Chapter 9

Translator: Gold

Cedric’s complexion changed.

He put down his cup of tea and looked at Artizea angrily.

“Do you want to sow conspiratorial ideas in me?”

“I’m talking about the succession, how could that be a conspiracy? His Majesty has not yet chosen the Crown Prince.”

Artizea said calmly.

“If the Grand Duke Roygar is entitled to the succession to the throne, Your Grace is also entitled. Your mother was the Grand Duke Roygar’s elder sister, a legitimate princess of the empire, and Your Grace is the late emperor’s grandson, born of a legitimate marriage.”

*Thud.*

Cedric punched the table and rose abruptly from his seat. “I can’t listen to you talk about this anymore.”

“Your Grace.”

He turned and left quickly.

Alice, who was watching them from afar, ran up to Artizea in surprise.

“My lady, are you all right?”

“Why do you say that?”

“Well… He left angrily.”

“That’s what I expected.”

Artizea quietly poured more tea into her cup of tea and drank it. On the contrary, she would have been disappointed if he hadn’t shown his rejection.

The position of the Crown Prince was not something that could be discussed lightly. And much less about an alleged ‘conspiracy’.

Even just by mentioning this, even if he had a right to succession, could cause him to be treated as a conspirator.

Cedric knew that better than anyone. Because his parents were framed and killed for conspiracy.

Besides, Artizea was Lawrence’s half-sister. Rather, it would have been odd if he didn’t doubt her intentions.

‘He’ll need time to think about it.’

Cedric’s previous foray into politics came after the fall of Roygar and after Lawrence became the Crown Prince.

However, while Roygar was in the fight for the throne, he always stayed away from these matters.

The illegitimate son of the emperor or the legitimate son of the emperor’s sister? Favouritism or bloodlines?

That fact alone had caused the confrontation to intensify, but no one had considered the emperor’s nephew as his successor.

Cedric had never shown the ambition of the Grand Duke Roygar.

Everyone thought he hated politics and power, and that he only wanted to protect the Grand Duchy Evron.

Even when he began to confront Lawrence. He did it to survive, not out of any interest in political power.

But had Cedric himself once thought about it?

Artizea thought not. No, she was sure he hadn’t.

She had been watching Cedric for almost 20 years. Artizea had been cautious about him even before he stood out.

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She couldn’t say that she understood him, nor that she sympathized with him.

But she knew him better than anyone else.

He was a man of strong convictions. When someone has to step forward to face adverse situations, he is the first to take that step.

‘Making a decision before the scales tip could be a much better start.’

Pushing Cedric’s back wouldn’t be a difficult task.

Even bringing up one of the tragedies that the power struggle between the two would cause, Cedric would feel responsible.

Until now, he had probably ignored the issue, vaguely thinking that Lawrence or Roygar could do it right.

However, when he discovered that this would not be the case, he would feel the need to confront them.

But Artizea decided not to do that.

She considered Cedric her master.

Therefore, a close aide should strive to fulfill the will of her master. It was out of the question to conspire to influence her master’s actions and thoughts.

Of course, she had to become his aide first.

The first decision had to be made by Cedric.

Time was a valuable resource, but the worrying process of thought and resolution was also important.

And if after that worrying process he came to the conclusion that Artizea was not necessary, then she would do something else.

“My lady, eat something. The only thing you ate today when you woke up was a small portion of salad.”

“Ah. I’m sorry, I forgot.”

Artizea finally took a small slice of sandwich and put it in her mouth.

Then she offered Alice. Anyway, there were so many that she couldn’t eat them all by herself.

“My lady, will you come home now?”

“Let’s wait a little longer.”

“Why? The Grand Duke Evron has already left.”

“Well, let’s just wait. We’re in no hurry to get home early anyway.”

“That’s true.”

Alice sighed.

However, there was no need to wait any longer.

After an hour, one of the knights who helped her repair the carriage arrived at the gazebo.

“I am Benjamin Corner of the Western Army.”

The knight introduced himself with a military salute.

“I have come by order of His Grace, the Grand Duke Evron, to escort you, lady, to the home of the Marquisate Rosan.”

Earlier, he had shown himself to be angry with her, but now he was sending this man to escort her, leaving one possibility open.

If he was really angry with Artizea because he considered her words unacceptable, he would not have sent anyone to escort her.

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Now she was looking forward to their next meeting.

“Thank you for your kindness. I would also like you to convey my thanks separately to His Grace.”

Artizea said politely. Alice quickly put everything in the wicker hamper and the tea set box respectively.

Benjamin helped her carry the heavy box of the tea set.

Artizea followed them, walking slowly along the beautiful temple path, carrying her umbrella.

***

When she was on her way back to the Marquisate Rosan, the sun was setting.

When the manor could be seen in the distance, the way was blocked. The Imperial Guard was on alert and they raised their hands as the carriage approached.

