Chapter 12

***

 

“I’ll have to explain what’s going on.”

 

After finishing urgent work, Rodelia was taking a moment to chat with the maids.

 

In the middle of our friendly conversation, the door suddenly opened with a loud bang and Kane with an angry face walked in. The door didn’t even close properly, so a cold wind blew into the room.

 

“…… Your Majesty, what are you doing?”

 

Perhaps because she was too perplexed, the words came out sharply. She felt discomfort and sighed. How many times has she and Kane met with unpleasantness already?

 

This time, too, it was still painful to watch him scream so loudly.

 

Setting her glass down, Rodelia slowly approached Kane.

 

She could hear the nervous maids swallowing their saliva loudly at the cold atmosphere.

 

“What the hell is this?”

 

Kane recited with a scowl as he thrust a crumpled piece of paper in front of Rodelia with the blue vein raised on his neck.

 

His actions were somewhat embarrassing, but she could not make the same loud noise or show intimidation in front of the maids.

 

Rodelia maintained her composure, her eyes narrowed as she stared at the paper.

 

“Isn’t this the invitation list for the banquet?”

 

“You know it very well.”

 

“Then why is it?”

 

“Empress, you’re asking because you don’t know? Are you kidding me?”

 

“I’ve already sent them out, but did I forget someone? I don’t know why you’re so angry about this, Your Majesty.”

 

Rodelia said coldly with a sigh.

 

Is it just her or does Kane seem to have become more rude after his time with Sola? Her mind is in turmoil.

 

“Rodelia, are you protesting against me?”

 

 

“Your Majesty, control your language. You’re in front of the maids.”

 

In his excitement, Kane had just called out her name, the Empress, without paying attention to his surroundings.

 

“Explain yourself.” (Kane)

 

“What exactly do you want me to explain? Tell me so I can understand.” (Rodelia)

 

“……You’re going to be stubborn until the end. All right, why did you send an invitation to the prince of the Silver kingdom? The Empress knows better than anyone else what kind of relationship I have with him.”

 

Kane said, suppressing his anger at each and every word. He swept his hair roughly and looked annoyed.

 

“Yes ……?”

 

The faces of Rodelia and the maids twisted in question.

 

Wasn’t it his order?

 

After all this time, she couldn’t understand why Kane reacted the way he did.

 

“Isn’t that what His Majesty ordered?”

 

Rodelia, who had been scowling for a while, replied in a calm voice.

 

Kane glared at her sharply.

 

“Didn’t you send your chamberlain?”

 

What on earth are you talking about?”

 

“Didn’t Your Majesty send me the list of attendees?”

 

Rodelia said calmly, suppressing her embarrassment.

 

It was a measure that took into account the fact that his judgment had been impaired recently. But Kane didn’t seem to be able to control his emotions.

 

He shouted, expressing more and more emotion.

 

When the hell did I do that? ! Empress, don’t tell me you’re doing this because of Sola?”

 

“What?”

 

“I told you to wait and trust me for a little while longer, I’ll explain it to you.”

 

What in the world did he want her to wait for?

 

Rodelia lightly touched her forehead as if she was troubled. It was ridiculous, but that didn’t mean she could be just as angry as him, the emperor.

 

She didn’t answer, but kept her emotions in check, and Kane sighed roughly. His next words were enough to stir up uncontrollable emotions.

 

“I had no idea you were so narrow-minded. It’s disappointing.”

 

What does he mean narrow-minded? Kane shamelessly said anything to Rodelia without thinking about her dignity.

 

Her body began to tremble with shame.

 

Hadn’t she been trying her best to fit her position as Empress to please Kane? To have his love?

 

Therefore, she had also steadily built up a reputation worthy of the position of Empress. Who was it that brought it all down in an instant?

 

Rodelia bit her lower lip, trying to calm her trembling body.

 

She couldn’t decide if it was because it was Kane who said terrible things, or if she just didn’t want to hear terrible things, or if she was sad.

 

Rodelia squeezed her eyes shut. When she couldn’t say anything, Viscountess Cohen, who couldn’t stand to watch, spoke up.

 

“Didn’t Your Majesty send a list of banquet invitations to the Empress? I’m sure of it. It was stamped with Your Majesty’s seal.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Yes, Your Majesty. I saw it clearly. The Empress was thinking about it for a long time too before sending it out.”

 

 

The other maids joined in to defend Rodelia, and Kane did not pursue the matter any further. It was already a situation that could not be contained.

 

“…….”

 

Rodelia’s face became as hard as ice.

 

Kane really didn’t seem to know about the invitation list, but then there was only one person who would forge even the emperor’s seal to frame her.

 

“How do you intend to pay the price?”

 

If Rodelia’s prediction was correct, it was obvious that Sola had played such a trick. But Kane wouldn’t believe her when she said it.

