Chapter 16

Translator: Gold

“If your only goal is to inherit the Marquisate Rosan, then you might choose someone who is in a safer position than mine.”

Cedric said.

“You are Marquisate Rosan’s master. Even legally, the only descendant of Marquess Rosan are you.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“This inheritance is protected by God and the Temple. Not even His Majesty can act arbitrarily.

“Yes. Besides, just because he loves my mother, His Majesty will not put me under too much political pressure.”

“So Lady Artizea, what you need is a husband who has the proper social status to protect you from trouble. For that reason, it is too risky to choose me as a partner.”

Cedric said.

“If it is not power and glory you desire, there is no reason for you to marry me and enter the battle for the succession to the imperial throne. I don’t know if you want to become the Empress, but I don’t understand why you want a divorce in two years.

Artizea gave a long sigh.

To tell the truth, it was because of Licia that she wanted a divorce in two years.

Licia was still young. However, in two years, she would be as beautiful as a rose in all its splendour.

And on her 20th birthday, she received an oracle.

—Take care of the weak and disadvantaged in my name.

That was the oracle that originally descended to the Temple.

It was the first time in almost 100 years that an oracle descended.

Licia became a Saintess at the same time she received the oracle.

The faithful rejoiced with tears in their eyes, and even those who did not believe in God were amazed.

She lived as a Saintess with every fiber of her being. She extended her hand to all who needed her, saving even the dying.

When the flood damage from the Ava River caused an epidemic, she just took some of her assistants and ran to the center of it, purifying the contaminated wells and treating the people.

She was also the one who gave hope to the people when the wave of monsters turned the Western Region into hell.

She saved countless lives and gave hope to many more.

She was able to heal anyone in need with her sacred power. But she probably healed more hearts than diseases or wounds. The wishes of the people were gathered in the Saintess. She never got involved in politics. She didn’t even appear in social circles, and was rarely in the capital.

Among the nobles, Cedric was the only one who protected and helped her.

For the people, it was the Saintess who would guide them, not the Emperor or the Archbishop of the Temple.

The faith of the people is the will of God.

So Artizea took advantage of this and fabricated a new oracle.

—The Saintess would become the Empress.

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In the face of this fact, the people were deeply pleased.

The authority of the Imperial Family and the Temple would be restored to its original position once and for all. The Imperial Family would gain its lost legitimacy through the Saintess, and the Temple could interfere with the power of the secular world.

Until that moment, the struggle for succession had remained at an impasse.

Although Lawrence was the Emperor’s favored child, he could do nothing on his own against Roygar. On the other hand, the Grand Duke Roygar could not overwhelm the Emperor’s favored child with his power either.

In that situation, the lie spread by Artizea made the struggle between the two take a different direction.

By indicating that a woman would become an Empress, it meant that her husband would become an Emperor.

Emperor Gregor, Lawrence and Grand Duke Roygar believed in the power they had in their hands rather than superstitions, like an oracle.

Probably, although Artizea did not reveal it, the emperor also knew that the oracle had been fabricated.

However, people all over the country believed that the beautiful and good-hearted Saintess would become the Empress, so no one could betray that belief.

The marriage to Licia became the final piece to complete Lawrence’s legitimacy.

And now, she would do the same for Cedric.

Besides, Licia and Cedric were originally in love with each other. If she let things take their course, they would fall in love again and get married.

At least that’s what Artizea thought, so she wanted to divorce him before that.

Before the oracle descended. Before Licia became a Saintess and Cedric helped her. She wanted to divorce before they developed feelings of love for each other.

Cedric was a man of integrity. She was sure that if she asked him to divorce her so that he could marry Licia after the oracle descended, he would not do it.

Artizea also did not want the man she served to be branded as someone who had divorced his wife just because he wanted to be with the Saintess.

She couldn’t tell Cedric about this situation right now.

Artizea hesitated. Cedric realized this and said.

“Can’t you tell me?”

“I’m not trying to trick you, Your Grace. It is just that I do not want to become the Empress, although I consider it best for the empire that no one but Your Grace becomes the Emperor. Besides, I don’t think I’m suitable for that position. You may think it’s for a greater good.”

“Lady Artizea, you seem determined to sacrifice yourself for the good of the empire.”

Artizea shook her head.

“I am the least appropriate person to receive such words.”

As the conversation continued, the carriage came to Reve Street and stopped.

