Before we get into this chapter, I would like to congratulate Stray Kidz for winning Kingdom: Legendary War and The Boyz for clinching 2nd place despite being 6th place overall in the contest before the final round. Congratulations also to Ateez, SF9, BTOB, and iKON for providing amazing performances to us despite all the pressures and all. Everyone did well and I hope you all have a good rest now! For those of you who didn’t watch the show, I recommend you all check out their performances on YouTube at Mnet channel as they are all legendary. The Boyz’s Road to Kingdom stages are also absolutely amazing! Anyways, without a further ado, let’s get into this chapter!
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The emblem of the Imperial Family was that of a sword and shield.
As soon as they passed the main gate where the flag hung, a palace appeared with an open view, bearing dark blue and gold colours that mixed harmoniously. Fountains were installed everywhere and a garden endlessly spread out before them, raising a quiet and still atmosphere unique to the Imperial Palace.
Judith looked outside absentmindedly at the Imperial palace, due to the feeling of being outside of the mansion after a long time. Really, even if she always looked at it, it was a vast place in which its size couldn’t be assessed. The carriage rushed and arrived in front of the main building of the Imperial Palace before she could even register each of them with her eyes.
“Duke Vaisil, Duchess Vaisil. He has been waiting for you two.”
The Grand Chamberlain, who was attending to the Emperor as his closest aide, came out to personally escort them. As she looked at the Grand Chamberlain giving his respects to her, Judith’s throat tightened as she strongly felt that there was not much time left before meeting with Killiton.
Both of them walked for some time, following the Grand Chamberlain who was guiding them. As she glanced at Derrick from the corner of her eyes along the way, he looked around with a nonchalant face as if he wasn’t nervous. As soon as she saw him, Judith recalled the day when Derrick was revived. Even when everyone was flustered, at a loss and struck with fear, he was so carefree.
‘Perhaps his nature is originally like that.’
To her, there was no way of knowing whether it was a devil’s habit, or if it was his true personality that had nothing to do with his race. What was certain was that he didn’t take this situation as seriously as Judith did right now. In short, it meant that she wouldn’t know what kind of situation he would initiate.
With the constant heart-wrenching tension, Judith wanted to return to the mansion immediately. Of course, they could not really do that, so, with great effort, she held back that urge inside of her.
“We have arrived.”
Finally, the Grand Chamberlain, who was leading them, stopped in his tracks.
Judith looked up at the tall door with gold edges that had an end that could not be seen. At last, they had arrived. She glanced anxiously at Derrick, who stood beside her. Unlike earlier, their eyes met this time. Whether he knew what she was feeling or not, Derrick let out a shameless grin like usual.
The Grand Chamberlain knocked and announced their arrival. The door then slowly opened from inside. Judith walked diligently on the red carpet, keeping up with Derrick’s pace, and soon, the two of them stood side by side in front of the dais.
“We humbly present ourselves to His Majesty the Emperor.”
Judith held the skirt of her dress first and paid her respects to the Emperor. And as soon as she lifted her head slightly, Derrick bent his waist forwards with his hand placed in the correct position like how she told him yesterday. He didn’t even seem as though he was listening to her as he behaved like a lascivious man, but fortunately, it seemed like he kept it in mind. Despite feeling relieved at the sight, Judith felt deceived for some reason.
“It has been a while since I last saw the two of you. I tried to be patient until you two would visit me first, but no matter how long I waited, I didn’t see any sign of you two planning to do that. So, I ended up forcing you two to come here urgently.”
A rather low-pitched voice was heard over their heads. At that voice, Judith raised her gaze from looking down. Killiton, the Emperor, was sitting on the Imperial throne and was looking down at her intently. His blazing red hair and the lustrous golden throne suited each other well.
Killiton’s gaze, which was hovering over Judith’s serene face, naturally turned towards Derrick, who stood beside her. She noticed the focus of his gaze and felt the insides of her stomach tightening.
“Duke. Is your body fine now?”
The main subject, which she knew would start immediately after they exchange greetings, was said promptly without beating around the bush. Judith took a step forward with a disconcerted heart and opened her mouth.
“Uhm, Your Majesty. There is something that I need to tell you.”
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The shimmer from Killiton’s eyes were wicked like that of a snake and sharpened upon returning to her. As soon as he did so, she felt like there was an illusion of her hidden intentions being fully revealed. The moment those glaring eyes struck deep in her heart, she recalled the one thing she had forgotten.
The reason why she didn’t join them whenever Derrick and the Emperor would consistently meet in the past.
Judith was extremely, or to some degree, uncomfortable with the Emperor’s disturbing eyes. When meeting his pupils which stared at her as if burning her soul completely, and persistently scourged her, a deep and dark unpleasant feeling would come crawling up from her toes. Although there was also the fact that she hated joining Derrick, she wasn’t confident to show that unpleasant feeling she had to the Emperor, and so inevitably, she did her best in order to avoid that place all the while.
“What is it?”
“My husband does not have his memories at the moment.”
“…He has no memories?”
“After he came back to life, he could not remember anything about the past.”
At Judith’s words, Killiton frowned as if he had encountered an unexpected situation.
“So, it’s amnesia?”
She had thought he was going to be surprised, but he instead made an expression filled with annoyance. Despite him regarding that aspect quite strangely, Judith nodded.
“Then why didn’t you tell me about this fact when you sent me the letter last time?”
“According to the family doctor, his memories might return when some time passes as it is a psychological problem. That’s why I could not hastily send a reply to His Majesty. Above all, I had no choice but to be discreet since the contents of the letter I had sent to the Emperor may be leaked to others.”
