Updated: Feb 12
(Image to be updated)
Kyle goes to visit the emperor, a power shift occurs and Tara gets oriented as the 2nd aide.
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Episode 169. About 10 months (46)
If the Emperor did not get a prompt reply after Kyle received his orders, he would punish Kyle's commanders.
Walter, who had been doing all sorts of chores for the Emperor for the past three days, couldn't hide his nervousness at the new order from the Emperor's Palace.
“Are–Aren’t you going to reply?”
Walter wiped his forehead as if he were sweating with pathetic eyes.
“You’re absolutely right, the old man. All right, I will meet him in person. Instruct the Second Aide to request an audience tomorrow."
Walter sighed, taking care to conceal his relief.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
The fourth report he opened was an official letter from the Office of Correctional Services.
[… It has been 15 days since Orlando, the leader of Scorpion, disappeared from his cell. I am attaching a report on the Correctional Office’s management of this exile out of fear that the Correctional Office's negligence will cause problems. After checking, please confirm whether you will be setting up an investigation to pursue this missing person - The Office of Correctional Services of the Ocerian Empire.]
“… Andrei himself.”
"Excellent. I have to ask about the hunting grounds anyway. Hold my schedule and don't inform my Aide."
Walter tilted his head but didn't ask.
“Yes, Your Highness. Are you going by yourself?”
"Yes. Let's go see that noisy Black Society leader. After all, he's also my Aide's teacher…”
The next afternoon.
Not long after Kyle met with the emperor, Empress Vivian suddenly visited the Emperor herself.
Usually, the Emperor would not have met the Empress without an appointment, but he was in a good mood as he was browsing through the list of assets received from the Elias settlement.
As a result, the Emperor forgave the Empress’s rudeness.
"It's good to be welcomed in spite of my sudden visit, Your Majesty."
The Emperor was in a good mood one way or another.
He was pleased that the Second Prince, Kyle, who avoided seeing him more than once a month, had responded to his letter and came to visit in person.
Since the trial for the First Prince Franz was scheduled to take place in early February, the appearance of the Empress with her tail lowered was also good.
Also, the promised portion of Jason Elias' assets, which entered his accounts as of today, pleased him.
“You have managed to find me at a time when I have no official duties. So, what brings you here, Empress?”
“After reviewing the arrangements for the Crown Princess Selection, there are many things that must be scheduled, however, our Second Prince has not yet set a date. So, I came here out of motherly concern, Your Majesty.
'Our Second Prince...'
The Emperor pouted his lips, and burst into laughter, "Hahaha."
“I called him in to meet me today, but he only said that was still deciding. Hahaha. It has been just a short time since we returned from the Hunting Contest, so let us wait a little longer, Empress."
“As the head of the Inner Palace, I want His Majesty to understand my desire for perfection in order to preserve the dignity of the Imperial Palace.”
“Of course, I understand the Empress's feelings all too well. However, there is nothing to be gained by acting hastily, Empress."
The Empress's forehead wrinkled slightly, and the Emperor was happy to see it again.
“I won’t. Even if the date is yet to be determined, Your Majesty. Come to think of it, the Second Prince will soon be welcoming a consort, but as a mother, I have never properly spent time getting close to the Second Prince. I think it would be nice if I could spend some quality time with the Princes next week, Your Majesty.”
The Emperor slowly turned his gaze away from the documents he had been reading the whole time and looked at the Empress, smiling as lovingly as possible.
'So, she wants me to lift Franz's prohibition from entering the Imperial Palace?'
The Emperor asked openly.
“You are asking me to lift Franz’s restraining order?”
“… Not at all, Your Majesty. How could I dare to disobey Your Majesty’s strict order? I just want the brothers to have a good time together, we could meet at Harrington Mansion, Your Majesty.”
The Emperor was quite surprised.
The Harrington Mansion was the residence that was granted to the Emperor as dowry when Empress Vivian was chosen as Empress.
The Emperor was very pleased with the mansion, where everything was decorated to his taste, and he often spent time there.
But he had never been to the mansion with Kyle because the Empress had so blatantly opposed it.
This time, however, the Empress herself had invited Kyle there.
It meant she was accepting him on the surface as a part of the Imperial Family.
To save Franz, the Empress was now more than willing to humble herself and trying her best to quietly delay the trial as much as possible.
The Emperor’s grin took over his face. These days, there were unexpected moments when he could truly savour being the Emperor.
"The Empress has a truly compassionate heart. I do not wish to betray the Empress's compassion. Unfortunately, next week, Kyle has a business trip regarding the Central Province's Axis project, so it will be difficult. Instead, we will support our eldest son by giving him his trial schedule. How about we go to Harrington for a modest gathering the day of the trial to support our eldest son, Empress?"
