Chapter 18

***


“Really?”

 

At that one word, Ver’s face, which had been pale, glowed with joy. 

 

“Are you really going to hire an aide, Your Majesty?”

 

“Yeah. About one.”

 

“…if you’re serious about hiring one, let’s hire three more people.”

 

When Ver made a suggestion, Kalian smiled faintly.

 

“Should I cancel this?”

 

“No! No way! Yuhuu, I can’t believe you’re going to hire one! Ahahaha! I am very happy!”

 

It was a pity that only one person was hired, but Ver accepted it quickly because he was in such a pitiful situation. 

 

“Then I’ll get the letter of recommendation from the nobles right away…”

 

“Let’s give a test, not a letter of recommendation.”

 

“Are you saying you want to give the official government test?”

 

When Kalian nodded, Ver’s heart filled with false hope.

 

Although the official government test did exist in the Empire, it was rarely practiced.

 

Most of the officials were recommended by nobles. It was composed of graduates who graduated from the academy with excellence.

 

He didn’t know what kind of wind suddenly blew for him to give the official government test. It annoyed him because it meant that he had to prepare a lot to give the official government test. 

 

“When should I do it?”

 

He asked because he had to. Ver was willing to take the hassle because if Kalian changed his mind, it would be a big deal. 

 

Kalian immediately replied as if he already had something planned in his head.

 

“Do it in a month.”

 

“It may be a little tight, but… All right. Should they only do administration for the subject?”

 

“No. Let’s do administration, tax law, politics, welfare, etc.”

 

Ver’s hand, which was writing down Kalian’s words, stopped. Ver looked at Kalian with a bewildered look.

 

“Your Majesty, do you really want to hire an aide?”

  

“Yes.”

 

“But you want to include it all?”

 

“If they want to be my aide, that should be enough.”

 

…I shouldn’t have asked.

 

Ver gave up and wrote down his words.

 

The dream of a new aide coming in was slowly fading away.

 

“I understand. Then I will prepare it as it is and announce it as soon as the banquet is over.”

 

“One more thing.”

 

What else are you going to add here!

 

Ver looked at Kalian in dismay, but Kalian continued with a casual look.

 

“Make sure to include the phrase ‘Women can apply, too.’”

 

*****

 

After that incident, not a single word was spoken between me and Philen.

 

In the past, we used to have a simple conversation when we ran into each other, but now we didn’t even have one.

 

Time passed and it was the day of the Emperor’s coronation celebration party.

 

The celebration party was held for two days, in which I participated only on the first day. Because the party the next day was only available to men.

 

I woke up earlier than usual to get ready for the party. I took a bath with hot water and then got a massage. They applied scented oil all over my body, and I smelled like sweet roses because of that. 

 

After wearing underwear and a corset, I wore a silver dress that sparkled like the melted moonlight.

 

“Wow, how come you fit it so well?”

 

Sarah, who was helping me dress up, trembled with twinkling eyes. The other maids agreed and nodded their heads.

 

“Your hair is as dark as the night sky, so the silver dress suits you very well.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Of course! No one can pull off a silver dress as well as you, My Lady!”

 

“Yes! You’re so beautiful, My Lady!”

 

They’re saying it like that because I was the owner they served.

 

Instead of scolding them, I smiled softly because they were such good flatterers. And obviously, the dress was beautiful even to me. 

 

The pearl powder, sprinkled over the hem of the dress, shimmered like a star whenever it caught the light. The dense droplet diamond, attached to the chest line, stood out.

 

The duke’s designer said that it was a work of satisfaction that made one praise a lot until their mouth dried, and it was worthy enough.

 

As Sarah said, it went well with my dark hair.

 

It was a dress that I liked for the first time in a long time. I thought it would be good to give a reward to the designer when I returned to the estate.

 

My hair was neatly curled up and secured with a pin adorned with pearls. I sprinkled pearl powder on my hair

 

When everything was ready, it was time to start slowly. We had to leave now so that we could arrive at the banquet hall on time.

 

“What about the Duke?”

 

“He’s already ready and waiting in the hall.”

 

“Okay.”

 

I hurriedly left the room because I didn’t want to keep him waiting so long. 

 

Did I do something wrong?

 

“Oh, my!”

 

Or did she do something wrong?

 

Cecily, who popped out from the corner of the hallway, spilled juice, and the clean and dazzling silver dress gradually turned red.

 

“My, My Lady!”

 

“O, oh my goodness!”

 

The screams of the maids resounded desperately in the hallway.

 

Sarah, who came to her senses quickly, wiped it hard with her sleeve, trying her best to stop the stain from spreading, but it was in vain. Because this was beyond human control.

 

I stood stunned and stared blankly at the dress, which lost its original color and was dyed red.

 

“I’m sorry.”  

 

I turned my head when I heard a clear voice mixed with perplexity.

 

Cecily was looking at me with great regret.

 

When our eyes met, she smiled awkwardly. Tears filled her blue eyes.

 

“Out of the way and hurry back to your room, stop…”

  

“…” 

 

“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”

 

My anger rose to the top of my head, but I couldn’t be angry with the person who bowed her head, holding onto her belly and apologizing repeatedly for her wrongdoing.

