Remarried Empress - Chapter 44
Chapter 44 – An Unchanging Person (1)
To be honest, I was skeptical whether the strain between us could be relieved so quickly, but a rejection would only worsen our relationship .
I knew the rational answer was yes . An inharmonious relationship between the emperor and empress would reveal weakness to our enemies, and even if Sovieshu loved another woman, it was my duty to show everyone that I was on good terms with him .
However, the answer lodged itself in my throat . My pride was bruised . It was hard to not be affected by strong emotions when my husband loved another woman and took her as his concubine . Whenever Sovieshu and I had problems before it could be ignored, but that wasn’t the case anymore . Anyone with an ounce of wit knew that anytime we fought, it was about Rashta .
“Yes . ”
I forced a smile and nodded .
“I’m looking forward to it . ”
When he heard my answer, Sovieshu smiled and lifted his arm again .
“Shall we walk together?”
“Of course . ”
We strolled the grounds wordlessly together . Our shoes echoed on the stone path, and the breeze flew pleasantly on our faces . In the past, I had taken many pleasant walks with Sovieshu and shared comfortable silences with him . It was all gone days now…
I stopped myself from sighing, and Sovieshu broke the silence .
“Did you know that Grand Duke Kapmen is still here at the palace?”
“Yes . ”
I had looked over the relevant documents of course, but why did he bring up Grand Duke Kapmen all of a sudden? I looked up, and Sovieshu explained .
“Kapmen wants to open diplomatic relations between Rwibt and the Wol continent . ”
Oh…is that what he’s here for?
“The officials have varying opinions as to whether it’s beneficial or not . The Hwa continent where Rwibt is located is certainly exotic and appealing, but it’s too different from the Wol continent . Moreover, we’re too far away to significantly influence each other . ”
“Efforts to establish trade would be a drain on the state coffers . ”
“Exactly . There are so many things to discuss . What is the Empress’ opinion?”
“Grand Duke Kapmen graduated from the magical academy in Wirwol . Autonomous or not, it is clearly in Eastern Empire territory . Rwibt may be too dissimilar in culture, but the grand duke has spent many years in this Empire and must have given thought to it more than anyone else . The Eastern Empire is in a relatively good position to open diplomatic relations, so there is no reason to miss this opportunity . ”
Sovieshu frequently consulted me on various issues, and I naturally replied . He nodded in agreement . Instead of commenting on my answer however, he slightly shifted topics .
“Have you ever had a private conversation with Grand Duke Kapmen?”
Grand Duke Kapmen . He criticized me for not dealing with Rashta properly . Should that be called a conversation?
Alright, I’ll call it a conversation . Sovieshu spoke again .
“Kapmen said if we were to open diplomatic relations with Rwibt, he would like the Empress to be involved . ”
“Grand Duke Kapmen?”
Sovieshu seemed to wonder what kind of words Kapmen and I shared, but I did as well . Why did Kapmen criticize me?
“He said he wants you in the next meeting . ”
After a conversation that started with my birthday and ended with Kapmen, Sovieshu returned to the eastern palace, while I strolled around more by myself . However, thoughts of Kapmen and my birthday felt distant .
Frankly…I was skeptical . Would Rashta, the one who wanted to attend a special banquet for only twenty people, passively let me and Sovieshu leave for the villa alone? Well…there was a high probability that there would be three of us there instead of two, and I would be completely stressed out .
I sighed as I approached a fountain, when I spotted Prince Heinley . I halted in surprise . He was exactly at the place I left him . I thought he would have gone for a walk or gone back to his quarters, so what was he still doing here?
“Queen . ”
Had Prince Heinley sensed my feelings? He turned his head and smiled .
“Why haven’t you gone yet?”
I approached him where he was sitting by the fountain and splashing the water with one hand .
“Hmm…can I tell you the truth?”
He pulled his hand out of the water and smiled softly .
“I was waiting for you to come back . ”
“When one gets lost, one should remain where they are . ”
“You don’t know the way?”
“Not intuitively . ”
I pulled out a handkerchief and offered it to him with a smile . He took it and dried his hand, then tucked the handkerchief away .
“My handkerchief . ”
He gave a chuckle as I reached out my hand in embarrassment .
“Don’t worry . I’ll give it back to you after I wash it . ”
“It’s fine . ”
“But this way we can see each other again, right?”
He gave an easy smile, and I nodded at his playful tone . At the same time, I remembered what he said a few hours ago .
“Prince Heinley . About my birthday . ”
He said he was here for my birthday, though I didn’t think that was entirely true . He did seem to want to spend time with me, and I felt sorry and wanted his understanding .
“I don’t think we can spend time and have a meal together . ”
“The Emperor wants to go to the royal villa . Just him and me . ”
His lips parted and he blinked dazedly, until he murmured “Yes, I see . ”
“I’m sorry . ”
“No, it’s your birthday, and you needn’t feel sorry for me . ”
“Please, don’t be sorry . I don’t want to put pressure on you . ”
“You must be feeling a lot of pressure…”
Sir McKenna stared awkwardly at the scene before him . Spread before him were various jeweled rings, prized possessions associated with various legends . Prince Heinley usually carried them in an enchanted pouch, but now he had taken them all out to examine each one . He was going to give one of these precious rings as a gift to the empress of another country . McKenna couldn’t help but be perplexed .
“Why are you giving a ring all of a sudden?”
“Birthday . ”
“Mmm . ”
“How do you know that again? …And isn’t the gift too much? The Eastern Empire may be prestigious, but so is the Western Kingdom . There isn’t a wide enough gap between the countries for you to offer such a tribute . ”
Prince Heinley put the jewels back in his pouch .
“I’ll choose when you’re not around . You’re a nag . ”
He pulled out a handkerchief instead .
“Can’t you see? It’s a precious handkerchief . ”
The prince then transformed into a bird, holding the handkerchief in his beak and flying in front of McKenna . The prince pointed a claw at his neck .
“You want me to tie it there?”
McKenna fastened the handkerchief to the bird’s neck, and he was rewarded with a feathery smack of a tail . Prince Heinley then flew out the window, and McKenna frowned as he watched him disappear .
The handkerchief appeared to have been embroidered with the letter “N”…
“Is Prince Heinley’s letter acquaintance Empress Navier?”
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