Chapter 4. An unexpected development

 

***

 

“Liv…”

 

After finishing his political affairs at sunset, Emperor Carius quietly called her name that he had kept deep in his heart.

 

When exactly did he start loving Liv? He recalled her first appearance at her debut.

 

Liv, who entered in a white dress that was slightly open at the chest and carried a bouquet, was overwhelmingly noticeable.

 

In a line of women armed with elegance, grace, and modesty, she was haughty, seductive, and captivating to the human eye.

 

It was her unique atmosphere that grabbed Carius’s attention. She had a voice that bloomed like roses in his ears.

 

“I see the Emperor.”

 

And with that, when she kissed the back of his hand, and his face turned bright red like a boy who had fallen in love for the first time.

 

Was it from that moment on? That’s when it sprouted in his heart.

 

Carius sighed deeply. He courted her constantly, looking only at her, but he always received only her cold answers.

 

“I do not love you, Your Majesty. Now or the future.”

 

Then she fell in love with Edgar, who was his opponent. He didn’t care for her heart as much as Carius did.

 

Edgar has since become a rival to him.

 

But Carius felt that his love for Liv was a sin, and he ended up taking another woman as his empress, as the nobles demanded.

 

Then Carius realized. Marriage without love was hell.

 

Even so, the empress fell ill and died, and he put everything down. In the end, he became a crazy tyrant who only cared about political affairs.

 

He was determined to live like that in the future.

 

When he saw Liv, whom he thought he would never see again, his heart, which had been like ice, began to shake and break violently, like a wave, like a storm.

 

Her proposal, he couldn’t let go even though he knew it would be poisonous.

 

‘No. I can’t let go.’

 

Because he wanted to grab even the end of his abandoned love.

 

***

 

That night, Liv and Duke Dennis were sitting in the living room on the first floor of the mansion.

 

Duke Dennis was only following her eyes to find out what she wanted. When their eyes met, he looked up only at the ceiling.

 

“Father, why do you keep looking at my face?”

 

“When did I………”

 

The Duke tried to change the subject, but eventually decided to reveal his true feelings.

 

“Liv, can’t you just tell this father honestly? I will support and help you in whatever you do, but I think it would help if I knew what the hell you’re thinking.”

 

The Duke was not wrong. In the past, when she tried to make Edgar the emperor, he gave up his clean image and actively helped Liv with the task.

 

But from now on, the person she had to help would change. The problem was that her father had a lot of animosity towards the tyranny of Emperor Carius.

 

It was obvious that if she brought up the fact that she proposed directly to the emperor, it would cause a big commotion here, so Liv decided to refrain from speaking to him.

 

At the right moment, she heard the butler’s footsteps.

 

‘I guess we’re finally meeting each other again.’

 

“My Lord, the Grand Duke is here.”

 

“The Grand Duke? Come on, welcome him!”

 

Duke Dennis stood up as if he had been waiting for him and went to greet him.

 

Liv stood up and checked her appearance in the mirror. She checked her clothes and touched the ruby necklace that Carius had given her as a gift.

 

‘I’ve prepared a necklace that you know very well. You were the one who hated the necklace Carius gave me more than anyone else.’

 

The Grand Duke already knew about the ruby necklace, and it was the only necklace he reacted to, even though he wasn’t usually interested in what she wore.

 

It didn’t matter if it was jealousy or obsession, she would use anything that could provoke him.

 

Soon after, Edgar entered the house, and Liv bent her knees slightly and greeted him politely.

 

“I am pleased to meet you, Grand Duke.”

 

Golden curly hair, clear white skin, emerald eyes. A gentle smile like a habit and a clean white uniform without wrinkles.

 

When Liv faced that figure again, her eyes began to tremble and the fists of her hands gained strength.

 

‘Oh, it was that figure.’

 

” Liv.”

 

And the creepy voice that made her body shudder.

 

“Is it only over when it comes this far? If you had died with the baby, I wouldn’t have blood in my hands again.” 

 

 As she faced Edgar, the memory of that day flashed through her mind. Even the cruel face that pierced her heart.

 

Liv put her hand on her chest, feeling like she was facing the horrible pain again.

 

“Is there something wrong, Liv?”

 

Liv paused when Edgar tried to come closer. Then Liv took a step back.

 

“No, Your Highness. I’ve been waiting for you.”

 

“I see.”

 

Edgar’s gaze immediately landed on Liv’s ruby necklace as she spoke with a hand on her chest.

 

His brows furrowed, and for a moment Liv felt strange.

 

She could tell just by looking into his eyes. He definitely wondered why she wore that necklace.

