Remarried Empress - Chapter 44

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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 .

“Empress?”

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?

“Only briefly…”

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 . ”

“We can’t?”

“The Emperor wants to go to the royal villa . Just him and me . ”

“Ah…”

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 . ”

“Empress Navier?”

“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 .

“What’s that?”

“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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