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“You’ll get gifts from everyone.”
Shocked, I unintentionally raised my voice.
“Just take the dresses I bought for now.
It’ll come in handy for plenty of occasions.”
“Exactly, whether it’s tea time or something else, you’ll now have a full wardrobe to choose from.”
The empress and the empress dowager carried the conversation as if in sync.
“Try out your custom-tailored dress first, if you find that you can’t afford it, just wear dresses the Empress gave you.”
Damian added while nodding satisfactorily.
The duke also added a few words.
“You can keep the check I gave you as an emergency fund.”
No, who keeps a blank check as an emergency fund!
Just when I was about to protest.
The four individuals in front of me, had all of a sudden reached a consensus without me as no one else needed to discuss it any further.
“How about it, Lize”
“Will this suffice”
It’s not polite to be rejecting everyone’s generosity.”
“I agree with what the Duke said.”
….all four of them were united on this common cause, there’s no way I could refuse.
I took a deep breath.
“Yes, thank you…”
Hum, I don’t know what to say.
This heart of mine is both overjoyed and burdened, maybe that’s a good thing
While that happened, the empress dowager didn’t seem as sad as she was before.
Looking over at Damian, she confronted him on his hypocrisy by spilling the beans on her grandson.
“Besides that, Damian, you said that Charlize was too young to marry.”
In a flash, Damian’s expression became quite rigid.
The empress dowager spoke in a snarky tone.
“Did you make her your fiancee because you couldn’t stand it any longer”
……hold on, Damian.
Did you really say that
Come to think of it, aren’t Damian and Sienna the same age
No wonder, to Damian I must have looked like a child to him.
I was beginning to think that before I shook my head.
‘No, I’m likely overthinking.
We are only three years apart.’
I’m an adult after all.
I glanced sideways at Damian.
‘Oh, our eyes met.’
Damian dodged my gaze with a shy expression on his face.
My heart was somehow pounding so I bit my lip to calm myself.
I was about to call it a night when I raised my head at the brief sound of knocking.
“Charlize, are you asleep”
Oh, the empress’s here
I got up from bed and opened the door.
“No, I haven’t gone to sleep yet.
I was worried I woke you.”
The empress entered with a gentle gait.
Her eyes made contact with the doll placed on my bed.
A shimmering light appeared over her dark green eyes.
“You still have that doll”
“Of course, her Majesty herself made it for me.”
I smiled broadly.
For a moment, the empress’s forehead became slightly wrinkled.
“The ribbon tied around the doll’s neck….is that”
“Ah, that’s the ribbon the Crown Prince gave me as a gift a long time ago.”
As soon as she heard my answer, the empress had an air of melancholy surrounding her.
I asked the empress a question.
“Speaking of which, what brings her Majesty here”
The empress smiled bitterly.
“Isn’t there a celebration tomorrow”
“Then that means…”
The empress looked at me with an affectionate gaze.
“Tomorrow night, you’ll leave for the Crown Prince’s palace.”
Hearing that, the tip of my nose grew cold.
“Well, it’s the same palace I’ve gone to ever since.”
I could visit the Empress every day….
But I can’t help but be upset.”
After a short sigh, she started to caress my hair.
Just like when I was five years old.
“This is your last night at this palace, isn’t it” said the empress, tearful at the thought of it.
“So for today, I thought it would be nice to sleep with Charlize one last time….that’s why I came.”
At the Empress’s offer, I quickly nodded.
“I’d like that.”
I carefully entered the empress’s bedroom.
‘It feels strange, different than usual.’
Of course, I’ve been in and out of this room several times for cleaning.
However, this would truly be the first and last time I would sleep in the empress’s bedroom since I was five.
“Charlize, can you sit here for a second”
She got up from bed and moved busily.
She then placed a mug in my hand.
“Oh, this is….”
I looked downwards at the mug and felt an indescribable feeling.
The mug held warm milk mixed with honey.
A sweet and savory scent rose up from the mug.
“It’s the same as back then.”