Chapter 1 Part 1
The day of the tea party I organized has arrived.
The Imperial Assembly consisted of 10 commoners and 10 nobles. The representatives were selected to ensure that each occupation was evenly distributed among them.
In such a situation, the noble ladies of the families that were in the Imperial Assembly were invited to the detached palace.
A tea party with ladies would not seem like a political move. It was time to recognize the authorities of this country one by one.
Marianne gave me information about each family. Marianne, who had learned from a professional maid education institution since childhood, had all the basic knowledge of the Empire’s famous families.
The tea party was held at a remote palace. It was my private palace which Kwanach built for me.
The palace had two floors: the first floor had a hall large enough to hold a banquet, and the second floor had several rooms, including a reception room.
The tea party for today was set up in the garden. In effect, most of the preparations were taken care of by Marianne and the maids.
It was early winter during the imperial season, but the daytime was quite warm.
A good day to enjoy tea in the garden.
My private gardens were as well kept as the greenhouse gardens. The first flowers I saw were in full bloom even though it was early winter.
The gardeners at the annex told me that they had planted some of these species from the continent. The gorgeous purple and rare plants went well with the annex.
While the imperial architectural style emphasized practicality and coarseness, only this detached palace was composed of smooth curves, just like the buildings in my homeland, Achaia. Each pillar was delicately decorated, and the window frames were also gorgeous.
After taking a leisurely look around the garden, I gently placed my hand on the wooden pillar. As soon as I moved my magic, the memories of the tree began to flow into my mind.
<From the tableware to the floral decorations around it, it have to be as gorgeous as possible. >
I could see Marianne giving instructions to the maids. She took a lot of care from behind so I was not to be judged by the noble ladies.
Kwanach said there would be a grand wedding in the Empire within a few months, but in any case, it was still before I became official. I was an empress without a wedding, and I was from a weak northern country.
My position in this land has yet to be solidified. Ostensibly, they would be polite to me as Empress, but it would be inevitable for some to subtly ignore me.
Even as Empress, I may seem crude to the nobles who have lived here for generations.
It is sometimes difficult to follow the conversations of the aristocrats in the south. With the dynastic changes brought about by the revolution of Kwanach, the old ways of etiquette and class consciousness had faded. But it wasn’t something that would disappear completely in a few years.
I waited in the parlor for teatime with anxiety.
When I left just in time, the noble ladies who had arrived early were seated in advance, waiting for me. When I arrived, they all stood up and bowed their heads.
“Thank you all for accepting my invitation.”
They ranged from women my mother’s age to my own age. I looked at the noblewomen one by one and listened to their introductions.
They were all familiar with aristocratic etiquette. A few words were exchanged to match the social gathering.
There was one person who stood out from the rest. It was the Duchess of Heinley. Her name was Evelyn. Everyone seemed to be wary of her.
Evelyn was a woman in her early forties, and according to Marianne, she was one of the most popular people in society.
Evelyn spoke with a gentle smile.
“I was surprised at how beautiful the palace is. As soon as I entered, I felt like I was in another world.”
“His Majesty has taken great care of the Empress.”
“I was told that he dedicated the whole palace to the Empress. Oh my gosh, how sweet he is!”
Evelyn was talking, and the others sitting nearby nodded and chimed in.
The Duke of Heinley used to be a pro-monarchy family that had also produced several queens during the Pernen Dynasty.
A power that had been strong for generations. However, they quickly read the new trends and immediately supported Kwanach’s revolutionary army.
At that time, the Pernen dynasty had already been firmly destroyed. It was tyranny after tyranny for generations. It was a king who was suffering from madness.
But not all nobles acted as quickly as the Heinley. Unable to see the world, they were trampled and despised under the banner of the revolutionary army, stripped of their noble titles and disappeared.
By all appearances, Evelyn was a soft, plain, middle-aged woman, but she should never be ignored. She was an experienced person.
Evelyn opened her mouth with a smirk.
“Because the emperor has taken such good care of us, life in the imperial palace seems peaceful. Oh, I heard it’s very cold in the north. How is it there at times like this? I am an outsider who has never encountered anything outside the empire, so what I know is shallow.”
Evelyn interjected gracefully as she gently brought up the subject of my origin in a polite manner. The other noble ladies then chimed in.
