Chapter 109 – [Side Story] Ch. 1 I Appoint You As The New Queen of the Mavinous Empire
[Side Story 1] The life of the dead is in the memory of the living.
Rosemond Mary La Phelps had been in a dream-like state as of late. It was because her biggest political opponent, the deposed queen Petronilla, was recently executed.
Any sane noble wouldn’t dare place in a new queen before Rosemond. Therefore, unless something unexpected happened, Rosemond would be the next Queen of Mavinous. The position had been one she long desired, even going so far as to wonder whether all the pain was worth it for this happiness to come.
“When will the Emperor announce a new queen? Glara, he’s not going to leave the position empty for long, so he’ll probably announce it soon, won’t he?”
“Yes, Lady Phelps.”
Rosemond’s expression hardened at Glara’s words. “Glara, shouldn’t you call me Your Majesty now? If you can’t fix that habit, then you’ll have no need for that tongue. Do I need to cut it?”
Glara fell to her knees in fright. “S-sorry, My L—no, Your Majesty. I was ignorant… Forgive me,” she begged.
Rosemond huffed arrogantly, appearing sufficiently pleased. “Good. You have to be careful with your words from now on, Glara. Understand?”
“Yes, Your Majesty. No doubt about it.”
“Yes. You should.” Only then was Rosemond satisfied, and she smoothed out her nails with a relaxed expression. “Perhaps His Majesty has something to tell me. Shall we go to the Central Palace?”
When Rosemond arrived at the Central Palace, however, she had to face news that wasn’t so pleasant.
“What do you mean I can’t go in?” Rosemond demanded.
“His Majesty is…inundated right now,” a lady-in-waiting replied.
“But it’s daytime.”
“His Majesty said he was tired today and that he would take a nap. Lady Phelps, I’m sorry, but His Majesty commanded not to let you in.”
“What?” Rosemond shrieked. This could not be possible for someone like her. “I am the person that will soon become His Majesty’s queen. But you won’t let me in?”
“I dare not defy the Emperor’s commands. I’m sorry, My Lady.”
A familiar sound came from inside the room. The lady-in-waiting’s expression contorted while Rosemond’s brightened. This was her time to step forward. She stared expectantly at the lady-in-waiting, who dipped her head in embarrassment.
Rosemond kept her voice pleasant. “His Majesty is having another nightmare.”
“…Please go inside,” the lady-in-waiting said finally. She had no choice in these circumstances. There was only one person in the Empire who could soothe the Emperor’s madness.
Rosemond strode proudly towards the door and opened it without hesitation. She told the lady-in-waiting not to let anyone else in, then went inside.
“Your Majesty,” she called to Lucio in a husky voice. She stared at his distressed form before her, then, smilingly, walked gracefully towards him. He probably did not know how happy she was to be the only one to see him, to fix him. Rosemond sat on the bedside with a smile.
He was having a nightmare. He had not yet woken up, and his face was twisted as if he were ensnared in a terrible dream. Rosemond, unfortunately, was not sympathetic to his pain—no, she couldn’t relate to it at all.
“Your Majesty,” she whispered, affectionately sweeping Lucio’s cheek. “What are you so scared of in your dreams?”
“Are you dreaming of the late queen Alisa again? Or…?
As the single syllable left Lucio’s mouth, Rosemond’s smiling face instantly hardened. Lucio never called Alisa “Queen” when he had his nightmares. Alisa’s name had always been “Mother.” Rosemond’s expression contorted in fury as she stared at Lucio’s mouth move.
“Ha!” Rosemond spat out derisively. Is that what it was? He wasn’t dreaming of Alisa, but Petronilla? After she had already died?
Rosemond kept staring at Lucio with cold eyes. She didn’t feel good. But why?
“Dreaming of Alisa…why are you dreaming about a woman you killed!”
“Aaaagh!” Lucio screamed in agony. Rosemond stared at him dispiritedly, then calmly soothed him.
“Calm down, Your Majesty.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.” The chill in her demeanor was replaced by a wide smile. She whispered to him. “Shhh, Your Majesty. You had a bad dream. I’m next to you now, so you can relax now. It’s alright.”
“Did you have a bad dream? Your complexion doesn’t look well.”
“…It was about the late Queen,” he answered honestly. Rosemond already suspected that, but that didn’t make her any happier to hear it. She forced her face to remain neutral.
“Oh, the late Queen? What was it about?”
“…Just,” he said evasively. “It wasn’t much.”
