Chapter 36

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No matter how powerful aristocrats were, they were compelled to follow the temple for three things: baptism, weddings, and funerals.

The temple strictly forbade the inheritance of illegitimate children as witnesses of the sacred marriage vows and guardianship.

Property is only transferable while alive. Some of the titles were transferable.

However, the title belonging to the family itself was non-transferable. The illegitimate child could never inherit.

Even if there were hundreds of children, if there were no offspring to inherit the family, the title of the family and the accompanying property were returned to the imperial family.

The only way to avoid it is for the spouse to adopt them.

It was also the most powerful right for a spouse who had no children to protect themselves.

“His Majesty hasn’t said anything?” Artizea asked in a quiet voice.

The current succession quarrel is, in fact, the seed sown during the reign of the emperor.

The previous Emperor had not had children for a long time while with the first empress. So, he made one of the extramarital affairs into the Crown Prince and made him as the Empress’ adopted son.

That is now Emperor Gregor.

However, when the Empress died in her later years, the previous Emperor remarried with a young woman as young as his daughter.

The firstborn was Cedric’s mother, and the second was Grand Duke Roygar, who was now a candidate to become next emperor.

The imperial politics was greatly shaken.

However, it was too late to overturn the position of the prince which had already been established.

The grown-up prince was already building up his power, and the emperor was already over fifty years old.

On the other hand, Emperor Gregor was carrying his own family after the deceased emperor.

Even so, Emperor Gregor suffered a problem of legitimacy in the early days of his throne.

Thus, the imperial power was strengthened by purging Cedric’s parents for treason.

However, the legitimacy question raised at that time still lingered.

If Emperor Gregor had an offspring, the succession structure would not have been complicated. Because he was already the emperor.

However, there are no children of the Empress line in the Imperial Family. By law, Gregor’s closest relative is Grand Duke Roygar.

The temple tried to prevent the marriage vows from being neutralized for two generations. Grand Duke Roygar remained the enemy of the Emperor.

This succession right is, in fact, powerful enough to quarrel with Emperor Gregor.

So, if Lawrence wants the Crown Prince’s seat, the fastest and surest way is to become the Empress’s adopted son.

To avoid that, there was no other choice but to create legitimacy in a different way. Just as Artizea had married him to a saintess in the past.

This is all true.

Poison is the scariest thing when it is true.

This is because no matter how much the poisoned person looks at it, they logically reach the same conclusion.

Lawrence was wise enough to understand what Artizea meant.

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At the same time, he was foolish enough not to realize that Artizea’s words were never fair.

‘My brother is arrogant and selfish,’ Artizea thought so, looking at Lawrence.

It was Lawrence’s arrogance to think that the fickle favor of the emperor’s was solely his own.

In addition to Lawrence, the emperor had a few more illegitimate offsprings.

However, the reason why the emperor chooses and favors Lawrence is not because Lawrence is a son or because of the high status of his birth mother.

This is because the emperor loved Miraila and decided to create a family with Miraila.

If the family game cracks, the emperor’s favor will disappear like a summer frost.

The emperor wasn’t very responsible enough to cling to his broken family, and there were a lot of people trying to drive a crack into it.

Even Miraila knew, but Lawrence didn’t.

The things that Miraila had done so far to stop the emperor’s wrath and attract his love and favor to Lawrence will not remain in his mind.

Because his mother’s love and devotion were natural to him.

Artizea whispered one more word as if breathing poisonous breath as he watched the gloomy thoughts sway within Lawrence.

“Maybe, I don’t know if my mother is deliberately preventing me from saying it. My mother is obsessed with brother.”

“….. Tia.”

“I’m so nervous. Since His Majesty loves you, everyone considers you to be the future crown prince, but if something happens tomorrow, it’s Grand Duke Roygar who will succeed him.”

“Tia, don’t talk ominously. Just saying that can be a treason.”

“Yes….. I’m sorry.”

“I don’t know why you’re so anxious.”

Lawrence said with eyes slightly reddened with anxiety.

“Because I’m brother’s younger sister. Brother’s safety is directly related to my safety.”

Artizea bowed her head.

These words gave him hope that he would be able to easily win the favor of Grand Duke of Evron. At the same time, it gave him anxiety and worries from Artizea.

Lawrence was silent for a moment, then said furiously.

“How can you say that you are ending your relationship with your mother so easily?”

He asked again.

“But what you say does make sense.”

He nodded.

‘Done.’

Artizea felt relief in her heart. The poison went into place.

Splitting the power by alienation was a basic strategy used by the weak to deal with the powerful.

