Wild Apricot Vs.
Empty Vessels (4)
“If you’re here as a friend, change that tone of yours.”
Gerard spoke brusquely.
The friendship between Emperor Owen de Hernia and the Imperial Knight Commander Gerard Blanchett began during their time in the academy.
On official occasions, they were envied as a dignified Lord and loyal Knight Commander.
However, when it was just the two of them, they acted as if they were in their teens.
“Oh, that’s what makes our Marquis Blanchett dissatisfied.
But what can I do? There’s no other way to express my dignity than speaking in this tone.”
Owen knew his friend despised his professional tone, so he used it to tease him.
Gerard, who noticed Owen’s intentions, knitted his eyebrows even more.
“I can’t allow you to visit my shabby office at this late hour.
I will visit you tomorrow morning instead.”
Gerard said politely while opening the door again.
However, the meaning of his words was no different from pushing his guest out.
“Oh, take my pranks lightheartedly.
Try dealing with old people who act blindly obedient to your face and while they scheme behind your back.
Your tone will naturally become like this.”
In the end, it was Owen who raised his hands in defeat.
He switched back to his usual tone and grumbled.
Owen poured himself a drink and grinned.
He just remembered something else he could use to tease his friend.
“But is it true that the First Knight Commander, who usually leaves work quickly, is now working overtime even though there’s no work to be done?”
“Why are those b*stards so quick to spread rumors in the Imperial Palace?”
Gerard grumbled as he took a glass from the cupboard and sat across Owen.
“You’re the one who used to abandon his Lord and rush home even though I always ask you to have a drink with me.”
“What’s the good in drinking with Your Majesty? My wife and Abel are waiting for me at home.”
Gerard spoke sternly as if he didn’t need to do such a thing with his friend and poured alcohol into the glass.
“Gotcha! So it must be because my sister-in-law hasn’t been home lately, right? Looking at your face, you don’t seem to have gotten good sleep, but don’t you feel lonely when you’re unable to fall asleep? Are you unable to endure it because you miss her that much?”
Owen asked with a gleam of mischief in his eyes.
Owen’s wife, Karina Roem, was Chloe’s older sister.
Therefore, Chloe became Owen’s sister-in-law, and they became ‘brothers’.
Gerard didn’t answer Owen’s question and quickly gulped down his drink.
Shortly after Chloe and Abel arrived in the North, it was revealed that the mother and child had left the Blanchett Residence.
But if he knew his friend would tease him like this, he would have kept it a secret a little longer.
Owen giggled at the sight of Gerard.
“I guess so.
Pft, just so you know, you’re the most devoted husband I know.”
Gerard put down his glass with a harsh movement.
He couldn’t say anything because Owen’s playful remarks were true.
Owen, who knew him too well, suddenly felt bad for him.
“Stop it, alright?”
Formal honorifics were thrown out the window.
“No, I’m just sad.
It’s a pity.”
Owen spoke while putting on an innocent expression.
Gerard stared at the Emperor who was pretending to be sad and pitying him.
“The Empress misunderstands you.”
Gerard’s shoulder trembled when the topic of Chloe’s older sister, Karina, was brought up.
Karina was different among the calm and composed Roem Siblings.
In a word, she was a heroine.
Even when she was the flower of high society, she avoided petty trouble.
That was because Karina was the type to return what she had suffered twice or even three times over.
As a result, Owen was struck with the Empress.
Even though Owen claimed that he loved Karina so much, it seemed because he was bound to be stuck with her.
“When I was having a cup of tea with my Empress after dinner, she seemed to have heard that sister-in-law went to the North.
She just got angry and called you ‘apricot man’ over and over again.”
That was what Karina used to refer to Gerard.
It meant that he was shiny and appealing on the outside, but wasn’t much use in reality.
How much Gerard Blanchett loved Leila Stein was still a main topic of gossip amongst high society, even after such a long time.
Karina was furious when she thought about how Gerard’s one-sided love would haunt Chloe for the rest of her life. As her older sister, she couldn’t let that happen.
That’s why Karina strongly disagreed when Chloe was going to be married to Gerard.
However, there was no way she could stop them when both liked each other.
In the end, she cried as she sent the youngest Roem sibling to Gerard.
