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After ‘Spring Spirit’s Day,’ the first spring festival, the biggest event of the first half of the year, was held in the imperial palace. It was the hunting tournament.
Nobles with knights gathered from all over the country for this hunting festival.
As the title suggested, the hunting grounds in the forest outside the capital were vast, and the detached palace attached to it was white and beautiful.
Sharp golden spiers stood around the palace, and the surroundings gave off a sweet smell of spring flowers in full bloom, between which newly awakened butterflies flew.
“To think that I have the opportunity to go to the imperial palace in my lifetime… … . I can’t believe it. I’m sure the lady will be the prettiest in the palace.”
“You say all sorts of things. Besides, this is just a separate annex palace.”
Elisha’s maid, Sophie, couldn’t hide her excitement the whole time. Today was the first day of the hunt, and it was the most important event. Elisha was in the middle of getting ready in the room assigned to the couple before the hunting festival.
“Are you done?”
Sophie finished her final brushstrokes. She stepped aside in front of the mirror. Elisha slowly rose from her chair.
“Madam, you have become so beautiful. Of course, you were beautiful from the beginning, but these days… … .”
Touching her face, Elisha was unfamiliar with her reflection in the mirror. However, her appearance in a matching black dress with Lucerne’s outfit looked stunning on her.
She knew it was normal for a hostess to match her dress colors to her Order’s. When Carola also participated in such events, she used to wear red, the color of the Duke’s Knights.
So she was wearing a black dress, the Black Lions’ symbolic color. It was a design that matched Lucerne’s jacket.
“Now, all you have to do is wear jewelry. There are so many new jewels, I thought for a long time about what to wear for today’s event!”
Sophie carefully took out a necklace and put it on her. The necklace she chose with great care was made with dozens of diamonds woven together and designed to sparkle like a star even in broad daylight.
It matched Elisha’s dress, which was decorated with silver and silver powder from her chest to the top of her head. Finally, Elisha donned her silver fox fur cloak.
As she walked out, she met Ian and Nora standing there in full uniforms. They gaped at Elisha in amazement. She was strikingly more alluring and dazzling than usual.
“Are the new clothes odd?”
Nora then had a determined look on her face. Elisha tilted her head. Ian exclaimed with a cry,
“You look so beautiful today!”
“Thank you, Ian,”
Elisha calmly replied. Nora, on the other hand, had a gloomy expression. Elisha couldn’t understand why.
“Did Nora want to wear a dress too?”
“No, I… … . As expected, I lack affability.”
This time, Nora faltered trying to say affectionately that she was ‘excellently pretty’ and that ‘the dress suits you’ and failed today as well. She had even practiced.
However, Elisha, who had no way of knowing what she was thinking, tilted her head.
“Are you done?”
Then Lucerne walked in. He was on his way back with an audience with the emperor first.
Lucerne escorted her. His eyes licked Elisha.
“It’s a shame to let go.”
“No— be careful of people. If someone flirts or touches you, tell me right away.”
“You treat me like a child.”
“It would be nice if you were easy to handle like a child.”
“… … Lucerne.”
While exchanging useless words, Elisha and Lucerne arrived at the hunting grounds. At the entrance, there was a banquet.
People laughed and chatted, but it became quiet when they saw Lucerne and Elisha as if they hadn’t been noisy just moments ago.
Elisha felt the sticky eyes sticking to her. If the girl in her previous life had stepped out among people like this, people would have thought she was a clown to be ridiculed. Before, it was a daily routine to be kicked randomly. But… … . Not anymore.
‘Becoming this person’s wife was more amazing than I thought.’
When she seemed nervous, Lucerne squeezed her hand.
“We will meet the emperor first.”
She nodded at his whisper. And she realized that Lucerne had yet to introduce her to the emperor, so everyone was unable to approach him. It seemed like everyone wanted to talk to Lucerne.
“I greet His Majesty the Emperor. I greet Her Majesty the Empress. My name is Elisha de Lor.”
She greeted them politely according to the court etiquette she had learned.
The emperor was appropriately dressed in hunting attire. He was a man who gave off a warlike feeling, somewhat similar to Lucerne. The empress looked benevolent but strong.
‘These people are the ones who selected Lucerne and made him the High General,’
Elisha thought. She couldn’t help but be a little nervous.
“Congratulations on your marriage. It’s a very joyous occasion,”
said the emperor softly.
“The High General is the pride of our empire. He is like family to us, so let’s meet often,”
the empress also added. They were kind to Elisha as they regarded Lucerne as their own.
‘… … I’m surprised I thought you’d hate me because you wanted to welcome Lucerne as a son-in-law.’
Maybe the acting was outstanding because they were members of the royal family, but the hospitality seemed genuine. Elisha responded politely,
“It would be my honor.”
“Come closer. Is this your first time hunting?”
The emperor was surprisingly friendly.
“It was brilliant to have Rosaria become the Great Pope. You are the one who recommended Rosaria to Lucerne.”
As she got closer, the emperor whispered softly. Elisha was terrified.
‘The Emperor… … is different.’
He couldn’t help but think so. The emperor wished to weaken the power of the Cartier family. This is because the Cartier family exercised control over the imperial palace established on massive loans.
That’s why they are satisfied with Lucerne’s move this time. Although Rosaria was close to Lucerne, she was not in the hands of the Cartier family.
“First, I will explain the hunting rules. Oh, right. Did you know that Lucerne is a master of hunting?”
After that, the emperor calmly spoke about this and that.
“First of all, the points are scored based on the prey, and each knight competes for points. And in the innermost part, there is an area where the demons are released, but they are blocked by an iron cage. Most of the knights there can’t even approach it.”
“Your Majesty is an expert in hunting, so you always have a complicated scoring system. Isn’t hunting just about twisting the neck of the prey and piling up the corpses?”
“Yes, Colonel. Are you saying something stupid? I have to raise my spirits in a great way today. yes?”
“well. Didn’t I win the championship last year too? I’m trying to do it in moderation this year.”
The emperor acted generously, but Lucerne showed a sullen expression. However, Elisha realized that he was relatively open to the emperor.
Even at that moment, she felt people’s eyes on her. People were watching them with terrifyingly envious glares—stares of envy and awe.
Elisha had a strange feeling that she was from another world. In fact, even though she knew that the position she was standing in was an illusion.
“So, what does Lady Elisha think of hunting?”
the emperor asked.
“It is an important event. Even those who do not have the opportunity to participate in wars usually recall the feeling of being in the real battlefield while hunting. Even if the general looks like this, he prepared for this event for a long time. He will bring you good game.”
Elisha didn’t like hunting. But she knew why nobles hunted, so she just answered politely.
“Look at the general’s expression. He’s already not interested anymore?”
“If so, the general goes to war more often than other knights, so he must be giving the other knights a chance to show their loyalty to His Majesty,”
Elisha answered without trembling. The emperor was satisfied with her attitude.
“Your way of speaking and your attitude are very nice. Ilione talks a lot about Lady Elisha. You two are good friends, right?”
The empress also praised her clever answer.
Just in time, Ilione approached.
Elisha curtsied. She, too gently bent her knees.
“Why do people talk about appearance so much! Everyone is making a fuss over how pretty you are. Careful. The general will be jealous,”
Ilione said with a mischievous smile. Elisha pretended not to hear her; she was teasing and asked her about her hunt. Ilione was excited and answered.
It was comforting when Illione naturally took her, and the two moved to comfortable seats.