Author: Bunny

Chapter 28 

 

The cloak wrapped around her shoulders fluttered with her quick steps. Duke Ashillean’s crest embroidered with silver thread on the black cloak were clearly visible. 

 

“It’s Duke Ashillean.” 

 

“That bloody Duke?” 

 

“She is as terrifying today as well.”

 

The people she met on the way looked at Rubiana with her fluttering cloak but didn’t dare talk to her. She had a stiff and angry look that scared people away. Her occasional frown and the pat on her back further stimulated people’s imagination. 

 

“She definitely must have taken advantage of the darkness of the night to kill dozens of people.” 

 

“Maybe she caught the king of beasts hiding in the capital. She pulled out his head like a giant cow’s head and laughed as if she was happy that she was covered in blood. My friend’s brother-in-law’s eldest cousin’s wife second cousin’s cousin saw it.” 

 

“I heard she wiped out the restoration forces of the former kingdom who rebelled against Her Majesty. It was said that at dawn, she came covered in blood as she had something to report to Her Majesty. To this very Imperial Palace!” 

 

“I heard that the tub inside Duke Ashillean’s room, which was given to her by Her Majesty from the Imperial Palace, is still churning with blood.” 

 

Rubiana turned around the corner, and seeing that no one could see her, she buried her nose in her clothes and smelled herself. 

 

“Why?”

 

“Do I smell of blood?”

 

“No way. Then should I take you to Her Majesty?” 

 

“Right?”

 

If it wasn’t for the Grand Chamberlain, Rubiana entered the Emperor’s bedroom with a light heart. She still couldn’t get used to this place. She can feel the grandeur in this bedroom without being flashy. There was gold here and there. Even the ceiling was golden. 

 

‘Can I sleep here?’ 

 

She was so exhausted that the corners of her eyes trembled. This is only distributed among the only three Dukes of the Empire. 

 

“Come on.”

 

The Emperor, Callena, who sleeps here every day, seemed very comfortable. She even looked refreshed as if she had a good sleep. 

 

‘That’s a relief.’ 

 

Rubiana frowned as she stepped on the gilded marble. Callena was half-laid on her bed while she was being massaged by her maids. Rubiana knelt one of her knees in front of the bed and bowed her head. 

 

“I greet the honorable and majestic Emperor.” 

 

“Since it’s just the two of us, you can be comfortable, unnie.” 

 

“How dare I….”

 

“How can you do that a few days ago?” 

 

“Well….”

 

“Why is my older sister like this all of a sudden? There’s no way her loyalty to the monarch would have grown this much greater than her own family.” 

 

“Maybe she had come to the realization that the etiquette of the empire must be strictly observed from above, and that the empire’s discipline must be thorough?” 

 

“No, I don’t think that’s the answer.” 

 

Callena smiled brightly. Even her disheveled just-woke-up appearance was pretty. She makes her surroundings bright just by smiling. The maids who were combing Callena’s hair and massaging her shoulders, hands and feet were ecstatic. Rubiana gently lifted her head and looked straight into Callena’s eyes, then lightly clicked her tongue. 

 

‘She is not satisfied with my answer.’ 

 

The moment Rubiana saw her smile, she was convinced that Callena was angry.

 

“Unnie, did you do something wrong towards me?”

 

“Well….”

 

The angry Callena even hit the nail on the head. Rubiana chose silence over her excuses. Callena looked at Rubiana and smiled again. 

 

“It looks like you have a lot to say. Everyone, get out for a while.” 

 

Callena sent the Grand Chamberlain and the maids out. When they were left alone, Rubiana explained what events had happened yesterday in the best possible way. I don’t have to pretend to be objective, she thought. Callena is someone who knows everything about her. All Rubiana needed to do was to plead for herself. 

 

Callena nodded and sighed as she listened. She then said, “Ahh, so that’s what happened. So you like him.” 

 

“Well, rather than liking him….”

 

“Alright. Get married. I will approve it.”

