Rose ate with Alison for lunch.
It was just the two of them.
The fact that they had to be together until the afternoon was a bit daunting, but Alison didn't make Rose uncomfortable.
The resemblance to Russell may have played a major part in making Rose feel more comfortable.
But she wasn't going to admit that.
The dining room in the annex, where Alison was residing, had large windows, through which streams of sunlight poured in dazzlingly.
It was so bright that it was easy to eat without the maids lighting up the room.
Rose and Alison's meal began in the glow of natural light.
In the midst of their small chit-chat, Alison suddenly slipped in a question.
“Oh, I forgot to ask.
Did you have a good trip to the Imperial Library?”
Rose, who was busily stabbing into her vegetables with her fork, tilted her head slightly curiously.
The knight guided me there quickly, so I was able to come and go without any inconvenience.”
…Is that not the answer you expected?
From Alison's sullen reaction, Rose pondered over the question seriously.
Or did you not like the book I brought you?
Is there a hidden meaning behind your questioning?
If asked, Rose would have been unable to identify what she'd eaten as her mind became occupied by Alison's seemingly harmless questioning.
Watching Rose struggle, Alison deliberately cut to the chase.
“Have you met anyone at the library?”
Allison's expression showed that she knew everything.
The image of her emperor naturally came to mind as she spoke of him.
Rose's cheeks flushed a scarlet red.
We were sitting comfortably on the library floor and talking.
Sitting in front of me with one knee bent, relaxing the tight muscles of my calf.
And the way he stopped the books from falling and smacking into my head with his hand was—
Rose's face suddenly turned pale as she remembered what had happened in the library.
Allison, who was watching her when she noticed the sudden change in complexion, was startled.
“What's wrong? Rose?!”
Rose's hand holding the fork trembled visibly.
The fact that Russell injured the back of his hand while trying to save her—she'd forgotten all about it.
Seeing Rose's increasingly pale face, Alison assumed the worst and felt her face blacken.
“What happened in the library?”
“That, umm, err, actually.”
Rose stuttered and frantically looked around them to see if anyone else was listening in on their conversation.
Attendants were waiting to help Rose and Alison with their meals, but as they were far away, no one would hear if they spoke quietly.
As Rose leans in Alison's direction, Alison also leans closer to Rose.
“Actually, at the library earlier…”
Rose explained in a low voice what exactly happened to Russell in the library.
To hurt the Emperor's body! Why? Why couldn't it be anyone else?!
Though she became a member of the Rosenberg family, Alison, who has royal blood flowing through her veins, might become angry once she knew what she'd done.
After her explanation, Rose was like a sinner waiting to be sentenced; she waited for her judgment.
Even if I didn't hurt him directly, His Majesty was still indirectly injured due to my error in judgment.
Besides, she was so focused on her own pain that she completely forgot about Russell's wounds.
Rose's eye corners and lips drooped sadly.
Wouldn't the knights come soon and take me away?
Rose was now ready to accept the punishment that was about to befall her.
However, the outcome of her confession was neither the knights' arrest nor Alison's fiery anger.
“Hahahah! Is that why you looked so terrified?!”
Allison threw her head back and laughed loudly.
Rose was distraught and confused.
But no matter what reaction Rose had, Alison's laughter did not end.
Allison's laughter died down after a while.
“Rose, don't worry.
His Majesty is not the kind of person who would be angry with Rose for something like that.”
Rose readily agreed to that.
Because Russell was a kind person who knew how to care more about the wounds of others than his own.
Rose's complexion returned to its normal state with Alison's consolation.
She seemed indifferent to the news of her brother's pain.
However, since the anxiety lasted for so long, Rose's drooping lips did not recover.
“I know that His Majesty is not the kind of person to be angry with me for hurting him, but it's true that he was harmed because of me.
May I visit Your Majesty in the afternoon and ask for his forgiveness?”
Alison put down the utensils in her hands and listened to Rose with her chin resting on her palm.
Without hesitation, Alison called a nearby attendant urgently and whispered to them.
Rose stared blankly; she was unable to hear Alison's whispers.
Soon after, the attendant ran out of the room and returned less than five minutes later.
He set a small box he had brought from outside in front of Rose.
Listening to the marquise's command, she opened the lid of the box, and a jar smaller than the palm of her hand appeared.
It was a famous ointment, and Rose was familiar with its brand.
“Isn't this ointment for wounds?”
“Yes, that's right.
After all, the Honeywell family also uses that ointment?”
“We do, but the price is high, so we stock a small amount.”
Rose held up a bottle of ointment.
It showed signs of having been used once or twice, but there was still enough ointment left.
Allison pointed her finger at the bottle of ointment resting on Rose's hand.
“I want to send this to His Majesty.
When I finish eating, I will write a letter to my brother.”
I think I can guess a little bit of Alison's intentions when giving this.
Rose full heartedly gave thanks to Alison, then opened her mouth cautiously as she felt a sudden curiosity.
“I know this is expensive, but still, if I were to give it to His Majesty, wouldn't a new one be better than a used one?”
Allison waved her hand nonchalantly.
“Don't be concerned.
No, I'm not giving it to him.
I'm lending it to you, Rose.”
What kind of situation is this? Wasn't it a gift to treat His Majesty's wounds?
Rose took a serious look at the bottle of ointment.
I don't know what Allison is thinking.
How are you going to lend it to His Majesty? Then will you borrow it back when you need it from the emperor's office?
