The Villainess is a Marionette - Chapter 128
Cayena swept the teacup slightly with her thumb.
«What’s more, her dress looked like it was torn apart by a knife, and her hair was strangely disheveled.»
It was Rezef’s warning that if she dared to harm Cayena, he would cut her off without hesitation, even if she had been his left arm. He made such a quite provocative warning message. It was unbelievable that Mrs. Dottie begged for forgiveness in such a mess in front of her Palace. It was an irritating scene and no more. By now, this interesting news would have been delivered to the nobles attending today’s banquet. With this, Lervance Dottie became perfectly organized, but from here on the problems started.
«It’s almost 2 o’clock,» Olivia then spoke with a low, concerned voice. «Your Highness is going to pass by the maid on the way to the Grand Hall, shouldn’t Your Highness make a decision?»
From 2 p. m., the official Coming-of-Age banquet would begin. Until then, she couldn’t pretend to turn a blind eye to Mrs. Dottie.
«How could the woman who dared to speak to Her Highness like that be forgiven! At least she should be stripped of the title!»
«I think forgiveness is ridiculous, too. But isn’t it weird?» Vera spoke with a brooding face. «If His Highness had really intended to punish her, he would have asked for the right to investigate and then turned the Marquessate upside down.»
«What shall we do?»
«Pretend we don’t know,» Cayena answered Annie’s question leisurely, moistening her lips with cooled tea. Contrary to her calm appearance, she was diligently considering the situation in her head. She soon smirked and muttered lowly. «As expected, he’s clever…»
This 18-year-old had been using his incredibly evil mind. Rezef was actually testing Cayena, pretending to be harsh to his own power to defend his sister’s honor.
’Whatever you choose, you’re just going to be the Emperor’s sister, so behave well.’
Rezef tried to feed Cayena with the mutilated prey, as if asking for a choice whether she would breathe or die. And whatever she had chosen, it’d not have hurt him.
But if Cayena forgived Mrs Dottie in this way, she would naturally establish herself in the pecking order under Rezef. Emile Habron’s fraud on Mrs. Dottie could have been attributed to Cayena. There was a long way she had to go to uncover the evidence that he was Yester’s spy. In addition, Grand Duke would add fuel to the fire, laughing at them. He wanted to harm Cayena as much as he could, which was a fine plot. However, even if it was a well-organized trick, it would be meaningful only if the opponent was caught by it.
«There is nothing to worry about,» although she said only this without further explanation, the maids were quickly relieved.
’If Her Highness says so, we have nothing to worry about.’
It was like ’a learning effect’.
«If you stay here for a long time, it may be rumored that the Princess is belittling and making fun of Mrs. Dottie, so go.»
«Yes, Your Highness.»
The four went away and Cayena was left at the office alone. She persevered silently as if she was waiting for something. Would Rezef go out to the banquet hall in this situation? It was obvious that Cayena would never come out of the bedroom until she made a decision. It might look like he was a poor prince who cared about his sister, but it was probably because he needed to make sure he got her in his cold grip.
«Don’t you think that I already had my fill, Rezef?»
This child still couldn’t understand that people were not expendable.
«It’s time for things to come to the surface… It’s definitely time to take action.»
«Your Highness, Marquis Dottie has requested an audience,» said Annie with a look of bewilderment, waiting outside the office at that time.
«Tell him to come in.»
Soon, a fragile-looking man entered the oval office — it was Miles, Marquis of Dottie. He had neatly trimmed hair and beard, glasses, and old-fashioned clothes. It was an appearance completely dissimilar to his wife, Lervance Dottie.
«Miles Dottie greets Her Highness the Princess.»
«Have a seat,» offered Cayena, raising from her seat.
This oldman seemed to be caught up in the storm while sitting in the backroom.¹ He used to just show his face at the royal banquets for a second and leave as he was worried if others wouldn’t visit it. Such a person could not help but come out when a big crisis in his family faced. However, he didn’t think about begging for forgiveness — he didn’t want things to go smoothly.
«I’d like to change my faction,» were Marquis Miles’s words.
It meant he would leave Rezef and come to Cayena’s side instead. Cayena predicted that it would happen — it was in the nature of Marquis Miles. Everyone had forgotten, but Marquis Miles was not someone who would tolerate the Prince treating him as a tool.
«That would be a betrayal to the Marquis’ sisters, right?»
