Chapter 6

****

 

Don’t trust Kane……?

 

It was only a moment to read what the emotions in Ceridian were. Rodelia’s eyes narrowed at the words that followed.

 

Kane was the same as her savior. Thanks to him, she was able to break free from her father, the Marquis of Florence, and because of that, she knew a stability she had never felt in her entire life.

 

Kane was her lover, perhaps more than that.

 

[I do not want the Empress to be swayed by useless rumors. You are always to believe only what I tell you.]

 

She was suddenly reminded of the words Kane used to say. Then her crumbling heart heated up, and all her senses came alive.

 

She felt the cool wind passing by her skin, and she came to her senses.

 

“…… I think it’s more appropriate to trust His Majesty, who has been by my side for a long time, than you, who I’ve only met twice.”

 

“Well, you don’t have to believe me, but in the end it will be you who will be hurt.”

 

“Grand Duke, I appreciate your concern, but I will believe His Majesty no matter what you say, so please refrain from rude words.”

 

Cerdian’s mouth twisted as he spoke in a cold voice.

 

“I do not know to what extent your trust in the Emperor…….. I wish Your Majesty would take my words a little more seriously. Because right now I am the only one who cares about you.”

 

‘The only one who cares about me……….? What does that mean?’

 

Rodelia’s brow creased. It was hard to understand a word he said.

 

She closed her eyes softly, trying to shake off the many thoughts that came to her mind.

 

As she listened to the sound of the leaves on the trees being swept by the wind, she gathered her thoughts. And when she opened her eyes again, it was the empty space that greeted her.

 

“……”

 

Rodelia leaned against the railing and looked around for Cerdian. But there was no trace of him anywhere.

 

The only thing that resembled evidence that he was here was the heat against her cheek and the cold body scent that filled the air.

 

“Your Majesty, don’t lean like that, you might fall! It’s chilly, please come inside quickly.”

 

Having barely come to her senses at the cry of the maid who was worried about her, Rodelia glanced around and entered the room.

 

In the days that followed, her doubts about Cerdian’s whereabouts slowly faded away, but his words always haunted her.

 

Although she trusted Kane, it was true that she was curious.

 

But after a while, thanks to Kane sending her a ring along with a letter, her worries disappeared like a melting snow.

 

[Rodelia, I’m sorry that I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been paying attention to you. It’s been selfish of me, however, I hear that blue diamonds are popular among noble ladies these days. Don’t be offended by the maids, you can show off as much as you like.]

 

The neatness of Kane’s handwriting put her mind at ease.

 

After all, Kane didn’t betray her. Cerdian must have made a mistake.

 

Kane and Sola might have just met for business, but Cerdian was worried for nothing. Thinking about it, it bothered her about being cold to him.

 

‘Then I guess he said those words out of concern for me, but I treated him so badly…If I see him again, I’ll have to apologize and also tell him that he misunderstood something.’

 

But she was foolish.

 

****

 

Rodelia was walking in the garden in a daze.

 

Her steps were impeccably graceful and her posture was upright. It was hard to believe that she was someone who had recently suffered a major heartbreak, and she didn’t look much different from her normal demeanor.

 

She thought it would be irresponsible for her to neglect her Empress’ duties due to personal matters.

 

Her daily routine was the same.

 

In time, strolling through the garden was a regular routine after Rodelia had finished her work. If there was one thing that had changed, it was that these days she didn’t talk to the maids and walked around without thinking.

 

In order to shake off her thoughts about Kane, she had to force herself to work more than usual, and it was partly due to the fact that she was physically exhausted.

 

Everyone talked about Rodelia. And the position of the maids was painful.

 

They were in a position to know better than anyone else that Rodelia’s heart was dead.

 

The maids sighed as they looked at her empty eyes in a complicated way today.

 

“…… Your Majesty.”

 

“…….”

 

“Empress!”

 

“…… Oh, what’s the matter?”

 

Baroness Verna called out to Rodelia, who was walking along, looking only at the clear sky.

 

The Baroness smiled brightly as she spoke.

 

“How about having a tea party for the first time in a while, Your Majesty?”

 

“A tea party?”

 

‘Come to think of it, it’s been a long time since we had a tea party.’

 

The tea parties hosted by the Empress were mostly for the purpose of socializing with the noble ladies and bringing peace to the Imperial family, but Rodelia hadn’t bothered with that part recently.

 

She thought she was doing well on her own, so she didn’t care about that part. ……Since she couldn’t postpone it forever, it’d be better to have it since they were talking about it.

 

 Rodelia paused for a moment, then smiled affirmatively.

 

“Yes…….it’s been awhile.”

 

“At times like this, you have to solidify your position, Your Majesty.”

 

When Baroness Verna indirectly brought up the subject of Kane, the other maids stopped her with a scowl.

 

 

Rodelia also seemed perplexed, perhaps unexpected that the words that were brought up.

 

However, she couldn’t have a weak reaction to Kane’s story forever. She quickly pulled herself together and waved her hand, saying that she was fine.

