Ch. 152 Test The Waters (2)
“Very well. Let’s keep the plant here for a while.”
“Ah…yes, Your Highness.”
The maid looked slightly taken aback, but she gave a look to the servant, who placed the large pot on the table. The luxurious atmosphere of the room seemed to lift with the placement of the single plant.
Before the maid left, she turned to Elena to speak.
“Please call me when you want to move the plant to your room.”
Elena nodded in reply, and the maid scuttled away with a friendly smile.
As soon as the maid gone, the nanny immediately stood up from her seat and began to throw open all the windows. Elena looked questioningly at the nanny’s urgent behavior.
“The weather has been getting warmer lately, but wouldn’t it still be cold if you open all the windows?”
“I won’t catch a chill, My Lady. But this plant’s fragrance…I have a feeling that keeping it around will be bad for you.”
The nanny returned to Elena’s side again and opened her mouth to explain.
“I’ve never seen it with my own eyes, but I’ve heard that some fragrant plants from Sibena have a detrimental effect on the body.”
“Detrimental? What do you mean?”
“If a woman inhales the fragrance over an extended period of time…she may find it difficult to get pregnant.”
Elena was stunned. Pregnancy was not something that she thought relevant to herself at the moment, as she and Carlisle would not sleep together until he became emperor in the first place. However, that didn’t mean she wasn’t angry. The gift from the Empress was truly wicked.
Elena gave a sharp laugh, but it was not one of joy. The palace was as terrifying as she expected.
‘I was too sure of my safety.’
Elena had been so reliant on her sword and her ability to defeat assassins that she thought it was not easy for someone to hurt her. However, imperial power was not necessarily wielded with physical force. The gift was a grim reminder of that.
“Thank you for warning me, nanny. The outcome would have been terrible if you didn’t know about it.”
“I’m not too confident, but I like to be careful. I have already said this to you, but ultimately it is a child that gives an imperial woman strength. The woman’s ambition must be focused on pregnancy. “
Although the nanny was thinking far into the future, the truth was that Elena had never pondered on it deeply before. When the goal was to make Carlisle emperor, it was useless to worry about anything after that.
But her nanny was never wrong. Once an emperor’s attention was naturally drawn to other women and he had many concubines, the only thing left for the empress was to provide a successor. For this reason, if Elena failed to get pregnant, she had no choice but to step down as she grew older. The final victory of imperial women was to give birth to the next emperor.
‘But…it shouldn’t matter to me.’
Elena and Carlisle were in a contract marriage. Ultimately, Elena wanted to protect her family, and Carlisle was the man she would walk with to make emperor. She didn’t know if their relationship would change, but even if the two of them were indeed bound together, Elena would take a step back in power. The thought of fighting with other concubines for Carlisle’s favor didn’t appeal to her.
‘If that happens someday…would Caril do the same thing with other women as he’s done with me?’
She remembered Carlisle’s sweetly smiling face in the bedroom last night, as well as the searing kiss they had shared this morning. The moment was so vivid that she could see it just behind her eyelids if she closed them.
It was strange to think that it would all be repeated with other women.
Elena pressed her hand against her chest as her heart throbbed painfully.
‘Why do I feel uneasy?’
From the outset, she had suspected Carlisle was a playboy. She was grateful enough that he wasn’t meeting other women when she spent so much time thinking about protecting her precious family.
Elena stifled her pain and looked at her nanny in front of her. She had been thinking of making the nanny her lady-in-waiting since she sent the letter, but now when Elena saw the nanny in person, she knew that there was no one else better. Determined, Elena spoke.
“Nanny, there’s something I’d like to ask you…I’m telling you this in advance, but if what I ask you is too difficult, you can refuse it.”
“Do you want me to serve as your lady-in-waiting?”
Elena blinked in surprise at her astute observation.
“How did you know…?”
“It’s the privilege of being the one who raised you. I know what you’re thinking just by looking at your eyes.”
“Is that why you came all this way?”
“Yes. Although you didn’t put it in your letter, I knew you would need my help as soon as I heard about the wedding. I wondered what I could do best, and I came to the conclusion that I could serve as your lady-in-waiting. Now, what do you think, Your Highness?”
The nanny smiled knowingly, and Elena felt her heart beat faster as she was overwhelmed with gratitude. There were so many good people in her life, and she wanted to protect them from dying so they could remain by her side.
Elena cleared her throat and took the nanny’s hand, which bore the evidence of age.
“You’re welcome. I had already made my preparations, and I was not beyond staging a protest if you wouldn’t let me.”
Elena knew that her nanny often joked to lighten the mood. Elena choked back her emotions and forced herself to smile.
“Promise me one thing. You should never work yourself more than you can handle. Alright?”
“Yes, My Lady.”
They shared a warm feeling that only people who knew each other for a long time could share. As Elena gazed affectionately at her nanny, the rare plant from Empress Ophelia caught the corner of her vision. Later in the afternoon, she had to meet Emperor Sullivan and Empress Ophelia. She’d like to thank the Empress for the plant she just received.
‘First, let’s test the waters a little bit.’