed by peacefully uneventfully– the seasons passed by one by one, rolling around until autumn came.

Which means it’s been a year since I dropped out of the academy. About six months have passed since my becoming a new wife, which brings us to the present.

It’s been half a year since we got married so in truth, we’re still newlyweds but unfortunately, our time being fiancees was too long so you could pretty much say that we’ve just been recklessly flirting around.

Well, that’s fine, even though I’m doing it as well… it’s embarrassing so I’ll just stop talking about this now!

That aside, the season right now is the end of summer.

And when speaking about summer when it comes to noble society– that’s right, it means it’s the social season for us.

Because of Prince Edwin’s fiancee feud last year, last social season not so much as resulted in becoming one, but it also ended in a complete mess of things. Because of that, this year’s season is extremely lively.

Bern’s situation is that he was officially dead so we could only participate in events that we really had to attend and even if we could attend, Bern has to hide his face using a mask, attracting attention, so it was normal for us to only give our greetings and quickly go home.

But tonight, this wasn’t the case.

Tonight, the evening party is being led and organized by the house of Duke Brunsmeier.

It seems that underneath it all, the fight for power between the new Crown Prince faction and the former Queen faction is still intensely going on but this season is ending with an evening party organized by the Brunsmeier house so it’s been getting a lot of attention.

Moreover. Moreover.

For some reason, this evening party isn’t just a simple ball.

It’s a masquerade ball where all attendees are required to wear masks.

The former Duke Brunsmeier, Bern and Katerina’s father, is hosting it but the actual hostess is Katerina so as expected, Bern and I were invited to this masquerade ball.

Bern hasn’t really publicly shown his face much so thinking how this party was beyond my wildest dreams, I danced about with the invitation in hand, and simply thought:

We can go as long as he hides his face with a mask!

A fundamental rule of a masquerade ball is that if the person wishes it, they can’t be forcibly asked their true identity, and others can’t also inquire of it even after the ball has opened.

It was just a way of enjoying without knowing who your partner is.

Which is why I hoped that it would be okay for Bern to participate with me as well. I bustled about, wondering what kind of dress is popular right now.

But, to my regret… Yes, to my extreme regret…

Bern had things to do he couldn’t leave alone, and isn’t able to participate this time around!

It’s a heavy crime playing around with my feelings.

I’ll never forgive you.

Bern joined Marquis Rietberg’s family as a son-in-law but he’s still keeping in touch with Duke Rottger and is still a part of the Intelligence Bureau.

He says the he does the odd jobs that look good but he’s busier, having to go on business trips about two to three times a month. Recently, he’s been working more often with Darius, who another person in-charge of the odd jobs for Duke Rottger, and during those times, it seems he finds it difficult having to work under Darius’ guidance.

He once told me about how the Intelligence Bureau is structured but it was so complex I didn’t remember anything at all. Because of that, I still don’t know what position and how high up the chain Bern really is.

I’ll just resign myself and accept blame for my lack of awareness as his wife.

Let’s go back to talking about the masquerade ball.

Where did I stop off again?

Oh yeah, I was talking about how I fell down to Earth when Bern messed with my feelings of excitement, thinking we could actually attend this time since everyone’s going to be wearing masks.

I don’t really like parties that much but of course, after all’s said and done, it’s incredibly sad having to attend every year, watching from afar how everyone is having fun.

Besides, this is one of the few chances that an academy graduate can meet their friends at a party.

Especially since Katerina’s been somewhat busy, intermingling and studying in order to take over the business of the Duchy, and and it’s only around this time we’re able to see her.

The last time we saw each other was at our wedding, so the time in which I’ve been married is equal to how long I haven’t seen Katerina.

And yet, when it comes to Bern, his job comes first. His job! He said his job! Did you hear that, Madam!?

It was at that moment when I sulkily complained to Bern as I cutely plaited his long bangs.

It suddenly came to me.

It’s not like I can’t attend at all without Bern.

It’s okay as long as I have someone escorting me.

If so, instead of a husband who heartlessly prioritizes his job over his new wife’s request, then I’ll just have that husband of mine’s friend escort me.

At that moment, like being hit by a white-feathered arrow, I thought of Ionius as that friend.

