< — The Capital’s High Society– > (3)
TN: This chapter is a test in regards to a comment last chapter. I am checking if the conversational brackets are really needed for you to tell who is speaking.
The carriage heading to the palace was escorted by knight Dean. The carriage stopped at the palace gates. An outsider holding a sword could not enter the palace.
In front of the palace, a royal carriage was waiting to fetch Lucia. The carriage that brought Lucia was to go on stand-by and wait for their Madam to re-emerge. Lucia transferred carriages and went into the palace.
“Thank you for the invitation, Your Royal Highness.”
Lucia felt strange upon seeing Beth receive her warmly. In the dream, Lucia was unable to have a proper conversation with Beth. She had greeted Beth together with the crowd but it was unlikely that Beth had remembered her.
To be at the side of the Queen, one had to be at a similar level or be brazen enough to cling to her openly. Both of these didn’t apply to Lucia who simply went around in circles.
Beth could hardly believe the rumors surrounding the Duchess. She had seen many princesses of the late king and there wasn’t much likelihood that an incomparable beauty would arise from the royal bloodline.
Nevertheless, Princess Katherine ranked as a beauty but in the first place, Katherine’s mother was a stunner. When she was young, Beth’s late mother-in-law was famous as the most beautiful woman in the kingdom and as concubine of the late king, she received his favor the longest.
Compared to her mother-in-law’s beauty, Katherine’s was a little lacking. Moreover, the other princesses were not that beautiful. It wasn’t that the appearances of the late King’s concubines were bad but the princesses mostly took after their father. So Beth laughed off the rumor that the Duchess was a stunning beauty.
However, the Duchess in reality was considerably different from the princesses that Beth had seen. It was not the typical beauty that Beth was familiar with. There was a somewhat fascinating allure that caught the eyes and a charming freshness. The two visages didn’t suit each other at all but they were harmonious on the Duchess without any awkwardness.
The thought occurred to Beth that even though the Duchess wasn’t that short, because of her slender build, she would fit right into a man’s embrace. Although the Duchess wasn’t the beauty of the century like the rumors depicted, Beth couldn’t bring herself to laugh at the rumor and call it completely absurd.
While the meal was being prepared, the two of them sat across each other on the sofa and grasped each other’s personality through short conversation.
“I am glad to have you here. I have been wanting to meet Duchess.”
“I am also honored to meet Your Royal Highness.”
Lucia’s face flushed slightly at the thought that Beth must have heard the rumor about her.
“Duchess is very calm. When I was around Duchess’ age, I was trembling all over, unable to say a word.”
Beth was surprised that the Duchess was only nineteen years of age. The Beth back then enjoyed her status as an honored lady, chasing after parties senselessly.
After getting married, she was careful to behave befitting of her status as Crown Princess and she became mature after giving birth and raising a child, but when she was a young maiden, Beth was the regular, playful young lady.
“I am flattered.”
“And you are also of few words. You are just like your husband. Taran Gong is a man of few words as well.”
“I apologize. I am not good at speaking.”
“I am not blaming you. After seeing so many people with so much to say, it is truly relaxing.”
Rather than saying Lucia was invited to a prepared luncheon, a luncheon was prepared to invite Lucia. Lucia was the only guest. The atmosphere was good. The food was excellent and the conversation was adequately light.
“According to rumors of recent, Taran Gong bought an enormous amount of jewelry for his wife.”
In order to promote their goods, Sepia Jewelry publicized that the Duke of Taran was pleased and purchased large quantities of their merchandise. The adverting impact was so great that there was a rapid increase in Sepia Jewelry’s sales and it was said that the parties concerned were grinning from ear to ear.
“Rumors are normally exaggerated, Your Royal Highness.”
Lucia blushed in embarrassment.
“Nonetheless, baseless rumors do not make rounds. When will you invite me to your mansion? I would like to see the rumored jewels.”
“Your praise is overwhelming. I will gladly oblige, Your Royal Highness.”
‘Truly, a pure individual.’
Most of the people around Beth would only say words that were pleasant to hear and honey drooled from their lips. It was an inevitable thing when one was at the center of power. So, the pure atmosphere of the Duchess deeply appealed to her.
‘The scary Taran Gong has a wife like this beside him. Is the Duchess even able to have a proper conversation with Taran Gong? It can’t be that one trembles in fear before Taran Gong, right?’
Beth was a little more curious about their private life.
‘Do they have a proper marital relationship?’
Could the Duke with his splendid track record be able to be satisfied with his pure wife?
“If you have the time, may I trouble you to see me often like this? At times, being cooped up in the palace is lonely.”
“If I am invited, I will visit anytime, Your Royal Highness.”