 

“So, I will never… what?”

 

“Get married. Aren’t you getting married?” 

 

“Oh? Uh, yes, I need to.” Rubiana unconsciously nodded her head. “Really? Is it really okay?” 

 

“Hmm. Do it. Go ahead with it.” 

 

It was such a perfect approval. 

 

‘Did you give up on your plan to use the tyrant’s illegitimate child to wipe out the rebels in one move?’ 

 

“Oh, but instead, the other two Dukes and I won’t attend your wedding.” 

 

I didn’t think so. 

 

‘This.’

 

It was then that Rubiana realized what Callena meant. It doesn’t mean that she gave up or had a change in her plans. She still wanted to use Louismond to wipe out the rebel forces in one blow, and it seemed like Rubiana’s marriage with Louismond would be used in the plan. 

 

‘She didn’t make things up to make Louismond propose to me, right?’ 

 

If it’s Callena, then that couldn’t be left out. 

 

‘No way. It must not be like that.’ 

 

She tried to deny that fact, but when Callena said that she wouldn’t attend the wedding as if she waited for a chance to, she was doubtful. 

 

“You, by any chance….”

 

“What?” 

 

“It’s not that, right?” 

 

“What?”

 

“…”

 

“Unnie? What is it?”

 

“No, no. nothing.”

 

Rubiana shook her head to clear the thoughts that were making her dizzy. Callena looked at Rubiana and smiled. 

 

“I told you before, so don’t be sad.”

 

“Okay.” 

 

Rubiana nodded her head as she imagined her own wedding with the absence of the Emperor and the two Dukes. The nobles will talk from the beginning of her wedding, and rumors will spread as soon as the wedding is over. 

 

[Duke Ashillean was smitten by the tyrant’s illegitimate son and forced him to marry her. 

The tyrant’s illegitimate son created a rift between the Emperor and Duke Ashillean.]

 

It was as if she could already hear the cracking sound of one of the pillars of the newly built empire. Only a few people will notice that the gold is fake to deceive enemies. Hopefully, Count Graham and Marquis Odill won’t be included in them. 

 

‘He proposed a three-year contract to me. He must have wanted to live happily in a faraway place with the woman he loved after the divorce.’ 

 

She was a little worried about Louismond. At this rate, he would be identified as the core of the rebellion and would be killed as soon as the contract marriage after three years ended. She wanted to stop that. She felt like that last night, and those feelings would be cultivated more while living together for the next three years. 

 

“Lena, I am sorry to interrupt your plan….” 

 

But before she can say, ‘I am aware of your plans, but can you not touch him since he’s my person now?’ 

 

“No, you don’t need to be sorry. Because you’re weak to handsome men.” 

 

Callena took the initiative. Yes, I can’t say that. 

 

“… No, I’m not.” 

 

“What do you mean no? Wasn’t that why you saved Duke Feltharg as well?” 

 

“I didn’t save him. He saved himself.” 

 

“Everyone died before him and people after him also died, and you’re saying only Duke Feltharg survived?” 

 

“He lost one eye.” 

 

“Aha? Is it more difficult to lose an eyeball than to die?”

 

“Aren’t you an Emperor? How can you say eyeball? And when you talk to your older sister, can you stop picking on my words?” 

 

“What’s wrong with that? Can’t an Emperor call the eyeballs eyeball?” Callena said as she rolled her eyes. The expression on her face as if saying I-really-didn’t-know was really superb. 

 

Rubiana avoided her eyes and looked around instead.

 

‘Where did the Grand Chamberlain go?’ 

 

If it was the Grand Chamberlain who is well-versed in etiquette, he would surely say the reason why an Emperor shouldn’t say eyeball. He would be nagging as if he was just waiting. But the Grand Chamberlain was nowhere to be found. Because a little while ago, he was asked to go out when Callena said that she wants them, sisters, to spend some time together with a warm smile. 

 

‘What if he really went away when Callena told him to go out?’ 

