Home Post 1178-chapter-136


“Are you alright?”

“Of course. I’m fine.”


Iellie blurred her words without realizing it.

Even if she was the victim, from the Empress’s perspective, it wasn’t like that. How would she feel about being ignored by her husband when he treated other women kindly?

“You don’t need to look at me with such sorry. If anything, I’m the one who should feel sorry to the Duchess.”

The Empress shrugged her shoulders and let out a small laugh. In reality, she didn’t feel any jealousy towards Iellie. Rather, she felt sorry for the Emperor. He was only concerned with satisfying his own desires, despite occupying the position of the Empire’s father.

“Receiving affection from such a man isn’t exactly a pleasant thing.”

Iellie rolled her eyes with a troubled face. It wasn’t that she didn’t agree with the Empress’s words, yet she felt hesitant to speak so openly.

Still, the Empress had only a smile on her face.

“It’s just that my position is a little frustrating.”

“Well, that’s… “

“Being forced to become such a man’s wife and bear the weight of being the Empress is a heavy burden.”

As the Empress lightly swirled the drink in her hand, the sweet scent slowly wafted through the air.

“And a man like that is the father of this empire.”

After uttering those words, she raised her gaze slightly. Her eyes, fixed on the stars, were shaking slightly.


When Iellie cautiously approached her, the Empress looked at her with a gentle face.

“What should I say to you?

“No, you don’t need to say anything.”

The Empress raised her glass to her lips. Leaning on the railing, she smiled with her eyes curled.

“It’s despicable to see victims tearing each other apart while we can’t even attack the perpetrator, isn’t it?”


“I am well aware that this is not the Duchess’ fault.”

The Empress’s voice was firm. Resting her glass on the railing, she buried her head between her arms as she went on.

“It’s just that sometimes I can’t help but wonder.”

Her voice sounded muffled, filled with complex emotions that weighed heavily on her heart.

“What would it have been like if I hadn’t entered into this marriage… I find myself thinking about that.”


Iellie remained silent as she couldn’t quite fathom her feelings. After a moment of hesitation, the Empress raised her head. Her smiling face towards Iellie looked sad.

“I’m sorry. I rambled on about unnecessary things.”

“No, Your Majesty.”

Iellie shook her head. Gathering her courage, she cautiously spoke to the Empress.

“Shall we go back to the hall?”

“Go ahead; I’ll stay here a bit longer to enjoy the breeze.”

“But, still…”

Although she called out to her, the Empress only offered a wry smile. After she waved her hand, the Empress then turned away. Her figure leaning on the railing appeared frail.

Eventually, Iellie turned around alone.


* * *


With the Imperial Family’s visit to the north, this banquet itself became a thorn in their sides. Count Laurent’s sensitive expression swept over Iellie, who was smiling.

“…How dare she humiliate our family as a mere daughter of a Southern Viscount?”

There had been a considerable history of discord between Count Laurent’s family and Iellie. Lady Laurent, who had shown interest in Zachary, the Countess’ involvement in the oyster farming business, and more, had all contributed to the tensions.

‘The former Duchess was my younger sister!’

Nevertheless, Count Laurent was still brimming with dissatisfaction.

In this world, there were far more people who shifted the blame onto others rather than admitting their own faults, and she was no exception.

‘Instead of showing respect for the Duchy’s maternal family, she’s displaying such arrogance!’

Having long forgotten the warning he received from Zachary in the past, Count Laurent struggled to contain his boiling anger. It seemed that this resentment wouldn’t subside unless he somehow undermined Iellie.

‘… That’s right. How dare a mere Southern lady claim the position of the mistress of Hessenweitz?’

The Count, having climbed the social ladder himself by marrying off his younger sister to the former Duke, thought so. In the midst of his thoughts, Count Laurent’s eyes gleamed sharply as though a good idea had occurred to him.

‘The Duchess is not on good terms with His Majesty, the Emperor. In that case…’

It was well-known that the Duchess had rejected the Emperor’s advances, despite his feelings for her.

The method that the Count came up with was a way to both lift the Emperor’s mood in front of him and alleviate some of the grudges against the Duchess. One might say it was killing two birds with one stone.

“Greetings, Duchess.”

“…Count Laurent?”

As Count Laurent took a confident step towards her, Iellie looked at him with a puzzled face.

“I heard you had a wedding. Congratulations.”

“Ah, thank you.”

Iellie nodded her head. There was no need to set a specific time for congratulating a wedding.

And then.

“I would like to dedicate a poem in celebration.”


What was this sudden proposal? If it were someone else making the suggestion, she might have taken it as a gesture of goodwill, though coming from the Count, it left her feeling perplexed. Still, she reluctantly accepted the offer.



After clearing his throat a couple of times, the Count began to speak. She stared at him intently.



[ On a cliff bloomed a single flower, swaying in the wind.

As if pleading to be plucked.

The valiant warrior, protector of the people, was intoxicated by the flower’s beauty.

The warrior laid down his sword and crawled up the cliff.

The warrior finally obtained the flower in his hands.

A beautiful flower, taken from the warrior’s grip, snatched the sword.

The warrior who laid down his sword was no longer a warrior.

A happy youth and a beautiful flower remained.

They lived happily ever after. ]



Listening to the poem, Iellie narrowed her eyes. The verses recited by the Count were subtly mocking her.

To grasp his true intention, she needed to understand the context behind the creation of this poem.

‘…Was it a satire from the Northmen?’

It was a poem related to Emperor Alexander, among the past emperors of the Lippenberg family.

Emperor Alexander had married the beautiful commoner, Rhiella, as his Empress despite her gypsy origins. He was notorious for being blinded by beauty and neglecting his duties. In this poem, the warrior was replaced by the Emperor, and the flower by Rhiella.

‘How could a powerless woman of common birth possibly refuse the proposal of an emperor?’

Iellie thought cynically. She didn’t appreciate the idea of treating powerless women as villains.

‘Though I never thought he would be quite transparent in trying to undermine me.’

She stared at the Count with a cool gaze. It seemed that he had wanted to associate the warrior with Zachary and the flower with Iellie. Perhaps he thought she wouldn’t catch on to his intended meaning.

“Quite an interesting poem.”

With a slight lift of her lips, she opened her mouth as the Count looked at her with a smile.

“Ah, I’m glad you liked the poem, Duchess!”

Thinking that she hadn’t caught onto his mockery, he smiled broadly.

“Since you’ve shared such a lovely poem, let me repay you by telling a fairy tale.”

“I am very much looking forward to the fairy tale the Duchess will share.”

With his expression brightened, he faced her with an eager look as she began her story in a gentle voice.

“Once upon a time, there lived a skilled craftsman.”