If it’s him, he’s famous in high society for getting along well with Katerina, and even if I, who’s close to Katerina, brought him as my escort, they wouldn’t care since I’d be able to help them meet up. It’s also the perfect insurance for if his identity gets exposed.

Sorry, but no way can anyone tell me that I’m cheating early on in my marriage.

Well, as for the Rietberg’s son-in-law, my husband, as well as a masked man of enigma, there are many speculations flying about early on in our marriage so it feels like something I can’t deny after all this time.

Because of this, I’ll pretty much be going to the masquerade ball by myself.

And it looks like that this is what Bern still doesn’t agree to, which brings us back to the problem in the beginning of whether I should go or not.

“I mean, you also leave the house for work, right? Even if it’s troublesome, it’s not like I can’t stand it enough to just stare blankly alone at home. Seriously… Why do you hate this so much?”

For someone like him who immediately agrees all the time even if I don’t go to unusually grumble about this, I asked him, suspicious, and he hesitated.

After that, with slightly downcast eyes, he answered like so, displeased:

“…You’re going to dance with a man aside from me, aren’t you?”

Don’t tell me I can’t even so much as dance?

Or should I be happy that my husband is jealous right now? That this is much better than him freely allowing me to go wherever I please?

Though I have a feeling that’s not the only reason.

I especially don’t have much basis on this but if I had to put a name to it, it’s what my woman’s intuition tells me.

Even though I’m saying this myself, my intuition seems to be right that this is extremely suspicious.

I mean, I pretty much have no intention on dancing with someone I don’t know. I’m sure he knows that as much as I do.

No, but wait, it’s true that I’m going to be dancing with my escort so–

“So you mean to say, Ionius can’t escort me?”

“He’s, well, okay but…”

I mean, you just said he’s okay.

Hmmm.

“So you’re saying it’s okay as long as it’s an acquaintance?”

When I said so with somewhat ill intentions, a short silence fell on us, and then Bern let out a heavy sigh.

That sigh looked like he was saying he has no other choice, realizing that he’ll lose unless he changes his mind on it.

“Run away immediately if a man you don’t know does weird things to you. Since usually, masquerade balls are parties where stupid guys appear in droves… Even if you call out to them, assume that they have ulterior motives so don’t leave your partne… Okay, no, I’m definitely going to be worried so just don’t leave Ionius’ side…”

“Okay, okay, got it.”

Since I’m not a kid.

Seeing through my shock, Bern showed a slightly serious expression, tightly gripping both my hands.

“I’m worried.”

“Then isn’t it better if you come with me as well?”

“If I could, I would…”

Bern’s shoulders dropped, down heartened, as if to say, ‘If not for work–

It felt somewhat pathetic of me to tease him any more than this.

He’s right though. If it wasn’t for his work, he’d come together with me.

I crouched down, meeting Bern’s gaze as he sat on the sofa.

“It’s fine. No matter how many masks I put on, there’s no man that would specifically ask out a plain girl like me.”

“That’s because I’m always beside you. What if you get drunk at the party and some annoying guy happens to be there to look after you, who’s too kind, not knowing you’re already married– he might carelessly fall in love with you, right?!”

“Why is that so specific…”

Also, why does that sound like the beginnings of a romance novel?

Bern is surprisingly a romanticist even though he’s overtly serious and rational.

“I’ve already decided to go, okay?”

“…Got it.”

I wonder if you really do.

I didn’t humor Bern, his expression screwed up as if he ate a bug, but kissed him with just a slight touch of our lips.

The slight confusion on his face really funny, and I got up, holding back my laughter.

The hem of the deep blue dress I took out from excitement of not having been to an evening party in a long time lightly fluttered about, gold thread glittering.

I’m a little uneasy but, well, it’s not like something bad’s going to happen to me, right?

“Can I put on your mask?”

“As you wish.”

I lightly shrug my shoulders, and he quietly took my mask from me.

So that he could easily put the mask on me, tying the ribbon fastened to it, I turned around. I heard the soft sound of silk rustle about, and the mask pressed onto my face was somewhat comfortable but tight.

“I’m off.”

At the same time as I said those words, I felt a soft touch on my nape.

A warm and wet sensation.

It was a kiss.

“Gyaaaa!?”

He pushed down on where he kissed me, and Bern showed a child-like smile, showing I’ve been deceived, as I angrily shouted, “Hey!”

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