YCKTML Chapter 80
When I opened my eyes, I found myself on the bed. As I lay down, I blinked and pulled the blanket over me.
‘I’ve gone insane.’
A glass of wine couldn’t wipe my memory. I was too sober at the time to use being drunk as an excuse. I did it really impulsively but entirely of my own will.
I jumped up, sat on the bed, and laid back repeatedly.
‘I can’t believe I kissed him.’
I lay down again and remembered what had happened yesterday.
As soon as my lips touched his, Enoch wrapped his arms around my waist as if he had waited and opened his lips to me. And then the kiss deepened.
“Ugh… Haa,” I couldn’t help but cry out as I looked back on my memory and how bold I was.
After the kiss, Enoch took me to the room and said to me.
“You made a move first, so take responsibility.”
He said it so mischievously, then turned around and looked at me. When he didn’t say anything else, I came in and fell asleep.
With a long sigh, I rubbed my face with the palm of my hand and eventually got up again and sat down. There was no time to be lazy now.
I was going to see the Empress today. I asked for an audience as Count Spilet, not Duchess Clifford, so I was worried, but fortunately, it was granted.
When I rang the bell on the bed, Lia entered the room.
“Have you been to Madame Plada?”
“Yeah, I went there early in the morning. It has already been completed.”
When Lia clapped her hands, two maids from the Imperial Palace came in with a dress rack with three dresses.
“Hmm.” When I saw that, my troubles started.
I had placed a somewhat contradictory and absurd order for Plada to create an elegant, glamorous, but understated style.
The decoration of the inner palace was more splendid than the outer palace of the Imperial Palace. The Imperial family inhabited the inner palace, and most of the people who assisted them were nobles.
Of course, I had no choice but to be concerned about my attire.
“Let’s go with this.”
After thinking for a long time, I decided on a dress– a cobalt blue gown with wide-pleated layers.
Although the frills and ruffles made from the fabric were gorgeous, it didn’t look like a dress one would wear to a party because it didn’t have lace.
“Plada is a genius.”
The longer I wore it, the more I liked it. Erin looked pretty no matter what she wore, but she shone even more when I wore clothes from Plada.
As I picked my dress, Lia quickly chose hair ornaments to style my hair. When she placed the blue and purple jewel flowers on my rose-pink hair, they looked bright and beautiful.
I looked at myself in the mirror with satisfaction.
As Lia helped me prepare, I pondered how to act and speak in front of the Empress. I didn’t know why, but for some reason, I felt more nervous than when I stood in front of the Emperor.
Before leaving, I wore the shoes that Enoch had repaired last time. I didn’t know if it was okay to wear my wedding shoes to a place like that, but Enoch wouldn’t have suggested it for nothing.
When I thought of Enoch, I remembered yesterday’s kiss, and my cheeks flushed again.
“Count, you are so beautiful. Her Majesty the Empress will probably praise you.”
“I’m not going there to receive compliments. I hope things work out.”
Tying a ribbon tightly around my waist, Lia said, “It will be fine.”
I didn’t know if it was intentional, but Lia raised the front part of the skirt of my dress a little so that my shoes were visible when I walked.
“Thank you. Let’s go now.”
As I walked through the halls of the palace, I encountered Lennon Campbell, assistant secretary in the Crown Prince’s office, and the daughter of Viscount Burton, Mila Burton.
“Wow, Count! You look so elegant and beautiful in your dress.” Lennon gazed at me in pure admiration.
But Mila Burton’s eyes became even colder than before. She reluctantly nodded at me, grabbed Lennon by the collar, and dragged him away.
“We’re going to die from too much work. Why are you procrastinating? Is it your first time seeing a dress? Are you showing off being a commoner?”
“No, Mila! Wait, slow down!”
I glanced back at them before going on my way. As I did, I quietly told Lia, who was behind me, “I think Mila Burton doesn’t like me.”
“She’s jealous. She’s probably afraid she’ll lose the Crown Prince. In the first place, the reason she came here…”
I nodded my head in understanding. Still, it was quite childish, but my throat tickled with a subtle sense of superiority.
When I left the outer palace, I saw a carriage waiting for me.
“The Empress has sent it,” the coachman said as he opened the door.
I thanked him and got on. How fortunate. Last time, I wore comfortable shoes on my walk with Enoch, but now my shoes were high, and I wasn’t confident enough to go there on foot.
