YCKTML Chapter 46
Translator’s Note: Apologies for the wrong chapter! This is the correct one
“Madam, wait a minute. Don’t move.”
“Hurry up, Jenny. There’s not much time left.”
Jenny put a white flower-shaped hairpin through my finely curled hair. The dress she chose for me was a satin material with a subtle blue color to not be too flashy. The width was moderately wide, but it didn’t get in the way.
I couldn’t help but smile with satisfaction at the reflection in the mirror. Erin was beautiful no matter what she wore.
As I glanced down through the window, Clifford Castle had been bustling since morning.
The employees were frantically sweeping and wiping all over the castle, busy preparing for a garden party to welcome the distinguished guests.
I looked in the mirror one more time and hurried down to the garden.
Usually, when the royal family visited the estate, it was common to hold a grand party for several days. However, since the Crown Prince visited to comfort the unwell Duke, the scale was reduced to a luncheon garden party.
Gardeners pruned the stray branches of the garden trees and removed all the leaves and branches floating in the waterways that ran through the gardens.
“The dahlias are blooming. Please bring a few here and decorate the table.”
I had to go around the garden and castle by myself to take care of things because there was no one in this castle to do this job.
It was around the end of the morning.
“Hasn’t Rupert come out yet?”
“Welcome, Uncle Melaton.”
The Duke’s younger brother, Count Melaton Clifford, suddenly appeared from behind. He nodded his head, fiddling with his mustache.
“But Madam looks pretty well.”
I didn’t want to bother with that slightly sarcastic remark. What was more worrisome was that of the annex.
I’ve already sent people out twice, but the door to the annex remained closed. What the h*ll are you doing inside?
I’m sure you knew that the Crown Prince was coming. Are you not going to come out?
But it was difficult.
While Prince Enoch didn’t mind Rupert’s arrogance, his aides and other Imperial family members with him probably would.
And that wasn’t all. Local nobles in the territory were about to arrive. Even if fewer people were invited, everything they saw and heard would spread to the social world.
Even though he was the only son of the Duke of Clifford, shouldn’t he be afraid of the Imperial family?
As I worried about such thoughts, carriages carrying nobles arrived one after another. Fortunately, the butler introduced to her.
“This is Viscount Marend and his wife.”
“Hello, Madam. It’s an honor to have been invited.”
“Thank you for coming.”
“But the young Lord is still…?” The Viscount looked puzzled but stepped back a little because several nobles behind them had not yet been introduced.
I skillfully hid my embarrassed expression and greeted the next nobleman.
“This is Baron Austin.”
“Count Spilet was a man that I have long admired. It is such an honor to meet you, Madam.”
“Thank you, I haven’t prepared anything, but I hope you have a pleasant time.”
“The Crown Prince will be arriving soon, right?”
After that, several nobles came to me and greeted me.
While I was starting to wonder why I had to do this alone, I spotted a person crawling out of the annex, his blue eyes tinged with fatigue.
Even though he was late, he showed no remorse, acting as if he were the main character. Well, that wasn’t exactly wrong, was it?
But why did he come out alone? The people here obviously knew that Chloe was there. Then, just as I was about to voice my curiosity, I witnessed a scene that made me double-take.
“Who is that lady?” Someone asked, their voice filled with surprise and astonishment.
“That’s Miss Chloe, Count Andron’s adopted daughter,” I explained, but I too had to hide my surprise.
Chloe came out wearing a white lace dress adorned with pink frills. Judging by her outfit today, she looked good enough to make her debut immediately.
Rupert took her hand and escorted her to where we were.
We were all in the shade while the couple, who shone, was under the noon sun. So, naturally, everyone’s eyes were drawn to them.
If they meant to attract attention, they succeeded. Although it was clear that the dress did not fit the situation and place, Chloe was still beautiful enough to rock her outfit.
As she approached, her orange eyes trembled slightly as if she was embarrassed. That was expected. But what she said next was a problem.
