Empress of Otherverse - Chapter 26
I saw the mortified expression on the Duke’s face. He tried to hide it, but I saw it anyway.
I ignored him and waved my hand to order Lisbeth closer.
Naïve lady Lisbeth ignored her parents’ warning and approached me excitedly. She exclaimed when she saw my jewelry up-close.
“If I wear a beautiful dress and jewels like yours, will the prince, I mean, the emperor, think I’m pretty?”
Lisbeth looked at me like a young girl in love.
Oh! I finally got it. She wasn’t coveting my dress or jewelry. She was in love with the emperor.
Of course! If the girl was to become young, handsome Lucretius’s wife, the Bonafit family would have never needed me. They would have sent Lisbeth happily.
I wondered if Lisbeth knew what the emperor Lucretius looked like before coming here. There was a good chance that she saw a portrait of him at some point in her life. That was probably enough for a young girl to madly fall in love.
If the Duke had a chance to marry his daughter to Lucretius when he was the prince, he would have done it in a heartbeat. Lisbeth could have been the first and, possibly, the only wife to the heir to the throne. It would have been a wonderful chance to promote their family name.
However, because of the dowager empress, who made sure that Lucretius never gets a wife that wasn’t on her side, all girls sent to Cransia were forced to marry the former emperor. That was why I was sent instead of Lisbeth.
I finally got the accurate story of how everything happened.
I put on what I considered a kind-older-sister smile. It worked because Lisbeth seemed to relax when she saw it. This girl was so easy to manipulate.
I pulled her towards me by her hand and asked, “What do you mean?”
Tell me everything, child.
The Duke and the Duchess were about to stop their daughter, but Samantha quickly moved in on them to offer tea and dessert. Nice timing! They seemed intimidated by Samantha, who was an influential Duchess in Cransia. They couldn’t refuse her offer.
Perfect! Thanks to Samantha, I managed to hear the full story from Lisbeth without interruption.
“You are the first wife of the emperor, right? Father said the first wife and the empress usually come from the same family. The emperor doesn’t have an empress yet… So father said the fact that the emperor chose you means he chose the Aeal family.”
“…is that so?”
“Yes, so I will become the empress very soon…”
The girl’s cheeks reddened like a ripe apple.
Did the girl have flowers in her head instead of a brain? It seemed that in Lisbeth’s mind, she was the most important woman in this kingdom. Wearing the imperial crown and standing next to the emperor while I stood nearby like a servant.
I couldn’t stand it. Anger rose uncontrollably from deep inside.
I knew they were bad, but I hadn’t realized just how much.
I had expected them to try to use my new status to their advantage. I made preparations all day in anticipation.
However, this was beyond anything I could ever imagine. They didn’t just want a piece of the cake; they wanted the whole thing.
I looked down at them coldly. At first, they had the decency to look contrite, but they quickly decided to push forward with their plan.
The Duke straightened and explained, “It is best to appoint an empress as soon as possible. It is an honorable tradition for the empress and the first wife to come from the same family. The fact that his highness chose you as the first wife means he wants to choose his empress from our family as well.”
His tone had changed from the beginning of this meeting. He dropped his fake respectful tone to me, and he now was talking down to me outright. Samantha’s face crumpled as she watched quietly.
Duchess Aeal agreed with her husband wholeheartedly. No surprise there. She had always hated me ever since I arrived at the Aeal colony.
“It makes perfect sense. You, a mere adopted daughter to the great Bonafit family, was chosen to be the first wife of the emperor. The emperor obviously wanted the true Bonafit daughter as his empress. The Bonafit family is of true royal blood, as you must know by now. Did his highness ever talk to you about us? I understand that he has been very busy with the preparation for his coronation, but shouldn’t the announcement of Lisbeth’s engagement to the emperor be made as soon as possible? You should suggest it to the emperor. Perhaps tonight at the pre-coronation party…”
Lisbeth smiled shyly as she listened to her parents with a nod. She then turned towards me expectantly like a child.
So they were afraid to talk to the emperor, but they had the audacity to think they could use me to convince him?!
Ha! I became speechless. How could I ever think that they were kind and generous people? I thought they were wonderful when I first arrived and for the year they took care of me. How could I have been so blind?
I felt sick looking at their greedy faces.
My face must have shown my disgust. The room became tense quickly.
Lisbeth, despite lack of any notable intelligence, finally must have noticed that something was wrong. She came closer to me. Instinctively, I pushed her away.
The room became dead silent.
Lisbeth seemed shocked as she backed away slowly. She almost fell off the stairs but caught herself just in time.
Tears filled her eyes as she looked up at me. “S, sister?”
She acted like I slapped her in the face. What a joke.
I continued to coldly stare at them one by one. Such greedy shameless faces.
How should I handle them? What should I do to them?
I came here with a plan. All the necessary preparation was done. The emperor accepted my request for help, so the plan was a go. However, I realized that it wouldn’t be enough.
It’s just wasn’t enough. Something… Something more…
I needed a better plan. Something that would make me feel better.
The sharp tension lingered in the room like an invisible shroud. The red-hot anger filled me while I contemplated what I should do. Lisbeth seemed to be in shock. She looked like she was about to weep.
The Duke and the Duchess looked disappointed but not defeated. I knew they were trying to think of something to turn this situation around.
While we all thought quietly, a sudden unexpected sound broke the silence.
The door opened loudly, just as it did when I burst in earlier.
Emperor Lucretius walked in wearing a striking outfit that matched my dress. He smiled broadly when he saw me and greeted me radiantly.
“Oh, my love!”
…this man… had he lost his mind?