I Should Have Read The Ending - Chapter 70
Chapter 70 – The Price To Pay
The Empress rose from her seat and approached Diana with a smile plastered in her face.
“Diana, you can only say that you can’t become the Crown Princess if I had decided on that”
The impact from the Empress’s hand, which slapped her cheeks, had followed the rest of her words. Her long fingernails left a thin scar on Diana’s pale cheek. However, embarrassment and astonishment were what she felt rather than the stinging pain on her face.
Her blue eyes shook as she looked at the Empress. She couldn’t comprehend what had just happened.
“You need more lessons to learn than you think.” The Empress said casually. As if nothing happened, it was a carefree argument.
“Monica!” As soon as the Empress called, a maid came and bent her knees slightly.
“You need to cool the young lady’s head.”
At that point, the maid’s expression hardened a little.
“How is the weather outside?”
It was a time when the darkness was slowly falling under the heavens.
“Now, it is cold at night, Your Majesty.”
The maid hesitated for a while.
“I think it’s raining… or is it just my illusion?” the Empress quickly added.
“Oh, it looks like, Your Majesty,” the maid answered hesitantly.
There was no rain, however. Like the coming winter, only a chilly wind blew. But the maid had no choice but to obey what the Empress had insisted.
“Yes, it’s raining so hard.”
The Empress stared out the window. Diana, who had no idea of their conversation, was puzzled.
“It’s just right to cool the young Lady’s head, right?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
The Empress turned her back. “Well, help her to cool her head.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“I think it will rain all night.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
In the end, the Empress went away. The maid looked at Diana and smiled with a short sigh.
“Lady Diana, I’ll take you somewhere.”
“No, I’d better just go out tonight. Prepare the carriage.” Diana insisted.
Her cheek that was hit by the Empress was still burning. Diana wanted to go home a little bit soon.
Diana’s eyes widened with surprise. But soon, her confusion was answered.
The place where the maid, Monica, took Diana was a garden right outside the window. Behind the maid, two other maids, who avoided the Lady’s eyes with a distressed look, followed them.
“What’s going on?”
“Forgive me, Young Lady.” The maid lowered her head for a moment. “I am just following the Empress order, so please understand.”
“What?” Was there such a thing?
Monica found it difficult to speak. “Please kneel here.”
“What?” Despite Diana’s reaction, the maid’s attitude remained unchanged.
“My Lady, you don’t understand.”
“A little while ago, Her Majesty ordered a punishment for you.”
“Is it the tale of the mysterious weather story?”
“Everyone in the royal family is honorable, and we cannot punish them directly, but we can teach them. My Lady, you have to kneel here all night, and I’m sorry, but we’ll be here three times an hour to splash you with water.”
“You’re punishing me?” Diana’s eyes widened.
It was something she had never thought of as Diana was well aware of how precious her status was. She had some faith in that part. Moreover, it was the age of adulthood soon after all. But corporal punishment?
The Empress had also inflicted this kind of indirect corporal punishment on her son, the Crown Prince. There was no way she couldn’t do it to Diana.
“Please understand that we are delivering the teachings of the Empress, not corporal punishment. If the sun rises and the Empress asks you to stand up, you can stand up.”
The maid finished explaining and pointed to a corner of the garden. “Please kneel here.”
Diana had a hunch that it was useless to refuse. Even the children of the imperial family are punished in the same way as well. Diana knelt on the spot slowly, enduring the humiliation. The stone floor already felt cold.
“Please, excuse me.”
Shortly after the maid spoke, the other maids brought two buckets of water and threw it on Diana’s sides. Her cheeks were no longer burning due to the splashes of water.
As if she were drowning, Diana’s whole body became wet, her hair sticking to her face, but Diana knelt still like a statue. The maids took turns in emptying the buckets of water and soon left Diana alone in the dusky garden.
But it was only the beginning. The water was a temporary shock, but it was cold as the chilly evening wind blew through it.
The wind blew hard without ceasing, and whenever it happened, her wet clothes would pierce her skin like an awl. The stone floor was too hard, and right in front of it, the lights of the Empress’s room looked so warm. Undoubtedly, it was a sufficient corporal punishment to undermine her self-esteem.
“It’s not an earthquake, though,” Diana spoke for the first time. At the very least, she did not turn her back, and this was an essential fact. Now, this cold and humiliation became its price.
“It’s alright… it’s alright.”
Her knee touched the ground, and coldness invaded her body. But, Diana managed not to stumble. No matter how severe the cold was, she did not even try to embrace herself. More than anything, it was the price that Diana has to pay.
“I’m not submissive.”
That was the only spark of light in Diana’s mind. No matter how much pain she had to endure, her heart must not break.
Several times since then, the maids had come and splashed water onto her, what used to feel as cold as an ice field, now seemed to be nonexistent.
At one point, it occurred to her that it wasn’t that cold. Not long after, fatigue had overtaken Diana’s body. She blinked her eyes slowly, and a long time has passed since then.