Ch. 143 Don’t Forget (2)
The lady standing by Marissa looked at Elena wondrously.
“The wedding dress was the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever seen.”
“Ah! My husband had diamonds embroidered on the wedding dress.”
Elena intentionally boasted the value of the dress to the other women, even though it was her nature to be reserved. The noblewoman who had asked the question widened her eyes.
“D-diamonds? So it was all real jewels?”
“Yes, it was.”
“Oh my goodness!”
Marisa, who was listening from the side, looked at Elena with envious eyes.
“You must truly have the love of the Crown Prince. I had heard rumors that he requested to his father that no bridal dowry be required.”
Elena could feel their eyes on her at the mention of that rumor, and she tentatively nodded.
“Yes, it’s all true. I am very grateful to him.”
The nobles’ doubt turned into surprise.
“The Crown Prince really must be a romantic.”
“I envy you, Your Highness. You two seem like a perfect match.”
Elena made herself smile as widely as possible, faithful to the role of a bride happy to marry her true love. In fact, she never really like to boast like this, and she wondered what it would be like to show her true self to others. Happiness wasn’t about competing with anyone. She believed that each person defined happiness differently, and that being satisfied with one’s life was the only way to live happily.
However, being the Crown Princess meant playing a different game where she had to hide her true thoughts. Carlisle had to express affection towards her, and show that their financial resources were not lacking. Wealth was power, and with so many dresses and jewelry given to her by Carlisle, Elena now had a considerable amount of personal wealth as well. From now on, she had to think about how to use these assets effectively.
“Marchioness Holland has been of great support to me. In return, I would like to give you the precious fabric I received from the Freegrand kingdom. I hope you will accept it.”
Wedding gifts given by foreign countries were, in all practicalities, tribute. They were wrapped up as gifts, but it was not the same as one given by close acquaintance. The emperor could give such items to the nobles who helped with the wedding.
“How could I accept something so valuable…!”
Marissa looked shocked as if she never could have imagined this situation. However, this was the true feeling of Elena’s heart. She had grown up in the south, and was thankful for Marissa’s friendliness. At the moment, Elena prioritize revenge over grace, but she wanted to return her good feelings if possible.
“Please come to the palace wearing this fabric next time.”
“Thank you very much, Your Highness.”
Marissa looked around with an exuberant and dazed look, proud at the extent of her relationship with Elena. Hopefully it would be of help to the south, and in any case, having a close relationship with the Crown Princess would be beneficial.
After speaking with Marissa sufficiently, Elena took a step back.
“I’ll be going now.”
“Yes, yes, Your Highness!”
Elena accepted Marissa’s bow, which was more reverent than the first, then walked away to meet the other nobles. Already, there was energetic conversation about the wedding dress she had worn earlier. Elena looked on with a pleased expression, catching intermittent conversation from the crowd, when an unexpected figure came into view.
Helen, a beautiful young woman in a green dress. Elena had glimpsed her sitting in the guest row at the wedding, so she was not too surprised to see her at the reception. More importantly, the Selby family was quite powerful as well.
Elena stared at Helen for a moment, before the latter began walking vaguely in her direction, the click of her heels getting louder as she neared. Helen, who looked drunk, widened her eyes as she spotted Elena, and her expression turned sour. Helen’s hostility was obvious, but Elena approached her without a care.
“It’s been a long time, Lady Selby.”
Perhaps she didn’t want to be criticized, but Helen gave Elena a respectful greeting despite her obvious reluctance.
“H-hail to the Crown Princess. Eternal glory to the Ruford Empire.”
“I heard that you became the Empress’ lady-in-waiting.”
“Ah, yes. Right.”
Helen’s face was triumphant at the mention of “lady-in-waiting.” Elena spoke in a low voice, a smile on her face.
“You should celebrate. I thought you’d never be able to show your face in society again, but this is like a lifeline.”
“So I will warn you for the last time, hold on to that lifeline. If you try to hurt me one more time—”
Elena stepped into Helen’s space and spoke in a voice barely above a whisper.
“—I won’t let it pass.”
Elena was suspicious about Helen’s sudden appointment as a lady-in-waiting. Their relationship was already stormy—Helen had accused Elena of sleeping with different men every night, and Helen was thought to be a villain who had tried to ruin Elena’s face out of jealousy. Of course, the accusations against Elena were false, while the ones against Helen were exaggerated.
But in the end, it was water under the bridge. As Elena had told Carlisle at the time, it wouldn’t help Carlisle take the throne if Marquis Selby was involved. If Helen kept provoking Elena, however, Elena wouldn’t let it continue any longer. Carlisle wanted to pay back his revenge after becoming emperor, but if Helen stopped now, Elena planned to be more generous.
And so, Elena gave her final warning.
“Don’t forget my words.”
Elena offered a dignified smile, then turned her head and walked away.
A moment later, Sarah, who had been watching breathlessly nearby, came into sight. Sarah had been glued to Helen’s side since the tea party in the south, and Elena recognized her face. Somehow, Sarah seemed even more detestable than Helen. She hurried to bow her head when Elena’s gaze fell on her, and the Crown Princess uttered her own warning against her.
“You should look at the line and see which side is more profitable.”
Elena brushed past Sarah towards the center of the hall, and Sarah stared at her back, her face stiff.
Helen’s face was a furious red, and her glass had slipped from her trembling hands. Broken glass fragments scattered across the floor. People were whispering and widening their distance from her, but she didn’t notice. Helen gritted her teeth angrily.