He was back to his usual demeanor he’d always behaved in.
Before I could look into it more closely, he took my hand in his and bolted out of the room, startling the maid who was waiting outside.
Her eyes grew wide when she realized I wasn’t using the bonnet she gave me.
“Y-your Majesty!” She called after us, “The lady forgot her bonnet, Your Majesty!”
Seeing me without the bonnet on stressed the maid out.
It was her insistence that I should wear one, saying that my face should be covered since I’m going outside.
And if I’m being honest with myself, it felt kind of great to see her so troubled that her face paled in fright.
How could I not feel elated, when she had always treated me so unkindly The emperor ran through the series of corridors of the Imperial Palace, ignoring the calls of the frantic maid with his hand gripped tightly onto mine.
He didn’t stop in his tracks nor did he slow down, pulling me along with him as if our lives depended on it.
But could he at least let me catch my breath!
He continued to lead me through the corridors at a brisk pace.
The way he did not even spare me a glance to see if I’m faring well or not just proved how much of a tyrant he is. At least I am wearing a light dress, I thought, because anything much grander than this, like a big fancy dress, would surely look unkempt once we reached our destination.
As he dragged me further, the vivid scent of fresh grass instantly filled my nostrils.
I looked up at my surroundings and saw a space shrouded in greenery.
Having stepped outside for the first time had me beyond excited, and I could barely contain it!
Whenever I was left alone in the room, I would always open the window to breathe in some fresh air.
Some people would find being stuck in one place frustrating, but I’m completely fine with it since I’m used to staying in one place.
Having nowhere else to go back in my previous life made it bearable being the emperor’s doll.
And I’m actually comfortable just staying inside my room, especially when I know that I’d be facing my own demise once I was seen outside.
It was something I realized even before my memories came back, and the fact that I am also physically unfit makes it all bothersome.
Being granted the freedom to roam freely would require frequent breaks in between.
But as the wave of fresh air breezed around me, I realized how pitiful it is being just a mere doll.
Air filled my lungs, a clear reminder that I am well and alive.
Just being around nature was enough to make me feel ecstatic; the grass under my feet, the wide, seemingly endless garden and even the sharp stench of soil had me smiling from ear to ear.
I ran across the grass eagerly, the chill air kissing my cheeks as the emperor ran alongside me.
The refreshing feeling didn’t last long, however.
The feeling of exhaustion quickly caught up to me as I ceased to a halt, panting and out of breath.
Staying inside the room not doing anything but eating and playing around had me easily worn out, and I didn’t even run that long.
The Emperor waited patiently beside me while I steadied my breathing.
I guess I have to exercise occasionally from now on, but I know it was a promise I wouldn’t be able to uphold since I could barely catch my breath as I heaved.
Few minutes passed in silence, the Emperor reached his hand out to me when he sensed that I finally regained my bearings, and flashed me a soft smile.
“We’re almost there, Lily.”
I took his hand and we slowly wound through the dense bushes.
He swept the bushes that were out of our way, the grass crunching beneath our feet and as we reached what seemed to be a dead end, we saw a huge shrub and we walked our way around it.
My breath hitched quietly at the unexpected view.
Foliage in all shades of green was generously filled with varying kinds of flowers, the colors all bright and elegant throughout the garden’s expanse.
It was a spectacular sight, made even more enchanting by the presence of a white, puffy cloud stretching across the clear blue skies, accompanied by the distinct sounds of birds chirping in their nests.
The tall shrubs encircled the garden, making it unseen from wandering eyes like it was a hidden paradise of little fairies.
“What do you think, Lily It’s beautiful, right”
The emperor grinned slightly, sporting the same expression I had imagined in the original novel.
For the assurance of my survival, every day I pay close attention to his moods and I could say that he had improved quite a lot the past few days.
Judging by the way he was behaving and the way he spoke in a gentle voice, sometimes meant that he wanted me, a doll, to respond to the conversation.
I immediately nodded in response.
He reached out for my hand, a wordless permission to escort me through the gardens.
“Would you like to walk with me”
I placed my hand on his without a second thought.
It was what Liliana would have done.
He then flashed me a smile and held my hand warmly.
Not having the bonnet covering my face made me anxious, but I let myself relax since the emperor himself was right beside me.
I knew he would handle anything that might happen.
We began to slowly trudge the open space in the garden.
The lawn was well kept and it was clearly being tended to meticulously.
Wearing a long dress didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would have, the fabric softly brushing against the weeds under my feet.
Summer wind caressed my cheeks, and I couldn’t help but feel sleepy in the serene atmosphere.