Sponsored by Nila 💖 (8/10)
It was very uncomfortable and tiring to receive the Empress’s attention in the midst of so many people.
For this reason, I wanted to avoid being left alone with the Empress. I pondered for a while and then told her the truth.
“It’s not like that, but…I would like to visit His Highness while I’m at the Imperial Palace.”
The Empress’s face brightened, as if she liked my answer.
“Oh I see. You should go now. If you want, you can come visit me anytime. I’ll have a good tea ready for you.”
The Empress said pleasantly.
“Yes, I will. Empress, I will take my leave now, please have a good rest.”
I greeted the Empress with a smiling face and stepped away.
But I would never go looking for the Empress on my own to have tea with her.
I already knew the way, but the attendant the Empress assigned to me politely and kindly to show me the way.
He led me all the way, and I walked with ease.
When I arrived in front of the East Palace where the Crown Prince was staying, I sent him back.
He told me where the Crown Prince was, and left quietly.
I went to the Crown Prince’s office.
The knights guarding the front of the Crown Prince’s office looked at me awkwardly when they saw me. Inside the office, I heard two voices, as if the Crown Prince was talking to someone.
“Is His Highness inside?”
“Yes. But …….”
“Then it’s fine.”
As I tried to open the door to go inside, the knights stopped me. I frowned and asked them.
“What are you doing?”
“There’s a guest inside.”
In their eyes right now, I seemed to be a rude and insane person who had no basic courtesy and annoyed the Crown Prince by visiting him.
It was not wrong.
But I didn’t like the way they looked at me, treating me like I was trouble.
“I know that. So why aren’t you moving?”
When I said coldly, with a deliberately unpleasant look on my face, they moved away, looking as if they had no choice.
I quietly grabbed the doorknob and opened the door. I saw the two figures inside.
“My maid is innocent.”
Her large eyes were filled with tears.
It seemed so pitiful and true when the beautiful woman complained with tears. On the other side of Claire, the Crown Prince was sitting.
He looked a little surprised when he spotted me.
The Crown Prince’s reaction caused Claire to turn to me a little later.
Perhaps it was because she remembered what happened yesterday, but there was a hint of anger and resentment in her eyes as she stared at me.
A strange silence fell over the room.
I could see the steam still rising from the tea kettle in front of them.
I thought I was late because the tea party had gone on longer than expected, but fortunately it was not that late. I looked at the Crown Prince and spoke with an indifferent expression.
“It seems that I have interrupted you.”
The Crown Prince then stood up with a panicked look on his face.
“No…..You didn’t disturb me at all.”
The Crown Prince looked troubled and slurred his words.
He looked very uncomfortable with this situation now. He frowned with a puzzled expression.
The Crown Prince seemed to be hoping that Claire would excuse herself. But despite his gaze, Claire did not move from her seat.
The Crown Prince sighed tiredly at the sight of her.
“By the way, Roxana, what brings you here?”
“I was having tea with the Empress. So I thought I should drop by and thank you for the gift you sent me. But I think I picked the wrong day to come.”
The Crown Prince seemed to have nothing more to say when I mentioned the Empress.
Claire’s complexion also darkened rapidly. She gazed at the necklace on my neck and bit her lip.
Was it the necklace, or was it the mention of the Empress that had provoked her?
I was strangely amused, albeit disgusted, to see Claire expressing such hostility in front of me, with no intention of hiding it.
As far as I know, the Empress was not on good terms with Claire. The Empress seemed dissatisfied with Claire’s attachment to the Crown Prince.
But Claire wanted to be close to her. The Crown Prince’s favor alone could be of much benefit, but people still took Claire lightly and ignored her.
Because of this situation, with the power of the Empress, who was a powerful socialite, would be perfect for Claire.
As far as I know, Claire made numerous efforts to win the Empress’s favor by sending letters and gifts, but I heard that she was ignored every time.
The Empress did not make the slightest effort to look at Claire, even in public. In fact, I heard that the Empress was so displeased with Claire that she didn’t even take her seriously.
She was born as the legitimate daughter of a prestigious family and became the Empress, so naturally Claire did not catch her eyes.
Claire was of too low a status to be dating the Crown Prince.
Besides, Clare’s family was Baronial and would be of no use to the Crown Prince in the future. It was also the reason why the Crown Prince started dating Claire and people saw him and talked about him behind his back.
“Were you and Lady Dana perhaps talking about something I’m not supposed to hear? If that’s the case, I was too careless.”
The Crown Prince immediately denied my words, shaking his head.
“No, that’s not it. Claire, if you’re done with what you had to say, go home.”
Claire looked surprised and quickly rose from her seat. She opened her eyes wide and looked at the Crown Prince as if he was being ridiculous.
“You haven’t told me what to do with my maid yet.”
