It was a remark I expected too much, perhaps because I thought of all the cases. I waited for her to say something like please break up with him now. It would have been fine if she said it because she didn’t know my real existence.
“I was delighted. Because he’s a guy who doesn’t pay attention to anyone. I’ve been worrying him for nothing all this time.”
I couldn’t believe she said he wasn’t paying attention. Maybe she didn’t know her son too well. Valery was quite jealous and more affectionate. He did his best with all his heart, as much as he told me to use him.
I just listened to the empress with a little clenching of my hand. I knew this wasn’t the main topic, so I waited until the real main topic came out. There may be a reason why the empress didn’t use the Segbay mansion but the Chartero mansion.
It might have been to investigate me and let me know that I was on good terms with Chartero, or it might have been a simple decision. Fortunately, at least the Chartero family would be safer than Segbay.
“That’s why I’m feeling grateful to Lady Ariandel.”
There was a moment of silence. I raised my head slightly and met the empress’s eyes. I was a little surprised and tried to lower my gaze, but the empress’s eyes were finely bent. I honestly had no clue what she was thinking.
“Lady Ariandel must be wondering why I called you today.”
“…Actually, I am.”
Then the empress let out a low laugh. “Where should I start talking? For me, of course, I had a lot. In fact, I’m still wasting my time worrying about it.”
I looked up and looked at the empress as I listened with a nod.
“You can feel free to tell me. I will listen to whatever you say.”
“It may not be pleasant for Lady Ariandel. Is that okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
I tried to look as calm as possible.
The empress listened to me and remained silent for a long time. Rather, it seemed to be the empress, not me, who looked nervous. I didn’t know why she should be nervous when she had the upper hand over me by any means. To be honest, except for the emperor, isn’t she in a position where she can wield her power however she wants? While I was thinking about that, the empress’s lips finally opened.
I caught my breath at that voice. It was the same feeling I felt the day Valery called my name. No, there was no surprise. Even this was to be expected.”
“…Your Majesty. I…”
“I will never harm you. Because I can guess why Lady Carbella made that choice.”
That meant she knew more than I thought.
“The reason I couldn’t pretend I didn’t know is because of what I have to say from now on, so don’t be too surprised.”
But something was weird. The empress tried to reassure me as if she had read all my hidden expressions. However, that attitude of treating me as if she was defending me even though she knew my existence was definitely not normal.
I dared to deceive the empress, and when she called me ‘Lady Ariandel,’ I answered every time. Isn’t it normal for her to be angry? Isn’t it normal to be disgusted? I finally took off a layer of the mask.
“I don’t know why Your Majesty is saying that.”
“It’s okay to have doubts. The story I’m telling you now is from a long time before you even were born. It was when I was so young and was stupid back then.”
That seemed to be the story of Lucellai Rudbihi before she got revenge on her or when she began to take revenge. Or maybe before that. I still hadn’t figured out why it was heading in this direction, but I decided to listen to the empress.
My mother’s name came out of the empress’s lips. I couldn’t help but be more nervous than when my name was called.
“Luce was my childhood friend.”
“It might be unbelievable, but it’s true. It was like that when we didn’t know anything.”
When they didn’t know anything. I guessed that there was a lot of meaning behind those words. And today, the empress would tell that meaning.
I didn’t say anything, even when words like my mother’s nickname came out of the empress’s mouth. The empress didn’t seem to want an answer from the person who wanted to listen. Because she opened her mouth again.
“One day, Luce changed. I didn’t know why at first. So I also thought there was simply a misunderstanding. It wasn’t until later that I realized she didn’t want me to be an empress.”
That meant what the empress was saying now was a story before the original. I was confused. At the novel’s beginning, the mother I knew was full of anger. It was revenge and anger from the beginning.
“I couldn’t give up on His Majesty. Because I loved him, I thought Luce would understand. But it wasn’t like that. I thought Luce’s misunderstanding would be resolved even then.” The empress continued to talk.
The fact that she became the empress and gave birth to her first child, Delkian Elova Kashinev, and also the fact that her body weakened a lot. Even after that, she constantly tried to improve her relationship with my mother, but it only worsened.
She tried to stop my mother’s depravity over and over again. Then, when the empress gave up her relationship with my mother, she was pregnant with Valery Ahibara Kashinev.
And after that was the story I knew. It was the point where Valery, who was supposed to die, came back to life. But I couldn’t find any details. It was a story that hadn’t been written in the information given by Sir Shubart or the imperial history books or perhaps had been deleted.
It was something that I still couldn’t find. It felt so foreign to hear about my mother through someone else’s mouth, not from my mother or Sir Shubart. I felt as if I had crossed the forbidden line. But I couldn’t stop listening.
“My body didn’t recover. I couldn’t give up the child. I had to make a decision.”
“And then Duke Rudbihi reached out to help me. I didn’t believe it. Even when His Majesty’s trust in Duke Rudbihi was strong, I didn’t believe it. But there was no way. And according to His Majesty’s words, Duke Rudbihi could save the child and me too.”
Duke Rudbihi didn’t have the ability. I knew that for sure.
What the hell is this about? All I could guess was that my mother had the power of Rohana. Then my mother, blinded by revenge, saved the empress and Valery…?
“I know you won’t understand yet. Because I have been in your state for a long time.”
“…Yes. Actually, I don’t know what Your Majesty is talking about yet…”
The empress continued to speak again. To sum up, it was the right to use Rohana’s power. My mother did it herself.
“At first, I had hoped that my relationship with Luce could continue again. Stupidly, I thought she shared her power because she still thought of me.”
Then, around the age of seven, Valery fell seriously ill again and said that his life was in danger. Now he was healthy and big enough to think that fact was ridiculous, but Valery must have been very weak when he was a child.
“…I didn’t know anything. It might sound like an excuse, but it was the truth.”
I wondered what she was trying to talk about, so I thought she was having such a hard time talking.
“I thought it was Luce’s hand that Duke Rudbihi reached out once again. No, maybe I believed it like that. She wants to help me again. The desire to save my sick child… has settled in my heart.”
“…please keep talking.”
The empress asked me. “Do you know the power of Rohana?”
The clan’s name with special blood came from the empress’s lips. I nodded my head in surprise, wondering if she knew everything.
“I see. People said they have the mysterious power to cut their own life force and pass it on to others.”
I nodded at the empress’s words. I thought she maybe knew my ability as well.
“Do you know what happens when you use an ability big enough to save a person?”
However, what the empress started to say after that couldn’t be heard casually.