Chapter 10

 

*****

 

“Miss Ernst”

 

As if thirsty, Alvin, who drank two cups of tea, sat down his empty cup and asked:

 

“Would you like to be the Empress”

 

Adele felt like her neck was stretching. ‘What did I just hear now?’She could not answer.

 

“Is it hard to answer?”

 

Alvin leaned against the back of the sofa and crossed his arms.

 

“I’ll ask again. Do you want to become the Empress?”

 

“Me?”

 

Adele’s eyes widened.

 

“I am a commoner.”

 

“”I know”

 

“The Empress? Ridiculous…”

 

Alvin raised his eyebrows as if he liked it.

 

“Do you really think so?”

 

“”Yes.s

 

“It’s good.”

 

Alvin said plainly.

 

“The Emperor wants Miss Ernst to become the Empress.”

 

“What?”

“The Empress. Empress not Mistress.”

 

“What nonsense!”

 

At Adele’s answer, Alvin looked relieved, as if he had won a thousand horses.

 

“Has his Majesty the Emperor ever told you such a story?”

 

Far from “this story”, Adele has never properly talked with the Emperor. She had a child with him without knowing who he was. Before even sharing a conversation with him, Adele shared his lips first. Adele, who spent a lot of time taking care of her father’s health, had no dating experience. Also, because of the debt accumulated in the family, she couldn’t afford to socialise with anyone.Still she knew that people who really love each other were not like this.

 

“I never talked about it.”

 

Adele bitterly answered Alvin.

 

“I thought so.”

 

Alvin sighed briefly.

 

“Miss Ernst, marital relationships are different from fateful love between men and women. I hate to see His Majesty being swayed by such personal feelings.”

 

‘Fateful love? Personal feelings? What is this man talking about right now?’ Adele couldn’t understand what the count was talking about.

 

“Trust me, I can give you exile to another country at the right time.”

 

Alvin’s voice became subtle.

 

“Don’t worry. It’s foolish to waste your life on something reckless.”

 

Alvin stood up.

 

“See you later.”

 

Alvin left, but Adele stayed there for a long time, unable to move. ‘What does this mean?’ Alvin certainly said so. ⸢Has his Majesty the Emperor ever told you such a story?⸥ ‘Has His Majesty ever told me this before?’ All the Emperor ever said was that he would take the child. There was no mention of Adele anywhere. Even this morning… ‘Then you won’t kill me?’… ‘ I don’t think so.’

 

***

Adele had dinner with Leo. After dinner she read Leo’s favourite hero’s story. 

 

“Like this, I pass Snidel. Kyle grabbed the sword with one hand and drove the horse quickly.”

 

Because he was still a young boy, Leo liked adventure stories with heroes.

 

“Kyle grabbed the sword with one hand…”

 

“Mom!”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Why are you reading it again?”

 

“Sorry.”

 

Adele tried to pull herself together. There were so many thoughts in her head that she felt confused.

 

“I’ll read it again tomorrow, shall we go to bed now?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Adele returned to her room after handing the book to the maid. Perhaps because she slept until late in the afternoon after breakfast, Adele couldn’t sleep until dawn. In addition Alvin’s words were shocking in many ways. The Emperor wants to welcome Adele, a commoner, as the Empress and Count Castellan, who opposes it so much, is ready to send her secretly to another country to avoid this situation. 

 

‘What could it be?’ Adele is also an administrator so she knows about politics, but she doesn’t know much about the imperial family or the affairs inside the palace. She doesn’t have access to information faster than others. After everything happened, she was told a month or two later that the Emperor took the lives of his brothers and became the winner in the battle for the throne. 

 

‘Why did the Emperor only talk about children to me?’Alvin actually didn’t say a word about Leo. The Emperor would be able to give the answer but he’s hard to talk to. There was no need to meet each other, but the air around the Emperor was different. In front of him, Adele shrank without realizing it. She could feel with her body why the people were called mincho*. It was because Adele had a feeling of being lowered as if she was abandoned under the Emperor feets. 

 

‘Phew! If it’s like this, why don’t I just get up instead of lying down.’ It seemed as if it’s been a while since she went to bed but Adele hadn’t slept at all. She wondered if she would think of something else if she got up and read a book. While she was thinking whether she should get up or not. Adele was startled by the sound of a window opening.

 

‘What? A thief in the Imperial Palace?’ She thought it would be unlikely for the EMperor to kill her himself, but maybe it was an assassin he sent.

 

Adele pretended to be asleep. She didn’t know her opponent’s intentions but it was more dangerous to move hastily. The night guest who came in through the window came toward the bed. 

 

Adele felt her heart beating fast in her chest. ‘After all I am the one who is targeted.’ There was nothing on the bed which could be used as a weapon, only a soft pillow filled with goose feathers. Adele clenched her pillowcase with an anxious mind. She was going to swing the pillow if she could.

