Sky Blue Cape
The imperial palace was somewhat desolate and cold after it returned to normal, but the keen noses of merchants and vassals led them to the palace. Queen Sisi successfully returned to her throne. Queen Sisi had another achievement added to her resume – suppressing a rebellion without shedding blood in the imperial capital. Queen Sisi’s reinstatement was good news to them. They wanted to gain something from her. Last time, they provided her with ten-thousand gold coins and, most importantly, the right to mintage coins.
Everyone was gathered in the main hall of the Queen’s imperial palace. They didn’t have the right to go to the Queen’s room. That’s why all they could do was stand in the main hall and wait for her to come out. Sisi was still preparing herself in her room. A considerable number of citizens had begun to enter the imperial palace. I arranged for the horse carriage to arrive at the rear of the palace. It was pointless to reveal the Elven Queen too soon. Furthermore, I needed to give that guy a piece of my mind.
I saw Achilles and the president of the bank. However, the two weren’t too keen on meeting me. Their attitude toward me was rather cold. After all, it was thanks to me that the merchant alliance was scotched without it directly being crushed. Had Leah not thrown a wrench in their plans beforehand, something might’ve happened between the businessmen; the riled up businessmen might’ve even gone as far as hiring mercenaries to assault the imperial palace. I used an odious mean to lead the merchants into an internal conflict amongst themselves. Even the bank president and Achilles lost their faith in each other. Finally realising what happened, the two definitely weren’t going to be friendly with me.
It didn’t really bother me. It was the nature of businessmen. The problem didn’t actually matter; time would gradually erase it from memory. Lying was part of the gig as businessmen. All you could blame is yourself for not being cautious and gullible. Hence, the two shouldn’t have been too bothered.
Edward was among the group of businessmen. Whoever could enter her room at the time meant that he was her new favoured vassal. Achilles could only wait. The lady-in-waiting there didn’t allow him passage, which meant that he was no longer her favoured vassal. Edward thirsted for the position, except Queen Sisi never explicated he could have it. I didn’t want to crush his hopes, so I figured I shouldn’t tell him that Queen Sisi didn’t actually like him.
I still wanted to get the coal mine and steam-engine machine from Edward. Due to the war and Queen Sisi’s matter, however, my plans were delayed. Once I head North, I they were my next target.
The maid standing at the entrance didn’t allow any businessman in. I snickered and sauntered over. When I got to the door, the ladies-in-waiting vigilantly informed, “Her Majesty is currently changing.”
“I know. Tell Her Majesty I’ve arrived.”
I put my hand on the door. The two froze for a moment. One entered, while the other stayed outside to watch me. After a while, the lady-in-waiting who went inside came out surprised. She cleared her throat softly and notified, “I am very sorry, Sir Lin. Her Majesty asks you to go in.”
All of the businessmen and some officials were dumbstruck. I casually entered under their watch and then shut the door. It was true that Sisi was getting changed. It was just that she could only accept me seeing her. As for the others, take a hike.
Sisi sat on the bed, gently pulling up her long black stockings then set them in place. She gently ran her hand on her leg to ensure her stockings were smooth and proper. Hearing me enter, she raised her chin and dimpled: “You’re here, Dongqing. I thought you wouldn’t come beforehand.”
“It was a given that I would come beforehand. Today is your first day back, and I even prepared a present for you.”
I walked over and sat down next to Sisi. She ignored the lady-in-waitings’ opinion and grabbed hold of my hand. She held it up to her mouth and gave it a peck. In a soft voice, she responded, “You’ve planned everything, right? Everything has been planned, right? I just need to trust you, and I’ll be able to return here no matter what.”
“Not necessarily. We have Leah to thank this time. I genuinely never imagined that Leah would actually be able to bring Veirya out. They were easy to deal with once Veirya wasn’t in their hands.”
Sisi bemoaned, “I’ve never seen you smile so brightly when you’re with me. You don’t smile around me. Do you smile so brightly as long as that woman is beside you?”
I didn’t know what to say. Sisi stood up and pulled up her dress’ shoulder strap. She then giggled: “With that said, I still prefer the way birds fly. I guess there’s nothing I can do. Dongqing, help me lace up at the back.”
I circled behind Sisi. I gently helped her lace her back piece. The ladies-in-waiting behind us felt quite awkward. They didn’t know what to say, while we didn’t care. A calming scent gently lingered by the tip of my nose. I finished helping her lace up, but then gently grabbed her shoulder without letting go. Sisi didn’t say anything. The two of just silently stood there; however, we didn’t embrace or kiss.
A short moment later, Sisi finally couldn’t resist. She spun around and grabbed my arm. She looked emotional and eager to say something, but I immediately stepped back. With my gaze on her, I shook my head. I quietly conveyed, “Sorry, Sisi… I… really can’t.”
Sisi took in a deep breath. Her shoulders rolled forward. I gently hugged her. She leaned on my chest and snuggled up on it. She revealed a smile that looked more upsetting than tears. She sobbed, “Isn’t it so ironic? I feel so upset that I want to cry, but I’m a Queen. I can’t cry now. Tears will ruin my make-up… I’m the Queen again, yet I can’t even cry.”
“Don’t… do this…”
Queen Sisi tightly gripped my chest. She bit down on her lip to stop herself from crying. She forced herself so hard that her entire body quavered: “Don’t… be too gentle… with me… Right now, I… really… can’t cry… please…”
I released Sisi. She took in a deep breath to prevent herself from crying. She blinked her eyes to stop her tears. Sadly they still lingered there. Next, she grabbed a sky-blue cape from the table, expressing, “Take your cloak off. I specifically made you a new cape. There is only the section on your shoulder and around the neck, but… that’s enough, right…? It’s the same as me giving you a back hug…”
Later on, another colour was added to the empire’s cape ranks. A sky-blue cape was made for one who had the right to wear it and was closest to the Queen. There was only one copy of the cape in the entire empire.
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