 

Rubiana grew furious with the slacking Imperial Guards. Only inwardly and not outwardly. 

 

‘Anyone, especially the Grand Chamberlain, should stick with the Emperor all the time. The Emperor is picking on my words and killing one of the loyal Dukes. Won’t you do anything about it?’

 

Rubiana resented the Grand Chamberlain who had left her in such danger and had slowly disappeared. Then she stared intently on the tightly closed door. 

 

Behind her, Callena spoke as if humming a song. 

 

“Ahh~ so Duke Feltharg was so talented he was able to avoid all of sister’s arrows. That all those who died before him and died after him because they weren’t as good as Duke Feltharg.” 

 

“… Probably?” Rubiana replied grimly. She felt sour praising Cadric as a great guy as she tried to avoid Callena’s abuse. 

 

‘No, come to think of it. I think I was a little sleepy back then. It also seemed like I had no energy as I was hungry.’

 

She was thinking of saying that again. 

 

“Hmm.”

 

Callena’s eyes landed on Rubiana’s shoulder.

 

“Indeed, back then, I was….” 

 

“Three years. Three years would be enough, right?” Callena said without taking her eyes off Rubiana’s shoulder. 

 

“Yes, I’m hungry and I have no energy left… huh? Three years?” 

 

“Why? Too short?” 

 

“No, it’s not that….”

 

“If not that, then what? Too long?” 

 

“No, not even that.”

 

“Then what?”

 

“I’m surprised that you gave three years.” 

 

Rubiana was really surprised. 

 

‘Is it the trend in the capital to say three years these days?’ 

 

An infectious disease has definitely spread in the capital over the past few years. Like nobles who couldn’t recognize people’s faces though they’ve been only to the North for a few years. Like the tyrant emperor’s illegitimate son who is unconditionally tied to a three-year contract. 

 

“I know you get tired of a pretty face in two years. He’s especially prettier, so I gave you three years as it might take a little more time for you to get tired of him.”

 

Callena said as she looked at Rubiana’s skeptical eyes as if making excuses. 

 

‘If people saw me, they would think that I am being a prick and making people stuck.’ 

 

Rubiana looked at Callena, and the latter couldn’t stand her staring. 

 

“So do you like three years or not?”

 

“Ah, it’s not that I don’t like it….” 

 

Rubiana rubbed her chin and thought for a moment. ‘Will I be tired of seeing that face after three years?’ I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. 

 

“In any case, you are just like our maternal grandmother. Only looking at the appearance.” 

 

Callena made a disgusted look after reading Rubiana’s expression. 

 

“What are you saying? I’m not!” 

 

“It’s true. That’s why you took him even when knowing about my plans. Looking at that face, didn’t you?” 

 

“…”

 

“I knew it.” Callena openly ridiculed Rubiana. 

 

“No, I’m not. And don’t smile like that.” 

 

“Should I cry then?” 

 

“Just, smile with a little dignity like an Emperor.” 

 

“Unnie, do you know that sometimes, you’re stricter than the Grand Chamberlain?” 

 

“I’m not that strict….” 

 

Rubiana dragged her words. Callena raised her eyes as if she knew everything, even if she didn’t say anything. Her blue eyes shone fiercely that it was creepy. 

 

“Why aren’t you talking?” 

 

“I forgot what to say.” 

 

“Should I guess what you forgot to say?” 

 

“You don’t need to….” 

 

“You want me to act like an Emperor – tired and annoyed.” 

 

An answer. It was the perfect answer.

 

“…”

 

Rubiana chose silence. 

 

“Unnie, what is that Emperor you are talking about?” 

 

I knew you would be upset and annoyed that I am still your older sister. Callena looked rather sullen and smiled. 

 

“My actions are like an Emperor, unnie.” 

 

Callena’s tone was arrogant. It was the arrogance that only she could have in this world. 

 

(T/N: I don’t really get Callena. She’s a bit difficult to read even though she’s only a character.)

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