Chapter 378 - As Expected
Cladis, who came to meet Ella at the innermost gate that could be reached by carriage inside the Imperial Palace, rushed to Ella and grabbed her hand. He thought he might not be able to see her today, so he was happy to be able to see her like this, and he was also anxious about the sudden visit. Ella brightly smiled as she noticed his anxiety and reassured him.
“I came here because I have something to discuss with you. Did I interrupt you?”
“No, you can come to me anytime.”
“You can’t treat me like that. If I can’t do something, please tell me clearly.”
The answer came back without thinking it was questionable, but Ella laughed pleasantly. She knew he was a person who could act with distinction even though he spoke that way. If not, he wouldn’t have been able to come back yesterday. In Ella’s eyes filled with trust, Cladis’s shoulders lifted.
“But what is the matter to discuss?”
“I need a quiet place where no one can hear me.”
At Ella’s request, Cladis thought with a firm face. It was clear that the place she wanted was out of reach of the Emperor. He wondered if there was such a place in this Imperial Palace. The Emperor’s ears were everywhere, and it wasn’t even surprising. In particular, any news of Cladis being escorted by his servants like shadows at every moment was delivered to the Emperor. But there is always a way. Cladis sent a simple hand signal. When he wanted to be alone, it was a signal he used when he didn’t want the Emperor to know what was going on from now on. The Emperor tried to meddle in every moment of Cladis, but he left some room for him to breathe. The Emperor believed that if he plucked the claws of his lion, his son would become a cat. Cladis went with Ella to his favorite place.
“I can only hear what you are saying here.”
Unlike the splendid special place of the Imperial Palace, there was only a lawn and a small but comfortable-looking bench. The open grassy field continued without a single blockage. Those who followed them became a dot at the edge of the grass. At this distance, no one would be able to hear them unless they screamed. Reassured, Ella looked around the field with her curious eyes.
“There was a place like this.”
“This place is said to have been created by the Empress, who’s always doubtful. Since then, many descendants have been using it. From here to there, there’s soundproofing magic.”
Accustomed to it, Cladis sat down in his chair and tapped the seat next to him.
“Sit down. It’s more comfortable than it looks.”
“It looks comfortable.”
“That was a success then. This chair was replaced by me a few years ago.”
“Did you come here often?”
When Ella sat quietly next to him and asked, Cladis hardened his face for a moment and then looked at her with a smile. It used to be an unbearable sadness, but now that she was with him, he was okay.
Even if the same thing happens again, Ella will hold my hands now.
Cladis grabbed Ella’s hand, which was sitting next to him, and squeezed it tightly. The sadness that had slowly permeated had already disappeared to a distant place.
“Yes. It was my only resting place. But I have you now.”
Cladis, having said that far, rested his exhausted body on Ella’s shoulder. Even though he wasn’t leaning on enough to carry his weight, his fatigue was fading away as if he was leaning heavily on strong support. With that pleasant feeling, Cladis got a little more greedy and dug into Ella’s neck. She laughed at the tickling of the hair touching her skin. The vibration from her laughing was transferred to Cladis. Because of that, he became happier. The news that felt like nightmares that didn’t stop coming since yesterday morning seemed forgotten. The small laughter subsided, and after savoring each other’s body temperature for a while, the two returned to reality little by little.
The two called each other’s names. At the same time, they burst into laughter again. Their eyes met with a relaxed smile. Since they comforted each others’ weary hearts, they had to share the problems of reality that were dangerous and cruel, like a knife reaching the tip of their neck.
“Tell me what you want to discuss. Is it related to yesterday’s incident?”
Ella answered, but she couldn’t finish her words. She had to say it, but she didn’t want to lie. But she knew she had to do it anyway.
“Maybe, um, so.”
“I can accept whatever you want to tell me. If it’s a complicated matter, I will take care of it. If it’s something sad, I will comfort you.”
“It could be something happy too.”
“If that were the case, you wouldn’t hesitate like this.”
His calm voice with a fixed gaze captured her. It seemed Cladis was ready to listen to anything she would have to say. But Ella had to confess what she never wanted to share. She wondered if he would still look at her the same way and if he would be able to handle it. Ella wet her lips as they were getting dry from anxiousness. And after taking a long breath, she asked him again.
“Are you sure you can take any words?”
“Yes. I’m okay. Trust me.”
“Okay. Then I will tell you. Tilly, I know why those incidents happened.”
“What? What did you just say?”
Cladis’s confident expression changed as expected. He couldn’t say anything after his mouth was opened in shock.
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