Viscountess Cohen was long gone but the Empress’ complicated thoughts did not subside.
She tried to lie down on the bed to see if she could sleep but, not only did she not fall asleep, drinking water did not quench her thirst either.
‘I’d rather get some fresh air.’
Rodelia draped herself with her cashmere shawl and went out to her balcony. In one hand she held a cup of tea.
The night air was quite cold. Her complicated mind seemed to have calmed down a bit.
Rodelia muttered then shook her head. She stroked her eyelids, which were heavy with fatigue.
She sat down on a small chair at a table and held up her teacup. Hot steam rose.
Rodelia took a sip of her tea as she watched the swaying steam. As she felt the nicely cooled tea run down her throat, she recalled the conversation she had with the Viscountess.
The more she ruminated, the deeper her distrust of Kane grew.
‘Why did Kane cooperate with the Cohen family to bring down the house of Hart?’
Rodelia pressed her lips together like a habit.
She now had no choice but to admit it. Kane was a cruel emperor who would do anything for power.
He was probably thinking of raising the Viscount who had no backing to suppress the nobility. Although ambitious, Viscount Cohen must have caught his eye while he was searching for someone he could control.
Come to think of it, despite the low status of the Viscount, after staying close to Kane, quite a number of influential families lost their prestige one by one.
Perhaps the Marquis was also included.
She was a bit anxious and secretly talked to the Madam, but she couldn’t get a clear answer.
[Then, maybe His Majesty…]
[I don’t think that’s something I should answer.]
The woman’s face was dark as she replied that way. She was obviously hiding something. It continued to haunt her.
‘Is that why you married me…?’
If that was the case, then it was understandable why Kane had changed or why he had taken everything and had been acting in the past.
“In order to one day bring down my family, the Marquis of Florence.”
No matter how many times she tried to avoid it, she couldn’t, because the conclusion was always the same. Eventually, Rodelia acknowledged her reality and squeezed her eyes shut.
The reason he asked for her to wait a little bit must also be to prepare for a situation that might go wrong.
Her guesses, which were only faint, became certain.
She couldn’t just let it go. The time has come when she can neither turn away nor hide. She might lose everything if she stays still.
Rodelia realized that it was time for her to be cold.
“And that handkerchief….” She muttered a little.
The most perplexing thing she had ever heard was what Madam Cohen said she had intended.
It was a matter of a slightly different point of view.
Because the last news she told her was a superstition. And the attitude of the Madam, who was convinced that it was the truth, was astounding.
She was talking about the handkerchief embroidered with snakes, which she said was in fact like an amulet that the Madam gave to the Viscount every year for the hunting contest.
If he had that handkerchief, he wouldn’t have been attacked by the snake, the spirit in the Imperial Palace hunting grounds. She said that it was a kind of means for defence in case he ever entered its domain.
[I knew that the prey this time was the snake. So I didn’t give it to him as I thought that it wouldn’t matter if my husband died. But he came back alive.]
What the Madam had said in self-scorn kept running through her head.
Did the Viscount get into an accident just because of that handkerchief?
It was clear that it was just a coincidence. But it bothered her as the expression on the Madam’s face was more serious than ever.
[Now, I am the only one left with him. Because that mistress is not good for my husband, and it’s all about a good reputation as an aristocrat. I will take revenge on him who lost his lover.]
Rodelia looked up at the black sky, contemplating whether she should start believing the news she received.
“Your Majesty, then what you suggested will not happen?”
In the emperor’s audience chamber, the heavy air pressed down on the surroundings.
A man with a determined look in front of Kane knelt down on his knees. But Kane didn’t take his eyes off the papers and replied dryly.
“Isn’t that obvious?”
“You can’t even handle that one thing. Is the money paid for the labor not enough? I think you were paid handsomely… Stop making trouble and just leave. I am tired.”
“It was ridiculous in the first place!”
“It was a real monster. Your Majesty was not confident, isn’t that why you brought us?”
