Chapter 150 – Meeting In The Western Kingdom (1)
“Are you really getting divorced, Your Majesty?”
“I didn’t say I was.”
Sovieshu’s face was set. Marquis Karl left the room with a somber expression, and returned about fifteen minutes later with some documents in his hand. It was a divorce application from the High Priest.
Sovieshu placed the application in the middle of his desk, dipped his pen into an inkwell, and looked down at the paper. Even now, Marquis Karl fervently hoped that Sovieshu would change his mind.
But there was no change. The pen tip hovered on top of the paper. A drop of black ink fell onto the white sheet, and Sovieshu immediately started writing the reasons for divorce. He wrote how Koshar Lilder Troby pushed Rashta when she was pregnant, how he kidnapped and assaulted Viscount Roteschu, and how he bribed a noble couple to pretend to be Rashta’s parents. Sovieshu attempted to end it all by banishing Koshar, but the man continued to pursue Rashta and her baby afterwards. Sovieshu had to protect that faint life in her womb.
Finally, Sovieshu set the pen down, closed his eyes, and lifted his head up. The Empress’ pale face after she had fainted drifted into his mind’s eye. His heart felt as heavy as a stone, and the anxious feeling in him grew.
Was this the right choice?
Marquis Karl’s voice broke him from his thoughts, and Sovieshu opened his eyes. After placing the divorce papers in an envelope, he sealed it with wax and stamped his seal. He quickly held out the letter to Marquis Karl, as if the letter were about to explode. The marquis accepted it with both hands, but he hesitated in leaving the room and mumbled incomprehensibly.
“Go. Deliver it.”
Marquis Karl kept mumbling after receiving the order, and Sovieshu threw him a questioning look. The marquis gathered his courage and spoke.
“Your Majesty, do you really need to do this? Perhaps you need some more time to think…”
“Am I not doing this because I don’t have the time?”
“The Empress is still young. Whether she’s infertile is still inconclusive.”
“As young as she is, she hadn’t produced a baby for years.”
Sovieshu closed his eyes with a pained expression.
“Without my baby, the next in line will be Grand Duke Lilteang. But the reality is that his son, Sheir, is likely the one to follow.”
“The young lord Sheir…”
Marquis Karl could not bring himself to finish speaking.
Grand Duke Lilteang was an ambitious man, but he was aware of his own capabilities and showed little interest in the throne. Although his son Sheir was a fine boy, his weak will caused him to be easily swayed. If Sheir became emperor, he would become the most indecisive ruler in history, while his father would wield the true power behind his son. It was a situation that could easily lead to corruption.
“But Your Majesty. Perhaps the Empress may have a baby soon. We can wait a few more years, and if there isn’t one, you can look into finding a new successor.”
“In those years, my first child will have grown. What if that firstborn is hurt by the fact that their much younger sibling is the heir?”
Sovieshu waved his hand.
“It’s just as rumored. The Empress is infertile.”
Marquis Karl hesitated before asking.
“Why are you so sure?”
He kept wondering how it could be. He knew that Sovieshu dreamed of becoming a father, but Marquis Karl could not understand why he was so sure Empress Navier was barren.
Sovieshu seemed about to answer the question, but then he shook his head.
“Deliver the letter. I will have to tell the High Priest privately in any case.”
‘Even if you speak to the High Priest, I can’t hear it when you do.’
Marquis Karl thought these words inwardly to himself, but he could not bring himself to say them out loud, and left.
Viscount Roteschu had not visited Rashta in weeks. The viscount had been kidnapped and assaulted by Koshar, his ear had been cut off, and he was kept in bed all day for treatment. But no matter how skillful the medical car, his ear could not be saved.
“I’m relieved that your eardrum wasn’t injured. It was only the outer flesh.”
“My ear is cut off, and you think that’s good news!”
“It’s better than having your eardrum injured.”
“It would have been better if it were never cut off at all! You son of a bitch, get out! Get out!”
Alan squeezed his child in his arms as Viscount Roteschu swore at him. He worried that his father seemed half out of his mind, while Viscount Roteschu lay in bed, angrily huffing for breath.
“Father, don’t you want to hug him?”
“Get out! Get out!”
Alan thought Viscount Roteschu would feel more relaxed if he hugged his grandson, but he quickly left the room when Viscount Roteschu’s face turned as purple as a sweet potato. As Alan walked with his crying baby, his thoughts turned to Rashta.
He wanted to show that their baby looked just like her…
Suddenly, he ran into Rivetti carrying a bowl of soup up the stairs.
“What were you doing?”
“I went to visit Father.”
“With that lump? Leave him be. It will only make Father worse.”
“…That ‘lump’ is your nephew.”
“I’m sorry. But when I look at its face, I can’t think of anything good.”
“I could love him as a nephew. But he doesn’t look like you—he looks like Rashta split herself.”
Rivetti squeezed past him with the bowl of soup. Alan sighed and kissed his baby’s lovely forehead. As he went down the stairs, he heard a sudden yell from Viscount Roteschu’s bedroom. Curious, Alan climbed back up the stairs and entered his father’s bedroom again.
Viscount Roteschu was trembling as he stared at a newspaper.
“Father? Are you alright?”
Alan pressed the baby to Rivetti’s arms and approached his father.
“Father? Are you feeling sane?”
“You damn boy! Of course I’m sane!”
Determining that the viscount seemed fine, Alan took the baby back in his arms.
“What’s the matter? I heard the sound of a pig being strangled.”
Viscount Roteschu flung the newspaper at his son, and it fell limply against his shoulder. Alan picked up the newspaper, set it on a table, and unfolded it with one hand.
What was it that made his father so angry? There wasn’t much in the way of interesting content in the newspaper—an up-and-coming bakery called Bala and Haley, ads about dressmakers and designers, family scandals…it was just as usual.
Alan paused at one part. There was a story of how two pairs of couples claimed to be the commoner concubine’s parents. Both couples were nobles.
Alan murmured to himself in amazement. The article is obviously about Rashta. Noble parents?
Viscount Roteschu furiously kicked off his blanket.
“It’s impossible! As if that brat had noble parents!”
Alan turned towards his father.
“Do you know who Rashta’s parents are?”
“I know that those parents are fake! They’re frauds!”
Viscount Roteschu panted as he swung himself out of bed.
“Father, you can’t get up yet!”
Rivetti was too frightened to stop him, and Viscount Roteschu roared for a servant.
“Get my clothes! I have to go to the palace!”
“Noble parents? That’s ridiculous. I wonder where those swindlers are from. Or perhaps they were paid to be fake parents!”
As long as Viscount Roteschu had Ahn, he could continue to threaten Rashta. However, he did not intend to share his gold mine with others. He wouldn’t let anyone near with a pickaxe!
Anger drowned out his pain. When Viscount Roteschu arrived at the palace, however, Rashta was nowhere to be seen in her chambers.