Chapter 17

 

 

Translated by Rae

***

 

Cecillia smiled confidently. At that moment, she exchanged slight glances with her maid, Velly.

 

‘You aren’t making any mistakes by doing this, are you?’

 

Velly blinked her eyes hurriedly when she saw her master’s keen gaze.

 

‘Of course.’ That’s what it meant.

 

She wasn’t sure if the meaning behind her gaze was conveyed properly, but the face of Imperial Concubine Cecillia became slightly relaxed after that.

 

Velly moved up from her place and assisted Cecillia.

 

Viester took out his pocket watch and checked the time. He seemed a bit fazed just by looking at his expression.

 

“I deeply apologise, but would you like to go to the Lion Palace with me? It would be faster to talk to His Majesty directly rather than talking with me regarding the medicine tube.”

 

Cecillia screamed inside.

 

She didn’t know things would be so easy for her.

 

As soon as she heard that Viester visited the palace district for concubines, she ordered all the maids to dress her up.

 

The white gold high-quality embroidered dress that was done just a few days ago seemed small, but the white-golden colors matched well with it, and her neckline was exposed because her hair was tied up nicely.

 

She wore accessories on her head and put on makeup as well. It was a dazzling makeup that showcased Cecillia’s seductive appearance.

 

Cecilia was confident with herself.

 

If His Majesty looked at her even just once, of course he would be enthralled by her charm.

 

“Of course. I’ll go with you.”

 

***

 

Cecillia’s arrogance was soaring high to the sky as she walked toward the Lion Palace.

 

Cecillia was the first concubine to be called to the Lion Palace.

 

Moreover, it was quite honorable that the one who picked her up was not a servant, but the aide, Viester.

 

The eyes of the maids grew wide, as if they were about to fall from their original places when they saw her heading to the Lion Palace along with Viester.

 

Each of the concubines was anxious, meanwhile Helen was still wandering in her dream.

 

Velly followed Cecillia from behind while dreaming for a pink future together with her master.

 

It was because Cecillia had promised her that.

 

‘If I get to become the Empress of the Emperor, I will help you marry Viester.’

 

She wouldn’t believe that the dazzling Viester would become her husband soon…!

 

Velly felt like flying and floating in the air from joy.

 

She got even more greedy watching Viester pull out the chair for her today.

 

‘I think it’s a good decision that I pretended to know something about the medicine tube.’

 

Otherwise, she would never have any sort of contact with His Majesty the Emperor for the rest of her life.

 

Although she felt bad for Ellie, it was a mistake to be naive in the Imperial Palace which was like a wilderness to everyone.

 

Therefore, she decided to take it for granted. This wasn’t her fault. That was what she said to herself.

 

“We’ve arrived here. Only His Highness Cecilia and the handmaiden are allowed to enter further.”

 

The maids, who came from the concubine’ palace district with her, followed one after another and stopped in front of the Lion Palace.

 

After leaving the message to wait for them, he finally entered the Lion Palace only with Cecillia and Velly.

 

This was the first time for Cecilia and Velly to be here.

 

Despite the name, Lion Palace, where the Emperor resided, didn’t mean there was just one palace.

 

There was a castle inside the massive wall, and another wall inside the castle itself. Lion Palace was a small castle which was the residence for the Emperor, and it also consisted of a drawing room, a garden, a restaurant, as well as a party hall.

 

He set up this Lion Palace and called it an Impenetrable Fortress.

 

Cecillia’s mind swelled up even more with pride. She finally got the chance to meet His Majesty! Cecillia tightened her jaw nervously.

 

It was such a great opportunity. It has been well-known that His Majesty cares so much about his pet dog who was named ‘Louie’.

 

Therefore, it might have worked because her maid said that she had saved the dog.

 

Badump badump.

 

Cecillia and Velly’s hearts pounded loudly. When they looked at the different men.

 

“You can take a seat here.”

 

Once they entered the Lion Palace, she was brought to His Majesty’s drawing room.

 

The exterior was magnificent and couldn’t be compared to the drawing room in the concubine palace district.

 

It was very spacious and passable enough to be called a party hall of noble mansions. Each of the furniture was luxurious and delicate.

 

Cecillia tried hard to not show her gasp, and Viester left the room after saying he would fetch His Majesty and escorted him there.

 

Cecillia hurriedly called Velly after confirming only her and Velly were left in the room.

