Chapter 399. Sovieshu’s Despair (2)
Translator: Aura / Editor: HB168
Rashta was the one who had used this room until recently, but the empty room reminded him of Navier.
— Do you see this, Your Majesty? It’s my room.
He remembered what Navier had said with enthusiasm on the day she first came to use this room.
She paced the room with her arms outstretched and standing on tiptoes. She took a deep breath and murmured as their eyes met.
— This is the scent of power…
When Sovieshu laughed because he found it funny, Navier laughed too. In the present day, Sovieshu also laughed at the memory.
While most of the time Navier acted coldly, sometimes she joked. But even her jokes sounded serious because of her indifferent expression.
Sovieshu looked around the room in a daze. His eyes landed on an empty spot where Navier’s desk used to be. The wooden desk originated from the Northern Kingdom. He had gifted it to Navier.
When he gave it to her, Sovieshu sat down on the desk and opened his arms. Navier complained that it wasn’t that elegant, but she walked over to him and hugged him warmly.
Sovieshu fell to his knees and clutched his chest, finding it difficult to breathe.
‘Why did I start to think of her as cold even when we had so many good memories?’
At least twice a week, the two of them had dinner together and talked about all sorts of things.
They were not sweet or lovey-dovey like the couples in romance novels, but they were good friends. In all the years they spent together, there were many quarrels and arguments, but they never seriously fought.
When they were the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess, the nobles said they were as cute as a pair of young lovebirds.
He whispered Navier’s name ruefully.
‘I should have waited a while longer, and made Grand Lilteang’s foolish son Scherl my successor if it looked like we wouldn’t have a child. Why the hell did I abandon my wife and childhood friend? Why do I have to go through this?’
Sovieshu repeatedly pounded the floor with his fists.
‘Navier, I feel lonely. It’s painful. I’m exhausted. Navier, look at me just once. Navier, you saw me. I saw you look at me. I saw you hidden behind the curtains. Why were you avoiding me? Navier, please, just look at me one more time…’
His mind was in turmoil. The events of the night following Rashta’s trial and the present day overlapped in his mind.
He also remembered how Heinley stared at him from another window. He seemed to say with his eyes,
— ‘Now it’s me who lives with Navier, who laughs with her, who holds her hand. The woman next to me is my wife, not yours’.
He couldn’t forget Navier’s cold eyes as she left in the carriage…
Sovieshu was really desperate.
‘If I’m taking my last breath, would she look at me again? If I apologized to her on my deathbed, would she want to see me one more time?’
He was too tired. He just wanted Navier’s encouragement one last time. One word would be enough. He wished at least to see her up close.
‘Will she pity me if I die?’
Intense longing and pain completely clouded his senses.
“Navier… my wife.”
Sovieshu smiled helplessly.
‘When did it start? When did things start to go wrong?’
Sovieshu closed his eyes. What he told Rashta was true. He didn’t blame her for his split with Navier.
‘But if Rashta hadn’t made me believe that the baby in her womb was mine…’
Sovieshu shook his head. Although the situation would have been different, that wasn’t the main problem.
‘The problem was that I brought Rashta here. I shouldn’t have gone hunting that day.’
‘No, what I shouldn’t have done was to take pity on her after I brought her in to treat her injuries.’
‘No, what I should have done was to tell my wife after I took pity on Rashta.’
‘I should have told Navier that I had rescued a slave, that she had been injured because of me, that her situation was pitiful, and asked whether she would accept Rashta as a maid in the Western Palace.’
— I heard that you found a runaway slave at the hunting grounds. Is that true?
‘I should have answered Navier’s question differently.’
‘I shouldn’t have locked up Navier’s lady-in-waiting for insulting Rashta.’
‘I shouldn’t have compared Navier to Rashta.’
‘I shouldn’t have said, “can’t you let it go at least this once?”’
‘I shouldn’t have made Rashta my concubine.’
‘I shouldn’t have sent gifts to Rashta in Navier’s name.’
Sovieshu exclaimed. The veins on his neck bulged. He was completely exhausted. He couldn’t bear the flood of regrets that invaded his mind.
The most painful part was remembering the numerous mistakes he made, the mistakes that could have been righted.
If he hadn’t asked Navier for a divorce, he could have made amends for all his mistakes. All he had to do was repent, ask for forgiveness, and patiently approach her again.
Sovieshu went out into the corridor and ordered a knight.
“Bring a bottle of alcohol.”
When the knight brought the bottle of alcohol, Sovieshu began to drink non-stop. He drank, drank and drank until he felt the alcohol rise up his nose.
