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Amelia’s mouth dropped open in shock. Lucy didn’t even know that Amelia knew how to open the secret safe in the imperial palace.
The secret is known only by her and her mother.
“H-How did you know I know how to open…….”
“If you do that, I’ll show you where the treasure of Your Highness is.”
‘Would you listen?’ asked Nicole. Amelia’s face turned white as she looked at him.
✦ ✦ ✦
He returned late because of various things, and nobody seemed to care about him. At least Michael had assigned attendants who were skilled in the art of nagging.
‘Is this because they don’t care about me anymore?’
Phil experienced a rising heat in his stomach. The thought that the evidence of the affair, which dared not be related to the imperial family, had deceived the emperor and himself made him feel sick to his stomach.
Martin Caesar was not even an aristocrat.
Like Michael, he was said to be an illegitimate child between the noble and the maid. When he thought about the fact that he had always respected such an illegitimate son because he was his older brother, his blood seemed to well up.
Phil ordered them to be brought to the imperial palace to show them at the imperial banquet. Even though Phil was deprived of all of the privileges that came with being the prince, Joel and his entourage were granted permission to freely enter and exit the palace in their capacity as the third empress.
So Martin Caésar could be brought in as someone they referred to as a new attendant.
Apparently drugged for quite some time, Martin Caesar was distraught. Joel, who couldn’t even move his body right, attached a doctor to him and made him walk.
‘Hahaha….I can’t wait to see what kind of expression Michael will make!’
In that scenario, the authority of the emperor might crumble, but Michael’s transgressions will become known to everyone. The emperor would not be able to handle this quietly, so he would try to regain his power by punishing Michael, the First Empress, and her family.
“Prince. Would he want to back off easily? If he finds out about this, he might revolt.”
Since Joel could no longer call Michael the prince, he just referred to him as “him.” If you bring up Michael’s name, they can never be sure where the story will break, so it was safer to do it this way.
When Phil heard the word “revolt,” he frowned.
It was reported that Michael had attracted half of the capital’s generals to his side, so he already knew.
“What do you mean? If his secret gets out, even that power won’t help him. Who supports fakes?”
Joel hid his frustration and looked at Phil.
“Even if the evidence is clear, it will take time to prove it. Between now and then, he might start a revolt. So, to get him to fight less, we must also bring the knights into the imperial palace.”
Even though Joel had a good point, Phil had already lost his position as a prince. Even though the 3rd Empress had soldiers, compared to Michael’s knights, their number was laughably small. He lost power.
“What do you think we should do? Aren’t all of my knights sent out of the imperial palace?”
They were beholden to the duchy of Phil’s maternal grandfather. It was thanks to his maternal grandfather, who agreed to take care of Phil until he was reinstated.
“Isn’t Prince Giel here?”
Joel’s words made Phil’s wrinkles look even worse.
“Giel? If he did, wouldn’t he take the ball? Can not be done! No! I’d rather call my mother’s soldier.”
“They won’t be alone. You know how great his knights are?”
While Phil and Joel were arguing, Michael’s spy was thinking. Because Michael, who he knew, was hiding such a big secret.
He should have told Michael about this right away, but when he found out about it, even he was shocked.
He was the second son of a count. Even though he isn’t as powerful as the concubine of the first empress, he is still from a noble family. But was he an illegitimate child?
If so, in terms of status, Michael was in a lower position than him in terms of status. He couldn’t help but ponder what it would take to be loyal to someone like that.
When he thinks about kneeling down on an illegitimate child and calling him to deliver the order…… He got so dizzy that he couldn’t even be mad.
‘But, Michael… … If His Highness falls, my true identity may be discovered.’
He was worried about one thing. Like Michael, he pondered the possibility that his espionage would be uncovered and that he would go down with Michael.
His family had always been on Phil’s side, but he was working as a spy for Michael and didn’t think Phil should be emperor because of his vile behaviour.
He believed that if Michael were to fall and his allies were taken captive and tortured……Then something would be revealed about him.
Phil obviously would never forgive him. Also his own family.
‘I need to tell His Highness Michael as well!’
After giving it a lot of thought, he came to a conclusion, and after taking a few steps back, he watched Phil and Joel continue to argue with each other. He told the other aides he had to go to the toilet quickly and then left.
He had to meet Michael as soon as possible.
✦ ✦ ✦
Even though they called it a banquet, there was no dancing, and it felt more like a party. The presence of a large number of nobles at this banquet was because the emperor was about to announce that Michael would be the crown prince.
