< — The Capital’s High Society– > (2)
TN: Gong is a title.
Kwiz was overflowing with enthusiasm for the upcoming coronation. From the crack of dawn till late at night, he was continuously working on something, painting the image of himself governing the kingdom.
He called his noble supporters for discussions and gathered the opinions of his officials. He also did not forget to hold small banquets to benefit his relationship with the nobles and strengthen the loyalty of the Knights.
Even when he was alone, he was engrossed in thought and unaware of the passage of time. There were a few influential figures that Kwiz payed particular attention to but the representative figure was the Duke of Taran. He held onto Hugo tenaciously and didn’t let him go, both publicly and privately.
Hugo had lunch with Kwiz if he had nothing special to do. With this lunch, it was also included to discuss for a while after the meal.
“I heard the Duchess is in the Capital, when did she arrive?” (Kwiz)
“It has been a while.” (Hugo)
“Hoh. Why do I keep hearing news about Gong from someone else’s mouth? Don’t we see often?”
“Do I need to inform Your Majesty with news about my wife?”
Kwiz was currently at the stage of receiving the nobility’s request to ascend the throne but refusing according to customs. So, he was not crowned yet, but he was treated as a king.
“Although she is Gong’s wife, she is also my sister. She should come to the palace sometime. I should at least know the face of my sister.”
“Since she became my wife before being known by Your Majesty as a sister, she should be treated as the Duchess.”
It was a roundabout refusal. Hugo had no intention of letting his wife meet the King in a private unofficial meeting. Kwiz was a very experienced politician. He was especially excellent in acting like a honest person that didn’t hide their feelings. Rather than being proficient at telling lies, his was a talent that hid little things under a majority of truths. His innocent wife could not deal with a jaded politician.
Hugo was yet to trust Kwiz. He did not believe Kwiz completely. He had taken a step back but he had also made it clear that he would not turn away unless he was stabbed in the back first.
The clever Kwiz could understand Hugo’s meaning. Their relationship wasn’t that of one-sided obedience but that of an alliance. But Kwiz wanted to draw closer to the distancing mentality of the other. Kwiz was checking to see if he could tackle the Duchess rather than the Duke of Taran who had no gap in his defenses. But Hugo had easily seen through Kwiz’s intentions.
When Hugo was asking his wife one thing or the other in order to get her to say her childhood name, he became aware of her loneliness. Her expression when she recollected the memories about her mother was hazy as if she was dreaming. Not long ago, she was shocked to hear about her father’s death and fell very ill.
She was missing her family. If Kwiz were to assert family affection and claim that he would become a reliable brother, her heart would be swayed. If his wife were to form affection towards her brother, she couldn’t help but be exploited. Just like Hugo was used by the late Duke.
There was no sincere relationship between those with power in the royal family and even between those with power outside the royal family. Hugo wished for her not to know anything rather than wake up to the cold reality.
“Gong is too heartless. What do you have planned for the afternoon? There are some issues I would like to exchange views on with Gong.”
Hugo knew that Kwiz would cleanly withdraw on the matter.
“If it is not urgent, I will hear it next time. I already said several times that I will be returning early this afternoon.”
There was a mountain of work that Hugo was unable to finish from the territory. He couldn’t ignore other things and stick to matters concerning the throne.
“Is that so.”
Kwiz smacked his lips, feigning ignorance.
“Then, how about a drink tomorrow night?”
Kwiz first made a proposal that Hugo couldn’t help but refuse then finally, he brought out what he really wanted. Although Hugo knew Kwiz’s clever trick, he acted like he couldn’t resist and gave in. In any case, if one holds hands with the king, it was better to get along.
“The day after tomorrow is okay.”
“Day after tomorrow, huh. That is good too. But, does Gong have certain days set out for drinking? I don’t know why one day is good and the other isn’t.”
Well, that was because tomorrow night was the fifth day and next tomorrow was day after the fifth. It was Hugo’s standard for setting up his evening schedules, although no one knew about it.
On the way back, Hugo came across the Queen, Beth. David was together with the Queen. Beth was on her way to send off her visiting brother after a pleasant chat.
Hugo gave his greetings and tried to pass by but Beth spoke to him.
“It has been a long time, Gong. Are you returning from seeing His Majesty?”
