The Male Lead Knelt Before Me
To Be Together
I sat in the palace’s parlor room, waiting to meet the emperor.
Originally, permission should have been granted immediately.
However, the person who had requested an audience with the Emperor before me had yet to leave the audience room, so my wait was naturally longer.
‘When will I get the audience with the emperor?’
I raised my head, cutting down the snacks served by the imperial maid.
Then I noticed paintings covering the ceiling.
The paintings, which were said to be transcribed from ‘myth,’ were delicate and vibrant.
It makes me wonder how a human could create such paintings.
‘No matter how many times I see it, it never ceases to amaze me.’
I heard that the artist who painted those ceiling paintings had his eyesight deteriorate and his spine bent like a bow by the time he finished the paintings, which I thought was worth it.
Because just looking at the paintings makes me feel as if my eyes are going to fall out.
As I lowered my gaze to rest my tired eyes, I noticed a picture on the ceiling’s corner.
It was a depiction of a goddess bringing a soul and placing it in another human body in order to resurrect it.
‘I wonder if Vivian is the real Elena?”
I remembered the assumption I made a few days ago that was giving me headaches.
The reason it remained an uncertain assumption was simple.
There are some things that can only be explained if ‘Vivian is the real Elena,’ and others that cannot be explained.
If the original female lead of the novel, ‘Ji So Eun,’ didn’t just have the same name as me in my previous life, but was actually me, then I should have possessed Vivian’s body, according to the original story flow.
But instead of following the original story, I took over Elena’s body instead of Vivian’s.
And if I am the real ‘Ji So Eun,’ then the original first condition was not met.
The incident and various settings would then have been different from the original story.
But apart from those things, things went the same way as in the original story.
‘There is no plausible explanation.’
My mind was flooded with unanswered questions.
The quickest and easiest way was to ask Vivian.
Perhaps if I invite Vivian to meet, she will gladly accept.
But so far, it hasn’t been a problem.
The issue arises after that.
‘How am I going to ask her?’
Should I say something like, ‘I assume you’re Elena, so please tell me the truth?’
‘There is no way I can do that.’
Anyone who hears that would not understand, though I don’t know if there is a situation and evidence to back it up.
And I’d be lucky if I wasn’t treated like a lunatic if I said that.
So I came to the conclusion that I should put this behind me for the time being and concentrate on what I can do now.
From beyond the door, the servant spoke.
“Your Majesty has granted permission for an audience.”
The audience room appeared to be a little darker than usual. However, this did not imply that it was too dark to turn on the light.
The emperor greeted me and congratulated me on my engagement to Caleb.
The main point emerged after a brief exchange of greetings.
“Okay, fine. So, have you decided what you want as a reward?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Tell me what it is.”
The emperor stated as he sat comfortably in his seat. With a generous expression, as if he’ll listen to whatever I say.
“Then, Your Majesty, I wish you will permit me to perform plays in the palace in the future.”
After I finished speaking, I waited with bated breath for the emperor’s reaction.
Obviously, the emperor asked me to state my request comfortably in the past.
However, the emperor was a person who cut off support for the play and even prohibited it from being performed in the palace.
No matter how generous the emperor was, it was doubtful that he would accept my request and reverse his decision.
“……do you want me to let the play be performed in the palace? Does that imply that you want the imperial family to support play so that it can re-establish itself?”
That was the emperor’s response after a brief silence.
“Allowing the play……”
When the emperor recited that, his voice was not high-pitched. As a result, I began to think negatively.
‘Is it not possible?’
As much as I had hoped that the emperor would grant my request, disappointment prevailed.
If the imperial family supported and allowed it to be performed again, the theater industry would be revived.
Then, under the name of imperial sponsorship, the actor/actress did not have to suffer unfairness.
Also, though not immediately, the perception of the job of ‘actor/actress’ would gradually change.
And, of course, what happened on my engagement day would not happen again.
I carefully made eye contact with the emperor.
As if sensing my doubts, the emperor touched his chin and said.
“Though I’ve said it before, Lady, I really thought you’d ask me to restore your family’s honor and make you the heir.”
My body flinched instinctively.
“If your request is for me to resurrect the play, I see no reason to object. Still, I have one more question for you. Are you certain you won’t regret it later?”
The emperor was giving me one last chance to reconsider.
For a brief moment, I held my breath.
While I was catching my breath, I reflected on my experiences as an actress and what happened after that.
For me, it was all in the past.
However, even at this moment, it was present for someone, and it was clearly an ongoing pain.
“I don’t have any regrets. I’m just grateful if you let me, Your Majesty.”
“I see. Then, Lady, I will grant your request.”
The emperor’s unexpectedly calm response surprised me.
Is this for real?
I really wanted to ask that question but I put up with it.
“However, it is a difficult matter to implement right away, so I suppose you shouldn’t expect the result right away.”
“I will keep that in mind, Your Majesty.”
I didn’t even think that it would be revived all at once.
He wanted to grant my wish because I was grateful enough.
