“Yes, it’s me.”
Evelina felt strange that Kaiden’s body was strong but not heavy. He was covering himself with the sheets rolled up, as if he were flexing his arms and legs so he wouldn’t be heavy.
“Your Majesty, did you drink?”
“How much was it?”
“Very much. And Kaiden.”
Evelina smelled a lot of alcohol when he looked at her. Because the scent of rum tickled her nose every time he spoke. At the same time, she didn’t hate it because of the mix of thyme fragrance from him. She looked at him blankly. Then he looked straight at her like a drunk and laughed.
“How much did you drink?”
“I think I should drink.”
What kind of conversation was this. She asked him how much he drank because she thought he had to drink water because of how much he drank.
She wondered if he was drunk and twisted, but she was still afraid of him. She couldn’t figure out how many people he’d killed before her eyes so far. It was more brutal on the day of the revolution, and then there was the maid at the wedding.
And he also pretended not to kill the Dowager Empress’ lady-in-waiting.
“Why did you feel like you needed to drink?”
Then he frowned and looked at her with deeper eyes. Evelina felt bad because he looked more handsome up close. On the contrary, it should be ugly if you look closely. He was even looking down at her now.
“I don’t think I can do it if I don’t drink.”
“What else could it be?”
The words were so sweet that Evelina stared at him, unable to really understand what he was saying. Then he frowned and answered, turning his head.
“Ah… it’s early.”
When Evelina saw him sigh and look at her again, she suddenly felt his weight greater.
It was very dark around. Even though it was dark, his bright red eyes were shining like a single spark, and his tightly closed lips chewed and regained their original shape and entered her view as if they were imprinted in her eyes.
“Your Majesty, did you wash up?”
“Yes. And Kaiden.”
“When did you wash up? I didn’t hear you wash yourself.”
“I washed up and drank before I came in.”
She suddenly realized that he was dressed very neatly and wondered if he had really washed up. However, the scent was so good that it was too much to say that he smelled.
“How much did you drink?”
“About four bottles of rum.”
“That’s quite a bit? If you drink that much, you’ll get sick.”
“I don’t drink like that every day.”
He sighed and tried to come down to Evelina. She turned her face around when he was about to kiss her.
She turned her head to the other side, avoiding him trying to approach her again. This time, it was so close that the tip of their lips slightly brushed, and she was nervous as if she had a splinter all over her body.
“Oh, well, I…”
She shuddered because she couldn’t figure out what to say with fear. Then he sighed deeply and hugged her tightly.
“I see what you mean.”
She couldn’t bear to hug Kaiden, who fell over her chest. He waited for a few minutes as if he were checking her heartbeat.
“Have a good dream, Lina.”
He kissed her eyes.
He left her arms like that and went outside.
Evelina couldn’t calm down even though he had completely left and she couldn’t even hear his footsteps. And then.
“I need to keep the door shut thoroughly.”
She locked the door, checked the windows and the doors on the terrace, and went to bed. However, she couldn’t sleep that day because her heart couldn’t calm down because she felt threatened for her chastity.
At 2 o’clock the next day, the Marquis of Logias did not come to see Evelina.
“The Marquis of Logias is said to be having an audience.”
Evelina thought about where Ianathas, who said that he was her escort knight, was and looked at the other knight escorting her, asking,
“What’s your name?”
“It’s Usher Fronen, Your Majesty.”
“What about Ian?”
“The captain is with His Majesty.”
Evelina sighed, thinking that her father was late because of the meeting.
“Let’s have a cup of tea and wait, Your Majesty.”
When Countess Elbain beckoned, the servants went out first and brought the tea. Soon after, Evelina picked up a tea cup with a scent other than the black tea in front of her.
“What kind of tea is this?”
“It’s chamomile. I brought it from my mansion because it gives me mental and physical stability.”
Evelina drank the tea, savoring the scent of chamomile. She waited another hour, but her father still didn’t come.
Evelina said, blankly, with her arms crossed.
“Let’s go to the audience.”
“I’m going to the audience, so follow me. Sir Usher.”
