Princess Eleanor looked at her lady in waiting in disappointment.
Everyone had returned to their work after breakfast but Princess Eleanor made sure that Nia waited.
Before Princess Eleanor could ask anything, Nia sat down on the ground as she said in a trembling tone, "Please forgive me, Princess. I should have told you prior. It was my mistake. I wanted to talk to you last night but when I returned you were already asleep and this morning you decided to have breakfast with Lady Gisella and it completely slipped my mind."
Nia looked up. Her eyes still had soft tears. "I did not know the Duke would come here. It was a shock to me too. Princess … Trust me.."
Princess Eleanor took a deep breath. Her eyes sharpened as her eyes stayed on Nia for a long time.
The silence was making Nia nervous. She did not know what she should say to make the Princess believe in her words. She was telling the truth but it felt like no one was ready to listen to her. Nia felt helpless. The tears refused to stop as they slid down her cheek.
Princess Eleanor sighed as she took a deep breath to control her emotions. She could see that Nia was innocent in all of this but this mistake could cost her something greater. She needed to go to the Empire and if Lady Gisella and Sir Kit had doubts and decided to take the matters to her Uncle, the King, the consequences would be bad.
"So you are blaming me for arranging breakfast with Lady Gisella?" Princess Eleanor asked. Her tone was sharp and anyone would tell that she was not happy.
"N... No .." Nia's voice trembled as she tried to maintain her voice. How could she blame the Princess?
"Nia, did you decide to stay with Felix?" Princess Eleanor asked with a straight face. Her eyes were devoid of any emotions. One could see the hidden rage in them if they looked closely but to the normal eyes, they felt terrifyingly empty.
"I … I .." Nia looked down. She was still on the floor as she refused to look up. She did not know how to tell the Princess. The thought that the Princess would be disappointed in her was enough to make her shiver.
"Nia. stand up." Princess Eleanor said as she saw the condition Nia was in. Although she wanted to be strict now and make Nia understand that even though they are friends and close to each other, she was still a Princess and Nia was her lady in waiting. The line that should not be crossed was crossed today.
Nia got up but she was still trembling. She bit her lips as she continued looking down.
Princess Eleanor took a deep breath, "I hate when people hide things from me." Her eyes looked straight at Nia, "I never expected you to hide it from me. You are my friend Nia. I am asking you something and you should be open and honest enough, to tell the truth."
Princess Eleanor's lady in waiting tried to control herself. She knew her master wanted an answer so she should provide one. "We decided to keep writing letters to one another. Duke Felix said that when the time comes he would give me a rightful position."
Princess Eleanor was confused. Although she had seen with her own eyes the love of the two blossoming, she did not know how her childhood friend would do it.
'Once he gets married it will be difficult for him to divorce? Is Felix planning to marry Nia as his second wife or keep her as his mistress?'
Many such thoughts entered Princess Eleanor's mind. She did not know what to say anymore. It was a personal decision between the two. As both of their friends, she knew that she could only extend her sincere wishes to them. The ultimate decision is theirs.
"So I guess you wanted to continue sending the letters under my name?" Princess Eleanor said as she looked at Nia, "You should know how dangerous that will be for me, Nia. I will be a Crown Princess candidate then and if it is known that I am receiving letters under my name from a man then it would not only affect me but you too. If I die then you too will die Nia."
Nia bit her lips. She had not thought about it. It was true that if the Princess is found cheating then the Emperor would have a right to kill her. And if the Princess dies then everyone who accompanied her will have to die.
Nia's body shivered as she thought about it. "I… I apol …. Apologise." Nia managed to say. Her tears that were once flowing due to fear were now flowing in sorrow.
Princess Eleanor took a deep breath. "Nia, I have given you permission to write the letters under my name because I could do it then. A friend writing to another friend to give moral support due to the loss of one family was a good enough excuse. But it is not now."
Princess Eleanor's tone turned sharp, "I do not want to come between your relationship but I cannot help you both and I hope you understand that. If you wish you can stay here Nia. I will never force you to follow me. If your love is here you should stay here."
Nia's eyes looked at Princess Eleanor as she blamed herself. She never wanted to make Princess Eleanor say those words. She never wanted to leave the Princess's side at times like this.
"I know we were wrong. Princess, I want to come with you. I cannot let you go there alone." Nia tried to say in a hurry but Princess Eleanor cut her words.
"But your lover is here, Nia. And I cannot give you permission to keep on writing him letters under my name. So what are you planning to do?" Princess Eleanor was clear. She had created a clear line and now the choice was with Nia.
If Nia wanted to follow the Princess then she would have to stop communicating with her lover and if she decided to stay back in the kingdom then she would never see Princess Eleanor again.
It was a tough choice to make and Nia was filled with confusion. But when her brain had finally stopped working she heard a man's voice she had never heard before making her turn towards the source.
"I may be of help."