Chapter 46

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Cedric had a thoughtful face for a while and said.

“Her Majesty the Empress is not a benevolent person.”

“Yes…..”

“The last time I saw her was when I was 20 years old and took over the title of Grand Duke. Probably the last time His Majesty the Emperor met her too. I thought it was true that she was ill.”

“Since she is living such a life, she cannot possibly be healthy.”

“Yes, I don’t have anything to say because I don’t see her often.”

“You weren’t in a position to do that. It’s not just a relative. For Her Majesty the Empress, Cedric is someone under their command. You had to think about safety.”

“Yes, that’s true.”

Cedric sighed with a light chuckle.

“I’ve only seen her for a short time, so it wouldn’t be helpful to tell you with the impressions of that time. When I was younger… when Pavel was alive, I sometimes went to play.”

Pavel was the second son of the empress, who died 18 years ago.

Cedric said, recalling his memory.

“Her Majesty was a cold person to Brother Pavel as well. As you know, I lost my mother early, so when I was a child, I had something like a fantasy about having a real mother, but I was surprised that Her Majesty was so cold.”

“I see.”

“She must not have had a heart to love.”

“If that’s the case, she won’t be in grief until now.”

Artizea let out a small sigh.

“If Prince Pavel had been alive, he would have been the successor to the Riagan Duchy, right?”

“That’s right. Since Her Majesty was the only descendant of the Duke, she wrote a contract with His Majesty before marriage. Of the children born between them, the youngest of the children is to belong to the Riagan Duchy. She did it to avoid joining the royal family.”

“She was a noble person. Ambitious, and it is not easy to marry into the imperial family.”

“Yes.”

Cedric replied, then bite his lips for a moment.

When Artizea fell quiet at her thoughts, the inside of the carriage became quiet too.

She thought about the situation when the empress was drawing up the contract.

She probably chose to marry because at the time it was a conventional way to supplement his legitimacy while supporting Emperor Gregor.

However, she had no intention of joining the Riagan Duchy to the imperial family.

If so, the pride of the Riagan Duchy is still the biggest weight in the empress’s heart.

“The salt crystals Lord Freil brought might play a more important role than I think.”

“… are you and Freil close?”

“Pardon?”

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At Cedric’s unexpected question, Artizea tilted her head.

Cedric stroked his mouth once. It was to hide his agitation.

“No, it’s nothing. Just because you look friendly ……”

“We’re not close.”

Artizea replied immediately.

He showed his true color and trusted his ability. She could easily entrust the work without hiding it.

But saying that she was friendly with him was completely separate.

Cedric’s face turned a little red. He lowered his eyes.

“Yes, no, nothing. I asked you a strange question. Freil is a quick witted and reliable person.”

“Yes, I think so.”

Artizea tilted her head.

***

The carriage passed through a small wooded garden and stopped in front of the main gate of the Empress’s Palace.

Cedric got off the carriage first and helped Artizea.The Lady-in-waiting, Countess Martha, bowed politely.

“Welcome, Grand Duke Evron, Lady Heiress of Rosan.”

“Nice to meet you, Countess Martha.”

“You’ve become more good looking since the last time I’ve seen you.”

Count Martha said with a smile towards Cedric.

And she politely bowed her head to Artizea.

“Even in the midst of Her Majesty’s sickness, she waited very much for the day to meet the Lady Heiress.”

“It is an honor.”

Artizea glanced at Alice, who followed her.

As Alice had been instructed in advance, she quickly lowered the jewelry box and she presented it to the Countess Martha.

“I had my maid bring something for Her Majesty the Empress. If it’s okay, can you do me a favor?”

“Okay. Then, I’ll take care of it.”

Countess Martha accepted her box.

“Come in. She is waiting in the audience room.”

Cedric reached out his arm. Artizea was escorted by him and headed inside.

The ceiling was so high that the footsteps echoed.

The floor was marble, and the pillars were decorated with gold studded embellishments.

Even though it was bright because the curtains were open, it felt somehow dark. Perhaps this is because there was no signs of people.

Upon arriving at the audience room, Countess Martha politely announced.

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“Grand Duke Evron and Lady Heiress of Rosan have arrived.”

The creaking door opened.

The empress was sitting with her two maids.

Today, she was also dressed in mourning. The jewel on the neck was a black jet with no luster.

This is a tomb that the empress made herself.

It was a realistic figure.

Cedric released Artizea’s arm. And he first knelt in front of her empress.