“I hear that crops don’t grow well in the north. People’s lives are really hard.”
“How does it feel to come here after spending time in the north? How is it different, Your Majesty?”
They tried to test me. They want to see how I talk about my homeland, how I deal with such a sensitive topic.
I felt like I was being put on an exam table. I watched the women, keeping a gentle smile on my face, but my pride was hurt.
I admit that the North was technologically behind. The rulers of the North needed to put aside their vanity and learn about empire.
But it was still my home land. I did not want to hear what I lacked from strangers who did not know better. But I shouldn’t show my anger. At that moment, I would look shallow.
I said, keeping a calm face.
“I find it interesting that you are interested in my homeland. It’s true that the empire is warmer and more comfortable. But the north is also inhabited, so it’s not so different.”
“Oh, I see.”
As the ladies jostled to add their own words, I was later curious about the one who was always silent except when making introductions.
A woman who seemed unusually timid among the ten noble ladies. It was Linvera, the sister of Baron Oslin Baynard.
I heard that she married Marquis Brooks and became the lady of the house.
Only Linvera seems to be out of the pack…why?
Linvera looked so much like Oslin that anyone could tell that she was his sister.
She had dark green hair and gray eyes. She was a very petite and thin woman.
The difference between her and Oslin was that Oslin was strict and bold, while Linvera was very timid.
I opened my mouth, conscious of Linvera.
“Winter is approaching, is everyone doing well with their territory management?”
Evelyn kept smiling calmly, but the noblewoman sitting next to her said in a hateful tone.
“Winters in the empire aren’t as harsh as in the north. It needs more blessings there.”
“I’ve heard that crops don’t grow well in the middle of winter in the south either. I’m wondering how the commoners in the poor territories spend the winter.”
I stared at Linvera.
I called her name, and she looked up in surprise.
“Yes, yes? Oh, um, we …… we, our family……..”
“Ha.” At that moment, I heard a voice mocking her from somewhere.
“Um, we, we……..”
Linvera whimpered and blushed. Finally, I understood why Linvera had flailed about among the noblewomen. She stuttered.
However, it seemed that she had to be here because she could not refuse the Empress’s invitation.
‘The others are ignoring her.’
Everyone was whispering and holding back their laughter. I could predict how she was usually treated when she went out for social gatherings.
‘Oh dear…I’m sure Lord Baynard is extraordinarily worried about his sister.’
Linvera shuddered and continued speaking.
“Well, we, in the territory, have been solving the problem since a long time ago…Yes…Umm, so that the people don’t starve in winter…”
After barely speaking, Linvera bowed her head. Her ears turned red.
“Thank you for telling me. I heard that the imperial family sometimes provides support, but if the territory does so, the lives of the pepke will be much better. Marquis Brooks is a role model indeed.”
“Yes, yes, he is…Marquis Brooks is a very honorable and kind man…”
A faint smile appeared on Linvera’s face as she spoke of her husband.
She seemed to be on good terms with her husband. I was glad.
At that moment, Evelyn, who had been keeping quiet, suddenly interrupted and changed the subject.
“Have you heard the news that a new mithril mine has been discovered in the west? Your Majesty?”
Linvera lowered her head again and stopped talking.
It was so hectic after coming to the Empire, but I read daily newspapers published by the imperial family.
I remembered seeing it in the newspaper. The country was abuzz with talk of a mine that was discovered on state land that was barely inhabited.
“Mithril. Indeed, this is also a blessing from the goddess.”
“Yes, it is. We’re going to start developing it soon, aren’t we?”
In addition to Evelyn’s words, the others just chattered excitedly.
Since the mine was discovered on state land, the Imperial family had a monopoly on development and mining. But the reaction of the noble ladies was like …….
‘Conservative aristocrats are showing signs of turning in favor of tax reform.Was it this?’
I thought that they might have made a kind of deal with the nobles who belonged to the Imperial Council by dividing and distributing the mithril mining rights.
The noblewomen were talking in elegant voices about how precious a material mithril was. The table was noisy with talk about the mithril mines for a while.
All the while, Linvera remained silent in the corner. With a somber and depressed expression on her face.
The way she was ridiculed and couldn’t blend in with people, just like me in my past life.