It was enough to make anyone cry.
However, she still didn’t favor her brother-in-law because she just felt like he wouldn’t be good to her.
“How can you curse at me, your dearest friend? I was kicked out for defending you, you know.”
Owen pushed out his chest confidently as if asking him to praise his loyalty.
But Gerard wasn’t impressed in the slightest.
Rather, like the unloyal b*stard he was, he knew exactly what happened.
What if the same thing happened to him? Although it was unlikely, what if Karina cursed at the Emperor, too? Of course, he would have to agree with her.
What else could he do? There must be a reason why Karina said that to the Emperor.
“Did you not know?”
Karina was arguably Gerard’s most difficult adversary.
Gerard searched for it in his head anxiously.
What else did he do wrong? There was no greater trouble than having his sister-in-law hate him because she was the Empress.
“What is the reason this time…?”
Gerard asked his friend when he couldn’t think of anything.
“The Knight Commander of Anata in the North.”
As if being generous, Owen told him, but Gerard still seemed to have no idea.
The North was Anata’s territory, so it was natural for Anata Knights to be there, and it was also understandable if their Knight Commander was there.
“Tsk, see! I was right.
I knew you didn’t know!”
“Just tell me properly.
Of course there’s the Knight Commander of Anata in the North, but there is also the Knight Commander of Blanchett there, right?”
Gerard ran his hand through his golden hair.
“Indeed, Karina hates us for lacking awareness like this.
Don’t you remember the passionate courtship by the Knight Commander of Anata to my sister-in-law eight years ago?”
Owen pointed to his red brooch so that Gerard would understand.
Red? He remembered now; there was an Anata Knight who courted his wife when she was still a daughter of the Roem Family.
His hair was red.
So, he already became a Knight Commander?
“…The knight Moore, the Archduke’s escort?”
His wife was an elegant and beautiful young lady, so it would be more strange if there were no men who courted her.
Of course, it was none other than him whom his wife chose.
“Yes, he became the Knight Commander of the Order of Anata.
Karina was furious because her sister had gone alone to the North, where he lives.”
Owen recited some of Karina’s words.
Actually, Karina also sighed deeply and said her sister would have been better off with the Knight Commander of Anata if she knew this would happen.
However, he wasn’t so tactless as to deliver her words as they were.
Karina had hoped Chloe would choose Herace Moore rather than Gerard Blanchett.
Since Count Roem had no son to succeed him, one of the three daughters had to succeed the family.
However, she was the only one who was concerned about the family, so her sisters could rest assured.
From her sister Catherine, who left home after saying she would only paint for the rest of her life, to her youngest sibling, Chloe, who loved the Imperial Knight Commander who only looked good on the outside.
Karina’s frustration didn’t subside.
–I’m going to paint for the rest of my life.
I have no intention of succeeding the family or marrying into another.
One day, Catherine stated that all of a sudden.
Count Roem and his wife, Tyla, scolded her, but she never went back on her word.
The Count and his wife couldn’t do anything about it.
Catherine, who was hailed as a genius painter, collected a secret fund by selling her paintings.
In the end, Catherine took all of her belongings and suddenly disappeared without a trace.
Karina, who was rumored to be the lover of the Crown Prince by high society, was also not fit to succeed the Roem Family.
The Count and Karina naturally pinned their hopes on Chloe.
Although their youngest daughter was talented, they intended to take one of their friend’s children as Chloe’s husband to succeed the Roem Family.
The right person for the job was Herace Moore.
Baron Moore had three sons, and Herace was his second.
He stood out quite a bit because of his excellent swordsmanship and even caught the eye of Archduke Anata.
There was no one who would be better than him as he fulfilled the requirement of a perfect son-in-law who would live with his wife’s family, a good-looking face, and was enamored with Chloe.
-I will never marry you, Young Master Moore.
He wished Chloe never said that.
After that, the obedient and composed young Lady absolutely refused to eat and drink anything.
Even so, the Count and the Countess couldn’t let Herace go and tried to persuade Chloe.
They had no choice but to give up completely when she fainted during her hunger strike.
However, more problems occurred when she brought up the person she wanted to marry.
-I… I want to marry the Lord of Blanchett.’
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