Before Rose's head thought up any more complicated and creative scenarios, Alison nipped her curiosity in the bud.
“Rose, take it, visit His Majesty yourself, and give it to him.”
“That's what you meant? I must give it directly?! Really?!”
Rose stuttered badly, subconsciously repeating Alison's words.
She jumped up, let out a wordless, shrill scream, and knocked over the chair she'd been sitting on.
Seeing Rose so flustered made Alison break out in laughter.
“What are you so surprised about?”
The attendants rushed to right the chair and put it back in place, Rose sat back down with a face that looked like it would explode in red at a moment's notice.
“I bet that if Rose brings the medicine and visits it, His Majesty will probably be relieved of the fatigue accumulated throughout the day instantly.”
Allison hinted at Rose.
To the emperor, Rose Honeywell was an existence that could make him forget all his fatigue.
Allison chuckled at Rose of Honeywell's reaction.
“Is that so? I didn't know that this ointment had ingredients to relieve fatigue.”
“Does it relieve fatigue just by applying it? Does it contain aromatic ingredients?”
Alison quietly swallowed her tears of frustration as she looked at the bottle of ointment and Rose's pure admiration.
Rose Honeywell had only liked Elliot Proud, it seemed that she didn't notice the feelings of romance with others.
But who would have dared to imagine that the Emperor of Tristan would have a crush on Rose Honeywell ever since she was a very young girl.
Before she left the Imperial Palace, Alison decided to put another plan into action for her beloved brother.
“Because it is an ointment with various effects, Rose should give it to His Majesty—no! It needs to be in direct contact with the back of His Majesty's injured hand.
Apply it yourself.”
In the end, Rose only nodded at the woman who spoke with great conviction, word by word.
After their little commotion, their meal continued, and after it ended, Rose and Alison moved to their couches after the meals were finished.
It may have been winter, but the sun shone warmly.
The two ladies wanted to have a chat over tea in the greenhouse, but as they walked out into the hallway, an attendant hurriedly ran towards them.
“What's the matter?”
“Marquise! A letter has arrived from the Marquisate of Rosenberg.”
“At my estate?”
Receiving the letter from the attendant, Alison unfolded it in the middle of the hallway.
At first glance, it appeared to be a long, detailed letter, and Rose waited one step away from her with the attendant to give her some privacy.
The more she read the text, the faster Alison's expression hardened, and in the end, she even ended up cursing.
Rose's shoulders tremble at Alison's unfamiliar appearance.
Allison shoved the letter into the envelope uncaringly, breathed deeply, and then turned to Rose with a troubled expression.
“It seems that something happened in the marquisate.
My apologies, I won't be able to have tea time with you today.”
“It's okay, but is it a serious problem?”
Rose followed Alison as she walked quickly.
“It looks like bandits have invaded the marquisate.
It's difficult to secure food in the winter, so they often come in when I'm not around…
They reported that it was set on fire this time.”
“So serious? Are you going to leave for the marquisate?”
“It's not like I've never been through something like this once or twice, I was just angry for a moment.
The butler can't use the repair costs for the fire as he pleases, so he sent me a letter.”
Arriving at Alison's office while talking about the Marquisate of Rosenberg, the two headed to their respective seats.
Allison sat at her desk, while Rose, who had nothing else to do, sat on the sofa.
The marquise took up a pen to reply to the letters from the marquisate.
Looking up, she found Rose sitting still on the sofa with her back straight and firm.
Rolling her eyes, she called out to Rose, who was lost in thought.
“Rose, I don't have anything to do today, so are you going to visit His Majesty right away?”
“Now? Are you okay if I just leave?”
“Yes, I'll send a letter to His Majesty right away.
Wait until I'm finished, then you can leave.
It seems that things will continue to escalate for me, so you can go back to the mansion after meeting His Majesty.”
Allison speedily wrote a letter requesting an audience with Russell and handed it to the attendant.
“Then I will wait outside the office and wait for an audience with His Majesty.”
“You come back and wait with me until your brother is ready to leave.”
“I'm afraid I might disturb Alison, so I'll leave and come again tomorrow.”
Don't forget to apply the ointment directly to His Majesty!”
The marquise released Rose only after she'd given her word.
Rose smiled awkwardly and left the office, saying she wouldn't forget.
The attendant who left the office with her turned to Rose.
“I will immediately send this to His Majesty's palace.
Will Lady Honeywell be waiting in the break room?”
“No, I'll be waiting outside the annex.
The sun is nice today, so I want to get some fresh air outside.”
“Yes, then, if you are in front of the annex, I'll return quickly with the permission.”
The attendant clutched the letter and rushed away as Rose slowly made her way to the front door of the annex.
The sky has been clear and sunny for the past few days, and the winter days were warm.
Rose bided her time walking around in front of the annex's front door and took out the bottle of ointment that she had tucked away in her pocket from time to time to inspect it.
“She said to apply this directly to His Majesty.”
But what if His Majesty says it's not okay and refuses?
Rose squeezed the bottle of ointment with both hands, then brought her hands close to her face as if in prayer.
I hope His Majesty won't refuse.
Her heart felt tickled, as if a feather had lightly brushed against it.
The returning attendant approached Rose, who was laughing subtly.
“Your Majesty said he would be waiting for you.”
“Yes? Ah, yes.
With a bright smile, Rose followed the attendant and left the annex.
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