this chapter is brought to you by mio
as translator, proofreader and editor!
The emperor greeted us upon our arrival at the imperial palace. To tell the truth, I had actually already told him in advance last night that we’d be visiting him today. I also further explained how we would need to have a discussion on what was making the capital so chaotic recently.
If I looked at it from his perspective, there was no reason for him to refuse. Above all, he probably already knew that Lecht would be by my side too. So in the end, he’d still greet me, even if it was just out of mere curiosity.
“Just how long has it been since the Grand Duke has last visited the imperial palace?” Naturally, he was also the most sensitive to Lecht’s mood as well.
“I’m relieved to see that you look healthy. Everyone, please sit.”
I could see that the table he prepared for us was a round table, as if he had been conscious of overcomplicating the situation by deciding who would sit at the head of the table.
The five of us, who sat on the opposite side of the emperor. This included the High Priest of the Solar religion. However, contrary to the emperor’s expectations, Lecht ended up taking a seat that was one away from the centre instead of the centre seat. Although his expression afterward seemed to convey that he was already used to me taking the middle seat, the emperor looked a bit flustered.
Though of course, that expression soon vanished from his face and was replaced with a smile that was directed at me. “I wasn’t aware that the Princess was this familiar with the Grand Duke. Hoho.”
Lecht opened his mouth before I could reply, “She’s the reason I founded this empire.”
The eyes of the emperor, who was aware of Lecht’s real identity, widened suddenly. “So it was actually true that the Grand Duke stayed here in order to wait for someone…” Not able to hide his face filled with regret, he added, “If I had known it was Princess Darchez in advance, then…”
“Furthermore, I didn’t know that the Princess was this close to Linden.”
The expression of Linden, who had received the emperor’s attention, was extremely complicated. Just how long had it been since he had last sat face to face with the emperor? It was probably his first time ever since he last left the imperial palace. Naturally, the gaze that the emperor directed toward Linden wasn’t exactly comfortable either.
“It’s because we get along well with each other.” I said lightly, knowing that Linden wouldn’t bother to say anything.
Nodding his head, the emperor asked Lecht, “Seeing as how we’re talking about the story of how this empire was founded, I’m guessing this child knows about it all already.”
“There was no reason for him not to know.”
“Haa, gosh.” The emperor, who couldn’t have possibly been unaware of what Lecht’s words meant, sighed slightly.
His gaze swept over Linden and I, and even Lydia as well. “The Grand Duke has completely ruined the life that I’ve built up so far.”
He deserved to feel that way. He discarded me like a card in order to maintain his relationship with the Solar religion. He even humiliated me by dissolving my engagement in such a high profile way.
However, it turned out that I was the reason why Lecht had originally decided to stay in the human realm. What’s more was that the emperor now knew that Linden was aware of the whole truth about Grand Duke Arvis, which was a discussion that was only had between the former emperor and his heir.
So with such a variety of significant issues, the emperor had no choice but to feel despondent.
No, why are all of you humans calling me a princess? I’ve already given up that title. Although I wanted to point that out, there were more important things to discuss so I let it go for the moment.
“Why did you want to see me in such a hurry?”
“You must’ve heard about the recent rumours running rampant throughout the capital these days.”
“Is it the talk about the plague?”
The emperor’s gaze landed on the High Priest of the Solar religion. Although they were only talking about the ‘plague’, the recent rumours had also included talk of the Solar religion’s saintess.
“Regardless, it seemed to be a rather grave issue, so we decided to come and find you all together.”
“Do you know something?”
“This epidemic is caused by a poison called pestis.”
“It’s the first time I’ve heard of such a poison before.”
“It’s a lethal poison that was originally from the demonic realm.”
The emperor’s brow twitched slightly. “Is that true?”
Lecht nodded at the emperor’s startled remark.
“It was mixed into waterways that were used by a small number of people. The results of the investigation show that there were no traces of someone forcibly tampering with the facility.”
“Are you saying that someone has intentionally spread this epidemic?”
“However, there’s also a rumour saying that I started it. Of course, it’s obviously a false accusation. The symptoms of pestis show up almost immediately, so I wouldn’t have had time to spread it. Anyone who was at the night market can testify for me about that.”
At that point in time, I had spent all day being encircled by countless numbers of people, and of course, Lecht and Linden as well.
