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"Hi, Felicia. Happy birthday!" Standing in front of Felicia, Natasha smiled, "Sorry that I came without being invited."
"No, no… It's… It's my great pleasure, Your Grace." Felicia was almost too excited to speak properly, "I really wanted to invite you, Your Grace. But I'm not qualified… I'm just…"
"I know, I know…" Natasha gently touched Felicia's hair and comforted her, "Don't call me 'Your Grace'. Just call me Natasha like many years ago when we were playing together in the manor. I remember that back in the days when the old count was still alive, we always went hunting with uncle Samuel, Alfred and Harrington."
"I was so short and always fell over." All those memories came back to Felicia, "I cried a lot."
"Yes, you did. And ten years later, you're turning eighteen." Natasha's heart was also softened by those memories, "Alfred and uncle Samuel must be very happy in heaven seeing you become such a gorgeous noble lady."
Alfred was the eldest son of the grand duke, Natasha's elder brother, who was also a level five grand knight in his early twenties. Samuel was the elder brother of the current Count Hayne and Urbain Hayne, who was the first heir of House Hayne's title. Both of them died in the battle with the heretic knights almost ten years ago.
Ten years changed a lot. Felicia's father did not manage to inherit the title and Natasha turned from a little girl into a real warrior after her elder brother died. All the friends back in the old days gradually drifted away from each other, and those beautiful days would never come back again.
Before the princess arrived, Felicia was forcing herself to smile in order to welcome the guests and keep the party going, although she was facing great disappointment and anger. Now, different emotions mixed together in her mind and she could not hold her tears back anymore, "I'm so happy you're here tonight, Natasha."
"Don't cry, Felicia." Natasha gave Felicia a big warm hug, "You're my younger sister. As Count Hayne is sick tonight, I'll host your coming-of-age ceremony tonight."
"Yes, Your Grace." Felicia sniffed and put on a smile, "I'm so honored that the princess is going to host my ceremony."
Natasha also had tears in her eyes but she was trying to cheer Felicia up, "And my personal music consultant is gonna present you with a beautiful piece of serenade."
In her mind, Natasha was blaming Lucien for tempting her to attend the party tonight with his new serenade. As a grand knight, she did not expect that she would cry when she saw Felicia and that made her feel very shy.
Natasha and Lucien were getting more and more like friends after what happened with the heresy.
Mentioned by the princess, Lucien suddenly captured a lot of attention from the nobles and musicians present. Now all of the guests were expecting Lucien's serenade tonight.
"Welcome, Your Grace. Welcome, lady Camil, lady Silvia." Urbain was also excited and led the princess into the hall.
All the nobles and musicians were saluting the princess. Natasha was fed up with all the noble manners but was still smiling and nodding politely toward them. Silvia, while holding the princess's arm, was very nervous and her face flushed, since it was her first time showing up in public with Natasha like this, facing lots of musicians she knew.
"Mr. Christopher, good evening," Silvia greeted her teacher.
Looking at his student coming together with the princess, Christopher paused a bit as if he wanted to say something but he stopped himself. He just simply said, "Good evening, Silvia. There're several musicians here tonight, and I know you're very interested in this new music instrument."
Natasha had previously told Lucien that Silvia was interested in his new fingerings, but also that she might be too shy to talk to him, so Lucien took the initiative to talk to her. Silvia was encouraged and started to share her understanding of piano with Lucien.
The three musicians coming from Tria were completely ignored. They were a bit pissed off but there was not much they could do. After all, no one really knew them in Aalto.
However, their angry faces amused Mekanzi, standing on the other side.
When they heard that the princess went to the party tonight, many nobles rushed to come. Thus, the ceremony was put off for half an hour.
The coming-of-age ceremony was not complicated. Taking a flame-like flower and the badge of House Hayne from Felicia's mother, Natasha put them on the left side of Felicia's chest and delivered a short speech.
Then Natasha invited Felicia for an opening dance, which was the last part of the ceremony.
The dance was just gorgeous. As a level five grand knight, Natasha was excellent in strength, agility and coordination. Led by the princess, Felicia presented the best dance in her life so far.
Then it should be Lucien's turn to present his new serenade for Felicia. However, at this time, Julian came to the center of the hall.
"Your Grace, Distinguished guests, I'm Julian from the palace of Tria. I'm sorry that I just came here tonight with Mr. Griffith without lady Felicia's invitation. Here I want to present lady Felicia with a piece of my newly-written serenade, in order to bring all my best wishes."
"It seems like our talented young musician is having an unexpected challenger here." Natasha lifted her eyebrows and said to Lucien in a low voice.
Lucien shrugged his shoulders a bit. He did not really care.
Natasha nodded, "Well. Then let's welcome Julian from Tria."
Handing his sheets of music to the band, Julian was waiting for them to get prepared. Julian was quite excited since the music genre of serenade was Tria's forte.