 

“What did you say to him?”

 

“Her Highness stumbled upon his dog while taking a nightwalk around the palace, and since the dog got injured, then I went to the dispensary to get the medicine so you can treat the dog. I told him exactly everything which I had heard from Ellie.”

 

“Okay. Good job.”

 

Things would work out easily for her.

 

A smile spread across Cecillia’s lips.

 

She even looked foolish when she was contemplating on her own whether it was a good idea to listen to her maid and went along with her plan.

 

She couldn’t believe things would’ve gone really well for her.

 

Cecillia tapped Velly’s cheek with her finger, as it flush slightly due to her growing excitement.

 

“If everything goes well for me, you know what is waiting for you, right?”

 

“O-of course.”

 

“Any sort of mistakes are unacceptable. Understand?”

 

“Yes!”

 

Even though Velly’s smile might’ve seemed innocent due to her freckles, she wasn’t an easy woman to deal with.

 

She was the type of woman who would use every way to get her husband material in her hands, even if it meant she must have betrayed her friend in the process.

 

But that’s what Cecillia liked about her.

 

Then the door opened and His Majesty finally appeared from behind the door.

 

He appeared with a veil from white fabric covering his face, which he always used when he made an appearance in front of people.

 

As soon as the Emperor made an entrance in the drawing room, a cold atmosphere engulfed the whole room. Cecillia’s mouth went dry for no absolute reason.

 

She only hoped that her lies would also work well for the Emperor.

 

“Is that you?”

 

The Emperor, Carmun, looked up and down at the concubine and her maid thoroughly.

 

Carmun only looked them up and down, but Cecillia and Velly already got terrified by the intimidating atmosphere which emanated from him.

 

“Yes….”

 

Her voice was barely audible in his ears.

 

Hearing the faint voice, Carmun closed his lips disapprovingly.

 

‘Why does she look so scared?’

 

What did he do to her?

 

All of the people in the palace showed that kind of attitude whenever they saw him. As if he was about to kill them all.

 

-tsk.

 

When the Emperor clicked his tongue, the chilly atmosphere suddenly became cold, as if they were staying in the midst of the winter on an ice island.

 

Even Velly could hear herself swallowing her own saliva nervously.

 

“So I’ve been told that you know the whereabouts of the medicine tube.”

 

“Yes. I ordered the maid to prescribe it at the dispensary.”

 

Cecillia spoke as she barely pulled herself together.

 

She thought he would thank her, but he didn’t say anything after that.

 

Moreover, he covered his face, so she couldn’t tell what kind of expression he had or what was on his mind at that moment.

 

And right after that, Viester lowered his head before whispering something to the ears of His Majesty the Emperor.

 

‘He… must be saying something nice about me.’

 

Viester smiled slightly at Cecillia when he finished whispering to the Emperor’s ears.

 

Cecillia eased up a little when she saw it, as if his smile was reassuring her.

 

“I treated Your Majesty’s dog. Because ‘Louie’ is the only black dog that roams around the Imperial Palace.”

 

Cecillia said with a sense of pride. Her attitude was laced with confidence.

 

Behind the white cloth of the veil, Carmun was seething.

 

He glared at Cecillia, holding back a scoff from escaping through his lips.

 

‘Worthless thing…’

 

Louie had never been injured, and that medicine tube was smeared thickly on his injured arm.

 

Carmun’s red eyes, which were looking at Cecillia, changed slightly.

 

‘What kind of punishment does she deserve for this?’

 

After contemplating for a while, he propped her chin with her hand on the arm of the chair and spoke nonchalantly.

 

“Yeah. Twenty-seven is a bit much.”

 

“…What?”

 

Carmun’s murmur made the smile that hung on Cecillia’s lips quivered anxiously.

 

“I can’t believe you have been spending 27 days in the concubine residences where no one is looking for you. It must be uncomfortable.”

 

“No, Your Majesty. I don’t mind at all.”

 

Cecillia bowed her head toward Carmun. Velly also bowed her head all along.

 

Contrary to her words, Cecillia had a bright smile on her mouth.

 

After all, she was right when telling her to answer that she had treated Louie!

 

The Emperor, who had never cared about everything, mentioned directly regarding Cecillia’s inconvenience.

