Author: Tam Editor: Genie

‘The Empress… If I become the Empress…’

 

If she becomes the Empress, everyone will kneel before her. As well as her father and her half-brother who will become the count. No one would dare ignore her or see her easily.

 

Even without her father’s coercion, she wanted to become an Empress. Saying she was the daughter of a wealthy countess didn’t do any good for her. She was only being swayed by her father, and by her brother, who would become her father’s successor. She wouldn’t be any different if she got married. All noble men were like Gilbert. ‘Come here’, ‘go there’,’do this’, ‘don’t do that’. She had to live her life under control. But when she becomes Empress, she would be relatively free. No one will be able to control her demeanor and behavior. 

 

‘I can do anything for that. I won’t lose my seat to a girl who doesn’t know where she is and what she’s doing.’

 

Renia recalled Amelie’s appearance. The first thing that came to mind was her round eyes. She is talking and acting as the maids tell her to, but really, she is just a girl who just came up from the countryside. 

 

‘I have to show that no one welcomes you.’ 

 

She invited her to a tea party on purpose. Everything about introducing friends and getting close was a lie. 

 

There was only one position of the Empress, and there was no such thing as a wholesome competition. 

 

“I’m going to write an invitation to the tea party. Bring some paper.” 

 

Renia called her maid and ordered her. The tea party guests would of course be filled with her faithful hands and feets. 

 

‘You know my subject.’

 

Renia laughed. It’s been a very long time since she was so excited about a tea party. 

 

*****

 

News that Amelia and Renia met was reported to Serwin through Chad. 

 

“Unlike her worries, Amelie treated the Manvers Young Lady with determination, and her attitude was not bad. It was a friendly atmosphere until the end.” 

 

“The Manvers Young Lady can’t be obedient.” 

 

Serwin raised his eyebrows. He was well aware of Renia Manvers’ fiery personality and her obsession with the position of Empress. Because she was the woman who came to fear him, yet she wanted to be the Empress.

 

“Regardless of what she thinks, she can’t help but openly show hostility to Amelie. Your Majesty must stay aware of it.

 

“Right.”

 

Serwin nodded. He reigned with fear, and the nobles feared his sword above all else. As long as he was confident, no one could harm Amelie. Besides, Amelie was a witch. She was able to protect her body without difficulty. Still, what made him uneasy was that he was worried that Manvers might break her heart. Whether she is magically powerful, no matter how great she is, she can’t stop the emotional wounds she receives from people. And the nobles of the Empire had a special ability to throw daggers even when talking face to face.

 

“Be more wary of her surroundings. I’m sure that girl is up to something.” 

 

“Yes, I understand. However— there is one thing I would like to ask you.” 

 

“What is it?”

 

“Miss Amelie told the Manvers Young Lady that she would return to her hometown when the time was right—but wouldn’t it be better to be careful about such stories?” 

 

Chad was worried about Amelie’s position becoming unstable. If the nobles find out that Amelie is leaving Serwin’s side soon, will they treat Amelie as carefully as she is now? It wasn’t. 

 

“What should I do?” 

 

But Serwin did not answer. He was frozen with his eyes wide open.

 

“Your Majesty?”

 

Chad was confused. 

 

“Amelie said Your Majesty knows this story. Is this your first time hearing this?” 

 

“—No.”

 

Serwin clicked his tongue. 

 

Amelie certainly expressed her intention to return to her hometown after defeating the disaster. The reason she came to the imperial palace was to protect the peace of her hometown. 

 

He knew and understood everything. Nevertheless, her words were very shocking. 

 

‘You’re leaving? Then what about me?’

 

Serwin was an Emperor. He had no relatives to inherit the throne, so he could not leave the Imperial palace until his child was born. In addition, the Imperial palace and Delahaim are so far away that it takes 10 days to even exchange letters. It was unknown when he would be able to see her again when she returned to Delahaim. 

 

‘Do I have to be alone in this terrible palace?’ 

 

In fact, the imperial palace without Amelie was familiar to him. For the past 20 years, he has lived alone waiting for her here. 

 

‘It may not be so painful because it will be after defeating the disaster.’ 

 

But he couldn’t imagine the future without her. It’s hard even now that he’s keeping his distance on purpose, but he was just terrified of what it would be like if they couldn’t see each other forever. 

 

‘How did he live before Amelie came?’ 

 

Serwin recalled past memories. It was the largest and most splendid imperial palace in the empire, but in his memory, it was always just a barren landscape. There was no way he could go back to that life. 

 

“Your Majesty, are you okay?”

 

“No.”

 

Serwin got up. 

 

‘I need to see Amelie.’

 

He wanted to see her. In the Imperial palace, he seemed to have to see her within his own realm. A strong impulse took hold of him, and his body naturally turned to Amelie. 

 

“Your Majesty?”