Ah, this was even worse. He was keeping a secret. Rosemond wanted no secrets between them. Of course, she had one or two things that she was hiding from him, but she hoped that he wouldn’t think to hide much from her. She selfishly hoped for such a relationship—a relationship where she could hide, but he could not. A relationship where she was in the superior position.
“…Are you sure it was nothing?”
“I was worried. You were moaning in cold sweat.”
“Well, it’ll be gone in a day or two,” he said in a tired tone tinged with nervousness. Rosemond did not like the strange shift in atmosphere. Her instincts told her to leave, but she decided to remain.
“But I’m with you now,” she said amiably. “Forget about such a wicked and mean woman, and look at me now, alright?”
“…Yes,” Lucio replied with a sigh. “Yes. I will.”
“So many people were sacrificed to get up to this point, so I should.”
“You sound insincere,” Rosemond commented, her eyes narrowed. “But I must be hearing wrong, right, Your Majesty?”
“Sorry, I’m a little tired today. It’s been kind of strange since earlier.” The exhaustion in Lucio’s voice seemed to be telling her to leave, and Rosemond’s mood had completely darkened. However, she didn’t want to give up her control.
“Y-Your Majesty. I…”
“When will you install a queen? It’s been almost a month since the previous queen was executed.”
“…Don’t complain. Everything goes through a procedure.”
“Yes? But…it’s been a month, Your Majesty. Hasn’t that been more than enough time?”
“Do you think everything in the Empire revolves around you? Besides that, there is a lot of work to be done, and fortunately, none of them involve the palace for now.” Lucio paused for a moment, then turned apologetic. “…I’m sorry, Rose. I was too sensitive.”
Rosemond felt a little comfort at this, but her frustration was not completely relieved. She had vowed to act like a saint who understood everything about him. She still needed him.
“…It’s alright, Your Majesty,” she said with a honeyed smile on her face. “You are allowed to be sensitive. You’re overwhelmed with work, and you have many things to be worried about.”
“You should take a rest. Would you like to sleep more?”
“No, I should get up now. I have a mountain of work to do.”
“…Very well.” Rosemond carefully raised him, and he stumbled a bit, falling into her arms. She held him steady and whispered to him. “Your Majesty, if you need to relax more, how about a trip?”
“Yes. There is a hot spring not far from the Imperial city that has been visited by past emperors. You should go there.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” Lucio said in a thin voice, and Rosemond rubbed his back lovingly.
“Everything will be fine.”
Rosemond’s wish came true. A few days later, Lucio announced to everyone that he would appoint Rosemond as the new Queen of the Mavinous Empire. Of course, Rosemond was thrilled to hear the news.
“Congratulations, Your Majesty,” Glara said in a smiling voice, and Rosemond shot her a glare.
“So what? Isn’t that we were all expecting?”
“But you’ve been through a lot, haven’t you, Your Majesty?”
That’s true, Rosemond muttered under her breath. She had been a reserve queen. But wasn’t that all in the past? The future to come now was here for her to take.
“Now that Mavinous Empire is all yours,” Glara said.
“The Empire belongs to His Majesty. I am just his queen,” Rosemond replied sourly.
“But Your Majesty, don’t you say, ‘It’s the man who rules the world, and it’s the woman who rules the man’? You are with the Emperor, and this empire is also his.”
“How do you pick such flattering words?” Rosemond said in a pleasant voice. It was a contrast to her harsh anger a few days ago when she accused Glara of not honoring her properly.
In any case, the two said nothing. It was the future that mattered anyway. Not the past.
“The Empress is entering,” a servant announced.
Rosemond stepped into the cathedral. Today was the day of her coronation. The venue was held at the St. East Cathedral, where Lucio’s coronation was held in the past.
She took a well-heeled step forward with a thrilled expression. In the solemn atmosphere of the cathedral, she shone brilliantly. She was beautiful, although looking beautiful was her daily job in the Empire. Apart from her personality and past behavior, her beauty was undeniable.
When Rosemond finally stood in front of the most powerful man in the country, the priest gave her the signal to kneel down and bow her head. She did so.
“Rosemond Mary Astar de Mavinous.”
Her last name had finally been changed. The Imperial last name of Mavinous, that only the Imperial family could have. She could burst with joy, and she smiled. She couldn’t see Lucio’s face because his head was bowed down, but he must be pleased too. Why wouldn’t he be? He dirtied his hands with blood to raise her as queen. Of course he would be happy.
“In the name of the Emperor, I appoint you as the new Queen of the Mavinous Empire.”
At that, cheers burst out from all sides.
“‘Long live the Empress!”
“Long live the Emperor!”
“Glory to the Mavinous Empire!”
Everything was going well.
Rosemond smiled brightly.