Lady To Queen - Chapter 113 – [Side Story] Ch. 5 The Dethronement Has Been Decided
Chapter 113 – [Side Story] Ch. 5 The Dethronement Has Been Decided
“She is a wise and benevolent Queen,” Duchess Ephreney immediately answered. “She manages the affairs of the Inner Palace well, and she is the sole recipient of His Majesty’s love.”
“I see,” Lauren replied, then gave a graceful smile. “Then what about the late deposed Queen?”
“Ah, did I overstep my boundaries?”
“What is your purpose for asking me such things?” Duchess Ephreney said warily.
Lauren shook her head. “There are no ulterior motives, Duchess. I was simply curious.”
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Duchess Ephreney did not respond, and Lauren continued.
“May I ask you one last question?”
“Is it true that you were involved in the late Queen’s execution?” Lauren said bluntly.
“Lady Lauren!” Duchess Ephreney gasped.
“…You’re acting quite sensitively.”
“I find that topic to be quite unpleasant. Moreover…don’t you think it’s improper for a lady-in-waiting of the Queen to talk of such things?”
“Of course, that is true from that point of view,” Lauren replied with a blank expression. “I already know that back when the Queen was still Marchioness Phelps, you helped her dethrone the then Queen Petronilla. Despite Queen Rosemond not even being pregnant, she ingested medicine that would have made her miscarry, and you hid that medicine in the late Queen Petronilla’s dwelling. Because of you, Queen Petronilla was falsely charged, and she and her family were executed.”
“What… are you…” Duchess Ephreney stammered. She searched for words to say, her face ghostly pale. How…does she know that? With the exception of myself, Rosemond, and Glara, anyone else who knew was taken care of. Enraged, Duchess Ephreney feigned innocence.
“Just what is the meaning of this impudence?! How dare you say this without any evidence…! Is this who you truly are, Princess? A person who accuses others of crimes without any proof?!”
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“Duchess.” Lauren spoke with a cold smile. “Please don’t be like this. Did you think that you would be able to hide what both the Heavens and the Earth know just by killing off a few servant girls?”
“Your expression is asking me how I know.” In a dry voice, Lauren continued. “Amongst the servant girls that you got rid of, one of them was a member of our family.”
“She was a very intelligent child… even thinking of her now, I feel regret.”
“Aren’t you curious as to why I’m saying these things in front of you, Duchess?”
Finally, they had reached the main point of conversation. Duchess Ephreney glared at Lauren, who didn’t even recoil in the slightest as she calmly changed the topic.
“I heard that you have a niece whom you cherish very much, almost like a daughter…” Lauren said, trailing off suggestively.
“Why are you suddenly bringing her up?” asked Duchess Ephreney.
“You don’t have to act so sensitively, Duchess.” Lauren gave a bright smile before continuing. “Her birthday is coming up, is it not? How does giving her the Queen’s crown as a present sound? Since she’s of age, she can be a Queen candidate.”
“Princess!” the duchess exclaimed.
“A lady from a low-class family became Queen. Is it fine that the Imperial Family blood is dirtied like this? Do you intend to bring this great kingdom that our ancestors built up into ruin?”
“I cannot give you long to make your decision, Duchess. I’m not that patient of a person.”
“What’s the reason for you bringing this up with me, Princess?”
“There are many nobles who are against the daughter of a mere baron becoming Queen. Can you truly say in good faith that you don’t agree with them?”
“She holds His Majesty’s favor. You’re gravely mistaken, Princess.”
“This kingdom is not only the Emperor’s. It is a kingdom that the Imperial Family established with the help of the nobles. Dethroning the previous queen and instating the current one was only possible because there was a justification. However, what if that justification is wrong? Do you think His Majesty will still be able to protect the Queen?” Lauren pointed out.
“Please think wisely, Duchess. Even if you do not cooperate with us, we fully intend to uncover the truth. The few servant girls who were not killed are under our care. If you decide to continue feigning innocence, then we will no longer be able to keep you from harm.”
“If that’s the case, then aren’t you able to expose everything without having told me all of this? Why would you offer this ‘chance’ to me?”
“Do you really not know, Duchess?” Lauren’s voice lowered. “Is there a need to sacrifice something big for something small? Innocent and noble blood shouldn’t be sacrificed for the sake of eliminating lowly blood.”
“Duchess Ephreney agreed to cooperate with us?” Duke Witherford asked, and Lauren nodded in response.
“You’re so sure of yourself. What are you going to do if the plan is ruined?”
“Duchess Ephreney is a pure blood through and through. She is a noble at birth. I don’t know how such a woman is connected with Queen Rosemond… but I suspect that the Queen is holding something over the Duchess.” Lauren smiled. “Otherwise, there’s no way that the Duchess would stay so loyal to her.”
Duke Witherford nodded. “After we dethrone the Queen, the Emperor is next. You took care not to reveal that, right?”
“Do you take me for a fool?” Lauren muttered in a prim tone. “Do not worry. When the coup happens, the Ephreneys won’t be left unscathed. There’s no way a Witherford would ever just let an Ephreney go.”
With a sigh, Rosemond got out of bed. It was long past noon. After having spent a leisurely time in bed, Rosemond pulled the rope to call Glara.
Just then, Glara entered the bedroom with an urgent expression. Upon seeing such a worried face as soon as she opened her eyes, Rosemond’s own turned suspicious.
“What happened?” Rosemond asked.
“There’s a big problem, Your Majesty.”
“A big problem? What problem?” Rosemond asked offhandedly, no sense of urgency in her tone. “What, did Petronilla rise from the dead or something?”
