Chapter 86 – Heinley Departs (1)
As the sound echoed beyond the door, Rashta hugged her large doll.
‘A concubine is just a concubine…?’
The guards standing in front of the door exchanged awkward glances. Rashta bit her lip. She stared at the door with a tearful face, then turned her heel and returned to her room.
Viscount Roteschu was right. No matter how much Sovieshu loved her, Rashta was still a concubine. Her position was dependent on the fickle emotions of one man.
Rashta summoned Viscountess Verdi to ask her a question.
“Yes, Miss Rashta.”
“Among all the emperors’ concubines…has anyone been loved by the emperor all her life?”
Normally, Rashta would have avoided exchanging words with Viscountess Verdi as much as possible. However, the viscountess seemed more familiar with these matters than the two other serving girls.
They way Viscountess Verdi averted her eyes with a troubled look gave Rashta the answer she needed.
“It’s not unheard of.”
“But not many, is it?”
As Rashta started to cry, Viscountess Verdi hurried to appease her.
“But it’s alright, Miss Rashta. A long as you have a child, you will not be cut off from the Imperial Family even without the Emperor’s favor. The baby will be your strength.”
“Rashta—Rashta wants a baby that she can love and care for! I don’t want to use the baby that way!”
“I didn’t mean it like that…”
There was a soft knock. Rashta closed her mouth, and the door to the parlor room opened and Cherily came in.
“Miss Rashta, Viscount Roteschu is here.”
Rashta dismissed Viscountess Verdi from the room and allowed Viscount Roteschu in. She was still upset, and seeing the viscount made her even more so, but she was unable to throw him out.
“Why are you here this time?”
Rashta didn’t bother hiding her contempt, but Viscount Roteschu seemed wholly unperturbed.
“I’m thinking of moving.”
She had heard he was looking for a house to live in the capital. She spoke through her clenched teeth.
“I need a house.”
“How much do you need?”
Rashta remembered the money Duke Elgy lent her. Ten thousand krangs was a large sum. She didn’t know how much a house cost, but…
“Hmm. I think about half a million krangs.”
“Half a million?”
Rashta jumped to her feet in alarm. She had never imagined Viscount Roteschu would demand such a sum.
“What kind of house is that expensive!”
“It’s a house with a garden. Actually, the house costs four hundred thousand krangs, but one hundred thousand goes to renovation.”
Rashta’s hands shook by how casually he answered.
“There’s no need to live in that big a mansion alone!”
Viscount Roteschu’s eyebrow lifted at her.
“I will bring my grandchild with me. Your child, Rashta.”
“Well, I can’t leave the little one alone in the country, can I? What a heartless mother.”
Rashta trembled in bewilderment and rage.
“Oh dear, Rashta. Do you think it’s wasteful to spend money on your own child?”
Viscount Roteschu looked at Rashta and smiled at her like a leech.
No matter how hard I tried, I found it difficult to understand Sovieshu. He doesn’t love me, so why on earth…
My head was dizzy and my chest tight. I started to feel sick to my stomach, so I finally left the palace and walked outside. I remembered that Prince Heinley had left in a hurry, and my steps automatically turned towards the southern palace.
However, as I walked through the southern palace, I saw Rashta in the corridor across the way. She didn’t notice me in her hurry, and she looked quite pale.
‘Is she not feeling well?’
She approached the door to someone’s room, and a moment later it opened. It was Duke Elgy. Rashta entered the room first, but Duke Elgy’s eyes met mine, and he grinned before closing the door.
What did I care? I made my way towards where Prince Heinley stayed. Coincidentally, he was walking this way, and we stood opposite each other in the middle of the hallway.
He stared at me for a moment then gave a languid smile.
“We came across each other just as I was going to see you.”
“Did you want to tell me something?”
“I have a lot to say, and I’ve come to say them.”
He pointed towards the garden.
“Do you mind if I walk with you for a while?”
I nodded, and we fell in step together. Small winter petals that bloomed above us in the trees rustled in the wind and drifted downwards.
I felt something heavy placed on my shoulders. It was Prince Heinley’s coat.
“Isn’t it cold?”
“If you’re cold, then why did you give me your coat…?”
“I thought you would be cold as well.”
“I’m not cold.”
I smiled at his strange words, and when I looked into his purple eyes he returned a smile as well. I inhaled the scent of his coat. It smelled similar to Queen. He awkwardly adjusted the coat on me, then continued walking.
“You may have guessed, but…”
It was silent for a moment, the only sound the rustling of our clothes as we walked. Prince Heinley slowly spoke.
“I think I have to go back to the Western Kingdom.”
I was already prepared for this. Nevertheless, sadness rose in my heart. However, I could not reveal this to the person whose brother was on the edge of life and death.
The crunch of our footsteps on the fallen leaves sounded unusually loud. The wind suddenly got colder, and I clutched his coat more tightly around me.
Neither of us said a word. It wasn’t until we walked a fair distance that Prince Heinley broke the silence again with a soft voice.
“Can we keep exchanging letters?”
I smiled and nodded. I may not be able to see Prince Heinley often anymore, but Queen will come. And even though the frequency of the visits would be reduced, we can still meet. I tried to uplift my heart with this knowledge, but somehow it wasn’t good enough.
“Queen…Queen may be busy.”
Prince Heinley stopped walking. When I looked up at him, he heaved a small sigh.
“I may have to send another bird. Will that be alright?”
“Why will Queen be busy?”
“The bird is a symbol, in many ways.”
“I’ll send the blue bird you saw before.”
I once thought he was just simply a good prince, but I suppose I’ve become very close to him and Queen. His goodbye made my footsteps feel as heavy as lead. My first parting with a friend was more frustrating and terrible than I thought.
I nodded, then turned and started walking again.
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