Chapter 12: The Invitation I Received Again
The sky was black as night came. The brilliant golden light, which dazzled me as I moved away from the banquet hall, gradually faded from my view.
Zed immediately found Lucifella.
She was already walking in the corridor, probably because she was walking pretty fast. Zed looked at her back and frowned at the strange feeling.
I didn’t notice it because it was covered by the skirt, but her steps were unnatural somehow. I didn’t notice it at all when she was walking earlier because when she walked fast, her steps felt strangely masculine.
But it was not a strange step, and I thought it was her characteristic.
Zed caught up with her at a brisk pace. The reason why he didn’t run was because he felt like he was chasing her.
“What? Why did you follow me?”
“……What criticism are you going to get from sending your fiancée alone?”
She smirked at the answer and walked away again. Fortunately, she didn’t seem to be saying not to follow her.
Wait. I’m glad? I don’t know what I’m thinking right now.
Zed shook his head as if it were ridiculous.
After catching up with Lucifella, Zed walked in the corridor with her. Lucifella kept silent as if she didn’t want to talk to him much. She didn’t even look at him.
So Zed could look at Lucifella with ease. Her appearance alone is an amazing person.
If his father chose his fiancée for her appearance, she’s so beautiful that he could understand why this woman became his fiancée.
Black hair like night, white skin like milk, and features with dense and delicate lines. A slender but soft neckline and exposed collarbone. It looked like a lot of men would lose their minds.
However, for Zed, her eyes, to be exact, rather than her appearance, her eyes strangely attracted his attention. Her eyes glistened clearly as she danced.
Now her eyes had a clear moonlight in it.
Obviously, even though I hadn’t met Lucifella for the first time, it seemed different whether it was because they were tied up in an engagement relationship or because of a slight incident.
Those eyes that look like stars are like…. Yeah, like….
Then Zed came to his senses because of the sound of a distant voice. Then his face frowned. It was the voice of Duke Louirk.
You said you were standing guard, but the guard area must have been this way. He didn’t want to offend her, who had been feeling good.
“I heard something.”
Suddenly she stopped walking. For Zed, it was clear where the voice came from, but Lucifella, who had not been physically trained, seemed to be heard only as a sign of presence.
“It’s not something young lady should care about. Let’s go.”
“No, I think I heard a voice. Whose voice is this?”
“It’s not something to worry about.”
Zed pulled her arm slightly. The two did not feel awkward because the skinship happened so naturally.
Lucifella kept trying to look back at her to see if her curiosity would not die. It was a little persistent, but Zed didn’t feel the need to satisfy her curiosity.
It’s because I felt dirty when I met him and thought of greeting him while looking at his disgusting face.
“Who is it?”
“That’s, Imperial Dog.”
Zed said as he gritted his teeth. For him, he unknowingly expressed a violent disgust.
He was not originally a person who casually told strangers about his hatred of others, but somehow he was showing it in front of her.
“Dog of the imperial palace?”
Even with his insulting and vulgar expression, Lucifella asked, not surprised or frowning at him.
Most of them looked uncomfortable, except for his subordinates and aides when he expressed this expression, but Lucifella had an attitude that it didn’t matter. Zed was somewhat satisfied with that part.
But in fact, Lucifella had a completely different idea.
The dog of the imperial palace. If that’s the case, isn’t it the same with this man? Is that what kinship is?
It must be the same as Jansgar’s dog, but it’s funny to say that a dog is a dog, but she was sensible enough not to say such a thing.
“Anyway, if you’re engaged to me, please know. Because I hate him so much. If there’s anyone in the Jansgar Empire that I hate the most, it’s him.”
“Who is he?”
“I don’t even like to call his name.”
She didn’t want to offend Zed, who even cleaned up her after she kicked the crown prince earlier, and nodded her head gently to Zed’s cynical look. She later vows that she will know the name and call that name freely.
She grabbed her skirt and went down the stairs of the palace. The long skirt almost tripped her down.
Seeing this, Zed held out his hand. Lucifella glanced at the hand and gently went down again, pulling up her skirt.
She tripped when she thought she didn’t need a man’s help. It was because there was no sense of balance in this body.
Zed sighed and grabbed her arm quickly to support her. Lucifella got goosebumps at him. She tried to pull her hand away, but her body shook again.
I’m sure it would be unsightly if I fell here. She had no choice but to lean on his arm in tears. Looking for the right posture, the two naturally held hands.
When they went down the stairs, the waiting attendants disappeared to call Count Aydin’s carriage, and they were alone again.
There was silence between Lucifella and Zed. Zed didn’t feel the need to say anything, and Lucifella was lost in thought about the voice earlier, a voice that sounded very calm in the distance.