“It’s been a long time. I’m sorry for not visiting you often.”

“I know you’re not in a very comfortable situation, and you can’t even stay in the capital for a long time, so why should you feel sorry for not being able to greet often? I’m grateful that you came without forgetting about me.”

“No, absolutely not.”

“You’re Rosan’s Lady Heiress, aren’t you?”

“Yes, this is my fiancee.”

Cedric stood up and introduced.

Artizea slowly approached and knelt in front of the empress. Then she kissed the hem of the black mourning gown.

“Rosan’s Artizea greets the Moon of the Empire.”

“Raise your head.”

Artizea raised her head. The empress looked down at her.

“You look like Marquis Michael.”

“I’m overwhelmed with awe.”

Artizea lowered her eyes.

“I am also overwhelmed for this chance to meet you.”

“Although I’m sick and quietly recuperating in the palace, wouldn’t I even meet Cedric’s fiancée? Still, I’ve been hearing news from the outside.”

“I should have visited and said hello, but I didn’t dare to see you until you call me.”

“A lot of things happened. Relocating a residence is no ordinary thing. Especially since it’s a big deal to get a family home. Cedric may be very helpful, but what about the Lady Heiress of Rosan’s family?”

The empress said slowly. She seemed unwilling to hide that she was listening to all the social news with her ears open.

Artizea said politely.

“Thankfully, His Majesty the Emperor has allowed my fiancée to be my guardian before marriage, and the old employees in the family have also returned. We are taking care of it well.”

“Good thing.”

“I am relieved as if all my worries were washed away, and Your Majesty’s has also allowed me to see you. I have something I brought to the Empress as a sign of gratitude.”

Countess Martha took the jewelry box brought by Artizea to the Empress.

The empress opened the lid of the box. A large diamond shone brightly in the morning sunlight.

“The last time I saw it was a very long time ago, so I thought it would be different from my memory… Even if it was made like this, it’s still beautiful.”

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The empress could not hide her trembling voice for a moment.

But soon the trembling subsided beneath the expressionless dignity.

“But I heard that Cedric gave it to the Lady Heiress as a proposal gift.”

Instead of answering, Cedric looked at Artizea. Artizea bowed her head and said softly.

“After knowing the history of this gem, how can I just think of it as a diamond and hang it on my neck?”

“Does the Lady say so, knowing that the owner of this jewel has committed suicide for betraying the imperial family?”

Cedric flinched at the empress’s sharp question as if trying to intervene. But Artizea didn’t even move, so he endured.

“It’s okay if you consider a jewel only as a jewel. Such a great diamond is enough to use it as a wedding gift for the Marchioness of Rosan or as a treasure for the Grand Duke.”

The empress questioned stronger.

“But you dedicate it to me while telling of its history, it’s a disgrace to me. Did you think that I should keep a sinner’s past, so the sinner is bound to me?”

“How can a will that has already been created disappear?”

Artizea said in a calm manner.

“The history attached to the object does not disappear. Would the lady who had this jewel really regarded it as a precious diamond? Was the jewel when in the hands of others, not the Empress, to be forgotten by the people?”

“Lady Heiress. You dare.”

“The Pescher’s heirloom is by no means just a jewel.”

Artizea said so. Because that would be what the Empress wanted.

The Empress needs someone to share her sufferings with herself. It will only be with someone she trusts enough to risk her life for herself.

If such a person does not appear, she will not be able to open the door of the Imperial Palace.

But Artizea couldn’t give her that trust. The empress is not one to be cajoled by words in a short time.

Instead, she decided to grasp her weaknesses.

The Viscount and Viscountess of Pescher took responsibility for the death of the princes and committed suicide. And it was the emperor, not the empress, who demanded responsibility.

In other words, it was to deny what the emperor had done and praise the Peschers.

It was also something she could do because she was convinced that the empress would not use that weakness.

The empress, in her mourning dress, couldn’t mention the sins of Viscountess Pescher again out of her mouth.

Artizea said, holding her blue eyes straight.

“I know they took their life because of the suffering that they did not fully repay Her Majesty’s trust.”

“….”

“The Peschers were not executed as a traitor, but there were no descendants left.”

The silence sank down breathtakingly. The Empress tapped the armrest several times and said.

“People who risk themselves will want that much reward. What is the reward for the Lady Heiress?”

“I only want to be closer to Her Majesty.”

Artizea said with her head down.

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“Please use me as with Viscountess Pescher.”

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