53 – Engagement Celebration Trip
For some reason, the murmurs sounded more cheerful today, and Elaine, who had been sleeping in a triumphant pose, woke up.
Even though her eyes were still closed, she felt so happy that a smile naturally formed on her face.
She slowly sat up and rubbed her sleepy eyes.
As she habitually fixed her slightly messy hair and looked around with curious eyes, the bright sunlight poured in through the spacious windows.
This was the Huang Palace where Eos was.
She greeted the morning here once again.
Although it had only been about a month since she arrived, it felt like a warm hometown.
“Because Eos is here.”
Thinking it was probably the reason, Elaine got out of bed and stretched.
As she rang the bell placed on the bedside table, a maid immediately came in.
“Did you call, Your Highness?”
Elaine’s personal maid.
As always, her face was filled with a desperate expression, as if she had no choice but to smile in order to survive.
“I want to take a bath….”
“I-I will prepare warm water for you right away!”
The Crown Prince’s mother.
Even though she wasn’t even married yet, the people in the Crown Prince’s palace behaved several times more arrogantly than the servants of the marquis.
The sight of them almost always bowing their heads and sweating profusely, seemed somehow frightened.
“Maybe it’s because they were personally chosen by the Crown Prince….”
In fact, until yesterday, Elaine had been feeling very uneasy.
Since the engagement ceremony, the Crown Prince had always been outside except for breakfast together in the morning.
And yet, he had prevented her from leaving the palace.
Every time she tried to go for a walk because she was so bored, Glenitino and Astia would block her, so she ended up just walking by the pond in front of the Crown Prince’s palace.
That’s what she had been thinking since the third day.
If that’s the case, why did they get engaged in the first place, and why did they bring her to the palace in the first place?
She had heard that the Emperor even suggested that they share the same room, and she felt a little disappointed when she heard that Eos had vehemently refused.
That’s why she had said she would go to the marquis’s house.
It was a kind of protest.
“If they’re just going to leave me lonely and bored like this, I won’t just sit still!”
But that was…
It was no different from a looming threat when a small and harmless creature found itself in a predicament.
Of course, even to himself, it didn’t seem like it had been much of a stimulus for Eos.
The moment was still vivid in his mind.
Even though he had said he would go home in an assertive manner, it seemed as if he had eagerly told him to go as if he had been waiting.
“Could it be that you dislike me?”
His attitude was so indifferent that it made him think such extreme thoughts.
His bright smile was infuriating.
If he hadn’t been handsome, he might have impulsively grabbed his head and squeezed it with all his might, even using his divine power.
In fact, a few days ago, he had been so frustrated that he had asked while eating, “Is it because the Empress and the Crown Prince might be targeting you?”
Eos had simply replied that it was nothing special.
It wasn’t a very convincing explanation, to be honest.
Living like a bird trapped in a cage was something he couldn’t bear any longer due to the frustration.
But when he actually went to the Viscount’s residence, it was just as stifling there.
Every time he tried to go outside, Bart Viscount would assign a tremendous number of guards, almost a hundred, and in the end, he could only go about three steps in front of the mansion.
Being continuously trapped in the Viscount’s residence, Eos’ face started to come to mind incessantly.
Somehow, the feeling of resentment and disappointment, no matter how much he denied it, was undoubtedly longing.
But in a lover’s relationship, there was always an invisible balance of power.
It was undoubtedly because of that order that it was difficult to easily say “I love you” even when you loved someone.
The reason she made up her mind not to go back was because if she went back as-is, not only would she be exposing her deeper feelings, but she would also continue to live as a captive bird, obeying his every command. It was a decision she hesitated to make, but after endlessly wandering through the garden with such concerns, Elaine finally made up her mind. When she left the palace, she had said she would only stay one night and then return. But if possible, she would delay her return and not go back until Eos came to find her first. It was at that moment that Aquila appeared.
– Elaine! I guess Eos missed you a lot. Look, his ship is up there. Let’s go back now!
In that instant, Elaine tasted a short but intense sense of victory. To openly declare defeat like this. As expected, Eos liked her more than she liked him. She couldn’t hold back her longing for him and even brought the magic towerju ship. There was no need to say more. So in the end, she bid farewell to her parents and returned to the palace, pretending to have lost. How happy she was to see Eos on the ship. Even though only one day had passed, it felt like ten years had gone by. It seemed as if his handsome face was radiating light.
Elaine held out her hand as if the ground was rising.
Dozens of bright clusters of light sprouted like water droplets, forming a beautiful sphere in the air.
If she had this, she might have been the strongest on the continent.
Of course, she had no inclination towards destructive acts like killing people, but when it came to protecting herself, she didn’t even need the help of others.
That’s why Eos and her father’s overprotectiveness didn’t sit well with her.
