YCKTML Chapter 81
Erin begged Rupert for these shoes, so Enoch gave them to him, and they fell into Erin’s hands?
“So why did you come?”
I was lost in thought for a while because of what I found out, but Empress Meribel’s question reminded me why I came here.
“I’ve heard Your Majesty was in charge of the contract of goods within the Imperial Palace.”
Since the Empress’s posture seemed very comfortable, I also tried to keep my tone as casual as possible.
“Yes, it’s troublesome. But why?”
“I asked you to meet me because I have a recommendation for you.”
The Empress looked at the shoes and then at my face. “The items of the Imperial Palace are not mere items. Each one is a hugely expensive luxury and a work of art.”
“Yes, I know.”
“What’s more, I can’t sign a contract unless it’s clearly guaranteed because I don’t know what will be mixed in with the product.”
“This is a company I guarantee.”
Empress Mary Bell sat cross-legged and smirked. But it didn’t seem like one of disdain.
“Guaranteed by Count Spilet, huh? So which one?”
“…The company ran by Billy Gordon. Your Majesty must have heard of it.”
“Ah, you’re talking about the one they say is an incredibly rich commoner?”
“Yes, that’s him.”
The Empress tapped the table, still smiling. But her next question was sharp.
“There is no trust between you and me yet, but you’re telling me to trust you and make a contract with him? Why should I? So far, the supply of goods for the Imperial Palace has only been done by the noble-owned companies. Of course, there are political purposes as well. But do I really need to change it?”
The question was sharp, but I had expected it. I quietly took deep breaths and calmly met Her Majesty’s gaze.
“There seems to be some misunderstanding. First of all, I only suggested Your Majesty meet the company’s owner. Of course, I wouldn’t dare to involve myself in any contract with Your Majesty.”
“Is it okay if I just tell you the reason for the recommendation?”
The Empress raised her hand to the maid beside her. Then the maid filled the familiar cup in front of her with cold water.
Right now, I wanted to drink cool water rather than hot tea, but I couldn’t say anything and just stared at it.
“As Your Majesty said, the nobles were in charge of the goods until now. But did you know? Most goods coming from far across the sea are primarily unloaded from Billy Gordon’s ships.”
“What do you mean?”
“Many items brought into the Imperial Palace by the nobility are from foreign countries. They have to buy from Billy Gordon to get them.”
Empress Meribel’s expression changed, now more focused on my words.
“Of course, the price will go up in the process. The same is true for the fees between the companies, and the transportation process becomes much more complicated.”
“If you don’t sign a contract with Billy Gordon just because he’s a commoner, the Imperial court will continue to buy things at a high price. The wealth of the Imperial Palace comes from the people’s taxes, and if there’s a way to reduce expenses, it is reasonable to consider him.”
“You’re arrogant, Erin Spilet. Are you teaching me now?” There was slight anger in the Empress’s voice.
Have I gone too far?
However, when I glanced at Empress Meribel, she looked rather satisfied.
“I apologize if I have offended you. I’m just making a suggestion. The decision-making authority rests solely with the Empress.” I bowed my head in my seat.
“Alright, I’ll think of it as concern for the Imperial Family, but I think there must be another reason.”
“Yes, of course.”
The Empress gestured with her chin for me to continue.
“I endorsed Billy Gordon, but he’s also an investor in the magic stone mining business. You can say that we’ve already verified his trustworthiness as we selected investors. A title doesn’t necessarily imply trust, Your Majesty.”
“But, Erin Spilet. I mentioned that those contracts also had a political purpose. I mainly have contracts with the nobles who will become allies of the Crown Prince. How will we deal with Enoch’s political loss when we throw them out?”
“You don’t have to throw them out. It’s possible to compete while maintaining the existing contract. Then they’ll try to bring in better, more affordable products. And…”
I grabbed the warm cup of tea with both hands. The moderately cooled warmth restrained my nerves.
“By the time I successfully complete my magic stone mining business, my position will be different. I’ll be able to be a stronger ally for the Crown Prince than anyone else.”
The Empress raised one eyebrow. More than any word I had ever said, it seemed that these words moved her heart.