In order to beat Lawrence, she first had to remove Miraila.

“Don’t worry too much.”

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“Yes…… I’m sorry for saying something so ominous,” Artizea said passively.

Lawrence stood up from his seat. Artizea stood up as she followed him.

“You don’t have to come. The butler will see me off.”

“Brother.”

“I can’t wait to see you again with a clean face. By then, Grand Duke Evron will be with you.”

“Yes.”

Artizea bowed her head to him. Lawrence patted her shoulder once and stepped outside.

Voices of greeting come from afar. Artizea sat on the couch for a while, feeling tired.

With this, Lawrence will prevent Miraila from attending the wedding.

Knock, knock.

There was a knock on the door.

It was Marcus who opened the door, politely holding a letter on a silver tray.

Artizea smiled embarrassingly.

“You don’t have to do this errand yourself.”

“This is the news you’ve been waiting for. I brought it myself because I was worried that Master Lawrence might notice something happening.”

He laid out the tray. On top of it was a letter that was sealed with a gold seal of a sea dragon.

It was an invitation from the empress.

“Finally.”

As she threw herself out in front of the guests, the final object she expected had arrived.

Artizea smiled contentedly.

****

Lawrence had a cluttered mind and didn’t even know he had arrived at home until the carriage door opened.

[I am your father, and I don’t intend to make you my successor unconditionally. I can’t do that.]

The emperor’s words came to mind again.

[Just put Ced in your hands. Then I will do the rest.]

At that time, he was filled with pent up anger and didn’t take it, but when he thinks about it now, it was a word that meant enough.

Amelia Harper, one of the emperor’s loyal subjects, once advised him. It was when the first words about Artizea and Cedric appeared.

[The Grand Duke Evron is of the imperial enemy line. If you can receive his loyalty, that alone greatly complements Master Lawrence’s legitimacy.]

It was a word that touched Lawrence’s complex.

As he did not hide his displeasure, Harper said coldly.

[The emperor is the only authority of this empire. Master Lawrence wants to be the emperor, but you are not confident of getting Grand Duke Evron in your favor?]

He should have listened to Harper more carefully.

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Maybe the emperor was already arranging several things for Lawrence.

And he was obligated to meet the expectations.

With that thought, Lawrence stepped into the chilly mansion of the Marquis of Rosan.

Miraila hurried to meet him to the mansion lobby. How much has she cried for her face to become so swollen?

“Lawrence, Lawrence, you’re here? What did Tia say? Is she coming back?”

“From my mother’s perspective, who grabbed and abused Tia in front of her fiancé and guests, do you really think she would come back?”

“That girl’s house is here. Of course she has to come back!”

“Duke Evron won’t let that happen.”

“That’s ridiculous. What did he say? She’s my daughter! Besides she’s still young, isn’t she? What does Grand Duke Evron have to do with my own daughter? I didn’t approve of this marriage!” Miraila shouted, clinging to Lawrence.

It was a rare attitude for Miraila, who would never show a bad appearance to Lawrence. That’s how desperate she was.

But Lawrence pushed her away with a cold manner.

“Mother, are you determined to ruin my future?”

At Lawrence’s words, Miraila hiccuped and bit her mouth shut as if scared.

“Wh, what do you mean?”

“You’ve heard of Father saying that Tia is fortunate to have a relationship with Grand Duke Evron. But why are you doing this?”

“Well, that’s….. that’s not it. How can Tia do this to me anyway? I didn’t mean to hurt Tia. You know that, don’t you? How did I give birth to such a girl?”

“I know. Right.”

Lawrence looked at her with a grim gaze with no warmth.

“You had a hard time giving birth. This is the second time, right?”

“Wha, what’s the second…”

“My mother is blocking my way. You gave birth to Tia, and now you’ve done this. Mother, do you want to kill me?”

Lawrence said softly as he touched the scarf around Miraila’s neck to correct it.

Miraila shrugged her neck in fear.

“Wha, what do you mean? Why do I want to kill you?”

“Die or become emperor, there can only be one thing to do of the two. Mother, please do not do anything useless and stay still.”

Lawrence clenched his teeth.

“Anyway, my mother couldn’t have the ability to dethrone the empress, nor could she make me the prince.”

“Lawrence, you know? The empress…”

Miraila mumbled with a miserable face. Lawrence turned around.

“No, no. Lawrence, Mom will never disappoint you.I will never again. I will never disappoint you again. Lawrence, Lawrence!”

Miraila, hurriedly followed him, grabbed his arm. Lawrence shook her hand roughly and once again stepped out.

Miraila sat down and sobbed.

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