Ch. 109 So Cute
Michael observed Elena’s shocked expression.
“Why the surprise? Who could the invitation be from…”
“Who brought this?”
“It was just an ordinary servant. What’s wrong, My Lady?”
Elena folded the invitation again and placed it back the envelope. It was not wise to disclose the identity of the person who sent the invitation without confirming it first, and Elena saved her words from Michael.
“Anyway, thank you. I’ll see to the rest of the letters later, so place them on my desk.”
“Yes, My Lady.”
Elena put on a composed expression and headed to her room. However, her mind was whirling storm beneath. She felt like she was becoming entangled little by little with the imperial family. As emperor of the Ruford Empire, Sullivan could have sent an official edict from the palace, or have a messenger deliver it directly to her. There must be a reason, however, for mailing out a common invitation.
Elena’s first thought was that he wanted to see her personally, like the way Carlisle visited Blaise mansion. If it wasn’t an official invitation, then perhaps he wanted to do it in secret? She knew that discussion about marriage would come up eventually, but she didn’t expect Sullivan to reach out to her first.
Elena opened the door to her room and entered.
‘…It’s a pain.’
Whatever Sullivan’s intentions were, she intended to share her thoughts will Carlisle on this issue. Until now she was accustomed to acting on her own, but several of her experiences led her to conclude that it was better if the both of them solved problems together.
She made to tie a red handkerchief to the window out of habit, but then paused.
‘Ah, Sir Kasha is wounded now.’
He was probably recovering somewhere, and summoning him would be useless. At the same time, she half expected him to show up too. She imagined that he would come in nonchalantly and ask, “What did you call me for?” However, while the bodyguard Len knew he was injured, Lady Elena was supposed to be ignorant of his current condition. She wondered what would happen if she tied the handkerchief as if she didn’t know anything, but she soon closed her mind to it.
‘Just let him rest.’
If he really did show up injured, he would try to hide it. She placed the handkerchief back in the drawer, then walked to her desk and wrote a brief letter to Carlisle. Although there was little chance of the contents being read by anyone else, she kept the details vague just in case.
She sealed the letter for Carlisle in an envelope, then looked over at the invitation sent by Sullivan.
For some reason her heart was restless.
The day after Elena sent the letter to Carlisle, a visitor arrived from the Crown Prince’s palace early in the morning. When Elena heard the news, she hurried into the drawing room and saw Zenard waiting for her. He looked at her respectfully, very unlike when he was dealing with Len.
Elena pretended to greet him awkwardly, and Zenard replied with a bright expression.
“Good morning, My Lady. I apologize if I’ve arrived too early.”
It varied, but some families often got up around lunchtime and started the day late. The nobles who did not have to worry about their livelihoods were not obliged to wake up diligently every morning.
Of course, that was completely irrelevant to Elena. She woke up earlier than her servants and exercised secretly every morning.
“No, it’s alright. I was also waiting for your call.”
“Ah, I’m glad to hear that. His Highness requested that you come visit him as soon as possible. What is your schedule like today?”
“I can leave right away. I’ll be back when I’m ready, so please wait here.”
Zenard gave a deep bow. It seemed an overly polite gesture coming from a close associate of Carlisle to Elena, but he might have already known that they were getting married soon. Of course, it didn’t matter to Elena since she had already told her family.
“I’ll be back soon.”
Elena hurried to her room. The date on Sullivan’s invitation was not far away. The sooner she decided how to respond, the better.
After Elena finished preparing and came back to the drawing room, Zenard escorted her to a carriage for the Imperial Palace. The carriage went swiftly and arrived the palace quickly, and under the careful escort of Zenard, Elena set foot into the Crown Prince’s palace.
‘I think I’m getting used to this place.’
The magnificence of the grounds had initially overwhelmed her, but she seemed to have adapted to it since her visit with Mirabelle. Elena was a little relieved, as she didn’t know how long she would come to live here.
Zenard found Carlisle’s location from the other servants and guided Elena to a private training area. The path leading up to the training grounds were lined with a variety of large and small weapons, including spears, swords, daggers and axes. The weapons were not just decorations to look at either; all hand finger marks and signs of use. Elena looked at each one in detail and admired them.
Swig, swig, swiig–
There was a swishing sound in the air as they neared the training hall, and soon Elena spotted the source. Inside a spacious private training hall was Carlisle was training alone with a sword…shirtless. Judging by the amount of sweat dripping from his solid body, he must have been going for some time. Every time Carlisle swung his sword, there was the sound of his blade cutting sharp through the air.
When Elena saw him, she imagined herself competing against him. How she would stop him if he attacked that way, and how to break through if he defended.
