Karaf’s appearance was very similar to the previous emperor, but there was a difference.
It was the hair.
Black hair was never a symbol of honor in the imperial family, so his mother forbade even a portrait of her only son to be painted.
Seeing Asha’s expression darken, the chamberlain said as if remembering something.
“Oh, there is probably still a painting of the crown prince ceremony and victory commemoration. It was a glorious day when His Majesty returned from the war for the first time.”
The chamberlain searched the room and soon came out with a portrait.
There was an armored Karaf.
Although he looks younger than he is now, she could clearly sense the qualities of an emperor from his armor and standing bravely with a cold face.
Learning about what happened at that time from the chamberlain, he said that Karaf went to the battlefield from a young age in order to look good before the empress.
It was because that was the only way he, a black rose, could honor her.
No, maybe it wasn’t for such a great reason, but he just wanted to hear a compliment from his mother.
A deep loneliness seemed to be seen behind his cold and arrogant face.
Asha reached up a hand and carefully stroked the portrait.
It was as if she was comforting him.
The chamberlain silently watched the scene from behind.
After a while, Asha asked him quietly.
“……Can I keep this painting? I like it.”
The chamberlain was taken aback, but after thinking for a while, he said.
“Then please keep it a secret from His Majesty. His Majesty hates those days when he was young. And His Majesty probably doesn’t even know that this portrait exists….”
Since this room was so neglected and ignored by Karaf, there was a high chance that he would not notice even if a painting disappeared.
Asha smiled and said.
With this painting, Asha’s desire to erase the stigma attached to the black rose, and to help Karaf stand tall as a great emperor, resurfaced.
The chamberlain came out of the warehouse with the portrait and followed her.
But Asha, who was walking deep in thought, collided with someone in the corridor.
“……Oh, isn’t this Lady Vanessa?”
The man who spoke rudely with wide eyes was Count Fresia.
It seemed that lunch with the nobles had already ended.
Asha said gracefully.
“Count Fresia, right?”
“It’s an honor that you recognize me!”
He spoke with a look of genuine surprise, but Asha sensed that he was being sarcastic.
Like a minority that hasn’t even set foot in the capital, claiming to have studied as a noble.
With her long experience, she could tell what he was thinking without having to ask.
But Asha smiled slightly and answered.
“What’s the use of a butterfly that doesn’t even know the name of the flowers!”
“That’s right, haha. I heard that you couldn’t make it to lunch because you weren’t feeling well, but it seems like you feel better now… Seeing you walk around the palace looking healthy.”
The Count grinned and gave a bony comment.
“Yes. I was taking a walk because I wasn’t feeling well, but now I feel better. Thank you for your concern.”
Asha didn’t want to have a very long conversation with him, so she just lightly bid farewell and tried to keep walking, but he stopped her by grabbing her wrist.
Asha did not tolerate his rudeness when he dared to touch the Empress’s body, but only raised her eyebrows, revealing her displeasure.
“What kind of disrespect is this?”
Count Fresia quickly released her wrist and said.
“Oh. Excuse me. Actually, there was something I really wanted to ask you, Lady Vanessa, but I was in such a hurry that I committed a disrespect.”
Asha stared at him intently and asked, in order to quickly get rid of the bothersome talk.
“What do you want to ask me?”
“Well, my family is going to start a perfume business soon, so is there any chance of success?”
Asha looked slightly puzzled at the sudden question.
“Oh, I heard rumors that Lady Vanessa has the power to predict. It is said that you knew that an assassin would kill His Majesty in the banquet hall.”
Asha felt tired for some reason, but she responded with restraint.
“Unfortunately, the perfumery business doesn’t seem like a very good idea for the Fresia Family.”
She had heard that the Fresia Family started a perfume business in the past, but it was never mentioned among the nobles if the business was successful.
Asha didn’t attend social events very often, so she didn’t know the details, but if the matter was really well known, she would have heard about it.
However, he appeared displeased by Asha’s words, and his expression hardened.
“Well, we’ll see.”
He didn’t give up and took out a high-end perfume from his pocket, handing it to her.
“Now that we’ve met, I’ll gift it to you. I heard that at the tribute banquet, Lady Vanessa showed no interest in anything except that gray-blue horse. I hope this perfume captures Vanessa’s heart more than the man who offered himself as a tribute.”
He smiled mischievously when he finished speaking.
The fact that the horse was Jackal had already spread throughout the entire empire.
