“Don’t mention it, milady. If it was not for His Excellency’s permission, I would not have brought it up. It is only right to express your appreciation to His Excellency, milady.”
“Is that so?”
Valia thought that, contrary to the general butler’s words, Schuden might have just passingly nodded. It was also possible that he said it just to be considerate and to make himself feel good. The servants who told good lies for their superiors were all over in the Imperial Palace. But even though she thought so, a smile was rising around Valia’s lips.
To be honest, Valia was just thankful for his kind gesture. Regardless of the truth, Schuden did give her permission. However, Valia had no intention of inviting Carl. Having a daughter of a knight from another country to become Marchioness Garth was already controversial enough, but if a commoner mercenary was to be seated in the bride’s grandfather’s seat, not just the high society, but the whole Empire would be stirred up. It would become an inconvenience to the Marquess.
“I appreciate your concern, but it would be better not to invite Carl. He really hates noisy places. I will send him a letter later instead.”
“Yes, milady. Do as you please.”
The general butler never brought it up again. Looking at him bowing his head neatly, Valia recalled the Grand Chamberlain that managed the Imperial Palace in the past. The general butler was as trustworthy as the Grand Chamberlain, so she could get a lot of help after she got married. When Valia was having a brief chat with the general butler, the designer had completed all the basic designs.
“I will complete the most beautiful wedding dress in three days. And for the rest of the two days, I think I will have to stay together with you and do the dress fitting. I’ll have to work all day long to meet the date.”
“Is two days enough?”
“Of course. I will show you a perfect dress that fits your body.”
“I will ask for cooperation from the temple so please do so. I would like to thank you for responding to my sudden request.”
Valia blinked. It was natural to work hard on the wedding of Marquess Garth but this was a little strange. She wondered why they were acting like they were pressed for time.
Valia wanted to ask, but she held back her question until after the designer had left. She did not want to be caught by an outsider as an ignorant person who knew nothing about the Marquess household. In fact, she did not know how she would be treated when she entered the household, but it was only right not to make it obvious.
“General butler, I have a question.”
Valia opened her mouth only after the designer left.
“Go ahead, milady.”
“Why are the preparations done in such a hurry? I don’t know much about Gel’s wedding but this looks excessively busy.”
“As a matter of fact, I was about to tell you about that. His Excellency told me to do the preparation after pushing up the date as soon as possible.”
“As soon as possible?”
Valia opened her eyes wide.
‘How soon would it be? A month? Or two months?’
That was the soonest for a wedding preparation that Valia could predict. Whether it was a month or two, it was still on the double. While thinking that the employees would have a hard time, she somehow felt relieved.
‘That’s why he said we would meet again at the wedding.’
Valia thought that she felt disappointed for no reason.
“General Butler, when is the wedding date?”
Valia asked as indifferently as possible, pretending not to be interested, so as not to look like a bride who was pestering to see her husband as soon as possible. The general butler answered politely.
“Yes, milady. It’s in five days.”
[It’s in five days.]
Five days. The connotation of the words was really intense.
Valia’s heart was pounding so hard that she could not sleep well even at night. This was not her first time attending a wedding. When she was working as the escort lady-in-waiting in her past life, she attended many weddings of nobles with the Imperial family that she served. But now was completely different from then. In the past, she was unnoticeable, even at weddings, but now, Valia was the main character. In addition, it was the wedding of the Marquess Garth.
‘…What if I fall down?’
The scale of the situation when she had a quarrel with Princess Cassia a few days ago was okay. However, she could not take anymore than that. More than ten times the number of guests would attend the wedding. Valia was not used to receiving attention from many people. When someone was nervous, they were bound to make mistakes they did not usually do, so it was natural that she was worried that she would fall while walking on the road.
“The weddings in the Gel Empire are largely divided into two.”
Such worries led to a steady review of the wedding order. Shaun passed on his knowledge of weddings to the lady who was so concerned.
“The first is a wedding under the supervision of the wedding officiant. The wedding officiant is a priest that acts as a witness connecting the heavens and the couple. The bride and groom bow to the wedding officiant first. Then, bow to the guest seat once, and finally, the couple bow to each other. The wedding ceremony will come to an end when the wedding officiant tells the heavens about the marriage.”
Valia nodded as she matched Shaun’s explanation with the wedding she had seen in the past.
“But Shaun, you said the Gel Empire has two weddings.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Then, what’s the other one? Is the method different?”
“The method is the same but the difference is that the couple themselves become the witness to tell the heavens.”
“The couple themselves?”
“Yes. It is commonly referred to as the ‘second wedding’ and it is a wedding where the couple announces the fact that they’re married directly to heaven without a wedding officiant.”