“Yes. It has been a long time since I offered my greetings, Your Royal Highness.” (1)
“I have often heard a lot about the Duchess. News of the Duchess is talked about more than the Coronation.”
“It is just an insignificant rumor.”
“Rumors are not necessarily fruitless. I would like to meet and talk with the Duchess before she starts her activities in the social circle. I want to prepare a casual luncheon. I will send an invitation before the day is over, I hope one does not refuse.”
Although the invitation of the King could be rejected, the invitation of the Queen was difficult to reject. The King’s indication to meet her was as a sister but the Queen was asking for her to show her face as the Duchess.
Hugo could not get involved with matters concerning female social activities unless the circumstances were special. For a refusal, his wife had to do it. But, there was no reason to refuse the invitation of the Queen.
“I believe my wife will be willing to answer the invitation.” (Hugo)
After several exchanges of courteous greetings, the brief meeting was over. Watching the departing back of the Duke of Taran, Beth thought, ‘Still as blunt as ever.’
In her days as the Crown Princess, nobles approached Beth without any inhibitions about male and female distance. They wanted to get closer to the Crown Prince with whatever means possible. However, the Duke of Taran had never once spoken privately.
Rather, it was her husband who fretted about getting acquainted with the Duke. The Duke was a very confident and arrogant man.
[Does it not hurt Your Highness’s pride? Your Highness will be the future master of this country.]
Beth was curious so one day, she had said this to Kwiz. She could not understand the arrogance of the Duke of Taran. She thought that no matter what, he was still a lord of a fiefdom that was part of the Kingdom.
[It is not pride that can be brought up at any time. It is reckless bravado. When you look at the future, what is the big deal about lowering your head now? I have no spite towards Taran Gong. Any man will feel envious of a man like Taran Gong who lives without minding others. Pass this onto father-in-law as well. There is nothing to gain from provoking him.]
After realizing that her husband’s will was firm, Beth recognized the Duke of Taran as a strong ally of her husband. Beth did not know about the complicated political battles. Not because she was foolish but because there was no reason to give it her attention.
She was born as an honored lady, grew up without lacking anything and became the Crown Princess. On her maternal side was the authoritative Ducal family, and her father, Duke Ramis was a strong backing. She already had three sons and the seat of heir was firmly in her hands. To Beth, her husband wasn’t noble and pure but she respected him.
As a woman married into the royal family, she had to put up with a few matters in the back palace. As a female of the royal family, Beth lived a smooth life and was successful to this extent.
She didn’t have to worry about fighting for a share of her husband and only needed to wait for the day she would receive the crown of the Queen smoothly. So for Beth, there was no part that twisted her insides. She didn’t have to rack her brain about being caught in a trap nor was she worried about such.
Nevertheless, her only worry was her younger brother David.
“Why did you behave so impolitely to Taran Gong?”
Beth criticized David. Because of David who didn’t say anything after greeting Taran Gong with a nod, Beth’s complexion was flushed as she spoke with the Duke.
“Watch what you say. Taran Gong is a man in the same position as father. Why do you act so thoughtlessly?”
Listening to his sister’s scolding, David’s expression was full of dissatisfaction.
Beth sighed. Her brother was held up too high as the young lord who would inherit the title of Duke in the future. It was a big fault of their late mother who sided with her eldest son unconditionally. Learning a lesson from her younger brother, Beth was strict with her sons.
“I have tried to get along well in my own away. However, Taran Gong has been rude.”
“David. Calling it rude is not appropriate. Taran Gong can be rude to you as he pleases.”
“I do not want to give a lengthy speech. I have repeatedly said you should be careful with your words and actions. You are not a child. I will only see you off to here so be careful on the way.”
Beth turned around indifferently.
Watching Beth’s receding figure, David clenched his fists tightly. All over the place, once people opened their mouths, it was ‘Taran Gong’, ‘Taran Gong’. He couldn’t understand.
David’s father was the closest advisor of the King and his sister was the Queen. His nephew would become King someday.
Naturally, the King should trust David and keep him closer than anyone else. However, Kwiz was irresponsive to David, and when Kwiz was with the Duke of Taran, he treated David like leftovers.
‘What is so great about him?’
David felt twisted inside.
- If any of you have ever watched Korean historical dramas, he calls her ‘Mama’.