Asha asked reluctantly.

“You like to eat alone, why do you eat with me?”

Karaf only looked at her and listened.

“Are you asking because you don’t know? There is nothing better when a flower is with a butterfly…….”

Asha coughed and covered her mouth. 

It seemed that what she had just eaten would bounce back. 

Karaf looked at her and asked, frowning slightly.

“I’m asking just in case, do you dislike being around me that much?”

Asha replied softly, wiping her mouth with a napkin.

“……It’s not that, but shouldn’t we protect you? How sweet is the honey of the Imperial Black Rose, I dare not covet it.”

Karaf laughed out loud at her bold response.

“You are the first person to judge me and test so openly……!”

The passing servants were startled by the sound of his laughter but soon smiled happily, thinking that the two were talking sweet and funny stories as if they were newlyweds.

After a while, Karaf stopped laughing and looked at her seriously.

“I understand.
I will wait for your decision.
I’ll tell you what a great man I am right now.
Follow me.”

He got up from his seat and walked ahead of her, seeming more excited for some reason. 

Asha had already lost her mind and was following him in her nightgown. 

Eventually, the two of them arrived in a spacious dressing room. 

Asha asked with wide eyes.

“What is this… … What is all this?”

Karaf turned around and said.

“Don’t you see? Everything is yours.”

His shoulders seem to spread out like a peacock with its colorful feathers inflated to its fullest. 

When all these things were prepared, the room was filled with all kinds of gorgeous dresses, shoes, ornaments, and jewelry. 

Asha’s face went beyond absurd and seemed astonished.

When Karaf looked back at her surprised expression, he smirked.

“All right, you must have been very surprised.
This is what my wealth can do.
You will have to get used to it.
It’s something you can naturally enjoy when you’re with me.”

He put his fist to his mouth and coughed a little.

“What do you think? Isn’t this a flower with pretty sweet honey?”

Without answering, Asha walked slowly to where a dress was hung.

Karaf couldn’t take his eyes off her elegant back. 

Hanging in the closet was the drab dark green dress she had worn in her past life, all brand new.

Asha fiddled with the dress, feeling emotionless. 

At that time, she was so afraid of him that she deliberately chose only those kinds of dresses to live like a dead mouse without being noticed in the Imperial Palace. 

For her, this dress was a protective color that she chose to survive.

Karaf immediately asked from behind.

“Do you like that dress? There are many other colorful dresses….”

Asha shook her head quickly as bad incidents from her past life came to mind.

“I think bright dresses would be better.”

Asha chose a bright yellow dress to emphasize that she is a butterfly, but she chose a comfortable and modest design with as few decorations as possible.

At that moment, Karaf seemed to like it, so he ordered the maids to help her change her dress. 

As he waited sitting on the sofa, he felt strange, as if he had become a groom waiting for the bride to put on a wedding dress. 

When Asha finally emerged from the red curtain, Karaf’s eyes widened, and he stared at her. 

A blonde Asha in a yellow dress was truly stunning, and she looked as if she was a golden butterfly shining loftily in her own right. 

Karaf said, fidgeting around his mouth with no reason to hide his pounding heart.

“…… Now it’s time to choose the accessories that go with the dress.
How about that diamond necklace over there?”

“It’s okay.”

“What?”

“This dress is enough.
I don’t need anything else.”

Karaf seemed taken aback because he didn’t think she would refuse, but he quickly came to his senses and brought what he had prepared. 

He walked over to her and gently placed a silver crown on her head. 

The crown was designed as a woven rose vine, and in the center was a ruby gem that symbolizes the red rose of the Imperial Family. 

Asha flinched a little as he suddenly raised his arms in front of her, but her eyes widened as she soon saw his satisfied expression. 

Karaf smiled gently.

“This is how I feel, so accept it.”

Looking at his smile, she couldn’t understand why her heart ached so much. 

It was a painful sight to see him, who knows no love, pretending to be a lover. 

Asha muttered unconsciously.

“Then, why back then…….?”

“Yes?”

“Why back then……? Why didn’t you treat me like this back then….?”

Karaf looked at her curiously, but Asha whispered like the wind and immediately bowed her head slightly and left the room. 

The wind blew softly around her dress, and a bleak wind blew between them. 

Now, without his permission or consent, Asha was the first to leave, turning her back on the Emperor, but Karaf was unable to catch her and he went stone still. 

At first glance, he could see tears in her eyes as she bowed her head.

“Your majesty…….”

Duran, who was standing like a pillar at the doorway, approached worriedly. 

Karaf said, looking straight ahead.

“Duran… … Is woman such a difficult creature?”

Duran blinked. 

