Author: Ann Editor: Ann

“Do you have any plans in mind?”

 

Sitting face to face, the two began to talk in earnest.

 

“If there is such a thing, I would like to hear it.”

 

“I do not intend to move recklessly.”

 

Meredith replied calmly.

 

“I will make sure to not create trouble for your majesty.”

 

“Good attitude.”

 

“In order to do that, I must know His Majesty’s plan.”

 

“I have no reason to kick them out yet. The Empress Dowager isn’t stupid either, so she wouldn’t do anything reckless.”

 

“………”

 

“Of course, there’s a way I can create a disturbance, but, you know, my body isn’t normal right now. I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

 

“Above all, I heard that Prince Fabien is abroad.”

 

The then Empress Blair made sure Prince Fabien fled, using studies in a foreign university when the Emperor was sick.

 

It was to prevent Theodore from purging Fabian on charges of treason.

 

It was a wise decision on Blair’s part.

 

“So I think now is not the right time.”

 

“Yes, when I am cured and the Prince returns to Valtejain.”

 

Theodore nodded as if he agreed.

 

“It’s not too late to plan things then. It just so happens that the prince is in his senior year.”

 

“But I don’t intend to sit still until then.”

 

“Looks like you have a plan.”

 

“It’s too hard to deal with two enemies at once.”

 

“Well?”

 

“Let’s start with the Schwartz family.”

 

‘How?’ Theodore looked at Meredith.

 

“It’s not a relationship formed by great ties. I don’t know who suggested the alliance first, but it’s a relationship based on a desire for power.”

 

“I suppose so.”

 

“Things… things like that are easy to break if there is a small gap.”

 

“A gap?”

 

“We have to keep them away from each other.”

 

“The person who will make the gap……”

 

Theodore’s eyes narrowed.

 

“Is it you?”

 

“I’m the only one.”

 

Meredith nodded her head.

 

“While the Schwartz family is vigilant, they need someone who has the closest contact with the Empress Dowager.”

 

Whoever suggested the alliance first, there would be lingering anxiety in Duke Schwartz’s mind.

 

Perhaps Empress Dowager may abandon them and choose someone else.

 

We have to ignite that anxiety.

 

“I’m the only such person.”

 

Meredith grinned.

 

“Obviously, they won’t completely trust each other. If they don’t like each other, they’ll always be ready to betray each other.”

 

“…….”

 

“First, let’s get the Empress Dowager’s trust.”

 

Meredith’s voice saying that was quite dignified and full of confidence. It wouldn’t be an easy task at all.

 

‘…I think you’ll do well.’

 

To the extent that Theodore thought like this.

 

He broke the long silence and asked.

 

“What do I have to do for you?”

 

“The Duke of Schwartz does not want other forces to join the fight. That’s why he put me here, an illegitimate child.”

 

“…….”

 

“But if he feels that I am threatening his position, he will dethrone me even if it breaks his initial resolve.”

 

“It makes sense.”

 

“Please protect me then.”

 

“…I promised to do that.”

 

It was also written in the contract.

 

“You don’t have to worry about that. Marriage, although not my will…” (Emperor)

 

He put on an expression of thought for a moment and concluded the sentence.

 

“It is not a divorce. Do not worry.” (Emperor)

 

“It makes me feel better when you say that.” (Meredith)

 

“I didn’t expect to hear that even though I wrote the contract.” (Meredith)

 

“Ah….”

 

“You don’t believe in the Emperor’s contract?” (Emperor)

 

“I didn’t mean to say that, so I hope you don’t misunderstand.” (Meredith)

 

“You are the one I need.” (Emperor)

 

Meredith stared at Theodore.

 

“I have to cure my illness.” (Emperor)

 

“…..”

 

“And a few comrades who share my will.” (Emperor)

 

Comrade.

 

When did we get to the point where we are bound by that word?

 

Meredith felt like a stranger.

