Chapter 4 - Weight and Dessert
“Young master. I’ve told you countless times that you should stop doing these pranks. I know both of you don’t heed my advice anymore. You should know by now that Lady Ella can’t deal with your manhandling anymore. I’ve told you before that what you’re doing now is just bullying her.”
Maylin’s lectures were a frequent occurrence for Evan. They were so frequent that he had a response to each one.
“That’s why I objected to Ella’s weight loss! Look at her. She’s so thin even without her corset! At this point, a corset will only hurt her. It won’t even make her look thin. Besides, I don’t like the idea of my sister starving just to look good to other men.”
A month ago, even before he left, Evan argued with Maylin over Ella’s weight loss. To Evan, Ella was fragile yet athletic. But now, Ella began to wither away due to her drastic weight loss. She couldn’t even escape his headlock, which she had single-handedly escaped before. Evan never imagined his sister would be in such a state. He especially hated the idea that she was doing this all for the sake of the crown prince. He would have done his best to help her if she was marrying into an ordinary noble family. Because Ella was the crown prince’s fiancée, extra care and attention were given to her. From now on, Ella would have to deal with her problems on her own. It was clear to him that it would be difficult to even visit his sister in the future.
The current empress was an example of a woman who ruined her life by marrying into the royal family. Evan didn’t want the same to happen to Ella, so he looked into the empress’s past. As he learned more about the empress, he became increasingly worried for Ella. These days he couldn’t shake his worries away. Although Evan hated the idea of Ella’s marriage, it was impossible to stop it. The marriage was, after all, the emperor’s idea.
Ella stopped glaring at Evan when she realized why he was behaving this way. Although his actions were rough, she could feel his sincerity behind them. The usual Luciella would have told Evan to mind his own business. She, however, wasn’t the Luciella that he knew.
Ella approached Evan with a smile. Evan flinched. ‘W-what’s up with her…?’ thought Evan. Then he asked, “w…what’s wrong?”
Ella almost burst into laughter at Evan’s reaction, but she maintained her beautiful smile. As she smiled, Luciella’s past memories appeared in her mind. One of them showed Ella kicking Evan’s shin after approaching him with the same smile. Her smile became even brighter as Evan became more fearful of her. Although Evan was aware of what was going to happen to him, he didn’t stop his sister from walking towards him. Ella felt loved.
“I’m thankful that you care about me. I think I’m going to go easy on the weight loss as you’ve just said.”
“My lady!” shouted Maylin in response to Ella’s words.
Although Ella knew why Maylin reacted that way, she valued her relationship with her brother more than the crown prince, who she hadn’t met yet. There wasn’t any point in her diet. Ella knew that in three months at her debut, she would meet up with the crown prince. After that meeting, they would instantly fall in love. Everything would happen as described in the original novel. No matter what Ella looked like, the crown prince was going to fall in love with her. After all, they were the main characters of this story.
Even in her current state, she was beautiful. There was no point in trying even harder. She didn’t even want to try. Maintaining her current weight was enough for her. Ella didn’t want to tell Evan that because of the headlock he gave her. The headlock moments ago was just too much, even if he was concerned for her. Evan, however, didn’t know this, and his face instantly brightened.
“Is that true?” asked Evan.
“Of course. I think you’re right. I don’t see what’s the point in losing weight anymore. Maybe I should start training my body. I think it’s time I learn about the ‘fighting Evan’ technique that Eric always wanted to teach me. Don’t you think it’s better that I learn to keep myself alive for the crown prince instead of looking good for him?”
Similar to his father, Evan was a highly intellectual man. Unfortunately, he was by no means athletic. The only fights that Evan has ever won were those against Ella. Unlike him, his two younger brothers were born to be warriors like their mother’s family. If Evan wasn’t the heir to the family, he might have been beaten by his brothers a long time ago. Many times in the past, this was proven to be true. Evan and the second son, Eric, frequently fought each other. Every fight ended with Eric’s victory. Ella, on the other hand, inherited both talents from her parents. Although she wasn’t allowed to learn any sword fighting techniques, she quickly learned some just by playing with Eric.
‘Ella’s learning martial arts from Eric?’ Just the thought of that made Evan go pale. If that were to happen, then everyone was sure to know why she made that decision.
“Well, Ella. You’re a lady of the Constance family. Maybe you should focus on training your intellectual prowess? Oh, I almost forgot! I have a gift for you. Will you wait for me in the drawing-room?”
