Chapter 43 - Father’s Return
Merilyn looked at Jubelian with pity.
‘Lady Floyen…’ Although it wasn’t too long ago that she had been subject to her violent episodes, Merilyn felt sympathetic when she remembered Jubelian’s lonely childhood.
‘She used to be a violent and perverse person, but the more I got to know her, the more I found that she’s actually a considerate person.’ Merilyn felt rather attached to Jubelian now, so she couldn’t bear to leave her in low spirits.
“I will always stay by your side, my lady.” When she expressed her heartfelt thoughts for the first time, the corner of Jubelian’s lips raised slightly.
“Thank you.” Although her smile looked lovely on her youthful face, it also contained a hint of sorrow.
Merilyn thought about her plan with conviction. ‘It’s not enough to say that… I have to cheer her up,’ she decided.
* * *
“The crown prince just sent a message saying that it will take longer for him to return due to a problem at the border, Your Majesty.”
The emperor gritted his teeth. ‘That vile Maximillian. If I tell you to come here, you should come here immediately. Why are you taking so long?’
His son was already an eyesore, so it didn’t help that he was resisting an imperial order. ‘I will make sure to give you a hard time when you arrive.’ The emperor felt a surge of anger as he thought about his arrogant child. He continued to grit his teeth when his office door opened roughly.
“Y-Your Grace! You can’t…” The royal guards tried to restrain the intruder, but they were no match for the skillful man. He easily traversed the line of guards and soon stood before the emperor.
“Greetings, Your Majesty.”
The emperor, who had barely calmed down after learning about his son’s disobedience, witnessed Duke Floyen’s impudence and flushed with anger again. “What on earth do you think you are doing?”
Regis bowed his head without a hint of fear. “I came here to have an urgent word with you.”
“So, what’s all the fuss about?” the emperor asked coldly, showing that he would not let the duke’s rashness slide if it wasn’t important.
Regis looked at the emperor with determination. “I caught wind of the assassins who troubled Your Majesty these past few days.”
The emperor widened his eyes. “What? Is that true?”
“Then bring the culprits to me!”
Regis shook his head. “I will need to go back home to find more clues,” he said softly.
“What do you mean by that?”
“I suspect an intruder visited my mansion while I was away.”
The emperor twisted his face. “What? What does that have to do with the assassin who tried to kill me?”
“The intruder’s footwork was similar to the assassin who infiltrated the palace.”
The emperor glared at Regis. He knew that this was just an excuse for him to leave the palace. ‘How dare he try to make a fool out of me…!’ Even so, the emperor himself had ordered the duke to head the investigation. Now that he had presented reasonable evidence, he had no choice but to grant his request.
Regis met the emperor’s piercing gaze and raised the corner of his lips as if he knew what he was thinking. “In order to acquire more clues, please grant me the permission to leave the palace.”
* * *
Ah, even people need sunlight once in a while. Although I enjoyed spending the past few days in my room, I could feel my energy slowly draining away. ‘Yes, this would be a more productive place to think about a countermeasure for father’s plan.’
Merilyn interrupted my thoughts. “Aren’t the flowers very pretty, my lady?”
Even though I had replied shortly, Merilyn looked at me patiently and said, “The flowers are pretty, but you’re even more beautiful, my lady.”
It was a bit burdensome for Merilyn to follow me around and shower me with nonsensical compliments. ‘She’s been strange recently. Has she been working too much?’ As I pondered over whether I should give her a vacation, I found a bench at the side of the garden and sat down.
‘Let me think about this matter first. There are only two days left until father returns.’ Although I thought of it as ‘only’ two days, that was enough time for me to formulate a plan. It would look strange if I was staring into space, so I opened the book that I brought with me.
‘Oh, it’s the military tactics book.’ Although it was very entertaining, I wasn’t in the best situation to be reading a book that my father had recommended.
“Ah, will you be reading a book, my lady?” Merilyn stared at me with widened eyes, as if it was a strange thing for me to do outside.
“Yes, it’s perfect for spending some time alone.”
Merilyn observed me when I said the word ‘alone,’ then lowered her head. “But, my lady…”
“I’ll head inside when I’m done, so you can go ahead,” I said politely, not wanting to directly order her to leave me alone so I could read quietly. At that moment, someone spoke up. It was a familiar voice, but one that I certainly didn’t expect to hear.
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