Murderous Emperor's Inconvenient Behavior - Chapter 21
Discord: Hush Mittens
Before she could even finish what she was saying, she heard him jump over the fence.
Hanna finally looked up after she had been bowing her head.
“Did I hear that wrong? The Emperor just said he’d go for a walk with you.”
“You did hear it.”
“Maybe he’s just using the walk as an excuse to question you about swapping with Lady Alicia?”
Hanna looked scared when she spoke.
“I don’t think so, but we can’t let him know.”
Claire tried to calm her down, but Hanna was hard to calm down. She chewed on her nails and moved around a lot.
“Don’t worry, the Emperor won’t find out.”
“Have you thought of any solution?”
At Claire’s hard answer, Hanna forgot for a moment that she was scared and just stared at her blankly.
“Think about it. Even Duke Stanton will say you’re his sister, so there’s nothing to worry about. Even if he’s the Emperor, he won’t be able to change that. But what about Tos? We can’t take him to the house and hide him there.
Claire looked at Toss with worry in her eyes.
Tos ran to the dead monster, wagged his tail, and looked up at Claire. He then grabbed the monster that had been cut in half and ran into the bushes. Soon after that, he came back and took the last monster, while looking at Claire from afar.
“Where do you want to go?”
Tos kept running somewhere and coming back every time she told him to.
“Why do you think he keeps going back and forth?”
“It looks like he has a place to stay outside. Could he be telling me he’ll stay there and then come back to me?”
As soon as Tos dropped his catch, he barked loudly, as if to agree with her.
“He knows a lot.”
When Claire praised Tos, his tail shook hard and ran off with the monster.
“It’s amazing. He seems to understand what you’re saying.”
Claire walked toward the house, happy to be Tos’s owner.
She had no idea that her arrival would quickly turn the house upside down.
* * *
The door swung open with a thud and a bang.
“Mother, I was just getting ready to come see you.”
Claire was very polite.
Mrs. Stanton, who was said to have been stuck in bed after hearing that her daughter had gone missing, looked surprisingly good. Her cheeks flushed.
“Are you feeling better?”
Mrs. Stanton could not say anything else.
Did she get a surprise? Claire was interested in her. Soon, she saw that she was holding something tightly in her shaking hand.
“Leave, everyone else; only Claire should stay.”
The head maid, Hanna, and Alicia, who had to act like Claire, were in the room.
The house servant left after politely saying goodbye, and Hanna, giving him a worried look, reluctantly went with him.
When the door shut, the only sound in the room was Mrs. Stanton’s loud breathing.
“Mom, what went wrong?”
She was curious.
“What the heck is this!?”
Mrs. Stanton let go of the thing she was holding and threw it.
It was writing.
Claire picked it up and looked at it in a graceful way. There was a red seal she had never seen before.
The shape of the mark was like that of an eagle with its wings spread wide. The sharp beak and angry eyes made it stand out in a strange way. It was a bird she knew.
When you think about it, the emperor’s mask was an eagle.
“No, it’s a hawk! It’s the symbol of Imortelle!”
Mrs. Stanton was shouting.
Claire nodded her head.
So the seal was not an eagle but a hawk.
Then, the emperor’s mask she thought was an eagle might have been a hawk instead.
Claire thought, for no reason, that a hawk was a little cuter than an eagle as she played with the seal.
“Tell me why this happened!”
Because Mrs. Stanton told her to, she read the message.
“What’s it all about?”
Alicia leaned toward the letter because she was interested.
Not long after.
“The Emperor be arriving?”
Alicia grabbed her cheeks and yelled out in shock.
It was easy to understand what the letter said.
The next day, at 3 p.m, the Emperor of Imortelle would go to the home of Duke Stanton.
“He’s quite fast.”
Only three hours had passed since she met Eiden.
As soon as Claire got back from the yard, she was in such a hurry to find food. She planned to tell Mrs. Stanton about the Emperor’s visit after eating.
“He’s fast! Did you know this?”
“Yes, I promised him.”
“You directly promised… the Emperor?”
Mrs. Stanton grabbed her throat when she heard the word “promise.”
“Why are you telling me this now!”
“I was about to say that.”
“When, how, and why… No, tell me everything you did with the Emperor.”
Claire gave a detailed answer when Mrs. Stanton told her to.
It was about time she finished telling the story of how she ended up making a promise with the Emperor.
“You really should have stopped him!”
“What should I do? If the Emperor sees me, he’ll kill me right away.”
Mrs. Stanton ran around like a crazy person while Alicia cried on the couch.
“How could you agree to that in the first place?”
“You mean I should have said no? I don’t know how I could have done that.”
Claire asked with a real look of confusion on her face.
“Why, why not?”
“He’s the emperor. Who dares to go against the emperor? Is it okay if the duke’s house is in danger?”
In an instant, everyone stopped talking.
Both Alicia, who was crying, and Mrs. Stanton, who was screaming, stopped what they were doing.
“Are you threatening us right now?”
Mrs. Stanton got her cool again and asked in a scolding way. But her voice was a little bit quieter.
“Mother, what should I do? The emperor will kill me if he finds out.”
Alicia got back on the couch and looked scared.
“Don’t worry, dear. The emperor hasn’t arrived yet.”
Mrs. Stanton sat on the couch and patted Alicia’s back to make her feel better. She didn’t know what to do when she saw her daughter in pain.
“Don’t worry, we’ll get away.”
Claire jumped in because she couldn’t stand to see them like this.
“You’re very calm. Don’t you know that if we get caught, it won’t be good for you either?”
“Because of this, we have to be careful not to get caught.”
“Do you have an idea?”
Mrs. Stanton looked at her like she was saying, ‘What can a servant like you do?’
“There’s no way out. The emperor will know I’m Alicia as soon as he gets here.”
