Chapter 60 - Cecile’s Got Talent
As soon as Estian released her from his arms, Cecile promptly skedaddled out of the room. As she went out, the attendants standing outside approached her wonderingly. “Oh dear, your clothes…”
Upon spotting the wrinkles on the hem of Cecile’s dress, they swiftly set about smoothing it out before quietly bowing with knowing looks on their faces. The sight of them acting that way made Cecile feel twice as indignant.
‘I didn’t do it! I didn’t, I tell you!’
A moment later, Kane came out of the room to tell her that Estian was looking for her.
‘I’m leaving straight away if he tries something funny again.’
Cecile went into the room with that thought in mind and stopped in front of the door, looking at Estian while holding onto the handle so she could get out at any time. Estian clicked his tongue at her display of wariness. “You don’t have to be so prepared to run. I only called because there’s something I need you to do.”
“Something I need to do?”
“Mhm. Though I don’t think it’s very different from what I originally asked of you. Could you come here for a second?”
“I’m not going to do anything, so will you stop eyeing me like that.”
As Cecile drew near, still wary, Estian reached out and pulled her by the arm. The moment Cecile fell into Estian’s arms and put on a cross look, he began to whisper in her ear.
Hearing what he had to say, Cecile’s mouth fell apart and a trembling voice came out of her. “You want me to do something like that?”
* * *
The audience proceeded peacefully. While Tania did stammer a bit, confusing the order of actions and greeting words, no big problem arose thanks to the timely assistance of Kane, who had been expecting such a situation. The atmosphere in the audience room was different than before, however.
Normally, the sharp gazes of the imperial officials would have been directed towards the entering foreign envoys. Today though, all their eyes were focused elsewhere, or to be precise, towards the emperor sitting at the highest seat and the empress sticking right next to him.
Everyone was already well aware of the empress’s eccentricity, so they all knew what was coming today as well.
‘Surely the empress will do something crazy today too!’
And to no one’s surprise, the empress had met their expectations starting from her very appearance. According to imperial etiquette, the emperor and the empress were supposed to enter the audience room holding hands while standing approximately a feet apart, yet the two right now…
“Your Majesty, I think it’s too cold here. Goodness, look at my cold breath. What if I die of freezing like this?” The empress cooed petulant words as she clung to the emperor’s arm and rubbed herself against him, the sight of which elicited troubled sighs from among the officials. It would be summer soon and wearing long sleeves made it hot enough to feel steamy, so what cold was she talking about?
The officials shot cold daggers at Cecile.
‘Go inside if it’s so cold! Go back to your palace! What madness are you up to again in front of a foreign delegation!’ They shouted desperately with their eyes, to which Cecile responded with a smile. The dazzling light from the chandelier in the audience room made the jewelry on Cecile’s head, hands, neck, and ears shine with even greater brilliance, all of which served to add a glimmer to her finely combed platinum hair.
The officials who chanced eye contact with Cecile turned their heads hastily, their faces all a little reddened.
They hurriedly fanned their faces with their hands, feeling like it had gotten a little hotter somehow. Estian glared at the ministers for a moment before murmuring to Cecile with all the tenderness in the world.
“Is it very cold?”
“Yes, but…” Cecile held Estian’s hand to her cheek and rubbed against it. “It’s okay because Your Majesty is lending me a hand like this.”
Objectively speaking, they were simply a couple having a good time, albeit somewhat discomfiting to watch. Regardless of them being the emperor and empress, they certainly made for a good picture… but time and place were the problems.
The officials looked to Estian as their last hope. Your Majesty, please stop the empress! And, shouldering the expectations of his officials, Estian opened his mouth to say, “How can one hand be enough when you’re this cold? Come a little closer.”
Estian removed his cloak from his ceremonial suit and wrapped it around Cecile’s shoulders.
It was written across the officials’ faces, ‘We were fools to believe!’
Covered in Estian’s red cloak, Cecile stuck even closer to Estian’s side in a pleased manner, then grabbed the end of the cloak to put half of it over Estian’s shoulder. “How can I use it only for myself when your noble self who governs this empire is more precious than anything else? So let’s cover-up together, Your Majesty.”
“Your thoughts for me are warming enough even without it.”
Oh, brother… Just as they all gave up thinking any further, an attendant announced the arrival of the delegation from the Stoan Kingdom and the envoys entered the audience room.
“I deliver greetings on behalf of the Stoan Kingdom to Your Majesty… the Emperor.”
The head envoy, who had approached to make his greetings, paused in his words for a moment, while the imperial officials all nodded with looks of understanding on their faces. Bewildering, isn’t it? We’re the same. You see, His Majesty wasn’t like this before.
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