I’m In Trouble Because My Husband Is So Cute - Chapter 133
She had already shown the proper courtesy befitting a former Duchess. Perhaps the ‘right time to handle County Laurent Marquis’ wouldn’t be far off.
Setting aside the documents, she turned her head.
“Since all the important figures of the Imperial Family will be visiting the North, I’m thinking of making the celebration a bit grander.”
“Won’t that be difficult?”
“No, if you look at it differently, it’s a great opportunity.”
Placing her hands on her hips, she replied ambitiously. On the other hand, at the sight of her, Zachary thought she was so lovely that he couldn’t help but smile without even realizing it. Was it necessary to be this cute?
She went on.
“Hosting the Imperial Family itself is proof of my position as the mistress of the North, isn’t it?”
“Whether the Imperial Family acknowledges it or not, you’re the mistress of the North.”
“I know. But I—”
Iellie slightly furrowed her brow as her heart felt heavy. Then, letting out a sigh, she opened up to Zachary.
“…I wish the Emperor would finally accept that I am your wife.”
“I don’t want our relationship to be messed up because of the Emperor anymore.”
Considering the attention the Emperor had shown her so far, she had a rough idea of how he might behave during this meeting. Surely, despite her feelings, he would try to impose his feelings on her.
“But well, there’s no point worrying about how the Emperor will act right now. It won’t solve anything.”
Feeling the atmosphere becoming heavy, she shrugged and smiled before lightly continuing.
“For now, I have to focus on preparing a flawless celebration.”
Instead of replying, Zachary extended his arms, and Iellie found herself firmly nestled in his embrace. There was a warm temperature and a sense of security.
His gentle voice tickled her ear.
“Do as you wish. But don’t push yourself too hard.”
Blushing, she replied.
There was still a month left until the Imperial Family’s visit to the North.
* * *
The day the Imperial Family was set to arrive, the weather was sunny from the morning. The sunlight was clear, and the breeze was gentle. All preparations to welcome the Imperial Family had been completed perfectly.
She was immersed in a brief memory.
‘Come to think of it, I was this busy preparing for Zachary’s coming-of-age ceremony too.’
The Emperor, the Empress, and the Princess visited the Duke’s castle. They were accompanied by a considerable entourage of a hundred attendants and high-ranking officials.
Iellie greeted the Imperial Family as the mistress of the Duchy.
“Greetings, Emperor and Empress. It’s an honor to meet you.”
And at the moment of facing Iellie, the Emperor’s face, which had been furrowed all along, broke into a wide smile. Standing right next to her, Zachary, who had been keeping a close watch, stood guard before he spoke in a stern voice.
“It’s an honor to have all three members of the Imperial Family here.”
It was evidently a formal expression of etiquette, but the Emperor’s expression contorted once again. However, since there was no breach of propriety in Zachary’s demeanor towards him, he replied with a proper voice.
“We appreciate the Duchy’s hospitality.”
“Not at all. Please come inside quickly.”
As Zachary moved as if to block the path between the Emperor and Iellie, she felt relieved inside. Entertaining the Emperor was indeed a bit burdensome.
From behind Zachary, she observed the Imperial couple.
‘…Their relationship doesn’t seem all that great, does it?’
To be honest, there was no subtle language to say that their relationship didn’t seem great. Rather, their relationship seemed cold at first glance.
The Empress greeted Iellie with a warm smile.
“It’s been a while, Duchess Hessenweitz.”
“Yes, Your Majesty. I’m very pleased to be able to see Your Majesty like this.”
After the Empress nodded at her response, she took Iellie’s hand affectionately before she responded, “I’ve been bothered ever since I couldn’t attend your wedding.”
“No, thank you for your consideration.”
As the two women engaged in a gentle conversation, the Princess interjected with a smiling face between Iellie and the Empress.
“Duchess, have you been well?”
“Yes. Thanks to your concern, I’ve been doing well. How about Your Highness?”
“I’m always doing okay.”
The Princess smiled. Unlike when she faced the Emperor earlier, the atmosphere among the three women was heartwarming.
“We’ve prepared a room for you. You must be tired, so please rest there until the banquet.”
“I’ll personally show you to your rooms.”
Iellie stepped forward.
Usually, guests were guided to their rooms by the butler, but since she had a close relationship with the two women, she offered them special treatment. The three women chatted as they walked down the corridor.
“I’m looking forward to the evening banquet today.”
“I’ve prepared as best as I could, although it may not be enough.”
She gave a bright smile at the Princess’s words. Her statement about the preparations was genuine. While the Princess and the Empress might not be like that, Iellie could sense that the Emperor and the nobles subtly looked down on the North.
“By the way, there’s a rumor that the Duchess’s salon is quite special.”
When the Empress interjected with a gentle tone, Iellie looked at her.
“Sponsoring female artists and creating artworks.”
“It’s just a hobby.”
“No, until now, that area has been implicitly reserved for men, hasn’t it?”
The Empress seemed somewhat weary as she walked with measured steps.
“Breaking prejudices is quite a difficult task, you know.”
At those words, she glanced briefly at her. Sensing that The Empress’s voice was oddly tired, Iellie quietly faced her.
“I wish I could have thought like that too. No, but…”
The Empress fell into thought for a moment. After a while, she tilted her head with a faint smile.
“…It wouldn’t have made much difference even if I had those thoughts and couldn’t achieve them, right?”
Her face as she spoke was forlorn.
Duke Hessenweitz was known to support and assist his wife in her pursuits. But the Emperor… it was frustrating. The Empress tried to brush off her thoughts.
“The Asha flower tea was delicious. Thank you.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty.”
“It was quite surprising to learn that you made jam with flowers. It was very impressive.”
The atmosphere became friendly again. However, the Empress’s melancholic face remained in Iellie’s mind.
* * *
That evening, a banquet was held to celebrate the Imperial family’s visit. All the nobles of the North were invited to commemorate the Emperor’s visit, and the County Laurent family was also in attendance.
As the County had mainly stayed within the Capital, the Northern nobles felt somewhat uncomfortable with their presence, and eventually, the County ended up being sidelined at the banquet.
“What an excellent banquet.”
“I guess the Duchess must have put a lot of effort into it.”
Some of the nobles who had come down from the Capital to document the Imperial Family’s visit widened their eyes. The elegantly adorned banquet hall was graceful yet splendid, rivaling even the Imperial Palace in its grandeur.
“It’s the largest city in the Empire if you exclude the capital, isn’t it?”
“Probably the largest in terms of scale itself?”
As they witnessed the scene that shattered the prejudices of the Capital’s nobility, the nobles felt a subtle shift. It pricked at the arrogance of those who had inwardly dismissed the North as rural.
Iellie looked on with satisfaction.
“I would like to express my gratitude to all the esteemed guests who have attended today’s banquet.”
She stepped forward, leaving her greetings to the nobles, and all eyes were on her. Dressed in an elegant emerald green dress, she was every bit the perfect mistress of the Duchy.