Then Lucifella realized that she was still holding hands with Zed.
“Will you let go of my hand now?”
Now there are no people watching. Do I need to be overly affectionate? She followed you calmly because she had something to thank you for, but that’s it.
I hated being engaged and clingy like a real lover for no reason. In her cold manner, Zed raised one eyebrow and looked at Lucifella.
The atmosphere, which had been a little softened, was pulled tight again. The reason why Lucifella stayed calm was simple.
This was an Imperial Ball that she didn’t want to go to, she had to dance with him, and she would clean up after the crown prince’s case.
‘You can’t mistake this for a crush. Anyway, taking care of her as a pretty lady.’
Lucifella had no intention of getting along with this guy. Zed also smiled as if he had noticed her eyes.
Lucifella looked at Zed’s face and thought.
Unless you’re invited to a banquet like this, you won’t have much chance to meet this man. Of course, no one will invite me.
When the carriage arrived in front of them, Lucifella climbed into the carriage without Zed’s help. She then sighed as she leaned back on the chair. Suddenly, she looked out of the window and saw Zed.
Zed was also looking at her, so the eyes of the two met. Only then did Lucifella start to look at him properly as the window sat between them in the carriage.
I could see his tall figure and handsome face.
A jaw with a solid masculine line and a sharp nose as if carved. His reddish-brown eyes were still clear and intense. Dark bronze hair shone in the light.
It was a feeling that Lucifella uttered involuntarily.
After returning from the Autumn Banquet, Lucifella immediately threw off her stuffy dress and rested. Originally, after the banquet, medicine was immediately served for several days, and one of the maids gently rubbed her legs.
She was dazed on her bed.
When she went to the imperial palace, the memory of Lucifella suddenly came to her mind, along with her feelings.
She was saddened by the Count. If the Count had stayed with her, Estelle would never have walked toward the Imperial lounge.Then she met the crown prince, which was the worst experience Estelle had ever experienced.
Somehow I felt a strong sense of rejection. It was annoying because she kept reminding herself of things that were not her own memories and emotions.
My memories and feelings are my own, but why does someone else’s memory invade it at will.
The discomfort made Lucifella unable to fall asleep even with her eyes half closed on the bed.
But the next morning dawned, and when the count kissed her on the forehead, she had to wake in awe.
It must have been a friendly morning greeting from the father and daughter, but it was still awkward to receive a kiss from a strange man, so she had goosebumps. But strangely, it wasn’t a bad feeling.
“Did you sleep well?”
“When did you come back?”
“I came in a little late. I’m sorry to let you go first.”
“It’s all right.”
Then the maid brought a wet towel. The count took it and wiped her face himself.
Well, I can do this.
But the Count seemed to want to do it for her, so she left herself in his hands.
The Count’s touch was very soft. Lucifella couldn’t believe the Count had left her among the people yesterday.
“Seeing this, I think you’re still a child.”
“You’ve become an adult before I know it. You’re gradually becoming more like Luana.”
Who’s Luana? The word “mother” came to mind when Lucifella repeated the name to herself.
She also remembered something she didn’t know as Estelle. Feeling sick, Lucifella tried to turn to the Count as if nothing had happened.
The bitter feeling on the Count’s face baffled Lucifella inwardly. The feeling that parents felt when they saw their adult children was something that Estelle could not understand at all.
The family I saw up close wasn’t like Khalid family.
The family was so weird. Looking at the face of the Count, I wondered if the Gabrin family and herself were strange or if the Count was unusual.
“I heard that Duke Heint escorted you yesterday. Looks like Duke Heint is doing a good job. I was worried, but I’m so glad.”
Lucifella smiled at the Count’s words. If she tells the Count that she’ll have a divorce as soon as she gets married, he’ll fall down holding his neck.
No, it’s even more if there’s no Lucifella and there’s a strange Ersha knight in it.
The towel that was wiping her face disappeared and Lucifella and the Count smiled face to face. Strangely, that smile spread warmth in her heart.
“Let’s be together all day today. Do you want to go shopping that you like?”
Lucifella shook his head. She was really in bad shape, so she thought she should take a break. Still, the Count’s suggestion pleased her. He must have noticed that she was frustrated while learning etiquette classes.
“Father needs to rest too.”
At that, the Count opened his eyes wide and then smiled.
“You’ve really grown up. All grown up.”
The Count stroked her hair. It was when the two of us had a small breakfast and were drinking tea.
The maid brought the letter to Lucifella and handed it over. Lucifella was appalled to learn that it was from the Imperial Family.
―Unfortunately, I couldn’t say a word last night.
I have many questions about young lady.
I’d like to see young lady at noon today without anyone interrupting.
