Author: Ann Editor: Ann

“It was truly a long dinner.”

 

It was probably something I will never forget for the rest of my life.

 

“It was. You look tired.”

 

“After all that trouble.”

 

Meredith replied as if it was obvious.

 

“How was I today?”

 

“It was alright.”

 

After a long time, she heard a good review.

 

Meredith looked at Theodore as if it was unexpected.

 

“It was a great performance.”

 

“I’m happy to be recognized by your Majesty.”

 

“You’ve been pushing Lord Felix a little hard.”

 

“Me?”

 

“Aren’t you the boss?”

 

“No way.”

 

Meredith denied with a giggle.

 

No, I think he was the sergeant.

 

“Anyway, thank you for your hard work today. Felix was pretty good at acting.”

 

“That’s his real personality. He probably would have done the same thing even if you hadn’t asked this.”

 

Well. I think so too.

 

“Where did you get that knowledge?”

 

“What?”

 

“I’m talking about the fish soup.”

 

“Ah, it’s common sense.”

 

“I suddenly became a person who doesn’t have common sense.”

 

“I didn’t mean to say it that way.”

 

Somehow, it became an insult to the emperor, and Meredith quickly changed the subject.

 

“Did Her Highness get fooled easily?”

 

“The situation was quite pressing.”

 

Theodore responded leisurely.

 

“If you think carefully, you may find something strange.”

 

“……”

 

“At least from what I saw it was no problem.”

 

“Oh, that’s a relief.”

 

Meredith clapped with joy.

 

“Tonight, I can sleep with a little bit of pride.”

 

“Yes. Good job.”

 

“Your Majesty, too. Your weak acting was the best.”

 

Meredith raised his thumb and winked.

 

“…….” 

 

And Theodore, who was looking at her, suddenly shut her mouth.

 

However, Meredith didn’t feel strange much because she knew his quiet personality.

 

***

 

The next morning.

 

“Your Highness, the Empress has arrived.”

 

Meredith met with Blair like always.

 

“Your Highness, did you sleep well last night?”

 

“Oh, my dear is here.”

 

Blair somehow greeted Meredith with a more welcoming appearance than usual.

 

“Hurry up and sit down. You must have been tired yesterday, but you came so early.”

 

“I couldn’t wait to see your highness.”

 

That’s what she answered, and Meredith asked later, looking around.

 

“Is it rude to say this?”

 

“Rude, you say. Not at all.”

 

Blair shook her head quickly and responded.

 

“I also thought of you a lot last night.”

 

“Me?”

 

“Yes. You saved me from the crisis last night.”

 

“It wasn’t a big deal.”

 

Meredith responded shyly.

 

“The Emperor also believes in Her Highness the Empress Dowager.”

 

“Oh my god, you’re so naive. It wasn’t something to gloss over.”

 

Blair shook her head and refuted.

 

“Didn’t you see His Majesty’s servants harassing me? Without you, I would have been imprisoned in prison yesterday for attempting to assassinate the emperor. It was such a big deal.”

 

Blair, fed up, soon grabbed Meredith’s hand with a trusting smile.

 

“Anyway, you are my lifesaver.”

 

“It’s an honor if you think so.”

 

“It’s not empty talk. Do you have a wish? I’ll listen to anything.”

 

“Um…”

 

After a moment of thought, Meredith opened her mouth.

 

“There is one thing,”

 

“Tell me anything,”

 

“Is the suggestion you gave me last time still valid?”

 

While Blair was stunned because she didn’t understand what it meant, Meredith smiled brightly and added.

 

“I’d like to call you Mother.”

 

A wave of emotion spread over Blair’s visage after hearing Meredith’s answer.

 

“Oh, of course, Meredith, I’ve only been looking forward to hearing that from you.”

 

“I’m sorry for the late response, mother.”

 

“No, we’re finally making progress together.”

 

Blair asked with a benevolent smile.

 

“I’d like to invite you to my tea party from now on. Is that okay? Of course, if your schedule doesn’t work, it can’t be helped, but…”

 

“I’ll try to make time as much as possible. Thank you very much.”

 

“How about this afternoon? I happen to have guests coming. At two o’clock.”

