Chapter 2 – My Ex-Lover’s Wedding
It was from Haizens. It was clearly a letter from Haizens!
Latille’s heart pounded with anticipation, but soon, a nervous energy overcame her. What if this was a goodbye letter?
Latille held her breath and opened the envelope. It felt like an eternity when she pulled out the letter. She was afraid the words would run away in the meantime.
She bit her tongue and read the letter.
“What does it say?”
Latille’s silence stretched, and the governess couldn’t contain her impatient curiosity.
“Is it a letter explaining his justification?”
The governess looked on angrily, but Latille kept her face carefully blank. It was just a letter, but she just stared down at it. She sighed and tore the paper apart.
“He asked me to come to Carrisen.”
“He couldn’t talk about the details in the letter.”
“What kind of nonsense is that? Did he hurt his arm? Was he so injured that he couldn’t write just a few more words? I mean, even if he hurts his arm, it’s not like he didn’t have anyone else to write for him.”
The governess wore an annoyed expression, but Latille simply shook her head sadly.
“I don’t know, Governess. What should I do?”
“What else? You should write a letter too.”
“W-what should I say?”
“‘You worthless bastard, I feel sorry for the people of your country because someone like you became their emperor.‘”
Latille burst into laughter after hearing the governess’ harsh language. However, her laughter soon died away. When Latille turned completely expressionless, the governess looked on in more worry.
“Aren’t you going to write the letter?”
“I don’t know. I’m still thinking about it. It’s hard to decide.”
It was three hours later when Latille finally made her decision.
“Father. I’m going to Carrisen.”
The Emperor’s eyes widened at Latille’s sudden declaration.
“I’m going to Carrisen.”
Her daughter’s words were close to a notice of departure. The Emperor was taken aback and looked at the Grand Chamberlain in dismay. However, the Grand Chamberlain gave a shrug, since he didn’t know the reason either. The Emperor calmly turned back to his daughter.
“Why are you going to Carrisen all of a sudden?”
Latille hesitated. It was not easy to say that she was leaving because of a man. She could freely give that reason if Haizens was single, but his wedding delegation just arrived that afternoon.
“Are you going to meet Haizens?”
The Emperor seemed to read her mind and spoke in a somber voice.
Does Father know my relationship with Haizens? Latille stared at her father in surprise. When their eyes met, the Emperor smiled bitterly.
“Haizens is a good man. But he’s not the one for you.”
He must have known already.
Don’t attach yourself to a broken relationship.”
“I think this is the best.”
The Emperor set down his teacup, rose from his seat, and approached Latille. Then, he held his daughter tightly in his arms.
“If you marry him, you will have to go to a faraway land. I want my daughter to stay by my side for a long time. I want you to have love and live within my authority’s reach so I can see you.”
“Don’t ever say that you want to marry Haizens, even if you become his concubine.”
Latille shook her head and spoke in a flat voice.
“I’ve never even thought about that.”
“But I want to go to Carrisen.”
The Emperor frowned slightly and looked at his daughter’s determined face. Latille’s mouth was tight as if she had already made up her mind.
“Latille. My daughter. Why do you want to see the man who left you and married someone else? I’ll let you go if you’re going to curse at him.”
“I want to ask him why he did this.”
“Will it mean anything?”
“It’ll make me feel better than now.”
The stubborn look remained on her face, and the Emperor. clicked his tongue. No one could change her mind when she made that face.
“From whom did you inherit your stubbornness from…?”
The Emperor patted Latille’s hair and then returned to his chair. However, his next words were spoken in a firm voice.
“You cannot go.”
She thought he was about to give her permission, but he dashed her hopes. Why? Latille’s expression crumbled and she shouted at him.
But there was a twist to his words.
“But I’ll let you go if you meet two conditions.”
“Please tell me. I’ll do it.”
She looked at her father with earnest eyes. She wanted to go to Carrisen no matter what, and she was confident that she could fulfill all the conditions given by her father.
A mischievous smile unexpectedly spread across the Emperor’s face.
“First, when you see Haizens, step on his foot. If he asks you why did you do that, tell him it was under my orders!”
Latille opened her eyes wide, but soon smiled and shouted, “Yes!”
“And your second condition?”
“Go as the representative of the wedding delegation.”
“I cannot allow you to go by yourself. My daughter will look like a joke. Go to his wedding as a representative and make him look bad. You need to go and express something like, ‘I don’t care about someone like you.’”
The Emperor snorted, and grumpily thought that if he had known this would happen, he wouldn’t have allowed Haizens to come for the study program. He turned to the Grand Chamberlain.
“Isn’t that right?”
“Yes. I agree.”
The Grand Chamberlain replied with a thoughtful smile on his lips. Latille stood still, looking alternately between her father and the Grand Chamberlain, then let out a sigh.
“Very well. I’ll do that.”
* * *
About three weeks later.
Latille gave out a number of orders as the representative of the wedding delegation.
‘My fiancé is getting married to another woman. Why am I preparing this with my own hands?’
