Chapter 60 – The Noble Discussion
People gathered at the round table one by one, and Edwin, after confirming that Marquess Calvino had finally entered, signaled to the servant at the front of the door. The servant left and closed the door behind him. The Marquess spoke after slowly looking around at everyone in the room.
“Let’s start the meeting.”
“It seems that things are moving faster than I’d expected. Everyone’s thoroughly prepared.” Edwin reported.
“Have Miss Tiana’s social activities been confirmed?”
“Yes. She’s highly determined. Thanks to that, it’s been done. If she only does her best, His Highness’s reputation will go up in a beat.”
“However, can things go well this easily only through Miss Tiana’s social activities?”
“If she were a commoner, I couldn’t say. But she’ll be crowned the Grand Duchess after the wedding. No one on the emperor’s side can dominate the socialites. It seems like we’re back in touch with empress Alexandra, and if she tries a little bit, the social circle will be in our hands.”
The beginning of the plan was a bit later than he wished, but he was not the one to miss an opportunity just because he was impatient. Count Russell, who was looking at Edwin smiling happily, spoke next.
“We shouldn’t overdo it and make a mistake.”
“Count Russell, are you talking about me? Or Tiana?”
“I heard that Miss Tiana still hasn’t fully recovered. Even if she has recovered to some degree, I’m worried about the after-effects. Since there’s still time I think it’s better to…”
“Count Russell. You’re talking as if she’s your daughter. Why are you acting like that when the duke is sitting right here quietly?”
“I think you’re the one who wants to mess things up.” The Marquess, who stared at Count Russell with thunderous eyes, pursed his lips and continued. “If a person who doesn’t even know his place has reached that point with the help of someone else, isn’t it time for him to develop his senses? Especially someone not from this circle.”
When he saw the rage in the Marquess’ eyes, Count Russell flushed a deep red and tried to get up. But a low voice that soon followed, stopped him in his tracks.
“Refrain from saying what you just did, ‘former’ Duke Calvino. Oh, I’m sorry. You’re the Marquess now.”
Edwin drew all the attention as the faces of the nobles sitting at the round table quickly turned deadly pale. It was an unwritten rule in this room to not bring up Marquess Calvino’s former title. Quietly staring at Edwin, Marquess Calvino’s face became twisted. Count Russell, who sat next to him, was also staring in awe. While the other nobles were stunned, Marquess Calvino broke the prolonged silence. With a deep frown, he glared at Edwin with a look that was aimed to kill.
“Duke Celeste, are you in the right sense of mind?”
“I’m not fazed by you. I’m just telling you because you seem to be crossing the line just like before.”
The Marquess shot up from his chair so forcefully that it toppled backwards. Count Russell, who was on Edwin’s right, tried to block him.
Edwin gave an easy look to Count Russell as if telling him to relax and said, “Count Russell isn’t from our empire, but I’m sure everyone here knows that he’s recognized for his capabilities to reach where he is now and how much he went through to obtain such a position.
Nobles on the Marquess’ side all closed their mouths when Edwin looked in their direction. While not one person dared to look him in the eyes, he shifted his stare back to Marquess Calvino.
“Sir, I think you know best how hard it is to maintain such a position.”
“What is it that you want to say to me? I’m curious about your mention of crossing the line, Duke Celeste.”
With his face as red as a tomato, the Marquess set his chair up and sat down again, and stared at Edwin whose face was stiffer than earlier. He had been doing well without any problems until now. It was Marquess Calvino who always took the initiative even if there were often disagreements. Even during this trivial argument when everything was going well with the soon-to-be-newlyweds. Edwin, who showed his true colors after the Marquess was trying to carry out his plan pleasantly, was embarrassed and disapproved.
Edwin looked around at him and the people sitting next to him.
“No matter what you think, we need to identify the most important thing first. Not push it all to the side like this, sir.” He said in a serious tone.
“Most important thing? What else is there besides what we’re already doing?”
“I remember what I said before. His Highness’s ideas are a priority. Did he tell you what he wanted you all to do?”
Marquess Calvino chuckled at his words, baffled at what he had said.
“This is for His Highness and the future of this country. And what’s wrong with my helping His Highness as an outsider? I’m the one who knows the most about him.”
“Is that what he allowed you to do directly? Has he ever said that he agreed with what you said?”
“He didn’t say that, but up until now, he has never said ‘no’ to me. Doesn’t that mean he’ll trust me completely as an outsider?”
“However, he has never said ‘yes’ neither.”
Receiving the Marquess’ fierce look, Edwin looked in his eyes as if he had no intention of stepping down. He didn’t like that kind of attitude, so the stern-looking Marquess roared in anger.
“What exactly are you saying?”
“I think I have to make it clear now, about who’s going to benefit from the task you’re talking about; whether that’s what he really wants.” He continued in a conversational tone. “His Highness will soon welcome a wonderful companion. I’m talking about your daughter. You think I don’t know that she’s a better companion than anyone else, and she’s moving to find a sense of security and to make a foothold to go further? As an outside helper and a liege, I’ve understood that much. I’m sure you’re trying to make a foothold for her to go up, Sir. The fact that you are not satisfied with your position is known to everyone here, no, to all of the nobles in the empire. Of course, His Majesty knows as well.”
It was the truth. Everyone knew that the Marquess wasn’t satisfied with his current position, not only the nobles but also the emperor and other central forces knew the greed for authority and power that he has long held. He couldn’t forget the power he had tasted as he was once there, and he had coveted it even more afterward.