Author: alyalia

“Grandmother!”

 

“…Your Majesty Empress Dowager?”

 

The nobles, who saw Empress Dowager Lireet walking from afar, greeted her in unison. Charteron, who came down from her chair, ran to her with a bright smile.

 

“Charon, don’t run. You will fall.” Luensir, who was worried about Charteron, also walked along.

 

“I missed you, Grandmother!”

 

Charteron was hugged by Empress Dowager Lireet and showed off all her cuteness.


  “Maybe because it’s your birthday, you seem to be in a better mood than usual.”

 

Hehe, it’s even better that Grandmother is here!”

 

“Oh my gosh, pretty things make pretty words too.”

 

“You said you couldn’t come, so how did you come? Are you feeling better?”

 

She was so excited to see Empress Dowager Lireet after a long time, so Charteron began to ask her various questions. Empress Dowager Lireet patted Charteron’s cheek, perhaps loving her granddaughter’s concern for her.

 

“I was invited, so of course I should come.”

 

In the Empress Dowager Lireet’s hand, there was an invitation that Charteron had personally written in her poor handwriting.

 

“Greetings to Your Majesty the Empress Dowager.”

 

“Lur. You’re taller than the last time I saw you. As each day passes, it seems like you’re becoming more like the empress.”

 

“Thank you very much.”

 

Empress Dowager Lireet, who was proud of Luensir, who bowed his head and expressed his respect, smiled warmly. “Ah, yes. Countess Nose, please bring it to me.”

 

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

 

Countess Nosen, smiling next to Empress Dowager Lireet, brought two small boxes.

 

“You’re here, Your Majesty Empress Dowager.”

 

“Empress. Have you been well?”

 

“Yes. I’ve heard you were coming, but I’m even more excited to see you in person.”

 

Fufu. I guess Charon’s speaking skills resemble the Empress’s. The mother and daughter are very similar in terms of speaking beautifully. Ah, Empress. I apologize that I couldn’t attend your birthday banquet.”

 

“I’m just grateful for your heart. Don’t worry about it.”

 

“Thank you for your understanding.”

 

Just in time, Charelize and Arensis arrived and greeted Empress Dowager Lireet.

 

Um, what does Countess Nosen holding?”

 

“These are the birthday presents for Your Royal Highnesses, prepared by Her Majesty Empress Dowager.”

 

Answering Charelize’s question, Countess Nossen opened the boxes.

 

“These…?”

 

“I made brooches with ‘Tears of Psyche,’ which has been given only to the imperial descendants for generations.”

 

‘Tears of Psyche’ were originally earrings. And its last owner was Elizabeth VI. After her death, it disappeared and was forgotten by everyone. Because of this, a murmur could be heard around. Charelize also looked surprised at the completely unexpected gifts.

 

“Happy birthday Luensir, Charteron. Please continue to grow healthy.”

 

“Thank you, Your Majesty Empress Dowager.”

 

Empress Dowager Lireet gave the children her blessing by attaching the brooches herself.

 

With the banquet resumed again, Charelize, who approached Empress Dowager Lireet, asked quietly. “I didn’t know it was with Your Majesty Empress Dowager.”

 

“It was given to me by His Majesty Argo III. When the moment comes when his child is in danger because of my husband… He told me to use it.”

 

“…Is that so?”

 

“I couldn’t give it to Vel because she wasn’t a legitimate child. But it went well since I couldn’t keep it forever. Although I’m not related by blood to the imperial descendants… Still, I think of them as my grandchildren,” said Empress Dowager Lireet, watching Arensis and the growing children.

 

“Lur and Charon also consider Your Majesty as their maternal grandmother.”

 

“I’m honored to hear that. In fact, Lina’s daughter is like my own child, and Empress is strong enough without me having to protect you.”

 

“I’m still lacking a lot.”

 

Fufu. No need to be so modest. Anyway, starting from today… many words about the imperial grandchildren will be put to rest. Psyche is also the sister of Goddess Resina.”

