As soon as she woke up in the morning, she saw a simple soup and soft bread served in front of her and Liliana thought.
‘I must be in heaven.’
She was prepared to be ignored or something unpleasant would happen since she was taken as a hostage. Even so, nothing bothered her except hearing the commoners’ pity in the frontier city.
Liliana dipped the bread in the soup and listened to the Emerald Palace’s maid.
“After breakfast, dress up and head to the Empress Dowager’s Palace.”
What kind of rush was this while she eating deliciously? Liliana narrowed her eyebrows indistinctly.
“Do I have to go every day?”
“Her Majesty the Empress Dowager doesn’t like a fuss, so you only need to visit when called.”
Only then did Liliana nod in satisfaction. How can such a good mother-in-law exist in this world?
The less she saw the mother-in-law, the better. In other words, the nagging repertoire to have a baby wouldn’t run out if she meets often.
After breakfast, she was served by the maids and dressed up.
Sophia chatted around at her side, wondering if she only needed to be a companion without doing anything. Liliana finished dressing up while keeping up with Sofia’s words.
Naturally, the Empress Dowager Palace was at least twice larger than the Emerald Palace. There was a small forest with trees so large that it was hard to know where they came from or whether they had been raised here for several decades, and the birds chirping sound was clear under the green there.
Liliana didn’t want to show her flair, though she couldn’t help but keep her head turned towards it.
There was a forest inside the palace… She didn’t know if it was actually a garden, but it was a forest! It was something unimaginable at the Nieta’s Palace.
Liliana barely calmed down her trembling pupils and entered the Empress Dowager Palace.
When she entered the drawing room and stood quietly without making a sound, a beautiful middle-aged woman entered. Perhaps Helio resembled her, with blond hair, blue eyes, and sharp eyes.
Helio had a playful atmosphere somewhere, so she had the courage to do something, but Empress Dowager showed no such gap.
Liliana bent down slowly, keeping her gaze down gently, wondering if she could hear the rolling sound of her eyes.
“I see Your Majesty the Empress Dowager.”
“Are you Princess Liliana of the Kingdom of Nieta?”
“Yes, I am, Your Majesty.”
“Let’s sit down first.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
Liliana was nervous to see if her words and actions were against manners. Perhaps what was okay in the Kingdom of Nieta could be an informal act here in the Carlo Empire.
Liliana had no slightest desire to be hated by this fierce mother-in-law.
As she sat calmly, Empress Dowager ordered the maid to pour tea. Liliana looked down, only watching the hot steam rising from the teacup.
“It’s hard to come all the way to another country.”
“No, Your Majesty. It’s an honor to be able to protect my homeland with the grace of His Majesty the Emperor.”
“I heard you chatted with the emperor quite actively. But I guess you’re also afraid, right?”
Liliana raised her head slowly and replied foolishly without realizing it. Then she saw Empress Dowager with a very attractive smile.
It was a moment when she could clearly see where Helio’s beautiful face came from. Liliana blushed and bowed her head.
“His Majesty the Emperor took pity on me and has only forgiven me for being rude because I have not learned anything.”
“I felt sorry for you….”
The Empress Dowager’s voice was somewhat bitter. Liliana carefully raised her head again. Because she felt that she had no need to be so scared.
“Moreover you are pitiful just like me.”
“How pitiful is your humble situation?”
“It’s because I also got married to this Carlo Empire from another country.”
Liliana nodded softly, “Ah.” This was also mentioned in the original story. Empress Dowager was also a case in which she was a hostage from a neighboring country like Liliana and became the empress.
Empress Dowager in her youth was often depressed and longed to go back because she always missed her homeland.
It was the same even after giving birth to the prince, Helio. Helio was chasing after his mother alone, who always looked elsewhere, but he eventually gave up and the relationship between them only grew apart day by day.
The relationship was the same even now when Helio took the throne and his mother ascended to the position of Empress Dowager.
The Empress Dowager gracefully took a sip of tea and laughed. She seemed to regret her youth when she saw her sharp, round eyes shining. Was this only Liliana’s delusion?
“I’ve been away from the emperor many days, so we’re not very close. I’m always having a boring day. Now that I have my first daughter-in-law, I wish I could have tea time with you from time to time, would you like it?”
Liliana replied as she seemed to shed tears in a mournful voice full of loneliness.
“I’d like to, Your Majesty the Empress Dowager.”
It’s best not to see her mother-in-law often! She missed it, but she had already answered, so there was no way to turn it back. However, it seemed that there was no harm to her as she looked good to those in power in the palace.
“It would be nice if you could tell me about the emperor sometimes.”
What? Liliana had a puzzled expression on her face. In the original work, Empress Dowager resents Helio. Because if she had not given birth to him, she could have been abandoned and returned to her homeland.
But now, this middle-aged woman before Liliana’s eyes must have been missing her son.
Some things couldn’t be known by one type. Emotion wasn’t something that could be clearly expressed in one word.
“Yes, I will.”
It was the moment when she smiled as pretty as possible while facing Empress Dowager. The Empress Dowager’s maid entered carefully and opened her mouth.
