Princess Shu - Chapter 49
A neatly cleaned annex, fresh wildflowers everywhere, fragrant tea, and a relaxing time. The boundaries and subtle hostility that were burning toward the High Priest eventually dissipated and became neutral over time.
“It’s already the last one. The conversation we had was so pleasant that I didn’t notice how much time had passed.”
Philemon said after looking at the dessert that the employee brought. Fresh flowers that had been trimmed with only the petals left were gently placed on the cake. The purpose of these petals was to inform the guest that this was the last dessert of tea time. It was the custom of the social circle to finish tea time after eating this dessert.
After finishing the half-empty cup, the employees refilled the teacup. On top of that, a freshly trimmed flower was placed. After finishing the last of the preparations, the employees politely left. Valia opened her mouth.
“High Priest, I have something to ask you.”
“Go ahead, Marchioness.”
Valia had something she had to ask when she met back with Philemon. It was none other than the dowry that she had not even thought about.
“I saw the documents about the dowry. Was it you who prepared it?”
Philemon cleared his throat. He drank a sip of tea.
“Think nothing of it. I just wanted to arrange the marriage expenses since you were getting married.”
Seeing his subtle shyness, Valia’s heart warmed. She followed Philemon and lifted her teacup. A fresh scent permeated the tip of her nose.
“But you gave me too much, it was undeserved.”
“Not at all, what do you mean undeserved? Isn’t it just the right amount?”
Philemon prepared the dowry at the same level for the marriage of a Marquess’ daughter. Of course, he prepared more generously than the general standard, but it was not undeserved.
Valia was puzzled. What she received was not at the level of a typical dowry, but at a level of half of the inheritance from any noble family. She was not being humble, that was what she actually got.
They continued their conversation until they talked about the dowry list. Robin, who was listening next to them, exclaimed silently in his mind. It really was not a joke when Madam said it was undeserved.
Philemon burst into laughter after hearing the list.
“Marchioness, with all due respect, there are a few things I don’t remember about the dowry you mentioned.”
Valia was bewildered. Philemon pointed one by one with a gentle face. The land in the south and the manors in the capital were definitely too much property for a dowry.
“These are things that have been handed over to His Grace from the temple before.”
“…To His Grace?”
Philemon smiled happily. The property that had been transferred to Schuden went back to Valia’s dowry list. There was only one person who could do this—Schuden Garth.
“His Grace seems to care a lot about you, Marchioness.”
It was an unexpected revelation. Valia blinked in bewilderment, she had always been calm no matter what Philemon had said, and yet, for the first time, Valia was at a loss.
‘Now she looks like her age.’
Philemon was pleased but also had mischievous thoughts in mind, just like how a grandfather teased his granddaughter. Philemon turned his gaze to Robin, he was familiar with the young knight as he had seen him in the temple before.
“Sir, what do you think?”
“Don’t you think that His Grace thinks highly of the Marchioness?
The silvery-gray eyes were directed to Robin, who was unexpectedly pointed out to. Robin quickly noticed the slightly flushed cheeks on Valia’s face. He thought that if he were to accept the High Priest’s opinion here, Madam would be even more embarrassed. But it was also very difficult for him to say no. Even if he were to put aside the fact that His Grace really did think of Madam a lot.
‘What should I answer?’
Had it been Shaun, he would sternly say.
‘I don’t think this is a place for an escort knight to express his opinion.’
Unfortunately, however, Robin had very little experience in this field. The young knight was thrown into the chaos of his life.
“For His Grace, Madam is, I mean…”
I have to answer well. But what should I say?
Robin’s pupils trembled relentlessly. It was just when Valia was about to rescue the escort knight, saying to the High Priest that he had asked such a mischievous question.
“What is the lady for me?”
A familiar voice echoed through the annex. Their gazes were directed at one place at the same time. Long, firm legs walked in the annex. Valia’s eyes widened.
“Am I too late, High Priest Philemon?”
“No. It’s good to see you before I leave, Marquess Garth.”
Schuden met Valia’s eyes and smiled softly, he naturally turned towards her. Following behind Schuden was Shaun, giving a signal with his eyes to Robin. The young knight who was frozen in his place quickly moved behind Shaun.
‘Whew, I’m saved.’
Ribbon let out a sigh of relief inwardly.
Schuden’s seat was right next to Valia. As soon as he sat down, he searched and grabbed her hand under the table. It was a sudden touch. Valia’s hand, which was resting gently on her thigh, trembled. Despite her silvery-gray eyes staring at Schuden in embarrassment, he still had a very calm face. Rather, he went one step further and intertwined their fingers together.
