Chapter 69 - The Right to Choose
The emperor’s name change astonished the nobles. Emperors have changed their first name in the past, but it was unprecedented for one to change his last name as well.
“He’s changing his name…”
“…For the princess?”
He even went about it differently. He suddenly started using the surname ‘Han’ and forbade anyone else in the empire from using it. This was unprecedented in the history of Rahel.
“According to imperial law, anyone with the same name as the new imperial princess must change their name within a specified period.” The new royal surname ‘Han’ was included in the law as well.
“Has the emperor…finally lost his mind?” This new turn of events confused all the nobles. But the emperor’s next order drove them crazy.
“I will only choose an empress that my daughter has approved.” There had never been an order like this before.
“This doesn’t make any sense…!” All the nobles were shocked.
* * *
“I’m tired,” I said, gazing up at the sky. I was weary of life at the ripe old age of six. If someone asked me, “How does it feel to lead two lives?” I would immediately reply, “It’s exhausting!” I let out a yell at the top of my lungs and rolled around in the grass. Seeing my behavior, Luciana and Margaret sighed in unison.
“Why is everyone doing this to me? Is it because I’m cute? That’s obvious! Argh!” All my troubles began on that day. Since the day I met Helene, numerous young ladies would come up to me. At first, I thought it was a coincidence, but their gaze told me otherwise. They all looked at me like hunters searching for prey.
I loved being around older sisters, but this was too much! With everyone running after me, my life over the past week had been exhausting. “I haven’t had time to see Daddy! I couldn’t meet with Ludwig! Or Kais!” I was so upset. I needed to fangirl, plan for my future, and seduce the male lead!
“Saintess, your clothes will get dirty,” cautioned Luciana, dusting the grass off of me with an expert hand.
“…?” sensing someone’s gaze all of a sudden, I glanced around the area. Thankfully, the only two people here were Luciana and Margaret. ‘That’s strange.’ I felt uneasy, as if someone was watching me.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“Something is not right,” I told her. I had a feeling that something very unfortunate was going to happen to me.
“Is there any chance—” I blurted out the one thing that crossed my mind “—that I’m getting macarons for dessert?”
Luciana’s face froze. I heard her mutter, “This is why it’s bad to have a child with such good sense.” Then she said, “We’ve prepared a special, healthy pumpkin pie for you.”
“If it’s special then it has broccoli in it!” Such a thing was inedible to humans. “I don’t want it! Give me macarons!”
“Those were His Majesty’s orders.”
“Ugh,” I would’ve thrown a fit if it had been anyone else, but I just couldn’t get mad at my favorite person. My father’s love was bittersweet. “Is that the best you can do? Are you sure?”
“Yes, it is. You need to grow up fit and healthy,” Luciana picked me up and dusted the dirt off my knees, “Let’s end our walk here and go back inside.”
“My reluctant life of confinement…” I played around with my feet at Luciana’s words.
“It’s important to stay safe when the palace is rowdy. You never know what’s going to happen.”
“Something already has,” Luciana replied. Was she saying this because of all the ladies running after me? At times, her smile was terrifying. ‘Like right now, for instance.’
“Why are there suddenly so many young ladies in the palace?” I wondered out loud. Luciana smiled again, “That’s not something that children your age need to know.”
“…” I was at a loss of words. Luci was a meanie.
* * *
Achillios was hiding behind some bushes. If anyone saw him now, they would be horrified to see the Prime Minister in such a position. But Achillios didn’t care. ‘This is a rare opportunity to finally see Her Highness!’ Most of the young ladies of the empire were in the palace, hoping to catch the eye of the emperor, so it was a great chance to sneak a glimpse of the princess.
‘I’ve waited so long for this day!’ Achillios had Marquis Bartolch distract Miltiades while he snuck out here. He laughed in satisfaction as he watched Amelia to his heart’s content. “She’s adorable!” She was cute even while she was rolling in the grass. He gripped his chest and bent over, barely able to breathe.
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