Maybe it’s because of what she did to the crown prince? I thought he wouldn’t say anything out of shame, but did he tell his father? He was more pathetic than I thought.
Lucifella’s fingertips trembled a little with embarrassment. The Count also looked worried when he saw the letter.
“His Majesty was looking for you, and I didn’t expect him to invite you like this.”
“He’s looking me?”
The Count nodded when she asked.
“Did he get angry?”
“No, I don’t think so, but….”
You really don’t know anything? Or was he hiding his feelings from her? It was true that this invitation felt vague because the Emperor’s intentions were unknown.
Lucifella frowned at the letter that has the Imperial seal.
The seal of Jansgar, which was originally one star, became two stars.
Pentagram and heksagram.
The fact that the single symbol that symbolized each country was combined into two meant that Ersha, Ha-Zohar, pentagram as a symbol of the country, came into the hands of Jansgar.
She squeezed the letter unconsciously.
Lucifella suddenly entered the palace alone because of the word “without anyone’s interference.”
The Count said he would follow her, but she refused, thinking that the Emperor would have a good reason to see her alone.
Lucifella thought she would never come to the palace again. But life is unknown.
Following the attendant, she encountered knights patrolling the imperial palace. It was like her occupational illness to look at the palace’s security.
The men were all in purple uniforms. At that time, Duke Heint’s uniform was clearly black during the serial murder case.
So are those people in purple in different ranks? Maybe the knights are different?
“What’s the matter, young lady?”
At the attendant’s words, Lucifella realized that she was dazed in thought and shook her head.
Ersha’s knights had the same uniform color for all knights. They just distinguished each other by the color of the epaulets and cloaks.
Then she made eye contact with knights in purple uniforms. As Lucifella greeted her as a courtesy, they passed her blushing and coughing.
Walking down the corridor leading to the audience room, Lucifella checked what she was going to say.
No, I don’t know, no way, me? How could you do such a bad thing!
I don’t know if it’s Estelle, but if Lucifella trembles like that with teary-eyed, the Emperor will believe it. You’ll believe it.
Is it better to be honest? I don’t know the Emperor’s personality properly, so I don’t know how to respond. At this time, what can I do other than close my mouth?
After so much thought, she reached the end of the hallway and saw a gorgeous door. It was the door to the audience room.
The star embossed on the dark brown door and the gold-coated door showed at a glance the dignity of the Jansgar Empire’s imperial family. She swallowed her saliva.
The door opened, and Lucifella stepped slowly on the velvet carpet, paying attention to her steps.
Then I paused for a moment, because the pentagram, Ha-Zohar, the symbol of Ersha, and the hexagram, Ha-Bahir, the symbol of Yansgar, were located above it.
She carefully avoided Ersha’s star without stepping on it. It was hard to see that she had changed her direction by covering her skirt.
Because she did not raise her eyes, only the stairs on the platform came into Lucifella’s sight. Five steps up, the Emperor’s feet were seen along with his legs.
Although Lucifella came right before him, the Emperor did not say anything. After waiting for a moment for him to speak, Lucifella finally grabbed the hem of her skirt and greeted him politely in the manner Lady’s greeting.
“Long live Your Majesty, The Sun of Jansgar. I’ve come here see you, Your Majesty.”
The greeting that I thought would never come out came out smoothly.
“Raise your head.”
She raised her head and looked at the Emperor. To describe the Emperor sitting on the throne in one word, he was a strong old man.
His gray hair was full, but the eyes had a formidable presence. Indeed, he looked like a king who fought a conquest war since he was 20 years old.
He had a completely different physique from the last king of Ersha, his face with unknown emotions and his sense of intimidation.
“How old was you when I first meet you?”
“I was twelve, Your Majesty.”
Unknowingly, an answer came out smoothly. Or whatever. You can just say you didn’t remember. Even the Emperor would not be free enough to remember the age of a young girl.
“Yeah, it was.”
Then Lucifella realized that the reason she gave the right answer was because this body remembered it. Lucifella’s memory still lingered.
“I still remember you were looking at me while hiding behind Count Aydin. But now you’re looking straight at me like this. Are you no longer afraid of me, young lady?”
What do you mean you’re not afraid of me now? It was a vague question that didn’t mean anything. Are you going to look back on my affairs with the crown prince?
She could not understand the Emperor’s intentions. He is a formidable man. After Lucifella rolled her head, she secretly took a deep breath and said.
“Your Majesty, do you want me to fear you, Your Majesty?”
The Emperor’s face hardened at those words.
“I asked a question. It’s your turn to answer.”
You meant you wouldn’t allow puns. For a moment, the calm atmosphere was strained by tension. Cold sweat ran down her back under the Emperor’s pressure.