Empress of Otherverse - Chapter 28
Everyone turned to Lisbeth, who was pale and trembling.
I grinned. This was too perfect.
She was shuddering visibly as she announced, “You can’t do this. I have been waiting to become your highness’s woman for the past four years!”
What was she talking about? I watched Lisbeth and the emperor as if I was watching an interesting movie. All I needed was some popcorn.
Lisbeth wobbled towards the emperor and melodramatically collapsed in front of him. She reached out to touch his leg with obvious desperation.
She continued to explain, “Remember four years ago? We were at a party and we danced together? Ever since then, I have been waiting for you! You have been the only man in my life.”
Four years ago, Lisbeth would have been only 10 years old. The emperor would have been in his early 20’s. To her, he would have looked like a true prince on a white horse. He was her first love.
The emperor pulled his leg away from her reach. He looked at her so coldly that even I shivered.
Lucretius asked cruelly, “So?”
“I have danced with hundreds of women in my life. Does that mean I should marry all of them?”
Big drops of tears rolled down from Lisbeth’s eyes. The Duke couldn’t stand to see his daughter being rejected. He stood up.
“Your highness! The Bonafit family has been loyal to your family ever since our land was gifted to a royal member a long time ago. We have been gifting you with our daughters for generations. My own sister was sent here to become Emperor Kentius’s concubine!”
“That’s right. Now, your oldest daughter, Sa Bina des Bonafit, has become my wife, so you have done your duty.”
The Duchess of Aeal raised her voice sharply, “But Sa Bina was sent here to become the former emperor’s concubine!”
She was finally losing it just as I had hoped.
The emperor replied, “The former emperor passed away on the day of their wedding. His death occurred even before Sa Bina entered his bedroom. Therefore, my Bina had never been anyone’s wife.”
At the emperor’s solid logic, the Duke and his wife became speechless.
Based on my understanding from living here for a month, it was indeed true that my marriage to the former emperor was invalid.
Suddenly, the Duke exclaimed, “In that case, I will no longer acknowledge Sa Bina des Bonafit as my daughter!”
What the hell was he talking about?
“What did you say?” The emperor asked in a harsh voice.
The Duke repeated himself. “I said that I officially un-adopt Sa Bina.” He must have believed that this was the only way to get what he wanted.
“This means that I still need to fulfill my duty as the Duke of Aeal. I need to present you with my daughter to become your wife.”
I understood now. The Duke was correct. If I was no longer his daughter, he needed to send his daughter to the emperor for marriage. This also meant I had no right to marry the emperor without the family name Bonafit.
Only those of noble families could marry the emperor. If I wasn’t adopted by the Bonafit family, I was a nobody in this world.
I felt angry and bitter. I spent a year with him, yet he threw me away just like that. I was like disposable garbage to him.
Sadness and anger filled me, but suddenly, I thought of something.
Did this mean I could leave the castle?
If I couldn’t be his wife anymore, the emperor had no choice but to let me go. I would be useless to him.
I began to feel hopeful when the emperor laughed quietly.
His laugh filled the room. Everyone jumped and watched him nervously. Even Lisbeth had stopped crying and watched him wide-eyed like a rabbit.
Suddenly, the emperor stopped laughing abruptly and yelled, “Scribe!”
The door opened with a loud bang and the scribe walked in holding a pen and a leather-bound book. It was a different scribe than the one I saw before.
The emperor ordered, “Write this down!”
“Yes, your highness!”
“Create a pledge for the Duke of Aeal to un-adopt his oldest daughter Sa Bina des Bonafit!”
Everyone looked at Lucretius as if he went crazy. The scribe didn’t react. He just followed the order efficiently.
After it was written, the emperor checked the document before handing it to me.
“Do you accept?”
What was he planning to do?
I was only happy to be free from them, even if only in name. Perhaps, this was my chance to leave this place.
I signed my name expectantly. Since I was being un-adopted, I didn’t sign as Bonafit. The emperor shook his head when he saw this.
“Once this document becomes valid, that is when you can stop using that last name, so for now, you need to sign as a Bonafit.”
Following his order, I added the last name on the paper. It felt strange knowing that this would be the last time I write this name as my own. I felt sad and freed at the same time.
The scribe handed the form to the Duke. He seemed surprised at how fast things were happening. He also appeared to be suspicious of the emperor.
Why was Lucretius agreeing to his request so quickly and without question? Didn’t the emperor just say he didn’t want to marry Lisbeth? The duke hesitated to sign.
The emperor asked, “What’s the matter? Didn’t you just say this is what you wanted?”
“That… is correct.”
The Duke had no choice but to sign.
The emperor signed as the witness and the notary. He then announced.
“With this document, my wife Sa Bina is no longer related to the Duke of Aeal, Demetri des Bonafit.”
Finally, I was no longer a Bonafit. I also was no longer of the noble family.
Was this it? Could I leave here now? Would Lucretius be that kind to me?
Was he going to let me go?
I couldn’t hide my hopeful expression. The emperor must have seen it.
He looked at me with a smile. It was the same smile he gave me on the night he murdered the former emperor.
I knew something wasn’t right.
The Duke stepped forward and made a request.
“This means I haven’t done my duty in gifting my daughter to the royal family, so I am happy to let my only daughter Lisbeth to…”
The emperor shook his head.
“No, you are mistaken. You have already fulfilled your duty.”
“Was Sa Bina un-adopted before or after she was sent to this royal family?”
“… It was after.”
“According to our law, that means Sa Bina was married to me when she was still a member of Bonafit family. Am I not correct?”
The scribe agreed with the emperor. The Duke and the Duchess’s faces looked shocked. I was impressed by the emperor’s cunning.
Suddenly, the scribe announced, “But your highness, there is one problem.”