RotFK Ch. 120 Do I Have To Decide? (1)
Elena briefly considered Redfield’s invitation, and then made her decision. Redfield and Elena could never be on good terms with each other. When Carlisle became emperor, Redfield was one of the first that had to be removed. If the opposite happened, the case would be the same.
In addition to not being able to fight openly, there was no reason to attend a party in the midst of an already fraught political battle. Elena had a foreboding feeling. She turned to Michael and removed the invitation from her desk.
“Please inform him I am too busy with wedding preparations to accept.”
“Ah, is it alright to ignore an invitation from the Imperial Family?”
So far, Michael had received many kinds of invitations, but this was the first time one was delivered to him directly from a messenger of the Imperial Palace. Elena would soon become part of the family, and he was worried that she might cause offense.
“I won’t change my schedule to attend. Even if it’s a party hosted by the Second Prince himself.”
Redfield’s parties were extraordinarily exclusive. Many kinds of rumors swirled about them, but a common theme was, “When you attend a party he hosts, you know what heaven is.” Access was high in demand for young nobles that wanted to experience a different kind of fun. However, Elena had little interest such entertainment, even less so when Redfield was her enemy.
“Yes, My Lady. I’ll inform him that you cannot accept the invitation.”
Michael exited the room. Elena felt a sense of discomfort, but it soon faded after she declined the invitation. She didn’t have time to worry about anything else and browsed through the papers on her desk.
The date arrived when Elena and Mirabelle stopped by Anco’s to see the wedding dress. Elena, who had found herself neck-deep in planning, was relieved to finally go outside.
Elena took in a satisfying lungful of air. She could sense that the season was changing. Mirabelle, who was walking with her hand-in-hand, smiled.
“Spring is coming soon.”
“I’m glad the weather is getting warmer.””I’m glad the weather is getting warmer.””I’m glad the weather is getting warmer.”
Elena was concerned about Mirabelle’s health, but Mirabelle interpreted her sister’s words in a different way.
“Me too. For a wedding at Bellouet Square, spring is better than winter.”
“I don’t mind the outdoors, but there are guests to consider too.”
“And while a wedding dress is beautiful, but it’s not practical at all. You could easily catch a cold if you were standing outside wearing it.”
Mirabelle expressed more worry these days, and Elena smiled at her sister’s sweet concern.
“Yes, you’re right.”
In the past, it was Elena’s responsibility to lecture Mirabelle, but now that was changing little by little. Elena felt very proud to see her sister grown up.
“Come to think of it, Mirabelle, you’re a little taller now.”
“Oh, really? Thank goodness. I’m so short, I wish I were taller.”
“You’re still pretty and young.”
“…I don’t want to look young.”
For a brief moment, Mirabelle wore a somber smile on her face. It was so different from her usual expression that Elena’s eyes couldn’t help but widen. Her little sister suddenly looked so mature. Elena asked carefully,
“Is there someone you don’t want to look young for?”
“O-oh no, nothing like that!”
Mirabelle hurriedly waved her hands in denial, but Elena couldn’t help but notice her strange behavior. She fixed Mirabelle with a suspicious stare.
“You must tell me if you have someone like that.”
“Tch, you had a secret affair with the Crown Prince…”
“It wasn’t like that!”
Her contract relationship with Carlisle was far from the secret romance Mirabelle was dreaming of. Furthermore, Elena couldn’t imagine sending her precious sister to another man, no matter how rich, handsome, or desirable he was. She cherished her sister more than anything in the world. Mirabelle smiled at the sudden seriousness of Elena’s face.
“Alright, I understand. I can see the dress shop now. Let’s go in.”
Mirabelle tugged Elena’s hand forward. As usual, Mirabelle melted away the dark corner of Elena’s mind.
They opened the door that bore the signage “Anco’s Tailors,” and when they entered they found Madame Mitchell waiting for them.
“Ah, you’re finally here. Thank you very much for returning.”
Madame Mitchell welcomed them more respectfully than before, and Elena also noticed the staff members lined up behind her. It was inevitable that their treatment would change. On their last visit, Elena and Mirabelle were simply the daughters of a Count, but now Elena was about to become the Crown Princess of the Ruford Empire. Elena gracefully returned Madame Mitchell’s greeting.
“Thank you for welcoming me. Where can I see the sample wedding dresses?”
Elena had little free time, and so she went straight to the point. Madame Mitchell, quick on the uptake, took the lead and answered.
“We prepared them in advance. Follow me this way.”
The sisters followed Madame Mitchell inside. The dress shop, with its subtle lighting and antique design, was largely unchanged except for a strange hush in the air. In the past, it was so busy that sewing machines operated right at the first floor.
“Nobody seems to be here?”
“Yes. We decided not to accept anyone today because I’m hosting a very important guest. It’s quieter now, so please feel comfortable.”
The important guest she was talking about was obviously Elena. She was unused to this kind of preferential treatment, but she kept her expression level. Creating the imperial wedding dress was a great opportunity to let many nobles know about the Anco’s. The shop was already famous, but this would be the opportunity to catapult onto higher ground.
Madame Mitchell finally stopped walking when they reached the innermost, most secluded room.
“Come inside, please.”
Madame Mitchell opened the door.
The moment Elena stepped inside, she saw a person she never expected to see here. She stopped dead, and Mirabelle’s head popped out from behind her.