‘They’re really different…’
Beth was reminded of her sister-in-law, Katherine. Katherine was like a red rose that gave off very thick aroma. Beth had seen Kwiz troubled a few times because Katherine used the royal budget to buy dresses and jewelry.
[When I ascends the throne, I should cut off that brat’s spending. Or else, this circle will never end. If only I can marry her off quickly.]
Beth was skeptical of her husband’s pledge. Kwiz was very caring to his only blood sister. She was probably the only princess that was treated properly among the late king’s daughters and grew up without lacking anything. So, she was extremely prideful, hated to lose, and was selfish.
She wasn’t malicious but her personality was one that said what was on her mind to feel relieved. Her words were rough without taking the other party’s feelings into consideration so, Beth was been hurt quite a few times by Katherine’s words.
However, Katherine had gotten a little better as she grew older. When she was a child, she was an untouchable daredevil. Compared to Katherine, the Duchess was gentle and modest. She appeared to choose her words carefully every time she spoke.
[Taran Gong precisely declared that one shouldn’t think of meeting the Duchess as a sister.] (1)
That was what Kwiz told Beth when she told him that she had invited the Duchess over for a meal. Whether it was the Duchess or her sister-in-law, it would be fine anyhow. It seemed they would be able to get along well.
Occasionally, Beth liked to invite close acquaintances to eat and talk. The person she invited most frequently was the Countess of Alvin.
‘I think the two of them would get along well…’
As she thought about it, she felt it was a pity. Although Beth did not know all the women involved with the Duke of Taran in the past, she knew that the Countess of Alvin was a past lover of the Duke. Since Sofia’s beauty stood out so much, there were many people paying attention to her and Beth heard of it while the noblewomen were gossiping.
‘It would be better for them not to meet if possible.’
Beth wondered how much the Duchess knew of the Duke’s past women.
“How about heading to the Rose Palace for some tea?”
“Lately, the flowers in Rose Palace are in full bloom. I heard that Duchess stayed there for a while. So one knows the beauty of the Rose Palace very well.”
“The flowers did not blossom during my stay hence one was unable to experience it. Thanks to Your Royal Highness today, one has obtained the chance to see it.”
“Oh my. Really? This is great then.”
The two of them rose up from their seats. Refreshments would be taken at the Rose Palace.
As always, the King and the Duke of Taran were busy discussing over a light topic after having their lunch. The Grand Chamberlain came in.
“Your Majesty. One would like to inform the Duke of Taran of a matter that one was asked to look into.”
Kwiz remembered seeing Hugo calling the Grand Chamberlain before they started their meal and saying something to him.
“You may speak.”
“Yes. After having lunch with Her Highness the Queen, the Duchess of Taran moved to the Rose Palace.”
“Ah. I did hear from the Queen that the Duchess would be visiting the palace today. Did you want to check if she is in the palace? How peculiar. She has certainly arrived.”
Hugo placed his teacup down and stood up from his seat.
“I will excuse myself for a moment.”
“I am going to see my wife since she is around and we happen to be in the same area.”
Since when did the huge expanse called the palace began to get described by narrow words such as ‘same area.’ While holding his teacup, Kwiz fell into deep thought, wondering what this was all about.
“I need an explanation. Is there something you urgently have to relay to the Duchess? If so, ordering the chamberlain should suffice.”
“There is nothing I have to relay by all means but even if I do, why would I order the chamberlain? A conversation should be done face-to-face.”
The Duke of Taran was certainly speaking in their native tongue but it sounded like a foreign language to Kwiz. Kwiz understood the outline of what was being said but he couldn’t understand the intention of the speaker.
‘Is he teaching me the definition of conversation?’, Kwiz thought.
Hugo didn’t want to delay any longer. There was a meeting in the afternoon. He only had time to see her for a short moment.
“I will come to the meeting on time.”
Hugo abruptly walked out and couldn’t be held back. Kwiz thought hard about it for a while then he questioned his aide.
“What do you think? If you don’t think about it complexly and simply interpret this situation?”
“…It seems to me that the Duke of Taran missed the Duchess and went to see her.”
“I mean, it also seems that way to me.”
Kwiz knew the situation but he couldn’t comprehend it at all. Why would the Duke miss the face that he saw every day at home? They have been married for more than a year now, reaching the peak of passion as a couple, moreover it was not a likely thing for the Duke of Taran.
Perhaps there was a deeper meaning and something profound to it. Kwiz fell into deep thought.
- It doesn’t say Duchess in the raw but I had to give context.
*Reminder: Katherine is Kwiz’s sister.
*Just as a note, Beth’s title can be translated as Your Majesty or Your Highness but I wanted an obvious [English] distinction between Kwiz’s title and Beth’s. In Korean, they are very different but as always, English doesn’t keep that distinction.
*So, how was it without (speaker) brackets?