Chapter 85 – You’re The Empress (2)
Grand Duke Kapmen told me not to worry about his mistake, but I couldn’t set it aside. Even if it was his fault that he struck first, I was in charge of diplomatic relations with him. However, I couldn’t go to Sovieshu right away. He would still be emotional, and I needed for him to cool down.
‘Let’s meet tomorrow and talk.’
After I made my decision, I returned to my room.
“Is it true, Your Majesty?”
Laura ran up to me as soon as she saw me.
“Is it true that Grand Duke Kapmen and the Emperor got into a fist fight?”
She grabbed both my hands, her eyes sparkling in anticipation. Before I answered, Countess Eliza interrupted.
“Did you already have dinner?”
“They did exchange blows, Lady Laura. And Countess Eliza, I don’t have an appetite and will skip dinner.”
After answering each of them in turn, I took off my cumbersome gown.
“How did they come to blows? I heard that they fought over you, Your Majesty. Is that true?”
“You should eat something. How about a clear soup?”
Again, two ladies-in-waiting asked their questions almost simultaneously. Count Eliza looked at Laura with a slight frown, but Laura was determined to know the whole story.
“There was only a slight misunderstanding, Lady Laura. And could you give me some vegetable soup, Countess?”
Again, the two replied at the same time, and Countess Eliza stepped out of the bedroom to bring back the soup. Laura took my side and began pouring out questions again. I filled her in until she was satisfied, and then she gave a sigh.
“I hope that Grand Duke Kapmen likes the Empress.”
“Then the Emperor will realize how important the Empress is. Of course, I feel sorry for thinking of using Grand Duke Kapmen that way too.”
Later that night, I wondered if Prince Heinley would send me a letter regarding his hurried departure, but one did not come. Before going to bed, Queen arrived briefly, his eyes more shadowy than usual. He allowed me to stroke his head and I asked him “What’s wrong?” but he gave a cry and flew away again.
The next day.
After breakfast, I checked my schedule and found that it was quite full.
‘He may be more unreasonable if I visit him in the middle of the day or right after work.’
After making the calculations in my head, I decided to have a conversation with Sovieshu before he went to the Central Palace, and so I headed towards the Eastern Palace. When I arrived, Sovieshu was still dressing.
“The Empress came to visit me this time. This is a surprise!”
Fortunately, he seemed calmer than he was yesterday. Our eyes met in the mirror, and he smiled quietly as he fixed a silver button. I was relieved to see his good mood.
“I have something to say.”
“I suppose. You come to me only when you have something to say.”
His voice was mischievous, and he batted away the servants who were helping him dress.
The servants stepped away and exited the room, closing the door behind them.
“Yes. What brings you here?”
“The deal with Rypt. Are you really going to reconsider it?”
Sovieshu turned his head away from the mirror.
“Are you talking about yesterday?”
“I don’t know. Why?”
“I am in charge of diplomatic relations, so I’m asking.”
Sovieshu narrowed his eyes at me.
“So are you here to convince me to go ahead with the deal?”
Sovieshu grabbed a comb and attempted to do his hair by himself. Whatever shape he was trying to make his hair, it didn’t work. He set down the comb on the table in front of me and frowned heavily, before glancing over to me.
“Consider the benefits the Eastern Empire will gain from trading with Rypt.”
Sovieshu’s hair, which did not have any product in it yet, looked soft. He tried to fix his hair to give a sharper impression.
“How do you know if we’re going to benefit or lose from the relationship with Rypt?”
“We’ve been doing research. The trade with the Hwa continent has elements that can satisfy both the curiosity of the common people and the nobility.”
“You don’t spend money on curiosity.”
“Nobles don’t grudge spending money on curiosities. And if there’s a flow of supply, common people can easily buy Rypt’s exotic goods.”
“The distance is enormous. Will the profit offset the cost from that?”
“We can make it that way.”
“So it’s vague promises after all.”
Sovieshu turned away from me again, but he kept his eyes on me through the mirror. I stared at him too. It was quiet for a moment, and his mouth twisted.
“Empress. After I was hit yesterday, you didn’t even ask me if I was alright.”
“Are you alright?”
He scoffed as I answered quickly.
“Frankly…well. I’m not sure.”
“You look fine.”
“No, not that. The deal with Rypt.”
“If you’re anxious about the loss, we can make a budget.”
“No. It’s not that.”
So? What was eating at him? I looked at him in bewilderment, and Sovieshu stared at me with a shrewd look.
“Is it profit and gains that the Empress wants for the Eastern Empire? Or is it love that you’ll get?”
I spoke in a firm voice, but Sovieshu remained calm. He turned back to me and walked around the table to look at me squarely in the face. His dark eyes were filled with a complicated emotion. I could see myself reflected in them, my own face smoothly calm. Maybe it was because I had practiced thoroughly…?
Sovieshu’s eyes were cold as he spoke.
“Which is it, Empress?”
He slowly lifted his hand and tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ear. I avoided his gaze and said what I wanted to say all this time.
“You’re mistaken, Your Majesty. But even if I want love. It’s funny. ”
“You’ve proudly shown off your concubine at parties, so I don’t know why you’re so obsessed with interfering with my love affairs.”
Sovieshu gave a harsh laugh.
“Not for my sake, but for Miss Rashta’s.”
Sovieshu snapped, hitting the table with his fist with a loud bang.
“How can you say that? A concubine is just a concubine, and the empress is the empress.”