Although her relationship with Derrick Vaisil wasn’t great, Judith had been aware of the position he possessed in the Tireur Empire. Her family also knew about that fact well and accepted her marriage with him.
He was the head of a house of an aristocratic family that held the most power after the Emperor. As such, the information that could cause damage to his health or to the things that made up the rest of his power, had to be managed so that it would not leak out as much as possible.
Having understood her explanation without difficulty, Killiton gently rubbed his temple. He bore a complex expression, showing that he was thinking about something. Meanwhile, Judith glanced at Derrick. Derrick had been quietly listening to their conversation that went back and forth with his hands clasped behind his back, and seemed to smile slightly when his eyes met hers, Although he looked like he wasn’t doing anything, to tell the truth, he was following the instructions Judith had given him very thoroughly.
‘If you’re not confident that you won’t be able to cause any mishap, stay quiet instead.’
Judith had said so after a long deliberation while they traveled inside the carriage.
‘I will be the one answering His Majesty’s questions…’
Derrick wore an expression that showed the fact that it became a situation where he was a folding screen all of a sudden, and that didn’t make him happy. However, not long after that, he slowly lifted the corners of his mouth, as if he was thinking of some kind of treacherous thoughts.
‘Just keep in mind that I’m really looking forward to it.’
‘What, what are you looking forward to?’
‘Let’s see. The promise that my wife said she would grant me anything if I just stay out of trouble.’
Even if she didn’t know what he would make her do, it was clear that it would be difficult for her. Even so, it was a better option than making an irreversible mistake in front of Killiton, so Judith merely kept her mouth shut.
While exchanging silent glances with Derrick, Killiton suddenly murmured.
“Right. She said he lost his memories…”
At his voice, Judith immediately straightened her head and looked up at the Emperor. She was worried that he would be looking at her once again with a gaze that would make her uneasy, but Killition’s attention was now fixed at Derrick, not her.
“I am coming to understand the reason as to why your wife didn’t send a reply.”
Killiton said in a low voice, rubbing his chin.
“Thank you for making great allowances for him.”
She didn’t know if those words were true or false, but since it came out in a tone that indicated he understood, she thought that she would seem to be able to safely go through today’s meeting. Judith felt relieved from this great anxiety at last. However, that feeling of relief didn’t last long.
“Still, it’s the first time I met the Duke after a long time, so I’d like to speak with him for some time.”
Judith’s complexion, which was gradually brightening, hardened at Killiton’s sudden words.
“Madame, will you be able to give us a bit of time?”
Killiton asked, beaming as he knew full well of the fact that she wouldn’t be able to refuse him.
The Emperor himself had asked her for a favour like that, but who in the world would be able to refuse him? Although Judith was among the few Duchesses in the Tireur Empire, her opponent was the Emperor who ruled over this land. As for the unexpected and unforeseen situation, the act that she could only do would be to withdraw. Because it was something that might arouse suspicion from him again if she objected.
“…Yes, Your Majesty. Then, I will now leave at this moment.”
Judith slowly turned back and peeked at Derrick. However, with it being done in an instant as she passed by him, brushing against him, she wasn’t able to convey its deep meaning.
Once Judith had left the audience chamber, she didn’t stray far from its vicinity at all, wandering around her surroundings for some time. What got her to stop that act was when she realized that the palace guards who stood watch over the audience chamber were giving her strange gazes.
There was no use in standing in front of the door as she couldn’t even hear their conversation from inside, so she was forced to walk around since she couldn’t just open the door and walk in.
As Judith walked down the hall, she looked out a window that was twice the length of her height. It was a place where the scenery of the garden, where the flowers bloomed splendidly, came into sight. The petals of the flowers, which were grown for admiration and enjoyment, were all abundantly in full bloom, decorating the Imperial palace elegantly. They were inside a building, but there was a refreshing feeling from their fragrance penetrating into her lungs.
As she stared at it, she suddenly recalled something from a long time ago.
One day, a mysterious bouquet had been delivered to the ducal residence. Judith ended up coming across the bouquet as she was entering the mansion after finishing her walk in the garden. The butler had a perplexed countenance as he held the rather large bouquet.
The butler spotted Judith, who was entering by herself, and showed a relieved expression.
‘This bouquet had arrived at the mansion, however…’
‘Who is it addressed to?’
‘I do not know of that.’
It was only then that she was able to understand the reason for the butler’s dilemma. Judith was handed the bouquet, whose owner was unknown. But the flower buds gathered together were fresh and lovely, as if they were fed with lots of sunlight and had grown. It was a bouquet that, at a glance, showed that the person who made this had produced this with close attention.
While looking around, wondering if there was a note that was mixed in, Judith stumbled upon a letter that was hidden between the stems She briefly concerned about it before opening it.
「Thank you for entrusting me with the production of the bouquet.」
Along with a concise greeting, the name Merson, the flower shop that was immensely popular in the capital these days, was written down with an elegant penmanship. So, it seemed like someone asked for the production of this bouquet at Merson Flower Shop and had placed the address as this place… But in the ducal residence, there were only two people who could do that. Among them, it was obvious that the culprit wasn’t Judith, but rather, him.
Hello, everyone! I apologize for making you wait as I just finished my midterms. My wound is also healed. Now, I shall gradually get back to translating and return to the normal schedule. It might take time since the chapters are long and I don’t cut the chapters in half. Yes, I love making myself suffer even though I don’t like it HAHAHAHAH. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
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