Author: Byuon

The people who watched the sparking nerve battle of the Imperial woman with excitement all bowed their heads at once.

Emerging with great fanfare, the Emperor took one look around the ballroom and immediately sensed the mood.

“Sister.”

“I meet Your Majesty The Emperor.”

Grand Duchess Crawford bowed her head.

The Empress looked at the Emperor as if asking for help.

“I hope you are not uncomfortable in the heat of the day.

“It took a while to get through the checkpoint, but since it is the birthday of the Empress, I have to bear it.”

“Have you been interrogated? Some incompetent man didn’t even recognize my sister—”

“The Grand Duchess said it was difficult to pass without a check because the invitation was not stamped.”

The Countess of Walford, who had been silent, spoke softly.

The Emperor’s eyes turned to the Empress and an uncomfortable look crossed the Emperor’s face.

“I’m sorry, Sister. Since I sent out invitations to so many places, I think I made a mistake in the following.”

“I understand. Do you think the Empress would have sent me such an invitation on purpose?”

“Of course, those who made the mistake will be severely reprimanded.”

“There’s no need for you to do that. At this age, I can’t be shaken by the little things. His Majesty has twice rejected this woman’s request for an audience.”

The Grand Duchess gracefully rebuked the emperor.

I need to learn how to speak like that.

The Emperor, whose face was dyed in embarrassment, coughed in vain and spoke again.

“I had a lot of political affairs to take care of, so I didn’t have enough time to see my sister. Please understand.”

“Understanding is not the word I would use. Isn’t it your will to receive and not receive an audience? As long as it’s not a decision swayed by others.”

The Emperor gently raised the corners of his eyes.

The Emperor, who finished the story with a light nod, sat down with the Empress on the throne in the banquet hall.

The Emperor, who waited for the banquet hall to become quiet, began his greetings.

“Thank you all for attending the banquet. Today’s banquet is to celebrate the Empress’s birthday and to make a very important and special announcement.”

A very important and special announcement?

The Emperor looked back at the Empress and smiled.

“I have invited so many people today because of an announcement that will have a big impact on the future of the Empire.”

The Empress smiled broadly and gestured to the Prince.

“Fred, come here.”

The Emperor’s eldest son, Frederick Hastings, walked towards the throne.

The Emperor and the Empress rose from the throne and laid their hands on their son’s shoulders.

It wasn’t hard to figure out what the announcement was.

“I am here today to nominate my eldest son, Frederick Hastings, as official heir to the throne.”

The room erupted into an uproar.

It had no choice but to do so.

No one didn’t knew that Frederick Hastings was going to be Crown Prince, but nobody thought they would make an announcement like this.

I asked quietly, stabbing Helios in the side.

“Did he say anything to you?”

“Not at all.”

“Then is this how you usually make announcements?”

“No, it’s the first time it’s ever been like this.”

Helios burst out laughing as if it was ridiculous.

And it seemed that Helios was not the only one who was perplexed.

Judging by the incredulous looks on everyone’s faces except the Emperor and Empress.

Surprisingly, Count Grenier, the Emperor’s aide, was the first to wake up among the people in shock.

As the Count, who was the only one with the right to approach the Emperor even in public, cautiously approached and tried to speak to him, the Emperor raised his right hand to cover his mouth.

“Let’s discuss the details at the political affairs meeting, and let’s enjoy the banquet.”

The Emperor gestured to the musicians as if he would not listen to anything they said.

The sound of music reverberated throughout the banquet hall.

The Emperor ignored Count Grenier, who stood blankly, and took the Empress’s hand and came out to the center of the floor.

As the two people held hands and posed, the grand music changed to a light waltz.

The bewildered people reluctantly applauded and responded to the two people skillfully stepping on the steps.

“So this is why you struck down Count Turner.”

Helios, who was watching the Emperor dance, raised the corners of his lips as if he knew now.

“Does the Imperial chief judge have the power to block the nomination of the Crown Prince?”

“He has no such authority, but he does have the power to determine the crown prince’s disqualifications.”

“What disqualifies a crown prince?”

When I asked quietly while squinting at the dancing Emperor, Helios also answered in a low voice so that no one could hear.

“The chief judge of the Imperial family has the authority to comprehensively evaluate the qualifications and political powers of the person to be appointed as heir to the throne, as well as the ancestry and ancestry of his birth mother, and submit a report to the nobility.”

“Why does the Imperial judge have that power?”