She didn’t remain calm, of course. Her anger often spiked while she worked. Each time she saw the gift she had prepared for Haizens, she suppressed the urge to throw it on the floor and crush it beneath her heel. The small potted tree symbolized a harmonious couple. Screw that harmony.
‘Just calm down. I’m not joining the delegation for Haizens. If I do that, it will make me feel better for only one second. It will only cost me more to deal with it later. This is just a mission to another country.’
Latille remained a perfect image of composed duty, and the Emperor looked on from a distance in satisfaction.
“I don’t want Latille to go far away even when she’s married.”
“Yes. I hope she will learn well from your side and become a pillar of the Tarium Empire.”
But not everyone was looking at Latille with equanimity.
“This is too cruel, Father. How can you send her to her ex-fiance’s wedding?!”
Crown Prince Lean also knew about the relationship between Latille and Haizens, and he had protested against his father several times. He couldn’t believe that they would send Latille as a wedding representative. But that little rebellion didn’t last very long.
“If the relationship won’t work out anyway, she should look upon him with her own eyes. She misses the man greatly. She even spent two years going to temple to pray for his safety. We should allow her to have a definitive ending.”
Finally, the day came when the wedding delegation left for Carrisen.
Latille climbed onto her white horse and held the reins firmly. She had been fond of sports and martial arts since she was a child, and she was also accustomed to horseback riding.
The delegation proudly looked at the majestic sight of their princess on a large white horse.
“I’ll return soon.”
After bidding her family farewell, Latille signaled the group to depart.
The journey lasted for fifteen days, and was thankfully free of any peril. Since the procession was very large, no bandits or thieves attacked them. There was also no camping out, as competent officials perfectly calculated the distance.
The group moved quickly and peacefully to Carrisen.
* * *
A great sorrow swept over Latille when she finally arrived at the Carrisen capital. She knew she’d be here one day, but she didn’t think it would be under these circumstances. She thought she would come to the capital to marry Haizens. She thought she would ride in a golden carriage with a spectacular delegation, listening to the cheers of the people of Carrisen.
But now it was completely changed. It was true that she came with a wedding delegation, but it wasn’t for her wedding. It was a mission to congratulate someone else. All the gifts in the carriage were not gifts prepared by her father for her, but gifts Latille chose for Haizens’ bride.
Latille felt her heart crack, and she squeezed the reins and clenched her jaw
“Your Highness, are you alright?”
The Knight Commander who escorted the procession looked at her anxiously, but she kept her mouth shut. If she spoke now, only curses would come out. That would be awkward in front of the Knight Commander, who thought of her like a flower that grew up in a greenhouse.
After standing still for a while, Latille exhaled loudly and slapped her cheeks with both her hands.
“I’m fine. Let’s go now.”
But she was clearly not fine at all. When she arrived at the Imperial Palace, she greeted the Carrisen officer, but her mind was on something else.
“I didn’t expect Your Highness to come in person.”
Although the officer spoke to her with a friendly smile, it almost sounded like a jab. She nearly grabbed the innocent man by the collar. Was the man confused that the groom’s ex-lover was coming as part of the wedding delegation?’
‘I can’t act like that. They don’t even know that I was dating Haizens.’
Latille succeeded in controlling her trembling fists.
“I’ve known His Majesty Haizens since he was in the Tarium Empire. He will be glad to see me in person.”
“Of course. He’ll be very pleased to know that Your Highness is here as the representative of the delegation.”
The Carrisen officer led Latille to meet Haizens. The rest of the party went in a different direction to unload the luggage.
“We’re quite busy with the delegations arriving from all over the world. But it would be better for the foreign delegations to stay. Grace Palace is usually deserted, but now it’s full of guests.”
The officer narrated various stories as they walked down a yellow corridor, but Latille only half-listened and swallowed nervously. Her feet felt like there were lead weights attached to them. She suddenly regretted coming here, and her mind blanked at what to say when she met Haizens.
Congratulations? But why did you change your mind? And if you were going to change your mind, why didn’t you do it before I waited so long? Was the time I spent with you a waste?
Firstly, she was going to step on his foot like her father told her to. Latille made a mental note of it as she glared at the officer’s back.
Finally, the officer stopped in front of a door. As if it were arranged beforehand, he opened the door rather than knocked.
Latille raised her shoulders and went into the room.
It looked like an audience chamber. The throne was placed at the head of the room, with long tables arranged below it. But unlike other audience chambers, this place felt more intimate.
After looking around the room, Latille knew she could not delay any longer.
Because Haizens was standing there, staring blankly at her.
She almost ran towards him and jumped into his arms out of habit, but she steeled her shoulders. She didn’t want to show any lingering attachment for the man who left her.
But as soon as the door closed, it was Haizens who ran forward and hugged her. Latille froze as she was buried in his large, familiar embrace. Against her will, a faint sprig of hope sprouted up.
But Latille raised her hand and pushed him away. Haizens tried to cup her face, but she stopped him.
“You have five minutes. Explain. Why did you ask me to come?”