 

“Adele”

 

Adele was surprised by the voice. She could feel a presence behind her but she closed her eyes, pretending to sleep. Her body turned a little and lay down on her back.

 

“Adele”

 

She was used to it. This voice calling her softly, she was used to it. The sensation of someone kissing her forehead while calling her name. Adele felt like her heart was going to explode.

 

“Are you really not going to look at me?”

 

Adele slowly opened her eyes.

 

“Adele”

 

Van laughed sadly.

 

“I’m sorry. You said you didn’t like it but I came back again”

 

Adele was bewildered. ‘What are you doing right now?’ But she couldn’t ask.

 

When Adele stayed silent, Van asked with his nose buried in her hair:

 

“…Adele?”

 

His voice trembled. The day before, Adele was crying and got angry at Van. ⸢It is fake so do not appear in my dreams again. The emperor is a person who should not appear in my dreams.⸥

 

“Why are you here again?”

 

As she said that, Adele wasn’t happy. She felt a sigh beside her.

 

“It’s hard to endure not being able to see you.”

 

He laid down next to her and swept her hair with one hand.

 

“So look at me.”

 

“Ugh!”

 

Adele freaked out and shook the Emperor’s hand. ‘Am I crazy? Or is he crazy?’

 

The handsome man who was hit by Adele’s hand looked hurt.

 

“Can’t we do this now?”

 

“Damn! I told you not to come in my dreams anymore!”

 

Adele was confused.  He suddenly kissed her in the morning, and she was told  in the afternoon that he wanted to make her the Empress. But now the Emperor is pretending to be a part of her dream. Furthermore, isn’t he acting so naturally as if he knew Adele’s dream? ‘Is he acting?’ Adele looked at him trying to calm her fluttering chest. ‘This is not acting.’ It was just Van. The Van that was always in Adele’s memories. The Van next to her when she opened her eyes with black hair, white shirt and black pants.

 

He reached out his hand to her cheek. And Adele crept back away from it.

 

“Ahh!” 

 

Her body almost fell from the bed.

 

“Adele are you okay?”

 

In the end, Adele didn’t fall off. It was because Van grabbed her arms in the blink of an eye.

 

“It’s okay, so let go and let’s talk.”

 

Adele sat on the bed at a distance of about 2 meters from Van. ‘it’s not a dream. It can’t be a dream, I didn’t fall asleep. Wasn’t I about to take a book?’

 

“Adele”

 

Just then, Van came closer to her. He knelt in front of Adele, who was sitting on the bed and made eye contact with her. Adele was horrified to see him kneeling in front of her. ‘Why is the Emperor…?’

 

For some reason, the Emperor seemed to think that Adele’s expression, which was not good, was due to yesterday.

 

“Adele I won’t approach you. I’ll go after I watch you fall asleep.”

 

Adele got up and quickly lay down in the middle of the bed. ‘So you’re going when I fall asleep?’ She wanted to let this man go as soon as possible.

 

Van lay down next to her and Adele let out a sigh through her mouth. Now she couldn’t even breathe through her nose. ‘It must be a dream.’ ‘When did I fall asleep?’ Sleep didn’t even come but she woke up completely, and now she had to sleep again. Then she felt an object under the pillow.

 

‘Clock.’ This clock belongs to the Emperor. Adele held the watch tightly in her hand in confusion. ‘It could be that she fell asleep without realizing and she was dreaming that she couldn’t tell the difference between reality and dream.’

 

‘If this is not a dream, then the person in front of me would be the Emperor.’ Adele was nervous. Soon, she opened her eyes, looking at Van as if she had made up her mind.

 

“Van”

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“You have a bad hand**.”

 

“No way. If you don’t like it, then I won’t.”

 

Van showed his open palms in sign of goodwill.

 

“I am a man faithful to his words.”

 

Adele swallowed dry saliva and approached him. 

 

‘This man is Van. This man is Van.’ With this in mind, ADele thought she could hug him and kiss him as she would a lover.

 

Adele kissed Van. She felt that he focused his expression on her.

 

“Do I still have to look at you?”

 

Van’s voice seemed tight and hard.

 

“This is my dream so I can do it,but you can’t.”

 

“I want to invite you to my dream.”

 

Van replied in dismay. Adele put her head on Van’s chest and hugged him. Tak. Adele pretended to hug him and put the watch in his pants pocket. The chain wrapped around her finger naturally went in. Tight. Van held her hands under the blanket.

 

“Did you get caught?”

 

Van’s voice had sneaky expectations. 

 

“I think it’s you who have bad hands.”

 

“What about me?”

 

“You said you like my chest and abs, so now you are interested in this as well.”

 

Adele opened her mouth. ‘What is this man saying?’

 

Notes

*  In Korean people are often called “mincho” meaning “grass people”. It is used to emphasise how numerous we are, how insignificant we may seem and how we live on.




** In Korean, people use the term “bad hand” to describe someone who touches others bodies in general but also who touches inappropriate places on the body.

DISCUSSION

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

guest
4 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

You might also like