“I guess there’s no need to worry then.
I’ll have a bottle ready.”
My eyes widened at that.
“Are you trying to gauge how much I could drink”
“It’s best if we put your alcohol tolerance to the test.
Miss Foid could keep an eye out for you, too.”
I glanced at the clock and noted it was still a little early to be consuming liquor.
But if I drink now, I’d have ample time to sober up before the emperor arrived.
And it was Raven who asked me anyway, so it wouldn’t be a problem considering he would report it to the emperor should anything happen.
Finally making up my mind, I nodded in agreement.
I’ll send Miss Foid shortly to keep you company.”
Please bring me something good.”
Raven seemed to be taken aback at my unexpected request.
It’s like I’m growing more and more comfortable with the emperor’s right hand man as the days go by.
Was it because I always see him right where the emperor is But that doesn’t matter.
I am more interested in what the liquor from the palace tastes like, and I hope there are a lot of snacks, too.
Raven reminded me once again about what could happen in the event before turning around and leaving the room.
Not long after, Lina sauntered towards me while holding something in her hands.
Recognizing the bottle, I let out a gasp and said,
“Yes, that’s right.
Is she trying to kill me It was the same drink the emperor drank every now and then, bearing an alarmingly high alcohol content of 80%!
“Y-you want me to drink this” My voice came out nervous.
What kind of drinks do they serve at an imperial gala exactly I recalled my freshman years in college where I was forced to drink until I passed out on the floor.
How could they even test my alcohol tolerance with this! It wouldn’t be surprising if I ended up in the hospital.
I stood there frozen on my spot as I stared at the bejeweled liquor bottle in horror.
Seeing my apprehension, Lina assured,
“Don’t worry, there will be a wide variety of drinks you could choose from at the gala, and most of them are cocktails.
The only person who was allowed to drink this straight from the bottle is the emperor himself.”
I see you also brought juice.” I was so distracted with the black bottle Lina introduced first that I failed to see the other drinks and snacks she had with her.
A wave of relief instantly washed over me. Thank goodness! For a fleeting second, I thought Raven was trying to kill me for being unfit to be the emperor’s partner at the upcoming gala.
Chills bloomed on my skin knowing for a fact he was capable of such things.
Unaware I was still unmoving, Lina sat in front of me as she prepared the cocktails with a quiet hum.
She handled and turned various bottles with expert hands, while I could only stare at her swift movements in admiration.
You’re good at this.”
“Oh! My father likes this.
Sometimes, I would make these for him on his rest days before he resumes working at the palace.”
She made two drinks for the both of us while delighting me with random stories of her family.
Since this was my first alcohol consumption, she made sure to put generous amounts of fruit and fragrant herbs on my drink.
“This looks wonderful!”
“This is your first time drinking, right”
To have Borestan as my first drink, which is the liquor the emperor himself is drinking, makes me feel privileged.”
“Iona, why do I feel like you’re being sarcastic” Lina teased.
A short laugh escaped my lips.
“Lina, you know me too much.” We dissolved into a fit of laughter.
Having someone to banter with feels really nice.
“Here’s to a smooth future in the palace.” We lifted our wine glasses and clanked them together before taking a sip.
My eyes went wide as the warm liquid went down my throat.
“Wow! It tastes amazing!”
I have never tried drinking Borestan so I have no idea what it tasted like.
It had an unbelievable refreshing taste that went well with the fruit concoction Lina mixed it with, and it reminded me of drinking lemonade all those years ago.
A random wave of nostalgia rose as I downed the rest of the drink.
Ridrian returned to his bedroom a little later than usual that night.
The maid with orange hair stood outside the door, showing her respects by doing a full 90-degree bow upon seeing him arrive.
The expression on her face appeared as if she saw horrors in the palace.
Ridrian, unsure as to why the maid was looking frightened, asked the maid with a blank expression.
“You’re Iona’s maid.
What are you doing here”
“I—It’s….” She stammered.
Keeping her eyes tightly closed, Lina blurted nervously, “Iona is in Your Majesty’s chambers.”
Ridrian raised his eyebrows.
“And” He didn’t know how that was a problem.
Lina looked restless and she couldn’t keep still.
Judging from the way the maid was acting, Ridrian surmised there’s probably something else that’s bothering her, other than the fact that Iona was sleeping on his bed.
He was about to ask the maid to spill but he opened the doors instead.
In an instant, a familiar, heady scent floated out of the room. Alcohol Ridrian frowned.
The sharp stench of alcohol in his own quarters was so strange, that he almost summoned Lotuboru.
He stepped in to find who the culprit was but what he saw stopped him in his tracks.
His doll was intoxicated beyond measure, passed out on the bed and unconscious.
I….” Lina said quietly but Ridrian held his hand up to silence her.
Return to your quarters.
I’ll take care of this.”