Author: Ann

 

Seeing Theodore’s extended arm, Meredith quickly ran to his side and supported him.

 

At the same time, Meredith’s vitality flowed into Theodore.

 

‘…It’s definitely better.’

 

In the end, it was a good move. Rationalizing as such, Theodore asked Meredith.

 

“Anyway, why did you go to the Empress Dowager’s Palace?”

 

“I was invited to a tea party.”

 

Meredith answered with a somewhat proud face.

 

“We became very close because of yesterday. I started addressing her as ‘Mother’.”

 

“…..”

 

“She said she’d invite me to tea parties often.”

 

“It’s amazing how quickly the results are showing up.”

 

“So was I. So, I wondered if she was pretending to be deceived by our plan…”

 

“You witnessed it?”

 

“No. It’s because I don’t think I’m going to do anything that will make me vulnerable. Either way, it doesn’t matter.”

 

Most important of all, the fact that Duchess Schwartz had become uncomfortable with today’s act was most important.

 

‘I shouldn’t be very nervous from the start….’

 

It will gradually grow like a snowball.

 

Because that’s what anxiety is. Once sprouted, it grows like a huge tree in the blink of an eye.

 

“Well, there’s something I need to ask Your Majesty’s permission for.”

 

“My permission?”

 

Theodore wondered.

 

“What’s going on?”

 

“I’m going to Duchess Schwartz’s birthday party.”

 

Meredith asked politely.

 

“Can you give me permission?”

 

“It’s not hard… What are you thinking of?”

 

“As the Empress, I want to wield my power.”

 

At her words, Meredith laughed meaningfully.

 

“I’ll tell you the details at the Central Palace.”

 

***

 

Since returning to the Schwartz mansion, the Duchess had forgotten all her anxieties as Catarina said.

 

More than anything, she thought it was worthless to waste her time paying attention to Meredith.

 

‘This is my party. It cannot be neglected.’

 

It was her 50th birthday party.

 

She was planning on celebrating her 50th birthday in a grand way by inviting a lot of guests.

 

In doing so, she intended to show everyone her authority and dignity as the Duchess of Schwartz.

 

“There! The flower arrangements are poorly done. Bring more flowers.”

 

“Dust is rolling on that shelf! Are you trying to disgrace me in front of the guests?”

 

“The food arrangement is not good. Sort it out a little more.”

 

Finally, the hostess’ 50th birthday. In preparation for the party, the Schwartz family’s grand mansion had been hectic since early morning.

 

“That pottery doesn’t match the atmosphere of today’s party. Get rid of it.”

 

“Yes, madam.”

 

And in the middle of it, Duchess Schwartz looked at the whole venue with a discerning eye.

 

As the time drew nearer, a smile creeped on the lips of the Duchess.

 

‘All right, everything’s perfect.’

 

From one to ten, there was nothing she didn’t like.

 

The Duchess was convinced that the day would start perfectly and end perfectly.

 

“Thank you for inviting me to the birthday party, Duchess Schwartz.”

 

“Oh my, what are you saying? Thank you for coming.”

 

“I would have regretted it if I didn’t come. The banquet hall is so beautiful.”

 

As soon as the birthday party began, the Duchess of Schwartz had a very busy time greeting the influx of guests.

 

“It’s small, but I prepared a present, and I don’t know if you’ll like it.”

 

“Oh my, you prepared all of these things? You could have come empty-handed.”

 

“Can I come to Her Grace’s 50th birthday party empty-handed? I can’t do that.”

 

Almost all the nobles of the capital attended, and the banquet hall was quickly crowded with the invitees.

 

“Happy 50th birthday, Duchess Schwartz.”

 

Everyone congratulated her on her birthday, and Duchess Schwartz became very happy.

 

It would certainly be a perfect 50th birthday.

 

“Oh my god.”

 

“Right? Right?”

 

“Her Majesty is here!”

 

Until she heard that, she thought so.

 

‘… Meredith is here?’

 

Her impression was almost crumbling.

 

The Duchess of Schwartz managed to not narrow her brow and then stared at the woman approaching her.

 

Identical black hair that she didn’t want to see.

 

And purple eyes that resembled amethyst.

