Chapter 122 - Roy's Letter
It was to be expected that the list of those who gave great service to the country, which consisted of twenty or so names, had Roy’s name at the top. Beside each name, a detailed description of their significant deeds and rewards bestowed upon them was also described. They were all individuals that deserved to be lauded for their deeds. However, hosting two grand banquets back-to-back would be a massive waste of budget. Still, it would be remiss for the Imperial family to forgo the traditional New Year’s party of the new year, which is why Juselle expressed his concerns and sought the opinion of the court.
Muted discussion broke out among the nobles, as they discussed the options. Ian spoke up first, “Your Majesty, how about holding them at the same time?”
“At the same time?”
“Yes, hold the New Year’s party and the Victory celebration simultaneously to grant the meritorious soldiers their titles as well as recognize their accomplishments.”
The other nobles nodded their agreements to Ian’s proposal; both parties were too important to be cast aside for the other. Ian’s words seemed sensical and wrapped up the dilemma nicely.
Satisfied with the suggestion, a thought suddenly struck Juselle while he looked at Ian. Recalling the surname Roy had chosen, he said, “Hm, Count Delai, was it? It seemed like he chose his own outfit last time, but this time he should dress more glamorously since he’ll be the center of the party. Put some effort and help him dress him up for the party, would you?”
“Rest assured, I shall since he will soon be my son-in-law,” Ian nodded, already planning to send Roy a missive.
At least 80% of the achievements during the war was attributable to Roy; perhaps even more had he not been deprived of his initial achievements. As the central figure of the victory celebrations, he must be dressed for the occasion. Juselle smiled contentedly at Ian’s words.
Act 11. Plot Changes
It was taking time for the troops to disperse. Risak was also finally able to depart, after leaving behind a handful of encampments at the border. Since the war had ended, the return trip could be undertaken with peace of mind. As they trotted along on horse, he glanced at Roy, who rode beside him.
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
“How does it feel now that the war is over?”
“I’m relieved,” Roy responded happily. Their days had been spent fighting tooth and nail, and Roy was often plagued with nightmarish dreams of what might become of him if his plans were to fail. That was now all behind him—he endured through the suffering, made his accomplishments, and had finally achieved everything he desired.
Risak nodded understandingly, and asked, “When do you plan to announce your retirement?”
“You mean, to His Majesty?”
“I’ll inform him if I have the chance to be granted an audience with him,” Roy said, looking at Risak.
Risak smiled broadly, thinking Roy’s plan was for the best. “I envy you,” he sighed.
“I want to retire too, but it’s not that simple once you’re a general,” he said, before urging his horse forward to go talk to the other subordinates, and leaving Roy to his thoughts.
“What are you thinking about? You seem deep in thought,” Thurwin curiously asked.
“I understand how His Excellency feels.”
“Yeah.” Roy knew how much Risak enjoyed spending time with his wife. Whenever the general went to war, his wife would be left waiting back home with an anxious heart. Roy didn’t wish for Aris to have that experience.
* * *
It’d been some time since a tea party had been held at the Imperial Palace, but with the crown prince’s return from the treaty signing, one was quickly arranged. Aris, clothed in a pink dress, boarded her carriage for the Spring Garden.
“I’m not really satisfied with today’s styling,” Lucine grumbled as she looked at Aris.
With a bright smile on her face, Aris replied, “I’m still just as pretty today.”
“It’s just… it looks like you put in less effort than usual, my lady.”
Without a doubt, Lady Violet would come dressed beautifully. In comparison, Aris had only styled her hair and opted for only light makeup. Since her mistress had wanted to dress simply today, Lucine had followed her orders, but now she felt slight regret.
“Oh, Lucine,” Aris laughed.
“Sir Roy has to attend tea time,” Lucine sighed.
“Only then will you care, my lady.”
Lucine knew that her lady would only dress to the nines when it came to Roy. Outside of that, Aris would never bother putting that much effort. And Aris knew Lucine was right. She thought back to the tea party with Roy, where he’d put his arm around her. She relished in remembering the sensation of his strong arms and the kiss that followed—that sensual kiss. Her face flushed at the memory.
“What’s this? What’re you thinking about, my lady?!” Lucine grilled Aris with piercing eyes.
“Then, why are you blushing?” Lucine asked accusingly.
“Just… because,” Aris said, pressing her hands to her cheeks.
“Just because…” Lucine repeated suspiciously, cocking an eyebrow.
“I was thinking about his kiss.” Aris glanced furtively at Lucine, who’d fallen silent.
“My lady… How was it? Are kisses really that nice?” Lucine asked after a pause. She recalled the romance novels she’d read. She found them fun and had even recommended some to Aris, who also seemed to enjoy them.
“What? Ah, I don’t know.” Aris’s face heated up even more at Lucine’s question.
“Please, tell me!”
“It’s a secret!” Aris exclaimed. The things between Roy and herself were for her own knowledge only. She didn’t plan to share these intimate and sensual sensations with anyone. “You should try it sometime, Lucine.”
“With who? There’s nobody!” Lucine cast a sidelong glance at Aris, as she grumbled, “How could you suggest that to someone without a lover? My lady, you’re so mean!”
“Oh, true,” Aris giggled, before glancing out the window as the carriage slowly began to move.
* * *
When Aris and Lucine arrived at the Spring Garden, they found Violet and Anthe seated, while Violet sipped tea alone. Lucine bit her lip as she scrutinized Violet’s outfit; the younger girl looked dashing in dress slacks, with the pantsuit suiting her very well. It seems that it was Lucine’s loss today.
Likewise, Anthe had also finished assessing Aris’s outfit, noting that the latter clearly hadn’t put in any effort in today’s ensemble. Seeing that her lady no longer needed accompaniment with Aris’s arrival, Anthe stood up from her seat across Violet and left for the maids’s section with Lucine.
“Violet! I see you’re wearing pants today,” Aris greeted cheerfully.
“I’m finding pants quite comfortable these days, so I bought a few pairs.”
“Right, right.” Aris admired how pants matched Violet perfectly. It wasn’t surprising as there were very few clothes that didn’t suit Violet’s looks, but wasn’t there a saying that fashion was incomplete without the looks to match it?
“You’ve been attending a lot of parties these days, Big Sister.”
“Well, I still have to do my job as a brand ambassador.” There was still a long way to go before the end of her contract, but Aris was already getting the feeling that Onelle hoped she would continue on for another year. Still, Aris was of a different mind since she planned to marry Roy next year.
“True, brand ambassadors have to attend a lot of parties.”