Chapter 73 - Forgiveness
Act 8. Who holds the control?
Liliere, the only daughter of the third empress, whom the current emperor loved the most. She was only 15 years old but had already gone through her debutante last month. It was an early debutante compared to most noble daughters, who do it at age 16 or 17. The purpose was so apparent that everyone knew why she went through with the debutante.
This was her first public event. She appeared while people were mumbling.
‘Ugh, where did she get that awful-looking dress?’
Ella frowned at the princess’s appearance. The dress she was wearing not only didn’t suit her age, but it was so grand that it seemed too much for her.
‘Even I wouldn’t be able to pull that off,’ thought Ella.
It was obvious, whose taste that awful dress belonged to. Ella looked to the side and saw Dayson giving her a look of disgust. His dilemma was that he couldn’t decline the matchmaking done by the emperor. Not only that, he couldn’t ignore the empress’s anger at the emperor for his disrespectful matchmaking. This was what she could see from his expression. It became much clearer how he was going to help.
‘So, it was here. This is where his request starts.’
His request, however, was too reckless. He must know well what it meant to be the only girl among the three Houses of Marquis. Unlike his intentions, Ella couldn’t become his reason for ending his marriage. She couldn’t read what his real intentions were, so she looked at Dayson’s back, who was now approaching the princess. She was still trying to find out what his goal was.
‘I don’t understand what’s on his mind. What does he really want?’
She had the feeling that someone was looking at her more strongly than her looking at Dayson. She followed that line of sight and found Cladis at the end, staring at her.
Cladis took big steps, handing the princess to Dayson like a bag of luggage, then walked straight toward Ella without even slightly looking elsewhere. He wasn’t the confused, shaken man like yesterday, as he stood in front of her. Looking like someone who had great determination, he appeared ready.
“If you may, I wish to speak privately with you, my fiancée. Will you allow it?”
She wanted to shout, “No way. Piss off,” as if there weren’t all these people looking at them. Unfortunately, she was in a party hall at the House of Marquis. She could feel people staring at them curiously, as two people from the rumors were facing each other. If Ella were to decline his offer, it was going to create a bunch of rumors. She already had her answer.
“Of course, Your Highness.”
She had an obedient expression as she bowed by slightly bending her knees, trying to look as if there was nothing wrong between them. Cladis tried hard not to show his relief, even when he truly felt that way. He, too, was concerned about others around them.
Cladis escorted Ella outside of the hall, walked up to the knight who was waiting for him, and asked, “Where is my resting room?”
“I will guide you, Your Highness.”
The resting room where the knight guided them was a large and lavishly decorated place prepared by the Winsrolls exclusively for the Royal Family. It was different from the resting room for Ella’s family. There, however, was no time to enjoy such a thing.
As soon as they walked in, Ella distanced herself from Cladis and positioned herself into a defensive stance. ‘Hmph! I will never be engaged to you no matter what you say. Try all you want!’
Ella wished that he could feel her willpower. Instead, Cladis let out a long sigh, looking at her showing a stern rejection through all her gestures. He then clenched both of his fists in determination, looked at her, and said, “I won’t make any excuses. I’m sorry, it is all my fault.”
The Crown Prince’s head that never bowed to anyone bowed so easily to her.
“…!” Ella gasped and froze in her place, surprised by Cladis’s deep bow that he made without hesitation. It was an easy form of apology for Ranhee, but she knew how hard that apology was for him. In the novel, he never apologized like this. He didn’t bow even to Luciella, whom he loved so much.
The best apology he made was with an expensive gift and a sad look that resembled a soaked puppy. It wasn’t because he didn’t value Luciella. Rather, he wasn’t someone who could bow to someone like this. From the moment he was born, he learned that “an emperor, or someone who will become emperor, must never bow.” This kind of apology was something that he would never do.
Cladis, in front of Ella now, broke the principle he had learned and apologized the best he could for her. That weight weighed heavily on her heart, and she bit the soft flesh inside her lips, glaring at his bowed head.
‘He and his servant are so alike. Why are they so similar even with stuff like this?’ Just like Ethan, Cladis was too quick to apologize as well. ‘The shock from that day and the feelings of betrayal are still here. Am I supposed to end it with an apology?’
Ella didn’t want an apology, so she replied, “Your Highness. You shouldn’t bow to me like this.”
“I know. It would infuriate my father if he knew. But I thought this was the best way to let you know how I felt. I’m sorry, I mean it. My foolishness has made you suffer. I should’ve apologized sooner… I’m sorry.”
Ella looked at him, at the direct apology thrown at her. She could feel that his apology was genuine through his expression. She couldn’t ignore that. The pride and confidence delved deep within him, however, made her grumpy. In the world he lives in, everyone must have forgiven him even without him asking for forgiveness, and even when he did ask for forgiveness, a casual apology would have resolved it.
‘He might believe that he can be forgiven for anything if he apologizes like this.’
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