Chapter 378. Warm And Cold (1)
Translator: Aura / Editor: HB168
At Baron Lant’s suggestion, Rashta asked for time to think.
“I’d like to think about it more calmly.”
Baron Lant answered with concern,
“There isn’t much time left, Your Majesty.”
Once Viscount Roteschu’s trial was over, Rashta could be charged as an accomplice. At that point there would be more eyes on her, so it would not be easy to run away.
“I’ll end up in an even worse situation if I get caught, so I want to be very careful.”
“When life is at stake, quick decisions need to be made.”
“Still, I can’t afford to make mistakes due to rash decisions.”
After Baron Lant left, Rashta continued to reflect anxiously.
‘I’m in this terrible situation because I trusted other people. Can I really trust Baron Lant now?’
She kicked the chair Duke Elgy used to sit on, sending it crashing to the floor.
Rashta snorted and sat in front of her vanity table, and ran her hand over the scar on her forehead.
Even if she trusted Baron Lant despite her doubts and managed to flee, her troubles would not end.
The Eastern Empire was a vast and powerful country. If she fled, Sovieshu’s men would soon find her. Her only option would be to flee abroad, but to receive help as an immigrant, she needed a document that clearly certified her identity and birthplace.
Without a document, it would be difficult for her to get a well-paying job. It would still be better than living like a slave, but she would have difficulty making ends meet. Settling in a new country would be expensive.
She could buy a false identity later once she could save money, but how would she be able to save in a low-paying job? Besides, if her status as the fugitive empress was discovered, the punishment she would receive would be even greater.
Rashta’s hopeless eyes fell on a newspaper that was sticking out of a drawer. She took the newspaper and unfolded it. It contained the news that Queen Christa, who had moved to Compshire, committed suicide because she resented her family.
Rashta read the article, then put the paper back in the drawer and closed it.
If Queen Christa had quietly retired to Compshire, she would have lost power and influence, but she would have lived comfortably with the affection and sympathy of the people. But rather than choose that path, she chose to risk her future. The result was a wretched death.
Rashta bit her nails nervously.
‘If I accept Baron Lant’s suggestion to escape from the Imperial Palace… it’s possible that I’ll end up like Queen Christa. Since I hold the position of empress, it’s impossible that I will be sentenced to death. If I throw it all away to escape and get caught, won’t the punishment be even worse?’
Besides, she still believed that she could come to an agreement with Sovieshu.
‘I’ll have to visit His Majesty first.’
Meanwhile, Sovieshu was thinking about how to deal with Rashta.
He paced the room back and forth with his hands behind his back, hunched over, unable to sit up due to the sharp pain in his heart.
Marquis Karl stood in a dignified posture off to the side and followed Sovieshu with his eyes.
Sovieshu stopped after a while and muttered in an exhausted voice,
“While we can settle the promissory note issue without scandal, we can’t give up the port…”
“Are you thinking about what punishment Rashta could receive for her immunity?”
Due to the honor and importance of the Imperial Family, its members were punished less severely for their crimes than anyone else. However, immunity didn’t completely exempt members of the Imperial Family from punishment.
“If we have the marriage annulled, it would be possible to impose a severe punishment on her because it would mean that she was never the empress, but if we go in the direction of divorce and deposition, the greatest possible punishment would be to lock her up in a castle, an island or in a remote tower.”
“Your Majesty, we must have the marriage completely annulled. Only then will we be able to take a favorable position in the port case when it is brought before the Wol Continent Alliance. If the marriage is rendered void, the documents in which Rashta promised the port to Duke Elgy will become a mere piece of paper. To do this, it is necessary to emphasize that you were tricked into marriage.”
“I know, I know. But the court process to annul the marriage is long and complicated…”
Moreover, Sovieshu would not be able to marry another woman while the marriage annulment lawsuit was ongoing, which would not be beneficial to Sovieshu as he wished to have a successor.
Even if the marriage was legally annulled by the courts, it still required approval by the High Priest, who didn’t usually accept such requests from the Imperial Family, as they were in a position to abuse the system.
There was only one time in history when an imperial marriage was annulled by the temple.
“That’s true. We should also consider that Rashta might decide to drag you down with her, revealing that Your Majesty accepted her even though you knew she was a runaway slave.”
“She might, if she didn’t have a shred of love for Glorym.”
“The princess… Oh, I’m sorry.”
Marquis Karl, who hadn’t thought about Glorym, realized that Sovieshu still cared about the princess.
But he was right. Glorym was still a baby, so even if Rashta was punished, Glorym wouldn’t suffer too much.
However, if Rashta tried to drag Sovieshu down by revealing that she was a runaway slave, Glorym would suffer, as she would become a slave.. Since she was not responsible for her mother’s crimes, this outcome would be very cruel.
“Well, Rashta threw Glorym to the floor once… she’s capable of anything.”
Sovieshu muttered regretfully and ordered Marquis Karl to leave.
As soon as Marquis Karl left the room, Sovieshu went to his office and immediately began to work.
He looked for the most troublesome case, requiring his full focus, and dove into the case. Although it was not a relief, as there was a problem related to the increase in loan sharks in different corners of the capital.
He had finally managed to forget the problems related to Rashta when Count Pirnu rushed into his office.
“Your Majesty! Your Majesty!”
Count Pirnu barged in so suddenly, and seemed so surprised, that it was obvious that he hadn’t come on ordinary business.
Sovieshu asked anxiously.
“What happened? What happened this time?”
“It’s the Western Empire, Your Majesty! It’s the Western Empire!”
“What happened to the Western Empire?”
“Empress Rashta sent a letter to a noble there, in which she stated that the reason for Your Majesty’s divorce from Navier was her infertility!”
“What?! When was that?”
Sovieshu was astonished. He had a severe headache. Rashta seemed intent on causing one problem after another.
“The Western Empire is outraged and demands a public apology for Rashta’s offense!”