Empress of Otherverse - Chapter 45
Chapter 45: <Chapter 45>
I felt unhappy when I left the dowager empress’s place with the emperor.
As far as I knew, the dowager empress was not an overly emotional person. Of course, I couldn’t say I knew her very well, but I was her enemy. This meant I had studied her like my life depended on it and therefore knew her well enough.
That’s right. I was Katleyanira’s enemy, so I was sure of one thing. What I just saw in her room was not the usual dowager empress.
When I first met her, she didn’t show such disgust towards her daughters like she did today. At the time, she looked perfectly normal.
Today, what I and the emperor saw meant one thing.
She hated her children, and because she must have thought it was a normal feeling, she had no qualms about showing it to anyone, including her own enemies.
There was no doubt the princesses were Katleyanira’s offspring. Both girls were miniature versions of their mother. It was strange to see the dowager empress mistreating those who looked exactly like her.
I had seen similar occurrences when I was in Korea. No matter how far Korea had come, the deeply rooted male preference or son favoritism still existed. Even in my own home, my parents only had two girls and the relatives often criticized them for not having a son.
However, I knew it wasn’t so bad in my own household, because I saw a worse example when I entered high school.
My friend Yoojung’s mother was just like the dowager empress.
Yoojung’s mother had been trying to have a son but ended up with three girls. She was sure Yoojung was a son before she was born, but when it turned out she was a daughter, her mother became cold and resentful towards her.
Yoojung told me that she was never breastfed and that she had never celebrated her birthday.
In the end, Yoojung’s mother did succeed in having a son. It was obvious to everyone that she only loved her son. She ignored all her daughters and even showed hatred towards them.
It seemed like the dowager empress was the exact same way.
In the second year of high school, Yoojung moved away because of her father’s job. I hadn’t seen her since, but I still remembered her very well.
Of course, I couldn’t be a hundred percent sure if the dowager empress felt that anger towards her daughters. However, if she cared even a little about her children, she wouldn’t have acted that way especially in front of the emperor and I.
I did briefly consider that perhaps she acted that way as a part of her convoluted plan, but it seemed unlikely. I knew genuine emotions when I saw them.
I wondered suddenly.
Why was I so interested in the dowager empress and the princesses’ relationship?
I asked myself.
Why? Was it sympathy? Did I want to protect those young girls out of empathy?
I shook my head with a bitter smile. I knew I couldn’t afford to be that emotional.
I did remember what Yoojung told me before moving.will be successful no matter what! I will be so successful my mom will want me back, and when she does… I will get back at her!”
I remembered her eyes filled with fury.
Those princesses looked like they were living in hell. I couldn’t be sure if they felt like Yoojung since different people felt differently in similar situations.
However, I decided that I needed to learn more about the dowager empress and her daughters’ relationship. I felt like there was a good chance I might be able to use it against the dowager empress.
If the princesses felt the same way as Yoojung, then I would be able to help them. It was unfortunate for them, but that was the way it was in life.
I felt nasty that I was planning on using little girls’ unhappiness, but my only goal at this point was my own survival.
“Are you listening to me?”
I suddenly realized the emperor was talking to me.
I raised my head in surprise. He must have been speaking to me for a while now because he looked annoyed.
I smiled hoping to hide my embarrassment.
The emperor’s frown lessened and asked me, “What are you thinking about?”
“Well… Just about what I saw back there.”
“… It’s nothing new. The dowager empress is cruel to those who she considers useless to her.”
I was truly surprised. Was he saying this was normal behavior for her?
“So she is always like that to the princesses?”
“She was actually kinder today, probably because you and I were there. It’s usually worse. I’ll bet Liliana will get a severe punishment either today or tomorrow.”
The emperor said it so calmly. It sounded as if he was talking about what he ate for breakfast.
They were only half-sisters to him, but still his sisters. How could he feel nothing towards what was happening to them?
Then again, he was a cold insensitive human being. In some sense, I could understand why he didn’t feel sorry for them. The dowager empress was his nemesis. Even if the princesses were innocent, they were still the daughters of his enemy. It wouldn’t be easy to feel sympathy towards them.
In fact, I didn’t think the emperor felt empathy even towards those who were on his side.
The two young princesses were useless to everyone in this castle.
It was a sad situation. I hid my sigh and said to the emperor. I had to return to my place and get ready to learn about the princesses.
“Then, I’ll get going.”
“You must have a lot to do, so I will be returning to my place.” I smiled and asked politely, “Please allow me to leave your presence.”
I wasn’t really asking for his permission. This was just proper etiquette when you were about to leave the emperor. I was basically telling him I was leaving.
Until now, whenever I ‘asked’, the emperor would quickly give me ‘his permission’. We had a strictly business relationship.
But today, he acted differently.
“No, I won’t give you my permission.”
I was so surprised that I gaped at him. What was wrong with him today?
I asked him in confusion, “Did you eat something weird today?”
“… Why would you think that?” He sighed deeply and offered me his hand. “Come with me.”
I got closer to his ear and whispered, “… You’ve only been an emperor a short period of time, yet you are already procrastinating?” I wanted to make sure the maids couldn’t hear me.
He frowned. Without bothering to hide his annoyance, he whispered back to me into my ear.
“You are so clueless.”
In my 20 years, I had never been told that. I prided in myself for being quick!
When I looked at him in annoyance, the emperor laughed out loud. I didn’t understand why he was so happy.
He looked down at me and murmured quietly, “… I have a long way to go.”
Of course, he did. The dowager empress was a formidable enemy. In fact, I felt like I had a long way to go compared to him.
I thought about pointing this out to him but decided against it. Instead, I smiled and announced rather than ask.
“Well then, I will see you later.”
I bowed quickly and turned around. I thought if I left quickly enough, he would just give up this nonsense.
I was wrong.
The emperor grabbed my hand and pulled me to him.
I wasn’t ready for it, and he was very strong. My body turned around towards him and I fell into his embrace.
My face was plastered against his chest, which felt hard and muscled.
I always found it strange how despite being a man, he always smelled so good.
I looked up and glared at him as hard as I could.
He smiled smoothly. “I will be taking some of your time today.”
… What was he talking about?