Chapter 43 – Iron Wall Defense (2)
Sovieshu called out to me in a stern voice and frowned.
“You’re with him?”
I didn’t want to answer, as my feelings about Sovieshu were still unresolved.
I offered him the bluntest reply, and the crease on Sovieshu’s forehead grew deeper.
“Prince Heinley. How long are you going to remain here?”
Prince Heinley replied with a broad smile, even though he had an argument with the Emperor only a few days ago.
“About two to three weeks, I think.”
“Isn’t that too long? The Western king is not in the best health, and it’s not good for the crown prince to stay away.”
Sovieshu was not shy in hiding his dislike for Prince Heinley, which had built up since Prince Heinley’s conflict with Rashta. Sovieshu’s observation wasn’t wrong, however.
“Thank you for your concern.”
Prince Heinley responded with a simple smile and said nothing more. A strained silence reigned over the group.
“I’ll take my leave first, Your Majesty. ”
I quickly said goodbye to Sovieshu, as we would only hurt each other’s feelings if I stayed any longer. However, Sovieshu looked offended and called out to me again.
That look…did he just want to insult me in front of Prince Heinley? That was my first thought going by past experience. To my misfortune, or perhaps it was a blessing, he spoke to Prince Heinley first.
“I need to talk to the Empress, and I hope that you will go your own way.”
“I was already walking with her, Your Majesty.”
“I have something to say to the Empress, Prince Heinley.”
Sovieshu cut between me and Prince Heinley, and he held out his arm for me to take.
When I looked at Prince Heinley, I saw his lips were pressed tight, as if he wished I wouldn’t follow my husband. I took Sovieshu’s hand, feeling sorry for Prince Heinley who looked like a sad golden retriever, while Sovieshu shot a glare at him.
“Why are you looking at the Empress with a miserable expression?”
Sovieshu stared down at him as if he found him pathetic.
“The Empress was showing me around, and the Emperor had taken my guide.”
“The Empress is my wife, not a tour guide for a prince.”
Sovieshu wrapped his arm possessively around my shoulder. I could not deny him, and sighed and walked alongside his footsteps. It wasn’t until when Prince Heinley was out of sight did he drop his arm.
“Why are you showing around that womanizer?”
“I ran into him on the way from work.”
“Let someone else handle it from now on. There are many other people in the palace, yet he wants the Empress to guide him?”
“Prince Heinley is the successor to a powerful nation with extensive wealth and military power. We don’t have to be on bad terms.”
Sovieshu glanced towards the knight, who took a bow and stepped away. Sovieshu rested his arm against a pillar and gave me a reproachful stare. I suspected he didn’t want me to cultivate relations with the man who demeaned Rashta.
“To be honest, I don’t want you to take care of him.”
I knew it. He was incredibly obvious. He smiled grimly and emphasized his words.
“He has a nice face, and he acts like a pet dog in front of you. But he will only bring scandal if you associate with him.”
“Other noblewomen and young ladies attach themselves to this womanizer believing they’re in a relationship. However, the Empress is one of the most honorable people in this country. You represent the Empire. Where is the Imperial Household’s honor if you are swayed by a Western womanizer?”
“My honor is not tarnished by talking to him. If you don’t see this friendship as a friendship with any other noble, the West would be unhappy with you.”
“You won’t listen to me.”
“If this is about Miss Rashta—”
“Who says it’s about Rashta? Why is the name Rashta being brought up here?”
Because she was the reason why he hated Prince Heinley. I stared at Sovieshu despite his feign to ignorance, and he gave a frustrated sigh.
“You truly hate Rashta.”
“I only said the name because she’s the reason why you want to ostracize Prince Heinley.”
“No. You hate her, so you’re using her as a shield in everything.”
I was tired. I didn’t want to answer back.
“I will leave if you continue on like this.”
I took a few steps and stopped. As I turned around, Sovieshu cleared his throat, and his voice softened.
“Before. I spoke too harshly to you.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Three days ago.”
“I shouldn’t have blamed you when Viscount Roteschu came…I was upset. I’m sorry.”
Sovieshu awkwardly kept staring at the ground instead of me.
‘He loses his temper when it comes to Rashta, but he comes back to his senses in about three days?’
I should remember that next time something with Rashta happened again. I gave a mechanical smile, nodded, and turned around again.
But Sovieshu called out to me once more. I turned back, and he approached me hesitantly.
“It will be your birthday soon. We’ve been estranged from each other lately…perhaps we can go to the villa to reconcile. What do you think?”