What he had just said meant nothing more than a rebuke, accusing her of having an extramarital affair with a man in front of noble people during the tribute banquet.
Asha’s face turned red with displeasure.
Looking at her, he realized it had an effect on her, he gave her a smirk of satisfaction.
“I heard that you like the scent of flowers. This is a test perfume I did for Lady Vanessa. Would you like to smell it? Since you are the butterfly, I think you can distinguish the fragrance better than the dogs we raise in our house.”
When he finished speaking, he laughed out loud, as if he found what he had just said amusingly.
Here we go again.….
Asha sighed inwardly.
She knew well that the nobles were trying to discredit her, as she had been through enough in her past life.
Unable to degrade the emperor, they tried to degrade Vanessa instead.
As if that was the only way to demean the Emperor.
Vanessa was the only one who could make the emperor’s flower bloom, and he thought that her existence could manipulate him.
Karaf was not here, and the purpose was to openly ignore and denigrate the butterfly.
She couldn’t help but imagine what rude questions would have made her uncomfortable if she had attended the luncheon.
Asha seemed to be getting tired quickly.
The chamberlain next to her yelled fiercely, scowling in her place.
“Count Fresia, you’re being rude right now in front of Vanessa!”
It was the first time Asha had seen him so angry, so she looked at him slightly moved.
He seemed angry, but in fact, his trust in her had increased after their recent visit to the underground warehouse.
But it was then.
“……I was wondering who the sly snake was that was chattering in front of my butterfly. it turned out to be Count Fresia.”
Asha’s eyes widened even more and she turned to look behind her.
Before she knew it, Karaf was walking toward her like a ferocious beast, swaying from side to side, into the distance down the hall.
The shadow under his eyes had sunk, and the flicker of his restless eyes made it clear that he had just overheard their conversation.
This is a disaster…..
Asha inwardly sighed and looked at the Count with genuine pity.
The Count turned pale and tried to excuse himself.
“Your… Your Majesty…… This…….”
However, before that, Karaf strode over and snatched the bottle of perfume from the count’s hand.
The three of them were surprised and looked at him.
Karaf opened the cork as if to smell the fragrance, closed his eyes, and took an exaggerated breath.
He then looked at the short man with a mocking expression and said.
“As expected, Vanessa’s ability is extraordinary.”
“What do you mean?”
“Can’t you feel the cheap fragrance that vibrates throughout the palace? It smells worse than when I don’t take a bath for days. The perfume business is doomed if this is all they have. Don’t you think so, Count?”
Some of the nobles that followed Karaf suppressed their laughter.
The Count’s face turned red and he screamed.
“But Your Majesty! This is the best representation of our family, made with only the highest quality materials!”
“……Are you saying that you made this trashy perfume and undervalued my sense of smell and Vanessa’s as well?”
He fell silent at Karaf’s low question.
Karaf smiled leisurely and asked.
“Do you have a paralyzed nose? Or is it because your sense of smell is worse than a dog’s, so you can’t distinguish smells…?”
As Asha watched Karaf repeat exactly what the Count had told her, she felt a sense of satisfaction.
The Count’s face turned red, perhaps from wounded pride, but he couldn’t predict what would happen next.
And so was Asha.
It was at that moment that the Count, trembling with humiliation, was about to retort, when Karaf suddenly raised the bottle of perfume and poured it over Count Fresia’s head.
The Count stood there in a daze as if he hadn’t realized what had just happened to him, as the perfume dripped from his head.
As she looked at him, Asha’s mouth also dropped open in disbelief.
After a while, the Count came to his senses and shouted with a red face.
“Your Majesty! This is an insult…!”
Karaf cut him off and looked back and said.
“Oh….. don’t you hear a dog barking somewhere, gentlemen? Judging from the fact that it gnaws at non-prey ones, it seems that the meat I prepared was not enough.”
Other nobles coughed uncomfortably at his words.
Then, Sihan Blossom responded with a grin.
“The sound of a barking dog is one thing, but Your Majesty, but I think our noses will be paralyzed by the cheap smell. It is better to ventilate the room.”
“I also believe it. Vanessa is going to feel sick. I thought dogs could distinguish scents, but…”
Karaf stroked his chin with a genuinely curious expression, then looked at the Count and said.
“Oh, you were still here?”
Her expression as she looked at the Count had a madness beyond mischief.
Asha had forgotten about it for a moment.
That Karaf is a much crazier man than anyone can imagine……
He said to the Count with an arrogant and relaxed expression.
“Crawl like a dog.”