Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
One declared a breakup, and the other was clingy and still didn’t accept it?
Kalian’s eyes bent languidly.
Philen Williot had very high self-esteem, as expected of the son of a duke.
Even on the battlefield, there were a few times when he was in trouble because he couldn’t hurt his pride.
Yet, it now looked like he’s just clingy to a Count Lady.
He couldn’t help but laugh.
“Shall we find out more about it?”
Kalian thought for a moment and then shook his head.
“No, that’s enough.”
Seeing Leila didn’t say anything to him, it seemed like she wanted this to be buried, and it didn’t seem like he wanted to dig more into it intentionally.
So Kalian pretended not to know anything and was going to bury it.
Until Leila told him about it with her mouth first.
We unpacked our luggage from the inn and headed to the market to buy groceries and other daily necessities.
It was well maintained, but there were more things to buy than I thought, probably because people hadn’t lived there for a long time.
After wandering around for a while, my wallet became thin.
Now, I really don’t have much money left.
Instead of hiring a new maid, it seemed like I had to save until I got my paycheck.
I think I only bought what I needed, where did I spend so much money?
As I pondered, I remembered a fine handkerchief and thread I bought at the embroidery store.
Those two prices accounted for more than half of what I spent today.
Is it too much?
No. It’s a gift for the emperor, I can’t buy the cheap ones.
And compared to what I’ve received from him so far, this much is nothing.
Even if I was thrifty about other things, it was right not to be thrifty about it.
If I was in a pinch, I could sell the jewelry I brought.
Even if I sold just one, the half-year living cost was not worth worrying about.
That’s why, just in case of an emergency, I had to save the jewelry as much as possible.
“What are you thinking about, My Lady?”
“Nothing. We have bought everything now, right?”
Sarah nodded, pointing to the box containing the items.
“Yes. I think we can buy other things whenever we need them.”
“Okay. Then let’s bring it together.”
When I asked the employee to deliver, he said I had to pay two shillings for delivery.
With that money, I could buy bread for a few days, so I decided to save it.
It wasn’t something that two women couldn’t carry, too.
“Yes? Instead of asking for delivery, do you want to bring it yourself?”
“We have to save money.”
Sarah turned red and bowed her head.
“I, I apologize, My Lady. I shouldn’t have…”
“I really apologize.”
It’s really okay, you know?
“Stop it and let’s go.”
If I left her alone, it looked like she would be digging into the ground, so I grabbed some of the stuff first.
Then Sarah grabbed the remaining stuff and followed me.
When I got home, I started organizing the luggage with Sarah.
Sarah jumped restlessly, saying she would do it alone, but in the end, she helped me.
I was sorry to have made her manage this spacious house alone, so I couldn’t leave her to organize the luggage by herself.
After organizing the luggage, we had a late dinner and chatted about this and that, and then I embroidered the handkerchief until just before I went to bed.
The imperial crest was a roaring blue dragon.
Dragon scales were more sophisticated than roses, so if I didn’t concentrate even a little bit, the embroidery would be messed up.
I wanted to finish it quickly, but it was too much to stay up all night long working on it.
Still, I fell asleep while working until quite late, and at dawn, my eyes opened wide.
It was because of the habit of waking up early in the morning.
Even when I tried to sleep again, my mind was awake. I thought it would be impossible to sleep again.
Since I’m up, should I embroider?
While picking up the cloth and needle on the desk, I suddenly remembered what Baron Delrond had said when I saw the document next to it.
He said he had a lot of work to do.
I remembered there were quite a number of documents piled up in the emperor’s office.
The long war had just ended, and since he had just been crowned, of course, there’s a lot of work to be done.
But Baron Delrond is the only aide that can help….
It bothered me. They’re busy working, could I take it easy and embroider?
While fiddling with the cloth, I put it down and went into the bathroom.
Kalian said I didn’t have to come for a week, but I thought it would be better to go.
I’ll go and help them with some simple documents.
I washed briefly, took out a few clothes from the closet, and changed into it.
I kept my makeup simple and neatly styled my messy hair.
It was only after I packed the document and the pass that I realized that I had no transportation to get to the Imperial Palace.
Baron Delrond said he would send a carriage from next week.
Then, is there a place where I can rent a carriage near here? I don’t think I saw it when I got home yesterday.
I felt like I had to just walk.
If it took 10 minutes by carriage, it would take about 40 minutes on foot.
It wasn’t that far away. I could walk enough.
All right, let’s walk.
Having made that decision, I left my room after checking if I had forgotten anything.
