The hall where the ball was organized was brightly illuminated.
I smiled elegantly and walked forward accompanied by Lena. She was grabbing my arm and smiling politely to the surroundings, but from time in time, she would look at me from a corner of her eyes and curve her lips happily.
All the people inside the hall clapped loudly when we entered. It was nothing more than a courtesy due to my birthday, but I enjoyed it regardless.
After walking until my father’s location, I bowed slightly and Lena grabbed the hem of her dress and curtsied.
“Your majesty.” “Father.” Both of us greeted politely.
My father nodded with a gratifying smiled. “Mm, you are very beautiful today, Lena. You too, son.”
Lena grinned happily but I simply nodded. I knew that father’s words were nothing more than a formality. The truth is, father probably hates me more than anyone.
He probably considers me the one that killed his beloved.
… Maybe, that is part of the reason that he never did anything despite the bullying Dina and I went through in the palace.
After that, I had to greet all the guest that came to the ball. It was something very tiring, and one of the things I hate the most about being a noble, but I finished it with an elegant smiled and refreshing face despite my disgust for them.
Most of the nobles in this hall are disgusting people. The only reason that they are here is to curry favor with my father, and none of them could care less about me. After all, it’s a well-known secret that I have not a chance of getting the throne.
Afterward, it was time for the ball.
As the main character of the ball, I had the responsibility for the first dance. Normally, this dance is done together with the mother or the fiancée, but my mother is dead, and my relationship with my fiancée is… a bit bad? Either way, Lena insisted on being my first dance partner and I agreed.
Under the warmhearted gazes of the guest, and the displeased gaze of the empress, we began to dance.
Both Lena and I are pretty good at dancing, so we did it without much problem. Lena was smiling the entire way, and I smiled too while following her rhythm and helping her when she lost the rhythm.
Once the dance finished, Lena reluctantly released my hands and gave way to my next partner.
After that, I danced with Dina and some other distinguished guests. My stepmother never danced with me, citing that she felt a bit sick, but our bad relationship was not a secret for anyone so nobody found it strange.
What they found strange was that my fiancée did not come to the ball.
I could hear some people talking softly behind my back And pointing to me while gossiping about the reason because she did not come to the ball, but I decided to ignore them.
At that moment, my father stood up and raised a cup of wine.
“I have a few words to say.” He spoke in a dignified tone and the entire hall quieted down. He then looked at me. “Today we are celebrating the 18th birthday of my fourth son. I’m pleased by your presence here on this happy day.
“I want to take advantage of this opportunity to make some announcements. Firstly, I want to announce that the first prince, Alan Quintin, will be the crown prince from today onwards.”
Instantly, the hall went completely silent.
Big sister Dina paled when she heard those words, and I frowned deeply. Father’s words had a deep meaning. Not because he chose the eldest son as the crown prince, after all, it was something that everybody could see coming. Instead, it was because he chose this moment, the celebration of my birthday, to announce it.
I could not avoid but have a bad premonition about father’s next words.
And as I thought, it was not something good for me.
“Secondly, Claus will begin to attend the imperial institute next week. Now that he is eighteen, he will take the courses required for nobles and use the opportunity to socialize with other youngsters of his age.
“Finally, once he finishes his five years of study, he will be sent to the Boread Region to take the position of governor.”
Once my father finished his words, a commotion spread in the surroundings.
At the same time, Dina and Lena paled completely.
Although the position of governor sounds nice, the Boread Region is a poor place in the far south of the empire. It’s a cursed place filled with beasts, barbarians, and demons. Few humans live there, and the people in charge of that place die every few years.
Sending a prince there is the same as exiling him.
Moreover, he announced the exile on the day of my birthday.
Yes… It was a humiliation.
I always knew that father, no, the emperor, hated me, but I never thought that it would be at this degree.
Moreover, despite his hatred, he never took action against me or showed it before. The only reason I knew he hated me was due to the experience I accumulated during my many lifetimes
Is there a hidden reason behind the exile? I could not help but try to think of a reason.
But no matter what the reason is, the cold truth is that he exiled and humiliated me.
What a joke.
I could hear the gloating laughs and snickers coming from the surroundings. Bryan was looking at me with an expression of delight, and the empress Lilia was smirking in my direction.
It was obvious that they already knew about it beforehand.
Nevertheless, while others were laughing at my misfortune, and while father looked at me with an unfathomable expression, I kept my expressionless face.
I stared at father calmly. None of the laughs or insults could enter my ears, no malicious gaze could change my expression.
In the end, I simply bowed.
Then, I left the hall.
I, Claus Quintin, am a reincarnated individual, and this is my 708th reincarnation.
And something that 708 lifetimes taught me, is that revenge tastes sweeter when it’s served cold.