Chapter 71 - An Uneasy Feeling
“What are you doing here alone?”
“Ah! You caught me off-guard,” I blurted out. I turned around to see that the owner of the shadow was none other than a young lady. ‘Who is she?’ She looked a bit familiar – maybe I had seen her around here before.
“Your Highness?” I blinked, and the young lady curtsied at me. “My greetings to the smaller star of the Rahel Empire,” she purred.
“Who are you?” I asked. The blue-haired, blue-eyed lady laughed awkwardly. “I’m…I’m not someone you’d know.” I tilted my head, confused. She had acted as if she knew me and then immediately changed her tune. Just then, I noticed a group of ladies running towards me. ‘Oh no, I’m screwed.’ I didn’t even have Luciana or Margaret to send them away!
“Your Highness!” The young ladies were looking at me like I was their prey. I wanted to run away, but they latched onto me.
“I can’t believe you’re here all alone!”
“Your Highness, I heard you like macarons? I’ve brought some for you!”
“Princess, would you like to come to my room for a cup of tea?”
“Why would she go for tea? I have some delicious and warm milk prepared in my room!”
“Will you come with me?”
‘Someone save me…’ I was surrounded by a group of beautiful ladies who were gatekeeping one another while devising their own schemes for love. ‘This is great, but I’m scared!’ I thought I was going to be traumatized. One pink-haired lady looked at me and smiled, “My younger sister is around the same age as you. I think the two of you will make wonderful friends.”
“Friends?” I tilted my head. Suddenly, a green-haired lady jumped in between us, “I also have an absolutely adorable younger sibling around your age.”
“My sibling is cuter.”
“No, mine is!”
“No, mine is the cutest!”
A battle broke out between the two young ladies over their siblings. ‘I don’t think this will ll ever end.’ The first lady—the blue-haired one—was some distance away by now. I started pleading with everyone to let me go, when a golden-haired lady with an elegant voice appeared, “Why is it so rowdy in the palace?”
The young ladies, whom Luciana and Margaret had a hard time dealing with, immediately became silent. ‘Wait, is this… judgment?’ I could sense that the other ladies didn’t like Helene very much. Helene came over to my side and shielded me from them, “You’re making the princess uncomfortable.”
“What do you mean? We were only talking with Her Highness. Don’t go around making things up.”
“That’s right!” one lady cried out and glared at Helene. Helene smiled with ease as if she was used to such situations. “Is that so?” she asked, smiling down at me. I tilted my head at her mysterious smile. She then turned to the others, “Will you be able to handle the emperor’s wrath?”
“W…well…” the ladies grimaced before curtsying and leaving one by one. ‘I guess Miltiades is really scary.’ It suddenly dawned on me how others must’ve viewed him.
When the blue-haired lady finally left, Helene turned to me, “Are you alright?”
“I was scared…” I was still reeling from the horror of the mob attack. “You’re the one I met earlier, right?”
“Yes, you remembered me.”
“But why did you help me?”
“I like children,” she replied. I thought it was a strange answer, so I asked, “What do you do?”
“I’m His Majesty’s lover.”
“Lover?” That must be why Helene’s name was familiar to me. “Will you become my mom then?” Helene giggled at my innocent question and shook her head, “Unfortunately, that won’t happen.”
“Because I’m dying.”
I widened my eyes in shock, but Helene simply laughed nonchalantly. I was just about to ask her what she meant when I heard someone call out, “Your Highness!” Luciana hurried back and glared at me. I laughed in an attempt to hide the mess I had made. She continued to glare at me, as she breathed heavily, “Who were you with?”
“Hm? She’s right h…ere…” Helene was gone. While the two of us were talking, she had quietly disappeared.
“Ah, Miss Helene? She’s terminally ill,” said Margaret. I had just finished my shower and was drying my hair.
“What illness does she have?”
“The Emptiness?” Surprisingly, it was a disease that I knew of. “The disease where flowers bloom on your body and you die when the last one blooms on your heart, which means that it’s empty?”
“You know it well,” Margaret nodded. “That’s why no-one expects her to be the empress, even though she’s been His Majesty’s long-time lover.”
“So that’s why everyone was avoiding her. The Emptiness isn’t contagious, though.”I blinked and fell deep into thought. If she was his lover… “I didn’t think my father’s the type to keep someone by his side out of pity.”Miltiades wasn’t such a softie. ‘This is suspicious. If Helene was truly Miltiades’s lover, she wouldn’t have felt scared when I talked about him.’
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