Ch. 179 Don’t Be Late
Elena accepted the envelopes Mary held out, opened the top letter and began reading carefully.
[Hello Mary. It’s been a while. It may seem shameless for me to contact you all of a sudden, but you’re the only one I can turn to. I hope you will listen to me for old times’ sake.]
Tilda’s letter began with the story of how Sophie tricked her into betraying Elena, and detailed information of her work as a maid. Elena’s eyes skimmed over the page as she read.
[Helen has a terrible temper and has cut off Sophie’s tongue. Please tell Lady Elena that I need her help. I secretly overheard a scheme Helen is planning at the party…]
The letter included the scheme Tilda overheard, included a plea for Elena to remove her from the Selby household.
After Elena finished reading the first letter, she looked up at Mary. The kindly maid was the type who was easily taken advantage of because of her caring personality. Elena was surprised that Mary had been unswayed by Tilda’s words, and had given the letters to Elena instead.
“You didn’t tell me about this first letter because you thought it might be a trick?”
“Yes, My Lady. I was afraid Sophie might have leaked fake information to me, because she sent a letter just like this to Tilda.”
Mary was not wrong, and even if she had immediately brought the first letter to Elena, the latter would have still been suspicious. However, from Mary’s point of view, she was reluctant to let Elena know that they were in communication. Now that Mary brought the second letter, however, it probably meant that it contained more convincing content. Elena opened the second envelope and began reading.
[Mary, I haven’t heard from you yet, so I’m sending you another letter. Sophie was recently expelled out of the Selby mansion and taken somewhere. Now I can’t sleep because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ll write down more of what I’ve been hearing in case you don’t believe me.]
If the first letter had been briefly commented on Helen’s scheme at the party, the second letter was much more detailed about it. It was also consistent with what Elena had recently heard from Margaret.
In summary, Helen planned to obtain an aphrodisiac with Sarah’s help. Tilda’s second letter spoke more specifically how they went about doing so. The plan was so brazen as to be ridiculous, but if it succeeded, Helen would get the results she wanted.
Elena deemed these letters unlikely to be a trap. The context fit, and there was no reason for Helen to benefit by informing Elena this. However, she could not draw a conclusion on this alone.
“I’ll have to investigate myself to see if what the letter says is true.”
“Yes, I think you should, too.”
“It must have been difficult to ignore the letter Tilda sent to you.”
“No. It’s true that Tilda’s situation is pitiable, but…but I can’t betray you.”
Elena smiled at Mary’s loyal answer.
Elena kept Mary around because she had a good heart, but Elena was always worried that she was weak and easily influenced by others. The maid seemed to have matured a little without even realizing it. To Elena, Mary now seemed a younger version of her nanny.
“I came to the Imperial Palace as your maid, and I have to lend you my strength.”
“If this letter turns out to be true, I’ll get Tilda out of the Selby family.”
It was obvious that Mary felt sorry for Tilda. Elena offered Mary a faint smile.
“Of course. When have you seen me lie?”
“No, you wouldn’t lie, Your Highness. Thank you so much!”
“You can tell Tilda later that it’s all because of you, Mary.”
“Yes, Tilda will be very grateful when she hears this.”
“Until I’ve confirmed what’s on the letters, you can’t tell anyone about this, understand?”
“Yes, Your Highness!”
Mary gave an enthusiastic reply.
Elena immediately went about planning. Not long ago, she had made an agreement with Log to join hands. This would be an ideal opportunity to test the power of their leader Astar. Normally Elena would communicate periodically to them, but she knew what to do when she needed help immediately.
Elena turned towards Mary.
“Mary, I need you to do something.”
“Go to the market and find a place called the Nei Store. I want you to find a man named Isaac and take him here to the Imperial Palace.”
“A man named Isaac?”
“Yes. If you tell him I sent you, he’ll know. Say to him that I want spring flowers.”
Mary nodded. It was a strange order, but she trusted Elena without hesitation. In turn, Elena had asked Mary to do this task because she trusted in the maid’s loyalty.
With Astar, there was a unique power available to Elena. She thought it would be a good opportunity to see their skills and decide how to use them in the future. She looked down at Tilda’s letter again.
‘If Lady Selby obtained an aphrodisiac, I can’t let her use it.’
