Chapter 56 - The Mage’s Tower
“I’ve handled everything. You’re to receive ten times more than the appraised value of that jewel, so now, let’s focus on our business a little,” he had said, and then Estian had pulled down Cecile’s clothes with haste; liberated from the wait, there was no hesitation to be found in his movements.
He hadn’t let her go until dawn, and she had to chirp under him the entire time. It was only after noon the next day that Cecile was able to crawl out of bed.
* * *
‘Still, I’m so glad I did nothing but sleep yesterday,’ she sighed. There was an event today, which was why Cecile had tearily begged Estian… for them to sleep holding hands only. Estian looked dissatisfied at her request, but only for a brief moment; he soon acquiesced and did just that. He then covered her snugly in a blanket and lay down to pull her into a hug.
Cecile had quickly fallen asleep in his arms. She was now used to somebody sleeping next to her, as well as seeing Estian’s face upon waking up. ‘It’s a problem to get used to it though.’ Cecile sighed. Numerous thoughts passed through her mind. ‘I should finish today’s work before thinking about it.’
Cecile turned her gaze to the paper in her hand. Today was the day of the Stoan delegation’s visit and, as the empress, she had to attend to their audience with Estian. ‘Let’s see. The order of greetings from the envoys, the greeting I should give during the audience, the order of the event…’
While Kane did organize the paper neatly, Cecile still had much to memorize. In particular, imperial etiquette was a difficult thing. Although she was educated on the subject for a month before her wedding, what she learned was almost superficial. ‘I think I’ll have to study a bit more.’
She had felt the need to study back then as well, but she realized there was too much she did not know upon entering the imperial palace. ‘I’ll need someone to teach me, after all.’
As Kane had once advised, it seemed necessary to choose more ladies-in-waiting to help her. Cecile looked at Tania, who was also reading through a paper with burning focus. Due to being the only lady-in-waiting of the empress, there were quite a few things that Tania was entrusted with for the occasion. She appeared to be memorizing the things related to it, but her face looked pale. As expected, it seemed Tania would have a hard time handling these matters on her own.
‘Yes. For Tania’s sake too, I should pick a lady-in-waiting who’s well-versed in imperial etiquette.’
* * *
Tania looked at the paper in her hand. Many times, imperial attendants had asked if she was alright at the sight of her pale face. ‘I’m not alright, I’m in trouble!’
Trouble was the word in Tania’s heart. She shifted her gaze to a spot above the papers Kane had brought, where a letter from her mother lay.
Come back home right this instant, or I will find you and kill you.
How is this a letter from a mother to her daughter?! Clearly, it’s blackmail! No, blackmail would’ve been better actually… She was twice as scared to see -Mom- written at the end. Tania felt cold sweat trickling down her back. In truth, she had sent a letter home out of excitement on the day she became a lady-in-waiting.
Mom, I shall now enjoy a fabulous life in the capital. Who cares about that bumpkin province! I don’t need to do any more sword practice, nor do I need any more crossbow practice! I don’t need to go hunting for winter wolves, nor do I need to clean the grizzly kennel! I am free!
And what she got in return was that letter. It was unknown as to how furious her mother was to have written back, but five—five!—marks of a broken pen were visible on that single short sentence. ‘Why did I write a letter like that…’
Tania was plagued by deep regret, but there was no use crying over spilled milk. Besides, there was a bigger problem… ‘I miswrote the return address so this letter is from a week ago!’ She panicked. With that being the case, it was highly likely that her mother, who had yet to receive a reply, had already set out for her. Tania’s face turned even paler.
I’m so dead.
* * *
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