Chapter 45

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7. Audience with the Empress

The day has come to see the empress.

Alice had been making a fuss since the morning.

“What should I do? Lady, is this pretty, or is this pretty?”

“Both are very bright colors.”

Alice’s hand held an ivory dress and a light blue dress. Artizea shook her head.

“I think the light blue suits you a lot better.”

“I’m going to wear a dark color. Put the clothes back. There’s no reason to dress up.”

“But still it’s your first time going to the palace as the ‘Marchioness of Rosan’. It’s also the first time to greet the Empress as the fiancee of Grand Duke Evron.”

“There’s nothing like that, because I’m coming in quietly to the Empress.. What happened in Her Majesty’s palace will not be spoken out and will not be seen by others.”

Eighteen years ago, the empress lost all of her children.

Shortly thereafter, her best friend, Viscountess Pescher, committed suicide with her husband.

However, the empress’s misfortune did not end there. While she was grieving and turning away from the outside affairs, the emperor reorganized the power structure of the southern nobility.

He was ready to hit the Duke of Riagan, the empress’s father.

By the time the empress came to her senses, she was already in a state where everything was irreversible.

The Duke of Riagan and his wife died in an accident shortly thereafter. Whether it was a real accident was unknown.

The empress walked away and locked the door of her palace. And for 18 years she never took off her mourning clothes.

It was for her children, it was for her friends, and it was for her father and mother.

Outwardly, she seemed to have given up on life.

‘Nevertheless, the emperor is wary of her empress. That’s the biggest indicator.’

During the 18 years of the empress’s despair and mourning, Emperor Gregor held Miraila and Lawrence in his arms and played a happy family game.

Couldn’t the anger and resentment accumulate in the heart of the empress?

She is not a saint. At one time in her youth, there must have been a time when she trusted the emperor.

Whether there was love in her trust or not is unknown to Artizea.

It’s true that with or without her love, she played a great role in bringing Emperor Gregor to his present place.

Her power still remains. The emperor neither deposed the empress nor killed her.

The Empress has a considerable stake on the throne of Emperor Gregor.

Therefore, it is better to show herself as it is than to decorate as brightly as possible. Because a girl drunk in her romantic dreams is useless to the empress.

Artizea made up her mind and refined her strategy.

At an unexpected hour that day, Freil visited the Tuvalet room.

“It was so close to time.”

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Freil shrugged his shoulders.

Artizea had just finished getting dressed. No matter how much he thought about it, it didn’t seem like there was an urgent need for Freil to visit at this time.

Freil brought out the box that he was holding. Alice tilted her head and accepted the box.

“Wow! It’s heavier than it looks, Sir Freil?”

Alice brought the box to the dressing table in front of Artizea and opened the lid of the box.

Sophie glimpsed and exclaimed.

“Wow, is it a jewel?”

What was inside was a blue crystal the size of a forearm. It was a deep navy blue, reminiscent of the southern sea.

Artisea smiled unintentionally when she saw the shape.

“This is the special salt of the South Sea. It would have been difficult to obtain such a beautiful and large crystal.”

“Salt?”

“Yes.”

There is a lot of good salt in the South Sea.

South Sea salt was used everywhere except in the underdeveloped area in the western and northern parts of the empire. The revenue generated by the resale of salt amounted to nearly 20% of the empire’s finances.

“Most of the salt in the South Sea is made by boiling sea water, but in some beaches in the Riagan region, it is said that salt grows like this crystal on the floor. So, salt is not expensive.”

“But it’s really pretty.”

“In the Riagan region, it’s something that commoners can bring and decorate if they want.”

“It was incredibly difficult to bring to the capital as well. Don’t say that.”

“I don’t think the Sir brought it, but a merchant did, right?”

At Artizea’s words, Freil was grave.

“It wasn’t normal to have them bring it.”

“Good job. But the deadline I mentioned was probably a month later.”

“Really?”

Freil had a frustrated face.

“It’s not bad. It’s much better if I can take it today. I set a deadline a month later because I thought it would be difficult to get such a vivid blue crystal.”

“It’s unfair that I have to run here and there in a hurry.”

“The Sir has a habit of listening to one thing, but he’s not careful. It’s such a small thing. It doesn’t matter.

“What kind of life is mine? The Lady Heiress doesn’t care, when I’m a big supporter of yours.”

Artizea laughed.

“I’m not kidding. Before you go somewhere to drink poison and regret it.”