“It was strange, so after further investigation, it was revealed that only one person had been behind the malicious rumours that had been spreading about me.”
“Was he trying to spread the poison so he could frame you, Princess? Ha. What a troublesome bastard.”
“Yes, but that’s the problem.”
I relayed the explanation Tanma had told me to the emperor who had asked. Naturally, about flashing from the east and then to the west in an instant. All the way to the details about his unique appearance and the scent of flowers that always lingered behind them.
“How could he show up in two completely different places at the same time?”
“It would be one of the two. Either he’s an extremely talented mage, or he’s a demon.”
“I’ve re-checked it several times, but that guy isn’t someone who’s obtained a mage’s licence either.” Linden added an explanation to my words. A mage like that would’ve had some sort of record somewhere. But there was nothing.
“So there was only one conclusion that we could come to.”
A demon. The emperor understood without me having to spit it out.
The emperor thought for a moment before his gaze moved to Lecht. “Grand Duke.”
“He isn’t someone who has crossed over with my permission.”
The emperor’s face darkened at Lecht’s firmness, perhaps because he desired an explanation from Lecht.
“…Grand Duke, don’t you know that summoning demons is forbidden throughout the entire continent?” As an emperor, he was also aware of the regulations that were put into place after the war between the demons and humans. Although the general public may forget, he as an emperor, could not.
“I’m saying that someone broke it.”
The emperor eventually let out a deep sigh. “This isn’t a case that will end with a simple epidemic.”
“I have more to say regarding him.” I added at his worried murmur.
“Tell me.” He spoke in a voice that didn’t seem to want to hear anything else. He must have had a hunch at this moment that anything I’d say would only make the situation even more severe.
“This incident is also related to when I had my engagement broken off.”
“Princess, that… wait, you’re saying that the demon and the forbidden magic is also related to that attempted poisoning incident?”
“Yes. And do you remember the tea party that Her Majesty the Empress hosted last year? It ended chaotically with an incident of theft, didn’t it?”
“I remember. But back then, the results of the search were clearly…” The emperor stopped talking after a while and looked at me, since I had ended up as the criminal in that story.
“Yes, that’s also related to this situation. There are also many other cases apart from these ones.”
“Princess. I don’t quite understand how to relate those cases to this.” The emperor asked me in an extremely solemn manner, as if he thought that I was taking this opportunity to restore my reputation by weaving irrelevant matters into it.
Since I had expected at least this level of opposition, I laughed and said, “I stayed quiet until now, since I wasn’t able to point out who the real culprit was, even if I myself knew that it was only a false accusation.”
“So you’re finally setting things straight now that the real culprit has shown themselves?”
The emperor’s blue eyes were fixed on me for a long time. It was a deep gaze that seemed to be able to see through me. I had nothing to hide, nor did I have anything for me to be conscious of, so I received his stare head on.
“Then if that’s the case… both I, and many other people have wronged you too much.”
“But Princess. As you can see, the culprit is a demon. He’s also someone who has escaped from the Grand Duke’s grasps. It isn’t clear whether we can catch him.”
In other words, ‘I’m sorry, but it’ll be hard to solve this case’.
Obviously, this wasn’t the problem. Since I knew who the culprit was.
“Your Majesty.” I called out to him as I took a deep breath in. Pointing out the saintess—who was loved by everyone—as the culprit was something that I absolutely had to do. To top that off, we had a lot of bad blood between the two of us, so regardless of how much evidence I gathered, it was still a dangerous act. “The truth is…”
It was when I was cautiously opening my mouth.
“Your Majesty, they’re all lies!”
“You can’t go in–”
“You seem to have a lot to say when I’ve already given her permission to enter!”
The door of the sitting room suddenly swung open violently as Olivia, Ziken, and the guards that were standing guard at the door rushed in.
“Your Majesty, it’s not true! I’ve never done something like that in my life!” Olivia collapsed at the emperor’s feet and grabbed onto the emperor’s chair.
“Saintess Olivia? Just what are you doing right now…”
“Hic hic… It’s not true, you can’t believe that woman’s words…!”
Even the emperor cast a look of absurdity down at Olivia, who had come in rudely without permission and was now shedding tears.