There was already a full sign of annoyance on the Crown Prince’s face. However, Claire did not retreat, whether out of concern for the safety of the maid who was currently being held captive or her pride.
Eventually, the Crown Prince sighed and then turned his head towards me again.
“Roxana, while you’re here, I’ll ask you something. I heard that you were there yesterday when the accident happened.”
The Crown Prince’s gaze on me was not filled with anger like before.
Nor was his tone of voice loud.
However, the fact that he was now here to receive Claire’s complaint and turn the arrow on me was enough to hurt my pride and make me feel unpleasant.
Except for the first day I fell into this world, this was the first time the three of us had come together like this.
However, looking at the Crown Prince’s current demeanor, he had not changed at all from that day. It wasn’t too surprising, but it didn’t feel good.
I sighed and straightened up to correct his words.
“To be exact, I was there with other ladies and went out because I was surprised by the scream after the accident. Why do you ask such questions?”
“You really didn’t see anything that day?”
The Crown Prince looked at me with a complicated gaze.
Hearing him, he was not only suspicious of me, he was convinced that I was involved in what happened.
He seemed to want me to be honest and admit my mistake now.
However, I had neither the intention nor the reason to do so.
I had nothing to do with what had happened yesterday at Count Evans’ residence. I had nothing to do with the fact that Claire had collapsed at the bottom of the stairs, let alone the fact that I had teased, ignored and insulted her.
Of course, even if I had intended to hurt Claire, there was no way I would have disclosed that fact here.
“Now that I look at it, it seems that Your Highness suspects me after hearing Lady Dana’s words and is trying to pursue me. I’m curious, so I have to answer.”
I said deliberately with a stiff expression.
When I showed my displeasure, the Crown Prince looked troubled. But he neither apologized nor retracted his words.
“I was with the other ladies all that day and never once left my seat. If you don’t believe my story, send someone to check it out.”
I glared at the Crown Prince with a cold face.
The Crown Prince finally had no choice but to apologize to me with an apologetic look on his face.
“That’s not what I meant to ask. I just wanted to ………….”
“I’ll be leaving now.”
I cut him off mid-sentence and said coldly p.
“If you still have unanswered questions, send them formally to the Duke’s residence.”
The Crown Prince’s complexion turned white.
He had no intention of raising this problem from the beginning, so he was quite perplexed by what I just said.
Duke Lillian had made a great achievement this time, and the people respected him.
The Emperor also showed his respect.
Furthermore, the Emperor personally offered a gift to me, the Duke’s daughter, in public showing how satisfied the Emperor was with what the Duke had achieved.
If the Crown Prince blamed me for a trivial matter that happened when I was with other ladies, and asked me to take responsibility for it, it was a treatment that disregarded Duke Lillian, and furthermore, it hurt the emperor’s reputation.
No matter how much the Crown Prince cared and favored Claire, he was in the middle of a chaotic time with the return of the second Prince.
There was no way he would do such a foolish thing at this time of confusion. The Crown Prince had a difficult time with the Emperor from an early age.
In order to protect his position, he should not take any more actions that would make the Emperor hate him.
“Since Your Highness suspected me, I’ll investigate this matter to prove my innocence.”
The Crown Prince opened his eyes wide in surprise. I pretended not to see it and continued calmly.
“The only person who saw the scene of the accident that day was the maid, so perhaps if you interrogate her, she will tell us something.”
Claire’s face went pale.
“I believe you, Roxana. So there’s no need for you to take on such a hassle because I offended you.”
The Crown Prince said in a gentle voice that seemed to soothe me.
However, I was more than adamant and had no intention of retreating.
“Does Your Highness really believe me and want me to back out of this, or are you worried that I will harm the maid and that Lady Dana will be hurt by it?”
“No, Roxana. What I meant was….”
“Then Your Highness should stay out of this. I will handle the job very ‘fairly’ this time.”
“All right. Do as you wish. I will leave it to you.”
The Crown Prince said as if giving up.
He tried to smile, but he looked frustrated.
However, I was satisfied because I got the answer I wanted. Now this matter was out of his hands.
If there was anything unfair or suspicious, there was no more way out for the maid. Even if the maid did not confess to the end or there was no relevant evidence, she could still be punished with a crime under the pretext that she didn’t serve her master properly.
Thus, the maid would meet a bad end no matter what.
But this was only an example.
I still couldn’t forget the scene when the accident occurred at Count Evans’ residence.
I could still clearly see her hateful gaze and language, the way she interrupted the conversation between the second Prince and me, glancing at me and trying to accuse me of sins.
Even if Claire, her Master, was favored by the Crown Prince, it did not increase her status as a maid.
Besides, I was the future Crown Princess. There shouldn’t be a comparison between me and a Baron’s daughter.