“You stay here with her Majesty.
I’m going to go by myself.”
Senior maid Weber, who said so, went on her way after making her intent clear.
I walked alongside the Empress.
“The Empress dowager is a person with a strong sense of pride, if I were to directly offer her help, she would most likely reject it.”
“Wow, Your Majesty,” the handmaiden said, impressed by how astute the Empress was.
“So I’ll have to accept that for now but if anything comes up, tell me.”
As a result of the Empress’s thoughtful remarks, the handmaiden nodded with a face bubbling with emotions.
She was moved by the Empress’s kindness.
Hehe, isn’t my Empress cool
“By the way, I didn’t see any maids all the way to and from the Empress dowager palace.
Where did everyone go”
“Oh, that’s because…”
The handmaiden declared in a content voice.
“Everyone got fired.”
In that moment, the empress’ eyes gleamed sharply.
It was followed by a bright smile from the Empress shortly after.
Her voice, not hiding her satisfaction in any way, continued.
“It’s going to be a difficult endeavor to accommodate the guests without extra hands.
I’ll send some maids from the Empress palace as soon as possible.”
“What No, you’ve helped the Empress dowager and I a lot.
I can’t be grateful enough or return the favor….”
“Don’t get me wrong,” said the Empress.
The Empress pretended to play dumb and crossed her arms.
“The reason I’m sending maids is because I don’t want to see Charlize suffer.”
“Oh, of course, Your Majesty.
I appreciate your kindness towards the Empress dowager nonetheless.” replied the handmaiden.
It was a joke.
I’ll help the Empress dowager and that includes you.”
“…..Oh.Thank you, Your Majesty,” she said with gratitude, bowing her head.
The handmaiden now looked like she was about to drown in her emotions.
And I probably have a similar expression.
Empress, you’re the best!
“Anyway, I hope this can be of some help.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty.”
The handmaiden bowed her head once again.
Finally, the Empress turned to me and stroked my head.
“Charlize, I need to be on my way.
Please help the handmaiden, I’ll see you later.”
“Yes, I’ll do my best!”
I nodded with a wide smile.
* * *
…..I thought everything would turn out well.
Alas we ran into an unexpected problem.
“It’s kinda off-putting to have the venue inside the Empress’s dowager’s palace, plus there isn’t a suitable place for tea time.”
The handmaiden on the other hand, who had been shaking her head back and forth for a while, muttered with a sigh.
“In order to not play into the Emperor’s palm…..”
The handmaiden and I tried our hardest to conceal the shabby appearance of the palace as much as possible.
However, the Empress dowager palace itself proved to be a problem.
No matter how meticulously one may sweep and wipe, you can’t change old wallpaper and furniture into new ones.
“Should we just tidy up the reception room Reorganize the layout somehow No, that’s not it……”
The handmaiden spoke to herself in an anxious voice.
I glanced out the half-opened window and squinted due to the sunlight.
The day was clear, the way the sunlight touched my skin felt amazing as the gentle early summer breeze gave a pleasant warmth.
It was truly a perfect sunny day.
On days like this, I usually eat lunch outside with Damian…..
My eyes lit up immediately.
“Is it really necessary for the guests to be indoors”
“Huh What are you suggesting” the handmaiden asked.
“Since the weather is so nice, I’m thinking about having tea time outdoors!”
Okay, I got this in the bag!
I clenched my fists.
“Outdoor tea time”
“Yes.You did say that the guests would come as soon as the state council meeting was over right”
The handmaiden whose eyebrows were now furrowed, slightly lowered her head, giving me an approving nod.
“That means they’ve been indoors all along.” I stated.
“Yes, that’s true.”
“So I think it would be fine to have tea time outside for a change.
It’ll brighten up the mood.
What do you think”
But contrary to my lively voice, the handmaiden only shook her head sullenly.
“Well, there are plenty of things that can go wrong with such a quick change in decision.
At least, a lot of things they can catch onto.”
“For example, something like a chair or table placed outside.
It’ll be apparent that they’re all outdated.”
The handmaiden dropped her shoulders to an extent that I felt sorry for her.
“Hmm, are you also worried that we won’t have enough for all the guests I mean we don’t know the exact number of guests coming.”
“No, the numbers aren’t a problem.
We have enough,” she responded.
The handmaiden in return asked me with a downcast face.
“It’s just that, at a venue where you’re hosting distinguished guests, you can’t put out old furniture, now can you
I tilted my head with a solution in mind, asking the handmaiden back.
“Shouldn’t it be alright as long as they don’t notice that it’s old”
“…..as long as they don’t notice”
If you change the tablecloths and chair seats to a new one, they’ll feel pretty refreshed.
It’ll give a sense of unity too.”
With those words, color returned to the handmaiden’s darkened face.
“Yes, that’s a good idea.
Sheets and tablecloths are easily available.”
I added a word while I was at it.
“I think the atmosphere will be just fine, sitting in the shade will be comfortable and if we want to go for something luxurious, we can have an awning.”
Won’t it feel like a picnic though I thought to myself.
Maybe a picnic is what they need, I know it helps me clear my mind and brings back fond memories.
I shrugged my shoulders.
The handmaiden, who seemed to be contemplating the time needed to brew tea, let out a long sigh after a while.
Ugh, how many times have you sighed
At this point, the ground will shake at how much you’ve sighed!
“However, the other problem is that there aren’t enough flowers and vases to decorate every table,” mentioned the handmaiden.
“Even if you were to collect as many flowers as possible, there still wouldn’t be enough to decorate as the trend these days demands an abundant number of them,” she added.
Huff, these problems are like mountains.
Just one after the other.
I narrowed my brow.
Maybe I could…
No, there’s no way I can do that.
I can’t request the Emperor to send flowers to the Empress dowager’s palace.
He hates her.
What can I do Hmm…
Other than these useless teacups that can’t hold flowers, wouldn’t it be nice to find decent vases in the warehouse