While I was wondering if it would be a good idea to wear that dress that looked so comfortable, a maid took the dress off my hands.
“Hurry up and wash yourself.
It’ll take most of the time for you to get clean and put make up on.”
The brown-haired maid annoyed me, sometimes, with her overbearing way, but at least she didn’t treat me as bad as the other maids in charge of the bedroom.
Lina always took care of me.
One of the other maids looked up and down the dress Lina had taken from me.
“How did you find a dress that looks like it will fit well That’s good.
I’ll prepare this, you just have to hurry up and get ready.
Lina, please go wash Lily.” The maid curled her lips and pushed me towards the bath.
Lina looked troubled, seeing the other maid treat me badly, but she kept her mouth shut.
I was used to this treatment, but good-hearted Lina seemed worried that I would get hurt.
I didn’t care if the other maids treated me harshly.
I was more worried that Lina, who treated me so well, would be harmed because of it.
The bath and make-up didn’t take as long as I had thought they would.
The water was already hot and, because it was just a walk in the palace’s garden, there was no need to apply a large amount of make-up.
It was putting on the dress that caused the most issues
‘Why is it so tight’ I wondered, embarrassed.
I’m sure it would have fit fine if I’d worn it some time ago, but it appeared that I’d gained some weight from all of the eating and sleeping I did.
I really did enjoy every meal, being prepared by exceptional palace cooks.
And the bed was so soft, that all I did was sleep when I wasn’t doing the light, manual labor required of me by the maids.
It made me realize the benefits of being in a nice position.
‘Wow! Lina had told me I looked better with a bit more weight and I guess it’s true’.
I almost couldn’t recognize the person I was seeing in the mirror.
My skinny arms and legs had become plumper, and my cheeks were a bit chubby as well.
My face was not as tense as it once was, and I almost cracked a smile.
I was admiring myself in the mirror when I heard a man’s voice outside the door.
“His Majesty, the Emperor is coming”
The door opened and the emperor entered, dressed fancy.
I could see the improvements in him from one month ago.
The dark circles under his eyes hadn’t fully disappeared, but they were certainly better than before.
Perhaps it was because I was able to put him to sleep regularly at night.
“See the brightness of the great Ivant!” someone announced.
I was distracted, thinking about the emperor, but as soon as I noticed Lina and the other maids greeting him, I reflexively bowed my head.
My bonnet fell to the floor.
I panicked and scrambled for it.
In that moment, I had a chilly feeling that I made a huge mistake.
The maid next to me looked at me with anger.
‘Dolls don’t greet.
It might have insulted him that I bowed down.
What was I thinking’
I pretended to be as nonchalant as I could, hoping all the progress I’d made with the emperor would pardon me.
Thinking about it, this was the first time I ever greeted him.
‘Please, don’t let this first greeting be my last one!’ I worried.
The emperor just stared at me without saying a word, but it felt like the calm before the storm.
For a moment the room was filled with a terrible silence.
Even the fall of a needle in the carpet would have sounded like a thunder.
‘I’d prefer if he was just angry.
I can’t take this!’
The emperor broke the silence.
“Get out, everyone.”
Lina and the other maids reacted at lightning speed to the evil emperor’s order, sputtering acknowledgements.
“I-I will immediately retire.”
“I hope you will spend a peaceful time together.”
‘No! Please don’t leave me alone!’ I screamed inside, but no one could hear me.
I was alone in the room with the emperor.
With his eyes still on me, my nervousness grew.
I swallowed, loudly.
‘This is what I get for lowering my guard’, I thought.
‘I have to be more careful from now on.
At this rate, my head will part from my neck well before the heroine shows up.’
The emperor reached out for my pale hand, and I instinctively looked up at his face.
“Let’s go out” he said.
I was confused.
Hadn’t I made a mistake.
He rolled his eyes at my hesitation.
“Why aren’t you coming” It was strange to hear him speak to me like an adult.
He stepped closer when I still hadn’t moved.
Taking the bonnet out of my hand, he threw it on to a chair.
“You don’t need that.
Why are you trying to cover up your pretty face” Then he reached out for my hand once again.
“Let’s go, Lily.”