“Your Majesty the Empress Dowager, it is said that His Majesty the Emperor is coming here.”
Liliana’s eyes grew as big as rabbits at those words. When she wiggled her hips and was at a loss, Empress Dowager spoke to her in wonder.
“Princess. Are you feel uncomfortable somewhere?”
“N-no… ah, yes! Suddenly, my stomach feels a little….”
The Empress Dowager couldn’t help but be tactful due to her long palace life. This small and inexperienced woman’s inside could be seen clearly as if looking into a transparent pond.
‘It looks like you don’t want to meet Helio….’
She heard the two flirted with words and had various incidents, but is the report a bit exaggerated? After thinking for a while, Empress Dowager decided to let go of the restless poor girl.
“If you are not feeling well, please come back next time.”
Liliana was genuinely happy that her face brightened as if a flower bloomed on her face. She couldn’t believe she could see the inside so clearly. The Empress Dowager liked the pure hearted girl she had met in a long time.
When she nodded, Liliana bowed deeply; she lifted her skirt and stepped back from the drawing room.
Shortly after Liliana left, Helio entered the drawing room. Helio raised his lips as he watched his mother already enjoying her tea time.
The Empress Dowager looked up at Helio and said leisurely.
“Princess Liliana came and had already gone.”
“I know. I’m here to greet you. I wish you healthy.”
After Helio had finished that brief, formal greeting, he was about to turn around. It was really a visit that only cared about the public eye.
The usual Empress Dowager wouldn’t have cared whether the Emperor went out or not.
“She ran away quickly when she heard you were coming.”
After seeing the little princess who looked like a rabbit, Empress Dowager somehow wanted to talk to her son. She looked at Helio with a nervous expression as if she had just thrown money into gambling.
Helio chuckled as if exasperated and asked sharply.
“What are you doing now?”
The Empress Dowager still had her gaze on Helio, but then she slowly lowered down to look at the teacup. After Liliana left, the teacup was gradually getting colder. The Empress Dowager pushed the cold teacup aside.
“What do you mean? I’m talking to my only son.”
“Is there anything you want?”
Helio’s expression was so firm that it was unlikely to pierce a needle. His voice was also lower and colder than usual.
It was completely different from when he talked to Liliana, but Empress Dowager seemed familiar with it.
She beckoned the maid to place a new tea cup in front of Helio. Helio tilted his head and folded his arms, observing the action.
“Whatever you do, you can’t return to your homeland.”
“… Did you hate it?”
“Are you afraid of that now?”
“No. I’m not talking about me, but you.”
Empress Dowager clicked her tongue as she said that.
“I mean, did you hate the child who will soon become the concubine?”
Helio frowned and pulled the blond hair that flowed down to his forehead. It was an attitude as if he didn’t understand the situation. He dragged his tongue uncomfortably and smirked.
“It’s none of your business whether I do or not. Let’s just say hello. Don’t worry about it.”
Helio twitched his cheek as if it was ridiculous that Empress Dowager talked to him and once again said what he had said earlier.
“I wish you healthy. For a really long time.”
Helio left the Empress Dowager Palace without touching the teacup in front of him. The maid often came to comfort the Empress Dowager. The Empress Dowager shook her head with a bitter smile.
“It’s been a long time since I talked to that child.”
Liliana hastened her steps towards the Emerald Palace. Her heart began to pound when she heard that Helio was coming and still not calmed down now.
She was worried about what else that crazy man would say when he came after her, but fortunately, he seemed to stay a little longer at the Empress Dowager Palace. No matter how bad their relationship, she is his mother and he would greet her properly.
‘A proper conversation will only be possible after my daughter is born, but….’
Thinking like that, she felt a little sorry for Empress Dowager. But it was also true that she neglected Helio unattended in her youth, so it wasn’t easy for her to intervene. Liliana didn’t even deserve to intervene.
Liliana shook her head vigorously as she walked. Finally, the Emerald Palace’s entrance began to be seen.
Liliana’s useless worries vanished at the thought of a fluffy bed waiting for her. Her steps got faster. The maids also had to hasten their steps to chase after Liliana.
“Your Highness the Princess, please slow down in the palace…!”
That was when one of the maids was tried to nag. Liliana, who was walking almost as if she was running, stopped.
The maids who followed also stopped at once and bumped their heads against each other with the sound ‘oh my’ could be heard. Liliana giggled as she looked back as she thought it was funny.
The maids blushed and looked at what was in front of them to see what had stopped the princess.
A woman was standing in front of the Emerald Palace. She was tall, slender, and beautiful. Her red, alluring hair was raised high, exuding an elegant aura.
Liliana whispered to the maid who was standing right next to her.
“Who is it?”
The maid lifted her head and looked at the woman’s face, then hurriedly lowered her eyes.
“That is the Duke Gabriel’s daughter, lady Beatty.”
“Duke Gabriel? Beatty?”
Liliana tilted her head. She knew very little about the empire because she had only been here for two days. She searched through her head, but nothing came to mind from the original story.
As Liliana seemed to have no idea at all, the maid whispered one more time.
“Rumor has it that she is… the empress candidate.”