Author: Byuon

“I heard that the Duke of Anthemion sent soldiers to escort him, but the Duke of Eaton had so many subordinates that they were almost wiped out. Thank you, though it is late.

The Marquis Hallstein spoke skillfully.

A man who has survived decades in this harsh social world.

It was a reminder that he’d been reprimanded by the Emperor for using private soldiers, and a reminder that the Duke of Eton had a much larger private army.

The Emperor, realizing the true meaning of the Marquis Hallstein, said, ignoring the matter.

“Baron really helped a lot of people.”

Baron Hazel bowed his head once more.

“As a vassal of His Majesty, that was what we should have done.”

“And it must have been something only the Baron could do. Anyway, it’s really nice to meet someone I haven’t seen in a long time.”

The Emperor smiled broadly.

“If Baron was at the scene, I suppose he would have seen what happened?”

It was again the Empress who asked the question.

Baron Hazel nodded and she asked again.

“Are there really any traces of children in that mine?”

“I haven’t been inside the mines, so I can’t be sure, but I’ve heard that it is.”

“It’s not about what you’ve heard, but whether such a fact really happened—”

“Your Majesty, with all due respect, but I will tell you what I have to say.”

It was Count Turner who interrupted the Empress.

“If Your Majesty the Empress believes that the Duke of Eaton’s investigation process has been unclear, you may suspend the punishment imposed on the Duke of Eaton and reconsider the case from the beginning.”

Count Turner rarely spoke except in public positions, but now that the Duke of Eton’s affairs had forced him to abdicate his position and leave the islands, he had no hesitation.

“Of course, if the results of the re-investigation are the same as the first time, the responsibility for that will increase, but I think we should look at it again if Your Majesty the Empress wants.”

“It’s good to keep in mind that if the outcome doesn’t change, the nobility may ask you to re-confidence.”

Grand Duchess Crawford spoke up.

The Emperor looked at the Empress under the rushing pressure. She was only biting her lips with her pale face.

The re-confidence of the nobility was a procedure in which the Empress carefully checked whether the Empress was qualified as the Empress and announced her opinion to the Emperor.

Of course, the aristocrats had no real power, as the final decision rested with the emperor.

However, the fact that the re-confidence discussion takes place itself is a matter of breaking the Empress’s reputation.

If the results were not good, it was unclear whether the indecisive Emperor would ignore the nobles and protect the Empress.

Ironically, the fact that many of the nobles had connections to the Duke of Eton was also a major risk for the Empress.

From their point of view, they would be betraying the Duke of Eton, and the Empress’s eyes would be on them.

Moreover, it would be even more dangerous if the Empress’s eldest son was appointed as the heir to the throne, so there was a high probability of bringing down the two of them.

After completing the calculation in a short time, the Empress struggled to open her mouth.

“I didn’t mean it that way. I hope you don’t misrepresent it.”

“Come on, that’s a lot of trouble on a good day, so let’s stop talking and have a toast together.”

The Emperor struggled to change the topic and raised the glass.

The attendants went around the banquet hall diligently distributing cocktail glasses.

I watched the Empress’s embarrassed face and slurped my fourth cocktail down my throat.

The taste was very sweet.

 

*****

 

The banquet held to celebrate the Empress’s birthday lost its original purpose and turned into a drinking party.

I took hold of my dizzy mind and politely declined the drinks people offer.

‘I don’t know what nonsense I’ll say if I get more drunk, so I have to restrain myself.’

Even so, I’m going to be choked to death by people trying to pick on me, and if I make a mistake, I’ll be cursed over and over again.

Rubbing my drunken face and exhaling hot breath, Helios lightly placed his hand on my cheek.

“Do you want me to get you some cold water?”

“Please.”

“Wait for a moment.”

While Helios was away to bring water, I sat down on the sofa with Escal.

“Ugh, I’m dying.”

“Are you okay?”

“Huh? Mom is fine. Isn’t it hard for you, Escal?”

“A little bit.”

Escal whispered softly.

It must be difficult because the smell of perfume and the smell of alcohol is terrible, and he’d been reprimanded by the Empress.

I wanted it to end quickly, but looking at it, it didn’t seem like it would end easily.

‘My feet hurt, my head hurts, and I’m going to die.’

Because of the high heels, I secretly took off my shoes and folded and stretched my sore leg.

“Ah!”

A man passing in front of me trips over my leg and spills the drink in his hand onto my dress.

“Ah!”

“Oh, no. Sorry about that. Are you okay?”

