Chapter 46 - Tania And The Secret Bag
In other words, Irene was completely blocking Estian’s way. Three times his attempts to move were thwarted, and Estian ended up questioning her in a low voice. “What do you think you are doing?”
Unable to hide his exasperation, the murder in his voice was of terrifying intensity, yet Irene appeared completely oblivious to it all as she smiled brightly. “Oh, now there’s the emperor I know. You always had that look on you when you were young.”
The other people standing around were already sweating at the dangerous air around Estian. Seeing Irene stand so nonchalantly in front of Estian like that, they whispered among themselves, ‘Is it because they’re friends after all?’ and so forth. It was not because they were friends, however; his patience was merely derived from the fact that he shared Irene’s blood and Irene likewise his… though she was unaware of this. Estian barely managed to curb his boiling frustration as he continued to speak. “Irene. Say everything you want to say, as well as why you came to the imperial palace, here and now.”
He did not want to express his irritation a second time, so he intended on listening to her full story here and tell Kane to deal with the matter on his own. His degree of tolerance for Irene was not out of fondness for her, but solely on account of Earl Levnen, who had endeavored to return his humanity to him in the past.
When Estian finished speaking, Irene beamed with a smile—as if she had known he would listen to her—as she responded. “I want to see Her Majesty the Empress.”
And to that, Estian answered in kind with a smile of his own. “Drag her out.”
* * *
Tania took in her surroundings. It was easy to lose one’s way in the vastly spacious palace of the empress, but she was fixing the memory of the path she was currently taking into her mind. After all, it was the way to the empress’ room of residence.
Upon her arrival, the attendant standing outside recognized her and announced as such in the direction of the room. Tania clutched tightly onto the object in her arms and waited to be called from the inside. Soon after, she heard the sound of a door opening from the inside.
“Y-your Majesty!” She had expected an attendant to open the door, but out came the empress instead.
“You don’t know how much I’ve waited for you since morning. Come on in. Oh, the rest of you may go back now. I want some time for us alone.”
“However, Your Majesty…”
“Did I not make it clear the other day? Do not disturb my time with Tania.”
The attendants were forced to withdraw upon hearing the tone in the empress’s voice, harder than ever before. As the attendants were about to leave, one of them spotted the large bag in Tania’s arms. “Lady Tania, everything taken into Her Majesty’s room must be inspected.”
But at that moment, as the attendant spoke as such and reached out for the bag, a high-pitched voice broke through the air.
“It is something I specially asked her to bring. All of you, quickly take your leave.”
“Quickly, I said!”
Seeing the empress now yelling with a reddened face, the attendants all hurriedly went outside. Even as the attendants left, though, their eyes briefly lingered on Tania’s bag. It appeared to contain something quite large and heavy, and Tania was hugging tightly onto it as if it were the most precious thing in the world.
‘Just what does it contain?’ they wondered.
This lady-in-waiting from the countryside was said to have caught the empress’s eye thanks to wearing a large jewel during the election. That being the case, could it be that the bag contained…?
‘The poor thing. Was she commanded by Her Majesty to bring the rest of her jewels?’
Once reaching that point of thought, it all made sense to the attendants. How could a plain girl from the sticks manage to become a lady-in-waiting? Bribery was the answer. That bag surely contained all the jewels that that young lady had.
‘What a villainess, a villainess I say!’
And thus the misunderstandings continued to pile.
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