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Chapter 63 - . Shh
“How can you be so lovely!”
“You don’t even need to have eyes. It’s perfect, Your Majesty.”
When Lalima and Xavier complimented me, I felt embarra.s.sed for nothing. I rubbed my cheek and looked at myself in the mirror. It was the first time I was invited to a tea party, so I had to pay attention to my clothes. So, of course, I thought that I would wear clothes that weren’t as flashy as the Foundation Banquet’s or the Birthday Banquet, but I was wrong.
‘Don’t I look too childish?’
It was the most frilled and flashy thing I had ever worn in front of people.
I fiddled with the hems awkwardly.
“This is…to babyish.”
“Your Majesty is a baby.”
“That’s true, but.”
For some reason, it was strange that Lalima and Xavier shared the same opinion. I was worried that I would be looked down on wearing clothes with ribbons and frills like this, but that didn’t seem to be the case.
‘Well, it’s okay, right? That’s not the goal after all.’
When I went out, Gustav, who had a broad smile, greeted me. I found out later that a portion of the auction proceeds would be donated and the rest would fill the national treasury.
He stayed up for nights recently, voicing that the budget was insufficient due to a lot of national projects, and it seemed that the solution was the auction of my cherished items. It was all Gustav’s scheme. Gustav smiled brightly and spoke,
“Have a good time and be careful, Your Majesty.”
“Gustav, I hate you.”
After pouting, I pa.s.sed by a shocked Gustav. Of course, I knew that it was for the sake of the Empire, but in the end, it was only Daddy’s pocket money that was obtained.
‘If it had been discussed in advance, I would have banned Daddy from the beginning and stole from the other n.o.bles.’
Such a waste!
When I went outside the palace, Aiden was waiting for me. And for some reason, Oscar was also there. Oscar looked at Aiden with dissatisfaction, but Aiden didn’t seemed to care. The atmosphere wasn’t serious, however.
Just what was this situation?
As soon as Oscar’s face, which was obviously cold, turned to me, a bright smile on his face formed. It was a dramatic change in his expression.
“Are you two fwighting…?”
Oscar smiled slightly, stroking my hair carefully as not to mess it up. His friendly behavior was the same as the usual Oscar.
‘Oscar’s kind after all.’
I smiled and rested my cheek against Oscar’s hand. Oscar spoke to me in a worried tone,
“Mabel. Are you really okay? If I don’t go with you…”
“Ith okay. Aiden will be with me. Lissandro’s also going.”
“Ung. I’ll be back. I’ll say hi to Enrique too.”
Leaving Oscar, who seemed rather weak, I got onto the carriage with Aiden. It seemed that he really wanted to see Enrique.
‘I’ll have to release the boy ban quickly.’
Meanwhile, the carriage left the Imperial Palace and ran along the highway. I opened the window slightly and watched the scenery pa.s.sing by quickly.
Looking out the window, I could see Lisandro wearing light armor following us on a horse. He looked like a real knight after a long time, so I was surprised. It was said that all the personnel of the 1st Knight corps were put next to me for my schedule today. They were escorting me to and from the Javier’s mansion.
‘You never know, it’s better to be safe.’
I still remember the incident when Duke Javier secretly attacked me from behind very clearly. As long as I walked to the enemy with my own feet, it was good to have a sure way of protecting myself. The carriage soon arrived in front of the Javier’s mansion in the capital.
“Your Majesty, we’ve reached the destination.”
I took a small breath as I hard Lisandro’s voice from outside. And looking at Aiden, I smiled softly.
“Should we begin our robbing?”
As I opened the carriage door, Lisandro opened his arms as if he were waiting.
“Your Majesty, please hug me!”
“I don’t want to…”
“But isn’t it difficult to get off a carriage this high yourself?”
Sadly, he was correct. As I was contemplating whether I should be hugged by Lissandro, Aiden got off first and brought me down to the ground easily.
Lissandro grit his teeth in fury, but Aiden didn’t mind and looked back at me.
“Let’s go, Your Majesty.”
Hehehe. The thought of finally shooting Lissandro made me laugh involuntarily.
