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Chapter 268

Updated: Mar 6


Joseph plays his hand against the Empress while Tara starts strategizing.


This chapter is dedicated to RB, thank you so much for your ongoing support, we deeply appreciate it!


Disclaimer

DO NOT publish our edits anywhere else. Especially on social media. Otherwise we may have to stop doing this. Thank you.



Episode 268. About 8 months (1)


Only then did the Empress recognize their faces.


“Mother! You're here?”


Among the bowed heads, Joseph stepped forward to greet her, beaming as if he had encountered something unexpectedly joyous.


"Y-Yes."


Having unconsciously replied to Joseph's greeting, the Empress realized that her embarrassment was clearly visible.


The Empress hastily tugged her lips into a smile and cleared her throat.


"I am honoured that you would visit such a shabby place for me, Mother."


"What shabby place? Of course I should come to my son's palace to see him. By the way, I didn't expect to see your companions here. How have you all been?"


She tried to sound as nonchalant as possible, but her voice came out slightly tremulous and harsh.


"All by the grace of Your Majesty the Empress."


"Ha ha... I see. Indeed. What brings you all together here today?"


No matter how much she tried to feign calm, it wasn't easy.


Why were so many young nobles of the Empire, all of whom had favoured Franz, here in Joseph's Palace?


Why is Joseph standing among them, smiling so casually, unfazed by the sight of her?


Why hadn't her good son, the 3rd Prince, come to see her? How foolish, now it all made sense.


One member of the group responded as a representative.


"It's no serious matter. We were just stopping by on our way through...."


They flashed awkward smiles. Shamelessly, as if it were a group effort, they excused themselves saying they were busy with work and needed to leave. Then they scurried out of the Palace, afraid she might catch them. Even then, they didn't forget to say goodbye to Joseph.


Joseph stood stationary while he saw them off with a friendly smile, then looked at her with an identical expression and said, "I had no idea that you would come to my Palace, and I have been forced to keep my honoured Mother waiting. Please have the generosity to forgive me."


"Really?"


"Yes, Mother. Just now a new tea arrived that I’m sure you will appreciate. Please, let's go to the parlour."


"....."


Joseph didn't look any different from his usual self. The friendly smile, the way he treated her, everything was the same as before.


Except for one thing. The atmosphere around him was different.


In addition to his confidence that she would naturally follow him into the parlour, there was also an arrogance in him that said he would care little if she chose not to accompany him.


Yes, that's what it was. She felt a strong feeling from the Third Prince, her timid son. It was the kind of attitude that only those who looked down on everything could have, as if he didn't care if she saw the nobles who followed the First Prince gathered in his palace.


For the first time, the Empress followed Joseph into the parlour, trying to read his mind.


And as soon as they were seated, words flowed from the Third Prince's mouth that she had never thought she would ever hear.


“I intend to obtain the position I deserve, Mother.”


"...!"


He said it as if he was trying to make casual chit-chat. The Empress stopped dead in her tracks, her hand frozen on the handle of her teacup.


"It smells good. Have some."


Smiling, Joseph's expression was unusually inviting and kind today.


"What did I just hear? The position you deserve? That is... What do you mean, Joseph Amure?"


"You understand, Mother, the position that my incompetent brother will never occupy. The position that will be given to the most capable prince of the Amure family. The position that my Mother's son should occupy. Front and centre in the main Palace Council chamber..."


"Stop! That's... That's ridiculous... How dare you!"


"I'm not done speaking, Mother!"


The Empress's eyes widened in surprise at Joseph's yelled admonishment.


It was the first time he'd ever done that.


The first time her good son had raised his voice at her.


Vivian's breath caught in her throat at the unexpectedly ruthless expression on her timid son's face.


"Ha! What is that expression?"


He smiled again, as though it had never happened.


Suddenly, goosebumps broke out on her arms.


"I'm merely saying, Mother, that I deserve the throne reserved for the Emperor."


"...."


"The tea is getting cold, Mother. Let's have some."


His soft voice carried an irresistible forcefulness. The Empress stiffly reached for her teacup again and asked as calmly as she could.


"Wh- When did it start?"


"Hmm, since when? I've never really considered that, but if I had to, I'd say it probably began when I was five years old. Do you remember, Mother, when I walked around wearing the crown that the palace craftsman had made for my older brother?"


"....."


The Empress had no recollection of it; those days, especially Joseph's childhood, were far from her mind.


"You slapped me on the cheek for wearing it. Was it since then? Or was it when, at the age of thirteen, you banned me from Imperial studies when I answered all of my father's questions correctly? Ah! Perhaps it was then? When I was seventeen, and the young woman my brother had ruined fainted in a pool of blood in his Palace. You brought her secretly to my Palace and made me confess that I had done it, didn’t you? Yes, that must be when it started, Mother."


"That, that–!"


"Isn't it? If it's not that either, ah!"


Joseph raised his index finger and twirled it in the air, as if a sudden thought had occurred to him.


"Or did it start today, when I was disgusted by my mother being unable to come to her senses after my dumb brother was thrown out of the Palace for selling Military information to an enemy country? Which of these four moments started it? What do you think, Mother?"


Her whole body trembled and she couldn't speak. The Empress could only stare at him as if he was a strange monster, unable to recover from her shock.


Joseph clucked his tongue as he looked at her.


“How could you be so weak-hearted as to have his back?”


"Does your brother know this?"


"Ha! I can't believe you're still so naive, hahahaha! Uncle already knows all about this, so as long as you take my side, everything will be fine."


Vivian gripped the sofa’s armrest as hard as she could, feeling like she was going mad.


"What if I don't want to?"


