Chapter 59 – Duke Elgy’s Warning (2)
As soon as Duke Elgy was gone, Sovieshu turned to face me.
“I think it’s clear by now. A man from the Western Kingdom, another from Rwibt, and another from Blue Bohean. You clearly have a preference for foreigners, don’t you?”
His mad speculation returned. I had been hoping that everything would stay quiet.
Sovieshu frowned and pointed at the duke’s retreating back.
“You don’t have much experience with other men besides myself. Just because he speaks with a silver tongue it doesn’t mean he’s a good man.”
On the contrary, Duke Elgy was a man of blunt speech, but instead of correcting Sovieshu I looked at him dumbfoundedly.
“Then what kind of man is a good man?”
If he had a conscience, he would not say himself.
But Sovieshu had no conscience.
I lifted my eyebrow at him, and his expression turned disgruntled as he sighed.
“Anyway, I want you to be careful in your behavior.”
“I will look for a handsome, youthful Eastern Kingdom man.”
He stared at me silently, then mumbled “Yes” and left.
I sighed. I couldn’t fathom what was in Sovieshu’s head. It didn’t matter to him that he brought Rashta, but he didn’t want to hear that the Imperial couple had other lovers?
“Your Majesty. Were you looking for me?”
As I pressed my hand against my temple, the minister hurried over from the bathroom.
“I’m sorry. My digestive system has been working up lately.”
We went back into the office, but I found it difficult to concentrate, and I eventually cut the meeting short.
“We’ll talk again tomorrow. Let’s go get some rest today.”
“Oh, very good.”
“I can’t concentrate very well either, so don’t worry about it.”
After the minister left, I sat with my arms crossed and stared at the stack of documents on the table. Sovieshu was being Sovieshu…
But what did the Duke Elgy mean? What had Prince Heinley been setting up for years? It couldn’t be a building. A plan? The word “plan” would make sense.
I would have to ask Prince Heinley. He had called Duke Elgy here, and yet both of them were trading disparaging remarks about the other.
…It was strange.
“Your Majesty, does this feel good?”
“Your Majesty. Is this good?”
Rashta stopped kneading Sovieshu’s shoulder when he failed to answer her repeated questions. She leaned her head over his shoulder, and Sovieshu, startled, turned his head sideways, causing their lips to almost brush against each other’s. Rashta smiled, lightly kissed his cheek, and hugged him.
“What are you thinking about that you won’t listen to Rashta?”
Her voice was charming, but it contained a pout.
“If it’s about national matters, Rashta can’t help much.”
After apologizing, she shrugged her shoulders and then sat down at the table across from him. Sovieshu shook his head.
“It’s not about national matters.”
“What is it?”
Rashta spoke in half absent-minded voice. Sovieshu usually didn’t share his day’s work with Rashta. He told her whenever he felt like it, which wasn’t often, so she asked him without thinking. However, he pitched his own question.
“Come to think of it, Rashta. Duke Elgy gets along with you, doesn’t he?”
Duke Elgy? Why did Sovieshu bring him up all of a sudden? Rashta replied, puzzled.
“He’s close to Rashta. What is it?”
His next question was even more surprising.
“Is Duke Elgy close to the Empress?”
Rashta winced slightly.
“Why are you asking?”
“I saw the pair of them having friendly conversation this afternoon.”
Sovieshu gave a low exhale.
Rashta told him that Duke Elgy had left for a while, and that she hadn’t seen him for for hours.
“He didn’t say where he went. So he must have gone to the Empress.”
Rashta remembered Duke Elgy’s confident and playful proposal to tempt her.
‘Is he really trying to seduce the Empress for me?’
Rashta silently pursed her lips.
‘Not, not for me…’
He must have done it for himself. She was somewhat offended, and Sovieshu noticed and called out to her in a strange voice.
Rashta hurriedly smiled.
“No, the Empress doesn’t get along with the Duke Elgy.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, Duke Elgy is a friend of Rashta’s.”
At her quick reply, Sovieshu smiled at her adoringly.
“You truly are gentle and kind.”
“Are you defending the Empress just because I might misunderstand her?”
” Oh…you noticed?”
Rashta covered her face with her hands, and Sovieshu nodded and hummed.
“You’re not wearing the ring I gave to you, are you?”
Rashta lowered her hands. Despite her pretty face, her hands were ugly and coarse due to the hardships in her childhood. When Sovieshu had seen the roughness in her hands, his eyes trembled.
Sovieshu leaned over to take Rashta’s fingers.
“A silver ring with a red jewel in it. Do you remember?”
“The red jewel is known as the ‘Red Flame Star’.”
Rashta recalled the three rings that Sovieshu had given her. One of them must have been a silver ring with a red jewel. She thought it was the cheapest because it was the smallest, but it must have quite a reputation to have its own name.
“Don’t you like it?”
Rashta’s expression twisted as she realized she gave the precious ring to the person she hated the most.
“I’m not trying to pressure you if you don’t like it. But there’s a spell on the jewel. The effect isn’t obvious if you put it on for a short time, but wear it for longer and eventually it will remove the scars.”
The ring was magical! Rashta dropped her head onto the table with a thump.
“Ooooh…what a waste.”
Sovieshu stared at her, and she groaned into the wood.
“I found a poor maid and gave it to her. I didn’t know it was that kind of ring…”
After staring at her in short surprise, Sovieshu burst into laughter.
Rashta wanted to cry.
“Your Majesty, is there another ring with that same effect?”
“There is but…”
“If Rashta asks you for another one…is that alright?”
“Well, if you want a similar one, then very well.”
Could she have it now? When Rashta stared at him with enormous eyes, and Sovieshu smiled awkwardly.
“The Empress has one.”