Again, Alicia griped and acted like she was the victim of bad luck.
Claire was shocked to say the least. It would be fine if she hid so the ruler couldn’t see her. She didn’t know why Alicia thought people would notice her.
“Miss, you’re a servant.”
When Claire said something, Alicia tilted her head as if she didn’t understand.
“Why would a servant have to meet with the emperor?”
“I’m going to see the emperor, Alicia.”
“There’s no reason for Claire, who works here, to be around him.”
So, Alicia, who was pretending to be a servant, had no reason to see the Emperor.
When Alicia finally got it, her face lit up. She wiped her tears away and tightened her grip on Mrs. Stanton’s hand.
“So, Miss, hide until the Emperor leaves.”
“Claire is right, Alicia. Be careful not to show even one hair.”
“Okay! I’ll do that.”
After smoothing out Alicia’s tangled hair, Mrs. Stanton asked Claire,
“What do you think I should do?”
“Mother, you need to make the emperor feel welcome.”
The look on Mrs. Stanton’s face changed right away.
“Don’t worry. He wouldn’t eat you while you were still alive, would he?”
Claire made a joke, but she didn’t think about how it might make her feel later.
* * *
The next day in the afternoon.
The Stanton Duke’s home was busy from the moment the sun came up.
They dusted the rugs, swept and mopped the floors, and cleaned the windows with a lot of effort.
From the time the sun came up, the chef’s angry shouts could be heard all the time in the kitchen.
Claire stayed still in her room and looked out the window at all the chaos.
“It’s just a walk. Aren’t they making too much of a fuss?”
“He’s here, Miss. The, the, the emperor’s here!”
Hanna walked in with a face as white as a sheet.
“Oh, I see.”
She had been watching the emperor enter the Duchy in a big parade through the main gate.
Eiden, who was riding a black horse, shone like a star. Everyone noticed how strong he looked and how he carried himself.
The sun made his silver mask shine. She just stared at him blankly, mesmerized by how he looked, as he raised his head. His eyes immediately went to her.
Claire moved back a step. He looked right at her room, as if he knew exactly where she was.
There must have been a mix-up. Claire fell on her way back to the window, where she looked down.
The ruler was at the front door. And his eyes were still on the room where she was. He made a small movement with his lips, as if he had seen Claire peeking at him.
“Let’s hurry down. The madam is angry that you haven’t come down yet.”
Claire went downstairs with Hannah by her arm.
At the front door, the maids were pale and shaking. Mrs. Stanton, who had a pale face, was one of them. She was squeezing her handkerchief.
Mrs. Stanton widened her eyes and spoke in a whisper as Claire got closer.
“You should have gotten here sooner.”
“I was getting ready.”
Even though she didn’t show it, she wasn’t completely calm.
She was afraid that Eiden would figure out who she was.
But now, her heart was beating fast because of something else.
Eiden’s eyes were fixed only on her. It was hard to forget that he was looking at her.
Eiden got off his horse and started walking toward them.
Claire took a deep breath and stared straight ahead. When Eiden stood against the lighting, he was stunning just by being there.
Claire was right in the center of his heavy gaze.
“Your Majesty, your visit to our humble home is a great honor for us.”
Mrs. Stanton barely had time to get herself together before she greeted him.
“Your Majesty, it’s good to see you again.”
Claire also did a side curtsy.
“Are you ready to go for a walk?”
Eiden ignored Mrs. Stanton straight out, not even looking at her.
“Your Majesty, would you like to come inside and have a cup of tea?”
“Do you want to have some tea?”
Eiden asked Claire while still looking at Claire very closely. He didn’t answer Mrs. Stanton’s question.
She had always known it, but Eiden always looked at her in the same way.
Claire looked at Mrs. Stanton to avoid his eyes.
Mrs. Stanton was giving her urgent signs with a pale face, which made it clear that she should hurry and bring him inside.
“Your Majesty, I’d like to offer you some tea.”
“Yes, I’ll have it with you,” he said.
Eiden put his hand out.
Claire put out her hand as Mrs. Stanton’s shocked face and the maids’ stunned faces were in the background.
Eiden looked at her small, delicate hand, which was different from his, and then he tightened his grip on it.
A groan came out by accident.
“I’m sorry, but I wasn’t good at keeping my strength in check.”
Claire tried to keep the tears from coming out of her eyes.
“Come this way, please.”
Claire gritted her teeth and just about said something.
Thump, thump, thump.
The calm butler set down the teacups with hands that were shaking and a pale face that looked like he might pass out at any time.
“Go away, I’ll take care of it.”
Claire spoke up because she could no longer take it.
The face of the butler lit up like he had seen a rescuer.
In the end, Eiden and Claire were the only ones left in the room.
Mrs. Stanton could not come in. Eiden didn’t seem happy when she tried to follow them into the waiting room.
Even though his mask covered his face, the cold air was enough to tell what he was thinking.
Eiden and Claire sat across from each other at a table. It seemed like they couldn’t agree on anything.
Claire quickly shook off her random thoughts and spoke up.
“This tea smells good. Please give it a try.”
But Eiden, who was sitting back in his chair and not in a hurry, didn’t seem interested in tea.
He just put his chin on his hand and looked at her.
Could he think it’s been poisoned?
“I’ll try it out first.”
Claire carefully picked up her mug with her pinky finger raised.
She couldn’t tell what it tasted like. The tea could only smell good.
Claire made a small crease in her nose and set the teacup down.
From the hand that held the teacup, his eyes moved to her face.
Claire started to worry when he didn’t say anything.
Is the walk just a cover for something else that he knows?
“I didn’t really expect you to come to see me.”
“Why are you so quiet?”
He spoke at the same time as her and asked a strange question.
“It doesn’t suit you.”