Come to think of it, Charlize herself had asked about the crown prince to her at one point.
To be precise, the question was what were her thoughts about the crown prince…
The maid continued to speak.
“She had inquired the whereabouts of the crown prince, so I informed her without giving it much thought.”
“At that time, I thought it was irrelevant, but as time went on, I noticed that she took food with her on a regular basis…”
The maid felt guilty as a result of her carelessness.
After a while, the maid told the empress of her suspicions.
“……I can only speculate that Charlize continually visits His Highness”
“No way, how could that be The crown prince is imprisoned in his own palace.”
The empress shrugged.
Five years ago, Vincent usurped the throne.
Since then, the crown prince has been confined to the smallest chamber in the imperial palace and has never been outside.
The gates of the crown prince’s palace were barred, and the palace itself was subjected to intense surveillance.
All the attendants who served the crown prince were expelled.
Food for the crown prince was sent directly from the emperor, and strict orders were issued to ensure that no one approached the crown prince’s palace.
“The imperial palace has been closed off to all outsiders, it’s impossible for Charlize to enter without breaking in…”
“Yes, that’s true, but…”
The maid Hayden responded with a small nod.
The empress, who had been deep in thought for quite some time, rose up to her feet.
“Once I find something that bothers me, I can’t let it slide.”
“Never mind, I’ll go see Charlize myself.”
The empress answered firmly.
Maid Hayden’s eyes widened as she attempted to dissuade the empress.
“What No, Your Majesty shouldn’t do such a thing.
You can entrust us to take care of it…”
“No, I want to.”
Maid Hayden sighed.
Her ten-year experience of serving the empress taught her that when the empress had made up her mind, no one could convince her otherwise.
Maid Hayden bowed her head.
“Very well, your majesty.”
The empress approached the window.
Outside the window, she could see Charlize.
She was cleaning the garden using a broom taller than her body.
She was so adorable to watch.
“It’s probably not a big deal.”
It was an abrupt statement from the empress, who had been watching Charlize for a while.
Her voice was full of confidence.
“Yes, I think so.”
“Alright, let’s just see how it goes.”
The empress muttered as she held her chin.
Because it involved Charlize, not anyone else.
The empress narrowed her eyes.
“Ah, I want to quit work and spend time with Charlize.”
Whilst muttering in a pitiable voice, there was a smile that couldn’t be hidden from the empress’s lips.
Following that day, the empress began to pay close attention to Charlize’s every move.
However, there was nothing out of the ordinary.
‘There wasn’t anything that stood out in particular…’
The empress was puzzled.
Charlize was just as always, pretty and lovely.
In addition, she was passionate about her work, determined to follow through on what she said, to be acknowledged by everyone.
‘My Charlize, you are so cute!’
She grasped her chest numerous times as she watched Charlize go round and round in circles over and over again.
Just when she thought it would be okay to stop doubting Charlize, something happened.
The empress’s eyes widened in surprise when she saw what happened.
She had saw Charlize secretly keep the pudding that was served as a snack rather than eating it.
Considering Charlize’s taste for sweet food, it was a bit out of character.
Is it because she’s going to eat it later
The empress, who spent some time contemplating, saw another of Charlize’s strange behavior.
Charlize had snuck into the kitchen and packed sandwiches and juice.
‘… … The maid was right.’
The food Charlize brought was too much to eat alone.
It would certainly be enough for at least two people.
Charlize, who wrapped the food in a cloth bag, scurried out, while observing her surroundings.
The empress instinctively followed Charlize’s footsteps.
After going back and forth, Charlize got used to finding the way.
At first glance, it seemed that Charlize was walking in the direction of the empress’s detached palace.
But, that wasn’t it.
The empress bit her lips.
The place where Charlize went to was the crown prince’s palace.
Charlize, who was looking around, shoved the cloth bag under a tree.
Then she crawled on the ground and disappeared into the wall.
The empress was silent.
She can’t believe Charlize was really in and out of the crown prince’s palace.
‘… But, I can’t let words get out.’
If the gates of the crown prince’s palace were opened to investigate this incident, it would surely reach the emperor’s ears.
And the emperor will not forgive servants associated with the crown prince.
That won’t do.
The empress moved forward while biting her lips.
As she approached the wall where Charlize disappeared, she noticed something.
A small hole was hidden under a tree.
It was large enough for a small child like Charlize to come in and out.
How did she find such a thing
The empress sighed.
‘I will have to wait until Charlize comes out.’
The empress took a seat next to the dog hole.
In the midst of it all, the empress couldn’t help but laugh at herself because she was sitting on the ground.
Before she met Charlize, she couldn’t even imagine sitting on the ground.
After some time, she heard the sound of footsteps.
There were also some voices.
“Then, crown prince.
See you again!”
“Get home safely.”
It was the first time she heard the prince’s voice.
The empress blinked.
The crown prince has such a young voice.
Well, he is only eight years old… ….
Then, she could hear some rustling.
The cloth bag came out of the hole, followed by a small body crawling out.
“Ahh, it’s really hard.”
As she struggled to get her body out of the dog hole, Charlize grumbled.
At the same time, the empress opened her mouth.
Charlize, who had just come out of the dog hole, stiffened.
Kneeling down, she looked at the Empress from afar.
Charlize’s face became as white as a sheet while the empress kept staring at her.
I doubted my eyes.
No, why is the empress here!
I licked my dry lips.
“How can Your Majesty be here…”
The empress straightened her index finger over her lips calmly.
I gulped after seeing her expression.
It was the first time that the empress had made such an expression towards me.
Then, she spoke to me calmly.
“Follow me quietly, Lize.”
“… Your Majesty.”
“I don’t want to make a big fuss.”
It was an expression I’ve never seen before in her.
It’s not my sister Rose’s expression that I was familiar with, but a stern expression befitting of an ‘empress’.
But, I could only bit my lips.
I was responsible for the current expression on the empress’s face.
Even though I could explain that I did this to protect the empress…….
‘… To the empress, it would sound like nonsense.’
In fact, I can’t even explain it clearly.
I’m the only one who knows the original story.
Perhaps the empress is feeling a tremendous sense of betrayal right now.
I took a big stride forward.
No, I want to.
But at that moment, a voice made me stay rooted to the spot.
It was Damian’s voice.
My shoulders tensed, and the empress looked at him with cold gaze.
After hesitating for a while, Damian opened his mouth.
“Who’s out there… are you the empress”
“…You’re correct, crown prince.”
I hold my breath.
In the original story, the empress and Damian meet only once.
That was when Damian gave his revenge and killed the empress.
The empress opened her mouth after a brief sigh.
“It’s the first time we’ve met.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
After that, a long silence followed.
The empress patiently waited for Damian’s next words.
“There’s something I want to say to you…”
Damian was uncertain about the conclusion of his speech.
Damian, who was deliberating his choice of his words for a moment, continued with a firm voice.
“I am asking you not to blame Charlize.”
At those unexpected words, I widened my eyes.
Damian, on the other hand, continued.
“Because all of this is my fault.”
“It’s the crown prince’s fault”
Charlize didn’t want to come to the crown prince’s palace from the beginning.”
Damian continued to lie in a calm voice.
What are you talking about!
My eyes shook.
“I told her several times that she shouldn’t meet me and follow the empress’s orders…”
I was frozen on the spot.