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It was finally the month to celebrate my birthday and mother decided to spend more lavishly as it was the long awaited debutante.

In the other life, my debutante was handled by Aunt Rachel, a Countess and father's sister. She did her best as my caretaker but we got seperated when I was married off to the Emperor.

"Wake up milady, there's a lot to be done for tonight's debutante", Lucy pulled the sheets and hurried me out the bed.

I yawned, "What time is it already?" it seems to be still dark outside.

"4am", she cheerfully replied.

"...." well, if she is this happy then it was worth it.

From being bathed to massaged and manicure as well as pedicure, no effort was spared until it was 6pm.

By the time I finished, Lucy was in tears.

Even I was surprised when I saw the reflection in the mirror because the person really does look like a fairy from a fantasy.

"I bet a lot of men will fight for your hand tonight milady", Lucy was truly proud of herself as this might be one of her best works of all.

Chuckling, I pat the girl's head, "Thank you Lucy. I'll make sure your salary is doubled from now on"

She gleefully danced and this made me laugh happily as I tried to dance with her too. But she told me to save the energy as I was going to spend the rest of the night dancing after all.

 But she told me to save the energy as I was going to spend the rest of the night dancing after all

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The outfit she wore for the ball, from devianart and pinterest.

Mother was astounded when she saw me and said I was always pretty and beautiful to begin with (because I inherited most of her looks). Father who was supposed to escort me towards the crowd froze when he saw me from a far and when I was near enough I could see that he was crying.

"My little girl is all grown up now. And after this she'll get stolen away by some no good guy and married and then -" he couldn't stop sobbing as his imagination went wild saying how his grandchildren would be adorable as well and they would also get stolen away by no good people and so on.

" Papa, I'll always be your daughter. Please don't cry too much as today is supposed to be a happy occasion", I smiled.

He nods and wipes away the tears. The announcer had waited a long time as father couldn't calm down. They both gave an acknowledgement look to each other.

"May I present, Duke Smith Kensington and his daughter, Lady Jade Evangeline Smith Kensington"

There were gasp as well as awes from the crowd when we emerged.

The first one we greeted was none other than the Emperor and his son, Knox.

"My, what a beautiful lady you have grown up to be. Congratulations for your debut and happy birthday Lady Jade." he greets.

"Thank you, Your Majesty. It is my greatest honour for you to be here as well as a blessing. Please enjoy your night as much as possible here" I curtsy and notice how Knox has not moved a muscle.

When I turn to look, his eyes were still staring at me yet his body wasn't moving and no speech was made.

"Your Highness?" I had to ask. Perhaps he got enchanted but knowing him again, perhaps not. I waited for a response but the only reply I got was a nod.

His Majesty the Emperor chuckle beside us and said, "Why don't you two make the first dance. You look lovely standing besides each other, like the perfect couple"

I tense. Though it was suppose to be a joke, His Majesty had said it with a clear face and serious tone. I understood the meaning right away.

"May I have this dance, milady?" the Crown Prince interrupts and brought us to the dance floor.

With that, the first dance was with Knox and this time we danced in synchronised.

"I am sorry for what happened just now. It must've made you uncomfortable", he asks when the dance started.

I unconsciously squeeze my hand but eased up and smiled at him.

"It is alright. When the time comes I will talk with His Majesty properly and hope that he can understand. I'm sorry I couldn't refute just then and have made you uncomfortable too Your Highness"

Knox gave a sad smile, "Please, call me Knox. We are friends now after all. I'll also have a talk with father and help settle the misunderstanding."

I nod. In my previous life when I called you by your name, you'd feel disgusted. Even now I was afraid of using it, "I'll try, Your Highness"

His smile dissapeared and he nods in understanding.

He mutter some words but I pretend not to hear it. Because those words only reminded me of the horrible things that happened before.

'I would not mind it if it is with you'

After the music ended, I thank His Highness for the dance and was soon met with none other than my beloved cousin Leonel.

"May I have this dance, milady?" he asks and I smiled accepting his hand.

"Did he do anything uncomfortable with you Jade?" he asks even before the music started.

"No, we were just talking Leo", I had explained how I decided to find peace with Knox and made another option out of this.

4. Befriend the prince and marry him off to his sweetheart. Then congratulate them and be as distant yet friendly as possible.

"Alright then cousin... If that's what you say. But don't hesitate to tell me whatever happens because if he does something wrong to you, then I would even gladly become the Empire's enemy just so you can be happy", there was a fire in his eyes and I could not help but worry about his future now.

I pinch his cheek until he said it was painful.

"You are his future knight as well as his sword in the future. Don't be careless with your words Leo. He already promised not to get in my way and even offer to help resolve the misunderstanding with His Majesty. Please don't throw away your future", I made sure to look into his eyes to make him know how serious I was.

Leonel stayed quiet and didn't nod but just smiled and pat my head telling me not to worry.

I sigh, "Accompany me outside for a while then. I want to take a breather as the night is still long"

"Sure milady", he immediately stop dancing and escorted me outside to the garden.

We went to the mermaid fountain my father purchased when he found out how much I love beautiful carvings on the fountains.

I sat down on the edge and look at Leo who was smiling at me.

"You look beautiful today. I forgot to tell you that when I saw you just now"

Blushing, I immediately thank him and asked what happened as I haven't seen him for long.

"I passed the test and will be knighted soon. I will walk the path that I have choosen before but this time I will also be by your side", Leo smiled. "I won't let anything bad happen to you again Jade. You are family after all"

Leo had grown to be taller and manlier it seems. I was moved and felt safe with his words.

"Thank you Leo. Your words are very assuring and as I still owe you a lot in this life, I will also swear that I will not let anything bad happen to you too as I also cherish you as a family"

I went to him for a hug. As Leo was getting taller now my hands reach near his waist and my head was on his chest. I felt safe in his hands and I am sure the woman who will marry Leo was a lucky one.

I will make you live a happy life too here.

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