Evelina decided to do it because it was strange. When the Emperor asked her why she came there, she thought she would say it was because she was worried about yesterday.
So Evelina headed to the royal palace’s audience room.
Evelina’s palace, which was originally the Empress’ Palace, was not too far away because it was right next to the Imperial Palace. As she quickly reached the entrance of the audience, the gatekeeper greeted her.
“I will tell the Emperor.”
“I’d appreciate it.”
Evelina stood upright like that. She wondered if Kaiden was preventing her father from coming to see her.
She didn’t think there was any reason to get in the way, but then again if it was the enemy, it wasn’t without a reason.
However, Evelina had a month left in her life, and if the Emperor kept her from seeing her father, he might have seen her for the last time on her wedding day.
If so, she had to see him today. Everything seemed to feel rushed when she thought that her life had less than four weeks to go.
After greeting her, the gatekeeper opened the door to the audience room and went inside.
Evelina opened the door to a large room, but she couldn’t see inside because the curtains were drawn. She glanced around, looking for her father because she thought she might be able to see him through the curtains, but she couldn’t see anything.
So the sound of her footsteps faded away and the door closed.
She seemed to hear something inside, but her heart seemed to be pounding as the sound of her footsteps drew closer again. And what she saw when the door opened.
“That… Your Majesty the Queen.”
The gatekeeper said with a puzzled expression on his face.
“His Majesty says the meeting is going to be long.”
“Then tell him I’ll be waiting.”
So the gatekeeper went back inside, but he quickly came out. The doorkeeper who came back with a troubled expression.
“Don’t wait, go back.”
Evelina wondered if he was doing this because he was angry with her for what happened yesterday. Maybe that’s why she felt her shoulders sink, she sighed and said.
“I’ll wait anyway, so please tell him to let me wait until the meeting is over.”
Evelina said with a look of difficulty at the door.
The gatekeeper, who went back in like that, didn’t say anything. Perhaps it was a sign of permission.
It was no small thing that she rejected the Emperor. As Elsius said, she was the Empress, and the Empress’ job was to have a child. The Empress, who did not properly spend even her first night, was a problem.
It was because of Kaiden’s mercy that her family survived from the beginning. But the Emperor made a big decision, and he even drank alcohol and was refused like that. She was in a bad mood when she went mad at the idea.
He wouldn’t be so happy to hug her either. Just like the thought of her hugging him was terrifying. So he must have drank four bottles of rum like that.
She went crazy at the thought and couldn’t really understand Kaiden. Why did he have to drink and hug her? It would be a far greater insult to not be able to spend the first night.
“I think it will take a long time. You’d better go now.”
She realized that she had been standing there for an hour. She didn’t even know that time had passed so much because she was so engrossed in her thoughts.
She stood like that for another hour.
She was pretty cool considering it was early summer inside the Imperial Palace. But her calves were pounding, her ankles still hurt, and it was getting harder and harder to stand upright in one position. She seemed to be getting dizzy and weak. In the first place, she counted on her hands when she had been standing so long.
Even so, she remained firmly closed as if she had no intention of opening the audience door.
Evelina decided to focus on her audience door, thinking that she would rather think about something else. The door was white and had gold ornaments attached to it. She suddenly thought that the door of the audience room was different from the one she knew before, and she seemed to understand the reason as well.
It must have been changed because it was burned down on the day of the revolution.
Revolution. There were hundreds of her acquaintances who died that day. When she thought of that, standing there was nothing. She could think that way. They died, but she was alive. And her parents, who cared for her, were still alive.
Maybe Kaiden wanted to hold her because he wants to win her heart. There’s no revenge as big as throwing a person away after winning their heart. Wouldn’t it be more like revenge than just throwing it away after a night of drunkenness?
When she thought so, she could see why he was so sweet to her.
Two and a half hours.
On the verge of collapse, she finally saw the door of the audience room open.
“Go back, Queen.”
It was Kaiden who came out of the door. As soon as she saw his face, the sky seemed to be spinning.
She fainted like that.
The last memory of the day, she saw a picture of an old-fashioned audience room hanging from the ceiling.
The title of the painting was conviction.