 

“From what I heard, Princess Eisen seemed to be reaching out to the high-ranking noblewomen.”

 

Baroness Verna squirmed and spoke carefully again. Others seemed to be frustrated, wanting to let her know quickly.

 

“Why on earth would she do such a thing? A mistress can only be loved by the Emperor…..”

 

“Lady Sarah! Watch what you’re saying!”

 

“Ha! I’m sorry, Empress.. ….”

 

Sara kept her mouth shut as she was scolded by Baroness Verna.

 

She could be cute at her young age, but she looked hateful because of her grumpy appearance. She was the youngest daughter of the wealthy Count Polton, but she was clumsy enough that the Count and Countess took good care of her. So there was no point in saying anything….

 

The environment in which she had lived was so different from that of Rodelia. Knowing this well, she had no choice but to smile bitterly with a pale expression.

 

“Your Majesty, however, it’s strange. Why would a Princess want to reach out to the social world?”

 

“Yes. That point is a bit odd. If she has an ulterior motive…”

 

When Rodelia didn’t say anything, Sarah couldn’t hold back and opened her mouth, whether she thought it was okay or not.

 

Baroness Verna also gave her affirmation.

 

Even Viscountess Cohen nodded, and they all seemed to sense that Sola had some other purpose.

 

So it was only natural that Rodelia’s doubts grew.

 

The thought that Sola might want the title Empress began to rise in her head.

 

‘If it’s really like that…’

 

Rodelia paused for a moment, clenching her fists.

 

It was something that couldn’t be left unsaid. She may have failed as Kane’s lover, but she was a good Empress in her own way.

 

It was all thanks to Rodelia that she was able to properly mediate between Emperor Kane and the nobles. She would often find a point of agreement between them and come up with a plan that satisfied everyone.

 

So, even if such a situation arose, she was sure that everyone would stand by her side, except the Eisen family.

 

Rodelia felt the need to think more seriously about the tea party and looked at the maids.

 

‘To strengthen that relationship, it’s better to host a tea party as soon as possible….’

 

It seemed that the general preparations for the tea party would be better left to the head maid of honor, Viscountess Cohen.

 

This was because Viscountess Cohen and Rodelia’s tastes were similar, and Viscountess Cohen, who had an excellent eye for detail, was usually the one who mainly prepared for social occasions on behalf of the busy Rodelia.

 

“Viscountess Cohen…..”

 

“Empress, would you mind leaving the tea party to me?”

 

When Rodelia was about to assign the task, an unexpected voice interrupted her.

 

She looked towards the sound of voice and saw Lady Sarah’s big eyes shining. The freckles on her cheeks fluctuated as she giggled.

 

‘What should I do?’

 

Sarah was really the opposite of herself, as she had felt from the beginning.

 

Rodelia, who had yet to adapt to such an innocent and bold appearance, touched her forehead with dry hands.

 

It was hard to say no, but it was an important gathering, so it was a task that could not be entrusted to Sarah, who had just become a maid.

 

Rodelia steeled herself and cautiously expressed her intention to refuse.

 

“I’m sorry, Lady Sarah, but another time. It’s an important gathering so I’ll have to leave it to someone with more experience. I’ll ask you next time we have a lighter party.”

 

She tried to be as cautious as possible, but her mood wasn’t good and her voice came out in a hard tone.

 

In fact, as an empress, she had to maintain her dignity, so her speech like this was important when she faced difficult situations.

 

“…… I understand, Your Majesty.”

 

Sarah grumbled and replied sullenly.

 

As expected, Sarah was offended. Rodelia’s heart was weakening, but it was something she couldn’t help because it was a really important time for her.

 

She swallowed a sigh inside.

 

In the past, Kane used to comfort her whenever she had to say something harsh like this.….

 

[Rodellia, you’re doing a great job. Come to think of it, it’s a problem because you’re too nice]

 

Was that why he gave his heart to Sola? Because she (Rodelia)  was too nice?

 

Even though she knew she shouldn’t do this, her thoughts about Kane began to dominate her mind again.

 

Coming back to her senses and shaking off her thoughts, Rodelia struggled to speak.

 

“….The Viscountess Cohen will take care of the party.”

 

She deliberately said in a cheerful voice to hide her contorted expression.

 

“Yes, Your Majesty. I will make sure everything is ready. When would be a good time for the party?”

 

Viscountess Cohen seemed to be aware of Sarah and treated Rodelia with more impeccable courtesy than usual. It was an attitude that she was trying to teach Sarah strictly as head maid.

 

While Rodelia was grateful for such a reaction from Viscountess Cohen, she was also worried. if the relationship between the maids was twisted, it would be troublesome.

 

 She hoped it wouldn’t come to that. Rodelia took her steps again to think about the party schedule.

 

‘Oh, is it almost time for the winter flowers to bloom?’

 

‘Yes, that would be a good time for the party.’

 

Staring blankly at the red rose petals, Rodelia slowly opened her mouth.

 

“I think we should do it in a week, in time for the winter flowers.”

 

 “Yes, Your Majesty.”