 

“I think it’ll be all right. As far as I know, I don’t have any work in the afternoon.”

 

“Then I’ll be waiting.”

 

In such a friendly atmosphere since morning, Meredith finished her greetings.

 

‘Are you being deceived?’

 

On her way back from the Dowager’s Palace, Meredith became curious.

 

‘Maybe she’s pretending to be fooled.’

 

But assuming this, it became so complicated that Meredith decided to give up on her train of thought.

 

Even if Blair pretended to be fooled, Meredith would have been as careful as before, so there would have been no loss.

 

Then at two o’clock that afternoon, Meredith went to the Dowager’s Palace in a neat dress.

 

“Her Majesty is entering.”

 

In front of the drawing-room of the Empress Dowager, Meredith took a short deep breath and went inside.

 

Empress Dowager Blair was at the top of the table, and to her left was an expected person.

 

“…What is the Empress doing here?”

 

It was the Duchess of Schwartz.

 

A short distance from her was also Catarina.

 

She looked quite surprised, too, as if she had thought Meredith’s appearance was unexpected.

 

‘You must have come earlier today than on time.’

 

Meredith smirked inwardly at the attitude compared to the last time.

 

Then, setting aside the surprised people, she approached Blair.

 

“Greetings, Your highness.”

 

“Welcome, Empress.”

 

Blair greeted Meredith with a big smile. 

 

Being in front of the nobles, she seemed to be more respectful to Meredith than usual.

 

“Thank you for coming. Please have a seat.”

 

In the meantime, the seat Blair pointed to, was just to her right.

 

Meredith sat there with a smile.

 

It was opposite the Duchess of Schwartz. 

 

“…I didn’t expect the Empress to come here.”

 

The Duchess spoke in a rather low voice. 

 

“Even if the two of us aren’t on good terms, wouldn’t it be nice enough to invite them to a gathering?”

 

In fact, this situation did not make sense to her.

 

“From now on, we’ll see her more often.”

 

Blair replied sarcastically.

 

“We got much closer with what happened last night.”

 

“What do you mean last night?”

 

“Actually, yesterday…”

 

Blair gave a brief account of what had happened at the dinner yesterday.

 

Those who heard Blair’s story only then understood.

 

“….” 

 

Of course, even the mother and daughter of the Schwartz family.

 

“I owe the Empress a great debt. It must have been a difficult moment to step forward, but how grateful I am!”

 

“It was a misunderstanding I should have solved. There was no reason why I shouldn’t come forward.”

 

“It was all possible thanks to the Empress’ cleverness and courage.”

 

Blair’s praise continued.

 

“And how sincere you are to this mother… She comes to visit every morning.” 

 

“Oh, I’ve heard the story, too. I admire you.” 

 

“Me, too. It’s never easy, but I thought you were great.”

 

Naturally, people who were listening responded to Blair’s words and continued to praise Meredith. 

 

As things went this way, Duchess Schwartz grew increasingly uncomfortable. 

 

She couldn’t stand the fact that Meredith was drawing attention when she and Catrina were present. 

 

The conversation was going well. 

 

It was then.

 

“Duchess Schwartz must be very disappointed.”

 

Someone pointed out Duchess Schwartz.

 

The duchess, who was still biting her lips, opened her mouth in astonishment.

 

“What do you mean…”

 

“This beautiful and wise daughter left your bosom and went to the Imperial Palace.”

 

“…” 

 

“I’m afraid you’re very disappointed. She must have been such a good daughter in the mansion.”

 

When Meredith heard it, she almost laughed.

 

‘If the Duchess had been a good mother to me, I might have remained a good daughter.’

 

Unfortunately, however, the Duchess of Schwartz had never been friendly to her for a moment after she was born.

 

“…Your right. She was a good girl.”

 

The Duchess of Schwartz answered, struggling to conceal her frustration.

 

“Even if she was a little sickly.”

 

“…”

 

“I loved her a lot, too.”

 

“But I wasn’t very good to her.”

 

The unexpected voice surprised Duchess Schwartz. 

 

Meredith, who was uncomfortable listening to Duchess Schwartz’s lies, intervened not too late. 

 

…What is that supposed to mean? Duchess Schwartz’s heart began to pound with anxiety and tension.

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