“Even worse, Your Majesty,” Glara said in a trembling voice. “Duchess Ephreney is giving testimony in the nobles’ conference right now.”
“Testimony? On what?”
“On the matter of Your Majesty condemning the late deposed Queen. She is saying that you faked your pregnancy in order to dethrone the previous Queen.”
“…What?” Rosemond yelled. Her face turned deathly pale. “What is the meaning of this?!” she shouted before springing out of bed.
“Your Majesty, where are you going?” Glara said, looking about to cry.
“Is that even a question worth asking? I’m obviously going to the nobles’ conference! I need to confirm this myself. Glara, help me get ready.”
“Your Majesty, I don’t think it will make a difference if you—”
Right then, someone burst through the door. Lauren stood at the entrance with the other servant girls behind her. Upon seeing her, Rosemond was relieved.
“What is going on? Just what on earth is Duchess Ephreney doing?!” Rosemond exclaimed.
“Your Majesty,” Lauren said, her voice lower than usual. As soon as Rosemond heard her tone, she realized that the lady-in-waiting was behind all this. She glared at Lauren with fierce eyes, but Lauren didn’t even falter as she continued to speak calmly.
“For now, His Majesty the Emperor has ordered us to confine you here, Your Majesty.”
“Did you do this, Lauren? Did you?!”
“You’re the one who did something wrong, Your Majesty. Not me,” Lauren replied in a level voice. “You are hereby forbidden to have any form of contact with anyone outside, and Your Majesty’s deposition will be addressed by the nobles again in a few days. Until then, you are to stay here quietly.”
Rosemond was furious. “I cannot allow this! I must meet with Duchess Ephreney.”
“As I informed you just now, you are forbidden to contact anyone from outside.” Lauren then turned to the other servants girls and gestured to Glara. “That servant girl has also been revealed to have played a part in the plot to frame the late deposed Queen. As such, she is also to be imprisoned. Drag her out!”
Glara began to scream. “Aaah, let go of me! Your Majesty! YOUR MAJESTY!”
“This can’t be happening! Your Majesty, save me!”
Panicked, Rosemond strode over to Lauren and struck her hand across her cheek. With a loud crack in the air, Lauren’s head spun to the left. Though Lauren felt completely insulted that a mere baron’s daughter had struck her cheek, she was still the Queen. For now. She bit down her tongue to quell her anger.
She spoke, gritting out every word heavily. “Since you are still the exalted Queen, I shall tolerate this.”
“You…!” Rosemond spat out, but Lauren ignored her and exited the room, leaving Glara behind.
Soon after, a loud scream echoed throughout the Queen’s palace.
With Duchess Ephreney’s testimony, the case regarding the late deposed Queen’s crime was re-opened. Though the Emperor was shocked at the turn of events, circumstantial evidence showed that he in no way took part in Queen Rosemond’s wrongdoings. In truth, he didn’t even know of these wrongdoings until Duchess Ephreney gave her testimony.
“What happened, Father?”
A few days later, it was confirmed that Queen Rosemond had fabricated the case against Queen Petronilla, and the nobles met again to discuss Rosemond’s deposition.
“It’s been decided that she will be dethroned,” Duke Witherford answered.
“Ah… as expected.”
“Her becoming Queen was illegitimate. Moreover, someone who conspired against others is not qualified to be the Queen. Since she is not even pregnant with an inheritor of the throne, this is the only natural outcome.”
“Thank goodness.” Lauren let out a long sigh. “At last, one thing is finished. The end is near.”
“His Majesty’s birthday banquet is not far off. I plan to give him a present that day,” Duke Witherford said.
“Ah.” In a voice laced with laughter, Lauren asked, “Has it been decided?”
“That’s right. There’s not a better time to do it.”
“Then around when will the execution…?”
“That will also be soon.” With a benevolent smile, Duke Witherford patted Lauren’s head. “Wait just a little longer, my daughter. The day that you become Queen is coming near.”
“That can’t be!”
Upon hearing the decision of the nobles through Glara, Rosemond let out a shriek of despair.
Deposed?! Impossible. After she worked so hard to obtain this position! After all the blood that stained her hands!
“W-What about His Majesty? Has His Majesty also agreed to this?” Rosemond stammered.
“…His Majesty had no other choice. The nobles insisted on dethronement so stubbornly.”
“Even so! His Majesty is the Emperor! He should be able to do anything as the Emperor! ANYTHING!”
“Your Majesty, please do not be unreasonable. Regardless of whether he is the Emperor or not, he cannot do everything as he pleases,” Glara tried to explain.
“Damn it!” Rosemond cursed.
The only end left for a deposed queen of Mavinous was death. That was the reason Petronilla died as well. At the very least, Rosemond didn’t have any family that had to die with her. Rosemond grit her teeth anxiously.
“I don’t want to die! I fought tooth and nail for this crown… I need to think of something. Anything…”
Though Glara wanted to tell her that there wasn’t anything that Rosemond could do, she would have to deal with Rosemond’s violent temper. Glara decided to keep her mouth shut.
“What do I do?! Aaah, is there no hope?” Rosemond moaned.
After a long time of pacing and contemplating her options, Rosemond suddenly clapped her hands together as if she had a brilliant idea. Startled by the loud noise, Glara looked at Rosemond with wide eyes.
“Your Majesty, what’s wrong?” the lady-in-waiting asked.
“I just thought of a clever idea.” Rosemond’s eyes bulged. “I need to go to the Central Palace this instant, Glara. Get ready.”