The food was better than what she had eaten in the last few days.
Asha didn’t know if it was Karaf’s instructions or the maids’ payment for last night’s incident.
It seems that they were grateful.
But since it was her first hot meal, Asha was so immersed in the food that she forgot she was late for work.
As she moves the spoon and looks around, her messy room was already neatly organized.
Apparently, the other maids carefully cleaned her room so as not to wake her up in her sleep.
Asha got ready and left her room, but the chamberlain popped up next to her.
“Did you sleep well, Lady Vanessa?”
Asha looked at him in surprise.
“I was waiting for Lady Vanessa to wake up.
Please follow me.”
With a puzzled face, the chamberlain led her to a certain room.
But as soon as the door opened, her eyes widened as she lost sleep over the countless dress fabrics she saw.
“What’s all this?”
“His Majesty ordered me to make a dress for Lady Vanessa for the banquet.”
The chamberlain added with a hoarse cough.
“This is a gift from His Majesty, please accept it with pleasure.”
It was then that Asha blinked as she recalled what he had promised her before.
At that moment, a woman in the room gracefully greets her while grasping the hem of a beautiful dress.
“I’m Ella, the dress designer.
Pleased to meet you, Lady Vanessa.”
Asha was surprised by Karaf’s change of heart, but even more surprised that other people knew that she was a butterfly.
He spoke softly, trying to reassure her.
“Don’t be so surprised, Lady Vanessa.
Nobody else knows about this.
If they opened their mouths, His Majesty will behead them.”
The chamberlain said it so casually because he saw many such scenes, but Ella turned pale and began to sweat profusely.
Asha first measured her body and then received a thick album of dress designs.
Every time she turned the pages one by one, beautiful and colorful dress designs appeared, but Asha looked at them indifferently.
In the Eztheim Empire, a flowering ceremony is held once a year in the spring, when the flowers are in full bloom.
Karaf had said that on the day of the opening ceremony, the existence of a butterfly would be presented in front of all nobles for the first time.
Knowing the future, Asha knew that this day would be the decisive day on which Karaf would change his perception of himself.
Once upon a time at this Flower Banquet, he was nearly killed by a female assassin who infiltrated as a butterfly candidate…….
That year’s banquet was put on hold but to the assassination at the Imperial Palace.
A few months after that, she was captured and taken to the Imperial Palace.
Although she got to know him a little bit earlier, she wondered how he would react if she stopped her from doing so.
Perhaps in return for saving his life, she could ask him for something.
It was a life-threatening gamble, but she was no longer the fragile butterfly she used to be.
Asha closed the album and said.
“I’m sorry, but this isn’t enough.
To catch the attention of His Majesty and the nobles, I need a dress that is far more unconventional and edgy than the designs here.”
Ella’s face turned red because she was somewhat embarrassed and her pride was hurt.
She started her dress business even before she came of age, and was in charge of many noblewomen’s dresses for more than ten years.
While Ella kept her mouth shut proudly, Asha hinted.
“As far as I know, Miss Ella Ranunculus is one of the most respected dress designers in the Eztheim Empire.”
Ella blinked at the sudden compliment, then responded with a slightly stern smile.
“…… You praise me too much.”
“I will know from now on if it’s too much or not.”
Asha took the parchment paper and began to describe the dress she envisioned.
Ella’s eyes changed every moment as the pencil in her hand slid across the paper without hesitation.
Despite having been designing for a long time, she was now completely stunned by a design that she had never thought of before.
“I’d like to ask Miss Ella to make this unique dress.
It will probably be a dress that will go down in the history of the Empire.
And Miss Ella will always be known as an Imperial designer in the aristocratic circle.”
Ella’s eyes widened.
Asha’s eyes were serious, but brimming with dignity like any noblewoman.
Ella instantly realized that she was the best suited for the position of Empress and that she was supposed to serve.
She hurriedly put her hands forward and bowed her head.
“It’s an honor, Lady Vanessa.”
* * * * *
At that time, Jackal and Sosa were studying the structure of the Imperial Palace that was spread out on the table.
The calm blue eyes scanned the map persistently and slowly.
Sosa told him.
“It seems impossible to rescue Lady Vanessa from the Imperial Palace.”
Jackal was silent, but he also agree with that.
The structure of the Imperial Palace is very complicated, and during the banquet, all the nobles will participate, so the security will be doubled or tripled.
Above all, it would be difficult to approach Asha in such a short time, reveal his identity, and persuade her to run away together.
