Chapter 86 - Babe, I Can Explain
Although the problem was that nine tenths of the continent happened to be the target of his ire, Aswan was luckily not included in that category. To the other one tenth of the continent, the emperor showed indifference that was close to generosity.
‘My power should be more effective against someone with no hostility, so why doesn’t it work?’ Yuliana wondered in confusion. She thought she had almost won the emperor over; the empress, rumored to be beautiful, posed no threat to her. Being an ordinary human, the empress had no way of contending against Yuliana’s power.
‘Things were almost going as planned…’ she lamented.
The emperor had stared at her so openly, going so far as to call her over into his embrace. There she was, happy that her plan would be completed easier than expected, but then the empress appeared all of a sudden and ruined everything. Yuliana shifted her gaze to the empress.
“…!” In that very instant, the princess sucked in her breath involuntarily. Since when was she watching? Yuliana met the eyes of the empress, who gave her a light smile and turned away.
‘Unbelievable!’ Yuliana thought. She assumed, since the other party came in like a storm, that the empress remained unaffected because they hadn’t made eye contact. Lo and behold, that was not the case. My power doesn’t work on her?’
All the people of the world would feel unconditional goodwill upon seeing Yuliana and laud her beauty, for that was her power. While Yuliana was lost in bewilderment, Cecile took Estian by the hand and went to his original seat. The Delphian silk being dragged behind Cecile was visible for all to see, but no one paid that any mind no more.
“Indeed, it is surprising, as said by Envoy Diana,” someone muttered.
“Yes, quite. I have never even imagined tying and wrapping cloth in such a manner, yet it is so natural and elegant when done by Her Majesty. Could the goddesses of myth have donned such fashion?”
“My, I see the both of you have discerning eyes. To speak of that style Her Majesty has ventured, in the past…” Diana began to explain, agreeing to the remarks made by two imperial officials. This prompted more voices of agreement from further down the banquet table. Such a response was no surprise—after all, Diana of Aswan was known as the pioneer of fashion within the empire.
She wasn’t just someone who came to bolster the delegation numbers or to go on a tour. Her name was renowned even among imperials, so much so that to those who made a living out of tailoring, meeting her once was to fulfill the wish of a lifetime. Having such an authority in fashion praise their empress’s outfit so excitedly made those present unable to stop themselves from thinking, ‘our empress must be amazing’.
‘It seems strange, but then again, it does feel fashionable.’
As all the others proceeded to sit down, feeling convinced, Estian too seated himself. He began, “Bring a chair for the empress to…” But his words were interrupted by Cecile, who pressed a finger on his lips to silence him. The members of the Aswan delegation grew wide-eyed at her actions, while the officials of the empire assumed a look that said, ‘Here we go again.’
Cecile lifted the Delphian silk trailing around her and sat on Estian’s knees. “Why look for another chair when I can just sit like this?”
She made herself home and leaned against his body, the sight of which made the Aswan envoys collectively drop their knives and forks with a clatter. Estian bit his lips at the sensation of Cecile squirming on top of his lap. Her body felt light and warm.
His hands shook as he clenched them hard, trying to control himself. Estian then whispered to Cecile, “Empress. I believe there’s a bit of discussion we need to do, but putting that aside, since you’ve come…” He looked toward the Aswan delegation. “I think this banquet will become more enjoyable.”
With a smile, Cecile replied, “But of course. They’ve traveled such a long way…” Her eyes gleamed with determination. “So to honor the trouble they took in coming here, I intend on giving them a very good show.”
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