I was being sincere. After all, the Crown Prince had helped me up until now. If I wanted to continue living in this country, it was only natural for me to help him become Emperor.
“Duke Clifford has been a supporter of the Crown Prince from the beginning. But lately, I’ve heard different rumors… And you’re Rupert Clifford’s wife. Can I believe what you say?”
“I’ll soon… I’m going to divorce him.”
Then the Empress, who had been comfortably reclining on the sofa, jumped up. “Divorce? Are you filing for divorce?”
Why are you so surprised? It was completely different from the way she had been before. I nodded slowly to confirm again.
“Yes, I have already sent the divorce agreement to Rupert.”
“Ah… Oh my gosh, right, of course.”
“…Is there any problem?” I asked carefully, and the Empress shook her head at me with a slightly flushed face.
“No, no. When I saw the shoes, I was wondering if you were really getting a divorce.”
“The shoes… Does that matter?”
“Well, it might not matter much. But Erin, you… What do you think of Enoch? Be honest with me.”
I was puzzled by the Empress’s contradictory words, but her next question left me momentarily speechless.
“That… I am always grateful to the Crown Prince.”
“Gratitude… That’s what you think? Is that all?”
“Sorry? Should I have something else?” I blinked, feigning ignorance at the meaning behind those words. Of course, there were other emotions, but it’s not something I should mention here.
“Right, I see.” The Empress smiled and shook her head.
I couldn’t understand her reaction, so I cautiously said, “I, then… Meeting Billy Gordon…”
“I’ll think about it,” The Empress answered me with a solemn expression and tone that did not match her previous actions. It wasn’t a completely positive answer, but looking at her firm attitude, made it seem like she’d do it.
“Yes, thank you for your time, Your Majesty. Then I’ll take my leave now.”
As I stood, the Empressed looked at me, her eyes wide. When I saw her innocent look, I couldn’t help but think how ridiculously cute she was.
“Yes, if you have something to say…?”
The Empress, looking blankly at me, waved her hand and said, “No, you can go.”
I politely bent my knees, said goodbye, and turned around.
When I turned back to the sound of my name, the Empress was looking at me with her arms resting on the sofa.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“I didn’t know it before because it wasn’t very noticeable, but today I see you’re very pretty.”
My face flushed at the unexpected compliment, but I bowed and left the room.
“Haa…” I took a deep breath as soon as the door closed. “I was so nervous.”
I ran out of the Empress’s Palace.
As I got into the carriage, I laughed a little. Although the Empress was very different from what I expected, she still seemed to be a wonderful person.
I heard that the Emperor pushed ahead with the national marriage with her, but I could understand why he did.
After Erin left, Emily, who was cleaning up the drinks, glanced at Empress Meribel.
“Why, do you have something to say?”
“…You would have accepted anyway, so why did you say you’d think about it?”
“Why are you so sure that I’d accept it?” Meribel took off her uniform, which had been draped over her shoulders, onto the sofa.
“You like Erin Spilet. Also… There is some truth to her argument.”
“I liked that she’s smart and quick-witted. But it’s a shame.”
Confused, Emily looked at the Empress. With her hands on her waist, the Empress approached the window and watched the carriage drive away.
“Enoch got those shoes when he was a child, saying he would give them to the one who would be his bride.”
“Oh, but… Erin Spilet wore it to her wedding to Duke Clifford.”
“So, would Enoch let her wear it at that wedding for nothing? That clever boy.”
Emily moved the teacup off the trolley and walked over to Meribel.
“He’s close to Rupert, so maybe it was just a gift?”
“Not likely. And the heel of the shoe was broken. The previous Emperor made those shoes. No one could break or fix it.”
“It’s only the direct bloodline that could do that. So Enoch himself broke it, fixed it, and returned it.”
“Why would he do that?”
Empress Meribel turned around and shrugged. “He’s my son, but he has a dark heart. Do you know what I mean?”
“Then he was determined with Count Spilet…”
“It seems that only my son has a crush.”
With those words, Meribel left the room. Emily, who remained, quietly cleaned as if she was familiar with that kind of thing.
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