Chapter 14 – Suspicious Invitation List
Patrizia was momentarily taken aback but her husband’s uncharacteristic concern for her. However, she was not offended by it. If she had hated this man to that extent, it would be a difficult situation no matter what. Fortunately it had not gotten to that level yet.
“I would be lying if I said work wasn’t hard, but it’s going well,” she answered.
“That’s good to hear,” Lucio said stiffly. The room fell silent as neither had anything else to say.
Although Patrizia was bound by marriage to her husband, he already had a woman he loved, and he was not interested in her. The only thing they shared in common was that they were both members of the Imperial Family.
“I will not let anything tarnish the honor of the Imperial Family and His Majesty,” Patrizia said flatly. Their conversation had to end here.
“So you needn’t worry about it.”
“…Very well,” he said, then turned his heel and walked away. She did not bother with minimum courtesy, and did not watch him leave. She quickly returned to the task at hand as the door clicked shut.
“The wives of the envoys will be here?” Rosemond said, her eyebrows lifted in interest at the unexpected news.
Glara nodded, then continued to whisper in Rosemond’s ear. “It was decided just now. It was originally supposed to be the envoys, but the plan changed.”
Rosemond carefully turned over this information in her head. “Doesn’t the Christa Empire not eat pork for religious reasons?”
“Yes. They say their god is represented by a pig,” Glara answered, and her face lit up as if she had an idea. “My Lady, why don’t you use it to your advantage?”
“You’re sharp, Glara. You know me well,” Rosemond said, smiling as she twirled her long locks. Her voice turned urgent as she laid out her plot. “Get the queen’s menu as soon as possible. Find out whatever small detail you can.There is not much time left until the envoys are supposed to arrive, so hurry.”
“Yes, My Lady. Leave it to me.”
A broad smile split across Rosemond’s face as she imagined a future that had not yet come. “I think the future will be quite explosive.”
“I firmly ordered the kitchen to prepare beef steaks for dinner, Your Majesty.”
Patrizia lifted her head up from her work. “Thank you, Mirya.”
Mirya looked at her with a curious expression. “What are you doing now, Your Majesty?”
“I’m writing invitations.”
Patrizia placed the invitations in their respective envelopes one-by-one and stamped them with the Queen’s seal. She then handed them to Mirya. “The recipients are written on the outside of the envelopes. Will you deliver some of these for me, Mirya?”
“Of course, but another invite so soon? It wasn’t too long ago that you had the tea party.”
“It’s not an invitation for a tea party, but for the banquet in a few days. Even if this is my responsibility, I cannot deliver all of the letters to the VIPs alone.”
Mirya shuffled through the envelopes and read the names on them. Marquess Grochester, Duchess Vasi, Marquess d’Avar, Countess Arjeldo, and Duchess Witherford. Mirya frowned when she saw the last name.
“What is it?”
“There is a strange name mixed up here,” Mirya said, shaking her head.
Patrizia tilted her head. “Strange name?”
Mirya glared at the envelope and held it out to Patrizia. “Why is Baroness Phelps’ name here?”
“Ah,” Patrizia murmured.
Mirya felt like she was about to burst in frustration. Did Her Majesty go crazy? “Did you make a mistake?”
“No, it’s not a mistake.”
“Your Majesty!” burst out Mirya in an uncharacteristic manner. Patrizia smiled reassuringly as if she understood the lady-in-waiting’s feelings.
“There’s no need to be sensitive, Mirya. It’s not a mistake, and I’m not crazy.”
Mirya flushed and cleared her throat, and Patrizia continued, smiling thinly.
“Of course, this gathering is for high-ranking nobles only, and it would be against etiquette to invite Lady Phelps, a baroness. However…she is still the Emperor’s concubine…and I have something to show her.”
Mirya had no clue what it could be. From her point of view, it was impossible that a baroness could attend such a banquet, and she spoke in a discontented voice.
“I understand that you wish to display your authority and dignity to Baroness Phelps, but that’s not the correct place to do so. More importantly, how can you invite the concubine? What would the wives of the envoys think of you?”
Patrizia gave a light chuckle. “That’s not a bad question to ask. I can find out what happens in other countries, and ask their advice.”
“Your Majesty!” Mirya cried out tearfully. The queen didn’t sound like she was joking. Mirya never expected the Queen to be this kind of person, but it was as if her personality changed overnight. “What if things don’t go the way you want?”
“Then it would just be my luck. Isn’t that right?”
Mirya fell speechless in the face of Patrizia’s calm demeanor. The queen used to act predictably, but this time she was being strange. Mirya had a hard time understanding Patrizia’s intentions, but she decided to close her mouth in face of the Queen’s unexpected stubbornness. Mirya sighed briefly and changed the topic.
“Oh, by the way, I didn’t see Lady Raphaella today. Doesn’t she usually stay by your side?”
“Ah, don’t worry. I’ve ordered something special for this reception. Perhaps she’ll be back by late evening. You needn’t worry,” Patrizia replied. “I’ve been thinking all day and I’m hungry. Mirya, could you bring some snacks before you send out the invitations?”
The letters Patrizia gave to Mirya were delivered to their respective recipients, Rosemond being among them. Rosemond too thought the invitation was a mistake, and she accepted the envelope from Mirya with a puzzled look. The face of the lady-in-waiting who delivered it wasn’t unpleasant, so it had to be true.
“What is this, My Lady?”
Naturally, Glara showed interest in the letter, and Rosemond answered with a scowl as she broke open the Queen’s seal.
“I have an invitation from the Imperial Palace.”
“Invitation? But the tea party wasn’t that long ago.”
“I’ll find out when I read it.” Rosemond roughly tore open the envelope and read through the letter. Soon, the corners of her mouth twitched, and she began to tremble. Glara watched nervously, hoping that Rosemond wouldn’t turn hysterical again.
Glara stared at Rosemond laughing once again like a madwoman. She hoped that whatever was in the letter was not a provocation.
“What’s in the letter, My Lady?” Glara asked carefully.
“Ahaha, Glara. Oh my god, look at this.” She gleefully threw the invitation to her. Glara caught the paper with a bewildered expression and read through its contents. But she did not laugh like Rosemond.
“You’re invited to the banquet.”
“What an impertinent little queen. Does she mean to remind me of my situation in front of everyone?” Rosemond snatched the paper back from Glara with a cool smile and ripped it to pieces. “I’m going.”
She had to see what would happen. A poisonous smile spread across her face as she thought of the fun she would have.
Glara smiled as well and spoke. “I took care of everything you asked for, My Lady.”
“Good.” Rosemond scattered the torn pieces of paper on the floor, and stepped over them without any regard. As if they were Patrizia herself.