“You are generous and kind, Your Majesty.”
With a submissive look, the Empress bowed her head after a long time.
“That’s right, Empress. The Emperor is always generous and kind. So why does the Empress and my eldest son forget that fact so often?”
“Is that so, Your Majesty? I always engrave Your Majesty’s kindness deep in my heart. So once again, you must look out for our son, our firstborn and eldest, Your Majesty.”
The Emperor shook his head.
“Tsk, Tsk. Empress. The scribe is recording.”
After glaring at the scribe who was recording the conversation, the Empress sighed heavily.
"Your Majesty. Do you know what it means for me to invite the Second Prince, Kyle, to Harrington?"
“I know, Empress, that you have made a concession, so you are asking a price for that which you gave away. A concession is only fair, Empress, so do not be so arrogant again.”
The Empress, clearly displeased, quickly opened her mouth to speak, but the Emperor slammed the table with all his might and his face changed in an instant.
“You tried to sell my Empire, Empress! Don't you dare attempt to conceal that with your silver tongue! So, go back and wait cautiously. The Empress's proposal is a very good one, so I will consider it generously. Apart from that, I am not putting up with such rudeness, despite the Empress’s general lack of fault. All your future actions should involve considerably more thought.”
The Empress's eyes widened to their limits.
Confusion, anguish, anger, and a faint trace of fear.
“… Yes, Your Majesty.”
The Empress answered with difficulty and escaped the Emperor's gaze.
She was convinced only then.
'The tables have turned.'
She didn't know how she returned to the Empress's Palace. The Empress's mind was in a state of confusion.
'The Emperor has changed! I didn’t mean to challenge the Emperor's authority.'
'He’s trying to beat me, and the Toulouse. Even against the Toulouse, there might be a chance.'
'Has his confidence increased because his coffers are being filled? Or is it that he trusts Kyle that much? … Then what about Franz? My son?'
'Kyle… I can't let Kyle do this!'
'Yes, I need to do something. A number of…'
Just as she was growing obsessed with such thoughts, she received a welcome telegram from Franz.
[… There are terrible rumors circulating that His Majesty the Emperor will be furious about, Mother. Soon there will be a big blow struck against that thorny bastard. I, your not incompetent son, will not sit still. After all, I am the first in line for the throne. Your brilliant son has a plan. You will enjoy the result.
It is so thrilling to think about what will happen when the rumor about him reaches the Capital, Mother! We will wait for that day together. I miss my Mother more every day.
Reverently, Franz, your eldest son.]
“Oh. My son is so smart. What a wise prince!”
The Empress trembled while holding the letter.
Her emotions, which had been plummeted into the abyss a moment ago, soared up in an instant, high enough to pierce the ceiling.
The Empress laughed out loud and hurriedly raised her pen.
She was so curious about the contents of that hideous rumor, so she wrote a response asking for the details, but Franz refused to tell her the details of the rumor, saying it would be no fun if she knew in advance.
The Empress decided to happily wait for that day as her son had said. The day when the hideous rumors of Kyle would spread throughout the entire Capital.
“I wonder, what is this rumor? … Whoo.”
The same day.
Around 6 pm, I had just left the secretarial building to check the schedule for the monthly legislature report next week.
My arms were full of official paperwork I needed to deal with in the next week.
The paper file organizer enclosing the stack of documents was considerably thicker than the documents themselves, resulting in my paperwork being quite bulky.
I must serve my boss well. Why were there so many documents?
For the past 3 days, I hadn't had a significant encounter with the Second Prince. At first, I thought he was avoiding me on purpose, but after a while I noticed that there were just so many people seeking his attention.
So, he was very busy, and I was very busy because I had to keep up with what he was doing and process it all at the same time.
Sometimes, even when we were together in private times, such as during breaks, he was cold, and I didn’t sense any emotions similar to the ones before.
Was he mad because he had been rejected? No. He wasn’t such a petty person.
If so, that was fortunate, but still the atmosphere between him and me was strange, and oddly different from before. But I didn’t know exactly why it felt weird.
Perhaps it was because I received a confession from such an unexpected person. I dismissed this as a cause for my confusion.
This was the first time, as both Ji Yeonwoo and Tara, that I had such a visceral response to something like this.
Fortunately, thanks to the Second Prince's attitude, the burden had disappeared, and my heart felt lighter.
Wasn't that enough?
These were my thoughts as I walked down the stairs.
“What a coincidence meeting you here, my Lady.”