When he lifted his glass to take another sip, he could see Navier sitting at the desk through the clear liquid. She looked thoughtful before she scowled at him.
“Aren’t you going to stop drinking?”
“Ah… ah… Navier… Navier…”
He lost the strength in his hand for a moment and the glass fell to the floor and shattered.
Sovieshu collapsed on the ground and sobbed.
‘I messed it all up with my hands… with my own hands.’
As he wept, effusive shouts and cheers could be heard through the window.
People were celebrating the execution of Viscount Roteschu, Alan Rimwell and the Isqua couple.
Rashta, who had been temporarily locked up in the Southern Palace, was deposed in the very same hall where she had reached the peak of power.
The Empress’ crown was taken from her and her luxurious robes were changed to a black robe.
Sovieshu didn’t show up. There were no final courtesies paid to the Empress who provoked the Emperor’s wrath; the Empress who concealed her status as a slave to ascend the throne; the Empress who tried to relinquish imperial territory to her foreign lover.
Rashta was exhausted and endured the entire process without strength.
She was completely destroyed when her father, who had abandoned her twice before, abandoned her for the third and last time in the High Court.
It was as if the small glass beads left in her heart had shattered.
With both arms held by the knights, Rashta climbed barefoot up the narrow, steep stairs of the tower.
On the way, a knight spoke darkly.
“I have waited for this moment since the day I escorted the legitimate Empress to divorce court.”
Rashta turned her head.
It was the Deputy Commander of the Knights of the Imperial Guard, the woman who always followed Empress Navier like a shadow. Sir Artina.
The knight didn’t reveal her name, but Rashta recognized her.
Rashta stared at her and asked,
“How is it possible?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why wasn’t she betrayed by everyone?”
“Everyone betrayed me. I thought no one would betray me if I ascended to the throne, but once I became the Empress, I was further betrayed. Why didn’t that happen to Navier?”
The corners of Sir Artina’s mouth twisted coldly.
“What are you talking about? It’s because she was betrayed that you were able to occupy the position of Empress, if only for a short time.”
Rashta blinked and agreed. A faint smile appeared on her face.
In her current state, Rashta didn’t have the same strength as when she threw her shoes and shouted in the High Court that the Emperor was a castrated man.
Another knight winked at Sir Artina with an expression that seemed to say, ‘Has she gone mad?’
Sir Artina shook her head. It didn’t matter if she had gone mad. Rashta would remain locked in the tower for the rest of her life.
She would spend her days alone in a room where she would have time to think about the evil deeds she had committed. She would have no way to die by her own hand and no one to talk to. She could only dwell on the past, day after day.
Life imprisonment was a cruel punishment even if it seemed merciful compared to a death sentence.
No matter how much one came to regret one’s evil deeds, nothing would change. Locked in a room for many years, even a normal person would eventually go insane.
As Sir Artina watched her move limply, she thought that Rashta would not hold out for long.
When they reached the top of the tower, a knight opened the door and Sir Artina pushed Rashta inside.
As soon as Rashta fell to the floor, the door was slammed shut and locked.
Rashta looked around. It was dark. The room contained a dilapidated bed. There was a tiny bathroom to the side. Everything was dark, there was not a single candle. The only light was from sunlight, which entered through a small window high up.
The room would only get darker at night.
‘Will I live here for the rest of my life?’
Rashta began to feel terror and panic.
“I don’t want to… I don’t want to!”
Rashta rushed to the door and started pounding on it. Her pounding echoed in the small room.
“Open the door! Open the door!”
Rashta kicked, punched and headbutted the door, but it wouldn’t open. There wasn’t even an answer.
“I don’t want to stay here! Open the door! Open the door!”
The knights seemed to have gone downstairs.
Rashta took a step back and yelled at the top of her lungs. She yelled several times as if she were a crow.
For a moment, she felt relieved thinking that she was still young and death would not come soon. But her youth had another implication.
‘How many years will I be here? What will I do in that time?’
It was terrifying.
“Sovieshu! Your Majesty! Open the door!”
Completely bewildered and desperate, Rashta pounded on the door again.
“Your Majesty! Open the door! I’m sorry! Open the door! Your Majesty, open the door!”
Rashta clung to the door in tears. No matter how much she yelled, there was no answer.
“Your Majesty, please open the door!”
Rashta sobbed and banged her head against the door.
“You said you would be my savior! You promised me that I would never have to go through a hard time again! Your Majesty, you said you would always protect me!”