I left a note on the table, saying I would go to the Imperial Palace, and was about to leave the house, but Sarah came out of her room, rubbing her eyes.
“My Lady? Where are you going?”
“I’ll go to the Imperial Palace for a while.”
“Yes? This early?”
Sarah, who suddenly woke up, shouted in surprise.
“If something like this happened, please tell me in advance! Then I would have helped you prepare!”
“No. I can do this much by myself.”
Sarah looked at me from head to toe and let out a short exclamation.
“You are really prepared yourself. Cool. Noble ladies usually cannot do that.”
I turned around with a faint smile.
“I’ll take the key with me, so don’t go out and stay at home today.”
“How, how about your breakfast?”
“It’s okay. There’s no need to prepare breakfast in the future. Because I don’t eat.”
“Ah, come to think of it, you didn’t eat even when you were at the Duke’s.”
Duke’s. Just hearing it made me smile bitterly.
“I understand. Then should I prepare lunch?”
“No. Just prepare dinner.”
If I left now, it would be impossible to come back by lunchtime.
“Yes! I will make the stew and mocha bread that you like.”
“Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.”
“Have a safe trip, My Lady.”
I left the house with Sarah seeing me off. The cool air of dawn, which had not yet gone, enveloped my body.
“It’s a little cold.”
It was hot during the day, so I dressed lightly, but it seemed to have been the wrong choice.
Should I go back in and bring out my shawl?
No. Let’s just go. It got hot during the day anyway.
In addition, the imperial palace was warm because it had warm magic on it.
So I went straight to the Imperial Palace, thinking there would be no problem if I just went.
I walked endlessly through the quiet streets.
When the blueness of dawn that remained in the sky disappeared, I arrived at the Imperial Palace.
When I showed the pass that Kalian gave me, I passed from the outer palace to the inner palace at once.
However, I couldn’t enter the palace where the emperor’s office was located.
It wasn’t that the pass didn’t work. It was because I came too early.
According to the attendant who came to meet me, Kalian had just woken up and was washing up.
Oh my. I thought too much based on my standards.
Like me, Philen was the type to wake up early.
It wasn’t after he brought Cecily, but before that, he always woke up early in the morning and practiced swordsmanship until late at night.
The previous Duke and Duchess Williot also always woke up early because they didn’t sleep well.
So I thought the Emperor would of course be awake at this time.
“Should I come back later?”
“Please wait. Let me check.”
After telling me to wait a little bit, the attendant went inside.
After a while, he returned and spoke with a slightly awkward face.
“I’m sorry, but would you mind waiting in the drawing-room for a moment?”
“Then, I will guide you to the drawing-room. Come this way.”
The attendant kindly guided me to the front of the drawing-room.
Drinking the tea the maid brought, I looked around the splendid and antique drawing-room.
Duke Williot’s drawing-room was also quite large, but compared to the emperor’s drawing-room, it was a drop in the bucket.
[T/N: a drop in the bucket refers to a very insignificant thing or a very small amount.]
Well, no matter that it was a Duke,
it didn’t make sense to compare it with the Imperial Palace.
More than that, I should stop thinking of the Duke of Williot…
Despite leaving the Duke of Williot, I could hardly escape from the Duke’s shadow.
I didn’t miss Philen. I missed the life there, Williot estate.
It was only natural because I had been living there for over 10 years.
To me, Williot estate was like a second home.
…now it’s a hometown that I can’t go back to again.
The fact that there were two such hometowns broke my heart.
In particular, unlike the first hometown, the second hometown was even more heartbreaking because I had many good memories in many ways.
I felt like crying, so I covered my face with both hands.
The warmth of my palms warmly embraced my slightly cold face.
Let’s just stay like this until the fluctuating emotions subside.
Before the Emperor came, I had to calm down unconditionally.
Because I couldn’t show my unsightly tears in front of him.
I was used to holding back tears and swallowing sadness.
I was pressing my face with my palms when a cold hand touched my shoulder.
When I looked up in surprise, I saw Kalian, who I didn’t know when he came.
“Your Majesty, when…”
When I tried to stand up hurriedly in surprise, Kalian pressed my shoulder hard and prevented me from standing up.
“I remembered something urgent.”
Kalian said indifferently and put a handkerchief in my hand.
“I’m sorry. I’ll be back for a while, so please wait a little longer, My Lady.”
And without a moment to hold onto him, he quickly went out.
Left alone, I looked at the handkerchief he gave me.
Since when did he come?
Did he happen to see me crying?
Kalian didn’t comfort me with kind words or hugs.
He just gave me a handkerchief and left the room.
However, it comforted me.