The marquis’s first sister was the Queen of the Chambers Kingdom. As for his second sister, she married Prince Hiran, the younger brother of the Emperor of Yulrion. These two countries were neighbours and allies of the Eldime Empire, and the Marquis Dottie had such close family ties with them. Virtually, he was an imperial diplomat. His family neither stood out as a strong military one, nor had it played a role of useful breadbasket for the country… But it was the reason why the Empire could be boastful.² His sisters supported Rezef as the next Emperor. It was safe to say that it was the choice of their kingdoms.
«I cannot serve a monarch who does not regard people of his faction as allies.»
«That’s a very dangerous statement.»
«I think there should be a new successor,» Marquis Dottie said unreservedly but Cayena didn’t intend to give any reply to it.
«How are you going to persuade Mrs. Lervance Dottie?» she wondered.
«Surely, she has spent a long time at the Imperial Palace and must be shocked by the latest series of events. She’d better rest at some quiet place.»
Isolation and exile — that was what it meant. To tell the truth, Cayena’s mention of Mrs. Dottie’s life was no more than saving Marquis’s face.
«I’ll send my wife to convalesce and I won’t hold His Highness’s hand — it’s the same thing as picking up rocks on the roadside,»³ he expressed it as if he was the one who found and picked Marchioness Dottie up.⁴
If an external force tries to destroy your castle, It’s good enough to conclude a new defensive alliance to protect your territory. There was no loyalty in such an act, therefore a more straight and efficient relationship could be established. All that you had to do was to offer a satisfying benefit. Investigation would be sufficient.
«Get Lervance Dottie out, please.»
«Thanks for Your Highness’s kindness,» Marquis Miles rose from his seat and bowed.
* * *
Marquis Miles dragged his wife Dottie out. She was shouting that she would go to her parents’ home, but after she had been ignored, she quietened down.
«My wife has become hysterical due to hard work and she needs stability. Her Highness, the deputy of state affairs, also encouraged her to rest until her health will be recovered.»
It spread rapidly — all the people who gathered at the banquet hall were making fun of such shocking news. Thus no one was interested in how the foodstuff fraud incident was handled. Rezef had originally planned not to show up at the banquet, but due to Marquis Dottie’s unexpected actions he really wouldn’t have been able to do it. The nobles were looking forward to Princess Cayena’s appearance. As the guests were heated up to the question of the Dotties, Duke Kidray’s carriage arrived. Inside was Bael dressed up in a navy suit with a red silk tie.
«Are you ready to introduce a new friend?»
At that moment, Raphael got off the carriage. People were watching him coming with a strange man from the carriage with an embossed emblem of Duke Kidray. Taking a male friend as a partner wasn’t really common. The reason was the rarity for already debuted people not to have a fiance, with whom they usually were paired up as the dance partners in advance. Perhaps that’s why, or maybe because these two were really appealing — hence they drew a lot of attention before they even entered the hall.
«Something’s weird with those gazes,» grumbled Bael with a frown.
«I’ve never been to a banquet with a partner, it’s my first time,» said Raphael.
«Really? That’s surprising, you look so popular,» the man giggled but quickly became serious. However, that alone has not explained the gazes that were stuck to him. «Hey, these suspicious things keep going on with us. What can it be? Is there any trouble?»
Raphael had never attended a banquet with his family, let alone a woman. And now he had a man as his first partner. The eyes of the nobles turned suspiciously. ’So who the hell was that guy?’
«They doubt whether you’re my friend or not,» briefly explained Raphael.
Their eyes met.
«Well, intercourse is possible…»
«Argh!» Bael quickly covered his ears — what an awful sound that was! «Why are you saying such a thing casually?»
«Someone talks too casually to Duke,» Raphael replied apathetically when Bael commenced criticizing him.
Bael was displeased by Raphael’s words. With the magical power that he had, it’ll be possible to create a new country. He needed to show this cheeky human being how dignified he was.
«Hey, if only I’d like…» began Bael childishly but stopped. «Nah! Let’s just not talk,» a sigh popped out suddenly.
’Is the problem in my bad fortune? Why are there so many weirdos?’
Similar people got along with each other, and this couple was too similar.
* * *
1. It’s an idiom that means that he had power in the past, but he lost it.
2. That means it could live without a shortage, live a successful life.
3. To do something useless, I suppose.
4. I understand it as if he was in charge of this thing.