“Who will poison a knight like me?”

“….”

Artizea did not answer. It was then.

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“You’re talking about something nasty. Poisoning.”

Cedric said.

Then he stood there and knocked on the door.

“I wasn’t trying to…. The door was open…”

“Oh, Your Grace.”

Freil salutes him. Artizea stood up.

“Welcome.”

“Are you ready to go?”

“Yes.”

It was after Sophie had already put a small hat on Artizea’s head and fixed it with a pin.

“I thought I heard something about poisons….”

“It was a joke.”

“What is that?”

“Oh, yes, it’s a gift prepared by Sir Freil.”

“Freil prepared a gift?”

Freil glanced at Cedric’s eyes.

Cedric’s countenance occurred in his eye. He wasn’t angry. He just fiddled with his eyebrows with his own hands.

Artizea replied.

“Yes.”

Frustrated Freil’s brain cells sang.

He couldn’t tell if he knew but pretended not to know, or if he really didn’t know.

“The Lady Heiress said she needed salt from the Riagan region so I got it for her. That’s a hundred percent not a lie. Then, I’ll be on my way.”

Freil spoke quickly and floated away as if running away. Cedric looked away from behind him.

‘I didn’t say anything.’

He stroked his forehead again with his index finger.

“Is this a gift prepared for Her Majesty?”

“Yes, why?”

Artizea tilted her head and asked. Cedric grinned.

“It’s nothing. I just thought it was a bit unexpected.”

He extended his arm. Artizea put her hand on his arm.

When Alice heard that, she closed the lid of the box and went out first to put it on her carriage.

The two slowly came downstairs later.

Cedric escorted Artizea to her carriage. Artizea took a seat and asked when the carriage door closed.

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“What kind of person is Her Majesty the Empress?”

“Isn’t it a little late to talk about it now?”

“I’m just curious about Lord Cedric’s impressions, not objective information. You said you would come with me. You said you weren’t one of them.”

At first, Artizea was going to see the Empress alone.

Because she was going with Cedric, it would be like just going to say hello to a relative.

Saintess Olga’s heart can also be delivered through Cedric. The Empress will then give a reasonable appreciation for presenting a fine jewelry as a gift.

But it shouldn’t be.

That’s why they left the easy path and came back round.

Everyone in the social world knows that she has won Saintess Olga’s heart.

She showed her involvement in the incident. In doing so, she revealed her desire and gaps.

She created a probability that people thought she would want to take revenge on Miraila.

In doing so, she aroused the empress’s interest. Letting her know that she is a worthy opponent for trading.

And she finally received an invitation with her own name, Artizea Rosan.

However, Cedric was opposed to her meeting the empress alone.

“Isn’t that strange? You’re going to say hello as my fiancée, but also leave me behind by going alone.”

“It’s not unusual for a noble girl to see Her Majesty alone. And, as I said, I’m not just trying to say hello as a relative, but I’m going to make another request.”

“Are you worried about me knowing your tactics?”

Artizea could not help but be embarrassed. It wasn’t like that. It wasn’t something she could do secretly without notifying Cedric.

“No. It’s not like that.”

“If so, let’s go together. I won’t interfere with what you’re trying to do.”

Cedric said in a soft voice.

“Her Majesty The Empress is not easy, but until now, the gates of the Empress’s Palace were closed. If you see her alone, it will surely catch the attention of the social world.”

It was an undesirable thing. Artizea was forced to nod her head.

Despite the fact that the most important figure for Lawrence to become the prince was the empress, Artizea did not have much information about the empress.

Just mentioning the empress was the biggest reason why Miraila was so angry. However it was also a problem that her palace was always closed.

All the remaining employees in the palace are loyal ones who gave their lives to the Empress. The few guests who came and went were all of the empress’s very close friends.

There was no one who could be bought with money.

It would have been possible to take the time to intimidate the family or create weaknesses with things like beauty.

But instead of working so hard, Artizea solved it so easily. Under the emperor’s acquiescence, she set fire to the empress’s palace.

It was after the saint’s oracle came out. Now she had calculated that Lawrence could acquire his legitimacy even if she wasn’t the empress.

The empress died without leaving the palace. None of the assassins who waited for the Empress to come out alive, got blood on their knife.

It wasn’t until then that Artizea thought that the Empress might have been really ill.

‘Cedric will not forgive.’

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Unlike killing a butler, she can’t hide and do such a big thing.

Artizea gazed gently at Cedric’s face.

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