“Because they are the most impartial.”

Helios replied.

Now the puzzle has been put together.

Prince Frederick is now 14 years old, so we can’t judge his political ability yet.

But the fact that he left the Duke of Eaton could be a major weakness.

So it was clear that leaving the position of chief imperial judge unoccupied meant that the report would not be prepared.

“You’ve been meticulous in many ways.”

“Well. It must have been the reason for refusing to attend the audience with Grand Duchess Crawford.”

Helios smiled bitterly.

So while we were at the Viscount of Evelyn, they called in the nobles to put pressure on them and set things up.

I shook my head, thinking that the Empress must have been somewhat unsettled by Duke Eaton’s ouster.

Meanwhile, the Emperor and Empress had finished dancing and were greeting the crowd with applause.

“Now, who will dance next?”

The Emperor’s gaze came out and stopped at Helios.

Those who sensed his will steered aside and made a way.

It’s an atmosphere where you have to dance even if you don’t want to.

Afterwards, I sighed and said to Escal, who was holding my hand.

“Escal, wait here for a second…”

“Would you like to stay with me, Escal?”

Grand Duchess Crawford spoke sweetly and took Escal’s hand.

“I’ll keep an eye on Escal.”

“Thank you, Grand Duchess.”

Then I went out to the floor with Helios.

The second song was a fast polka.

Even the waltz was a daunting song for me, but it wasn’t difficult to follow as Helios’ lead was excellent.

Luckily, halfway through the song, everyone started dancing with their partners and the attention on us naturally faded.

After dancing properly, I left the floor and went to Escal.

“Escal, have you been waiting a long time?”

“No.”

Escal vigorously shook his head.

“Thank you for taking care of Escal.”

After thanking the Grand Duchess, I headed towards the corner of the banquet hall with Escal.

The banquet was like the eve of the storm, and it was full of tension.

‘I don’t think anything bad will happen.’ I said to myself, but… I don’t think we should have brought Escal. The invitation had said to bring children, but the only children at the banquet were the Emperor’s children and Escal.

I heard you had a private audience with the Marquis Melks…’

I wondered if he had called Escal to investigate the kidnapping case.

I scanned the ballroom just in case, but fortunately or unfortunately, Marquis Melks was nowhere to be seen.

“What are you thinking about, with that look on your face?”

Helios, who had been away for a while to bring a drink, handed me a cocktail glass and asked.

“It’s nothing.”

“I’ve got this, don’t worry.”

“You know what I’m worried about?”

“It’s obvious in your head.”

Helios playfully slapped my forehead.

“It’s not even fun, but I want to go back soon.”

“Me too.”

I agree with him and sip the cocktail.

It was after the third cocktail glass was emptied that the long and tedious dance time was over.

The Emperor, who stopped the musicians from playing, stood up with a glass of wine.

“To celebrate the Empress’s birthday, everyone raises a glass.”

“Congratulations. Her Majesty the Empress.”

“Congratulations on your birthday.”

As the Empress drank with a wide smile at the pouring congratulations, the people emptied their glasses one by one.

“You don’t drink.”

Helios, who emptied the first cup, took my fourth cup and poured it down his throat.

At that moment, the Empress, who put down the empty glass, opened her mouth.

“Now, while we take a moment to catch our breath, shall we check the gift you gave us?”

As soon as the words came out, the servants came with gift boxes and piled them up one by one near the throne.

‘This is how you show off.’

The intention is to show off the gift while also revealing who gave the gift.

Unsurprisingly, the Empress picked up the box on the top and untied the ribbon.

The first box contained a luxurious teacup.

“Thank you, Marquis of Kensington.”

“Happy birthday, Your Majesty.”

The Empress’s handmaiden, the Marquis of Kensington, bowed their head politely.

The Empress, who had entrusted the gift to the attendant, opened the other box.

The second box contained a statue of a small lion carved out of marble.

“Congratulations, Your Majesty.”

“Yes, Count Billoden.”

It was a very public and naked opening ceremony.

Each time a gift was unwrapped, people openly commented on them.

Those who brought cheap gifts didn’t even come forward to say congratulations.

It must be a gift prepared for each individual’s circumstances, but is there any need for this?

While I frowned at the blatant behavior, the Empress didn’t stop and opened the box.

“This… It’s a gift from Duke Anthemion.”

The Empress picked up a familiar gift box.

It was a gift we prepared.

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