Chapter 243 – Why Are You Helping Me? (2)
Yulia approached Elena first, who was standing with a questioning look on her face.
“Hail to the Crown Princess. Eternal glory to the Ruford Empire.”
Yulia gave a respectful bow, followed by the rest of the ladies. Elena hurriedly recovered and placed a smile on her face.
“Thank you all for coming, despite the sudden invitation.”
Many of the women replied with “Not at all” and “Of course I would come when the Crown Princess invites me”. Meanwhile, Yulia looked up at Elena and spoke.
“You have such a beautiful dress. Your Highness has a wonderful sense of fashion, don’t you think, everyone?”
As Yulia offered up her praise, the rest of the young women piped up in agreement.
“Yes, Her Highness’ dress is unique and beautiful.”
“I’ve never known that purple could be so pretty until today.”
It was monumental to be recognized directly by Julia, and by tomorrow, perhaps the whole of society would be full of talk about the dress. Sooner or later, purple dresses might be displayed in countless costume rooms. Yulia’s influence on the fashion industry was enormous, but Elena could not help but wonder about her motives.
‘Why are you helping me?’
The pair had never been close. Even if Yulia really did like Elena, there had to be a reason whys he complimented her.
However, more guests started to arrive, and it was impossible to have an intimate conversation. Elena would have to try to find another opportunity to talk to her again, but for now, she had to concentrate on greeting the arrivals. Elena gave Yulia a soft smile.
“Dinner will be soon, so please go inside. I hope everyone will enjoy themselves tonight.”
All the ladies answered simultaneously, including Yulia.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
The group of ladies disappeared into the banquet hall, chattering away. Elena stole a glance at Yulia’s retreating back. She remembered the woman’s nickname—”The beauty without a smile.”
Margaret, who had been quietly standing next to Elena, sensed something strange and spoke up in a small voice.
“Your Highness, do you know Lady Necrensi?”
“…No. I only met her briefly at the Imperial ball.”
“That’s strange. Lady Necrensi doesn’t often attend parties, and she usually doesn’t go out in public.”
Elena gave a slight nod of understand at Margaret’s words. In any case, the minimum number of guests had been satisfied due to Yulia’s appearance. Elena no longer had to worry whether enough people would attend the party.
Suddenly, Margaret gave a gasp of surprise next to her.
“Your Highness, over there…”
Elena turned her head in the direction of Margaret’s gaze. Stella and her followers were now arriving. Yulia had already solved Elena’s troubles, but she was still grateful Stella’s appearance.
Elena gave Stella a warm welcome at the entrance.
“Welcome, Countess Viviana.”
The dinner party started off in success, and the presence of powerful and influential figures in society would now offer her a great advantage. The gathering of this amount of people in a short time was testament to Elena’s social ability.
Ophelia’s fist slammed onto the table.
“What? What do you mean that the Crown Princess is hosting a dinner?”
In response to Ophelia’s anger, Cassana nodded her pale face.
“Yes, Your Majesty. A great number of ladies gathered to attend a dinner at the Crown Prince’s palace.”
“Ha. What a nerve!”
Ophelia knew Elena’s intentions at once. At present, the Empress’ and Crown Prince’s soldiers were fighting outside the compound. Despite her soldier’s attempts to break through the line, Carlisle had far more troops then she expected.
‘I heard that the Crown Prince was gathering troops from the periphery of the battlefields. This must have been his plan.’
Ophelia could choose to push more aggressively, but her movements were paralyzed by the attendance of nobles at the dinner party.
‘If I move in now, they will tell everyone that they have Redfield in custody.’
Any rumors spread would be potentially harmful against Ophelia’s plan. She may be justified in attempting to rescue Redfield, but the ultimate goal was to make her son emperor, and preserving Redfield’s dignity and honor trumped everything else. Ophelia was not in a position to act rashly.
“…I don’t like this.”
Elena appeared a frail and naive kitten in the beginning, but Ophelia sensed the Crown Princess’ claws after the twin plant incident. Elena was more clever than she accounted for. It was too late to regret that she did not stop Elena’s and Carlisle’s marriage earlier, and deep frown creased the Empress’ forehead.
“Pull back the troops surrounding the Crown Prince’s palace.”
“What? Ah, yes, I understand. Until how long should I tell them to wait?”
“We need to observe the situation more, so don’t act recklessly until I give another order.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
However, Ophelia was not finished yet.
“Send a message to Cesare. Tell him to summon the nobility. This cannot be put off any longer.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
Cassana hurried to deliver Ophelia’s orders. Until now, Ophelia planned to use her soldiers to bring back Redfield as soon as possible, but she was forced to revise her plan.
Ophelia sat in quiet thought by herself, and her eyes flashed like steel.
“…Prince Carlisle. If you think you can destroy me just from this, you are mistaken.”
She wasn’t called the pillar of the Ruford Empire for nothing. If she couldn’t get Redfield back by the sword, then she’d make it so that Carlisle would be forced to release Redfield himself.
A wicked smile played across Ophelia’s lips.