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“… … Is this an event for women only?”
“Of course. I’m still an unmarried princess. Do you think men can even come near my room?”
Illione shrugged. Lucerne winked at Illione and pulled her aside. He whispered a few words and seemed to give his permission reluctantly.
“Can I really go?”
Lucerne seemed reticent, and Elisha naturally noticed.
“… … .”
“I’ll pick you up, so don’t go past midnight.”
“Don’t get into trouble. You have the talent of creating a crisis if I just blink.”
“… … it’s not to that extent.”
Elisha blushed. He often treated her as a child to a ridiculous degree.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lady Elisha.”
When Elisha and Illione entered the salon, the women stood up in unison and greeted her and the princess.
“The flour refinery you received as a gift today was wonderful.”
“The High General seems to be a good husband. I envy you!”
There were many poor rumors about Elisha. She seduced and tricked a man into her bed and into getting married to her. She was a contract wife who traded her title and status with an illegitimate son—etc, etc. It was the majority of the gossip about her.
However, even Elisha’s unclear status and dire reputation were bound to be shielded when her powerful husband was present. Lucerne proudly offered his game to her to raise her honor and stature.
Additionally, due to the eccentric whims of Gaju today, she even seemed to be a power to be reckoned with in her own right. Thus, the noblewomen in attendance of tonight’s congregation treated Elisha with great care.
“Elisha, there is still time until midnight. Would you like to have a drink with me?”
After the brief get-together culminated, Illione grabbed her. She had no reason to refuse.
“Yes, I’d like that, Princess.”
Illione’s maids served wine, sweet desserts, and freshly baked meat pies.
As her drinking deepened, Elisha confided to Illione that she had seen Jewel and Yepnen during the day.
‘There are certain kinds of things that shouldn’t be kept secret.’
Even though he asked her to keep it a secret that he was being bullied, no upstanding adult would truly stay silent. Additionally, the intensity of Jewel’s bullying was alarming and unusual. Illione probably knew it to some extent. Elisha expected as much, and she was right.
“Damn it, Jewel. Him again?”
Illione exploded with outrage.
“That stupid bastard—I’ll kill you someday!”
Illione emptied her wine in one gulp. She looked more like a brave soldier rather than the country’s princess.
“Thank you so much for telling me, Elisha. That bastard is insane. I heard that the previous emperor was a really nice person, so how did such rubbish come out?”
“Isn’t Prince Jewel the first son of His Majesty the previous emperor?”
Illione retorted with a fatigued face. Elisha became privy to the detailed circumstances of the imperial family. The previous emperor died young and handed the throne to his dearest younger brother. That younger brother became the current emperor and Illione’s father, Murtra.
“The former emperor always looked after my father and took better care of him than his biological parents. The comradery between the two of them was extraordinary. The former emperor was of a sickly disposition who knew well he wouldn’t live long… … .”
There was a significant age difference between Murtra and the former sovereign. Additionally, at the time, the former emperor married an empress with a considerable age gap. And Jewel was the bereaved son of the former emperor. So when the previous ruler died, he left only one word for the current monarch:
‘Please take good care of my only child, Jewel.’
Unfortunately, the young Empress also died while giving birth to Jewel. Jewel, two years younger than Illione, was naturally adopted by the current emperor.
“That madman thinks that if Yepnen hadn’t been born, he’d have been appointed crown prince right away! That’s why he harasses Yepnen at every chance.”
The imperial couple raised Jewel like their own son, but unfortunately, Jewel’s nature was spoiled. Besides, he would become more violent and cruel in the future.
‘Because Jacob and his wife clung to Jewel.’