Evelina looked at Princess Elsius, who was walking closely next to Kaiden. The Dowager Empress, who was behind her, looked genuinely surprised as if she had just realized the situation. However, there was no way to know the real culprit just by looking at their face. However, in terms of circumstances, Princess Elsius was the most likely one.
“What’s all this? Why is there something like this on the ritual tools?”
She looked at Evelina as if she were confirming it.
“What a disgrace, Queen!”
The Dowager Empress was angry.
“How dare you do this to an imperial event! It’s crossing a boundary to defame the imperial family! How did you prepare for this?”
Evelina knew the heart of the Dowager Empress a little. If the Foundation Festival fails, she was done. However, the position of the emperor and the imperial family would become ridiculous.
The Dowager Empress was a very naive person. She was the one who wished the imperial family to be virtuous like her, and to not have even a blemish on their reputation.
There was no way she would have ruined the Foundation Festival, or the first official event of the emperor who ascended the throne. In the first place, Kaiden failed to kill the Dowager Empress because of her indifferent kindness to Kaiden when he was young. Of course it was given to all the princes.
On top of that, it was the Dowager Empress who opened the way for the emperor to hear out Kaiden when Kaiden returned at 15.
The Dowager Empress may know. Even if she and Kaiden were separated now anyway, Kaiden was a person who was loyal to her and who owed her. Their relationship would improve over time.
If so, did the Dowager Empress bother to do such a thing?
“I can’t believe I saw such a terrible insult to the imperial family in my lifetime…! Investigate it now! Find the person who did this right now! Ah…!”
“Oh my God, Her Majesty the Dowager Empress!”
“Call the palace doctor. Take care of grandmother.”
“Yes, Your Majesty!”
Those standing behind Kaiden took the fainted Dowager Empress out.
Evelina found it strange that Kayden was silently looking at her, so she looked at him too. She found this situation strange. She had something in mind, but he seemed rather calm.
She took a deep breath and looked around.
The banquet hall was splendidly decorated for the founding of the nation. Red tin, symbolizing the blood and efforts of our ancestors, was laid on the ground, and all embroidery was made of gold, reminiscent of blood and gold.
After all these ceremonies, they would go to Lake Heliben and float the emperor’s paper in the water. Then, the writing on the paper melts in water and wishes for a good year. It was such an event.
However, blood was sprayed on the tools to perform the ritual. It’s something that needs to be cleaned up. It wasn’t human blood but animal blood. Either way, it was a great insult to the imperial family.
Evelina saw Kaiden again. But he stood waiting for her to look around, and soon opened his mouth when her breath returned.
“Can you explain to me what this is about, Lina?”
“Oh my! Sister! No matter how much you want to get back at my brother! How can you do this?”
As Evelina’s lips opened, Princess Elsius jumped up and opened her mouth first.
“Is this revenge for Prince Ashes who died?”
“Right! The Marquis of Logias is a family that prayed to Prince Ashes like a dog! But aren’t you doing this out of resentment that my brother became emperor?”
Evelina was convinced by her words that the culprit of all this was Princess Elsius. If the Dowager Empress had done this, this would have come out of her mouth. When she went out in shock, she couldn’t be sure whether Evelina was punished properly or not.
If so, the Dowager Empress really fainted in shock at the unexpected turn of events. She really collapsed there.
Evelina looked at the Princess Elsius, rolling her head coldly.
“I told you so many times yesterday what my brother thought of the Foundation Festival…! Did you plan to do this from the beginning?”
“What do you mean?”
“This is why you couldn’t prepare the ritual tools until the day before, but I guess you pushed ahead with it! You didn’t intend to do it properly from the beginning!”
Evelina met eyes with a person who stood helplessly among the ministers in the distance and looked at her as if worried. He was the Marquis of Logias.
She could see how much the Marquis had suffered in the past. Because he was noticeably emaciated. Her adoptive father’s cheeks were thin, as if he had lost 5kg or more weight rapidly. On top of that, she couldn’t recognize him immediately because he seemed to have gotten smaller. Her adoptive father looked at Evelina and tried to say something.
When she saw the tears in his eyes, her heart cooled and her words popped out.
“You look excited, Princess.”
“Yes? Oh no! I beg your pardon! What an insult!”
Kaiden tried to say something, but Evelina opened her mouth and waited for a while.
“Why would I do this, I’m the queen.”
“Do you ask because you don’t know? Who here doesn’t know that the person who the Marquis of Logias pushed to ascend the throne was Prince Ashes!”