Elena imagined what would happen if Helen’s plan was successful and she spent a passionate night with Carlisle. A murderous red glint flashed in Elena’s eyes. Perhaps someday there will be a second wife depending on their needs, but…not yet…
The next day, Mary found the man named Isaac at the Nei store, and brought him to the Crown Prince’s palace away from any spying eyes. It was Elena’s and Isaac’s first time meeting each other, having only heard of each other through Log. The coarse-mannered man came in with his usual rough stride, but when he faced Elena he bowed to her politely.
“Hail to the Crown Princess. Eternal glory to the Ruford Empire.”
Elena gave a slight nod towards Mary.
“Good work, Mary.”
“Yes. Please have a comfortable conversation.”
Mary finished speaking and hurried out. She wasn’t given any orders, but Elena knew she would guard the entrance to keep people away from the vicinity. Perhaps Isaac noticed the maid’s loyalty too, and there was an interested glint in his eye as he watched her leave before turning back towards Elena. She pointed opposite of her as she spoke.
“Please have a seat.”
“Yes, thank you.”
Isaac settled himself into the offered chair. His demeanor had changed, and so far Elena liked his personality.
“I’ve heard about you. This is our first time meeting.”
“Yes. My name is Isaac Ford. Please feel free to call me Isaac.”
“I will, Isaac.”
“If you don’t mind, may I ask you why you called me?”
Isaac must be wondering why he was called to the palace.
Ever since Elena became Crown Princess, more and more people kept trying to ingratiate themselves to her. She was impatient when they would drag out the conversation with useless compliments, but Isaac was neat and straight to the point. Her impression of him lifted a little higher.
“I think it would be quicker for you to read this letter first.”
She presented the letter from Tilda, and Isaac accepted the paper and unfolded it. After reading the letter in almost no time at all, he opened his mouth to speak.
“Do you want me to investigate the means which she purchased the aphrodisiac?”
Elena blinked in surprise. In such a short amount of time, he had figured out exactly what she wanted. Isaac was far more capable than she guessed.
“Yes. If it’s true that she bought an aphrodisiac, then I need proof of it.”
“Very well. I’ll find out and let you know right away.”
“When can you do it?”
“I believe I can bring you the exact results in three days.”
Elena was impressed that it could be done so quickly, and she looked on in satisfaction.
“Astar seems to have a fairly rapid intelligence network in the Ruford Empire.”
“Well, we’ve been aiming for the Ruford Empire for a long time. It’s hard to intervene because of the intense factional strife, but once you start digging, you can get a lot of money.”
Isaac imitated a gold coin by making a circle with his fingers. It was somewhat rude in the presence of the Crown Princess, but Elena was not offended. In fact, she liked that he was honest about their motivations. She smiled back at him.
“If I deem your work to be satisfactory, I’ll be sure to make it worth your time. “
“Oh, that’s good to hear.”
Isaac smiled broadly, showing his white teeth. They had a clear purpose in their relationship, and Elena wouldn’t have to waste time on emotions.
“So let’s see what Astar can do for me.”
“Well, I’ll be very busy. I’ll write a report and send it to you.”
“Very well. While you’re doing that, I ask one more thing.”
At the same time, she handed over a plain envelope she had prepared beforehand. It had no royal seal, and Isaac accepted it automatically with a questioning look.
“What is this?”
“This is a letter for Lady Jenner. Deliver it to her in secret.”
She was from the south, and Helen’s closest friend and lackey. Sarah was also involved with the aphrodisiac scheme, and Elena could have caught and punished her as well. However, Elena had different plans.
Isaac turned over the envelope curiously. It was not an easy task to deliver a letter to a noble firsthand without anyone else knowing. Moreover, he had already checked the contents of the letter from Tilda, and knew that Sarah was involved in the plot. What in the world would Elena have to say to Sarah? His curiosity got the better of him.
“May I ask what this letter says?”
“I don’t have to tell you, but you’ll find out later.”
Elena seemed to want to keep her cards close. Isaac nodded in regret, licking his lips. This second task wouldn’t be easy, but it wouldn’t be as difficult as finding clues to the aphrodisiac.
“I’ll take responsibility for this as well.”
Isaac stood up from his seat and gave a bow. Elena watched him and gave a warning in a low voice.
“Three days, don’t be late.”
Isaac’s head jerked up towards the beautiful face of the woman before him. Although it was he who set the deadline, he knew that failing to meet it would result in serious consequences.
‘I have to hurry.’
Isaac knew at first sight that Elena was a formidable woman.