Chapter 99

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The first place Artizea showed her face in the capital was the Empress’ Palace. Being a lady-in-waiting of the Empress, it was a natural thing to do.

The Empress’ Palace had a slightly different atmosphere than before.

There weren’t any major changes physically. Even when the Empress made it the tomb of her life, the garden of the Empress’ Palace was beautiful, and it is still so.

But the atmosphere was quite different. This is because when Countess Martha’s salon was opened, part of the garden was also open to salon guests.

In the end, sprouts bloomed on the bare branches and the garden began to turn into a lighter color. The buds of magnolias formed in the early period seemed to be brighter than last year because they breathed the outside air.

The Empress took Artizea and went out to the garden. It was for two purposes: to make a star of her and a show of who the Evron Grand Duchess first visited in the capital.

Of course, the actual conversation couldn’t be said to be a warm, affectionate one.

“It’s been a lot of fuss about the war at Evron Grand Duchy. Is it okay to come back alone like this?”

The Empress’ voice was hard and cold, not because she was worried about Evron Grand Duchy.

To the Empress in the capital’s imperial palace, the war in Evron Grand Duchy is nothing but a distant affair. She didn’t think that even if they were defeated, the entire Evron Grand Duchy would be breached.

Even if it is breached, then there is still the Elia wall. The possibility of the capital being threatened was slim.

War is a very important issue for government and military personnel. However, it had nothing to do with the Empress.

In fact, she did not care much even if the empire was in crisis after the Elia wall was penetrated.

So what she asked is something as an investor. Not as an Empress.

Artizea replied softly.

“Because I’m of little use in military matters. I decided that sitting on the stronghold and living with the people of the Evron Grand Duchy, was nothing more than wasting resources because they had one more person to protect.”

“Well, your purpose wouldn’t be to be a good Grand Duchess.”

The Empress mumbled so, fiddling with the fox fur doll over her shoulder.

Like a lifelike doll, the fox’s face was reproduced almost exactly as it was, the shawl was very long. Even with the head on the nape of the Empress, it was so long that it hung on the back to her hips.

She could use it as a shawl when she was cold, but today’s weather wasn’t cold enough to wear a fur shawl.

The Empress touched the fox fur. The touch on her hand was wonderful. When she touched its ears, she felt as if she was touching a real fox or a dog.

It was, of course, a genuine product from Evron Grand Duchy given by Artizea.

Artizea’s request for a walk also had the purpose of making it stand out.

“Is it true?”

“It is true that Karam has crossed the Thold Mountains and has a siege weapon. Probably His Majesty’s spy has reported. Others will be busy checking the authenticity.”

Artizea replied leisurely. She had no lie, so there was nothing to manipulate or be bothered about.

Evron Grand Duchy seemed quiet at first glance, but under the water it was very busy now. No less than one or two were trying to intercept or steal letters from employees.

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When Artizea came, she brought not a few letters to the employees and knights in the capital from those in the Evron Grand Duchy.

She couldn’t bring things like goods due to the heavy burden of the rush schedule, but she was able to bring letters.

Artizea checked it all out without leaving any trace. This is because she was worried about secrets leaking out.

It’s good not to have any rumors about the Karam crop project or what Cadriol did.

However, Karam did not simply pass through the Thold Gate, but crossed the mountain range to engage in raids and acquire siege weapons. The Grand Duchy employees were worried and didn’t stop talking; it was something she couldn’t stop with.

“I see.”

The Empress replied, and she put her hands back, which she had been fiddling.

People stood out over the garden in the warm sunshine.

People might be wondering what kind of conversation they are having. But no one came near.

“Aren’t you anxious?”

“Are you afraid Lord Cedric will lose?”

“Yes.”

The Empress glanced at Artizea.

“The shield of the empire, the invincible general, is at the end still a human body. Since Cedric is at the front line, he might be at the vanguard and there might be an unexpected incident.”

“It is.”

Artizea muttered to herself.

The Empress was right, but Artizea was strangely not worried.

Is it because the current war situation is not actually an all-out war? Or is it because she knows he hasn’t lost while confronting the enemy in a more difficult situation?

Artizea said.

“But if you tell him to stay behind and not do that, Lord Cedric is not a person who would listen to that. It’s not just because of his youthful spirit or impulse, but Lord Cedric thinks it’s his responsibility to do so.”

“Hmm…….”

“To go to the vanguard, to protect his own people and subjects at the risk of his life, fulfilling his responsibilities without withdrawing from the battle, that’s why Lord Cedric gained loyalty and gathered popularity, and that’s what he wants to show to the people under his command. So I dare not to interrupt.”

At Artizea’s answer, the Empress walked away without answering anything.

