Spring was approaching, but the air leaking through the window was much colder.
“Your Majesty, have you prepared a handkerchief?”
Baroness Verna, who was drinking tea with Rodelia in front of the fireplace, asked with a shiver.
Rodelia smiled formally and put the book she was reading face down on the desk. She took a sip of tea, and before anyone knew it, her expression twisted.
Although she answered confidently, she was worried. Of course Kane wanted her handkerchief, and there was a handkerchief she had made before this…..
‘I can’t help being embarrassed.’
It was obvious Sola would prepare one too.
Sola’s embroidery skills were recognized in social circles. But Rodelia’s hands were clumsy, and it was only natural that her own messy self should not be compared to Sola’s.
Sighing secretly, Rodelia put down her teacup.
“Oh, I heard that the Silver Kingdom delegation returned this morning. Because of some urgent matter ….”
“Is that so?”
Rodelia wasn’t too surprised since she already knew about it. She just didn’t expect them to leave so soon.
As Rodelia answered, Baroness Verna, who had thought Rodelia was interested, continued to fuss about the Silver Kingdom.
“By the way, how urgent was it for them to turn down all the formal send-offs? I’m curious.”
“Yesterday, I saw the Prince for a moment, and he was as handsome as His Majesty…… It’s a pity he can’t stay long. Single handsome men are rare here.”
Lady Aden, who had been eating tea cakes next to Rodelia, replied jokingly while clicking her tongue in disappointment. A small chuckle sounded.
“There’s Grand Duke Eisen, isn’t there?”
“Oh, Grand Duke Eisen is certainly the most handsome. But, isn’t he very scary? He’s so cold.”
“Yes, that’s true. It seems as if not a drop of blood would come out even if you stabbed him. The rumor seems to be true.”
“Oh, that rumor?”
The chambermaids made all kinds of gossip about how Cerdian were really going to hunt humans, or how the curse that had fallen on the Grand Duchy of Eisen could only be cured by drinking human blood.
Rodelia nodded her head as she listened to the insinuations of the chambermaids directed at Cerdian. She made a small, unsure mumble, and Lady Aden asked with a twinkle in her eye.
“You know Grand Duke Eisen very well, don’t you, Empress? You even entered the hall with him yesterday!”
“Well… I don’t know much about him either. But I thought the rumor went too far. It’s the sound of catching the floating clouds. I don’t think Grand Duke Eisen is going to hunt people…….”
And he seems kind of gentle ……
Rodelia swallowed her back words, which she just couldn’t get out. However, she couldn’t hide the signs that she was defending Cerdian.
In fact, she would be lying if she didn’t believe the rumors before. But the Cerdian she had seen for several days was not so brutally cold and indifferent.
Rather, he cared about the details.
“And so it was at the banquet.”
As Rodelia nodded her head, thinking about Cerdian, the attendants bombarded her with exaggerated questions.
“You don’t think he’s interested in Her Majesty?”
“That’s for sure. If he’s as handsome as His Majesty, you should meet Grand Duke Eisen. Oh, of course, the Emperor is handsome, but…….”
“Then why don’t you take this opportunity to make him a concubine. The emperor already has one. What do you think?”
Lady Arden and Baroness Verna were a breath of fresh air. Perhaps it was because they both had cheerful personalities.
Their eyes lit up, and the girls began to discuss enthusiastically.
But Rodelia did not know how to react, so she went over the subject without it.
“By the way, where did Viscountess Cohen go?”
“Viscountess Cohen? Oh, she is a little late today. She said not to worry because she will be here before the hunting competition starts.”
The ladies also thought Rodelia seemed uncomfortable, so they did not bring up any more stories about Cerdian.
However, they only brought up another difficult topic.
‘’Your Majesty, by the way……”
“Yes, please say it.”
Lady Aden seemed hesitant. Was she trying to say something too difficult to convey? For some reason, Rodelia felt anxious because the situation overlapped with the time when Viscountess Cohen delivered the news about Sola in the past.
Rodelia straightened her tense body. Her jaw tightened and stiffened.
“It may be out of the blue, but the handkerchief you embroidered.”
It was a little out of the ordinary, but fortunately it was nothing to worry about.
‘Was I too sensitive…..’
Rodelia stared at Lady Aden with a more relaxed expression.
“Yes, a handkerchief for His Majesty. I’m not good at embroidery, so I want to see you embroider!”
Aden gave Rodelia an expectant look. It was because the Empress usually showed perfect performance, so expectations were high.
It was a mistake on Aden’s part, who still didn’t know much about Rodelia.
Rodelia, with a troubled look on her face, turned to the chambermaids for help.
The other maids tried to quickly remedy the situation, but they were powerless.
“What did you embroider?”
It was something we would find out someday anyway. Giving up, Rodelia pulled a handkerchief from her pocket and showed it to them.
Receiving the handkerchief with expectant eyes, Aden carefully unfolded it.
For a moment there was silence. Her pupils contracted and relaxed minutely .
“Eh …… very nice! I’ve never seen anything like this before, is it a chicken?”
“It’s an eagle, Lady Aden…..”
Rodelia blushed and mumbled small.
The blue eagle was the symbol of the empire, so it was the embroidery that best suited the emperor of the empire. So Rodelia embroidered the eagle, but it looked like a chicken to them?