Evelina knew that there was no one on her side in this banquet hall. She couldn’t let her adoptive father, who would be on her side, open his mouth. If the emperor shunned her any more, her father wouldn’t be safe even after she died.
Evelina was a woman who had already died once. Death, of course, was frightening for her. But even after this life, there will be another life.
There was something more frightening than death for her to know. The tragic execution of the Marquis of Logias, who gave her unearned love in her life. It was more frightening than her death. She’d rather die.
She could have painted her room at her marquis’ house if she closed her eyes. All the objects in that room had a story, and were given to her by the Marquis couple. The memory of her being loved as if she was breathing was still in her heart.
“What was the reason why my brother was engaged to Her Majesty the Queen? Otherwise, you would be betrothed to Prince Ashes!”
“I don’t know what that has to do with anything. Prince Ashes is already dead, and I wasn’t that close to him.”
“Oh! Do you think I don’t know?”
Princess Elsius froze as Kaiden, who was looking at her indifferently, froze as their eyes met, and then she shouted.
“You two! You guys exchanged letters!”
“Oh, yes, I did. But if you exchange letters, does it seem like that?”
“Isn’t that obvious? Who’s exchanging letters without self-interest?”
“Then I have an interest in everyone here. I wrote and sent the invitation letter to the Foundation Festival myself, and I checked whether I would attend and received a reply.”
“What nonsense is that!”
“If Prince Ashes was willing to get engaged with me, why would he have delayed it?”
Evelina sighed and said as she saw Princess Elsius’ eyes open round.
“Nobles get engaged even at the age of five. But I didn’t have a fiance until I was 18. I could have gotten engaged sooner if Prince Ashes wanted me to develop a different relationship. Still, there was a delay.”
“Wait a minute, sister…!”
“There is no need for that. Why would he marry the daughter of his vassal? He didn’t need a marriage.”
“No, my sister…!”
Evelina kept cutting off what Elsius was saying and saying what she had to say.
“If he really wanted a different relationship with me, he would have opposed it when I was getting married to Kaiden. But the prince did not object to the engagement. Am I wrong, Kaiden?”
“No, the Queen is right.”
When Kaiden opened her mouth, Princess Elsius faltered. Then she said again.
“How am I supposed to know what’s going on? Isn’t it because of her relationship with another man the reason that my sister didn’t have her first night out with older brother?”
“Maybe Prince Ashes… Argh!”
At the words that crossed the line, Kaiden pointed at Elsius’ neck with a drawn sword before he said.
“Is that your will?”
“Oh, no! A slip of the tongue! Ji, The foundation is more than my life now. It’s…!”
Princess Elsius trembled, but thought this was her chance. She tried to humiliate Queen Evelina and alienate her ministers to make her unable to establish a position. Then eventually she’ll bow under her feet. The strict Dowager Empress could not have accepted Evelina, who insulted the imperial family. Because she was a person who regarded the prestige of the imperial family as her life.
Princess Elsius knew that even if her life was threatened now, Kaiden could not kill her. If he were going to kill her, he would have killed her the first time she bothered him. She was useful now, so he’ll keep her alive.
“Sister! Tell us! Hey, if you don’t have a relationship with Prince Ashes, what’s the reason for this?”
“I think I proved enough that I had nothing to do with Prince Ashes. Does the princess have no common sense?”
Elsius felt numb and faint, but shouted because she thought Kaiden would really forget her value and kill her if she backed away.
“When you enter the palace as a queen, you have a physical examination. If I had spent the night with someone, it would have been revealed then.”
“No, if you manipulate it…!”
“If you don’t believe me, I’ll do the test again since I haven’t slept with anyone yet. It’s not hard.”
Evelina stared at her coldly and said,
“Ianathas. Ready yet?”
Ianathas, who had disappeared before they knew it, dragged someone and came in through the door.
“Wow! Let me go! It hurts!”
Ianathas dragged the brown-haired servant into the banquet hall. Several bloodstains remained on the servant’s clothes that were thrown to the floor with a loud “Bang!”
Of course, the bloodstains were fake, and all this was done by Evelina with Ianathas to put pressure on Princess Elsius. There is no way that a princess could remember all of her employees. If so, she will be embarrassed if she threw only the blood-stained servant.
“Princess Elsius. She accused me, as if she knew everything as soon as she arrived at the banquet hall.”
“Isn’t that strange? As soon as she entered the banquet hall, she said it as if she was sure I did it.”
Evelina interrupted her and said in a cool voice.
“Didn’t you say that because you wanted me to be the criminal?”