Chapter 47: Who the Heck is That? (3)

Starchis was breaking out in a cold sweat.

Lily and Luss avoided eye contact once the meeting took place. Meanwhile, Rose seemed pleased to see Starchis.

Rose started chattering excitedly.

“Starchis-nim, what are you doing here?”

Starchis swallowed hard.

‘...Miss Rose? But she said it was Elza?’

Luss had mentioned meeting someone named Elza, but the person who came out of the bathroom was Rose.

The problem was that only Starchis seemed to be aware of this. He couldn’t deny that the Elza described in his imagination perfectly matched Rose’s appearance.

Even though Starchis couldn’t answer, Rose kept asking questions.

“Do you know Luss-nim, Starchis-nim? That’s amazing!”

Then Rose’s gaze shifted to Lily.

“...Who is this beautiful lady?”

Even though his mind went blank, Starchis’s body reacted faster. He couldn’t just stand by any longer. It was time to act.

It was like making a split-second decision in a life-or-death situation on the battlefield.

Without thinking, he awkwardly covered Rose’s mouth and slung her over his shoulder, running to a secluded spot.

Everyone was shocked by his sudden action, including Starchis himself.


“Hold on, Noona, Luss! I have something to say!”


“It’ll only take a moment!”

Not only was his back drenched in sweat, but now beads of perspiration were forming on his forehead. He had acted, but he had no idea what to do next. He just had to push through without a plan.

Starchis finally put Rose down once they were within sight of Luss and Lily but out of earshot.


Rose exhaled as her mouth was freed and her feet touched the ground again.

Starchis turned his back to Luss and Lily and faced Rose.

“Miss Rose...! I’m really sorry..!”


“This is only our second meeting, and I’ve already been so rude...”

“Oh, no..! It’s okay!”

Rose waved her hands dismissively. Her cheeks were as red as a tomato.

Surprisingly, she didn’t mind Starchis’s recent actions. His rough hand that covered her mouth, his arms lifting her like a feather.

Rather than feeling bad, she actually...

“No, it’s completely my fault. I’m sorry.”

Seeing Starchis flustered, Rose accepted his apology to ease his mind.

“Ah.. yes. Lift your head, Starchis-nim. I accept your apology.”

As she accepted his apology, Starchis’s expression relaxed a bit, but he was still visibly anxious.

Rose looked at Starchis.

Even upon a second look, he resembled the protagonist of her favorite novel. Not just in appearance, but in the aura he exuded as well.

His good nature hid an irresistible charisma. Even his somewhat rough behavior earlier was similar. The more she looked, the more amazing it was.

She didn’t wish for her favorite novel’s protagonist to come to life. After all, a novel is a novel, and reality is reality.

Yet, seeing someone so similar in real life was both exciting and appealing.

“Oh! I almost forgot.. are you okay?”


Starchis bowed his head. Rose Nisti. The daughter of the head of the family that saved his life.

“Thank you sincerely. You saved my life. You are my lifesaver.”

‘But what am I doing to my lifesaver…’

As Starchis fretted, Rose instinctively reached out and wiped the sweat off his forehead gently, asking,

“I’m glad you’re better. But is something wrong?”

Surprised by her own actions, Rose continued to wipe his sweat nonchalantly.

“Why did you act so suddenly...”

From behind Starchis, Luss and Lily watched the scene unfold.

Feeling embarrassed, Starchis finally found the words to speak.

“...But Miss Rose, I noticed earlier that Luss called you Elza. What’s that about?”

“Oh, that...”

Rose was equally flustered. This wasn’t the moment to stand tall with her lie exposed.

Especially not to Starchis, whom she wanted to impress out of curiosity or fondness.

“...Ah, please don’t be disappointed when you hear this.”

As Rose started, Starchis followed.

“I might have something that could disappoint you too, Miss Rose. It’s okay.”

Realizing he wasn’t just saying it to comfort her, Rose confessed.

“...Actually, I ran away from home.”


“Oh, but it’s not a runaway! I just wanted a little break. I was planning to go back before it got too late...”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. But then Luss-nim found me and asked if I was Miss Rose. I felt like I’d be caught if I told the truth, so I lied a bit...”

“So you said your name was Elza?”


“Out of all the names, you chose Elza?”

“It’s my maid’s name. It was the only one that came to mind.”

Starchis couldn’t believe this coincidence. It felt like fate.

It was a greater coincidence than meeting a rare sword monkey.

“What brought you here, Starchis-nim?”


Even as he tried to speak, Starchis couldn’t find the words. It was such an embarrassing lie. He thought it might come out someday, but now that the moment was here, his cheeks turned red.

What would Luss, Lily, and Vienna say if they knew about this lie?

Why did you do it? Did you want to seem like you had a girlfriend?

Why did you tell such a lie?

They’d feel betrayed.

He broke all their promises.

Starchis looked at the woman in front of him.

Pink hair, pink eyes, moderate height, a decent figure, Elza.

The girl he had vaguely described in his imagination was standing right before him.


He thought, maybe this is an opportunity.

