The room Cerdian left was very quiet.
Not much time had passed. but as she talked with him, the lingering sensation where he touched her feet felt like a long time ago.
“Did something happen….”
Immersed in her feelings, Rodelia, who was looking at her feet, moved and opened the locked door. She then asked a maid to bring hot water.
“Your Majesty, I have brought water.”
Moments later, instead of a maid, Viscountess Cohen came with the hot water.
Viscountess Cohen must have been busy.
But the woman was as calm as before. What happened between the couple who were rumored to be so close?
Feeling the tension, worry, and fear alone. Rodelia placed her hands on her lap.
The woman smiled faintly and set the basin at her feet.
“It’s very red.”
“Fortunately, first aid seems to have worked well. Soaking them in warm water for a while will reduce the pain.”
Rodelia, who did not respond, silently watched the Madam as she poured transparent tea. Then she slowly opened her mouth as she handed her a teacup.
“Are you curious?” [Viscountess]
“Can you tell me?” [Rodelia]
There must be a reason.
However, as she looked at Rodelia, the Viscountess only smiled bitterly. The truth that came out of her was quite shocking.
“I made him lose his leg.”
Viscountess Cohen began to shed light on the story of her past.
When she was young, she lacked nothing, whether it be beauty, etiquette, or character. Therefore, it was no exaggeration to say that she was the center of the social circle.
Although years have passed since she became Rodelia’s tutor and there were no longer any traces of her splendid beauty, she was still recognized for her character.
It was a perfect life. However, she said that her life started to rock after one point.
“I shouldn’t have married my husband.”
In the past, the Madam had fallen in love with Viscount Cohen, who was ten years older than her and her love story with him was romantic enough to be talked about over and over again.
Although now in ruins, she was once the youngest daughter of Count Hart, who had real influence within the nobility.
To the proud Count Hart, the older lord of Cohen, who came from a lowly Viscount family, was nothing but a thorn in his side.
However, the Madam had tremendous persistence even back then. Despite the opposition from her family, she eventually married Viscount Cohen.
And as if to prove that her choice was not wrong, Viscount Cohen and his wife remained well-known lovebirds in the social circle.
But she’s saying she made the Viscount lose his leg. For what reason?
Rodelia thought it was just a metaphor, pretended not to be surprised, and took another sip of the tea. The Viscountess looked at her with sullen eyes, and spoke again.
“He ruined my family.”
The Madam’s eyes were empty. They were chillingly empty; as if she had given up everything.
Rodelia’s eyes widened. The extermination of the Count of Hart was clearly due to other reasons.
“He didn’t love me, he was greedy for our family’s wealth.”
Rodelia’s hand trembled. She didn’t know Viscount Cohen very well, but it was obvious that she was dumbfounded, as she usually heard so much praise for him that scabs could form in her ears.
Rodelia thought that the Madam might have misunderstood something.
“My husband made false evidence and brought down the Count of Hart. His Majesty, the Emperor, was supporting him before his ascension to the throne.”
The moment Kane was mentioned in the Viscountess’ mouth, she couldn’t say anything. It was most likely true that he had intervened.
Rodelia pretended not to be surprised, and reached out her hand to her teacup again.
Her hand trembled like tree leaves in autumn. The teacup and the saucer collided and made a loud noise.
The woman looked at her and smiled bitterly.
“My father was a noble to his bone, and His Majesty the Emperor must have had no choice but to set an example to the nobility before he ascended the throne.”
When Rodelia lowered her gaze, Viscountess Cohen said it as if she had no resentment against Kane.
“However, the fact that my husband was involved in it…”
Rodelia remembered the day Count Hart was executed.
Although she was young, she remembered it clearly. Count Hart was sentenced to death on the charge of attempting to assassinate the Crown Prince.
Her brothers were also executed and the House of Hart was completely destroyed.
It was an extermination. Only two survived, the Count of Hart’s young grandson and Viscountess Cohen.
