As Cerdian suggested, it would be good for her to rest a little.
Rodelia cancelled the rest of her schedule and returned to her room. In her current state, it was obvious that she would not be able to work as she normally did.
Although she had been comforted, her body still trembled uncontrollably from the shock.
‘How could Kane…….’
She never imagined that those words would come out of Kane’s mouth who knew what the Marquis of Florence was to her.
Kane knew that the trauma the Marquis had inflicted on Riodelia was not something simple yet he didn’t hesitate to speak of it.
He acted like someone who somehow wanted to hurt her. With an oppressive attitude, as he always had.
Rodelia swallowed her confusion and pondered.
‘Did you know that such an attitude is taking away even the last of my feelings that remained?’
Thinking back to everything that had happened so far, she realised that it was truly time for her to make a decision. There is no doubt that once she makes the choice, her world will never be the same as before.
She has to let go of the first man in her life whom she had given her heart to. It was difficult, she had to admit, however she had no choice but to accept it.
(T/N: about time gal, our BP couldn’t keep up)
With the way things are going, it would be inevitable that the Marquis of Florence would have the same tragic ending as that of the Viscountess’ family, the Count of Hart.
Perhaps to others, this decision may seem like nothing, however, it wasn’t so simple for Rodelia.
It’s not like she’s just agonizing over some fun love. A lot was at stake in her choice. Maybe even the fate of those around her.
One could say that this is the Empress’ choice and not the choice of the individual, Rodelia Florence.
Rodelia looked down at the ring on her finger and wore a bitter smile on her lips.
(T/N: ‘kiss and say goodbye’ by The Manhattans playing at the background)
The day of their wedding. It seemed like such a long time ago that they shared this ring and swore their oaths to each other. Only three years have passed since that happy day.
At that time, her love for Kane did not fade nor burn out. It was love like a quiet sleep.
She thought it wasn’t that bad.
But it was just a love that swayed easily, just a small wave on the water’s surface could quickly turn into a rough wave.
“Your Majesty, Grand Duke Aizen has sent you tea.”
As she buried her head in bed, Viscountess Cohen’s voice broke her train of thoughts.
“Grand Duke Aizen?”
With a puzzled expression on her face, Rodelia received a box from the Madam. Inside the box she carefully opened, she could see dried petals separated into divisions.
<It is a little-known fact but winter petals have a soothing effect. There is a saying that it makes one have comfortable dreams. I hope it will help calm your mind. May your day be peaceful. -Cerdian Aizen>
After reading the notes on the card, Rodelia smiled slightly. Possibly a coincidence, but it was also impressive that he sent it, almost as if he knew that she was having nightmares.
Where and how Cerdian got the winter flowers was not very important. He was a very good friend to her.
It was Cerdian, not anyone else, who was with her every time it got difficult.
He was doing her favors without conditions. She had been wary as it was the first time she had received this kind of favor, but now she knew.
“Madam, would you mind making a drink for me with this?”
Rodelia had a better expression on her face as she asked briefly. She handed over the jar full of petals to Viscountess Cohen so she may prepare her tea.
Rodelia fell deep into her thoughts again, smelling the scent of the fragrant petals.
There were days when she doubted him but now she was convinced. With the help of Cerdian, she would hold his hand.
“Your Majesty, I have brought you tea.”
Rodelia took the teacup from Viscountess Cohen with a blank expression on her face.
“What kind of tea is this?”
Rodelia’s hand stopped at the Madam’s question.
“It was definitely a white flower but it turned red. I thought it was a winter flower but now it changed and so did the scent…”
Viscountess Cohen added. Rodelia wrinkled her brows and looked down at her teacup.
The tea in the white teacup with Byzantine patterns was indeed red.
Rodelia said vaguely and read the card Cerdian had sent again. It was to see if there were any explanations.
However, nothing was said about it. She frowned and gazed back into the teacup.
“I am curious…”
The Viscountess glanced at the tea.
It seemed like she wanted to taste the tea but she decided to pretend to not notice. The information about the tea was still unclear so it was impossible to hastily recommend it.
“I think it is a flower from the Grand Duchy.”