Misinterpreting the silence, Olivia cried out tearfully, “How could I have done such a terrible thing? Hic…!”
“That’s right, that woman is trying to frame Livi. You know just how kind and tender-hearted Livi is too, right Father?!”
“Hic hic… I really didn’t do anything bad…”
“How could a child like that possibly sign a contract with a demon?! How does that even make any sense?!”
…Damn. I hadn’t even started tattling on them, yet they suddenly barged in, piled on a heap of straw, set fire to it, and then blew themselves up to self-destruct? It was so absurd that I couldn’t even find the words to respond.
The emperor’s cold voice that was dripping with frost filled the drawing room as he looked at them with a sour expression on his face. “What… did you just say?”
I was a bit worried that he’d misunderstand me driving Olivia into a corner as a result of the personal feud we have with each other.
“I asked you what you just said!”
Seems like it was a useless worry though?
I couldn’t stand the urge from the corners of my mouth to curl up, so I resorted to covering my mouth with the teacup in front of me.
Today’s bitter black tea almost tasted as sweet as honey.
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pls do not share this anywhere or u will always stub ur toe when u walk past a door frame !! this translation has been stolen from mioscorner.com, pls only read there i’m begging u :kneels:
The main part of my role afterwards was merely to watch from the sidelines.
“That’s why it’s slander– Father…?” Ziken finally seemed to sense that there was something wrong with the emperor’s expression.
He looked at the emperor, and then at us with a belatedly flustered look on his face. Me, who was drinking tea with an emotionless face, and Lecht, who was handing me a handkerchief. As well as the dumbfounded expressions on the rest of the others.
“W-Wait… what’s going on…”
In any case, it was the appearance of having run only believing in Olivia’s words… I guess this would probably be the time to use the expression, ‘blinded by love’.
“Crown Prince.” He had clearly only said his title, but it was so overbearing that even I, who was unrelated to this, got goosebumps. As expected, the emperor was still an emperor in the end.
In my head, I had thought he was a little insignificant since he had been the emperor of an empire that had been overthrown by Lecht in the end… But even so, isn’t he still the man who holds the most power in the human realm?
“Did you just say that the saintess has dipped her hands into forbidden magic?”
It was obvious why the emperor had called Ziken ‘Crown Prince’ instead of his first name. In other words, it was telling him to take responsibility for making such remarks that couldn’t possibly be ignored at such a gathering of important figures.
‘In any case, he’s already upset about the fact that Linden knows everything about Lecht that only emperors are meant to know, but to think that such a remark has now come out of the crown prince’s mouth too…’
I’m sure the emperor is going out of his mind right now.
“Your Majesty, it’s because of the incredulous rumours that have been circulating the capital recently.”
Was it because he had already been the crown prince for a long time? Ziken’s mind turned quickly while he stood in front of the emperor. He talked calmly, as if he hadn’t just forcibly entered the room.
Olivia also shut her mouth, as if she had finally noticed the atmosphere. I even had the impression that I could hear her eyes darting to and fro even from where I was.
“I said those words in order to inform you not to believe such rumours because they’re not to be trusted.”
“Did you rudely enter a place where guests had gathered just to say that?”
“I’m not the one you should be bowing your head to in this place right now.”
It might have been a little different if the emperor was alone in his office right now. But now, we were discussing a major event with the emperor as his guests. It was embarrassing for the emperor to do this to the crown prince in such a place, and at the same time, it revealed the crown prince’s weakness and allowed it to be seized.
He had to apologise right away in order to settle the matter immediately. The problem was that the people Ziken had to bow his head to included both Linden and I; people who he had looked down in contempt at for his whole life.
‘There’s no way that brat can accept that.’
I happened to make eye contact with Ziken as I was setting my teacup down. I smiled readily. Ziken’s face crumpled at my smile. Normally, such blatant displeasure from him would’ve made me feel bad as well.
But that wasn’t the case at all right now. There was no reason for me to feel bad when you just went ahead and self-destructed like that.
I was able to smile even wider with an extremely relieved and happy heart.
crown prince ziken is seriously a pig teammate… like he actually unintentionally just straight up ruins all of olivia’s plans LMAOOO
one thing i don’t like abt this author’s writing style though is just their tendency to add huge chunks of dialogue randomly into the story,,,