If I Disobey the Duke - Chapter 95
Elegant Power (5)
Vlad rested his elbows on his armrests and caressed his chin. “As winter deepens, let’s neglect the people’s consumption of food. Since we have to ensure our soldiers are well-fed, it’s better to offend the people. Is that what you mean?”
The chief’s hand stopped. He looked around eagerly, but no one made eye contact.
“It should have been a problem solved earlier, so don’t argue.”
Despite the gloomy atmosphere, the meeting continued. Each of the vassals reported what had happened within the domain of their duties, and the lord gave orders.
When it was his turn, a vassal moistened his parched lips.
The others, who were puzzled by his attitude, quickly understood him when the topic came up.
“His Highness the Crown Prince is in a critical condition. The royals continue to invite us to visit the capital…”
“How long should I show mercy on your incompetence?”
Over the frozen atmosphere, something was now creeping.
The bloody gaze turned to the Lord of Cadis and chaplain in turn, who were responsible for this.
“Our next reply is to cut off the envoy’s head and send it. If this report comes up to me one more time. The head of one of you will be touring the capital together. Keep it in mind.”
It was a standard order of declaration of war, but no one thought of protesting.
It wasn’t something the vassals didn’t know.
When it was his turn, Hans began to report like a death row inmate reading his will.
“I will report about the situation in the Isles. My Lord.”
The vassals felt like they were entering a beast-filled cave, waiting for their burial.
Vlad didn’t even pretend to contain his displeasure.
It felt as if their skins were being ripped to pieces due to the atmosphere.
“Sir Talin, who sent the dispatch, is returning…”
Vlad raised his hand slightly.
There was no time to wonder, as the guard standing outside the door shouted, “Madam is here!”
All their heads turned to the door at the same time. There was a sense of freshness as if someone grabbed their hair and pulled them to the surface when they were drowning.
As the guards opened the door, sunlight filled the hallway, spread across the square and hit the floor.
A long shadow with a graceful figure stepped in.
* * *
You must never make a mistake.
It was her first appearance to his vassals.
It was often said that in such a situation, one must not even show a thread that might imply a lack of power.
There were always things she couldn’t do because she had no self-confidence despite her desire.
But today, she must not show any weakness.
Lily’s knees trembled a bit, but luckily she successfully pretended to look calm.
It was thanks to the imagination of practicing several times in thought of a time like this.
The experiences in the life she spent receiving respect were also quite helpful now.
Am I doing okay now?
It was a problem if she looked too flashy or too frugal.
A luxurious woman. A poor and disgraceful woman. In women’s life, those were labels that could spread like weeds in the field.
Her hair was tied neatly, a royal blue dress covered her neck. Her accessories were simple and white.
She was slightly relieved that her attire was formal enough for a meeting.
I should greet them now.
Grasping the hem of her dress with her silk-gloved hands, an unexpected sound tickled her ear.
Vlad had risen from his seat.
As soon as the lord stood up, everyone in the conference hall jumped off their chairs. It was like a habit.
The sound of many chairs being pushed back at the same time was like an earthquake that shook the ground.
Her husband’s sweet, low-pitched voice filled the silence of the conference hall. “Welcome, my wife.”
It was the strongest welcome.
As soon as the words were finished, the men in the conference hall greeted her at the same time.
With a salute, and with silence.
They were the ones to greet. Lily only had to respond when she wanted to.
[You are the noblest woman in Arcadia, the great realm.]
Lily was only now able to realize a little bit of what Vlad had said to her.
She slowly crossed the red carpet. The hem of her dress, which was longer behind her, followed her like a shadow.
At the sight of everyone standing upright without any disturbance, Lily felt as if she was standing alone, being admired like a painting.
Nine men lined up between the table and the railing, like a towering wall.
Lily, who approached them with her head straight, naturally extended her hand to the Lord of Cadis, who stood on the far right of her.
“Lord of Cadis. I am so happy to see you again.”
She didn’t know if it’s because she had met him before, but it was easier to talk to him than the other vassals.
Valks kissed the back of her silk-gloved hand lightly. “It is an honor that you remember me. Madam.”
Lily’s manners were as natural as flowing water. But she felt an intense concentration to the point that she became conscious of the number of times she blinked.
Except when she was in front of Ivan and Hans, she was stuttering slightly.
Even after she said her greetings, they continued to stand and waited for her to sit down.
Green eyes rested on the left edge of the table.
At the same time, a small creak sounded and time seemed to stand still.
Vlad had come down from the podium and put his hand on the empty chair.
He lightly dragged a huge wooden chair like one would a toy and placed it on the podium, next to the seat of the lord. It happened in an instant.
Vlad placed his hand lightly on the back of his wife’s chair. “This is your place, Lily.”
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