“I… I thought there was going to be a party… wasn’t there?”
Did she make it sound as if that’s what I told her? Her sad face made it even more so.
The nobles around me all at once turned to me.
I tried to stay calm as I tilted my head to one side with a sad smile. And I spoke to her in a voice that sounded as soft as possible, “Lady Andron, how could we have a lavish party in this house when Father-in-law is sick? I remember saying I would replace it with a small lunch garden party.”
“The thing is…”
Rupert tried to speak, but I interrupted him instead.
“Ah, I guess you two didn’t hear because you were sleeping. I sent a servant three times. Oh no, it’s my fault,” Without blinking an eye, I sighed deeply and nodded.
The nobles looked at Chloe and Rupert alternately, whispering to the person next to them.
I glanced at Chloe to see her lips trembling. I had just indirectly informed the people around us that they were late for the party because they were together doing who knows what until morning.
If I were a wife who extremely loved my husband, I might have been ashamed of this situation, but fortunately, I wasn’t.
I looked away and smiled naturally.
The Clifford castle was on a gentle hill. Standing there, I could see the land and the sea in the distance.
And then, a flag fluttered at the end of the single road leading up to the fortress. A silver flag with a white border with a blue rose engravement caught my attention.
It seemed like I wasn’t the only one who saw it because someone shouted, “His Highness must be coming!”
The nobles craned their necks to take a closer look, staring at the path where he was coming.
Even nobles rarely got the chance to see the Imperial family in person. In particular, more minor nobles who lived in the countryside could only do so whenever they participated in the banquet hosted by the Imperial family during the New Year.
However, I, who saw Enoch relatively often, felt no different from them. I could feel my heart beating so much. I thought maybe I was the one who waited for him the most.
As the Crown Prince’s delegation drew closer, I realized they were riding on their horses instead of carriages.
Enoch, in the middle, was riding a white horse. The sight of him approaching imposingly, flags waving on either side of him, made me realize that he was the Imperial Crown Prince of this Empire. Truly.
“A prince on a white horse,” I muttered to myself, but my eyes widened, and I looked around when I realized I had said it out loud.
Fortunately, no one seemed to have heard it except Rupert, who was looking at me.
Chloe was behind Rupert and me, so I couldn’t see the expression on her face.
When the Crown Prince and his party almost reached the main gate, we also walked towards it.
Rupert grabbed my hand and lifted it. He probably meant to escort me, but when I jumped at the sudden touch, Rupert remained brazen as he looked straight ahead. At his actions, I looked for Chloe’s whereabouts.
She was following me from behind, her gaze down with a rather stern expression on her face.
Richard, a knight of the Duke’s castle, accompanied the Crown Prince to the border outside the territory.
“The Crown Prince has arrived. Open the gates wide!”
Richard came first, jumped off his horse, and opened the gate. Then Enoch slowly drove his horse to the very front of the gate and stopped. When our eyes met, his eyes crinkled beautifully.
His vivid green eyes reminded me of the rich color of grass and leaves. It was nice to see his black hair swaying in the late summer wind.
“I greet Your Highness, the Crown Prince of the Empire.”
“I greet Your Highness.”
Even as the nobles who had met him greeted him, Rupert stood stiffly.
“What are you doing?”
When I tapped Rupert’s side, he followed them half-heartedly and whispered to me, “I’ll see you later. I have something to say.”
I frowned and turned to Rupert. Why were you whispering to me as if what you said was so important?
As Enoch got off the horse, he held the reins and stared at us. Why did he have to see such a moment like this?
I shook off Rupert’s hand and approached Enoch.
“Thank you for coming all the way here, Your Highness. I hope you don’t feel any discomfort during your visit,” I greeted him and lowered my gaze.
With a small sigh, Enoch answered, “The Count welcomed me, so surely it wouldn’t be uncomfortable. Long time no see, Count Spilet.”
When our eyes met, his emotions flooded in like a tide. No, maybe this was my feelings.
I must have missed him all this time.
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