 

…It was Meredith, she was certain about it.

 

‘How did she get here?’

 

The Duchess couldn’t help but panic.

 

Because she didn’t send Meredith an invitation.

 

“Hello, Duchess Schwartz.”

 

Before she could answer the question, Meredith reached in front of the Duchess.

 

“Congratulations on your 50th birthday.”

 

“…Her Majesty, how are you here?”

 

“That’s because I got an invitation.”

 

“An invitation? Who sent the invitation to Your Majesty?”

 

“That’s your husband.” (T/n: She referred to her as ‘wife’ and said ‘wife’s husband’)

 

“…Ha.”

 

It was then that the Duchess realized the full story of the incident.

 

‘Giving Meredith an invitation without my consent.’

 

She had a rough idea of what it was about.

 

If Meredith, who became Empress, attended the birthday party, he expected Schwartz’s status to be higher.

 

However, even if there was such a cause, she was not as happy.

 

No, she hated it very, very much.

 

‘Why do I have to see the face of someone that bothers me on this auspicious day?’

 

The good mood soon subsided.

 

‘… I hoped you wouldn’t come on such a big day.’

 

Meredith, noticing such a state, only smiled inwardly.

 

“Have I come to a place I shouldn’t be at?”

 

“…..”

 

“Your expression is not good. I feel like an uninvited guest.”

 

“Oh no. How could it be so?”

 

The Duchess of Schwartz, conscious of the multitude of eyes that surrounded them, hurriedly opened her mouth.

 

“Thank you for coming. But I thought you wouldn’t come.”

 

“Why?”

 

Are you asking because you don’t know that?

 

‘She couldn’t have known her husband’s intentions.’

 

If that’s the case, it’s common sense not to come.

 

But here she is. Why the hell? For what reason? (Duchess)

 

Not quite understanding the situation at hand, Duchess Schwartz became faintly uneasy.

 

“…because you are such a busy person.”

 

“It’s still my mother’s birthday. It’s only right to come and congratulate you as your daughter.”

 

“……”

 

“I wish you a happy birthday. Sincerely.”

 

“Okay. Thank you.”

 

“I prepared a present.”

 

“Present? It would have been nice if you came empty-handed.”

 

“Oh, no, I cannot do that.”

 

Meredith threw out a meaningful remark with a meaningful smile.

 

“You used to give me presents often when I was young.”

 

“…….”

 

“I have to repay you, too. As a daughter.”

 

The words stiffened Duchess Schwartz’s face, and just in time someone cut in between the two.

 

“I didn’t expect to see you here, Your Majesty. Greetings to the Empire’s Moon.”

 

“Ah, the Marchioness of Elrose?”

 

“It’s an honor to have been remembered. What were you two talking about so sweetly?”

 

“Oh, I was giving my mother a present.”

 

Meredith quickly addressed her differently when someone else came.

 

“A birthday present. I’m afraid if she should like it.”

 

“As expected, you’re a sweet and such a friendly daughter. I wonder what the gift is.”

 

“If you don’t mind, open it here, mother.”

 

Meredith said with a smile.

 

“Everyone is curious.”

 

Meredith was right.

 

All eyes there now were focused on the two of them.

 

“…. Shall we?”

 

Reluctantly, the Duchess of Schwartz unwrapped Meredith’s gift on the spot.

 

“…….”

 

And more than before, her expression was stiff.

 

“……..”

 

It was the same even though it was already expected.

 

“Do you like it?”

 

The gift Meredith prepared was a folding fan.

 

Beautifully decorated with mother-of-pearl and jewels.

 

“Oh, what a pretty fan!”

 

It was a splendid and beautiful object that anyone would admire.

 

However, the face of the person who received the gift was not very good.

 

Duchess Schwartz looked up at Meredith in bewilderment.

 

She saw Meredith smiling but her eyes were cold.

 

“Answer me, mother.”

 

“Do you like it?”

 

But the Duchess of Schwartz had nothing to say as her lips quivered.

 

At that moment, Meredith moved her lips close to the ear of Duchess Schwartz and whispered.

 

“Do you remember?”

 

“…….”

 

“You always played with me with this.”

 

 

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