‘He’s more skilled than I thought.’
Even if she gained back all her power, she couldn’t say for sure who would win. She already had a lifetime of experience and excelled for her age, but Carlisle had already attained a great level of ability as well. She wouldn’t have believed his skills if she hadn’t seen it for herself.
‘If he’s growing at this rate…’
Maybe Carlisle would later become a force beyond Paveluc. Elena looked on at Carlisle in pure admiration. She herself had been highly praised for her talent, but now that she saw Carlisle she was humbled. Carlisle’s sword fighting skills were overwhelmingly strong, just as Morgan said. As she looked on enraptured by Carlisle’s figure, Zenard bowed silently and left the training hall.
Eventually, Carlisle stopped practicing and wiped the sweat off his chin. Elena’s eyes were fixed on his wild appearance. The scene was so breathtakingly sexy that she thought it was almost too indecent to see.
Carlisle, already aware of Elena’s presence, turned his head towards her direction.
“You were looking at me so hotly that you didn’t even notice the sword.”
Her face flushed, and Carlisle couldn’t help but burst into laughter. Only then did Elena realize that she was being teased. While she was determined not to be made a fool by him, she couldn’t help but be swayed by what he said.
“I was looking at you because I wanted to know what you were doing, and nothing else.”
The corners of his mouth were still lifted up, and he wiped the sweat of his torso with a towel. That look was deadly, so Elena turned away.
“I’ll be waiting outside, so we’ll meet after you get dressed.”
“It’s your husband’s body. You don’t have to come and go.”
At Carlisle’s grand words, Elena almost recited the contract reflexively.
2. Do not sleep together until after Elena becomes the empress.
After defeating Paveluc, she wasn’t sure what would happen between her and Carlisle, but she wouldn’t see his body until after he became emperor. She had no intention of being teased by him for some time, so Elena spoke in a firm voice.”
“You can say that after you take over the throne per the contract. I grew up in a family of knights, so I’m very familiar with this situation.”
“Then there’s even less of a reason to avoid me.”
Carlisle’s eyes turned cool, but Elena didn’t have time to get distracted by this sideshow. She lifted her chin proudly and stared directly at Carlisle. There were large and small scars on his torso, but she couldn’t help but notice how muscled his body looked. Still, the shameful one was Carlisle who was exposing his upper body, and not Elena who was watching.
It was then that Carlisle wiped the sweat off his upper torso and moved as if he would take off his pants.
Elena quickly turned around with a startled cry. This was too much. It was true that the knights would bare their chests around the training ground, but she had never seen them take off their pants. Moreover, this was the first time that she had seen someone as sexually appealing as Carlisle.
“What are you doing?”
“You’ve never seen anything like this before, have you?”
Elena bit her lip without realizing it. It was unfair that he kept making fun of her, but Elena couldn’t find anything to counter back. When Elena didn’t speak, Carlisle continued in a sultry voice.
“I’m drenched in sweat, so I need to take a shower. You want to see that too? I don’t mind. There’s nothing to hide from my future wife.”
She hurried out of the hall. She tried to act as calmly as possible, but her steps were as quick as her pounding heart. She could hear Carlisle laughing in the distance, and her face burned more than ever.
Carlisle stared at the area where Elena disappeared, his shoulders shaking in mirth.
It was even worse that Elena was not aware how cute she was. Although she was a woman who put on a tough appearance, she was also very lovely. He didn’t mean to tease her to this point, but he just couldn’t help it.
Thankfully, the next time Carlisle appeared before Elena he was fully dressed. Their meeting place was at his study, in the same area of the palace where she stayed with Mirabelle.
“So what is it that you wanted to discuss with me? You’ve never come to me like this before. Yesterday I was seriously considering breaking into Blaise Mansion in the middle of the night to know what was going on.”
He was saying very serious things that should not be considered. If that happened, there would be all sorts of speculation between the two in an already talkative society. Her simple goal was to have a normal wedding ceremony with no major incidents or accidents.
“Thank you for your patience. This is my problem.”
Elena presented the red invitation to Carlisle. He opened the envelope immediately to confirm the recipient of the invitation and frowned.
“Ha, it must have been a long time since he sent something like this.”
“Do you know why His Majesty sent it to me?”
“I can guess. He wants to see you without me there. If he sends a public royal letter or a messenger, I might be able to attend with you, so he did this little trick on purpose.”
“…So I’ll have to meet with him alone?”
Elena started to feel concerned. She expected to meet with the Emperor secretly, but she didn’t know his purpose was specifically to avoid Carlisle. What would the Emperor want to say to her?
She was evaluating the situation when Carlisle spoke.
“Don’t worry. Just do as I tell you.”