“I see. The Gel Empire has such unique wedding customs, back in the Kingdom where I lived, there wasn’t anything like this.”
“Yes. It is because of the Emperor of the Gel Empire, the Son of Heaven. There is a belief that in this Empire that he rules, you can announce your marriage directly to the heavens without a wedding officiant as a witness.”
“Then why do people bother inviting the wedding officiant? I think it would be more convenient for the couple to tell the heavens themselves.”
Most of the weddings that Valia had seen in the past had a wedding officiant. She had attended numerous noble weddings but she had only seen one wedding where there was no wedding officiant. Shaun was slightly perplexed by Valia’s question, then answered her.
“The first wedding, that is, the normal officiated wedding, can be divorced. However, for the latter, you cannot get a divorce, because the couple has told the heavens that they will not break up at all.”
“The difference was being able to get a divorce or not.”
“Milady, if I might add something out of concern for you, there are almost no nobles who are willing to have a second wedding. Even the Emperor and the Empress did not have a second wedding.”
Valia, who knew what Shaun was concerned about, smiled to assure him.
“Don’t worry. I’m not thinking about anything. Thanks to you, I obtained precious knowledge.”
“Don’t mention it. If you have any questions at any time, I will answer them wholeheartedly.”
“Thank you, Shaun.”
Valia buried herself on the comfortable sofa. Then she opened the wedding procedures explanations book once more, delivered by the general butler. Originally, something like this was taught directly by the oldest adult in the family, but Valia had no one to do that for her. The highest person in the House of Dean was Valia herself. She felt grateful to the general butler for taking care of her, and who had no connection in the Empire.
‘So it is called a second wedding.’
Actually, Valia had seen the wedding that was ‘told directly to the heavens’.
It was the wedding of Yeri and the Crown Prince. At that time, she assumed that it was a unique wedding because it was a wedding with Yeri, the woman of the oracle.
As a matter of fact, she did not even have friends with whom she could chat about things like that. Escort ladies-in-waiting were generally quiet, it was probably their habit. But instead, she heard the ladies-in-waiting who served the same Imperial family chattering excitedly. They said it was the first time they had seen a wedding like that. At that time, Valia just thought they meant seeing such a splendid wedding for the first time, but now she knew they meant the second wedding.
It was indeed incredible as it was a wedding that even the Emperor and Empress did not do. Valia memorized the wedding flowchart as hard as a student studying on the day before the exam. She put most of the knowledge into her head.
“Milady, you have a guest.”
Most of the guests who came to Valia were handled from Shaun’s level. So there were only a few guests that got permission to visit from Shaun. The first face that came to her mind was…
“Greetings to the Marchioness.”
“Nice to meet you.”
It was as Valia expected. The designer entered the guest room with a smile. Contrary to her bright face, the shade under her eyes and strangely ingrained tiredness was not completely covered with makeup. Valia was secretly heartbroken.
‘A wedding in five days.’
She was surprised to hear that, but it must have been even more surprising for the employees. Moreover, it must have been an impossible task for the designer who had to produce a wedding dress.
There was a myth that wearing a pre-made wedding dress would make the bride unhappy. So the boutique never made wedding dresses in advance except for display purposes. It was a kind of custom. So this wedding dress must be a dress that was made immediately upon receiving the order. No matter who the artisan was, it was by no means easy to create a dress in just three days.
“Would you like a cup of tea?”
“Thank you for the drink, Marchioness.”
Valia suggested a cup of tea to give the designer time to breathe. Just at the time, the teapot on the table was filled with mint tea leaves that could clear the mind. It was also cold enough to quench thirst. The designer took the teacup from Valia with both hands and drank it all the way. It seemed that she was thirsty. The designer emptied the cup and gestured to her assistants with a more refreshed face.
Fortunately, the assistants seemed to work in shifts so they looked better than the designer. The assistants quickly began to open the bag they had been carrying with both hands. Valia’s eyes widened at the sparkling jewel accessories and flower corsage arranged one after another on the long table.
Shaun was someone who rarely changed his expression, so he was still using his stern face. On the other hand, Robin let out exclamations and admired the accessories without realizing it. Then, he read Shaun’s face and cleared his throat. The designer, who was slightly satisfied with Robin’s reaction, said with a confident face.
“Well, then, can the knights stay out for a moment?”
“Milady, we will be on stand-by in front of the door.”
Shaun and Robin went out. After confirming that the door was closed, the designer immediately reached out to Valia as every moment was precious for her. The dress that Valia was wearing was placed neatly on the table in an instant. It was extraordinary for the designer to undress Valia, leaving only her underwear behind in a flash. Valia thought that she was indeed an artisan.
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