The whereabouts of the grandson were unknown, but in fact, he should be regarded as dead.
“As Your Majesty knows, although I am of Count Hart’s blood, I was able to keep my life as the wife of Viscount Cohen, who had made many contributions. What those contributions were, only those two know.”
“I was grateful to him then. I didn’t want to die. I couldn’t forgive him after I found out, but…”
The Madam seemed to have a hard time speaking her words, and her voice was becoming more and more choked up.
“If it’s difficult to say, it’s okay not to say it.”
She raised her trembling hand, sipped from the teacup and after a while, opened her mouth again.
“…My husband begged me for forgiveness, saying he couldn’t help it. He was thus able to enter the ranks of His Majesty’s entourage while taking possession of the Count’s estate.”
She knew Kane was cruel. She wasn’t too surprised.
It was an undeniable fact that the emperor’s power grew because of such a disposition.
Perhaps even after she ascended to the position of Empress, this was not uncommon. However, Rodelia did not try to find out the details.
In fact, it was as if she had deliberately avoided it.
She thought it had nothing to do with her. What could she say to Kane just because she knew? She’d rather not know.
Besides, Rodelia was not righteous enough to be bitter at Kane and she didn’t want to offend him. She wanted to remain the perfect empress and beloved wife.
She was passive in keeping an eye on Kane, and was busy managing her position.
Yet it happened.
In the reality that she could do nothing to help, Rodelia’s green eyes darkened with guilt.
‘Why are you telling me this?’
As the empress, she felt sorry for the Madam and to her family but at the same time, a small resentment grew.
It was even more painful, to hear what she had been ignoring with much effort, from her closest aide.
Her jaw stiffened.
She felt bad for the Madam, but it was also true that she didn’t want to know any more. For she didn’t have the courage to face Kane’s true self anymore as she was busy taking care of herself.
Cold sweat dripped from her back and her hands were trembling, but the Madam seemed unwilling to stop from speaking.
“As time passed, the hatred faded. I was young back then and I must have loved him a lot. I believed that he loved me too.”
The manner in which the madam spoke was calm. It must have taken a lot of painful time to say this so casually.
“But not long ago, I discovered his bigger secret.”
A bigger secret. Is there something more?
Rodelia widened her eyes.
Her throat dried up, sweat dripped from her hands and she clenched and opened her fists repeatedly.
“My husband had been hiding a lover. He had been in a relationship with her even before he married me.”
That being said, it meant that he had no feelings for the Viscountess in the first place.
He had planned it with Kane from the beginning, but she couldn’t quite believe it.
Viscount Cohen was so friendly, was it all an act? Perhaps Kane was like that too; she felt her heart tightening.
“And… It is not yet known publicly, but my husband shamelessly brought the mistress in when I found out that he had a lover.”
She couldn’t say anything, somehow it seems to overlap with her own situation.
Come to think of it, Rodelia was unaware of the circumstances of her ladies-in-waiting. She didn’t even think to ask. Even though she was her lady-in-waiting who always supported her.
Whether she knew how she felt or not, the Madam just raised her hand and tucked her hair behind her ear as if it was nothing. Rodelia lowered her guilty gaze down to the floor.
The Viscountess’ shimmering shadow in the candlelight cast over the table. Though she pretended to be calm, her insides must be in chaos.
“There’s also a child.”
“That’s why I did it.”
The Viscountess smiled bitterly.
There’s even a child.
Her heart ached as she thought of the wounds the Madam must have suffered. She was also heartbroken by the mere presence of Solar…
The wife must have endured hardship that she could not possibly have imagined.
But did that really mean she caused Viscount Cohen to lose his leg?
She couldn’t have, even if she had intended to. For everything happened on the hunting grounds.
Rodelia dismissed it as a pointless thought and raised her gaze. The Madam spoke her words calmly again.
“I was the one who made my husband lose his leg.”
[T/N: she should’ve made him lose his “pillar” too 💢]
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