Chapter 115 – What Do You Want Me To Say? (2)
Rashta turned over a page of the sketchbook. The designer watched with nervous eyes as the young woman casually looked over their elaborate drawings, and swallowed dryly in anticipation of Rashta’s response.
Rashta was the toast of the town among the nobles and the common people. Every designer wanted her to wear their dress to the ball.
“You don’t like it?”
The designer’s expression turned crestfallen. Rashta shook her head and closed the sketchbook.
“Yes, I don’t like it. It’s so pretty.”
The designer, who had wanted to cry, was suddenly bewildered. She didn’t like it because it was pretty?
“Perhaps…you want a simpler style?”
Did Rashta have a preference for that kind of style? She didn’t like dresses that were too pretty?
Rashta shook her head again.
The designer was puzzled, but Rashta soon dismissed them with a wave of her hand.
The designer left, and Rashta dropped her forehead to a sofa pillow with a heavy sigh. She had to choose a debutante dress for someone she loathed, so how could she say that the more beautiful the dress, the less she liked it? Rashta did not want to deign Rivetti with even a small handkerchief.
“If there’s nothing you want to pick, shall I make some more inquiries?”
Viscountess Verdi sat down next to Rashta. Although the viscountess was initially reluctant about her, she had been trying to stay close after Rashta became pregnant with the Emperor’s baby.
“It’s not like that.”
Rashta shut her eyes and answered in a sullen tone. It was then that they were suddenly interrupted.
“Miss Rashta, Miss Rashta!”
The maid Delise burst into the room. She was one of the two maids newly assigned to Rashta. Although Delise had no special career as a maid, she loved her first master and was strong-willed and motivated. For this, and the fact that she was inexperienced, Sovieshu had chosen her.
“Don’t speak so loudly Delise.”
Despite Viscountess Verdi’s scolding, the maid simply shrugged.
“It’s fine. What is it, Delise?”
Rashta gave a kind smile, and Delise quickly approached her.
“Her Majesty the Empress is going to throw a tea party soon.”
Rashta looked at Viscountess Verdi, who calculated the dates in her head for a moment before speaking.
“Yes. She usually holds a tea party around this time for the young ladies of the capital.”
Rashta looked down at the floor. She knew not to expect an invitation.
“So what do I do? The Empress is not going to invite Rashta.”
“Don’t worry, she’ll be sending out invitations now. You will certainly be invited.”
Rashta knew not to have any expectations, but she clung to a sliver of hope. Although the Empress clearly hated her, she still had a sense of dignity. Ignoring Rashta so openly could cause the Empress to appear cold and lose face.
However, even as rumors spread of other nobles receiving invitations, one did not come to Rashta.
When Duke Elgy came to visit her, she finally burst into tears.
“Rashta is the most powerless person here. The Empress is trying to isolate Rashta.”
“What’s wrong, Miss? What happened?”
After hearing about the tea party, Duke Elgy clicked his tongue.
“The most influential person in society should not take the lead in ignoring you. It’s no different from bullying, is it not?”
“Yes. The Empress is that kind of woman.”
Rashta gave a tear-soaked sniffle.
“Have you found foster parents for Rashta?”
“Hmm. Not yet. The conditions need to be met as completely as possible.”
“I have to find a person who has actually lost a child.”
“Leave it to me. More importantly, how are you going to handle this?”
“The Empress is trying to get rid of you. Will you simply allow yourself to be hurt?”
“But…Rashta hasn’t been invited.”
“Yes. It’s best not to go anyway.”
“Then what should Rashta do?”
More tears threatened to spill over her eyes.
“Don’t tell me to try to make friends with her. I’ve tried enough.”
There was a warm smile in Duke Elgy’s eyes as he sat closer to Rashta.
“Hold a tea party on the same day as the Empress.”
If Sovieshu exuded a cold and arrogant charisma at the height of his power, Duke Elgy was the exact opposite. Although he was of high social standing, he did not mind lowering himself to people when needed. Rashta’s cheeks reddened as Duke Elgy gazed into her eyes.
“It’s no use having a party on the same day. The nobles would never choose Rashta over the Empress.”
“Then why suggest it? Rashta would be more of a joke.”
“If you do nothing, nothing will happen.”
“So you want me to be a joke?”
She looked at him, bewildered, and Duke Elgy smiled and shook his head.
“It’s to get sympathy.”
“The Empress invited the nobles but not the Emperor’s concubine.”
“See it like this: The Empress and the concubine held a tea party on the same day, but the nobles did not go to the party hosted by the commoner. It was because of the Empress.”
Duke Elgy smiled dangerously and pressed his finger on the end of the sofa.
“Do you feel differently now?”
“As I said, it’s the common people that you should go after, and the common people don’t know anything about the nobility. If you’re going this far to create rumors, then make a story that’s exciting.”
“Make a story…?”
“Say the Empress deliberately threw a tea party on the same day as you.”