I glanced around and saw Lissandro stumbling behind me. My visit, which brought all the First Knight Corps, was splendid. It didn’t pale even in front of the gates of the Javier family mansion, which boasted great magnificence.
“I greet the n.o.ble sun of the Empire, Her Majesty the Emperor.”
The guard in front of the gate hurriedly bowed his head. The other rushed in quickly. Before long, a white-haired old man, who appeared to be a butler, greeted me.
“I greet Her Majesty the Emperor. My name is Rodeli, the Javier family’s butler. Could you please allow me to guide you to the tea party?”
According to the law, the butler asked for permission politely to walk ahead of me. I followed the butler into the mansion. The rest of the knights waited outside the mansion, so it was only Lissandro and Aiden who went in with me.
Looking around, the sculptures that adorned the garden were more splendid than the ones in the Imperial Palace.
‘Wow. Didn’t the Duke buy those all from crimes and tax evasion?’
For the past three years, I had been running a guild and conducting a sabotage operation to receive information related to Duke Javier, but there were still many irregularities that hadn’t been discovered. I felt sick in the stomach. The fact that there was no conclusive evidence on Duke Javier. As I walked around the splendid garden, Lissandro lowered his body.
“Your Majesty, are you okay?”
“You don’t like flowers.”
“Me? Flowers? I like flowers.”
What nonsense are you spitting all of a sudden?
“T-That can’t be…”
I left the Lissandro, who was shocked for some reason, and followed the butler. As we went deep into the garden that was like works of art, the pinnacle of splendor, a cutely decorated outdoor party hall was revealed.
At my appearance, the eyes of the young girls who were talking turned to me all at once.
Surprised, the young girls greeted me by holding onto the hems of their skirts.
“W-We greet her Majesty the Emperor!”
The nervous children were very cute. I smiled happily and nodded my head.
“Raise your heads.”
The young girls straightened their backs. Among them were faces I knew from the Foundation day. I was happy, but it didn’t seemed like the kids were. Everyone covered their faces and hesitated to speak.
‘Is it, bullying…?’
When the loneliness suddenly struck me, a familiar figure appeared among the girls. It was Emily Javier, the organizer of this tea party.
“I greet Her Majesty the Emperor. I was looking forward to your partic.i.p.ation, but I didn’t know you would really accept my invitation. It’s an honor for my family.”
“Thank you for inviting me, Emily.”
Emily looked really happy that I came. And today as well, I was shocked that Emily was Duke Javier’s daughter.
“After receiving the reply that You Majesty was coming, I worked hard to decorate.”
“It’s very pretty.”
Several tables were placed under trees with cute decorations. And on top of that, there were cute and delicious looking bite-sized finger foods.
“Now that Her Majesty has arrived, the tea party must begin in earnest!”
Emily was very excited and guided me to the top seat. I sat down and realized something was missing.
“Emily. Is Enrique not coming?”
“Ah, Brother couldn’t attend because he has training. He said he would come when he’s done, should I call him?”
“No, it’s okay. He should be training.”
It was a pity that I couldn’t meet Enrique, but it didn’t really matter as we exchanged letters anyway. And sooner or later, I would tell Daddy to lift the ban, so when that time comes, we would be able to see each other often.
The tea party started with lovely smiles on the cute girls. The children drank tea with bright faces and chatted. I was only asked formal questions, but still, being with young children seemed to rejuvenate me and it was fun in its own way.
‘Ah, young energy.’
It was when I was looking at them with excitement as if I was a parent who came to a Kindergarten.
“How is the tea party?” Emily spoke to me.
“It’s fun. Everyone is bright…”
I was actually envious of the girls. All the children of aristocracy would have grown up rich and happy.
“Is that so?”
As I nodded, I met eyes with Aiden, who was watching me with Lissandro from a distance. It was time to carry out the purpose of coming here now. I picked up the cold teacup and spilled the tea water on my hand. Emily was startled and covered her mouth with both hands.
“Y-Your Majesty! Are you okay?”
“Ung. It’s cold, so it’s okay.”
