"I... don't know."
Elizabeth was old enough to know that the empress's "likes" was not a question of likes or dislikes.
Leon was always the only guide star in her world.
Just as sailors do not "like" the North Star, perhaps Elizabeth does not like Leonhardt in that sense, the Empress vaguely felt.
"Our Elizabeth has grown up like this."
The empress patted Elizabeth on the head with a confused look.
"I think it's time to pass on the empress' coffin.”
"Oh, no, Empress! I'm still not good enough to be empress."
"Lizzy, do you want to be with Leon forever?”
Elizabeth waved her hands at the Queen's sincere joke and was surprised.
"For the rest of my life..."
"No pain, no happiness, no sorrow, no joy. Can you share it all together?”
Why does the empress suddenly ask this question? Elizabeth thought, looking up at the empress with a glaring face.
"…Does the Empress share it all with Her Majesty?"
The empress did not answer for a long time, only with an unexpected smile.
"…Who would want to share their sorrow with their loved ones?”
The Empress went on with a sigh.
"Me too, me too. Sometimes we hide things and suffer alone because we love each other so much."
"Then why did you decide to join the Emperor?”
"Because I like it."
I like it, there was red water in the empress' cheeks rather than starfish.
"I love you enough to endure all that suffering, and I love you, so I'm with you."
"I don't know. I think what Mama said is that sharing all those feelings means being with someone forever, being happy....”
"And it's love to be together with such pain."
The Empress nodded her head.
He was a child who only grew up, didn't know how much he liked someone and how much he loved them.
The empress felt like she had a lot of work to teach the young lady, who was only blinking her blue eyes.
"Elizabeth, will you close your eyes and think of the Crown Prince?”
Elizabeth closed her eyes as the empress said. And I remembered Leonhardt.
"How do you feel?”
"…it tickles in the back of my mind. It's shaking like a sprout in a very fine misty rain, frighteningly small but steady."
"…Leon's smiling face keeps coming to my mind. Last time... the night that troubled you and your wife... I can't stop thinking about Leon, who was smiling at me with fireworks behind his back."
"Elizabeth, will you open your eyes and look in the mirror?”
Elizabeth followed the empress' words again this time.
In the mirror, she was smiling like a summer sunflower that made everyone laugh naturally.
"When you think of someone, the first thing that makes you laugh is that you like them."
"…Does the Empress always smile when she thinks of Her Majesty?"
The Empress nodded her head.
"Will it only make you laugh? Sometimes I want to cry, sometimes I get angry.”
"But the person you like makes you smile....”
"To a loved one, all other emotions are revealed."
"…I don't know."
Instead of blaming the sullen Elizabeth, the empress simply laughed it off.
"I was the youngest of my brothers. They say it was a big deal because I was born on my first brother's wedding day."
Elizabeth tilted her head when the empress suddenly brought up her family story while talking about her feelings of love."How cute a child must have been born so late. If there's anything you want, you can get it across the continent. And then I came to puberty.
"Was it just my baby's age? The youngest brother came back from the sea after a few years, so the banquet was held, and there was a woman I had never seen before.”
The empress stared at the horizon where her brother would be asleep with a faint look.
"It was a strange thing. I understand it in my head, but I should be glad that my beloved brother returned safely as the main character of a romantic story that could only appear in a fairy tale on the other side of the continent. Do you know what I did that day?”
"What... did you do...?”
The empress chuckled. It was an old story that was left as a memory, but the sky looked really yellow and I couldn't see it.
"When I came home, I saw my brother, who was the first to hug me, hugging her without hesitation before me, and I was confined to my room until the day my brother went out to sea again."
Elizabeth opened her eyes wide in surprise. I can't believe the empress would do such a thing to anyone.
"No nanny, no brothers, even my mother and father persuaded me, but I didn't leave the room. No, I couldn't get out."
"Uh, how come?"
"I know in my head, but my body didn't move. Just like Elizabeth is now."
"I... like me?"
The empress nodded with a look of knowing everything.
"If I don't see my brother now, I don't know when I'll see him again, but I have to apologize to her and tell her that I'm sorry and take care of her."
The Empress regretted drawing briefly the faces of my brothers and their spouses in the corner of the sketchbook.
"All I had to do was turn the doorknob around once, and that was all I had to do… I couldn't move my body. My brother was calling me so desperately over the door, but I couldn't open it.”
"And because my brother didn't get a kiss with my blessing on his next voyage, he's now lying on the reef as a lullaby to the sound of the waves."
Elizabeth screamed close to her death in a sad voice.
