Chapter 44 - Tania And The Secret Bag
The king of Tetin was rendered speechless by this completely unexpected response. He was so stunned to the point of wondering if the emperor was joking with him. The emperor appeared serious, however. “I only hope she’ll be satisfied with this.”
At his added words, the king of Tetin recalled what he knew of the rumored empress. From what he heard, she was extremely fond of gems, which was why that emperor over there had offered up all the jewels of the Empire to her. Though, she seemed to be a woman who could not be satisfied with the jewelry of the empire alone. The king’s face darkened. It was difficult enough dealing with that mad tyrant, but now there was a maniac who had him around her finger.
“Don’t make such a face. Now that I have this, I have no further business with Tetin. I’ve already sent my troops to Javel, so do kindly bury your men later. I’ll forget the matter of Skadia with this. And also…” Estian drew close to the king of Tetin to whisper into his ear. “…I’ll keep it secret that this knight commander with disguised hair and eyes is your son by blood. Given this much, I think you should have no complaints.”
“You wouldn’t be asking how I knew, would you now?” Estian’s eyes flickered crimson again. The king of Tetin bowed his head, not in submission but gratitude, and Estian turned away at the sight, murmuring, “A father who cares for his son, is it.”
It was not a sentiment he could understand, nor would he be able to understand in the days to come.
Estian immediately moved to return to the empire, certain that Cecile was waiting for him. The very first to welcome him back, however, was an unexpected somebody.
“It has been long, Your Majesty. May the Empire ever prosper in peace.”
It was a woman whom he was not particularly glad to see but could not ignore.
* * *
“It’s really worse than what I heard!”
The newspaper gripped in Irene’s hands was crushed with a scrunch. Watching her show of anger, the saintess inwardly tsked. ‘She may be a character I made, but what a dirty temper…’
She recalled what kind of person Irene was.
As the only daughter of Earl Levnen, a prominent scholar of the Empire, Irene was—to all appearances—a calm and neat person. A lady of good repute with excellent academic achievements and good rapport with her peers. ‘But she has a serious delusion about Estian.’
And she also happened to be besotted with Estian ever since her brief meeting with him when she was young. When the two were young, Estian once received help from Irene, which was why he had shown her greater generosity than to others; however, Irene mistook his leniency for love, believing herself to be the one true fated partner for Estian. She was convinced that she, as a childhood friend of his, was the person who fully understood Estian and would be his life companion.
‘And what was her mindset, again? Something about how Estian would realize how much she truly loved him only after meeting all sorts of women?’ She was a convenient character to write but seeing her in person like this, the saintess felt her character personality to be nasty. Such a typical, uninspired antagonist. And, what? Forgive him for hooking up with whomever? Oh, how I pity you, not knowing the charm of a virgin man.
‘Suppose I should be relieved that she’s simple-minded.’ Thanks to that, it was easy to play to her mood and prepare for future events.
Pulling out the crumpled newspaper from Irene’s hands, the saintess gave her a new one before pointing at a certain column, saying, “Why, milady, look here. It says here that the capital’s jewelers are enjoying a great boom due to young ladies buying jewels to gain favor in the lady-in-waiting election. You’ll be joining them as well, won’t you, milady? After all, you’ll need a worthy gem to catch the empress’s eyes. Even if you are His Majesty’s childhood friend, milady, the ladies-in-waiting will be chosen by Her Majesty in the end, so…”
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