 

“What good would it have done for me to invite Prince Grey to compete with Your Majesty? It seems that someone is trying to make things worse between you and me.”

 

The quiet but cold voice sounded like a person with no emotions. How much effort she put into that voice.

 

“Who in the world ……?!”

 

“I think you know that better than I do, Your Majesty.”

 

“Does the Empress suspect Sola now?”

 

“Your Majesty should catch the culprit.”

 

She made a constant effort not to show any signs of frustration. At some point, Rodelia returned to her seat and handed Kane a cup of tea with a graceful hand. She was calm and her voice was dry.

 

“What is this?! Empress, are you trying to play a trick on me now?”

 

Kane frowned at the cup she handed him.

 

Did he get angry because she suspected his mistress? Or he wanted to make her day miserable?

 

She thought about all kinds of things, but tried to pretend to be as calm as possible and tried her best to manage her expression. She spoke in a calm voice.

 

“How dare I? Then again, Your Majesty, no matter how little your affection has for me, I hope you don’t treat me emotionally like this from now on.”

 

“That’s …… did the Empress really love me? How can you be so nonchalant about it?”

 

Kane swept his hair with a shocked look on his face. Rodelia couldn’t understand him more and more like that.

 

Wasn’t it Kane who had let her go first?

 

Didn’t he treat her casually first? It was funny, really.

 

She still loves him, that was for sure. But that feeling and pride were two different things.

 

Asking for affection from someone who didn’t love her was like begging, was it not?

 

And since Rodelia was the Empress, she couldn’t do that.

 

“Then should I beg for your affection, Your Majesty?”

 

At her stern response, everyone around her quickly turned cold.

 

Even the maids had not expected her to come on so strong, and gasped.

 

“Do you think you’re nothing to me enough to beg for affection? If you knew how hard I try, you wouldn’t treat me this way.”

 

Kane’s words stabbed Rodelia like an arrow. She had faith that Kane would at least extend the same courtesy to the Empress. And yet, to hurt her with such one-sided words…

 

The difference between his past kindness and his present was even more stark.

 

What efforts are you making, Your Majesty?”

 

“…….”

 

“I don’t want to talk to Your Majesty anymore, so I would like you to leave.”

 

She didn’t want him to see the tears that had formed in her eyes. Rodelia deliberately turned her back on him.

 

“…… We’ll talk again soon. I’ll look into the invitation again. It can’t be helped since it’s already happened, but I hope you’ll act prudently like an Empress next time.”

 

With that, Kane’s footsteps gradually faded into the distance. The maids gathered around Rodelia.

 

Her legs trembled with fear that she had pushed him away, and that perhaps he hated her more.

 

She could have collapsed right away with her current condition, but Rodelia quickly managed her facial expression and smiled bitterly at the maids.

 

“Shall we finish up then…?”

 

*****

 

Despite the quietness of the emperor’s office and the excellent soundproofing, a deadly voice leaked out to the outside.

 

The lights leaked in from the setting sun, filling the room with a faint blush. Maybe that was why he felt so uncomfortable.

 

Kane looked at Ferna across the table and slowly opened his mouth.

 

“Ferna, how do you do your job? Is it true that you have brought the invitation list to the Empress?”

 

“Yes….”

 

Ferna only bowed his head with a look of uncertainty on his face. A cold sweat broke out on his forehead as fear struck him.

 

Kane’s expression was full of anger as he asked about the invitation list. His voice was also low. He tapped the table with his long fingers in a crackling motion as he waited for Ferna’s answer.

 

“You’d better answer quickly.”

 

“I’m not sure. I’ve only been in the Office to deal with the remaining paperwork.”

 

Kane’s patience seemed to have hit bottom. Ferna, who had been squirming, looked innocent.

 

His gestures were coquettish and his voice was firm.

 

Kane and Ferna had been close since they were children. His face would turn red when he lied, so Kane had no choice but to believe him.

 

There was no reason for Ferna to frame the Empress.

 

“Yes, Your Majesty. The chamberlain has never left the office for even a moment while I’ve been reading.”

 

And Sola, who was sitting on the bed with her chin propped up watching them with interest, interrupted.  At her words, Ferna’s innocence was assured. Kane clasped his temples in his large hands in confusion.

 

“So you’re saying the Empress is lying?”

 

But it was Kane who knew better than anyone that Rodelia was not such a person.

 

‘What am I thinking….’

 

Quickly dispelling any doubts, Kane asked in a firm tone.

 

“Then who in the world brought the wrong invitation list to the Empress? The Empress and her attendants all said that Ferna had indeed brought it to them.”

 

Rising from the bed and walking slowly over, Sola patted Kane on the cheek. Her hands were chillingly cold, and every gesture was dangerous.

 

“Hmm. …… Maybe she was trying to play her own game to frame me. I’m sure the Empress knows well how Your Majesty and I get along.”