Chapter 78 – Downfall (2)
They all looked back at her at the same time. One of them even covered her mouth with her hand and swallowed a scream. Viola walked towards the group of princesses whose faces had gone white. She looked at Anne and smiled a little.
It may have been the ambition hidden in her body that unleashed her energy at that moment. Her ambition to become King! And to become a king, above all else, she had to have the ability to lead people.
One of the princesses exclaimed. She then bowed low towards Viola, folding her dress as if bowing to the empress. This greeting was used towards those with higher status than oneself. One by one, all of the princesses followed suit, and eventually, even Anne reluctantly bowed her head. However, in her eyes, there was a shadow.
“Don’t give up hope. And from now on, don’t waste a single day until that time comes.”
All of the princesses here were hostages, but there was also a definite ranking system in this place. Princesses of each country were ranked in the order in which they had entered the Concubines’ Palace. But overnight, the ranks turned over and making this newest entrant became number one. An undesirous Viola had become their representative concubine. Of course, this was mainly because of the fact that the crown prince constantly sought her out.
A concubine loved by the crown prince…
No matter how the law stated that a member of the royal family of another country cannot become the crown princess, she could still become Empress if he stood above the law. Each of the princesses wanted to treat Viola well since was the most likely to become to wear the crown. However, their eagerness had become somewhat of a burden to Viola.
“Your Highness… How did this happen?” A flabbergasted Rosha cried out.
“—I don’t know either.”
A little while ago, a princess had forced a gift into Viola’s hands. She said she didn’t want it, but the other had insisted that she take it, and then ran away. Viola gave a short sigh, looking at the boxes stacked in her room.
“If they’re giving you gifts like this, it seems each country has been sending gifts for their princesses who are trapped here. Oh! This dress is made of a very precious fabric—”
“What will you do?” Rosha asked tentatively.
“When Paul comes, have him return everything. It’s more burdensome for me to receive all these gifts.”
“Phew… What happens now? Even when your contract with His Imperial Highness is over, you’ll still have a problem to deal with.”
“The goal that you want to achieve has become higher.” The little maid could somewhat discern the burden lying on her mistress’s shoulders.
“Because it’s a public enemy. The Arpen Empire, that is—”
Viola bit her lips lightly. Even a three year old knew that the Arpen Empire was a public enemy. If the empire were to collapse, none of them would have to be suppressed any longer. The kingdoms had not always sent their princesses to the empire as hostages from the beginning. For 200 years, they constantly fought in order to not surrender to them, but in the end, they were defeated and became powerless, and so the situation had come to this.
“I’m starting to get a little scared. I wonder if the entire continent of Slovenia will eventually become oppressed by that Blood Army—”
Rosha trembled. Viola was just as nervous as she was.
The Blood War wasn’t over. It was just a ceasefire for now, and war could break out again at any time. In order for true peace to come, the Arpen Empire had to admit its mistakes first, but that seemed impossible unless the entire empire were to collapse.
“If they were trying to go to war, the emperor would not be missing right now, I’m sure—”
At that moment, Paul came in. He handed Viola the king’s secret message. Her eyes widened in absolute shock.
At night, Lustian invariably sought out Viola. He spent it with her as passionately as he wanted. Last night she had also helplessly trembled under him like a lustful beast, as always. Her face naturally frowned upon seeing the traces of their intense lovemaking.
“Let’s go together,” Lustian said.
“Where?” iola was taken aback.
“Don’t you feel caged in? I still have to keep my promise of letting you breathe the outside air every day.”
Her first day at the Concubines’ Palace had been so chaotic that she’d assumed their promenades would no longer happen, but apparently, that wasn’t to be the case. Even when Lune became Lustian, his promise was maintained.
Her grabbed her chin gently and kissed her tenderly. His kiss was so polite that it made her heart race.
“We can eat together, and read books together, and when I’m going about my political work, I’d like to have you by my side as well.”
“The place we’re going today is my office. Even though it’s annoying, there’s a lot I have to do.”
Why does he trust me so much that he’s bringing me to his own office? It was a great opportunity for her, but receiving such favors from him still felt uncomfortable.
The Crown Prince’s office…
Viola recalled the secret missive she had received from the king.
‘Use his power to see and hear as much information as possible, then report what they are looking for and find it before they do. The clue to that is with the prince, so you should watch him carefully.’
What are they looking for?
What could they possibly be looking for, that would cause the king send these secret orders?
Also, how was he aware of such secrets?
It was all very curious. Viola had realized that in order to execute these next orders, she had to be with the crown prince even if she hated it. As she followed Lustian, she felt the gazes of others upon her. The eyes of the princesses were full of envy. It was unavoidable that she should become such a special person in their eyes.
Suddenly, Lustian grabbed her hand, and Viola was taken aback. He was walking towards the garden that connected to the palace of the crown prince, holding her hand tight. As he turned the corner, the others couldn’t see them anymore. He pulled her into an embrace and let the deep floral scent spread over his chest. At the same time, a small trembling could be felt from the palms of his hands.