 

Cecillia was obsessed with the expectation that His Majesty would grant her a separate palace by this opportunity because she felt uncomfortable living in the concubine residence while being treated worse than when she was still living in her homeland.

 

He raised her head again, maintaining an elegant expression while raising expectations as high as she could.

 

She would never forget the day when she finally got to see his face behind the veil, even if she had to die after that. Even if the Goddess of Beauty descended to earth, she thought it couldn’t have been any worse than that.

 

His thick eyebrows and protruding brow bones gave off a strong impression, and his red eyes that were different from others, inheriting the foreigner’s blood that gave off a distinctive feeling.

 

Then, his red lips that always spat out fierce remarks, although it looked extremely beautiful.

 

She saw him before he ascended the throne and became the Emperor, but one single encounter was all it took to make Cecillia fall in love with him.

 

“When did I ask about your comfort?”

 

“…What?”

 

“I’m feeling very uncomfortable because the budget for the concubines has increased ever since you settled here.”

 

He didn’t hold back his temper by saying he was uncomfortable because of her.

 

Cecillia could not hide her bewildered expression, stunned at Carmun’s response.

 

“The thing is I hate to hear critical remarks coming from my ministers because I haven’t had a successor despite having many concubines.”

 

“….”

 

“I think that’s for the better.”

 

Cecillia was at a loss for words. The Emperor’s words were sarcastic to anyone who heard it.

 

How were concubines going to have babies on their own when the Emperor never came to visit them?

 

Cecillia was puzzled at his remark, as if it was the concubines’ fault for not being able to give him heirs.

 

Wasn’t he supposed to thank her for treating Louie?

 

“You must be so naive that you think life would be so easy for you.”

 

Carmun chuckled and showed a sneer on his lips.

 

The meaning of his chuckle was so obvious, so Cecillia’s face was filled with shame.

 

She came to realize one thing. The fact that the Emperor wasn’t grateful or thankful to her.

 

Moreover, he seemed very disgusted by her.

 

Why…?

 

Even before she got the chance to ask, an angry remark escaped the Emperor’s mouth.

 

“Viester, inform the Direxion Empire regarding the deposal of Concubine Cecillia.”

 

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

 

“………Your Majesty!”

 

Cecillia spat out in seething rage when she jumped up from her seat and slammed her desk.

 

The chair where she was seated was tumbling backward and made a loud noise due to her jumping up so hard from it.

 

“What kind of disrespect do you think you are doing in my presence?”

 

“Your Majesty, what’s with this sudden deposition!”

 

Cecilia completely forgot her intention and let out a loud shriek.

 

Rather than attempting to seduce the Emperor, it turned out that she was about to be kicked out from the palace. She knew that he was not the type of person who would talk about such things as a joke.

 

Because he was a merciless man.

 

Cecillia’s hands trembled.

 

Deposal? Was there anything worse than suffering from that kind of shame for the women who have been born in the Imperial Family?

 

Cecillia was highly embarrassed and pissed off at the same time.

 

“I saved Your Majesty’s pet dog. How… How can you return the favor by saying this kind of insult?”

 

Cecilia’s eyes were filled with absolute anger.

 

Carmun looked carefully at Cecillia from behind the veil.

 

Her pink hair really looked like cherry blossoms with a cute face. However, everything that she said were pure lies. Seeing her speak with so much confidence made his stomach churned again.

 

“Concubine, no… I mean, Princess Cecilia.”

 

“Oh….”

 

Carmun spoke out very honestly, and he had no intention of recognizing Cecillia as his concubine anymore.

 

The same goes for the twenty-six concubines.

 

“I hate pathological liars.”

 

Cecillia felt like a rock had just fallen on her after hearing the Emperor’s remark.

 

But Cecillia was not a foolish woman either. She listened to Velly, her maid and conducted an investigation right away.

 

Indeed, there was a rumor that Louie was really injured, therefore the said dog didn’t appear around the palace lately.

 

And the medicine tube. She found out that a little maid whose name was unknown to her had received the medicine tube.

 

That was the reason why she didn’t think her lies would have been caught because she just changed the person who did it. Concubine Edith, who originally told about this false truth, was currently sick so she didn’t hear about the news.

 

“… I’ve never told a single lie.”

 

Cecillia, who had nothing to lose here, looked the Emperor straight in the eye.

 

Carmun crumpled his eyebrows at Cecillia’s stubborn remark that made him feel sick in the stomach.