“Hmm… . Are you deluded enough to believe that you have a choice, Mother? Tsk tsk tsk. You've had it too good in House Toulouse and the Palace. Hahaha! If you refuse, Mother, neither you nor my brother will see the light of day ever again.”


Raising his teacup, Joseph took a long, slow sip, set it down, and then tugged the nearby servant summoning rope.


A long-time vassal of the Toulouse family and the commander of the knights of the First Prince's Palace Guard entered and greeted them courteously. The Empress knew him well.


"You summoned me, Your Highness."


"How is my dear brother doing?"


"He's shivering among the corpses."


"What?"


The Empress jumped to her feet.


"Calm down, Mother. Please take a seat, so you can hear the explanation properly."


The Empress whirled around and glared sharply at Joseph, who motioned for her to sit down.


"What do you mean? Are you talking about Franz?"


She sat down again with her back straight.


"Hahaha. Doesn't my older brother, who is obsessed with horseback riding, often go to the horse ranch he sponsors to enjoy horse racing? Isn't it like him to take some intoxicating substances one night and kill a bunch of the racecourse managers?"


"That's... What nonsense, this is Franz, the child who couldn't even kill an ant. How could that delicate child have killed a man?"


"Yes. My brother is that kind of man. Come on, Mother. Would you like to see my words come true? Or would you like to see my brother return to his residence safe and sound?"


"What are you?!"


"Ah. Of course, my brother will go to the ranch often in the future. And depending on whether my mother cooperates will determine whether he gets caught up in such incidents again. Now, this isn't a hard decision to make, is it, Mother?"


The Empress nodded slowly at Joseph's final words.


After that, Joseph again asked about the Empress's daily life like an affectionate son, and the Empress answered him passively and briefly. But later, she couldn't remember any of the questions he asked or how exactly she ended up leaving Joseph's Palace.


Only the feeling of abject humiliation and despair lingered, and remained vividly in her mind for a long time afterwards.


***


March 1st. Evening.


I was in a restaurant in the Capital [The Rich and Lovely Goblin, the Imperial Palace's favorite a la carte restaurant].*


I was the only one on the third floor, and my table was already set.


"What are you doing here?" I grumbled, chewing on a piece of smoked chicken.


Today was my first day back at work as a full-time aide. As soon as Joseph and Shine saw me, they reacted two different ways.


Their first reaction was pity. They consoled me for being kicked out of the Second Prince's Palace.


[There's no harm in it. I don't mind, I actually like it].


But no matter how many times I said it, it didn't matter.


It was a widespread perception in society that an administrator who was kicked out of an important post was no better than a broken kite with their strings cut.


"At least I wasn't sent away to a place like Durben. That gave me a chance to investigate Chapter 4, Section 3 of the novel, "The Black Map in the Imperial Palace Warehouse."


The only thing better about working in the Permanent Secretarial Department than working for the Second Prince was that I had a lot more free time.


In addition, the department supported several others, so I would get to see the work being done in multiple other Palace departments.


Because of that, I was almost grateful for the Second Prince's order; it made it easier to search through the warehouses of other departments and find the map.


Then, a thought occurred to me.


Could the Second Prince also be a transmigrator?


___

Editor’s Notes -


Thank you for your patience everyone! University is taking over my life a little bit, but we’re all still working on this series as much as we can.


* Reminder that this is the restaurant Kyle, Diane and her husband ate at in Chapter 57 when they witnessed Tara get attacked by thugs that one time. It’s also possibly one of Kyle’s favourite restaurants in the Capital. It’s a nice little detail that Tara goes here to eat.


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12 Comments


Liza
Liza
Apr 09

I don't think the 2nd prince is a transmigrator. If anything I feel Button may be a transmigrator or regressor. The Prince only got wind of Button's involvement because of Tara.


Thank you for the update. Brilliant as always 😁

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The empress seems to have set both her sons to failure from the very start. Wow. This is making me wonder how Kyle (who if I remember correctly, entered the palace five years ago at 22) could be so politically savvy considering he hasn’t spent much time as a prince. I obviously believe it’s due to his inherent personality and his dedication to politics after the death of his mother, but this just makes me appreciate his efforts more. Good work!

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June
June
Mar 14

What a chapter!!


I thought nobody could surpass Countess Victoria but, on the other hand, Empress Vivian did not disappoint me. And Franz... I am stupefied.


Second Prince being a transmigrator?

I have been wondering what Tara has been wondering since the beginning, which she voiced it back then, which is, why is the story progressing forward much faster than it was in the novel? The "Butterfly Effect" could have been an explanation if Tara got really involved in things after she woke up, and if there was enough time to her actions actually having an effect. However, the story started progressing faster before she got actively involved in it, which means, there is another force that is causing the…


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JBear
JBear
Mar 09

I mean I always thought it odd that one prince was favored over the other, especially when in the running against an illegitimate son, but the extent of the Empress's favoritism is pretty wild and no wonder Joseph turned out as he had. Maybe if she wasn't so blinded by her incompetent first born, she could have seen and appreciated Joseph's aptitude and maybe he could have turned out differently? Doubtful considering the parents he is modeled after, but usually when children are allowed to flourish with support they can turn out positively. Either way, I do feel bad for Joseph in how he was treated by his mother as she doted on his brother. However Kyle definitely need…



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No way. I'll be disappointed if he is.

I'm also quite annoyed how stupid the empress is. You'd expect a person in such position to understand that if your son commits treason by undermining the empire's military, no vassal will accept him as emperor. So it's either Joseph or Kyle. She's overindulging Franz and is quite delusional about him.

Also the fact that she did not notice her own son is a sociopath makes her lacking discernment and common sense.

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