She went to the Imperial Palace on her own to save Lycaon, and she would never take a path that put them in danger…….
After thinking for a while, he spoke very seriously.
“I will go by myself.”
Sosa looked at him in surprise.
“I will go to the Imperial Palace to meet Asha first.”
His blue eyes darkened.
“I will transform into a horse and infiltrate the Imperial Palace first, so on the last day of the festival, you wait with the others near the monastery.
We will rescue Asha the moment the butterfly is announced.”
Sosa’s eyes grew bigger, but when he quickly shook his head, it seemed that this method had the highest chance of success at the moment.
In particular, on the last day of the festival, a large number of people, both nobles and commoners, will flock to the monastery to see the Empire’s newly appointed butterfly.
It would be difficult to escape through the huge crowds, but it was far more advantageous to flee by hiding among the people in a large open space than in the complex and narrow Imperial Palace.
No matter how much the Cactus Knights were, they couldn’t carelessly shoot arrows in a situation where they could shoot ordinary people if they made a mistake.
If there were a lot of people, the disadvantage side was not the prey, but the hunter.
Of course, with Asha’s skill, she’ll be able to hit the right person if she wants…….
As Jackal unknowingly thinks of her, he smiles bitterly.
Her voice, especially when she called him Sheppy was like the spring breeze and still lingered in his ear.
And after Asha left, he was like a living corpse who felt nothing.
But when he smiled for the first time in a long time, Sosa felt a little relieved.
Jackal rolled up the map again and tossed it into a corner.
“Keep the details a secret, organize the plan perfectly and plan the movements at the monastery.”
The only person in the organization who knew his true identity was Sosa, a member of the same clan, so Jackal only worked with him on the strategy.
The other members may feel sad, but originally, he often talked to Sosa, who was no different from Lycaon’s secretary, so everyone understood.
The Lycaons were shocked to learn that Asha was a butterfly, but they all agreed that she should be rescued from the tyrant.
When they heard that she gave herself up to save them, they all cried and were ready to run and save her immediately.
Sosa sweated a lot every time his comrades wanted to leave to save her, and he prevented Gabe from going on a rampage with a bottle of alcohol, yelling he would save her.
Jackal walked to the window and looked up at the moonlit night sky.
Suddenly, he remembered the last peaceful night he spent with Asha.
That day, he regretted over and over again for not confessing his feelings to her.
This time will be different.
When I see you again… … Will I be able to tell you my secret then?
Can I confess my true feelings to you?
In the moonlight, his bluish-gray hair once again turned purple.
Jackal silently placed a piece of carved wood on the window frame.
When Asha was taken away, he thought it would drive him crazy, so he carved a piece of wood while he organized his thoughts.
It was the first meaningful sculpture he carved.
He murmured, looking calmly at the intricate carvings of Asha’s face.
“Hang in there.
I’ll be right there.….”
His rough fingertips, covered in calluses, carefully stroked Asha’s eyes and hair.
His touch was very affectionate.
Sosa observed him and quietly left.
With every night filled with thoughts, time flew by quickly, and the day of the festival approached.
* * * * *
The ‘Festival of Flowers‘ is the largest event in the Empire, lasting a total of one week.
It consisted of one day symbolizing the period from which the first seed sprouted.
The next five days symbolized the five petals protecting the Imperial Family, and the last day, the Flowering Ceremony.
Asha rose from dawn to dress up for a ball called ‘Flower Banquet‘, which marks the beginning of the festival.
By order of the Emperor, Ella and several maids washed her body from dawn, changed her clothes, and adorned her hair.
The fact that she was a butterfly was still kept a secret, but everyone was happy to attend to her.
They all fell in love with Asha because of the previous incident, and the prejudice and hatred for minorities faded away.
Asha bathed in rose petals that filled the bathtub and was massaged all over her body with the Emperor’s favorite perfume.
After the massage was over, the makeup began in earnest.
Asha is one of the most beautiful butterflies of all time, and her appearance exudes an elegant aristocratic aura.
When she dressed up, she looked as if she had golden wings on her back.
The maids were excited and helped with more passion.
Asha finished all her makeup and wore a hair accessory that was elegantly adorned with black rose petals and silver rose vines.
It would be an implicit symbol that she’s the Emperor’s Butterfly.
Asha knew better than anyone how much the world of the nobility was imbued in lies and illusions.
At this Flower Banquet, she had to be seen as a more splendid and rare woman than any other woman in the world.
She will thus fully capture the Emperor’s heart.
Asha’s eyes gleamed with determination as she confidently headed for the ballroom.
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