The Evil Empress Adores Me - Chapter 29
No, I’ve never done that!
It was my own decision to meet Damian.
I enjoyed being with him and I wanted to accompany him.
“I… I kept asking her to come.”
Damian continued to put all the blame on himself.
The empress squinted her eyes.
“Is it true?”
“Yes, it’s true.”
Damian replied without any hesitation.
In the end, I couldn’t stand it any longer and interrupted the conversation between the two.
“No, that’s not it…”
“Don’t interfere, Charlize!”
Damian exclaimed sharply.
While I paused, Damian began to plead earnestly.
“If you want to blame someone, just blame me. She hasn’t done anything wrong.”
“How am I supposed to believe that…?”
“You can accept it as it is.”
Damian answered hastily.
While the empress quietly listened to his voice, she was expressionless.
“Charlize is so naive, she simply obeyed my request.”
“So please, don’t blame Charlize.”
I couldn’t see him clearly, but I felt that Damian was holding his breath.
He spoke resolutely.
“If you want, I’ll never meet Charlize again.”
… … What?!
I opened my eyes wide.
What is he talking about now?!
Damian ended his speech as silence ensued.
“So please, forgive Charlize.”
I didn’t know what to do, so I kept my mouth shut.
My mind was blank.
I reflexively looked up at the empress.
The empress’s face… … I couldn’t understand it.
She didn’t reveal any emotions, but it shouldn’t be that way.
“What the crown prince has just said, I’ll take it into consideration.”
After a while, the empress answered in a low voice.
Then she beckoned me lightly.
“Let’s go, Charlize.”
The empress left without glancing back.
As I followed the empress, I found myself looking back at him again.
Damian…… I couldn’t say anything until we were out of view.
I was summoned to the empress’s chambers.
The empress sat down across from me and stared at me.
As if she wanted to know what I was thinking, she kept gazing at me intensely.
“Can you tell me why you went to see the crown prince?”
After a lengthy period of silence, the empress did not hesitate to ask me a question.
I bit my lower lip as I drew my lips together.
How can I explain what’s on my mind?
At first, my decision to visit Damian was to protect the empress somehow.
However, it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy spending time with Damian.
Frankly… I like both of them.
Although I couldn’t tell the truth, I didn’t want to deceive the empress either.
So I confessed the honest feelings I felt while with Damian.
“… He looks pitiful.”
“Do you feel sorry for him?”
In response to my reply, the empress looked at me with a puzzled expression.
I nodded slightly.
“Yes. I thought that me and the crown prince had similar situations, so that’s why.”
In an instant, the empress’s eyes shook.
I tried to be as honest as possible in expressing my emotions.
“As soon as I was born, I was abandoned in the Imperial Palace, the crown prince, on the other hand, was imprisoned for five years.”
“… … Lize.”
“But… it’s a presumptuous idea.”
I shook my head slowly.
That’s right, it’s a presumptuous idea.
I continued to speak while keeping my eyes closed.
“How dare I, a mere maid, be compared to the crown prince?”
Hearing my shaky voice, the empress said,
The empress made a remark on my choice of words.
What, why? Did I say something wrong?
My heart sank.
What if she thought that it was too presumptuous for me to express my feelings to the crown prince… ….
“Truly… I’m sorry.”
I bowed my head.
The empress leaned on the sofa and she said to me sternly.
“Yes, it’s your fault this time.”
“Because the emperor issued a strict order that no one could approach the crown prince.”
Yes, it’s my fault.
I clenched my apron tighter in my hands after saying that.
The empress, of course, was in a position with no choice but to reluctantly follow the emperor’s orders.
The emperor is the empress’s husband.
It was a situation where her husband had imprisoned the crown prince but the empress’ maid was visiting and looking after the prince.
… … How ridiculous and absurd was this situation?
“So, I decided to punish Lize.”
“Yes, I understand.”
I tried to answer as calmly as possible.
However, I couldn’t help it as my voice trembled.
What punishment will I receive?
I’m certain the empress was disappointed in me.
It’s okay to starve for several days, be beaten, or be locked up in solitary confinement.
I’ve already experienced it several times in the education center.
‘It’s scary to think that the empress could dislike me…’
What scares me the most right now is that the empress thinks that I have betrayed her.
If the empress is disappointed with me and tells me she won’t see me again…
….. What would I do then?
My heart was pounding.
My hands began to tremble with cold sweat.
“The punishment I give to Lize is…”
The empress opened her mouth slowly.
I didn’t have the courage to face the empress, so I averted my gaze away.
“… Periodically visit the Crown Prince.”
I opened my eyes wide.
When I raised my head, the empress had a radiant smile.
“I also thought that the emperor was too harsh on the crown prince.”
“You-, Your Majesty…?”
“So, from now on, you can treat him well.”
I came to a complete stop when I heard those unexpected words.
Didn’t you say you’d punish me?
It sounds like you’re forgiving me though?
At that moment, the empress straightened her porsture and looked directly at me.
“So Lize, from now on, don’t go through a dog hole but walk inside confidently.”
“Yes. If others find fault with your actions, you can respond by saying, I have given you permission to do so.”
Ah… … really? Can I do that?
I stared at her with a blank expression.
However, it is a formal order. That means that the empress is once again held accountable for all that happens.
I’m worried about what will happen to the empress if she has to suffer while covering up for me.
“But, if the emperor gets angry…”
“Even if I incur the wrath of His Majesty, that is my concern.”
Hearing the empress’s resolute words, I was speechless.
The empress shook her head.
“You don’t have to worry about anything while you’re young.”
“Lize. It’s true that I love you very much.”
The empress spoke in a calm and collected manner.
… Despite the fact that I caused this dilemma, the empress still assures me that she loves me?
It felt like a part of my heart was melting away.
“But caring for you doesn’t affect the decisions I make.”
The empress drew the line.
I took a deep breath.
It wasn’t for me to decide that, but claiming that it was entirely the empress’s decision is probably…
‘Because she cared about me so that I wouldn’t feel guilty anymore.’
Feeling the tip of my nose twitching for some reason, I hurriedly bowed my head to avoid the empress’s gaze.
The empress’s sweet voice soothed me.
“I am the empress of this empire and as an adult, I have a duty to protect the crown prince, who is the only nephew of the emperor.”
That was the first time I saw the empress like this.
After that, I heard some grumbling.
“And you know, you need to stop self-deprecating.”
“You said you are a mere maid. What did you mean by that?”
… … Why is she asking me that?
I quietly looked into her eyes.
The empress, who looked down on me without malice, spoke to me in a sullen tone.
“Be confident. You are the most favored maid of the empress of this empire.”
“I’m, I’m your favorite maid?”
“That’s right. When you put yourself down, it’s like you’re looking down on the person who cares for you…”
The empress, who had said so, blinked in surprise.
She hastily got up from her seat.
“Oh my god, Lize. Why are you crying?”
I felt dazed.
The empress’s expression of not knowing what to do, reminded me of Damian when he held the dagger at me.
I recalled when Damian was anxious to comfort and calm me down due to my sudden sobbing even though the tension had alleviated.
I can’t. I can’t look ugly in front of her like back then!
“I, I, too, don’t want to cry… but I keep crying.”
I raised my hand and wiped the corners of my eyes, but I couldn’t help crying.