He could create an undeniable alibi for his lie.

He felt embarrassed and ashamed to ask such a favor, but it seemed better than having Lily, Vienna, and Luss find out the truth.

“...Miss Rose, may I ask you a very strange favor?”

“Go ahead.”

Since it was something he couldn’t say with a straight face, Starchis bent down and whispered in her ear, hoping to at least hide his expression.

In a voice barely audible, he said,

“...Can you pretend to be my girlfriend?”


Rose jumped back in surprise, almost stumbling, but Starchis caught her by the shoulders. Even with his left hand being uncomfortable, it wasn’t hard as Rose was so light.

Starchis looked back. As soon as he did, Luss and Lily, who had been watching them, turned their heads away.

Starchis added,

“It doesn’t have to be for long! Just for a little while. Only in front of my friends...!”


Rose tried to calm her pounding heart. She had never experienced such a thrill in her life. She realized for the first time that her heart could beat so strongly.

She thought this might be what the phrase “heart pounding out of the chest” from novels meant.

Starchis briefly explained his situation to Rose.

How his party members had kept calling him out.

Why it was hard to refuse them.

How he became worn out.

How he lied about having a girlfriend to avoid their requests.

“Couldn’t you have just gotten a real girlfriend from among them?”

“None of my party members liked me.”

“What? But they still kept calling you out?”

“I know it seems strange, but I’ll explain that part later.”

Then Starchis told her how he had described his imaginary girlfriend to his party members.

Pink hair, pink eyes, moderate height, a decent figure, named Elza.

He told her how she matched every detail, even the name.

Rose found it fascinating that everything about the imaginary girlfriend, even the name, was the same as hers.

A lie about having a girlfriend wasn’t surprising to someone who read many novels.

In novels, crazy things happen all the time.

It was just surprising to see such a situation happen in real life.

But the fact that the imaginary girlfriend matched her appearance and even her name was truly astonishing.

It was like Starchis’s imagined girlfriend was exactly like her, just as her favorite novel’s protagonist was exactly like Starchis.

This couldn’t be anything but fate.

Having been cooped up in a boring mansion, coming out and experiencing all these dizzying and thrilling events made her smile uncontrollably.


“...Miss Rose?”

Rose looked up at Starchis without hiding her smile.

“Alright. I’ll do it.”

The situation was amusing.

And it was an opportunity to get closer to Starchis.

Pretending to be his girlfriend... it meant she could act even closer to him than usual.

Rose had nothing to lose.

Starchis’s dark expression completely vanished. He felt the exhilarating rush of being saved from a dire situation.


“Yes, I’ll do it. I just need to pretend to be your girlfriend, right?”

“Yes! That’s all you need to do!”

Seeing someone as big as him being so delighted like a child made Rose smile.

“But in return, Starchis-nim, you’ll have to grant me one wish later.”

Even if he refused, she planned to help him. But Rose was still a noble, a prodigy who handled even the affairs of the Nisti family.

Negotiation was her forte.

“A-a wish?”

Of course, he had to agree, but the word “wish” brought back memories of past difficulties. He had struggled when he gave wish tokens to Luss and Vienna.

Realizing that it would be rude to hesitate and dwell on the past, Starchis quickly replied.

“Yes! Of course, I’ll grant you one wish.”

She was willing to play the role of his girlfriend, something she might not want to do. And she was a noble, and his lifesaver. If he couldn’t do anything for her after causing such a big inconvenience, he’d be the most selfish person alive.

However, Rose noticed his brief hesitation and said to him,

“In return for granting one wish, if you don’t like what I ask, you can say no. I’ll make it a wish you can refuse.”

Starchis’s face brightened.

“Thank you so much.”

“So, let me introduce you. This is my girlfriend, Elza.”

“Hello, I’m Elza. My boyfriend must be giving you a hard time, right?”

Rose was adept at lying.

She acted as if she had been in a long-term relationship.

There was something Starchis forgot to mention.

Exactly how long he had been perpetuating this lie.

As a result, she unconsciously assumed he had been lying for quite a long time.

‘My boyfriend must be giving you a hard time, right?’

Luss was taken aback.

That tone, as if she was much closer to Starchis and felt guilty for making her own burden someone else’s.

‘I’ve known him for six years. A girl who’s only known Starchis for a few weeks...’

No matter their positions, the emotions Luss had built up were far deeper.

Luss knew much more about him.

There was no aspect where Elza was closer than her, but the one thing that was different was her relationship with Starchis, which left her unable to say anything.

“No, not at all. Chis is very considerate.”

Luss replied, deliberately emphasizing ‘Chis’ to flaunt their closeness.

But it had no impact on Rose.

“But I’m really surprised! I didn’t know Starchis-nim knew Luss-nim. What a coincidence!”

Luss, who had been deliberately searching for Elza, couldn’t answer honestly.


“I’ve heard a lot about you, Luss-nim. He said you’re a really kind person. Haha.”

She said what anyone could say without knowing anything.

No one dislikes being complimented.

