“Your Majesty.” I placed my hand in his.
He looked at me, took a few deep breaths, and began to calm down.
Eris saw the tension rise again and explained.
“My father dragged me to the capital because he wanted to meet with you, Your Majesty.
We’ll be in the capital for a while and I was bored because I didn’t know anyone.
That is why I am so happy to see Iona today.”
“I did hear that your father applied for a meeting with me.
If I understand correctly, you are the only successor of the family How did you recognize Iona”
“Oh my!” Eris exclaimed.
“There’s no way that I can’t recognize such a pretty platinum blonde like this! If you wanted to hide Iona, you should have wrapped her from head to toe.”
“Well, that is true,” the emperor gave a slight smile to that.
I just watched the exchange in wonder.
They were acting as if I was some sort of national treasure.
And the fact that they have now met much earlier than the original story really had me worried.
I was saved from this strange moment by the approach of a middle-aged man who bore the same red hair as Eris.
“Excuse me, Eris,” I interrupted awkwardly.
“See! You do know how to use my name,” Eris replied with a giggle.
“What is it”
“The man coming towards us, is that Margrave Deron” I asked.
It was a stupid question.
Anyone could clearly see that the man looked exactly like Eris and had to be her father.
Eris looked at him with a frown.
She grasped my hand and put her mouth near my ear to whisper to me.
“Unfortunately, I have to go now.
But don’t worry Iona, I’ll come to see you again soon.”
“Oh, that’s all right.
I don’t really…” I was trying to express how she didn’t need to bother wasting time with me.
I needed to get events back in order.
However, Eris just placed an index finger on my lips to silence me.
“It’s all right.
I would like to come to see you again,” Eris said, smiling.
Where did she think she would do that At the imperial palace She’ll just hang out in my chambers next to the emperor’s bedroom How does she plan to do that without the emperor’s permission I turned red in the face with the finger pressing against my lips.
Removing her touch, Eris said “I hope to see you two again, soon.
Please take care.”
Eris lifted her dress slightly with both hands and curtseyed politely, then quickly moved towards her father.
The emperor continued to glare after her, as she walked away.
He seemed relieved that she was gone.
“I wonder if the Margrave has regrets about his child,” the emperor said, absent-mindedly.
“Your Majesty, please don’t kill Eris,” I said, concerned where this will lead.
“Do you really know her” he asked me.
“Yes, I really do know her,” I replied.
I knew I couldn’t let the emperor kill Eris, but is she really the Eris I know Somehow, she had a completely different personality than what she should.
Could I still say that I knew her I watched Eris leave the ballroom with her father, Margrave.
My thoughts were swirling madly in my head.
What does the emperor think of Eris How much does Eris know Where is the original story going Eris said that she would come meet me.
I would just have to wait until then to get some answers.
I dreaded what I would find out.
After the unexpected meeting with Eris, I danced to two more songs with the emperor.
One was slow and one was fast.
I still stumbled but, thanks to the emperor’s skillful lead, I did better than I thought I would.
After the dances, I began to feel tired.
I had woken up early in the morning to dress and prepare my outfit for this masquerade.
I sat at a table, too tired to do anything else.
I was curious at the time.
If I had to guess, it would be around two or three in the morning.
Although it was late, the banquet hall was still full of passionate dancers and people talking to each other.
The crowd had certainly thinned out as older couples retired to their estates, but the younger crowd still continued to party.
As I rested, I watched in wonder the youths who had the physical strength to keep dancing.
This was something that I would need to work on if I wanted to keep enduring these sorts of events.
The emperor approached with a glass of champagne in his hand.
“Are you tired” he asked.
But I’m all right.” I didn’t have much experience in staying up all night.
In my previous life, I remembered working on an urgent project all night at the company I was employed with.
Considering that evening involved much bickering and frustration, this masquerade was a much more pleasant experience.
The emperor handed me the champagne flute he was holding.
I hesitated for a moment, thinking more alcohol would be a bad idea, but eventually accepted.
Then I noticed that he gave me the only glass he had been holding. Did he finish drinking already I wondered.
“Are you having fun at the masquerade” the emperor asked.
“Yes, this was much more fun than I thought it would be.
I spoke with people I didn’t know, danced around the banquet hall, and ate delicious food.
It’s been a while since I’ve had this kind of fun.”
The emperor sat silently.
I turned to look at him and he was staring at me.
He seemed to be staring at me a lot, lately.
“You would tell me if there is anything you need I can get for you whatever you wish, while you’re at the castle.” The emperor smiled shyly.
“I have enough for now,” I answered
“Are you sure you don’t you want to take more walks Do you need any more maids
If you would like a place to sing, I can construct a concert hall…”
As he listed all of the thing that he would do for me, the only thing I wished for, at the moment, was to be able to sleep alone.
However, it was clear that it would not happen until the emperor’s trauma was healed.
“No, it’s really enough for now,” I lied.
The emperor looked like he was at a loss for words at what to say next.
I really didn’t feel uncomfortable staying in the imperial palace as a doll, but he always thought I was unhappy and needed more.
“Of course.” The emperor gave up.
“Your Majesty!” A servant ran up, a look of urgency on his face.
The emperor listened to what the servant whispered in his ear, than suddenly rose and pulled me after him. What was going on I thought, nervous.