“That’s a relief.”
“About that, can I wash my hands?”
At my question, Emily stood up as if it were natural.
“Of course. I will guide you.”
“No. I’ll go with my escorts. Just tell me where it is.”
I was worried about what would happen if Emily followed me, but fortunately, that didn’t happen. I took Lissandro and Aiden and headed to where Emily pointed out. The escape was successful.
‘The next step is to defeat Lissandro.’
Looking up at Lisandro, he smiled and tilted his head.
I followed Lissandro and smiled back.
‘Lissandro is dumb, so it’ll be easy to deceive him.’
Not knowing I was looking down on him, Lissandro smiled.
I took off the ring from my finger and put it in my pocket out of Lissandro’s eyes and shouted loudly.
“Wat do I do!”
Lissandro’s and Aiden’s eyes turned to me.
“The ring is gone!”
“Ung. Lalima told me not to lose it…”
Sob sob. As I cried, Lissandro waved his hands in the air and began to panic.
“D-don’t cry. I’ll find it-.”
“But…I don’t know where it is…”
“No. I can find it! Wait a minute, I’ll find it soon!”
Lissandro beat his chest and ranted. I sighed sadly and nodded.
“Okay. Find my ring please.”
“Then, shall we go back the way we came?”
Out of the blue, we scouted Javier’s mansion, looking for a ring that didn’t exist. Aiden and I, who knew the truth, pretended to be looking for it, and only Lissandro searched diligently.
‘My conscience hurts a little.’
But in order to find out Duke Javier’s weakness, it was an inevitable sacrifice. As I was rummaging through the bush next to Lissandro, I got up with a grunt.
“Lissandro. I’m going to look over thewe.”
“I will go with-.”
As Lissandro tried to stand up with me, I hurriedly signaled to Aiden. Aiden, who recognized my sign, intervened between Lissandro and me.
“Sir Donovan. There’s something s.h.i.+ning over there.”
Lissandro was blinded by Aiden’s false report and rushed to it.
“Aiden, watch Lissandro from here.”
“You can’t go alone-.”
“It’s okay. If there’s any danger, it’ll be Duke Javier’s responsibility, so he can’t be reckless.”
I hurriedly ran in the opposite direction, taking advantage of losing Lissandro’s watch. There were b.u.t.terflies and bees in the garden, but I couldn’t communicate with the insects.
‘Let’s find a stable.’
If it’s horses, they could tell me this and that.
I had to guess where the stables might be from my memory of the Imperial Palace’s structure.
Have I been running for about ten minutes?
“Hek, I found it…!”
I found the stable miraculously. After making sure there was no one around, I entered the stable sneakily. There were more than ten horses.
[Neiiigh, who are you?]
One horse spoke to me.
“I’m Mabel. I have something to ask you.”
[What is it?]
“Your owner is Duke Javier, right?”
[Neigh, that’s right.]
“Has Duke Javier been looking for something recently?”
Instead of answering, the horse neighed and stood still. It meant that it wasn’t going to answer.
“Does he go to the mines often…?”
This time, it turned away from me. It was the first time animals acted so uncooperatively, so I was a bit fl.u.s.tered. At that moment, as I looked around, sweating, a box of sugar cubes caught my eye. The moment I picked up the box-.
All eyes were on me.
‘This is it.’
I chuckled and shook the box.
[I’ll tell you first!]
It was only natural that all sorts of reports poured in immediately after that.
I didn’t find any definitive weakness as the horses weren’t always with him, but I did find one useful piece of information.
‘He did buy the mine for those stones.’
Duke Javier’s purpose was to find a stone resembling the relic found by the moles. I walked out of the stable. The horses had no more information to gain from. It was when I took a step outside the stable.
I felt someone’s presence. It was right in front of the stables. Judging from the voice, it was a middle-aged man. I hurriedly went inside and hid myself.
‘Is the destination the stables?’
Unfortunately, the destination was the stable.
I was thinking about excuses to make if I got caught. That’s when someone grabbed my hand. I screamed in surprise.
I met golden eyes.