But no matter how she felt, she couldn’t reveal that she was the Saint.
Eos had clearly warned her.
That once her identity as the Saint was revealed, countless troublesome and dangerous things would happen.
As she lightly clenched her fist, the sphere of light shattered into pieces and transformed into a whirlwind of light, swiftly swirling around her and seeping into her body.
Still, she felt a little relieved that she could confide in Lergio, the court astrologer.
He had come to see her the day after the engagement ceremony, once again kneeling down and speaking to her politely as if he were a servant, saying that he wanted to meet the Saint.
At first, she was a little surprised.
But Elaine soon heard about Lergio’s abilities and could understand his submissive attitude.
There was one awkward point, though.
The fact that the Holy Prince and the Holy Princess Mother, who were both saints, kept asking her to reveal her true identity and lead the fallen Goddess Worship back onto the right path.
Of course, Elaine couldn’t offer any special help, as she had heard that Eos had already refused several times.
‘What does Aurora want?’
There must have been a reason why she had been given such immense power.
Then, her eyes fell upon the pile of letters on the desk.
They were invitations that had been steadily arriving since the engagement ceremony.
Tea parties, balls, various social gatherings—they kept coming, but there wasn’t a single one that interested her.
Eos had warned her not to go unless absolutely necessary, but even on her own accord, gatherings of noble ladies and courtiers were incredibly cumbersome.
Ah, I don’t know what would happen if I entertained such thoughts, but the manners of the nobility were truly awkward.
To have to send a refusal letter for each and every invitation. And in one’s own handwriting!
Yet, it seemed as if they were deliberately trying to torment her, as no matter how many times she declined, the letters kept pouring in, leaving her with a slightly unpleasant feeling.
Every day, she spent hours writing reply letters, and it was by no means an easy task.
Somehow, it seemed that a different approach was needed.
This morning, with the intention of discussing this matter with Eos, Elaine immersed herself in the hot water brought by the maid.
After finishing the meal.
Elaine, who carefully took a sip of the hot tea, opened her mouth.
“No matter how many times I refuse, they keep sending them, and it’s so difficult to write replies.”
On the table were piles of various invitations.
And there was a slightly sulky tone.
Somehow, the distance felt closer, and the self-assured gaze, as if I was being treated like a defeated soldier surrendering at the end, even made me feel that way.
…What did I do wrong?
From Noble mtl dot com
One thing was certain.
Ever since I realized the Empress’s plan to kidnap Elaine and took her away, the atmosphere had been like this.
“Eos, I can’t write any more replies.”
In the current moment, where she even called out my name, I could feel a fisherman’s confident demeanor, proudly looking at the fish he had caught.
“What should I do?”
In the burdened gaze of her eyes, I couldn’t find the words to say, so I had no choice but to open each invitation one by one.
And as I read through them, I felt a considerable discomfort.
Though they were well-packaged with noble words, the hidden meaning behind the countless convoluted sentences was one and only.
They wanted us to come and be their amusement, no matter what.
I started gathering the invitations filled with nonsense.
I was determined to trample on them one by one later on.
Out of the dozens of letters, there was only one without ill intent.
It was a letter from the Countess of Eisen, located in the northeastern part of the Mersen Empire.
From the beginning of the letter.
It expressed gratitude to Empress Wieblia for the favor she had received.
And it sincerely wished for the Crown Prince and Empress to live happily ever after, written in eloquent sentences and beautiful handwriting.
And at the end of the letter.
If time permits, it politely stated that they hoped the Empress would visit Eisen’s summer festival, held once a year, to fully enjoy the breathtaking beauty created by the Devil’s Mountain Range.
I had heard of Eisen before.
A barren territory located at the foot of the rugged mountain range known as the Devil’s Mountain.
Though it was vast.
The entire territory was mountainous, with very little arable land.
As a result, most of the food had to be obtained from neighboring territories or through support from the royal court.
If it hadn’t been a strategic focal point, even that would have been difficult, as it was obvious.
Due to the proximity of the Labyrinth not far away, demons would invade at the slightest opportunity, and to the east, there was the Perem Kingdom, which was eagerly plotting an invasion.
And according to the memory that came to mind belatedly.
On the day the festival began, Baekjang-ryeong was destined to turn into a ruin of death.
Because one Lich who proclaimed himself the Immortal King would come out of the Labyrinth, leading an undead army, and raze the territory to the ground.
Considering the other circumstances, this year was undoubtedly the year.
“How about going on a trip here to commemorate our engagement?”
“Where is that?”
Elaine, who was sitting next to me, suddenly leaned over and snatched the letter from my hand.
I was about to explain to her when it happened.
“Your Highness! His Majesty has sent someone.”
Grentino’s voice came urgently from outside the door.
It seemed that something had happened.