“I see that you’re having your last dessert.
Schuden opened his mouth while holding Valia’s hand. Philemon replied with a smile.
“Yes, it was a great tea time.”
“I’m glad you liked it.”
They had a social and casual conversation. Valia once again thought that Schuden was great. Even while continuing the conversation with Philemon without difficulty, he noticed that her hand was trembling and sought to soothe it by caressing her hand. Valia lifted the teacup with her other hand. She felt ticklish. Even when he had held weapons for a long time, the fact that his firm hands were always soft when touching her made her heart pound.
Tea time did not last long. Although Schuden was the last to enter, he did not seem to have any business for Philemon. And so, tea time ended with a few formal greetings and an apology, which was Philemon’s original purpose.
“I had a great time today, Marchioness Garth.”
“I’m glad you said that. Be safe.”
Valia smiled brightly. Philemon returned his smile and shifted his gaze. Schuden was standing next to Valia.
“I will take my leave then, Your Grace.”
“Take care of yourself.”
Schuden was certain to give his greeting because Valia was there. Before this, he did not even care whether Philemon was leaving or not. Philemon just swallowed his laughter.
‘It’s been a while since I got a goodbye greeting.’
Philemon was always sent off only by the general butler and the housekeeper so it was new to get the greeting from the couple–especially from Schuden. This young, handsome Marquess had always been really unhappy with Philemon–and was right to feel annoyed–because he had been visiting his manor every two days asking him to accept marriage with the temple princess. And the only noble across the continent who dared to treat a High Priest like that would only be Schuden Garth.
The temple carriage carrying Philemon had left. An aide, who was at a loss as he looked at his watch, approached Schuden.
“Your Grace, you have to leave before the sun goes down in order to return to the palace on time…”
Hearing the aide, Schuden looked up at the sky. It was early evening when the sunset began to color the clouds. The crystal orbs embroidered in the yard were lit up one by one. It was the time gap before dinner.
“Get the horse ready.”
“Yes, Your Grace!”
The aide nodded and left quickly.
Schuden looked back at Valia. She was about to tilt her head when she heard the word ‘return to the palace.’
I thought he came back after his work was finished, no?
Schuden reached out his hand. Valia blinked her eyes and familiarly placed her hand on his. A smile was reflected a little on his lips. Schuden took her hand and moved his feet towards the yard. They used to walk like this often, but today… Valia remembered the aide who stomped his foot and asked.
“Schu, don’t you have to go now to return to the palace?”
“I still have time to walk together.”
Is that so?
Looking at Schuden’s laid-back face, it did seem so. Valia put aside her doubts and began to walk with him.
Garth’s yard was beautifully maintained. The paving stones were well-groomed and the fountain was carved out of marble, but what drew the most attention were the crystal orbs in place of ordinary lamps. These crystal orbs that emit light by injecting an alchemical substance were quite expensive. The manor of Marquess Garth would house the only noble family in the whole Gel Empire to decorate the yard with so many crystal orbs. White, soft light resembling the moonlight landed softly.
They have walked for quite some time. The employees were following them from a distance on their own.
“I heard High Priest Mercille had abruptly left in the middle of tea time today.”
Valia was a little nervous at the sudden remark. It was the first tea time she held at the manor after becoming the Marchioness. It was different from usual tea time but it was definitely not a good look for her guest to leave in the middle. Even though Schuden was unlikely to be upset, she could not help but be worried.
“You don’t have to serve tea to such a guest from now on.”
However, the words Schuden brought up were completely different from what she had imagined. Valia was a little perplexed.
“What? But how can I…”
“Just kick them out.”
Valia asked again, wondering if she had heard it wrong. Kicking out guests at tea time was something she had never heard of in her life. She wondered if he was joking but Schuden’s face was just calm, anyone could tell that he was sincere.
“But then the reputation of House of Garth will suffer.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“People may not even come to my tea party.”
“There are many vassals in the Marquisate of Garth. There are also many noblewomen.”
You can also just give an invitation only to me if you want.
Of course, the latter was kept inside his head. Even Schuden thought it was a little childish.
“You’re going to call all the vassals in the marquisate to the capital?”
“Rather than whether you can or not… It would be very costly.”
“Your husband can afford that much.”
There were no known cases where noblewomen and vassals in the territory were summoned because of there being no guests in a tea party, and there were no nobles with such an idea. Perhaps Schuden was the only husband who talked about such a topic as if it was nothing. Valia laughed a little.
“Will that be okay?”
“If you want it.”
Valia finally burst out laughing. The red eyes that were looking at her softened. Then, something crossed his mind. Schuden had not kissed her for quite some time