‘However, it would have been preferable if it had not been prohibited from the start.’
It couldn’t be helped that it had already happened.
I can’t help but be grateful that the theatre will be revived in the future.
“And the banquet will proceed exactly as planned.”
As if to remind me, the emperor added.
“I received notification a few days ago that they had crossed the border.”
Who crossed the border?
After questioning for a moment, I soon notice who the emperor was talking about.
It is the ‘distinguished guest.’
Because the subject was omitted, I didn’t understand it right away, but it was clear in context.
“Then I’ll entrust the banquet to you.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
I bowed my head.
As soon as I came out of the hallway after the audience with the emperor, the sunlight pierced my eyes through the window.
As a result, I became dizzy and my vision became hazy.
‘Is it because of the sudden light?’
It was when I stood there for a while, awning over my face.
My ear was pierced by a familiar voice.
Ugh, this voice.
I didn’t want to turn my head, but I knew I had to. There stood the crown prince.
And next to him was the servant who had earlier informed me that the emperor had granted the audience.
“I see Your Highness the Crown Prince.”
“Lady, what are you doing here?”
“I am on my way out after meeting with His Majesty the Emperor.”
“So, why are you meeting with His Majesty?”
Well, I must have a reason to meet with him, don’t you think?
I wanted to respond in this manner, but I restrained myself.
“I took the choice to perform in front of the distinguished guest at the upcoming banquet. I had a meeting with His Majesty about it.”
“The distinguished guest? Oh, that distinguished guest.”
The crown prince asked and answered himself, possibly pretending to understand what I was saying.
Then he grimaced as hard as he could.
To the point where anyone could tell he was upset.
‘Does he have any negative feelings toward those guests?’
His reaction was surprising.
The emperor informed me that the distinguished guest was not related to him by blood, but was no different than his own brother.
That’s why I couldn’t believe his son, the crown prince, was reacting in such a way.
However, the reaction was brief.
The crown prince let loose his face as if he’s never done that before
“What’s more, His Majesty has asked you to sing a song, Lady? That’s great news.”
“It is because of you, Your Highness.”
I expressed my gratitude to the Crown Prince.
I don’t want to admit it, but I couldn’t have gotten this far without the crown prince’s help.
Because this would not have happened if he hadn’t given me the opportunity to sing at the emperor’s birthday banquet.
Of course, the subject in which he promised to save me from the emperor’s wrath was merely a false promise.
“You must have taken off the ring I gave you, right?”
“Yes. I don’t think I need it anymore.”
“I see. Well, I understand because you no longer require that ring.”
Huh? He’s more gullible than I thought.
I thought he would say something about why I took the ring off.
It was when I looked at the crown prince, slightly surprised.
“You must be overjoyed right now.”
“Well, because you’re engaged to the Duke and can even sing your favorite song.”
I did not object to what the crown prince said.
I’m not sure why, but I felt bad.
‘Obviously, there’s no reason for me to feel bad just by hearing what he said.’
But for some reason, I got the impression that the crown prince was being sarcastic to me.
‘Does it have anything to do with his personality and appearance?’
…… well, that sounded plausible.
The crown prince did not have a good-looking face.
Let alone a good personality.
It would be more accurate to say that he is a rotten person from the inside out.
Come to think of it, didn’t the crown prince kill all the ladies who failed to seduce Caleb?
‘I almost became one of them.’
I got goosebumps all over my body.
As I rubbed my arms, the crown prince continued his words.
“Besides, because the banquet is coming up soon, there will be an emotional reunion. These days, Lady, I envy you the most.”
“What exactly do you mean by an emotional reunion?”
“I’m referring to the distinguished guests.”
What about the distinguished guests?
“Aren’t the distinguished guests the people you miss the most, Lady?”
“I’m afraid, Your Highness, you’ve made a mistake there. The distinguished guests, as far as I know, are from a distant country.”
In other words, they were people who were not related to me.
There was no reason for me to miss them.
‘If he said they were someone I was grateful to, I’d gladly agree.’
Because it was because of them that I was able to receive the emperor’s request and convey my wish.
When the crown prince heard me, he tilted his head.
“Didn’t the Duke inform you of that?”
Why is Caleb mentioned in this conversation?
I looked at the crown prince, perplexed.
He’s been saying random things for a long time.
I attempted to draw a conclusion by combining as much of what the crown prince said as possible.
My thoughts became more complicated as I couldn’t think of anything.
“No, just forget what I said.”
The crown prince then walked past me without even saying goodbye.
As a result, I had to return to the crown prince in an awkward posture, bending my back to show courtesy.
That jerk really.
Enosh replayed in his head the conversation he had just had with Elena.
‘She seemed to be unaware.’
Obviously, he told Caleb about Elena’s relationship with the Grand Duke couple at that dinner.
As a result, Enosh assumed Elena was also aware of the fact.
But Caleb did not tell her……
‘What on earth is he thinking?’
Because of his unresolved curiosity, Enosh was forced to go meet the emperor.
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