The coachman was used to this, so he stopped the carriage calmly.

Benjamin knocked hastily at the door of the carriage. Artizea opened the curtain on the carriage window and looked out.

“What’s the matter?”

“Ah, sorry for bothering you. There seems to be an inspection. I’ll find out what’s going on and… ”

It was then that one of the Knights of the Imperial Guard approached him and asked.

“Isn’t that the Western Army uniform? What’s a Western Army knight doing here?”

“Ah! I am Benjamin Corner, Knight of the Fourth Western Army Corps! I am escorting the lady home on the orders of His Grace, the Grand Duke Evron.”

Benjamin responded with a tense voice. One might think that the Knights of the Western Army, the Knights of the Central Army and the Knights of the Imperial Guard possessed the same status, but in reality, there were notable differences between them.

In particular, the Knights of the Imperial Guard not only had access to the Imperial Palace, but could also meet with the Emperor at any time and wield a weapon near him. They were treated similarly to an Earl.

The Emperor was no fool. He did not select the knights who guarded him by status or lineage, but chose them personally from among the elite Knights of the Central Army.

Even ordinary people could become knights just by military achievement.

In an empire constantly threatened by monsters and pirates, the way was open for those with the necessary abilities.

In fact, the Imperial Guard was also the highest position to which an ordinary person could rise.

The Knight of the Imperial Guard asked in surprise.

“His Grace the Grand Duke Evron?”

When Artizea heard the voice, she opened the carriage door.

Then the Knight of the Imperial Guard approached the carriage.

This middle-aged man named Henry Kishore was one of the Six Commanders of the Imperial Guard. And also, he was one of the Emperor’s trusted men. There was nothing wrong with being close to him.

“Hello, Sir Kishore.”

“Where are you coming from so late? Lady Artizea.”

Kishore asked with a stern expression.

“I was returning from the temple, but I had a mishap.”

He had been a close aide to the Emperor since the time of Artizea’s birth. And he often went to the Marquisate Rosan to visit Miraila on the Emperor’s orders.

So sometimes he acted as a protective uncle to Artizea.

“I see. But why are you with a soldier of the Western Army…?”

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“The Grand Duke Evron helped me repair the carriage when I was stranded on the road. He was surprised I was without an escort, so he asked Sir Connor to accompany me home.”

Artizea deliberately blushed.

The Emperor trusted Kishore because he was an honest and selfless man.

He was also a non-partisan figure loyal to the Emperor and unconnected to the noble families.

Mielle was a year younger than Artizea. For that reason, Kishore was kind to Artizea.

He was the perfect person to make her meeting with Cedric today come to the Emperor’s ears in a natural and favorable tone.

This meeting with Kishore was not planned by her. But Artizea thought it was the best thing that could have happened.

“You’ve grown up, you are no longer a child, you’ve become a woman, Artizea.”

He said that with a warm smile on his face.

Artizea blushed again, but this time she wasn’t acting. Even her ears turned red and her body temperature rose.

“Oh, this is no time to talk about this. I’ll escort you home.”

“Well, then I’ll leave now.”

“You’ve escorted me here. If you like, you can come with us and have a teacup before you go.”

“No. The Grand Duke gave me the order to escort you home safely. But from now on, the safest thing is for the Knight of the Imperial Guard to escort you. I have already done my duty, so I will return.”

“All right, thank you.”

Artizea said with a smile. Kishore tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Good job.”

Benjamin stiffened, he said goodbye to Kishore with a military salute, and left quickly as if he were running away.

Artizea laughed internally. Although Benjamin was respectful and courteous, he must have felt quite nervous. After all, he was a young Knight of the Western Army, who had met a Commander of the Imperial Guard.

Kishore closed the door of the carriage and Artizea said out the window.

“Ah, today I received a prayer candle after praying to the statue of the Son of God in the temple. It is blessed and I would like to give it to Miss Mielle.”

“Thank you for your consideration.”

Kishore said it with sincerity.

“I hope someday, when Miss Mielle’s health improves, we can go on a picnic.”

“Mielle will be glad when I tell her.”

“Sir Kishore, you will come with us, too.”

Artizea spoke with a smile, and Kishore covered his face with his palms.

“That child, she’s been bothering me lately…”

She was a 17-year-old girl, so no wonder. Whether she liked her father or not, she would not want to be with him all her life.

Artizea laughed.

“I’m sure that’s not her intention. By the way, if you’re here, that means His Majesty the Emperor is also in the Marquisate Rosan, right?”

“That’s right.”

Artizea took a deep breath.

She couldn’t remember all the details of the events that were to occur. However, she remembered the date of the Emperor’s first visit, after she had turned 18.

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Because ‘something’ happened that day that allowed Artizea to realize how she could help Lawrence.

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