Chapter 98 Come Here (2)
Elena took Mirabelle back to the room where Carlisle was standing statuesque by the window. Elena was still struggling with the fact that he was the child that she had met when she was young.
Carlisle slowly turned his head as he sensed their approached, and his blue eyes landed on the two. Mirabelle’s face turned bright.
Elena let out a small gasp as her eyes widened at those words. Carlisle looked surprised for a moment as well, but his expression soon relaxed.
“Thank you. How are you?”
Mirabelle went to the comfortable sofa and sat down, and Carlisle didn’t seem to mind the way she familiarly treated him. Only Elena was still frozen at the situation.
‘I knew Mirabelle was charming, but…’
This was beyond what she expected. Maybe Mirabelle was doing this because she thought Carlisle was the man Elena loved, but Elena couldn’t hide her embarrassment nonetheless.
“I asked your sister what snacks you liked. Should I bring them in now?”
“Aaah, thank you, brother-in-law.”
Elena was surprised to see them talk in a friendly way, but she eventually relaxed. Watching them like this made them really feel like a family.
“Come and sit down, too.”
Mirabelle beckoned to Elena, and she approached. Naturally, she tried to sit next to Mirabelle, but her sister blocked her and pointed to Carlisle with her eyes.
“You should sit over there.”
Elena needed to say something. Carlisle shifted slightly to make room for her.
Her face burned. Elena repeated to herself several times in her mind,
‘This is just an act.’
It was all the more embarrassing to do this in front of her dear Mirabelle. From now on she had to show that her and Carlisle were madly in love, on both in public and private. She schooled her feelings and sat down next to Carlisle with a calm expression. This was still awkward to her, but this was her place now.
There was the sound of knocking at the door, and when she turned her head saw Zenard entering with a tray.
He placed the dainty cookies and hot chocolate on the table and left.
“I have prepared a puppet play for you to enjoy in the evening, so you can come back at the Imperial Palace at any time.”
Mirabelle looked at him in admiration, and Elena was surprised by the unexpected consideration. Puppet plays were an expensive pastime that only a few people enjoyed. Elena was about to deliver her thanks to Carlisle when–
Zenard rushed back into the room with an urgent expression on his face.
‘What’s going on?’
Carlisle’s brow furrowed in concern at Zenard’s unexpected intrusion. Zenard quickly approached the prince and whispered in his ear.
“The whereabouts of Kuhn, who infiltrated the Empress’ Palace, are unknown.”
At that moment Carlisle’s expression turned serious.
Helen had been crying so much these days that her eyes were swollen.
Then, when she had lost all motivation and was deep in her grief, something unexpected happened. The Empress asked to meet her in person.
Helen rushed to the palace at the unexpected invitation. She had wanted to meet the Empress when she first arrived at the capital, but was denied under the pretext that the Empress was too busy. It was a mystery why she wanted to see Helen now after her reputation was in tatters, but Helen had no reason to refuse.
‘That slutty bitch ruined my image.’
She suffered so many losses because of Elena, from the salty tea in the south to the malicious rumors in the capital. Although Helen had planned everything, the outcome was always in the wrong direction for her. Her image had fallen so low that she could no longer show herself in high society. People thought of her as a wicked girl who tried to ruin Elena’s face and spread false rumors out of jealousy. Although Elena had embellished some of these details, it was mostly true. Helen, however, was mortified by the public revelation..
‘This is all because of Elena Blaise.’
If Elena had only accepted the harassment, Helen would not have gone this far. But as Elena kept trying to stand up to her, it only made Helen want to trample on her even more. Helen’s simple dislike grew into poisonous, seething hatred.
‘Does she think I’ll stay down? I will curse her forever.’
Elena always took want Helen wanted the most. When Helen remembered when she met the Crown Prince at the ball, she clenched her teeth.
It was then that a maid approached her.
“Her Majesty the Empress has invited you in.”
Helen walked into the palace with her posture held as straight as possible. The Empress was seated on the highest chair, and Helen performed a deep curtsy.
“Hail to Her Majesty the Empress. Eternal glory to the Ruford Empire.”
“It’s been a long time, Lady Selby.”
The Empress smiled genially, her great beauty unchanged despite her age. At the Empress’ gesture of affection, Helen collapsed into tears.
“A long time ago, House Anita–my mother’s family–and House Selby were joined in marriage. In a way we are like distant relatives, but I have been neglectful of that fact.”
It was true that there was a marriage between the Anita and Selby families, it was too far back to link Ophelia to Helen in any meaningful way. But Helen nodded unconditionally. In a way, Empress Ophelia was the only one who could save her from this situation now. Ophelia was in the Imperial Palace…no, she was a woman who was at the top of society.
“I’ve heard rumors about Lady Selby going around. But I don’t think they’re true at all.”
Helen didn’t understand why Ophelia thought this, but she burst into tears again. No one could defeat a woman who was crying.
“That’s right, Your Majesty. It’s so unfair. Heueug.”
Ophelia’s eyes narrowed slightly, but the ends of her mouth still held a soft smile.
“Is the one who framed you called Lady Blaise?”
“Yes, yes! That’s right!”
“I’ve been told that things have been going wrong, and now this has happened. It has gotten worse for Lady Selby. The truth is that if you lose your place in society, you are harshly punished.”
“Heug, heueug…What should I do?”
In contrast to Helen’s downtrodden look, Ophelia had an ominous expression on her face.
“As of today, I will appoint Lady Selby as my lady-in-waiting.”
Helen was stunned. Powerful, married were usually appointed to that position, and all the ladies Helen knew dreamed to have it. While she would serve Ophelia, it wasn’t the same job as a normal maid. To be a lady-in-waiting meant that she would become Ophelia’s closest aide. If that really happened…no one could whisper about Helen.
She quickly regained herself and bowed to Ophelia.
“Thank you so much! How can I ever repay this kindness…”
Ophelia’s eyes glimmered like ice, but when she spoke her voice was still soft.
“I caught a man stealing into the Empress’ palace today. There are many people attempting to drive a wedge between me and the Crown Prince and me these days. It seems to me that the Blaises have no good effect on me either.”
“Your Majesty saw the Blaise’s deceit at once!”
“If you desire, Lady Selby, I’ll help you solve your injustice.”
Helen’s face lit up at those words.
Ophelia, however, did not say that she disliked Elena directly. She only said she Helen would help if she wanted it. Thus, if anything went wrong, Helen would carry the entire blame on her shoulders.
That was the way Ophelia had operated in society for a long time.