The carriage quickly passed through the inner palace garden and stood in front of the beautiful castle. The white castle, covered with rose vines on all sides, revealed the Empress’s definite taste.
‘I think Enoch once said his mother was peculiar.’
When I asked Enoch again last night, he let me into the room without any explanation, just saying it would be fine.
“I wish you told me more.”
Soon, the carriage door opened, and Imperial knights escorted me.
In front of the door, a woman who appeared to be the Empress’s handmaiden came to meet me.
“You must be Count Spilet. I am Emily Gelman, the Empress’s maid.”
“Thank you for meeting me. I’m Erin Spilet,” I replied with a smile, and quickly recalled information about Emily Gelman. The documents I saw when I was recruiting investors were helpful.
According to the papers, the Gelman family owned a jeweler’s shop.
Then it’s not wholly unrelated to my business. It would be easier with her help to meet the Empress. Could she help me?
“Actually, when I met you, you were very different from what I thought.”
“What do you mean?” I stopped and looked at her.
Emily smiled at me. “Seeing you somehow marry Duke Rupert Clifford, I thought you would be a passionate woman.”
Emily might have said ‘passionate,’ but she probably meant Erin was a woman crazy in love.
Erin was indeed like that before I came, so I didn’t have much to say.
“Does I actually look different?”
“You look a lot calmer. And Lady Chloe is still unharmed. If it were me, I would probably have buried her in the gardens earlier,” Emily said those dreadful words with a chuckle and walked a little further ahead.
‘Do you hate Chloe?’
“I’m going to get a divorce anyway. Do I really need to worry about her?”
Then Emily looked back, startled. She then nodded and said, “So… The rumors were true. That’s probably a good idea. This way.”
We didn’t have a long conversation, but I liked Emily because she seemed cool.
Just before Emily entered, she whispered to me, “Don’t be too formal.”
Don’t be formal? In front of the Empress?
I was bewildered for a moment, but I understood Emily’s words as soon as I entered.
Empress Meribel wasn’t wearing a dress. While her maids did, the Empress donned a uniform similar to the Emperor, but was more unmade.
“Oh, you’re here?”
The Empress stretched out on the floor before the audience chair, and when she saw me coming in, she went to the seat and sat down in surprise.
Obviously, it wasn’t the first time I saw Empress Meribel. However, I only glanced at the splendidly dressed woman at the ball. At that time, she didn’t deviate much from the image of the ‘Empress’ that I had envisioned.
She looked much younger now than she did then. It’s hard to believe that she had a son Enoch’s age.
Now, I understood why Enoch said she was peculiar.
First of all, I had to greet her properly.
“I greet Your Majesty, the Empress of the Kallis Empire,” I raised my skirt slightly and bent my knees to greet her.
Then I saw Her Majesty wave her hand. “I just hate talking back and forth. Count Erin Spilet, was it? May I call you Erin?”
It flustered me, but I could tell she didn’t care much for formalities. So I relaxed my stiff posture and smiled.
“Yes, of course.”
Then Empress Meribel stood and offered a seat on the sofa. “Sit where you feel comfortable.”
She sat across from me, picked up a glass of cold water, and gulped it down. Emily served me tea.
“Then I’ll go straight to the point.”
“Ah, yes. Oh…” The Empress trailed off when her gaze went down to my knees. She was staring at my shoes. “Where did you get those shoes?”
“They were given to me by my husband for our wedding. But the heel was broken, and His Highness, the Crown Prince, had it repaired.”
The Empress’s expression changed curiously as she listened. She gave me a once-over, smiled, and swept up her flowing hair.
“My goodness, he is his father’s son.”
“Those shoes are mine. I wore them when I married His Majesty, the Emperor.”
I licked my lips, not knowing what to say. How did the Empress’s shoes get to Erin?
“Those shoes aren’t just beautiful. There’s magic. No matter the size of the foot, it will automatically fit. But to say that the heel of such a shoe is broken, it cannot be broken in the usual way…”
“Ah, if it’s Your Majesty’s, I’ll return it to you.”
I tried to take off the shoes on the spot, but the Empress stopped me right away.
“No, I gave it to Enoch after all. But to give it to Rupert’s bride, what can I say about this?”
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