I am interested in the research of two professors, (one more so than the other) at a university I am applying to for PhD (let's call one Ms. E - less interested and Mr. K - very interested). I met both the professors and both seemed to be interested in getting me on their research team. I had a second meeting with the Ms. E and she asked whether I was talking to any other professors. I told her about Mr. K and that was it.
Next thing I know, Mr. K under whom I was actually planning to work, emails me saying I should continue my application under Ms. E.
Now I am confused as to how to navigate this problem. They both had planned to pull some academic strings to get me in as soon as possible (I am an international student) and both have promised me funding. I had not verbally committed to anything with either but only told them that I was interested in their research and wanted to talk to them about it further.
How should I let Ms. E know that I would rather work for Mr.K?