Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
At first, I was very nervous about eating with the emperor, but after doing it a few times, I got used to it. It’s also thanks to Baron Delrond.
When I arrived at the dining room, as usual, I sat to Kalian’s right and Baron Delrond to his left.
As everyone was seated, the attendants served the food. The large table was quickly filled.
“Your Majesty, I have something to tell you about the reward for the war hero…”
When Baron Delrond talked about work matters even before eating, Kalian’s forehead wrinkled.
“I don’t want to talk about work while eating.”
“I apologize, but I don’t have time. After eating, I have to go back to the outer palace.”
Kalian clicked his tongue in annoyance and picked up his glass of wine.
“Because of the problem of distributing the spoils…”
Ver didn’t care and began reporting again.
Kalian listened to Ver’s report steadily while showing off his annoyance.
They’re having a serious conversation, and I didn’t think I should be the only one eating, so when I tried to put down the fork…
Kalian called me. I was startled and picked up the fork again.
“I will keep eating.”
“What are you talking about?”
…huh? Isn’t that what you mean?
“The things Ver just told me, did you hear it?”
Embarrassed for no reason, I quietly put the fork down again and looked at Kalian.
“If you’re talking about compensation for the bereaved family, I heard it.”
“I want to hear your thoughts about it.”
I was taken aback. Baron Delrond was in full charge of this matter, so I had nothing in my mind about it.
“If you give me some time, I will investigate…”
“I want to hear your opinion purely, rather than a standard answer based on data.”
“But I don’t know anything about this issue…”
“So, what’s your opinion?”
He cut me off and asked again. No matter what, he was determined to hear my answer now.
What should I do? What kind of answer must I give to satisfy him?
It wasn’t that I didn’t have any thoughts at all, but I couldn’t tell him because I didn’t know if this was right or not.
“Hmm, did I ask something too difficult?”
His sigh woke me up as if cold water had been poured onto me.
Hold yourself together, Leila.
The Emperor’s testing you.
I was afraid that if I showed a foolish side here, I would never be recognized by Kalian.
But, it would be better to say anything.
I took a deep breath and slowly spoke my thoughts.
“As Baron Delrond said, I also agree to give consolation money to the bereaved family. One… more than that. I think there is an issue that needs to be solved first.”
“What is it?”
“It is about protecting war orphans.”
Children without guardians were left in danger.
“Not only that, but it also makes their livelihood hopeless. Because what children can do is extremely limited.”
“That’s why we’re giving them consolation money. We want them to make a living.”
Baron Delrond interrupted the conversation.
“Of course, if you give them consolation money, they can make a living right away, but in the long run, it doesn’t help much. Rather, there is a high possibility that crimes targeting children with large sums of money will occur.”
“That makes sense.”
Kalian nodded in agreement with me. Baron Delrond also looked like he understood.
The two of them listened to my opinion, which gave me confidence. I expressed my opinion more confidently than I did before.
“That’s why I think protecting the children first is a priority.”
Kalian thought for a moment and asked.
“In what way?”
“There are many ways, but in my opinion, taking the children and taking care of them until they reach adulthood is the best and surest thing to do.”
“The temple must have been doing that already.”
Baron Delrond interrupted the conversation again. I looked back at him.
“Of course, the temple plays that role, but it has its limits. The number of people that can be accommodated in the temple is also limited.”
In addition, there were several problems with accommodating children in the temple.
“So I think it would be good to create a new child care institution.”
However, to point out one by one now would make the conversation leak to a different area, so I ended it appropriately.
“Of course, the initial budget will be high, but in the long run, it will be very helpful for the Empire’s welfare. Because even if there is no war, there are still orphans.”
Kalian thought for a moment and then nodded.
“Okay. Leila, I’ll leave this to you. Go write the report.”
Do you want me to write the report right away without discussing it with the ministers of each department?
I looked at him in surprise.
“I think it was a hasty decision to write the report right away, Your Majesty.”
Baron Delrond also expressed his opinion anxiously whether he had the same thought as me.
“This is something that needs to be thought through and decided. We also have to discuss it with the ministers of each department.”
“Don’t worry, Ver, because I’ve thought about it enough.”
Kalian said with a smile.
“What’s left is to make the ministers of each department understand. To do that, we need a proper report, that’s why I asked Leila to write it.”
