Chapter 304. Viscountess Verdi’s Decision (1)
Translator: Aura / Editor: SaWarren
Once Rashta had recovered somewhat, a banquet was held for three days and three nights to celebrate the birth of Sovieshu’s first baby.
Numerous nobles and distinguished guests, who had received an invitation beforehand, gathered at the Imperial Palace with carriages full of gifts.
They were excited to meet the baby born to the Emperor and Empress, who were admired for their beauty.
When they entered the banquet hall, everyone was very impressed to see the rumored Princess Glorym.
The princess, who resembled Rashta, was as charming as a little fairy.
The baby looked small and fragile, perhaps because she was born prematurely, but it didn’t seem to have been detrimental to her health.
“She is a really beautiful baby.”
“She is already so lovely, Your Majesty must be very pleased.”
“I have never seen a princess who looked so smart, Your Majesty!”
Those present came forward at the same time to congratulate Sovieshu.
Sovieshu held the baby in his arms like a proud otter that does not separate from its calf.
That protective attitude of the emperor made those present involuntarily laugh.
‘Right now I’m the only one who is suffering.’ Rashta thought as she contemplated the happy scene.
Leaning back in a soft armchair, Rashta stared dazedly at her daughter in Sovieshu’s arms from a distance.
That was the number of times Rashta had seen her daughter after the birth.
Suddenly there were murmurs about the incident of the promissory notes followed by voices laughing among themselves. Those present seemed to mock her for what had happened.
Rashta put her hands on her belly, where the swelling had not yet gone down completely, and pursed her lips.
The nobles who realized that Sovieshu now only had eyes for his baby, began to change toward Rashta.
Since Sovieshu would not even allow Rashta to be near her daughter, people thought that Sovieshu, angered by the incident of the promissory notes, had deliberately separated the baby from Rashta.
It was so even in Rashta’s eyes.
Although he sent numerous doctors to take care of her body’s recovery, a real wall could be perceived in Sovieshu’s attitude.
But Rashta was not inside that wall. There was only her daughter and Sovieshu himself.
“Didn’t you know?”
“So… it was true.”
“… I never liked her.”
“Well, in the end she is a commoner from a fallen noble family…”
Rashta slowly stopped walking and looked towards the direction where she heard several voices.
‘If they’re going to talk about me, why don’t they do it in a place where I can’t hear them?!’
But Rashta did not know that at one point Navier had heard such murmurs.
The maids behind Rashta did not know it either.
Only Viscountess Verdi, who had a pale expression, was aware of this fact.
Recalling the events of the past year that seemed to overlap, Viscountess Verdi spoke bitterly,
“Don’t worry, Your Majesty. It’s not worth worrying about.”
“How can I not worry when I can hear them?”
Rashta replied coolly, but from her expression it looked like she was on the verge of tears.
‘Why is this happening to me?’
The world had changed after the birth of her daughter. While for others the world became brighter and livelier, for Rashta, it became darker.
In the days of celebration for the birth of the princess, she was not the center of attention.
The baby received all kinds of compliments from the attendees, and Sovieshu received all kinds of praise. But Rashta, who gave birth to the baby, became a laughing stock.
‘How is this possible?’
During the months she had carried her daughter in her womb, she had made an effort to take care of the princess. The baby was like her alter ego, born from her own body. So then why…
“Who do you think will be the next empress?”
“Most of the young ladies of His Majesty’s age are already married…”
“So young ladies Laura’s age will be the candidates?”
“Isn’t it possible that Miss Evely will become the Empress?”
“No way, His Majesty will not accept a commoner as Empress twice.”
“It’s true. Commoners seem to have no shame even if they are smart. Just look at the Empress who bragged about someone else’s promissory notes… what the nerve.”
“Isn’t Princess Soju still single?”
Rashta stopped as she approached the voices, surprised that they were talking so soon about the next empress.
Are these really the same people who said I was lovely and beautiful no matter what mistake I made?
Despite the incident of the promissory notes and Sovieshu’s cold treatment, it was not exactly that that made them change their attitude.
There were already hints of this disdain from before.
To be precise, since she became the Empress.
The nobles, who had been tolerant of all her actions when she was a concubine, suddenly began to judge harshly everything she did as soon as she ascended to the top.
As if the fact that she became the Empress had been the trigger.
Well, they were always like that.
Only they used to talk secretly before, and now they do it blatantly.
