Chapter 267 – If I Had To Bet (1)
Harry guided Elena away from the original destination, and brought her to a small detached house a little ways away. He knocked on the old wooden door and announced his presence.
“I’m here, Grandfather.”
“You rascal! Why are you here sudden?”
An angry snarl answered from inside. Elena looked towards Harry in puzzlement, and he looked back and gave her a wink.
“I ignore my original schedule and dragged him here. That’s why he’s in a bad mood.”
“Ah, I see. So it was for my sake…”
“Please do not worry. I gave you that brooch for this very purpose.”
As the two spoke in hushed tones towards each in front of the door, Evans’ harsh tone rang out again.
“What on earth are you whispering about there? You were supposed to meet the Crown Princess at the villa, so go see her there.”
Harry glanced at Elena mischievously, and answered his grandfather in a sly voice.
“I’m here with Her Highness, Grandfather.”
There was a beat, and then a reply of disbelief.
Harry cheekily spoke up again.
“So please open the door.”
Before Harry even finished speaking—Beolkeog! The door flew open, and the elderly, white-haired Evans walked out with a flustered expression. When he saw Elena, he quickly rearranged his features and bowed.
“Hail to the Crown Princess. Eternal glory to the Ruford Empire.”
“Greetings, Count Evans. This is the first time we’ve seen each other since the wedding reception, hasn’t it?”
“Yes it is, Your Highness. I apologize for my rudeness.”
“Not at al.l It was I who suddenly requested a meeting.”
Hearing this, Evans glanced at his grandson standing next to Elena. His eyes were stern, and Elena suspected that Harry might be in a bit of trouble later. Harry, however, was smiling as if he didn’t care.
“I’ll leave you alone so you can have a quiet conversation.”
A deep frown was creased on Evans’ forehead, but he could not decline the Crown Princess when she was standing on his doorstep. Such had been Harry’s plan all along. If he had asked permission from his grandfather in advance, Evans might have refused to meet Elena.
“Please come in, Your Highness. I regret that I wasn’t able to prepare for your visit. Please excuse my humble manners.”
“Not at all.”
Elena stepped inside the small outbuilding, leaving Harry behind. The door closed, leaving her alone with Evans. He guided her to a seat, then settled himself in the chair opposite of hers.
“What kind of tea would you like? Sometimes I come here to organize my thoughts. Please wait a moment.”
“No tea, thank you. I will not dwell long for conversation, and will get straight to the point.”
Elena did not have the luxury for leisurely conversation. Carlisle had said that if he did not hear from her in two hours, he would come here in person, not to mention there was still other work to be done. Elena didn’t intend to waste any more time.
“And your point is…”
“Please lend your support Crown Prince Carlisle.”
A look of stunned surprised crossed Evans’ face. Although Elena had said she would get straight to the point, it was an excessively straightforward demand. No one had ever spoken to Evans this way. His expression quickly changed into something more serious.
“The Crown Prince should have come to speak about something so important…”
“Carlisle is currently the only heir acknowledged by the late Emperor. Do you mean for a man of his stature to come and beg to Count Krauss?”
“Oh, you misunderstood me. I didn’t mean that. If that is what it sounds like, I will apologize again.”
Evans switched his words quickly. But inside, he was quite surprised. In truth, in order to gain his favor, even an emperor had to beg–but Evans would never express that publicly. It was unusual, of course, for an Imperial family member to ask favors from a noble, but Evans had received many such requests. Even Empress Ophelia promised him whatever he wished as long as Redfield was made Emperor. Evans’ eyes narrowed in thought.
‘…This is not an ordinary wager.’
Evans had heard much about Elena through Harry. His young grandson had gushed about the princess, and Evans suspected that Harry was secretly supporting her. However, Evans still had no desire to get involved in royal matters.
‘It will all be the same regardless of who becomes emperor. The tyrant’s blood flows unchanged through the Imperial Family of the Ruford Empire.”
In his eyes, it would be the same whether Redfield or Carlisle took the throne.
“With all due respect, Your Highness, I must ask you one thing.”
“As you have said, I cannot expect the Crown Prince to come here and ask for my favor. But what do I make of the Crown Princess sitting before me?”
It was a cutting remark that pierced the core. He wanted to know why Elena had come in Carlisle’s place. Evans expected Elena to be taken aback by his question, but she only offered a gracious smile.
“I am in a slightly different position from Crown Prince Carlisle. As the wife, and I can do all the dirty work for my husband, and even get my hands in mud.”
In short, Elena’s face was largely irrelevant to raising Carlisle’s prestige. While Elena came to see Evans in person, she had a firm determination that she could not bring Carlisle to this position. Anyone who heard her would know how much she loved her husband.
A note of displeasure flitted across Evans’ face.
“…You two make a good couple, as I saw at the wedding reception. But what does the Crown Prince think of all this?”
That was a rather meaningful question, but Elena answered without a tremor in her voice.
“It doesn’t matter what he thinks. I act on my own free mind.”
“If so, then let me say a few words to you, Your Highness. Once the Crown Prince takes the throne, he will take in other women. Can you say the same thing then?”
Evans was not the type who showed his true thoughts, but his question was meant to upset and offend Elena. There was no knowing what love was like for wild, tyrannical men.
‘Even if Her Highness’ heart is true, she will eventually be betrayed. The Imperial Family is the kind to throw everything away for power.’
From the start, Carlisle and Elena played the part of a good couple in front of Evans. The count was pleased, but he soon came to the conclusion that it couldn’t last. The men of the Ruford house, famous for their cruelty with each generation, were incapable of loving anyone.
Elena replied with no hesitation.
“I do not know why you asked this, but I will answer. I believe in his love as much as he believed in mine. It doesn’t matter if he accepts other women. If he does, it will be a decision made with the utmost consideration.”
Evans found himself unable to refute her reply. It was flawless. The true love she had for her husband was displayed in her short answer.