Chapter 9 – The Issue Of A Lady-In-Waiting (2)
“When I visited her, she told me I was a concubine, but not her sister. Is that how it’s supposed to be, Baron Lant? Or does the Empress hate me?”
After the contract signing ceremony was over, it was Baron Lant that managed most of Rashta’s affairs. He visited her today without any particular purpose, and was surprised when he heard this unexpected tale.
“You visited the Empress?”
“Yes…she sent a gift to Rashta. I thought I should go and greet her if she sent a gift…”
Baron Lant groaned and pinched his forehead. Rashta tilted her head.
“What is it? Did Rashta do something wrong?”
“Worse than that…”
“The positions of Miss Rashta and the Empress are in opposition of each other.”
“Why? They both serve the same husband.”
Is that what Rashta said to the Empress! Baronet Lant was momentarily dizzy. However, Rashta’s dark, huge eyes convinced him she acted out of innocence. One did not hold children accountable like adults. Rashta was more ignorant of aristocratic society than even aristocratic children, and so he had to show some consideration. But even so…
“Rashta, did anyone stop you when you said you were going to visit the Empress?”
“Cherily and Kisu?”
“Who are they?”
“Rashta’s maids. The Emperor assigned them.”
“Other than those servant girls…do you have a lady-in-waiting?”
Rashta tilted her head again.
Baron Lant stood up from his seat with a determined look. On that note, he went back to Emperor Sovieshu and reported on his visit with Rashta.
“Your Majesty. Rashta is now your concubine, but she is ignorant of aristocratic society. She has her maids, but she is also in need of a lady-in-waiting.”
Another secretary listening from the side commented with, “Would a noblewoman want to serve a commoner like Rashta?”
“Rashta is not the first commoner to become a concubine.”
Baron Lant snapped back at the secretary, then turned to plead again with the Emperor.
“You should at least give her a lady-in-waiting to guide her in aristocratic society.”
Sovieshu made a sound of agreement.
“It was something I had already been thinking about, Baron Lant.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Find a lady-in-waiting that will be responsible for helping Rashta.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
I was strolling through the gardens at the Western Palace when I saw a large, handsome bird perched on a huge flower, picking its feathers.
“What a strange bird.”
The ladies-in-waiting hadn’t noticed it, as they were busy chattering on the futility of Sovieshu’s secretaries trying to find a lady-in-waiting for Rashta.
I approached it carefully by myself. When I reached out my hand, the bird quickly hopped on. It shook its wings and nuzzled its beak against the back of my hand, as if accustomed to humans.
‘Was this bird raised by nobles?’
As I stroked its small head, I noticed a small piece of paper tied on its foot. I opened it, and found a handwritten note in a small script.
- I’m a foreign guest who will arrive on New Year’s Day. Wrote this after drinking.
I let out a laugh, and the ladies-in-waiting came over to see what had happened.
“Oh, that’s new.”
“What a handsome bird. What is it called?”
“I know it’s a bird that’s difficult to tame…isn’t it used for hunting?”
When I showed them the letter, the ladies-in-waiting grinned and encouraged me to write back. I smiled broadly. Was this really from a drunk foreigner? There will be many foreign ambassadors arriving here for the New Year’s celebrations, so it wouldn’t be unusual…
Usually the birds flew towards a bird pagoda that gave off a unique scent that attracted them. It was amazing how this bird flew all this way. I took out a small pocket pen that I always carried with me, and another lady-in-waiting retrieved a piece of paper from nearby.
– A drunken bird flies back. If it finds the right way, it will be better off than its master.
The ladies craned their heads to watch me write the letter and burst out in laughter again. I tucked away the pen, watered the bird, then tied my note onto its leg. The bird nuzzled its beak against my hand again and flew away.
“That bird seems to like the Empress.”
“Yes, isn’t it amazing that it only goes to the Empress?”
When I returned to my room after listening to the ladies chatter about birds, I found one of Sovieshu’s secretaries waiting for me.
“What’s going on?”
It looked like he had been waiting for a while, and he answered immediately.
“The Emperor has summoned you.”
The ladies’ faces hardened. As well as mine. The pleasure of seeing the handsome bird disappeared, and my heart became stiff. Before, I never minded when Sovieshu called for me, but now I couldn’t help but think “What else is going on?”
Rashta was now a concubine, and I turned away her attempts to be more friendly with me than was necessary. That was it. Shouldn’t it be the end?
‘Is he going to criticize me for not calling her my sister…? No. No matter how highly he thinks of her, it’s not to that degree.’
Sovieshu had seen his mother as he grew up, and knew how empresses and concubines were like.
After entering my room, I took off my walking dress and changed into a more formal one. Fortunately, I did not run across Rashta again when I followed the secretary to the Emperor’s room.
I walked in, and Sovieshu offered me a cup of tea and immediately entered into conversation.
“While concubines don’t require a lady-in-waiting as much as the empress, they should still have one or two to attend to them. I will give Rashta one or two as well.”
“So I’ve heard. I see your secretaries are searching around.”
“…Yet after a few days, no noblewomen have come forward.”
“Is that so?”
“I think they are not coming forward because the Empress, the palace’s master, is not coming forward. So can the Empress herself find a lady-in-waiting for Rashta?”