Chapter 62 - Cladis's Secret
A few of them had a stern expression once they heard what Clara had said. Baroness Setin’s dresses were known for being expensive. If it took an entire day for her to try them on, how many dresses did Ella order? It was hard to imagine.
Ashe, son of Count Hunteed, couldn’t hold back his curiosity and asked, “Do you know how many she purchased?”
“I am not sure exactly, but I saw at least twenty,” replied Clara.
Everyone was shocked by this. They asked each other, especially those with a sister if that was the norm. None of them, however, had an answer. It was obvious that they wouldn’t have been at the Academy if they slacked off in their studies or were interested in such matters. Then, they looked back at Clara.
“Is it usual to buy that many?”
“No way. You’ll either go broke or get kicked out of the house if you tried that. I barely have two dresses. It is only Lady Constance who can afford such a huge purchase. Another lady who watched with me was envious too,” said Clara, who spoke without the slightest hint of ill intent. All she had was envy and admiration.
Hearing all this made Ethan proud. Although he couldn’t imagine Ella in such a way, he was glad to know that his sister had grown to be a beautiful lady. It would have shocked others to buy that many dresses, but Ethan had witnessed his mother, the duchess on her shopping spree before. As a result, he didn’t give much thought to it. He was planning to say that out loud, but because he recently stopped talking about his mother, he decided not to.
Clara still had more to talk about Ella. It had something to do with either Clara making a mistake when they met at a bookstore or when she saw Ella quarreling with another girl. At first, it seemed like she was complimenting his sister, but most of these stories had other stories involved.
Ethan, however, never paid much attention to them. He only considered her words as compliments. As such, Clara was a kind girl who shared stories about his sister. She praised Ella eagerly, especially whenever Ethan was around, so he never doubted her intentions. He even started to have some feelings for her when she handed him a sweet drink after a hard training session.
It was Bazel, one of the leaders in their group, who first spoke of first love. He said a few things after asking Clara for her permission and then shared it with the others. Cladis later found out about this conversation and went to talk to Bazel.
“I know you are disappointed that Lady Constance hasn’t come to visit again, but you shouldn’t be disappointed by this all the time,” said Bazel.
Frustrated, Cladis asked, “And what does that have to do with this?”
“You waited three years. That’s enough. You must give other girls a chance.”
“I only have Ella.”
“You can have her after you graduate. I won’t stop you.”
“What?” asked Cladis.
“But you should give Clara a chance for the remainder of your time at the Academy.”
“And why should I do that?”
Bazel was caught off guard by Cladis’s refusal. The other boys were astonished as well, as they thought he liked Clara. Confused, Bazel asked, “Don’t you like her?”
“Yeah. She’s been in our group for the past three months already. You never let any of the other girls near us.” Bazel seemed certain of his words. “You even got into a fight with Ethan because you went out on a walk with her last time. Don’t you remember?”
“Oh, yes. I did that. But that doesn’t mean I like her. All of you are fools,” laughed Cladis.
“Can you start liking her if you don’t already?”
“What does that mean?” Astonished by this request, Cladis noticed Bazel was serious about this. He looked at him while wishing Ethan was here. But Bazel and the other boys didn’t back down.
“I already talked with Clara about becoming your lover while you’re at the Academy. She gladly accepted it.”
“Bazel! What have you done?!” shouted Cladis angrily.
“I know. We’re not doing this for Clara, but you are the most important person to us. We couldn’t hire some random girl for this job.”
“I’m saying there’s no need for that kind of job at all!”
“No one in the Academy understands your love, your highness. You know that.”
Cladis tried to argue back, but he couldn’t. He knew that people were talking within the Academy, but he didn’t want to have a woman to be his shield for it. Besides, it wasn’t going to end well if Ella finds out about this. The prince saw how sad the empress was for the concubines her entire life, and he didn’t want to give that same sadness to Ella. This was the reason why he insisted that she was his only empress.
Just as Cladis was about to reject Bazel’s offer, Clara opened the door. She entered the room filled with tears in her eyes.
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