Rodelia said indifferently, hoping the Viscountess will draw her attention away from the tea.
She was a woman who did not even show the slightest greed for such things. So she is bound to be disappointed with the euphemistic refusal.
Rodelia smiled softly and tried not to be weakened by the Madam’s disappointed voice.
Fortunately, the Madam returned to her seat without further commenting on the tea. As she glanced back at it, Rodelia picked up the tea and was again looking at it suspiciously.
A fragrant smell wafted from the teacup.
Except for the fact that the original color of the petals was white, there was nothing else special about the tea. Amidst the tangy aroma, there also seemed to be a subtle scent of rose.
Does it have poison?
Rodelia thought to herself and smiled. She seemed to have a glimpse of what kind of person Cerdian was.
He had no reason to poison her.
Raising the corners of her lips, she tilted the teacup with a graceful gesture.
It was a smooth drink in the throat. It may have been just a feeling but it even felt like her head was getting clearer.
‘It seems to be relieving my fatigue.’
She really liked the sweet aroma that ran down her throat. Thanks to it, her anxious expression calmed.
Rodelia finished her tea and began to recall the thoughts she had had a while ago.
What can she do to protect the position of the Empress?
Kane’s face darkened.
Not because of a poison. After raising his voice like that, Rodelia did not come even after the expected hour had passed.
He looked at Ferna with an anxious expression on his face.
“Is Rodelia still not here yet?”
There was annoyance mixed in his voice. Ferna bowed his head and replaced his affirmation with silence. His face grew darker even more.
One hour, two hours, three hours…
Three hours had passed and Rodelia still had not come. Kane only now realised that something was wrong.
It can’t be.
“Find out where the Empress is and what she has been doing, everything after she left the audience chamber.”
Kane ruffled his hair violently and ordered Ferna. Ferna left the Emperor’s room and headed to Solar’s palace.
Except for the faint sound of owls from the royal hunting grounds, it was truly a quiet night. A night with a crescent moon set high in the sky and a faint light permeating the side of the road.
Ferna’s light steps added to such a night. The position of head chamberlain meant that he knew every corner of the imperial palace.
So Ferna was startled when someone’s voice called him. He obviously chose the unguarded path and walked there carefully.
And as soon as he realised who it was, he lost consciousness.
Ten minutes later, Ferna came to his senses. He slowly opened his eyes to a cold, hard feeling on his back.
The first thing he saw in his sight were the cedar trees that stretched out straight as if they could touch the sky under the countless stars. Ferna swallowed dry saliva. It was because he instinctively knew where this place was at once.
He was at a place where he could hear the cry of an owl more clearly as he headed to Stella’s Palace to meet Solar.
It was the imperial palace’s hunting grounds, where even the Emperor was reluctant to enter after the sun had gone down.
Cold sweat dripped down his back that was touching the bumpy gravel floor. It wasn’t just because he was afraid of the hunting grounds of the imperial palace.
The last person he saw before losing his consciousness. If he saw it right, then…
“Solar is raising strange things.”
A cold voice cut off Ferna’s thoughts and split the heavy air.
Ferna sank low. Solar had warned him, and he expected to be found out someday, but not this quickly.
The man in front of him realised that he was connected to Solar.
Ferna and Solar first met three years ago. At that time, the lady of the Marquis of Collide, his sister, was pretty much out of the contest for the crown princess position.
As Rodelia ascended the throne, the opportunity to again raise the Marquis of Collide was blown away. He met Solar for the first time while he was drinking at a bar with an upset heart.
A woman approached him and started to talk strangely saying that if he does what she tells him, she can bring down Rodelia Florence. Who would honestly believe that?
Of course, Ferna also ignored her at first. However, after meeting her a few times, he became convinced that Solar would truly be able to oust Rodelia from her position as Empress.
So he joined hands with Solar.
Cerdian’s low voice whispered in his ears again. Fear engulfed Ferna.
“Were you just this type of person?”
All of his thoughts stopped and his body began to stiffen. Cold sweat dropped down his back. He jolted his trembling body up.
“I greet the Grand Duke A-Aizen.”
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