Yet the more Luss was praised, the more her heart burned black.

Because it was from the one person she least wanted praise from.

Rose approached Starchis and linked arms with him.

Her mind commanded her to do so.

She thought skinship was essential to look more natural.

But what the mind dictates and how the body responds are different.

As she innocently linked her arm with his, her cheeks reddened and she looked at the ground.

Everyone flinched at the sight.

Even Starchis.

Starchis gulped, feeling he had asked too much of her.

But Lily, who had been watching closely, interpreted it differently.

A couple so fresh that even such minor physical contact felt new, despite having gone as far as a physical relationship.

If she had seen another couple like this on the street, she would have smiled warmly,
but seeing the man she liked like that made her heart feel like it was being torn apart.

With a red face, Rose tried to smooth over the situation by speaking to Starchis.

“Oh, Starchis-nim, please introduce that person as well.”

She pointed politely with both hands towards Lily.

“Oh, this is our party’s mage, Lily...Noona.”

He finally finished in casual speech.

Rose’s heart pounded even harder at the unfamiliar casual tone.

As a noble, she wasn’t used to hearing it often.

“Hello, I’m Lily. And you must be Elza?”

“Oh, so you’re Lily? I’ve heard a lot about you too. Nice to meet you. And by the way, you’re really beautiful.”

Lily forced herself to keep her expression steady.

Even if she was beautiful, she hadn’t achieved what she truly wanted.

She had lost in the one battlefield where beauty was a weapon.

“...Thank you. You’re beautiful too, Elza.”

Lily offered an empty compliment.

“And your clothes are really pretty too.”

It was a thoughtless compliment.

But it made Lily’s heart ache.

It felt like she was indirectly accusing her of trying to seduce someone with a girlfriend.

“...Thank you.”

But Lily had anticipated this.

She had made up her mind to steal Starchis away.

Once the introductions were over, Starchis drew a line.

The current situation was a temporary deception with a quick kiss and a lie.

There was no benefit in chatting further with them before setting up more detailed plans.

“Alright. Now that we’ve introduced ourselves... we should get going.”


Lily’s expression hardened.

“We were supposed to have dinner, Starchis!”

“Sorry, Noona. But I don’t think it’s possible today.”

Starchis needed to escape the situation.

He hadn’t expected this to happen.

“How could you! Is it because of Miss Elza?”

“Well... yes? I want to spend time with my girlfriend.”

Lily bit the inside of her lip invisibly.

That statement was basically saying he would abandon her because he had a girlfriend.

“I don’t mind eating together. Let’s go. Let’s talk and get to know each other.”

Even though Lily had no intention of getting to know her, she would say anything to have dinner with Starchis.

And during the meal, she could figure out more about her and find ways to create discord.

Her conscience pricked her, but she still had a job to do.

If she decided to do it, she had to do it properly.

Otherwise, nothing would come of it.

But Starchis had no intention of continuing the conversation.

He already felt like he was walking on thin ice.

“...I’m really sorry, Noona. Today is just too difficult. It’s too sudden to have dinner together. I can’t just abandon my girlfriend...”

“Then let’s eat together!”

“I want to eat with you too, Chis.”

Luss also chimed in, trying to arrange a dinner.

So now it was two against one.

If Rose also suggested eating together, they would end up going for dinner.

Now, only one person remained.

All eyes turned to Rose.

“Uh... well...”

She glanced at Starchis, reading his mood.

Naturally, she had to go along with his flow.

“Um... I’m sorry. I want to spend some quality time with my boyfriend. Can you understand?”

Lily ground her teeth.

‘This wasn’t in the plan. Originally, he was supposed to have a promise with me...!’

Starchis wasn’t unaware of Lily’s hurt feelings.

They had made a promise, and he had brought her out, only to break it because of this sudden encounter.

He didn’t want to do this either, but he had no choice.

He feared being exposed.

Feeling genuinely sorry, Starchis approached Lily.

“..Noona. I’m really sorry. But honestly, while talking to Elza earlier, I remembered something important, so I really have to go now.”

He concocted a flimsy excuse about an urgent matter.

Lily didn’t respond.

She was holding back tears.

“...Let’s arrange another meal together next time. With all the party members...”

As he spoke, Starchis glanced at Rose, who was clinging to his side.

Rose understood his intention and nodded.

“...I’ll introduce you all to Elza.”

With her permission secured, he made a promise for the future.

‘I wanted to have dinner alone...’

Lily thought to herself.

Just then, Luss interjected.

“What important matter, Chis?”


Starchis racked his brain again.

He was troubled by yet another thoughtless excuse he had blurted out.

As Starchis struggled to respond, Rose looked at him.

It seemed she would have to lie on his behalf.

“Important matter, we...”

As she began to speak, Starchis turned to look at her.

Rose thought deeply.

What kind of development would occur in a novel?

A story significant enough to sideline plans with friends.

And they were supposed to be a long-term couple.

Rose answered.

And it wasn’t entirely a lie.

Starchis had been invited to her house.

“We’re meeting my father.”


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