Sensing the tension, Lina and Ellie glanced worriedly at their mistress. But Adele just motioned for them to leave first. They were unwilling, but they still complied in the end.
The princess side-eyed the two as they passed by her and glanced back at Adele again with a derisive gaze.
Adele stood and greeted her briefly in response. “It’s been a long time, princess.”
“Nice to meet you, Lady Maktus.” She chuckled and covered her mouth, “Ah, my mistake. Should I call you, ‘Her Majesty, the Empress’ now?”
Adele simply watched her coolly. “It appears that the princess has a lot to say.” She gestured towards a chair, “Please have a seat.”
“What an honor! Her Majesty granting me a seat in my own castle!” The princess gave a mocking grin, she decided that she no longer needed to be conscious of people’s gaze and sat with her chin raised haughtily.
With the presence of the princess, the maids placed new teapots and teacups on the table.
“Firstly, let’s start with quenching our thirst, shall we?”
The princess took a sip of the tea with a relaxed look whilst Adele, feeling uncomfortable with this situation, did not touch her cup. The princess took note of it and raised an eyebrow.
“Don’t tell me you’re being like this because of last time—oh my.”
Adele picked up the cup and drank the tea, of which the princess clearly saw and she laughed amusedly, “As expected, the Lady of the Lilliand household is indeed quite courageous—”
“Why are you here, princess?”
“Hm? I came here to talk about your ex-husband.” she took another sip of her tea and smirked, “Naturally, I’m talking about Noah, not his brother Enon.”
Afterwards, a concerned expression was pasted onto her face.
“I’m just saying this in case you don’t know of it yet. The duke’s castle has already been captured even though Noah fought to the bitter end. For his Black Knights, no matter how strong they were, they couldn’t win over our Imperial Knights.”
Although Adele had already deduced this much from Lina’s earlier actions, the impact of hearing about it was another matter entirely.
She bit the inside of her lips, but she still maintained her composure and quietly drank her tea. She didn’t want to show her weak side to the princess.
However, she couldn’t hide nor prevent her hand from trembling.
“Probably this afternoon, Duke Maktus will finally be arrested and taken to the imperial palace.”
Slowly swirling the liquid inside, she added, “But it’s quite odd, isn’t it? The Duchess, who should have been inside that castle, was nowhere to be found.” The princess diverted her gaze to one of her attendants, “Do you have any idea where she could be?”
The attendant simply lowered her head calmly and the princess laughed, not really expecting a reply with her little joke.
It would be a lie if Adele said that she wasn’t angry with the princess’s snide remarks. But, what use would it be? Her husband—former husband—was as good as dead. Worst case scenario, she too, would also disappear from the face of the earth.
Following that, no words were exchanged. Adele just watched the laughing princess with apathetic eyes.
Was it truly that funny?
Seeing Adele frown, the princess uttered with satisfaction, “Are you worried about Noah?”
She smiled, “Well, there isone way to let him live.”
As Adele’s eyes narrowed conspicuously, the princess raised her chin, as if expecting her response.
“It’s nothing too excessive, you just simply need to change your spouse.” She uttered so cheerfully it was like she was announcing a celebratory event.
“What does that even have to do with—”
“Duke Noah shall be stripped of his power and become the loyal dog of the imperial family.”
Adele listened on with a bemused expression. She knew that even if Noah had nothing else to his name, he would be the last person to obediently follow imperial orders like a domesticated puppy.
Noah wouldn’t even try and would rather give up on everything then leave. Adele, who had some understanding of Noah’s temperament, bit her lip with a preoccupied look.
“You must have misunderstood. We shall ensure that the duke becomes a loyal dog, and to achieve that, a loyal dog needs a tight leash to keep him in check.” The princess slowly added, “Say, don’t you think marriage is the perfect fit?”
Adele clenched her fist. “Wonderful, isn’t it? Him as my, the princess’s, husband?”
From her gloating appearance, Adele could deduce why this princess was a bit more excited than she should’ve been when she spoke enthusiastically.
Janice rubbed her chin and eyed Adele with another smirk. “Are you worried about him?”
“It would be a lie to say that I am not.”
“Then beg me, oh great Lady Maktus.”
The princess persisted with her manic laughter, then she cocked an eyebrow when Adele didn’t respond. “I am telling you, offer Duke Maktus to me as my husband—!”
“Do you love him?” Adele spoke steadily with a serene expression.
“Why should I answer you?”
Adele stared at her in pity, “The duke does not seem to care for you. Why not find another man who would be able to truly love you and your attitude?”
When the princess struck the table fiercely with her teacup and it broke into fragments. Tightening her hands, the shards dug into her palms and broke the skin that cause bright red spots to appear on the floor.
Seeing this, the princess’s maids hurriedly tried approaching her to treat her hand, but the princess simply waved her hand and they retreated.
“Although it is true and I know that he has no interest in me whatsoever, but do you really think it’ll be enough to stop me? Unlike you, I can make him stay by my side, even if I’d have to force him!” The princess spat out the words. A painful expression crossed her face for a brief moment, but it was quickly replaced with seething anger.
Looking at her, Adele was speechless. She hated the princess, but at the same time, she felt that she was pitiful.
Truly, a bad case of unrequited affection?
Though, judging by her own downfall, Adele recognized she wasn’t really in a position to judge or pity others. Biting her lip, she fell into thought.
Noticing her little movements, the princess fumed and stood. “Ha! Is that your way of telling me that I won’t ever obtain him? You must clearly be thinking that I’m such a joke, hm?”
“Don’t think too much.”
Janice gritted her teeth, “I’m going to take him from you, just you wait! I don’t give a damn about love, nor do I care whether he hates me or not. As long as I have him with me forever, it’ll be enough to leave you crawling in the dust!”
“I will have Noah Maktus for myself, with my own power!”
Startled by those words, Adele tried to get up, but her whole body was so heavy it felt like she was wading through mud.
Don’t tell me she…
“Stupid Lilliand girl. You never learn, do you?”