“Y-yes, my Lord.” Lina bit her lips, stopping herself from saying anything more.
With a pale face, she clutched her hands together and bowed.
Ridrian stepped further into the bedroom.
He sauntered towards the window and pushed it open for fresh air.
Warm, pleasant breeze immediately wafted inside, making the curtains sway and flutter from the wind.
Perhaps she felt the breeze on her skin, Iona groaned in her sleep.
He watched her quietly for a moment and leaned his frame on the windowsill in a relaxed manner.
After a minute or two, he let out a groan after realizing what just happened.
“So this is what Raven was talking about.” He recalled Raven telling him he would do what he could to prepare Iona so she wouldn’t humiliate herself and the emperor at the gala.
Never did Ridrian think Raven would actually have her drink alcohol.
Suffice it to say, of course alcohol will be served in the ballroom, but pitches of water will also be in abundance anytime she feels thirsty.
This whole ordeal was just unnecessary.
Ridrian smiled to himself.
Raven, as clever as he was, shouldn’t have expected Iona could drink such amounts to the point of passing out.
It’s why he had the maid accompany her to prevent situations like this from happening.
Then, another realization washed over him.
Iona was in his room, sleeping on his bed, when he had given her a room of her own.
For reasons he did not want to admit, he felt really good that she had come into his room on her own accord without him having to call for her.
He grinned as he looked down, cupping the sides of his mouth with his hand to stop himself from smiling.
“You must have drunk too much, huh Ridrian said as he approached the bed with careful steps.
Iona was fast asleep, completely unaware of her surroundings.
Looking down at her in her vulnerability, his desires simmered as he grazed Iona’s reddened cheeks with the tip of his finger, brushing it softly until he reached her plump lips.
At the same time, a sudden jolt of electricity surged from his finger, making him pull his hand back. What was that Ridrian stared at his finger in curiosity.
When his gaze fell on Iona once again, he noted her face was as peaceful as ever.
His eyes darted from Iona to his finger but nothing seemed unordinary.
Could it be that she felt a little bit warmer than before But Iona’s body temperature remained the same, cool, even.
“Hmm Oh… it’s the emperor.” Iona mumbled in her sleep.
She had done this before; both in her sleep and back on the boat, she called him emperor instead of Lord, which was rather strange.
Iona tossed and turned in her sleep.
Her face scrunched unpleasantly before plastering a vibrant smile.
“Ah, this is a dream!” She said with her eyes still closed.
There’s something about her bright smile that made her look absolutely endearing.
Feeling playful, Ridrian smirked and played along.
“Yes, this is a dream.
A drunken dream.”
She smiled even more as she tugged on the emperor’s arm.
“Come on now, let’s go to bed.”
“You’re really out of it, huh”
Even though she certainly was dreaming, he was taken aback by Iona’s boldness.
Only the members of the royal family and Liliana spoke to him so unrestrainedly.
“Are you annoyed that I’m speaking so freely No, don’t be.
I want to remind you how I was stuck being by your side for nights, how I worked so hard to help you sleep! So no! You can’t be annoyed with me!”
Ridrian’s mouth parted at Iona’s outburst.
Living his entire life as part of the royal family then ascending as an Emperor, he was never once the recipient of someone else’s unfiltered words, one that was full of raw emotion.
Only Liliana had come close, but even she was not that open about what she really felt.
The unfiltered words that came out of Iona’s mouth was surprising, and it caused a reaction deep within his heart.
And there was nothing he could say; all he could do was accept Iona’s complaints.
I have nothing to say about that.”
Iona smiled like a child and tugged on his arm again, “Then you better be good to me, even after I’ve put you to bed.
Look how hard I’m working.” She muttered whiningly.
Wholly entertained, he indulged in Iona’s drunkenness, not minding the fact that he didn’t have the chance to change his clothes.
The stench of alcohol blew across his face, making him scrunch his nose as he asked, “How many glasses did you drink”
Probably a bottle of Borestan, minus one glass”
The glass she was talking about was probably drunk by Lina.
Ridrian grimaced at Iona’s implication, “….
You drank the entire bottle of Borestan”
“It tastes good.” His doll must be a heavyweight.
She pressed her cheeks together, smiling all the while in happiness.
Ridrian remembered how Iona enjoyed eating the most.
Who knew she would enjoy drinking alcohol as well
He liked the fact she had gained a little bit of weight from eating so well, but consuming alcohol in huge amounts was just dangerous.
Flushing red on both cheeks, her innocent face neared him until they’re nose-to-nose.
With only an inch or two separating them, he noticed her relaxed, lively face, paired with her round eyes and red, moist lips, and he wondered why he didn’t notice them before for the many nights they shared together.
Afraid of not having this opportunity again, he brought her even much closer to his face.
Out of nowhere, she burst out laughing without a care in the world like a maniac, and a small, yet present fear stirred inside him.