Lantern Festival (1)
TL/N: The festival directly translates as After Festival (because it’s a festival that is held after the Harvest Festival XD) but I thought it was kinda awkward so I named it Lantern Festival based on lantern floating activity on this day.
“Ah, I remember seeing these. Everyone had these on so I was wondering what it was.”
Karlos observed the rose with curious eyes.
A gift that was to be presented to family members, lovers, or close friends.
The Chancellor who didn’t have a family member or a lover— technically he did have a family but they were worse than enemies— explained patiently to the Emperor.
This floral decoration was used in the Harvest Festival’s after festival to be burned in the lantern when it’s sent to float. So before that happens, it would be used as a brooch or boutonniere.
“Uh, Bri is fine b, but the author, she…”
The Emperor felt a bit nervous hearing the Chancellor’s explanation.
He respected Eva as an author but she wasn’t his family, lover, or even a close friend.
Will she feel awkward if I give it to her?
Also, if a big and intimidating man like me gives her a flower out of nowhere when I can’t even meet eyes with her, she might think it’s weird.
Glenn noticed that Karlos was overthinking everything and cleared his throat to bring his attention back to reality.
“Excuse me but, your majesty. If you have arranged to meet at the after festival but then show up without even a paper flower, you would be a fool. The paper flower is simply a means of exchanging gifts so please stop worrying and get going already.”
Glenn spoke strictly and chased Karlos out of his residence through the back door.
*.·:·.☽✧ ✦ ✧☾.·:·.*
“Why are there fewer people over there?”
“I wonder too.”
Eva looked around as she wore a thick, navy-colored cape.
Even though the steelhead fountain was not a popular attraction, the area around it wasn’t as vacant as it was now, during the harvest festival.
Even Brigitta was wondering what was going on.
Somehow everyone was avoiding the fountain.
Is something there?
They paced faster in the direction towards the fountain.
It felt so liberating that there were no reporters on their tails.
“Aha, this is why.”
After turning towards the bull statue’s butt, they saw a giant was standing there covered in black from head to toe, with a deep frown.
He didn’t seem to fit in with the festive atmosphere and was emitting an aura that made him unapproachable.
Everyone was avoiding his eyes.
Brigitta understood the situation immediately.
He probably didn’t intend to but this man’s depressing aura was pushing people away.
But they knew who that dangerous-looking man was.
Eva smiled radiantly and greeted him first.
The scary-looking giant then turned abruptly to Eva and started walking towards her.
With every step he took, the people around the area moved away like a mouse running away from a cat.
Eva smiled awkwardly as she watched him get closer.
He had a sort of toughness that was difficult to familiarize yourself with.
He walked just a few steps but he was already in front of Eva and Brigitta.
“Hello, nice to see you again, Eva. And Bri.”
Karlos extended his arms towards them.
Brigitta and Eva gasped audibly.
There were two glittery white roses in his hands.
It was a paper flower made of quality paper coated with pearl powder so that it would remain uncrumpled and beautiful for a long time.
Eva immediately realized the paper was the expensive kind of paper that she used before for her limited edition books and exclaimed.
“Wow! It’s beautiful!”
“You don’t have enough sense to prepare such a thing… Who told you to do this?”
Unlike Eva who was genuinely glad, Brigitta looked at Karlos with doubtful eyes.
The Emperor avoided Brigitta’s stare and decided to maintain his silence.
He already knew that he had no eye for art since the scarf incident.
But he didn’t want to admit in front of his beloved author that he received help for this.
Eva thanked him.
Honestly speaking, this was really really beautiful.
The color was snowy white so it would go along with Eva’s navy coat too.
The rosebud sat on top of a delicate design of gold paper so it actually looked like a brooch.
It was a shame that it would need to be burned later.
“It’s so pretty. Thank you, Karl! Here, this is our gift.”
“I, I also get one?”
Karlos observed the violet flower-shaped decoration that Eva had handed to him.
It looked bigger when Eva held it, but now that he was holding it, it looked tiny.
