“What brought you to see me tonight?” the emperor asked Adele.
“I came because I thought it might not be time for dinner.
How about having dinner together?” Adele replied, hoping to change the subject.
The emperor was taken aback by Adele’s suggestion but quickly regained his composure.
“Even if it’s not so, I was just about to contact you because I had something I wanted to ask you,” he said.
“Please speak,” Adele replied.
“Why did you summon Count Calvin?” the emperor asked with a smile on his face.
Adele was embarrassed and struggled to find the right words.
The emperor’s smile deepened as he pressed her for an answer.
“Why did you call him, Empress?” he demanded.
Adele felt like she was facing a harsh north wind as she stared into the emperor’s cold, unrelenting eyes.
She quickly regained her composure and replied.
“I called because I was curious about the situation,” said Adele.
“Why are you?” the emperor replied.
“Is it strange that I, the empress, wonder about that?” Adele asked.
“You weren’t just curious, were you?” the emperor pressed.
“What are you talking about?” Adele asked, feeling uneasy.
“His land is being destroyed by towers, but I did not save him.
He just sent back the one who ran to save him.
But the empress called him again.
From what he heard, the empress seems to have given him gold bars.
What are you doing now?” the emperor demanded.
Adele wondered if the news of the gold bars had already reached the emperor’s ears.
She was speechless with embarrassment as the emperor continued to berate her.
“You want to play a good role alone? Unlike the emperor, the empress has a generous heart.
Do you want to hear this?” he accused.
“Is this what you’re saying about calling him and asking how the situation is, and giving him the funds to evacuate the villagers as a consolation money?” the emperor continued..
Adele did not answer the emperor’s question.
It felt like the tense air was about to snap as they locked eyes.
The empress recalled her mother’s advice to focus on good things and shut out negativity.
The emperor’s red lips curved into a charming smile, and she couldn’t look away.
As he stood up and approached her, the lantern swayed, and his golden eyes remained fixed on her.
His intense gaze made her feel like she was facing a demon, and she was trapped between him and the sofa.
“From now on, close your eyes and ears, see only good things and think only good things, Empress,” the emperor spoke, echoing the empress’s sister’s advice.
She gritted her teeth and retorted, “It’s the least a human being could do to another human being.”
“Are you saying I’m not human?” the emperor asked with a hint of amusement.
Adele opened her mouth, but quickly shut her eyes.
The heat rose to the back of her neck, her heart thumping wildly.
She knew she couldn’t stay like this any longer.
She reminded herself that she only lived once and must seize the moment.
As she started to speak, she felt a shiver run down her right shoulder.
Opening her eyes in surprise, she saw that the emperor had lightly grasped her black hair, which was braided to one side.
He ran his fingertips through her hair while gazing at her hollowed-out collarbone, so delicate that it seemed as thin as his fingers.
Would it break if he squeezed it too hard? The emperor impulsively tilted his head, and their shoulders almost collided.
The tip of his nose touched her white nape, and Adele reflexively shrugged her shoulders and held her breath.
The emperor’s jaw quivered, and he gritted his teeth.
Pressing his nose to her collarbone, he took a deep breath, savoring her sweet scent.
Was she the same woman who had captivated the crowd with her gaze?
As the emperor stood up, he held onto the armrests of his sofa with both hands, supporting his upper body.
He then leaned in close to Adele’s face, but stopped abruptly as he caught a glimpse of her golden eyes, fierce like those of a wild beast.
He straightened his twisted head, his lips still closed, and gazed at Adele’s stiff shoulders and raised eyes, clearly revealing her anger.
Seeing her fury, the emperor tilted his head and smiled seductively.
“Why are your eyes like that?”
“Did you come to me tonight to spend the night with me? If you want a hug, I can give you one.
It wouldn’t hurt to have our first night tonight.”
Adele clenched her fists.
The empress had intended to wish her emperor well, but his expression, attitude, and inconsiderate words made her feel dirty and humiliated.
She felt a wave of anger and frustration wash over her.
“I’m going to kiss you, so close your eyes.”
Adele refused to close her eyes.
Instead, she met the emperor’s gaze with pride.
Karl raised his hand to touch her eyes, but Adele slapped it away.
The emperor’s brilliant golden eyes were still wild, like a leopard’s in the jungle.
Karl was entranced, wondering what would happen if he tamed this sleek, agile black beast with its wild golden eyes.
Adele pushed him away from her seat.
The emperor took a step back, then a step closer.
He growled and warned her.
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