Reward at Sixteen Years Old (Part 2)
The young man didn’t enact some sort of detective story, because he was only allowed to investigate the incident. He wasn’t told to have a day off of work. Hence, the young man still had to fulfil his daily duties. The duties of a personal attendant aren’t simple. He was what connected Her Majesty to the entire Royal Palace. Without him working, everyone beneath them wouldn’t know what she wanted, and she wouldn’t be able to get what she wanted. Being a qualified attendant meant he had to be good at delivering information and things.
As such, if the young man wanted to find clues on the incident, he had to make time outside of his schedule to figure it out.
At present, the only thing he has been able to figure out was that it was an inside job, as it was impossible for someone to enter the inner court to steal. It was absolutely impossible. It’s impossible for someone from outside to come in and steal given the loyalty of the Valkyries and how vigilant Her Majesty is.
Furthermore, the thief didn’t steal anything valuable. All the thief stole was some clothes. And if it was only gloves and head cloths that were stolen.
‘Would a creep be satisfied with just that? In other words, was the thief not trying to satisfy their own creepy desires?’
Only court ladies were inside the Empress’s inner court. They wouldn’t steal their own stuff. And forget the Valkyries stealing, that’s impossible. They would be better off killing themselves because their end would be worse than death if they were discovered. Subsequently, the most suspicious person was himself.
But he definitely did not steal. He knew that best.
‘So who was it? The clothes couldn’t have grown themselves a pair of legs and ran off now, could they? The Empress didn’t suffer any injuries or losses this time. It doesn’t seem as though she wants to bother herself with it, because surely she understands that as opposed to saying they were stolen, it would be more correct to say they were lost. Nobody had any reason to steal those things, so…’
‘Nobody stole them?’
Castell, who was carrying the Empress’s clothes, stood on the path. He looked at her uniform in his hands. Then his eyes drifted onto the lines on her clothes, and he spaced out. Her Majesty just wore this set of clothes last night. It still had her sweet scent on them.
He spaced out as he looked at Her Majesty’s clothes. He stood there under the sun, as he quietly pondered to himself. He had an urge to sniff the scent on her clothes. Like an infatuated man, he raised her clothes up to his nose and buried his face in them.
“What the hell am I doing?!” He asked himself.
Castell swiftly came back to his senses and quickly yanked his arm down, nearly causing Her Majesty’s clothes to drop. He looked at the clothes in his hands as though he just returned from a dream and felt his face burn up. He cursed himself in his mind. He couldn’t believe he did that with her clothes.
He basically tarnished Her Majesty. She had him sort out her clothing because she trusted him yet he went and did that as if he was a dog…
‘Like a dog…’
At dinner, the Empress bit her spoon and looked at the meat stew in front of her with a bored look. Castell stood behind her and waited for her to finish her dinner.
“Yes, Your Majesty?”
The Empress put her spoon into the soup and then put one leg over the other. She rested her chin on her hands and looked at Castell with a teasing smile. She tilted her body and asked, “Castell, have you found any clues on the thievery incident?”
Castell looked at her smiling face and hesitated for a moment before replying, “Yes. I have found the perpetrator.”
The Empress froze up for a moment before quickly revealing a smile indicating she’d found something fun. She leaned her body forward with a smile, and her chest jiggled dangerously. She looked at Castell with a serious look and asked, “All right then. Tell me, who’s the audacious individual who stole my gloves and the court ladies’ clothes?”
Castell looked at her and responded seriously. He then picked up the paper bag from the side he had prepared. Inside were the court ladies’ missing head cloths and Her Majesty’s gloves. They were all wrinkled and had the dog’s paw prints on them. The Empress froze up and then picked up her gloves in front of her, which was now wrinkled, and took a look. She then laughed aloud with her body moving along. She slumped onto the table and continued laughing.
“Oh my… Oh my… That’s just hilarious… I never thought… I never thought it was my dog… I never thought it was my Troy. Come, come, come, Troy.”
The Empress clapped her hands. Troy, who was in the corner of the dining hall, ran over and leapt into her arms. She hugged Troy and then gently stroked his fur. She affectionately giggled and then said to Troy, “If you wanted them, you could’ve just told me. Why did you go and steal the court ladies’ head cloths?”
Troy didn’t reply, which was by all accounts understandable. Castell, however, hesitated for a moment before saying, “Your Majesty, I can understand what Troy was thinking…”
“Oh? You can understand what a dog is thinking?” The Empress giggled and then turned to face him with Troy in her arms. She stroked his fur and continued asking, “So then, tell me, why did Troy steal my gloves the court ladies’ head cloths?”
Castell answered, “I would presume that it was most likely because he was jealous, for you rewarded your court ladies, but not him. Troy must’ve felt jealous, and therefore, stole their rewards and something such a head cloth for himself, since Troy, too, wants to be loved by you. That would be why he stole.”
The Empress laughed and then lowered her head to stroke Troy’s head. Troy moaned comfortably and leaned onto Her Majesty’s tummy and snored. The Empress continued to stroke his head with an affectionate and loving gaze as if she was looking at her own son.
Her Majesty softly repeated it and then looked up at Castell. She revealed a mischievous smile and asked, “Castell, is the reason you can understand Troy, because you, too, want a reward? Are you jealous that I haven’t given you anything?”
Castell didn’t know how to reply, so he stood in place with a blank look. The Empress laughed when she saw his unsettled expression. She then took off the ring on her finger. She knocked on his forehead and placed it into his hand.
“This is a ring my husband gave me. It’s not worth money, but it has been with me for many years. It’s a very cherished item of mine.”
The Empress placed the ring in Castell’s hand with a smile. She then tilted her head. With smile, she asked, “Now you don’t need to be jealous, right?”
Castell looked at the ring in his hand and spaced out. He looked at the Empress’s smiling face, and Troy looked at him with a tinge of jealousy in his eyes.
The dog died from illness one year later.
In a rare moment, Her Majesty cried when she mourned his death.
However, she didn’t need to raise a dog after a decade later.