Rashta wanted to scold them, but in the end she left the way she came.
It was not because she was afraid of them. In fact, it was because she feared that after making a fuss, what little affection Sovieshu had left for her would disappear.
The promised time as empress was one year. If she had given birth to a boy, that period could have been extended, but now it was impossible.
She had to remain as calm as possible until she found a way not to be thrown out.
There was one person who observed the scene from a distance.
It was Baron Lant.
As he came down the stairs, he saw this through the window and clicked his tongue.
Although he could not hear anything, it was not difficult to roughly understand the situation.
Apparently, Rashta overheard the nobles talking about the rumors circulating while she was taking a walk.
Seeing how she walked away with her pale complexion, it was clear that they were making really nasty remarks.
‘There are only maids around her, so no one is able to step forward.’
If instead of maids it were ladies-in-waiting around her, they would have stepped forward when they overheard such scornful remarks.
It was not because the ladies-in-waiting had a greater sense of justice than the maids, but because the ladies-in-waiting had the status to do so and not be looked down upon.
In contrast, the maids were still commoners no matter how much they were maids of the empress.
It was impossible for a maid to angrily intervene in a conversation between nobles, unless she was willing to take the consequences.
Baron Lant left the documents in his hands at the secretariat and immediately went to Sovieshu.
“Your Majesty, I have something to tell you.”
“Is it urgent?”
“It’s about the Empress.”
“I don’t think it’s urgent. Later.”
Sovieshu’s change of attitude toward Rashta was noticed even by Baron Lant.
Even if he really was busy, Sovieshu used to put it all aside to listen to him when it came to Rashta.
In the end, Baron Lant had to wait a couple of hours before he could communicate what he wanted.
“Your Majesty, I think you should be more attentive to the Empress.”
Sovieshu frowned as he pressed his tired eyes.
“I assign her the best doctors to take care of her 24 hours a day. The chef prepares her all the proper food and appetizers for a woman who has recently given birth, and I fill her room with all kinds of gifts. What else am I supposed to do?”
Certainly, in material things he gave her in abundance. However, no matter how much jewelry and good food he would send her, it meant nothing as long as Sovieshu did not go to see her.
“You haven’t let the Empress be with the princess…”
Baron Lant muttered helplessly and looked to the side.
There was a cute baby crib that didn’t fit in with the formal office. There was no need to look at who slept in the crib.
It was already known to everyone in the Imperial Palace that Sovieshu took care of the baby from time to time while he worked.
“Baron Lant. Do you think Rashta, who plucked the feathers off a fragile little bird to blame Navier, will take good care of her own daughter?”
Sovieshu smiled bitterly.
“A bird and a baby are different, Your Majesty. Just because one is good at hunting does not mean one is a ruthless person.”
“If you observe how someone behaves you can tell what that person is like. In any case, I will divorce her.”
Contrary to the harsh words, Sovieshu remembered Rashta with her first baby in her arms.
“Your Majesty, let the baby be with the Empress even for a little while. Do it for the sake of the princess. Surely the princess misses her mother’s arms too.”
After much thought, Sovieshu sent the baby to Rashta at night.
Viscountess Verdi was overjoyed when an aide to the Emperor brought the princess. She quickly held her.
Viscountess Verdi was by Rashta’s side during her pregnancy and delivery, so she grew fond of the princess whom she had barely seen.
She was very upset that Sovieshu would not even let her get close to the baby. She was very happy to be able to hold her in her arms again.
“How can the princess be so calm and beautiful?”
Viscountess Verdi smiled broadly as she held the baby. Then she hurried over to Rashta, who was lying in her bedroom, and showed the baby,
“Your Majesty, look at the princess. An aide to the Emperor brought the princess.”
Rashta got up at once. Her shadowed face also brightened.
However, she could not accept the baby and merely clenched her fists repeatedly.
Joy followed by anguish, sadness and grief welled up inside her.
The baby was lovely, but she felt tormented as she remembered how her position had collapsed in an instant because of this baby.
“Your Majesty, take the princess in your arms.”
Rashta hesitated when Viscountess Verdi tried to give her the princess, but did not hold her.
However, as soon as the princess began to cry from the awkward position she was in, Rashta couldn’t help but reach out her hands quickly and hold the baby in her arms.
“I’m sorry, baby. Mom’s sorry, baby.”
Rashta lightly patted the baby’s back and rocked her.