Then, Evan scurried away. Watching him run away made Ella burst into laughter.
“You mustn’t be serious, my lady.”
“That you’re going to end your dieting! On top of that, you’re going to do some martial arts training?”
Whenever she made a decision, Ella was the type to follow through with it. Ella’s decision made Maylin shocked. Ella became apologetic for making Maylin worry, and she hugged her with a warm smile.
“Oh, silly. Muscles don’t suit my beautiful arms. Don’t you agree? Besides, Eric’s away from the estate. You can’t get any training from him anyway. I was just trying to scare Evan.”
Ella’s bluff worked with Evan. For some reason, Evan’s intelligence never seemed to appear whenever his siblings were present. Maylin seemed relieved as she listened to Ella. That was until Maylin realized what Ella didn’t mention.
“So, you AREN’T going to lose weight then?”
Ella ignored her question and grabbed Maylin’s arm as they walked to Evan’s drawing-room.
“Come to think of it, I think Evan’s right. There’s no point trying to lose weight. I’m going to marry the crown prince anyways. It’s an order from his majesty, so there’s no turning back. Besides, I’m the only one in this entire empire who’s fit to be his wife. Don’t you agree?”
Although it was an arrogant claim, it was the truth. Out of the four duke families, Constance and Drolin were the only ones to have a daughter. The Drolin family received its duke title two generations ago. There were also terrible rumors about Duke Drolin’s reputation. The Constance family had existed since the founding of the empire. Compared to the Constance family, the Drolin family was no match for them. Not only that, Aileena Drolin was known for her terrible personality. It was only natural that the emperor chose Luciella. Many considered Ella to be the future empress. The only way for that decision to be overturned was if something dire were to happen in the future.
“But don’t you still want to look good for his highness, the prince?”
Ella stopped for a second at her words. Luciella fell in love with Cladis the moment she laid her eyes on him. Love was the reason why a tomboy like herself became so gentle. When she was eight years old, she met the eleven-year-old Cladis. Cladis was gentle and kind, unlike her prankster brothers, and she fell in love with him on the spot. Since then, she went to the palace to meet him once a month until he left for the National Academy. While he was away, Luciella cried and promised to become a lady fitting for him. At the time, she was only 13 years old. Luciella kept her promise and did her best to make herself worthy. Finally, she was worthy and beautiful enough for Cladis. In honor of her hard work, Cladis decided to have his return party at Ella’s debut. It was only natural for Luciella to go on a stricter diet before the upcoming party. She wanted to look perfect. That was the beginning of her two-month-long diet.
Memories of Luciella’s efforts from the past three years caused Ella to change her mind. Ella decided she couldn’t waste Luciella’s efforts. ‘I don’t have the right to ignore that,’ Ella thought as she let out a long sigh. She had no choice but to say goodbye to the tasty desserts. “Right… I have to look perfect. I guess I can’t completely quit.”
Just like that, Ella returned back to dieting. Ella’s footsteps were slow from disappointment.
Maylin held Ella’s hand and softly said, “His highness will be mesmerized when he sees you. He’ll say, ‘I’ve never seen a girl as beautiful as you.’ He’s going to treat you like a woman when he sees you, my lady.”
Those words were probably enough to soothe Luciella, but Ella didn’t feel reassured at all. She knew it was going to all happen anyway. Ella was unimpressed by Maylin’s words.
“I was going to keep this a secret until it was the right moment, but I suppose I can let you know ahead of time. Chef Kooke promised to make you the best late-night snack after the party. Until then, just hang in there, my lady!” whispered Maylin as she drew closer to Ella.
‘A snack? Dessert made by Chef Kooke, which I couldn’t eat for the past month?’ Ella remembered reading about those desserts back when she was still Ranhee. The thought of eating those delicious desserts made Ella excited. She was so excited that she had to remind herself to stay calm. As she tried to calm herself, Ella made an additional request for Chef Kooke.
“Tell him that I want an extra-large lemon tart with a huge jar of his homemade marmalade. I won’t consider it the best unless that’s included.”
“Of course, my lady. But you shouldn’t eat all that marmalade all at once.”
As she walked, she flapped her arms in excitement. Although it wasn’t lady-like at all, Maylin for once decided to let this one go. Ella looked too lovely to be stopped by her.