She was good at everything, but no matter how much she embroidered, she showed no signs of improvement. Rodelia’s expression hardened with embarrassment.
“Does it look like a chicken……?”
“No! I looked again and it looks like an eagle. Your Majesty.”
Smiling shyly, Rodelia took the handkerchief from Aden’s hand and put it in her pocket again.
In the awkward air, Aden swallowed the tea as the attendants looked at her. Fortunately, she was relieved thanks to the arrival of Viscountess Cohen shortly after.
“Your Majesty, I am a little late. Are you ready?”
The Viscountess, who came with the cold air outside, exhaled cheerfully and asked.
“Yes. I’m already done with preparations.”
Rodelia’s expression, which had been sitting somberly, became more comfortable. She got up from her seat and showed the costume to Viscountess Cohen.
The costume was lighter than usual, just for the hunting competition. Her hair was neatly tied in a ponytail, and she wore shoes with low heels, giving a relaxed appearance.
“You are so beautiful, Your Majesty. There’s no place for me to fix it.”
The Viscountess smiled gently. She took off her purple coat, hung it on a hanger, and smoothed Rodelia’s dress. Every breath she breathed felt cold.
“I’m glad. Come to think of it, I heard that Viscount Cohen is also going to a hunting contest today……. Did the Viscountess prepare a handkerchief too?”
“Yes, I did. I specially prepared a different pattern for him.”
It was an attitude that was different from the Viscountess’ usual self. She seemed happy to show off.
“Viscountess’s embroidery skills were well known in social circles. I heard that the Viscount fell in love with your embroidery skills and proposed to you?”
The Viscountess took a handkerchief out of her small handbag and handed it to Rodelia. Holding her handkerchief, Rodelia tilted her head.
This was because the embroidery engraved on it looked a little different from the one usually engraved by the Viscountess.
Rodelia looked at her with a puzzled expression, but the Viscountess just smiled nonchalantly. Her gaze dropped to the handkerchief again.
‘It’s definitely a snake.’
The two white snakes were intertwined, their mouths gaping open at each other, as if they were alive. A shiver ran down her spine as she watched them for a long time.
There was something about the embroidery that attracted her. She was not sure if this strange attraction was due to the Viscountess’ outstanding embroidery skills, or if it was intrinsic to her.
“Ma’am, I was wondering if this might be… … Is this a snake?”
Rodelia, who had been idly looking at the embroidery, slowly opened her mouth.
Baroness Verna shuddered, lowered her teacup and shouted. Then Viscountess Cohen corrected her with a graceful smile.
Lady Aden swallowed the pastry she had been munching on and blinked in shock. After a moment of silence, the chambermaids, who had been looking only at each other, came to see the embroidery.
After handing them the handkerchief, Rodelia sat down again. Aden received the handkerchief and murmured with Baroness Verna.
“Why didn’t she engrave the rose pattern that she engraved every time….”
“Why the abominable snakes….. Oh, and of course the embroidery is really lovely, ma’am.”
Lady Aden waved her hand without saying anything . Then she added a quick afterthought as if she didn’t want to cause trouble.
In Thebes Empire, snakes were known as the monstrosity of bringing death. Therefore, they were reluctant to show objects that symbolized snakes.
Especially on special occasions.
However, how could the Viscountess embroidered snakes on the day of the hunting competition, of all days?
It was not difficult to see why the maids reacted so shocked. But they could not show it.
They faked a smile and handed the handkerchief back to the Viscountess again.
How dared she embroider snakes that symbolize death?
But ironically, the snake was not monstrous, but mysterious. Rodelia sat in her seat in a daze, picturing the snakes floating in her head.
‘Is she offering this to her husband?’
“No matter how good you are at embroidery…… isn’t this a snake? Perhaps you had a fight with the Viscount?”
Baroness Verna and Lady Aden asked anxiously. They were worried that there might be bad rumors.
“It’s not just a snake.”
“What? Well, can it be a spirit thing?”
Without answering, the Viscountess, her eyes averted, covered her mouth with a plump hand.
Apparently, she had no intention of telling them properly.
Baroness Verna continued to show her concern, but the Viscountess still did not reply.
“Is it the quintessence…. “
Rodelia, who had been clear, murmured quietly with her chin resting on her hand.
“What? What did I say?” (Rodelia)
The ladies’ eyes turned to Rodelia in unison, and she looked up in surprise.
“Didn’t you just say something, Your Majesty?”
Rodelia didn’t really seem to know. She blinked in surprise.
“Oh, I thought something was going on because you didn’t look so happy. As long as it’s not a big deal.”
Baroness Verna got through the situation lightly. As the routine conversation was about to continue again, Viscountess Cohen, who had been quiet, moved her lips.
“Your Majesty, in fact, I did not bring this handkerchief to give to my husband.”
“I want to give it to Your Majesty.”
Why would she give the Empress something embroidered with sinister snakes?
Rodelia looked puzzled, but the Viscountess’s expression was calm.
‘Can I take it?’
The Viscountess was always very cautious. So Rodelia knew immediately that the Viscountess was not joking.
Snakes. It was something Rodelia wouldn’t think about, but she was sure the Viscountess would give her something that would harm her.
Rodelia decided to accept the handkerchief first.
“There would surely come a time when the Empress would need it.”