In other words, the state of the report I wrote would determine whether or not this would proceed.
I was worried about whether I could do such an important task, but I really wanted to do it.
Building a child care institution had been something I had always wanted to do since I was at the Duke of Williot.
I had no choice but to put it aside because of realistic walls such as a budget problem, but when the opportunity to achieve it came, my heart was pounding.
I really wanted to succeed.
With my own hands, not anyone else’s.
“You can do it, right?”
If I showed too much excitement, Kalian would think it’s strange, so I calmed down my excitement as much as possible and replied politely.
“I will give it a try.”
I wanted to write the report on the child care institution right away, but there were too many other things to do.
The priority was to prepare for the victory celebration party that was just two weeks away.
Usually, the banquet preparations were led by the empress, the owner of the inner palace.
When the Empress is absent, the Empress (concubine) takes over the role, but Kalian had neither Empress nor Empress (concubine).
Because of that, the work came back to us, the aides.
Although each department provided assistance, most of it had to be handled by me and Baron Delrond.
When I saw the documents piled high enough to be incomparable with what I saw at the Duke of Williot, I sighed.
“It would have been nice if there’s an owner in the Palace.”
I complained without realizing it.
I hurriedly saw Baron Delrond’s face, and fortunately, he didn’t seem to find it strange.
“I also fully understand your feelings.”
Rather, he agreed with me.
“But it would be better to give up on that part. His Majesty has no intention of bringing in an Empress or Empress (concubine).”
Baron Delrond scratched his head.
“No, I guess ‘can’t’ is the right expression.”
It’s not that he has no intention, but that he can’t?
Is it because of the 3-year phase?
But I know that the Imperial family is an exception for the prosperity and stability of the Imperial family.
Curious, I asked, and Baron Delrond exclaimed briefly with a stiffened face.
“I made a mistake. Please pretend you didn’t hear that, Sir Thebesa.”
Baron Delrond took the documents and stood up.
“Then, Sir Thebesa. I will go to the outer palace, so please contact me if there is anything urgent.”
Baron Delrond left the office as if he were running away.
I didn’t know if that’s actually the case, but that’s how it seemed to me.
There must be some great secret.
I was curious, but I didn’t want to ask again.
If I asked, I didn’t think he would tell me and I didn’t have a hobby of digging other people’s secrets.
There must be a good reason.
I thought lightly and looked at the documents that came from each department.
“Duke, a letter has arrived from the Imperial Palace.”
The old butler politely handed the letter to Philen.
A letter from the Imperial Palace was an important thing to check even during meetings.
Philen put down the document he was looking at and took the letter.
The Imperial seal was clearly engraved on the sealing wax. It’s definitely a letter from the Imperial Palace.
Philen cut the envelope neatly using a paper-knife and read the letter inside.
The butler stood in front of Philen until he finished reading the letter.
After reading the letter, Philen put down the letter and looked at the butler.
“In two weeks, there will be a victory party at the Imperial Palace.”
“Then you have to go back to the capital.”
Philen clicked his tongue in annoyance.
“Why don’t they hold it all at once? Why do they hold it separately?”
“Because there are a lot of things to deal with, such as merit and compensation.”
As the butler expressed his opinion, Philen’s eyes went up sharply.
“Are you trying to teach me now?”
“I apologize, Duke.”
The quick-witted butler quickly apologized.
Philen glanced at the butler once, and then put the letter in the drawer.
“I should prepare the clothes first.”
“I’ll contact the boutique right away.”
“No need. I have to wear a uniform this time, so there’s no need for a banquet suit.”
The clothes problem has been solved, what else do I need to prepare?
Philen tried to think, but nothing came to mind.
Up until now, all of this had been done by Leila.
Philen always ate at the table she had perfectly prepared, even the cutlery.
So, he didn’t know what and how to prepare.
Besides this, there were many other things he didn’t know. And there were so many things to do.
It was hard to believe that Leila had done all these things, where it was too much for Philen to handle all the work by himself.
“…I wish Leila was here.”
‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’, that statement was right.
[T/N: to be precise, here means when the person is around, they don’t realize his/her importance/presence. But when he/she disappears, they greatly feel that person’s importance/presence.]
Without Leila, he could feel her preciousness.
It would be the same for Leila.
If she felt that, he would like her to come back without being too stubborn, but the woman who endured it would feel silly.