Therefore, the Second Empress, who was responsible for preparing the banquet, might have looked calm on the outside, but her heart was on fire.
After that, she had to convince the Duke of Cardian, so she couldn’t even take out her anger on the Marquis of Montague, and she greeted her distinguished guests as elegantly as she did.
The majestic hall shining with golden light was shining brilliantly with crystals brought in from the Larche Mountains. Everyone in the court praised the artistic talent of the Marchioness of Montague, who was in charge of the decorations in the banquet hall, as well as the shrewdness of the second Empress.
They all smiled, but the Second Empress thought they were making fun of her.
‘Now that Michael has become the crown prince, they must think that I’m a kite that has flown away from the string!’
The Marchioness of Montague was thinking the same thing. She thus properly distanced herself from the Second Empress, who was very close to her.
She didn’t want to be in charge of this banquet, but the emperor made her do it.
‘I am the Marchioness of Montague…… How dare they were trying to treat me like a mere servant!’
Even though she was angry about it, she decided to accept it right away in order to clear his brother of the false charge. Ramona wanted to take this anger out on Celia, but Celia had yet to attend the banquet.
‘Prince Michael appeared! That’s why I’ve been persistently talking about marrying Celia with Prince Michael!’
She had only spoken to the Marquis of Montague about this once, but Ramona thought so. The Marquis of Montague resolutely rejected it.
When the Marchioness of Montague arrived, the ladies who greeted her asked after Celia one after the other. Ramona was able to provide the appropriate response once she began receiving some letters.
“She is greatly shocked, but she is seeking mental and physical stability with the consolation of the duke.”
“I heard that the duke went by himself to save her, but is it true that your daughter is all right?”
When she heard this nefarious question, she couldn’t help but laugh.
“She’s a duchess. She was separated from the Knights, but there must have been other Knights present. There are no signs of injury on her.”
In the actual letter that Celia wrote, there was not a single wound phrase. So there was no reason to worry.
Ramona was the one who didn’t want to see Celia when she was in the capital the last time, so she had a little bit of regret about that. She felt like she should have met her at least once.
However, such thoughts died down more than half due to the tyranny of the emperor.
Since she forcibly took over the preparation of the banquet, she needed someone to vent her anger on, but she couldn’t do that with the emperor or the second empress.
So the laid-back Celia came to her mind. Lily disappeared into the ether after running away, and no one ever found out where she went.
“The Duke Leonis Cardian and Duchess Celia Cardian are making their entrance!”
The attendant who was standing at the entrance of the banquet hall and making an announcement in a loud voice drew the attention of the guests to themselves. The Duke of Cardian rarely showed up on time.
Every time there was a party or a banquet, he was late or told his servants not to call his name.
It was because people were uncomfortable with him because of the curse placed on him.
When Leonis and his wife proudly entered the banquet hall, the nobles stopped talking among themselves and stared at the couple.
“Look at the Duchess of Cardian. How…… She said he was fine, but it seems to be true.”
“I heard that the duke went by himself to save his wife….”
“Wasn’t he there to catch the one who ran away with her lover? The expression on the duke’s face as he looked at his wife……”
Both the Marquis of Montague and his wife were aware of the malicious rumours that were spreading throughout the social world at the time. At the previous ball, Ramona was the one who had purposefully chosen not to attend; however, she behaved very differently when she attended the banquet that she had prepared.
With the determination to protect her family, even with the help of her son-in-law because of the actions of the emperor, she stretched out her chest and took the arm of the Marquis of Montague.
The Marquis of Montague noticed that Leonis’s appearance was different than it had been before.
‘What is it? More than before……’
Even if he did not possess divine power, he was of the lineage of a goddess. Even in his subconscious, he could feel the cursed energy coming from Leonis, and he regarded it as ominous.
His energy was almost disgusting, so just looking at him made him frown, but the Leonis he saw now was very different.
Instead, it seemed like his whole body was filled with strong energy. This was an aura that only high priests, emperors, kings of other countries, and famous generals had.
‘I don’t know what happened to him.’
Ramona was counting herself fortunate that her husband hadn’t tossed her arms around her in a tantrum as he had before. They were standing close to the Duchess of Cardian when he dragged Ramona, the Marchioness of Montague.
“Celia, I’m glad you look healthy!”
Celia had a peculiar grin on her face as she heard Ramona talk in her high-pitch voice. Rumours circulating in society were directed by her, so she noticed Ramona’s intention.
Arthur, the Marquis of Montague, could not take his eyes off Leonis. One possibility had crossed his mind.