"So Elizabeth, be careful and careful not to regret it. You have to think and judge wisely, as if moving your body is not an action."
"Did I... do something wrong?”
Elizabeth looked at the empress' complexion with an anxious look on her face.
I don't understand why she's telling herself this.
"What's wrong with you? It's just an advice from experience that I don't want you to struggle through puberty."
"The age when you think of spring. At an age when you're shy just thinking about someone's smiling face, when you're upset that nothing goes your way, and when you don't like everything. Isn't that just what Elizabeth is now?”
"How can you... ".”
Elizabeth's face turned red.
As she said, Elizabeth was heartbroken just to recall Leonhardt's smiling face.
Also, he was upset that nothing happened like his heart, and he regretted his unexpected sharp words.
But that's puberty?
"Don't worry too much, it's natural for any human with emotions. Rather, this empress is very happy. "When I first came to the palace, my little crown princess, who did what she was told to do, whether it was good or not, did not measure whether she liked it or not, and now she is excited by someone's smile!"Elizabeth clasped her cheeks in her hands.
Every word of the Empress warmed her cheeks hotter than the summer sun.
"Elizabeth, do you like Leonhardt?”
Elizabeth nodded slowly.
On second thought after hearing the Empress, there was no need for second thought.
The answer was already set, and she was the only one who didn't know, and everyone in the world knew.
Elizabeth's face, belatedly aware of it, turned redder.
The empress asked with a mischievous look.
"It's just a feeling of love that I can hold in anyone's arms. But love is different. Can my baby know the difference between my love for the sea and my love for His Majesty?"
It was still a difficult question for Elizabeth.
The empress also did not expect much from her, only stroking her head again with a short smile.
"Sweetheart, if you ever change your mind, tell me. I haven't officially become a crown princess yet, so I can meet someone else anytime.”
"She needs to be a little happier. If Leon doesn't have the right or the ability to make his baby happy, shouldn't he meet someone better than him?”
"Who will disobey the will of the empress? No, I'll take responsibility for it and find someone to suit the baby."
"I... I... with Leon... Leon... I mean....”
"Do you think it's okay to be with him forever? My son?"
"I mean, that... It's...."
I'm going to cry if I do more. Instead of urging Elizabeth, the empress put her hand on the back of her cheek.
Elizabeth nodded her head. I couldn't understand the words of joy, sadness, and sharing all the happy and painful feelings together, but at least I was sure that I wanted to do only fun things with him.
"Do you want to be with Leon?”
"With Leon… I want to smile all the time….”
As if satisfied with the answer, the empress leaned back to her waist and laughed.
The young daughter-in-law seemed to be in love with her son.
While I was looking forward to when Elizabeth would notice that everyone except herself knew this, I felt a little sorry for Leonhardt.
"Elizabeth likes Leonhardt a lot.
"Okay... I do... Is it…."
Elizabeth stuttered, her head down in red to her ears.
The empress nodded and read her feelings for her.
"Yes, Elizabeth likes Leonhardt. At least that's what it looks like to the empress, and Leonhardt loves Elizabeth that much."
Elizabeth opened her mouth and opened her body, which she had cringed carefully.
Leonhardt likes himself! It was a word I'd never thought about.
"Does the Empress use magic?"
The empress clasped her hands in wonder and blinked at Elizabeth, who blushed.
And soon, as if she had noticed what she was about to say, she laughed aloud, saying that Elizabeth was so cute that she was at a loss.
"Ahaha! Elizabeth, this is not magic."
"Well, then? Can you see human emotions?”
Elizabeth sat a little closer to her chair and looked very curious.
"People who like someone show their emotions on their faces. Eyes, every word you say, and everything. It's shining so brightly that there's nothing in the world that can compare.""…is Leon shining like that when he sees me?”
The empress nodded, "Of course."
Since the first day of his visit to the duchess, there has always been Elizabeth at the end of Leonhardt's gaze.
Even now, he is seemingly playing with the knights in the water, but he must be watching Elizabeth and the Empress from time to time to time.
Be careful what you wish for.Dunny, just in case, turned to the sea and made eye contact with Leonhardt.
Elizabeth hastily looked away and bowed her head down.
"…Your Highness… Do you think he knows.
The empress knew everything and pretended not to know.
From here on out, Elizabeth had to judge for herself.
When he first came to the imperial family and decorated the room to his desired taste, he grew up to feel that he had to face it carefully like a snowflake sitting on his hand.
The Empress was just proud, proud and grateful of Elizabeth.
"I'm... um... Your Highness. That you seem to like it....”