 

 “Your Highness, what brought you here……..?”

 

Edgar managed to avert his eyes at Duke Dennis’s question. However, his unrepentant expression remained intact.

 

“As you may have guessed the reason for my visit to Edinburgh, I have come to formally propose to Liv.”

 

The Duke’s eyes lit up at his words, and he glanced at Liv. There was no expression on Liv’s face, she just looked at Edgar with her red eyes. 

 

When the Duke was about to speak in an awkward atmosphere, her lips gradually opened.

 

“It’s an honor, Your Highness.”

 

The Duke was relieved to hear her words.

 

“Yes, Liv……….”

 

“But I cannot accept your proposal…”

 

The Duke was unable to continue with the sudden statement that followed. He looked at Liv with a surprised expression. 

 

“Liv, His Highness………”

 

Even when her father stopped her, Liv’s gaze didn’t waver.

 

“I’m sorry, Your Highness.”

 

Liv smiled. How long has it been since she saw that flustered expression on Edgar’s face?

 

“Liv! Didn’t you say you’d accept my proposal?”

 

“Yes, I did.”

 

“That’s when I was a fool.”

 

“Don’t you love me ……?”

 

“Did you say love ……?”

 

Edgar’s pupils shook significantly as Liv kept speaking nonchalantly. He wondered what her intentions were.

 

Liv had a hard time managing the pained expression on her heart. Edgar, who had lost focus, opened his mouth as he was struck on the head

 

“I’d like to know why on earth you changed your mind.”

 

“Before I answer your question, I would like to ask you one thing as well, Your Highness. Do you love me……..?”

 

Liv really wanted to ask this question once. Both in her past life and now. Edgar’s expression, which had never changed since he was born, collapsed all at once.

 

“That’s why I proposed to you. I’ve had you in my heart since the moment I first saw you.”

 

Those were the words Liv wanted to hear the most.

 

But sadly, now that she realized that those words were a lie, her heart no longer beat.

 

She slowly lifted her eyelids and asked Edgar.

 

“So where were you last night?”

 

Edgar’s pupils began to quiver for a moment.

 

‘You think I wouldn’t know. It wasn’t until some time later that I learned that you had been lying in a secret bedroom with another woman. You told me that directly, too.’

 

“That’s ……”

 

“I’m afraid I proposed to someone else. I’m sorry, Your Highness.”

 

The room fell silent.

 

Liv proposed to someone else in person? 

 

Inwardly, Duke Denis said, “No way……” but he heard the butler’s urgent voice from far away.

 

“Master, there’s a guest outside!”

 

“Who else is it?”

 

Liv had an idea who the guest was, and she breathed a deep sigh of relief in her heart. It would be him, the man she had been waiting for all day.

 

Unlike when she was with Edgar, she smiled brightly and stood up.

 

“Welcome.”

 

They all looked at Liv with strange expressions…………

 

The sound of someone’s footsteps came closer.

 

The figure walking on the carpet with his long red cape fluttering was even more dazzling because of his tall height and broad shoulders.

 

“Your Majesty!” 

 

“I am pleased to meet you, Emperor!”

 

Everyone knelt down when Carius appeared.

 

“Your Majesty.

 

Liv smiled, seductive and bright, unlike when she looked at Edgar.

 

Carius raised an eyebrow when he spotted Edgar.

 

“Did I come one step late?”

 

“No, Your Majesty. You came at just the right time.”

 

“I’m glad.”

 

Duke Dennis hurriedly spoke because he was concerned that he had not prepared anything for the sudden visit of the emperor.

 

“Your Majesty, why did you come to this shabby place without informing me? If you had informed me in advance, I would have made thorough preparations.”

 

“No, Duke Edinburgh. I came in a hurry. And I didn’t come here to stay. I came to answer a question Liv asked me at noon.”

 

A moment of silence, and the Duke had an ominous feeling.

 

Carius eventually declared to everyone with dignity in a medium-low pitched voice.

 

“I officially welcome Liv as my Empress. I have come in person to say this.”

 

Everyone took turns staring at each other at his words, mouths hanging open, and the Duke squeezed both eyes shut with a deep sigh of unease.

 

It wasn’t just the Duke who was desperate.

 

It was Edgar, who had come in with dignity earlier. He couldn’t say a word as his whole body stiffened as the situation unfolded completely differently than he expected.

 

Liv stared at Edgar for a moment.

 

She thought it was supposed to be refreshing and satisfying to see this moment, but tears formed in her eyes for no apparent reason.

 

 ‘This is just the beginning, Edgar. That precious life of yours. I will kill you slowly in my cold arms.’