 

Charelize, who agreed with Empress Dowager Lireet, nodded.

 

“…Rather, are you okay?”

 

Although Empress Dowager Lireet avoided mentioning it directly, Charelize immediately knew she was talking about her third child, which forced her to raise the corners of her lips.

 

“Empress is a good mother.” Empress Dowager Lireet comforted Charelize by stroking her shoulders.

 

“Is that… true?” Touching her flat stomach, Charelize sighed that she didn’t feel any life force in it.

 

“Yes. Whenever I see you, I think of Lina.”

 

“…”

 

“Rather, I’m the lacking one. I said I would protect you, but I couldn’t be there for you when you were at your most difficult time.”

 

As it was a good day, Charelize was also in a good mood from the morning. She was overwhelmed as she remembered the day she first met her children. However, when she heard Empress Dowager Lireet’s warm words, she actually felt depressed. It was heartbreaking for her to remember that her mother had to come to visit her as her baby and that she would never see her again in any way.

 

“Your Majesty, Princess Larea, and Prince Jeremy of Dwayne Kingdom have arrived.”

 

“I apologize, but I will be away for a moment.”

 

“Have a safe trip, Empress.”

 

Shortly after that, upon hearing that delegations from the Kingdom Dwayne had arrived, Charelize left to meet them.

 

“I’m worried that the empress seems to be having a hard time.”

 

“Yes. She has become much more emaciated than when I last saw her.”

 

Empress Dowager Lireet’s eyes were filled with pity for Charelize.

 

“Greetings to the glorious sun, the mother of the Elioter Empire. I’m Larea Leche Dwayne, the first princess of Kingdom Dwayne.”

 

“It’s been a while, Your Majesty.”

 

“Raise your head. Thank you for coming.”

 

Charelize went to the audience room and greeted Royal Princess Larea and Royal Prince Jeremy.

 

“Don’t mention it.”

 

“Now that I see you, you two look exactly alike.”

 

“Jeremy dressed as a woman is prettier than me, Your Majesty.”

 

“…Older Sister!”

 

Jeremy, whose face was about to explode, urgently called Larea.

 

“When his hair was long, I think he even received a confession from a certain young master.”

 

“Cha, no… Your Majesty!”

 

“There was no other love of the century.”

 

Charelize made fun of her close friend, whom she had known since childhood, and only then did she burst into laughter.

 

“Somehow, he surprised me by suddenly saying he was going to cut his hair. So that was the reason.”

 

“Didn’t you know?”

 

“I just remember him burying his face in the pillow and crying all day. Oh gosh, how loud his wailing was. At that time, I thought the royal castle was going to collapse.”

 

Larea, who has a good sense of humor, also brought up stories that Charelize didn’t know.

 

“Older Sister, when did I…!”

 

Jeremy couldn’t bring himself to cover his older sister’s mouth, so he became restless.

 

“Jeren, didn’t you say you had something to say to Her Majesty?’

 

“Something to say?”

 

“…Yes.”

 

“Then, I’ll be on my way first. Your Majesty, it was an honor to meet you.”

 

“I’m happy too. See you next time.”

 

Having brightened the atmosphere, she suddenly stepped aside.

 

“What’s the matter?” As Larea went out, Charelize used a light tone.

 

“Your Majesty.”

 

“You can talk informally now. I said it last time. It’s very awkward to be treated formally by you, replied Charelize, who lifted the teacup and held it in her mouth.

 

“…Charel, are you happy?”

 

“Huh?” Charelize tilted her head as if wondering a sudden question.

 

“A long time ago… you said that at the birthday banquet of Grand Duke Rakiel. Next time I see you, please ask you again if you’re happy.”

 

“Did you still remember that?”

 

“Because I never forget anything about you.”

 

Charelize smiled and drew the line appropriately. “I’m happy. I have a family. You too, meet a good lady and get married quickly.”

 

“…I think so.”

 

Jeremy, noticing it, smiled bitterly.

 

“I want you to be happy.”