For a while, the two just walked in the sun. The cleanly cleared path was covered with warm soil.

Artizea looked from half a step back to the side of the Empress. The Empress had a lonely expression.

However, it soon disappeared.

“You said you brought some of the ladies-in-waiting from Evron Grand Duchy?”

“Yes. I don’t have anyone else I can trust in my family. I don’t have any friends.”

“…..”

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The Empress gazed at the empty space for a moment.

“If my daughter was alive, I would have attached you to her friend.”

“If the Princess had been alive, Your Majesty would not have dared let me tread on the grounds of the Imperial Palace.”

“That’s right, too.”

The Empress smiled in vain.

If the eldest daughter had been alive, the age difference would have been quite different with Artizea.

And even if Artizea wasn’t born the daughter of Miraila, it’s unclear whether she would have decided to be loyal to the deceased princess.

“I’ll bring my lady-in-waiting to see you soon. They don’t have a high status, and they’re not particularly witty, but they are good ladies with good behavior and good hearts, so Your Majesty will also think that they are lovely.”

Artizea politely said so.

Lysia must have been able to comfort the Empress’ heart. Lysia will treat her with pure heart, regardless of the benefits or things like that.

“They would be reliable if they were the vassals of the Evron Grand Duchy. Unlike you.”

Artizea smiled.

The Empress asked.

“Now that you’ve been on your honeymoon, I think you can officially be active in the social world as the Grand Duchess of Evron. What are you going to do first?”

The question is not about problems that they both already know about, such as tearing off supplies.

It is not a matter of what Artizea needs to deal with personally, or about the affairs of the Grand Duchy, such as the issue of the coalition of grain merchants.

The Empress asked how she would use the composition of the power she had laid out throughout the winter through Countess Martha’s salon.

Artizea replied softly.

“I’d like to prepare for Your Majesty the Empress’ birthday.”

The Empress was not surprised. It was because she thought that is the reason why Artizea came back before March.

Her birthday was around the end of March. If she prepares from now on, it will be tight, but not impossible.

“It’ll be my first birthday party in 18 years.”

The Empress replied so.

At that time, Lysia was in Countess Martha’s salon.

Artizea tried to separate from her as was going to the Empress’ Palace. Lysia couldn’t let that happen.

Hayley went elsewhere on an errand, but she had no other job. So, of course, she had to do the basic practice as Artizea’s lady-in-waiting.

There is also something because Cedric told her not to leave Artizea’s side.

Maybe it was a half-formal statement, but Lysia was somehow worried about it.

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So she followed Artizea, but she was not allowed to see the Empress together.

It is for her Mistress to see the Empress alone. There was nothing to regret if Artizea didn’t take her.

In fact, Lysia was a little relieved. She wasn’t very confident in her court manners.

The Empress’ lady-in-waiting, Countess Marta, led Lysia to the salon. She then, herself, went right back to attend the Empress.

Lysia is left with no one she knows in the salon.

‘Uh….it’s hard….’

Evron Grand Duchy’s social circle meant gathering vassals to share greetings and make friendships with familiar peers.

They danced and were introduced as newly appointed knights or officials, but they feel like a group of relatives or a group of friends rather than a social circle.

It was the first time that there were only strangers like this.

Besides, it was dazzling to see that there are only people who are so pretty and elegant. It was exciting, but it was difficult.

A woman her age was playing the piano. There were several people standing and chatting together.

One side enthusiastically discussed poetry. On the other side, they opened a large book and shared their impressions.

It was noticeable that not all literary men or officials, but aristocrats were involved.

Lysia thought she couldn’t participate anywhere, she stood on the wall, and she looked at her dress for nothing.

When she first got ready to go out, she wondered if it was too flashy to wear as a day dress. She had asked Sophie four times if she looked okay.

But when she came here, it wasn’t too flashy, it wasn’t too simple, and just medium.

‘I should say thank you to Sophie.’

As she decided so in her mind, she moved to the table where the refreshments were prepared.

It was because it seemed to be better off eating than doing nothing.

‘Oh, this is delicious!’

When she chewed a cookie, it tasted like a fragrant fruit that she had never eaten in her life.

Would it be embarrassing to take one or two of these? But she also wanted Artizea to taste it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if she only took two and gave one to Artizea, and if she said it was delicious, she would leave the other one in the kitchen and ask them to make more?

No, she has to take three. She has to give Sophie one as well.

She sneaked out her handkerchief.

“Excuse me.”

A young man approached the table and looked at Lysia while trying to pick up a water pitcher.

Lysia inadvertently glanced at him while attempting to wrap the cookies in her handkerchief. And she forgot to breathe without even knowing.

The man had a fine line of beauty, like a statue of a boy god left in the garden.

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It was Lawrence.

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