Chapter 66 – His Love Story
“Unlike the princess, you do not dwell within the palace, so I cannot punish you the same way as I did with her,” Patrizia said.
“However, your actions are no different than insulting the royal family. It hasn’t even been a year since I’ve become queen, and I’m still young. I’m even younger than your concubine when she gave birth. Yet the two of you are quick to question whether I’m capable of having a child or not…”
Patrizia then lowered her voice. “Now then, how do you think I should interpret this situation, hm? Why don’t you tell me?”
Though she spoke in a gentle tone, anyone could tell the implicit message: “If you say anything else, then I will not let you be.” Thus, no one could not say a word on the matter. This was the second time that the normally quiet Queen has acted so hypersensitive since she joined the royal family.
Patrizia composed herself. “I can’t bear to stay in this dreadful atmosphere any longer. I am terribly sorry if I ruined the mood for anyone. Please, enjoy the rest of the banquet.”
With that, Patrizia left the banquet hall with long strides, with Mirya, Petronilla, and Raphaella following suit.
The room was dead silent for only a few moments, before erupting into an uproar. However, there were a few people who disregarded the cacophony, and continued to stay quiet.
Meanwhile, Lucio dragged Rosemond to a quiet terrace.
“Rose, why did you do something so rash?”
“On the contrary, Your Majesty, what I said was not rash at all.”
The two lovers no longer looked at each other with affectionate expressions. With a cold voice, Rosemond continued to speak.
“As both a princess and your loyal subject, it was only natural I brought up those concerns. The only person who is mistaking it as an insult is the Queen.” Rosemond’s voice then morphed into one of injustice as she complained. “Yet must you still blame me? Must you still blame my father?”
“Just as the Queen said, she is still young, and it hasn’t even been a year since we got married. If bringing up the issue of an heir to the throne considering these circumstances isn’t insulting, then what is it? Are you really the same person that I know? Are you really Rosemond?”
“The one who has changed isn’t me, but you, Your Majesty.” Rosemond fixed Lucio with a critical gaze.
That’s right, he’s changed. I don’t want to admit it, but he’s definitely changed. Saying that I have changed is a blatant lie. I’ve always been like this. I’ve always been this kind of person. The person who was fooled by a facade was you, Lucio, not me. Rosemond put on a sardonic smile.
“You no longer love me, Your Majesty. I can tell just from looking in your eyes.”
“Yes, Your Majesty. I am no longer your lover,” she whispered in a hollow voice.
In the end, is this as far as I can go? In the end, nothing’s changed…
“It seems that that woman did something. Isn’t that so, Your Majesty? How did she seduce you? Did she undress herself in front of you? Or did she roll around in your bed with you like a whore?”
“Enough, Princess. You’re crossing the line.”
“If not that…!” Rosemond shouted. She felt as if everything she had been trying to build up was falling apart. She did everything in her power so that this wouldn’t happen to her again, and yet…!
“Then why?! For what reason?!” she screamed.
“Why have you changed like this? Why?!”
“…You’re right. It seems that both of us have changed,” Lucio murmured sadly. “Seeing you talk to me like that, it seems that you no longer love me either. No, have you ever loved me at all?”
“Your Majesty, did you know?” Rosemond continued with a mocking smile. “It makes me sick acting out this cliché love story with you.”
“You still haven’t been able to get over your past scars like a child…!”
“No, I need to say this.” Rosemond could feel that the end was near. She desperately shouted, knowing these may be her last words.
“I’ll tell you the truth. I don’t love you, Your Majesty. No, I only loved your position, power, and money.”
“There’s no one in this world who could ever love you. Wake up, Your Majesty.”
Rosemond was cruel to the very end. To Lucio and his soul.
“Who could ever love someone who killed their birth mother?”
It was as if she hurled his soul into the abyss.
“You… how could you say that to me…?” Lucio staggered from shock. However, Rosemond continued with even so much as blinking.
“If I knew that it was this easy to make your affection waver, then I wouldn’t have bothered to put in all of that effort in the first place.”
“Yes, I was the foolish one.”
You really were, Rosemond, she thought to herself.
“I was foolish…”
I already knew that. What’s important isn’t love. What’s important is power, and nothing else.
That’s why I promised. To rise above everyone else, to a place where no one could lay a hand on me.
“I will become queen, Your Majesty.”
“You promised me the position of queen, and I will take it myself.”
“Rosemond.” No, Rosemond. Don’t do this.
Don’t break down. Don’t fall from grace.
I beg of you.
“Don’t do this.”
“No, Your Majesty. I will do this.” A wicked smile spread on her face. “That’s why I will stay by your side, and when you die, I shall become this kingdom’s queen dowager.”
Rosemond announced her plans in a satisfied voice, and smiled once again.
“Please be sure to watch this come to fruition, Your Majesty.”
Watch how I’ll seize the position beside you, how I’ll become the only woman remaining by your side. Watch carefully. Without missing a single moment.
“I hope you will look forward to it.”
This is just the beginning. No longer will I rely on your affection and favor. It will be with my own strength and power that I become queen. I dedicate the first step of this grand scheme to you.