 

“Jeremy.”

 

“…I really liked you, Charel.”

 

Not knowing what to say, Charelize stayed still.

 

“Don’t feel pressured. I said it because I didn’t want to regret it.”

 

“…Okay.”

 

Charelize, who extended her hand first, shook hands with him.

 

* * *

It was in the carriage to return to the Kingdom of Dwayne. Larea, who took out her jewelry because she was uncomfortable, tapped Jeremy.

 

“Did you get dumped again? What’s wrong with your face?”

 

“…I knew it wouldn’t work, but I don’t feel very good.”

 

“I didn’t know you still liked the empress. Don’t cry this time. The castle didn’t collapse that day, but you threw my favorite earring and broke it, right?”

 

“That’s because Older Sister tried to force me to wear it. Why are you leaving out the fact that you made me raise my hand for an hour and the fact that you secretly took my music box in the middle of the night to pay for your earrings?”

 

Although it was a laughing face, Larea patted Jeremy on the back.

 

“…Anyway, go back and meet the candidates for your wife first. You know that Leira keeps you in check because you and I aren’t married. She brought Count Yuen’s son and Baron Lahen’s son to the concubine spots. Then they started becoming more like her without knowing their subjects.”

 

Jeremy frowned a little when she brought up Leira.

 

After their parents divorced, his older sister had been his only family, raising him on behalf of his father, whom he had never seen since the divorce. He couldn’t stay because he didn’t like it because he knew about her hard work.

 

“…How about you become a concubine?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“Why are you so surprised? To be honest, looking at you these days, I don’t know much about your qualifications to be a king, and I don’t think that position suits you… I feel like you were just a child swinging a sword for no reason.”

 

“…”

 

“Above all, from my brief conversation earlier, Royal Prince Luensir has great affection for the Marsetta family, and although Royal Princess Charteron is brilliant, she doesn’t seem to be very interested in the throne. By any chance… will Dwayne’s blood flow in the next emperor?”

 

Perhaps embarrassed that he had been tempted by Larea’s suggestion even for a moment, Jeremy waved his hand vigorously. “Enough. Since when has the Older Sister been obsessed with bloodline? You scolded me for proposing to Charel, saying I shouldn’t wreak other people’s happiness.”

 

“…It was a joke.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“If the Royal Prince of Dwayne is rejected three times, the kingdom will be ruined, so don’t even dream about it.”

 

“Older Sister! If you really start acting like this, I won’t stay still!”

 

Jeremy turned his head belatedly when he found out she was teasing him.

 

“What will you do if you don’t stay still? You don’t even know the grace I did by raising you. That’s why they say black-haired creatures… No.” Larea, who stopped talking, ruffled Jeremy’s silver hair.

 

“When do you plan on getting married?”

 

“It’s none of your business. I don’t want to hear that from a kid who got dumped twice.”

 

“…If you don’t want to get married, why don’t you at least get a concubine like Leira?’

 

“Are you crazy? I won’t end up like Her Majesty. I still can’t forget that right after divorcing our father, she immediately took a concubine and gave birth to Leira.”

 

Larea was genuinely disgusted.

 

“Then why did you suggest me to become Charel’s concubine?”

 

When Jeremy asked in a blunt tone, Larea smiled. “Because if you really say yes, I was going to hit you. My dear little brother, please keep this in mind. Don’t ever think of marrying someone else other than your wife candidate or becoming someone else concubine and shattering their family.”

 

“…”

 

“Unless you want to die.”

 

Larea, who had a fierce look on her face, raised her hand and pretended to slit her neck.

 

“I always wish you a long life.”

 

“…When have I ever not listened to what you said?”

 

“Yes, good boy.”

 

“If I become her concubine, Older Sister will kill me before her husband. The same goes for the queen.”

 

“I’m glad you know.”

 

Larea, who knew how to laugh mischievously, only put a wry smile on her lips.

 

All along the way back to the Kingdom Dwayne, the brother and sister didn’t say a word to each other.

 

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