 

Chad hurriedly chased after him. 

 

However, it was not enough to catch up with the man who was running with all his might.

 

*****

 

Serwin quickly arrived at Amelie’s palace. The knights standing at the main gate were horrified to find Serwin. It was because Serwin appeared in front of them in a blink of an eye.

 

“Quiet.” 

 

The knights were puzzled by the fact that Serwin was alone without an attendant, but they kept their mouths shut. Their fear of him was greater than their little curiosity. 

 

He walked slowly along the road. He ran like crazy all the way here, but when he arrived, his steps slowed down by itself. A cold wind slapped his cheek. This allowed him to calm down, at least a little. 

 

‘Is she in the garden?’

 

Serwin headed in the direction of the sound of the instrument. He was convinced that Amelie would be there. His steps began to speed up again. 

 

Amelie was not alone. She was dancing with an imperial knight. Seeing it, a fire erupted in an instant. Serwin wanted to run right away and take the knight away from Amelie. If Mrs Enard had not stopped the music while screaming, the knight would surely have been killed. 

 

When the music stopped, the imperial knight took a step back. Only then could Serwin look around. There were more than two people in the garden. It looked like she was practicing dancing in the garden. 

 

‘If you watch a demonstration once or twice, you’ll quickly learn how to dance. Why do you have to practice together like that?’

 

He clicked his tongue. Even though he knew it was a dance practice, his stomach was still boiling with anger. 

 

“Miss Amelie! Your expression! You have to smile softly. I can see that you’re nervous.” 

 

When Mrs Enard pointed out, Amelie made a tearful face.

 

“I can’t even pay attention to my face. It’s hard to just follow the moves!” 

 

“It’s because you’re so nervous. Smile! Comfortably!”

 

“Aah. My face muscles are so stiff.” 

 

Amelie twitched her cheeks. Her face contorted in a funny way. Then, Milena burst out laughing. She couldn’t hide her smile, even the stern Mrs Enard. Eventually, when all her maids burst into laughter, Amelie said, “Are you laughing?” and made a crying face again. 

 

Serwin stood still and watched them. It was as if Amelie and her surroundings were not a part of the imperial palace. The comfortable and pleasant atmosphere was all unfamiliar to him. He inadvertently hid behind the wall. His entire body was engulfed in dark shadows. 

 

‘It—seems that you are doing well.’

 

She was bright and cheerful even though the pressure must have been severe right before the party. It was because the people around her supported her so firmly. 

 

‘Even without me.’

 

Serwin smiled bitterly. His own vacancy was nowhere to be found. Come to think of it, Amelie didn’t even need him. It was different from how he had been eagerly waiting for Amelie, and now he can’t be without her.

 

What Amelie wanted was a peaceful life in her hometown. It would be Amelie herself making it, not something he could give her.

 

‘No, it would be more helpful if I wasn’t there.’

 

His chest was tight. He pressed the left part of his chest with his right hand. 

 

[………]

 

Noise intervened between the sounds of music. The static noise was as creepy as scratching down his ears. The disaster did not miss any moment he was shaken. He tried to calm down, but negative thoughts continued endlessly. 

 

‘Amelie will be fine without me. While she was loved by those around her. She might even make a real lover.’ 

 

It was terrible just to imagine. But when everything was over, there was no way to stop her if she said she was leaving. Confining her has already failed. There was also a way to threaten her using the people around her, but he didn’t want to be hated by her for doing that. But he didn’t want to be separated from her and he didn’t want to be left alone in this imperial palace. 

 

‘Then what should I do? How can I keep her by my side?’ 

 

When the disaster disappears, she leaves, too. If so, then—.

 

‘Yes, the disaster doesn’t need to disappear and should just remain.’ 

 

[Kiik, kikikikikikkkk, kiiiik] 

 

The laughter of disaster resonated loudly as if tearing up his eardrums.

 

‘Just what was I thinking right now?’

 

The disaster had to disappear from the world. The moment he can no longer prevent the disaster, the world would be destroyed. The land would be devastated, disasters would keep sweeping the continent, and diseases would kill countless people. The thousand-year empire would crumble without a trace. He can’t do that. It was his duty to prevent it. But he’s blinded by momentary jealousy and loss, forgetting his obligations. As he came to his senses, deep self-hatred came. 

 

“Ugh!”

 

Serwin grabbed his chest while vomiting.

 

[………]

 

A black lump burst out of his mouth. The black lump fell to the ground and wriggled. It seemed to be a lump of black ichor, and it seemed like a sticky old lump with large knots and twisted limbs. It looked ominous and disgusting. It wriggled violently until it turned into hundreds of insects and scattered.

 

When Serwin opened his eyes catching his breath, there was no black lump left anywhere. The ground from which the lump fell rotted in, but it was hidden by the shadow and was hard to see.

 

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