Chapter 274 – To Reclaim The Throne (2)
Ophelia could not keep up with the sudden flood of dire news.
[The soldiers in the Crown Prince’s palace have been released.]
[The main bases of the Imperial Palace have been taken over.]
[The Imperial Palace gates are open.]
She had expected a tough fight, but she didn’t expect to be overwhelmed. Although Ophelia was born into a family that historically produced great generals, she herself had no experience in battle. She had overestimated the difference in power between her and Carlisle, and found it difficult to navigate the constantly changing battle conditions.
‘I could have made Redfield emperor with just a little more time!’
A few days more, and she could have pushed the nobles to the coronation ceremony. But Carlisle ruined everything, just when she was only one step to victory.
‘…I should have killed him from the start.’
Ophelia loathed Carlisle’s existence since the beginning. She loathed his mother, a mere palace maid who conceived a son before she did. Sullivan, for a time, did not even pay attention to Carlisle, and the mother would always prostrate herself before Ophelia. Until Sullivan appointed Carlisle Crown Prince all of a sudden.
‘He gets in the way of everything.’
Everything that had not worked out for Ophelia was all because of Carlisle, and she was determined to deliver him the miserable death he deserved. She didn’t want to see him as heir to the throne, and whenever Carlisle showed off his intelligence, Redfield was inevitably compared to him. Ophelia would not be satisfied until Carlisle’s blood was spilled on the floor before her.
Carlisle kept on surviving, however, and continued to hold on onto Ophelia’s ankles until the very end.
‘Was it the Crown Princess who saved Carlisle thus far?’
Ophelia had been informed of what happened on the cliff, and discovered that Elena was secretly a woman of battle. Ophelia had doubted the news when she heard it at first, but as she mulled over the information, she realized it was possible that her plans were foiled because of Elena.
‘It can’t end like this. I’m going to kill the both of them with my own hands somehow.’
A cruel gleam blazed in her eyes. Redfield, who was sitting next to Ophelia, looked at his mother nervously.
“M-Mother, since the palace gates are open, shouldn’t we flee?”
Ophelia was about to answer, when suddenly—
The door burst open and Cassana rushed inside.
“Your Majesty, there is great trouble.”
“What’s going on here?”
“This just came in—”
Cassana handed Ophelia the paper she was holding. Ophelia’s and Redfield’s eyes flew towards the message.
[Cesare, head of the Anita family, has died.]
Ophelia’s eyes widened and her body crumpled, and Redfield reflexively held up her body and spoke hastily.
“We need to get out of here quickly. What if we’re found here too!”
Ophelia turned on Redfield with a look of fury.
“You’re thinking of running away just from news of your uncle’s death?”
Redfield couldn’t answer, and Ophelia shook her head in frustration. Redfield didn’t have to be as smart as Carlisle. If her son had just half the intelligence, she wouldn’t be so angry.
Ophelia stared at the paper with grief-stricken eyes, then dropped it to the floor. There was no time for idle sentiment. Redfield was right; if they did not leave the area as soon as possible, they might be captured and killed by Carlisle.
“Did you bring what I told you to prepare?”
“Y-yes, Your Majesty.”
She quickly showed the garments she was holding in her arms. They were the uniforms worn by the maids and servants of the Imperial Palace. Cassana had hastily retrieved them, and not only was it dirty and shabby, it also stank and was stained with blood.
Ophelia grimaced at the clothing, but she quickly picked them up and held one out to Redfield.
“Hurry up and change.”
“Mother! This is a dress worn by servants! How can I dress like this…?”
“If you want to live, wear it fast!”
Redfield looked stunned by Ophelia’s unyielding stance, but he had no other choice considering Cesare’s death. Under these circumstances, the both of them could not escape from the palace with any dignity. At least if they were disguised as servants, they could slip past any searching eyes.
Ophelia quickly changed into the clothing, and even she bit her lip when she saw herself reflected in the mirror.
‘…I was not going to be humiliated like this.’
Ophelia, born from the powerful Anita family and ascended to the position of Ruford Empress, had never found herself in a position so humbling. Dressed only in dirty clothes and no jewelry, she felt like she would explode at the injustice of it.
However, she suppressed her seething mind and spoke in a steady voice.
“Cassana, take us to the Grand Duke of Lunen.”
Redfield flinched in surprise.
“Mother, you’re going to ask Grand Duke Lunen for help?”
“Yes. It will not be easy for us to get out of the palace by ourselves anyway. Our last remaining hope is to entrust ourselves to him for a while.”
“That’s a great idea, Mother!”
Redfield’s face lit up with joy. Ophelia shed her imperious air for a moment and looked at Cassana with vulnerable affection. She handed the lady-in-waiting the jewels she had just taken off.
“Cassana, there will be no other path for you if I die anyway. If you can safely take us to Grand Duke Lunen, I will not forget your services.”
Cassana replied with a gentle nod of her head.
“Yes, Your Majesty. You can trust in me.”
Cassana took the lead and looked around, and Ophelia and Redfield followed closely behind.
Ophelia did not notice the smile on Cassana’s lips.