Chapter 82 - Whoop His Imperial...
Taking off her shoes, she carried them in one hand to move more silently, holding her breath as she approached the fence. Carefully stepping only where there was grass, Cecile grabbed the hem of her indoor dress and crept closer until she could hear their words more clearly.
“It did seem a bit strange, don’t you think? They seemed so close, but then suddenly, he has Her Majesty cooped up in her palace.”
“Well, he must’ve done so because it’s dangerous, no? What with the dragon matter too.”
Cecile nodded in agreement as she brought her ears closer to the fence. Estian had told her, “Stay in your palace until everything is clear and safe.” Seeing the grave look on his face, Cecile could no longer say she wanted to go out—she knew he meant well.
Then the maid’s voice reached her ears again. “Ugh, are you stupid? With the way things are going, that’s just an excuse.”
An excuse? Cecile held her breath even more.
“Up till now, Her Majesty always showed up in every official matter. But as soon as Princess Yuliana comes—just like that—she’s not allowed out of the empress’ palace anymore! Need I say more?”
“Is that so?”
“It’s not, ‘Is that so?’. Think about it. The representative of the Aswan delegation is Princess Yuliana. The Rose of Aswan! The greatest beauty on the continent!”
Cecile had also heard about Princess Yuliana. If Estian was said to be the most famous person on the continent, Princess Yuliana could be considered to be second place, maybe third.
Humans were very fond of ranking things, which was why there were many such lists in the world: the richest person in the world, the largest landowner, the best chess player, and so on.
Of those many lists, the ones that accrued the most interest were about who was the strongest and who was the most beautiful. For the former, opinions were still divided. Some said Estian, the ruler of the empire, was the strongest person in the world. Some disagreed; in terms of martial prowess, Prince Ruin of the Hyun continent was the strongest.
People argued over which was stronger for a long time. But when it came to who was the most beautiful person in the world, every man, woman, and child would say, ‘Well, of course it’s Princess Yuliana of Aswan!’
There was not one person who objected to this opinion. In any case, the certain thing was that the woman in question, Princess Yuliana, was here in the imperial palace.
“The princess who never left Aswan a single time until now came here as the representative of a delegation! This has gotta be!”
“A honeytrap! That’s right, Princess Yuliana dangled a bait and our emperor snapped it up!
Crunch! At that moment, there was a noise of a tree branch snapping.
“Wh-who is it!” The surprised attendants turned their heads toward the sound, and soon they had to doubt their eyes—the woman who came out from behind the wooden fence was the very person who had to be kept in the dark from the ‘truth’.
“Your Majesty!” The attendants froze on the spot, their faces reading, ‘The heck, why’s the empress here?‘
As she walked out of the cover of trees, holding a broken branch in her hand, Cecile smiled serenely. However, the moment that branch creaked and was snapped again, they realized something. We’re doomed.
Cecile spoke in a profoundly kind voice to the paling attendants. “I want you both. To immediately.”
“Make preparations to head to the banquet hall.”
“H-however, the emperor has forbidden Your Majesty from going…”
What remained of the branch in Cecile’s hand got shot to the ground right in front of the attendants. Seeing the branch stuck in the ground—thrown with such force, it shook a little—they recalled the incident with the Emerald of Aled and how the jewel was sent flying with flair. It then dawned on them that their heads might be next. Even so, they could not go against the emperor’s orders. “Y-your Majesty! How could we dare to disobey the emperor’s orders?” The attendants dropped their heads to the ground, crying. Cecile gazed down at them for a moment before bending down to place a hand on the shoulder of an attendant.
“Have you married?”
“Yes! I have a fox of a husband and three cubs for kids! Spare me, please!”
“Let me ask, what would you do if your husband went and had a good ol’ time with another woman without you knowing?”
The attendant fell in thought briefly before answering with a clenched fist and grim face. “I would separate his torso quite a bit from his lower half.”
Cecile nodded at her fiery answer and said, “That’s exactly how I’m feeling right now.” Then she gently raised the attendant’s chin with a finger and smiled brighter than ever before. “So please, I ask that you follow my words. I promise that even after I whoop his imperial… I mean, meet with His Majesty, no harm will come to you both.”
“I, I understand.” The attendant stared blankly at Cecile for a while before coming to her senses and nodding. “Then, allow me to guide you to where the formal dresses are.”
“There is no need for that,” Cecile refused.
“I’m sorry?” The attendant grew wide-eyed. “It, it can’t be that you will be going as is? You mustn’t, Your Majesty! I will prepare a formal dress right away, so if you would wait just a minute…”
The attendant hurriedly grabbed the hem of Cecile’s dress. She could understand the empress’ anger, but it was necessary to carry a good weapon when heading onto the battlefield.
“Who said I was just going like this?”
“What? But then…”
Cecile turned her head to look into the distance far off, where everyone was still busy organizing things in a certain storeroom. “There it is, the good stuff.” Her eyes grew narrow. “The best stuff.”
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