Karaf was called the most powerful tyrant in the empire, and it was very unfamiliar for him to ask such a question. 

But Karaf said with a really complicated expression on his face.

“The women I have seen so far have liked shiny things a hundred times more.
When I gave them these lavish gifts, they would smile broadly or cling to me with tears in their eyes to the point of becoming an annoyance.
But I don’t know why this doesn’t work on Vanessa…….Duran, do you know something?”

Duran answered, perplexed.

“Actually, I don’t even know.
I don’t know much about women…….
But Lady Vanessa certainly seems different from other women.”

Karaf put a hand on his forehead and sighed. 

Duran spoke to him cautiously.

“Perhaps…… she just needs a little more time?”

Karaf asked, brushing his hand away.

“…… time?”

“Yes.
Lady Vanessa must have been mistrustful and wary of Your Majesty since childhood.
But since she became Vanessa overnight, she just needs time to adjust and, above all, time to get closer to Your Majesty.”

Karaf answered thoughtfully.

“I see…… You’re right.
I was pushing her so hard.
Vanessa must have been overworked.
Especially before the banquet, I even made her work….”

Karaf took a deep breath. 

He wondered why he did that and sincerely regretted it. 

He had been harassing her up until now, and now his sudden kindness seemed shameless and unreliable to her. 

What she said earlier must have been her resentment. 

     Why didn’t you treat me like this back then…?

Duran looked at him sadly.

“Why did you do that… … .”

When Karaf glared at him at his brazen criticism, Duran quickly averted his gaze. 

It seemed that things were going as he had feared last time. 

Karaf nervously moves his fingers on the red rug where the jewels were.

Far from touching these alluring jewels, she didn’t even spare them a glance. 

As if everything he had was of no value to her, so there was nothing he could give her…….

His life had never been smooth before he ascended the throne, but it was the first time he felt so exhausted. 

If he wanted anything, he would have it by any means and method, and he would trample on anyone who got in his way.

He gives generously to those who will be his, but he destroys so that no one can have it if he cannot be his.

That was his basic way of thinking.

But for some reason, he was just nervous, anxious.

Karaf was fine if she didn’t love him, so he thought it would be good if she just accepted the love he gave her.

Karaf looked at the accessories, then shortly after instructed the maids.

“…… put it away.
This rubbish doesn’t suit Vanessa.”

The maids were startled. 

The accessories on the table were by no means ‘trash’, but they quietly followed his instructions, fearing that his madness would flare up again. 

Karaf said with a gleam in his eyes.

“I will make the only unique ring in this world.
Bring in the most talented jeweler in the Etzheim Empire.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

The chamberlain replied politely. 

Karaf let out a slightly absurd laugh as he reflected on what had happened earlier. 

There is a woman in the world who hates diamonds…. 

He was sure that he would give Vanessa a present that would satisfy her. 

This way he would let her know that he is happy when she is by his side. 

But Karaf suddenly remembered something and said it seriously.

“Duran.
Could it be that Vanessa doesn’t like jewels, but land?”

“…… Pardon?”

Duran was taken aback, but Karaf was deep in thought with a very serious expression on his face. 

Perhaps she, like the high-ranking nobles, was not interested in jewels and wanted land.

Because if she is an empress, the scale must be large. 

He never imagined that Vanessa would hate diamonds but him.

At this rate, they were on the verge of conquering the continent…….

In the blink of an eye, Karaf, who had a burning desire to win and conquer, gave instructions to Duran.

“Tell the nobles to make a tribute right now.”

* * * * *

Instead of the abruptly interrupted banquet, only the nobles were invited to hold a tribute ceremony at the Imperial Palace. 

Asha considered this to be one of the emperor’s duties, and did not take it lightly, but was a little surprised when she had to attend the ceremony as well. 

It seems that he wanted the butterfly to sit next to him. 

He obviously said he would formally introduce her to the aristocrats at the festivities, but it seems like he suddenly changed his mind. 

He immediately introduced her to the aristocrats and marked her as his woman as soon as possible.

As Asha sat down beside him, Karaf solemnly instructed in a dignified manner.

“Send in the tributes.”

The door to the banquet hall opened, and the nobles entered in order.

“Greeting to Your Majesty the Emperor and Vanessa, the Butterfly of the Empire.”

Asha looked bored at the faces she already knew. 

Lilac, Blossom, Iris, Delphinium, and Fresia, are the five founding families that protect the Etzheim Empire alongside the Emperor. 

They were called ‘five petals’ of the Etzheim Empire, and they had different hair colors that symbolized their families, just like Duran. 

As they entered the banquet hall, they all looked at Asha, who was sitting next to Karaf.

     Is that woman who was selected as Vanessa this time?

 

 

 

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