 

I didn’t know if it was intentional or not, but now, her actions looked like a mistake to anyone. It might be intentional under the guise of a mistake, but that’s the truth only Cecily knew. It wasn’t something I could guess and reproof.

 

“Huu.”

 

If I got angry in this situation, I would be the bad one, so I endured it with patience.

 

I had no intention of accepting Cecily’s apology. Whether it’s a mistake or intentional, it’s her fault, so she had to bear with it.

 

I turned to Sarah, ignoring Cecily who bowed her head.

 

“Sarah.”

 

Sarah, who was very anxious and still wiping my red dress, looked at me with tears in her eyes.

 

When I saw Cecily’s tears, I didn’t feel anything, but when I saw Sarah’s tears, I felt bad. I felt sorry for no reason.

 

If I hadn’t rushed and looked ahead while walking, this wouldn’t have happened.

 

“How many extra dresses do we have in the mansion now? Do we have another silver dress?”

 

Rather than arguing whose fault it was, the important thing now was to change the dress and attend the banquet as soon as possible. It wasn’t another banquet, it was the emperor’s coronation banquet. Being late was impossible.

 

“It’s in the estate. This is the only silver dress we brought here.”

  

“Really?”

 

Then, what should I do?

 

I bit my lip and thought fast.

 

It wasn’t difficult to change only the dress, but the problem was the makeup and accessories to suit the dress. There wasn’t enough time to change everything.

 

More than that, this dress was paired with Philen. If I was the only one wearing a different color here, it wouldn’t go well with him. But there’s nothing I could do if there’s no other silver dress.

 

“It doesn’t have to be a silver dress, so bring a dress that’s as similar as possible. Just in case you don’t know, I brought my jewelry box and some shoes.”

 

“Yes, My Lady.”

 

Sarah and the maids nodded and disappeared quickly. I grabbed a passing servant and gave another order.

 

“Go to the hall and tell the Duke to go to the banquet hall first, as I’m a little late due to a problem.”

 

Cecily’s story was spreading around the social world and it’s very noisy. If Philen and I attended the banquet separately, it would get noisier, but there’s nothing we could do about it. Because both couldn’t be late for the emperor’s coronation banquet. At least one had to go first.

 

The servant disappeared, and I turned around to change my dress.

 

“Excuse me, Miss Thebesa.”

 

Cecily called me like that, but I didn’t look back. Some had to change the dress hurriedly, while others didn’t want to see her face. Because if I saw more, I would be really angry.

 

It would make things more complicated if Cecily collapsed like before, so I suppressed my anger and headed to my room.

 

*****

 

“Duke Williot has arrived.”

 

At Ver’s words, Kalian, who was sitting languidly on the sofa with a bored face, came to life. He slowly got up from his seat.

 

“He came alone.” 

 

For a moment, at Ver’s subsequent words, Kalian doubted his ears and looked at Ver.

 

“Alone?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“His fiancée isn’t coming with him?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Ver replied with a very annoyed look because he was asking the same thing.

 

If it was usual, Kalian would have said something like, ‘what is that expression?’, but not now.

 

“Hmm.”

 

The fact that Philen came alone drew all his attention. There’s no time for him to read Ver’s expression. 

 

“Why did he come alone?”

 

“I don’t know. Shall we find out?”

 

“No. It’s too late to find out now.” 

 

Kalian muttered to himself and sat back down.

 

Kalian recalled a woman with hair and eyes as dark as the night sky.

 

Leila Thebesa. 

 

He had never seen her before, but he knew her name. 

 

He couldn’t not know. Because she was famous in the social world in many ways. Of course, she wasn’t famous in a good way.

 

The daughter of a powerless provincial nobleman, and a lady who was brought in from outside. She was lucky enough to have a relationship with the duke’s son. No one knew what she did, but the duke couple cherished her dearly like their own daughter.

 

For that reason, there were rumors that she was a daughter that Duke Williot brought from outside. The rumor was quelled by the fact that Leila had black hair, not bright blonde, the symbol of the Duke of Williot, but it sparked another rumor.

 

It was rumored that Leila was Duke Williot’s mistress. However, the Duke and Duchess of Williot were rare lovebirds in the social world.

 

Thanks to this, the rumor was quickly silenced, but it sparked another rumor, and people were constantly jealous of Leila.

 

Then, when the Duke and Duchess of Williot died suddenly, Philen Williot, who was still young, became Duke.

 

Here and there, they began to move to swallow the Duke of Williot. No one worked openly, but there were quite a few who worked secretly.

 

But strangely enough, the Duke of Williot was never shaken. It stood strong like an iron fortress.

 

Kalian, who was the prince at the time, thought it was very strange. Because Philen Williot he knew wasn’t a very clever man. He was rather stupid. No, was he ignorant? Or was he naive?

 

It’s hard to define which one, but Philen Williot wasn’t good enough to block a cunning plan, that’s for sure. 

 

But how did he block it? Did the duke’s family have an outstanding aide?

 

Kalian, who was secretly investigating out of curiosity, discovered a surprising fact. 

  

The fact that it wasn’t Philen Williot, not an outstanding aide, but a young girl who just had an adult ceremony that supported the Duke of Williot, who was as precarious as a candle before the wind.

 

The girl was Leila Thebesa.