Annoyance rose from Kane’s gaze.
What the hell were you thinking coming here?
The others were busy running away with their tails between their legs in case there would be any repercussions, but he came here with the intention of dying.
Is it just young zeal or do you really know something?
Contrary to his rough appearance as if he had gone through a lot of hardships, the man’s face was pale and looked like he would faint at any moment. However, his eyes were clear.
Maybe it was because he was glad seeing his appearance that overlapped with his. Kane raised the corners of his lips.
“You look young but you have great ambition. Aren’t you afraid of me, the Emperor?”
Kane, who took off his reading glasses and placed them on the desk, clasped his chin and spoke softly. His face darkened.
“I have nothing to lose, so why should I fear Your Majesty?”
The man’s guts were truly amazing. How can he express his opinion so proudly in front of the Emperor, which even a high-ranking nobleman finds difficult?
Kane maintained his curious gaze, leaned against the back of the chair and crossed his legs.
“You have nothing to lose?”
“You talk big on the topic of failure. I think you have one thing left to lose.”
“You mean my life?”
Kane burst out laughing again at the man’s blatant reaction and slowly opened his mouth.
“Do you want to revive the Count of Hart?”
At Kane’s sarcastic tone, the man raised his head in surprise. He was quite puzzled by the fact that Kane knew who he was.
He had spent a lot of money to falsify his identity.
The man’s eyes began to noticeably shake as he let out a trembling voice.
The man shook his head quickly. But it didn’t make it any better. He touched the floor with trembling hands.
Kane snorted as if his reaction was funny and stood up.
He moved slowly then sat down in front of the man. Kane grabbed the man’s cheeks and made eye contact.
“You’re not averting your eyes.”
“Do you resent me, Revlon?”
The man with dark brown hair, Revlon, closed his eyes tightly.
He even knew his real name? He was really a dead man now.
“I tried to pretend I didn’t know until the end, but…you were like that, so how can I pretend not to. Right?”
After all, as an Emperor, there was no way he could not have properly grasped the identities of his employees. He was so focused on the reinstatement of his family that he thought of everything else too poorly.
Revlon felt like he wanted to throw a fist at his st*pid past self. He clenched his fists tightly and bit his lower lip until it bled.
Labor was the only way for Revlon, the bloodline of Count Hart, a family that had collapsed due to rebellion, to make a living.
When the family went through destruction, he was so young that he couldn’t remember it; however, he knew that they were unfairly framed.
But he was very young and he had not yet received the formal education of an aristocrat.
What could Revlon do? He had no choice but to hold his breath and wait for the opportunity to come.
Meanwhile, he finally got the right opportunity. The hunting contest for the 100th anniversary since the founding of the country.
He used his sources to get the information that Kane was looking for fallen nobles. But as he was from a rebel family, he had to be careful with everything.
So he came in by forging his identity, but didn’t realize that the consequences would be so disastrous.
“Did you really think that I kept you alive without putting any kind of surveillance on you? You seem to be all ambition but no brains. Your grandfather was a pretty smart man.”
As Kane spoke arrogantly, Revlon trembled.
But even if he dies when everything is revealed, he must claim his innocence and die.
He took a deep breath and opened his mouth with difficulty.
“…The Harts did not commit treason.”
A choked up voice leaked through his dry lips. With a voice mixed with anger, he burst into tears.
“You did not commit treason…”
Kane repeated those words over and over again. Revlon didn’t know anything.
Kane decided to change his mind.
At first, he didn’t want to let him live because he thought he was going to get revenge on him, the Emperor, but there was no need for that.
Revlon seemed unaware that he was deeply involved in the death of Count Hart as Emperor, so he would be a very good hand for himself.
“Can you prove it?”
Kane lifted Revlon’s cheek and raised his chin. He answered with a determined look.
“Proof…. Your Majesty is being deceived by Viscount Cohen right now.”
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