You, the man who I once loved with all my heart.
In the end, the National Founding Day finished off weakly due to the argument between Patrizia and Rosemond. Though Patrizia wasn’t happy that the festival that she so meticulously planned ended so unsatisfyingly, she didn’t regret what happened. She had always thought that she had to set an example at some point.
The next morning, Patrizia went on with the day as usual, but her indifferent attitude ended up making the people around her restless. Even though she continued to reassure them that she was fine, when even Mirya and Raphaella started treading carefully around her, she decided to give up. Deep down, she knew that if she was a lady-in-waiting to herself in this state, she’d act the same way.
“Your Majesty, did you hear?” About one hour before lunchtime that day, Mirya casually brought up some conversation. “I only just heard this a while ago. Immediately after you returned to the Queen’s Palace, someone saw the Emperor and Rosemond arguing on the terrace.”
“I heard that it was a big quarrel,” Mirya continued.
“And why should I be concerned about that?” Patrizia bitterly asked. “From the start, I’ve never had any relation with the matters between those two. You know that.”
“…Yes, Your Majesty. That is true, but…”
“Well, I suppose it’s good news for us.”
However… well, it was true that Patrizia was more aware than anyone else of the fact that Rosemond was slowly losing the Emperor’s favor. Though she expected to hear this eventually, it still surprised her. Patrizia decided to steer the conversation in a different direction.
“That aside, what is keeping Nilla today?’
Petronilla had been unable to shake off her feelings of unease since yesterday. Of course, her work played a part in it, but more than that…
‘That man from yesterday… his name was Rothesay, was it?’
Rothesay was the bigger issue. Petronilla paced the room fretfully.
‘He wouldn’t be looking for me, right?’
She continued to feel restless as she chewed on her fingernails. It was a common habit when she felt anxious. She suddenly wondered why she was so worried over a man she only met twice, and stopped biting her nails.
“This is unsightly behavior, Nil. Get a hold of yourself.”
Even after I’ve rejected his advances countless times, he goes on about ‘fate’ and whatnot. “Honestly, I’m just as hopeless,” Petronilla muttered to herself as she shook her head. That’s not what’s important right now.
In any case, she needed to tell Rizi the information she had.
Rosemond and January’s relationship. While those two didn’t seem connected in any way, it was highly like that the two are close. After some deliberation, Petronilla decided that it would be better to head to the Queen’s Palace where Patrizia was waiting.
She changed into a cobalt blue dress, and when she was putting on a silver and sapphire necklace that her servant girl recommended, someone came into the room. It was her mother, Marchioness Grochester.
“Mother, is something wrong?” Petronilla asked.
“Nilla, someone is here to see you.”
With an odd expression, Petronilla went down to the living room. She nearly fell over in shock when she saw the person waiting for her there.
“Sir… Sir Bradington?” she said in disbelief.
“It has been a while, My Lady.”
No, it actually hadn’t been that long at all. They met last night. Marchioness Grochester looked at the situation confusedly, but then simply smiled.
“This good sir said that his meeting with you last night was very memorable. That’s why he came to see you.”
“Mother, but I…”
“If you are uncomfortable, then I will leave, My Lady,” Rothesay quickly said. While he said that, Marchioness Grochester left the two of them alone, and Petronilla looked at Rothesay with an agitated expression.
“How did you find our…?” Petronilla started to ask, but stopped herself. Ah, of course he’d be able to find us. It wasn’t like the location of the Grochester estate was any top-secret information. Petronilla cleared her throat before speaking.
“What brings you all the way here…?”
Rothesay flashed her a bright smile. Petronilla thought he had a rather beautiful smile for a man.
“I am a little busy. Please state your business,” she said.
“Ah yes, you are a lady-in-waiting for the Queen. It slipped my mind.”
Still undeterred, Rothesay smiled and extended what he was holding to Petronilla. It was a bouquet of flowers. Petronilla swallowed hard.
“I was taking a stroll and came across some flowers that reminded me of you…” Rothesay sang.
“So I bought a bouquet of them.”
Petronilla nodded with an awkward expression on her face. A bouquet of flowers from a man. She hadn’t even received something like this even from her own father. Petronilla weakly thanked him.
“Thank you, good sir, but why would you give me—”
“Didn’t I already tell you, my lady?” he replied with a charming smile. “I said that I would do everything for the person I love.”
“I did my best in my own way, so I hope you will be able to accept it.”
“Is this not to your liking?”
“No, it’s not that… Thank you, sir.”
Rothesay’s face brightened at her positive reaction. Seeing that, Petronilla burst into a fit of giggles.
“Why did you leave first yesterday?” he asked.
Ah, that’s right. Petronilla decided to answer honestly.
“I was distracted by yesterday’s incident, and I forgot. I apologize for making you wait.”
“No, I understand. Even I would have forgotten, considering the circumstances. You did well.”
“Then, by any chance…”
“Please speak,” Petronilla insisted after hearing the man speak so abashedly. After a moment, Rothesay said what was on his mind.
“Since we could not dance yesterday…”
Yes…? Petronilla raised a brow.
“If it is alright with you, would you go out on a date with me?”