Chapter 55 - The Mage’s Tower
Cecile turned away from Aled, frowning. In any case, it was fortunate that Estian took up responsibility for the installments the spirit whined about. In addition to that… ‘Now I can pay Tania for the jewel!’
She had been in such a hurry that on the first day of the lady-in-waiting election, she had grabbed Tania’s hands and yelled, “I need you.”
Cecile was a woman of conscience. While the emperor might have told her ‘I need you to be an evil girl’, she could not find it in her to simply steal jewelry from an outright stranger and be done with it; however, all of Cecile’s possessions were treasures of the imperial family, which was why she had asked Kane whether she could use a bit from her share of imperial funds, to which he had answered…
* * *
“You may use as much as you like. His Majesty has not specified a sum on his part, so please send word if there is anything you need or want. Only…”
“You may only do so after His Majesty returns.”
Many thoughts had passed through Cecile’s mind. Could it be the emperor intended on supervising everything she spent on?
‘But that won’t do!’ she had thought. ‘I was looking forward to buying books with the funds! And isn’t he too stingy?! Checking all of where and what I spend on?’
Seeing Cecile’s face take on all kinds of expressions, Kane had hurriedly shaken his hands and added an explanation. “Please do not misunderstand! There was no empress until now and so according to changes to regulations must be made, on which His Majesty’s final approval is needed, but the proceedings are going late, what with His Majesty suddenly going out to bring that blasted The Forest of Tetin! The arrangements are only going slightly off course, though truthfully, the matter has been long delayed by His Majesty staying at your palace far more frequently than expected. As you know, he hardly comes out once he goes in, and he goes back during the day as well.”
“…” Cecile kept Kane’s words in mind until Estian came to her that night and buried his face in her nape. “Your Majesty, I want to spend some money. Quite a bit of it,” she had said.
Estian’s face had turned odd at her words, and he asked back, “Must you ask that right now?”
“Because it’s urgent!”
And urgent it had been. Tania had been keeping silent about the matter, being the kind girl she was, but there was no way she had been feeling good about being robbed of her jewel. Though the girl had ended up becoming her lady-in-waiting by happenstance, Cecile was fond of Tania; in particular, she liked how it felt like having a friend in their conversations, what with their preferences for books being similar. She did not wish to be hated by Tania, so she wanted to pay her for the jewel as soon as possible.
When Estian hesitated, Cecile had pressed him more strongly for an answer. “Please give your approval right now!”
“No, I mean… Must it really be done tonight? When we’ve already taken off our clothes?”
“That’s okay! We can just wear them again!”
“Wear them again?” Estian had echoed her in a mumbling daze before pulling Cecile in close by her arm. Caught off guard, she had been taken into his arms and their practically naked bodies touched. Cecile had looked at him, musing that his body seemed harder than usual tonight somehow. ‘Why does he look so stiff?’
“So you’re saying… you won’t do it until I approve the matter?”
‘Is that how it is?’ Cecile had then realized what she was holding hostage; they had been very nearly naked and Estian had been sticking to her like glue.
Wielding the bed to bend the emperor to her will… Cecile had almost jumped in surprise when she caught the meaning of her own words. “No, that’s not it! What I meant to say is…!”
“I did tell you to try and do well, but never did I expect you to put it into such good practice.”
“What I mean is that money borrowed should be returned!” She had answered him hastily but it had been too late; Estian had dressed again at lightning speed, zoomed outside, and returned after a while.
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