I Will Surrender My Position as the Empress - Chapter 18.2
Meanwhile, Karl’s gaze was on Diane, who was lying on the floor. Disheveled blonde hair on the floor, a small, slender back, and a quivering tone Karl slowly raised his eyes and looked at the empress sitting in her chair.
“Empress, what are you doing now?”
There was deep anger and darkness in Karl’s low-pitched voice, and flames seemed to soar in her sunken purple eyes. Adele rose slowly from her seat under the Emperor’s gaze. She looked back and forth between the weeping Diane and the enraged Emperor, still on his knees.
“Wake up, Lady Poitiers! What are you doing? Talk to me now?!” Adele exclaimed.
“What is Your Majesty doing right now?!”
The emperor approached the empress like an angry beast. There was even a glimpse of madness on his face.
Lorraine hurriedly raised Diane, who was lying on the floor and crying. Her white face was streaked with tears, and her eyes were swollen and red.
“Your Majesty, I apologize to Her Majesty…” Diane began, but her voice trailed off.
Karl gritted his teeth and stared at Diane, then looked back at the empress.
“Escort Diane to the Ivory Palace,” the emperor commanded.
“Yes, Your Majesty,” the servant replied.
Lorraine supported Diane, who was staggering as if about to collapse, and the latter left the drawing room slumped like a half-fainted person. The atmosphere in the room was tense and fragile, like thin ice that could break at any moment.
“Everyone, please leave. I need to have a private meeting with the empress,” the emperor instructed, and the ladies-in-waiting promptly left the room.
Alone with Adele, Mrs. Giggs looked at her with a worried expression.
“It’s been a long time,” the emperor greeted coldly, to which Mrs. Giggs politely bowed her head.
“You look the same,” the emperor continued. “Sitting next to the empress, I just watch as those weaker than her are trampled on. Is that fun?”
Adele, not understanding the situation, gave a sharp command to Mrs. Giggs to leave, but the emperor raised his voice even louder.
“Is that fun?!” he bellowed.
“Mrs. Giggs, please leave!” Adele shouted back, unfazed. The emperor glared at her with a deadly gaze, and she returned the look, tightening her chin. Mrs. Giggs calmed her trembling breath, bowed politely to the two of them, then turned around and left the room. As the door closed, only the emperor and the empress remained in the spacious and splendid drawing room. They didn’t even think to sit down.
“What are you doing now, Empress?” the emperor asked.
“What are you doing, Your Majesty?” Adele replied.
“Is it fun? Grabbing someone weaker than you by the neck and twisting them to make them beg for help is in bad taste.”
“I’ve never done that before,” Adele insisted.
“I saw it myself, and it sounds like an excuse,” the emperor retorted.
“As soon as the door opened, she collapsed and started begging me, just in time for Your Majesty’s arrival.”
“Isn’t that a remarkable coincidence?” The Emperor jeered at Adele. Adele let out a sigh and ran her fingers through her hair. Meanwhile, the Emperor lifted the Ivory Palace budget off the table.
“Do you desire this?”
“Do you want what Diane has?”
“It’s not Diane who lacks self-control; it’s you, Your Majesty. Have you even looked at the budget plan for the Empress Palace? What happened to the budget supplement?”
“Don’t you know? It was also entrusted to the Ivory Palace. An empress who receives money from the emperor’s mistress? Is that what you wanted?!” Adele laughed bitterly and continued speaking rapidly. Roughly, she pulled out the discarded supplementary budget statement and laid it on the table.
“This is the supplementary budget for the Empress Palace. Let’s take a look! I wonder if it’s even worth a horse. Is the supplementary budget for the empress’ palace so destitute that it’s comparable to splitting expenses with a group of courtesans?”
The Emperor squinted as he gazed at the budget proposal from the empress. As Adele had said, the supplementary budget was only enough to cover the cost of a stallion. The silence hung heavily between the two for a moment. Karl took a deep breath and closed his eyes, but the memory of the tumultuous black sea came rushing back to him.
“Is that why you summoned Diane?”
“I instructed her to come, and she came of her own accord.”
“That’s what you call it.”
“Is that so?”
As Adele replied in an exasperated tone, Karl’s eyes glinted menacingly. Slowly, he approached her. Like the previous night, the two of them locked gazes with a precarious distance between them.
“Your mother lied to me.”
“They said she was an obedient and devoted daughter. Has she not realized anything since she was banished from her motherland?” the Emperor asked.
“Don’t say anything about the reasons why I had to leave Gottrov without knowing them properly,” Adele replied.
“Listen carefully, Empress,” Karl said as he grabbed Adele’s shoulders tightly.
“Like a feather on a quill. Like flowers in a vase.” It was a mechanical answer to someone’s question about who the Empress of Ehmont was.
“Buy it,” the Emperor said suddenly, causing Adele to shudder from head to toe. Karl, startled by the electricity he felt in his hand, quickly let go of her shoulders and looked into her golden eyes.
Suddenly, there was a loud noise that shook the palace. Flashes of light and echoes filled the air, and in an instant, the Emperor closed his eyes tightly. Adele quickly ran to the terrace, and as she opened the door, the wind hit her whole body. She held onto the railing and raised her head to the sky, screaming.
Suddenly, chaos erupted in the palace. A black catastrophe, like death itself, was running fast toward the Ehmont imperial palace. Adele stared at it with an unwavering gaze.
“Like a feather on a quill, like flowers in a vase. Will you live like that?” she repeated what the Emperor had said.
Staring unwaveringly at the black catastrophe, Adele repeated what she had just heard: the imperial palace was in chaos. Thunder shook the heavens and earth once more. Sensing the urgency, the emperor hastily left the drawing room while Mrs. Giggs rushed in, her face betraying her surprise as she shouted,
“Your Majesty, are you okay? They say the tower is collapsing, and Her Majesty the Empress needs to evacuate immediately.”
Mrs. Giggs draped a shawl over Adele’s shoulders and urged her to leave, but the empress refused, her voice calm and collected.
“No. Absolutely not.”
Adele looked up at the red sky and unbuttoned her sleeves. Her golden eyes took on a different expression.
“Your Majesty the Empress?” Mrs. Giggs called out, bewildered by Adele’s sudden actions, but the empress did not respond.
As she glanced up for the first time, she was greeted by a bloody sky and a terrifying black catastrophe. Adele swiftly turned and made her way to her room. She had work to do.
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