The pink dress was drenched with alcohol and dyed dark.

The words “Do you look okay?” rose to my throat, but I waved them away, realizing he was tripped because of my leg.

“Uh, yeah. I’m fine, you’re…”

The moment I raised my head to ask if he was okay, I was speechless.

“…….”

The man was handsome enough to rival Helios. But that wasn’t why I was speechless.

… Where did I see it?

The man’s face was very familiar. An unpleasant sensation of recognition coursed through my body.

“Lady?”

Who is this man? I think I might remember something…

“Lena.”

At that moment, I was suddenly awakened by the voice of Helios calling me.

The man who looked at him and me alternately whispered with a strange smile.

“I’m sorry, but I have to go. I will pay the price for ruining the dress the next time we meet.”

“There—.”

The man quickly left the place.

Helios, who came with water, asked me with sullen eyes.

“What’s up?”

“I just got bumped.”

“You bumped into him and he walked away, what kind of rude man is that?”

“He tripped because of my leg. Act like you don’t see it.”

I grabbed Helios, sat him down, and emptied the glass of water he had brought.

The cold water made me feel a little better.

“Do you want to leave first?”

“You know I shouldn’t.”

I grumbled and shook my head.

He’s the kind of guy who would leave without a care in the world if I asked him to.

I sigh as I think about when this boring banquet will end.

“Grandfather!”

Escal raised his voice and jumped up from his seat.

Baron Hazel, who had been captured by the Emperor, came over here with a friendly smile.

“How are you, Escal?”

“I’m good. What about you, grandfather?”

“I’m fine too.”

Not like a shy child, Escal treated Baron Hazel with a friendly attitude.

“What about Tia? How is Tia?”

“She’s good.”

“Is Tia all better?”

“Thanks to Escal, she’s cured.”

At Baron Hazel’s words, Escal’s face widened.

“Where is Tia?”

“With the Doctor Grandpa.”

“Ah…”

As if expecting to see Tia, Escal soon became gloomy.

“Tia also wanted to see Escal.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I’ll bring her over when I get a chance.”

“Yes.”

Helios said while stroking Escal, who nodded in regret.

“Thank you so much for coming today, Baron.”

“No. Thanks to the help of the Duke, my granddaughter has become much healthier, so I should say thank you.”

“It was the natural reward we should give to the person who saved Escal.”

“If it weren’t for me, Escal would have been fine.”

Baron Hazel looked at Escal and smiled.

Then, looking at the Emperor with a glance, his complexion hardened.

“It’s nice to be back at the Imperial Palace after a long absence, but Your Majesty has changed a lot.”

“I didn’t know that the Baron was Your Majesty’s lifesaver.”

“It’s all a thing of the past. Even then, he was weak, but he still had a pulpit.”

“I wish people would stay the same, but that’s difficult.”

Helios smiled bitterly and said to the Baron again.

“How long do you plan to stay in the Imperial capital?”

“I will be back tomorrow morning.”

“Are you going to stay in Daleswood?”

“I think Tia’s body has improved a lot, so I want to go out to the village. That child has to gradually get an education and learn how to get along with people.”

Is Tiaris two years younger than Escal?

I asked the Baron, groping through my hazy memories.

“Have you decided on a place to live?”

“We are still looking.”

“I see.”

Considering Baron Hazel’s situation, it’s not the location that’s the problem, but the money.

If you sell the Magic Stones Helios gave you, you can get a small house, but he’s not that resourceful.

“Then why don’t you stay in the Duke’s residence until you find a place to live?”

“Yes?”

Baron Hazel looked at me with a bewildered look.

“Actually, one of the Duke of Eaton’s men, the one who kidnapped Escal, has gone missing.”

“……”

“Well, there have been some suspicious things going on in the Isles lately, and I’ve been looking into it, and I think it might be him.”

Baron Hazel’s forehead narrowed sharply.

“It sounds like he’s seeking revenge for what happened to his master, and I’m afraid you’re going to get caught up in it.”

“What kind of guy is it?”

“Harriet Tuffman. I did a little research on him, but his skills weren’t normal.”

Helios helped me.

“I know that the Baron has excellent swordsmanship, but since you won’t be able to stay with your granddaughter 24 hours a day, wouldn’t it be safe to stay at the Duke’s mansion until we catch him?”

I persuaded the Baron with a twinkle in my eye.

Baron Hazel, who had been contemplating for a while, spoke with difficulty.

“Let me think it over, and then I’ll tell you.”

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