He held the flower carefully with both hands as his heart throbbed.
Eva gave me a flower! I’m a happy fan!
Eva had no idea what was going on in Karlos’s head and just thought he was cute for holding the flower decoration like it was about to break.
“Here, pin it.”
“Uh, hm. Yes.”
“Ah, no, not there.”
Karlos struggled to put it on.
The only type of boutonnieres he ever wore were the ones heavily decorated with jewels and gold so they were pinned using strings or were sewed onto clothes in the first place so he had no idea how to pin these on.
It seemed like the needle-like pin had to go through the cloth.
When Karlos continued to struggle, Eva took the violet flower from his hands.
His brows drooped.
I am a terrible fan…
But fortunately, his beloved author was not taking the flower she granted him back— he actually believed Eva blessed him with it.
“No, like this.”
Eva stretched her arms and pulled the collar of his coat.
Karlos and Eva had a huge height difference so Karlos’s neck was naturally brought down closer to Eva as she pulled.
Eva was just a few inches away from him.
Karlos stopped breathing.
Then Eva’s hair brushed on Karlos’s chin.
And Karlos forgot how to breathe at all.
Her warm wheat-colored hair filled his view.
He felt as if something was dispersing inside his chest. He didn’t know if that was heat, or something else.
Whether Karlos stopped breathing or not, Eva continued.
When she was the baroness’s maid, she used to assist the baroness in getting ready.
Eva was a horrible cook and not a neat person so she was not allowed in the kitchen or to be part of the cleaning crew but she had meticulous hands so she was able to maintain her place in the baron’s residence.
Her old work habits triggered her to help Karl.
Eva pierced the pin through the coat’s buttonhole neatly.
The violet was a nice accent on the expensive-looking black coat.
As soon as she saw the violet-colored decoration, she thought of Karl’s violet eyes and decided to buy it for him.
Just as I thought, it looks great on him.
Eva nodded and flinched when she looked up.
Karlos’s face was just a few inches away from hers— his was blankly blinking back at her.
Woah, his eyes are mesmerizing.
So handsome. If he softened his face like this often, it would really be a blessing to my eyes.
Looking at him like this, he’s not that scary-looking, he even looked so gentle when he smiled for the first time before.
Wait, eh— Evangelinohmygodwhatiswrongwithyougetyourheadstraight!
Only then did Eva realize that she was holding on to the collar of Karl’s coat.
“T, this is how you put it on.”
“Th, thank you.”
Unlike Eva who obviously looked embarrassed, Karlos’s face barely changed and yet his neck started getting red.
Eva drew circles with her foot and looked at the ground from the embarrassment.
Ah, damn it. Evangeline!
Eva had a habit of subconsciously getting physically close to someone she felt emotionally close to but it was the first time she was like this with a man.
Eva wanted to hide somewhere.
You are unbelievable, Evangeline!
She screamed internally.
Karlos was looking at the top of Eva’s head and tried to breathe.
It smelled nice. Ah, no you sound like a pervert saying that. Don’t lose your mind, Karlos! But it really smelled so fragrant— Ah, no, no. Get your head straight, Karlos you idiot! She only did that because you were too dumb to do even such a simple thing!
He was panicking under his mask of calmness.
It was the first time he was ever this close to a woman and had even gifted a flower— moreover received a flower from a woman.
For the first time, Karlos was grateful for his stiff facial muscles.
If his muscles moved as he was feeling now, he would be looking like a clown.
The sound of someone clearing their throat broke the awkward, embarrassed, and blushing tension between Eva and Karlos.
Karlos and Eva turned to the source of the sound. Brigitta was making a funny face with one eyebrow raised and her arms crossed.
The corner of her lips was twitching.
“I’m sorry to interrupt you love birds but just be reminded that I’m here too. It looked like you forgot that.”
“Ah, no, we didn’t. Bri…”
Eva’s face turned ruby red hearing that and Karlos buried his face in his palms.
Brigitta couldn’t help but smirk.
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