The coachman touched the carriage window to find out exactly where she wanted to go.

Artizea in response, tapped the window three times to indicate to the coachman and her maid that here was good.

Then she looked Cedric in the face.

Cedric said.

“I think it’s too early to talk about the imperial throne.”

“Yes.”

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“However, I gratefully accepted her offer to overcome the situation of the Western army. As long as we hold hands, I will protect Lady Artizea with all my might. And you will do your best for the welfare of the Grand Duchy Evron and for me. Do you agree with that?”

“Yes. And the divorce…”

“Let’s think about it in two years’ time.”

“I understand what you mean. Until a relationship of full trust is established, it is best to secure what can be given and received.”

Said Artizea. Cedric looked at Artizea, feeling a pressure on his heart.

“I have one condition.”

When Cedric said this, Artizea got nervous.

She wondered what to do if it was one condition she couldn’t fulfill. Would it be better to lie, or to equivocate?

She thought he would demand honesty, not scheming, or something like that.

But Cedric said.

“I hate that people around me get hurt. If you want to be by my side, then you must remember that.”

“Yes, I understand.”

“Lady Artizea, you don’t seem to know. What I mean is that you yourself must not be hurt either. Please don’t let that happen again.”

Cedric said, pointing to her cheek.

“I’d rather have you hit them.”

Artizea couldn’t help but laugh. Cedric smiled too.

“I’d rather be hit, so I can sue and spread rumours to crush the other person’s reputation, rather than be the one to do it.”

“I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

“Yes, all right. Thank you for your concern, Your Grace.”

She responded with a smile on her face.

Cedric showed a full smile, thinking that her smiling face looked much better than her serious face.

“Well, I have one condition too.”

“Go ahead.”

“There is a jewel called Saintess Olga’s Heart, the heirloom of the Fischer Viscounty. Give it to me as a marriage proposal gift.”

Cedric was surprised because he never expected Artizea to ask him for jewelry or anything else.

“The family heirloom of the Fischer Viscounty…?”

“Yes. That will make it easier for you to understand what kind of person I am.”

Artizea said quietly.

“If you don’t change your mind after getting Saintess Olga’s Heart, propose to me so magnificently that everyone will talk about it.”

Cedric nodded his head without asking any more questions.

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Artizea tried to open the carriage door.

Cedric gently blocked her hand, and smiled at Artizea, who was surprised. Then he opened the door and went out first.

After getting out, he extended his hand to Artizea. Artizea hesitated and put her hand on his.

Then Cedric raised it and lowered it.

“Ah.”

“It is not proper for a lady to get off the carriage first.”

“Yes… that’s right.”

Artizea blushed a little. She felt like a little fish was swimming in her chest.

The path was narrow and muddy. A crowd of children, like mosquitoes, crowded around her and spread their hands.

“Give me a penny!”

“Have mercy, beautiful lady!”

“The more sustenance you give to the poor, God will prepare a better place in heaven for you.”

Alice hastily took out a black cloak and put it on Artizea. Artizea lowered the hood of her cloak deeply.

“Do you always have that cloak ready beforehand? I don’t think you would have planned to come to this place today.”

“Yes, because the color of my hair usually draws attention.”

Artizea responded.

The coachman shouted and chased away the crowd. Artizea quickly left the main path, escorted only by Cedric.

Walking through the alleys of Revi Street with one or two ordinary men was a great adventure.

But Cedric was no ordinary man. He was the Shield of the Empire and the greatest warrior in the Empire.

Although Artizea was covered in a black cloak, she could not hide the silhouette of her dress, which clearly showed that she was a noblewoman.

It was clear that her companion was also a nobleman. In this scenario, it would not be surprising if they were assaulted in less than five minutes.

However, due to Cedric’s overwhelming presence, no one showed up.

Artizea did not notice, but Cedric could feel some of them around him, tense and holding their breath.

“Who are you going to meet?”

“With the butler who had been serving Marquisate Rosan for generations and who was dismissed shortly after the death of the previous Marquess Rosan.”

Artizea continued.

“I have no one I can trust. He probably holds a grudge against my mother and me, but his family has been loyal to Marquisate Rosan for generations, so I’m sure that will make him at least listen to me.”

“I see.”

Cedric looked around again.

He couldn’t believe that a butler who had served a wealthy, noble family for generations would be in a place like this.

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