 

It must have been a different situation compared to the first time he pointed a blade at her throat.

 

“So I will protect you. No matter what.” (Emperor)

 

“………”

 

Hearing that, Meredith couldn’t say anything as if her lips had been glued to themselves.

 

It was her first time hearing that from someone else.

 

Saying they need me.

 

Saying they will protect me.

 

“I was a thorn in the eye that should always be gone…”

 

For Meredith, who grew up facing contempt all her life, the words were quite warm and touching, even though they were something necessary.

 

‘I never thought I’d feel this way about your words.’

 

As expected, it’s unfamiliar.

 

Now, this feeling, it seemed, would not be forgotten for a long time.

 

Meredith raised her trembling lip corners and smiled.

 

“……Thank you.”

 

It was sincere gratitude.

 

***

 

The next morning.

 

Meredith visited Empress Dowager as usual.

 

“Welcome, dear.”

 

Blair greeted Meredith with a warm welcome as usual.

 

“I heard about yesterday.”

 

Meredith put down the teacup and looked at Blair.

 

“I heard you had a great first tea meeting.”

 

“……ah.”

 

Meredith replied with a slight blush.

 

“I’m ashamed. It wasn’t a big deal.”

 

“No, I heard you did a great job for your first time.”

 

“Thank you, Your Majesty.” 

 

“Also, the Emperor did a great job yesterday, didn’t he?”

 

Blair was delighted with a very proud look.

 

“How sweet of him. I’m so proud as a mother because I think you two have a good relationship.”

 

“I was also very surprised yesterday. I didn’t think that would happen…”

 

While answering half-heartedly, Meredith realized she was missing something very important.

 

‘……By the way, I forgot.’

 

I completely forgot to thank Theodore for the dessert he sent me yesterday.

 

‘I remembered it until the tea meeting was over…’

 

Immediately after that, she heard such a shocking story that she seemed to have forgotten everything else.

 

‘…I’ll go see him later.’

 

She waited until the night and forgot about it again.

 

Meredith vowed to go straight to the central palace after leaving the palace.

 

“Yes, I hope his health will be better now.”

 

Hearing that, Meredith stared at Blair.

 

“Then, sooner or later, a grandson will be born, and the imperial family will soon find stability.”

 

She was speaking as if she were truly praying for Theodore’s good health.

 

‘…How could that be?’

 

When I saw that arrogance, I thought it was strange again.

 

“Even now, the Imperial Family is very stable thanks to His Majesty.” (Meredith)

 

Meredith responded with a warm voice.

 

“Your Majesty is well aware of the Emperor’s services.” (Meredith)

 

“His Majesty?” (Blair)

 

“Yes, he helps me a lot in my work, and always thinks of me.” (Meredith)

 

Meredith smiled as if she was right.

 

“How can your majesty not know that?”

 

“I don’t deserve to know. It’s been a long time since I’ve met him in person.” 

 

It was a rather discontented voice.

 

“As you know, he is not coming to greet me because of his health.” (Blair)

 

“That’s why.”

 

Meredith spoke carefully.

 

“I would like to arrange it for you.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I would like to arrange a dinner party for the two of you.”

 

“…Just the two of us?”

 

“Three of us.”

 

And Meredith added the most unsuitable word in their relationship.

 

“As a family.”

 

“………”

 

“It’s going to be a quality time. What do you think?”

 

“I’m fine.”

 

Blair cautiously raised her concerns.

 

“I don’t know if His Majesty will attend.”

 

“I’ll tell His Majesty, so don’t worry about that.”

 

“…Really?” 

 

Blair opened his mouth while making a thoughtful expression for a moment. 

 

“I have no reason to refuse.” 

 

Of course, you would. 

 

Unless you want to spread the fact that you are fighting against the emperor.

 

Meredith smiled brightly as if she knew that.

 

“Don’t worry too much. I’m sure His Majesty will like it.”

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