“Y, your highness!”
Samantha looked up at me nervously. Agnes was so shocked she almost fainted. When they also learned the fact that we didn’t know whether Lucretius was safe, they started to pant in panic.
Agnes reacted the worst. She was in such a shock and grief she needed to be helped by other maids. She was the stepsister of the dead Empress Beatrice. I knew how she cared for her stepmother, who was Beatrice’s birthmother.
It made sense for Agnes to react this way, Lucretius’ safety was the priority at all times. He was the only living child of her beloved Beatrice. Not knowing what had happened to him would have been dreadful indeed.
I always thought she was one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. Thus, when I saw her collapse, it reminded me again how serious this situation was. We were all in grave danger, and this wasn’t the time for me to just sit and be idle.
I needed to take care of the situation or else, it would be game over. Even if Lucretius came back safely, it would be pointless if the dowager empress successfully took over the castle. She could easily marry off Liliana to a man she chooses and placed him on the throne.
The royal seal felt heavy in my hand.
Lucretius probably thought of many different possible situations and planned for them, but I wasn’t sure if he predicted this particular scenario.
On the other hand, the fact that he left me the royal seal must have meant he did expect some sort of danger to himself.
I needed to get going. I needed to move fast.
The news of the Senate meeting spread throughout the castle fast. I already sent the defense team to Lucretius and instructed the royal guards to protect the castle. However, I needed the Senate’s official acknowledgment of the rebellion to be able to send other military forces to help Lucretius.
“Your highness?” Yulia asked for my order.
I put as much force as possible into my voice and requested.
“The dress… The violet one I wore at the ball… Please bring me that dress. The blue diamond tiara as well.”
I needed to look regal.
A Senate meeting called by the emperor’s wife. This was the very first time it had ever happened in Cransian history.
The room was filled with tension as all the noblemen gathered.
The men argued nervously with each other as to what should be done.
How would they fight against the rebels?
Was the emperor even still alive?
Did we have his body?
Should we send the scouts to find out what was happening?
However, these rebels are well-trained military men. They would spot scouts and had them killed immediately.
What about the castle?
What about the situation with Genoa…?
So many questions and unknowns. No one could come up with a logical solution.
The one who needed to decide was the emperor, but he wasn’t here.
Someone asked carefully, “This meeting was called by her highness, yet why isn’t she here?”
Someone shouted, “It shouldn’t have been called by the wife of an emperor in the first place! She doesn’t’ have the authority! This isn’t how things are done!”
“Perhaps it’s the chancellor who is conducting this meeting in place of the emperor?”
“But even the chancellor doesn’t have the authority! In the past, an empress or the heir to the throne were given the power to call such meetings. Not a chancellor and definitely not an emperor’s wife!”
“And what are we going to do about the situation with Genoa?”
As people continued to talk on top of each other, the chancellor slapped the table loudly.
“Stop this immediately!”
A silence fell.
The chancellor raised his voice and announced, “How dare you suggest the emperor has passed! How disloyal! This is treason!”
Suddenly, someone from the far corner sneered.
Everyone turned towards the rude sound, which came from a man who held his head up high.
It was the dowager empress’ brother, Marquis Toruka.
The dowager empress and the princesses hid as soon as the news of the rebellion reached the castle. However, her brother didn’t need to do so at this point. There was no solid proof the dowager empress was involved in the rebellion.
Marquis Toruka asked sharply, “Don’t you think it is most likely that the emperor is dead?”
The chancellor warned him, “You should think carefully before you speak.”
“On this table, everyone has an equal right to speak. It has been so since the time of Emperor Kentius.” The marquis stood up dramatically and added, “Besides, what is the point of this meeting? We don’t even have a figure who has the authority to rule us.”
The chancellor smiled confidently and replied, “Oh, but we do.”
Before the Marquis could say something, the chancellor moved quickly.
He walked to the door and opened it elegantly as he announced, “Let’s continue our discussion with the lady who has the authority over all of us.”
The door opened to reveal a majestic woman in a deep violet dress.
The first wife, Sa Bina le Cransia.
The youthful woman walked inside with the elegance of a real empress.
Everyone seemed shocked to see me. Marquis Toruka looked especially tense.
I stood straight and walked slowly towards them. It seemed like Marquis Toruka was about to say something, but the chancellor spoke first.
“Greetings to your highness.”
He sounded too happy to see me, which made sense. We had already gone over what would happen at this meeting.
“I apologize for being late to the meeting I called myself,” I said to the chancellor nonchalantly as if this was an ordinary day. I continued respectfully, “I admit that as a woman, I may not be the best person to stand here, but there is no other way. This is for the good of the emperor and the kingdom.”
The Marquis interrupted me.
“Your highness, unfortunately, the wife of an emperor doesn’t have the authority to call a senate meeting. I would like to ask you why you would do this.”
Fortunately, I didn’t have to answer him since another nobleman answered instead, “Her highness technically does have the authority.”
“What do you mean?”
“Currently, we do not have an empress. In such cases, the first wife legally has the same authority as the empress.”
The chancellor added quickly, “That is very true. Without the emperor in the castle, the empress can act in his place temporarily. Therefore, it only makes sense that her highness has the authority of the emperor at this moment.”
The marquis argued, “How could you say a mere wife can act in place of an emperor!? That has never happened in the entire history of Cransia!”
My heart pounded hard. I had never been more anxious in my life.
However, I put on a confident smile and looked around the room. I then raised my right hand so everyone could see it clearly.
“I am indeed qualified as Sa Bina LE CRANSIA. On top of that, his highness has left me this in case of an emergency.”
Marquis Toruka’s face crumpled in anger. “That is… the royal seal!”
The noblemen murmured among themselves in shock. Everyone could see the golden ring on my finger. They knew what it meant for me to possess it.
It was a heavy ring. It felt even heavier knowing the responsibilities I gained from it.
When I was sure everyone had a good look at it, I lowered my hand and smiled. “Now, can you all acknowledge that I am qualified to stand here?”
The chancellor smiled and answered for everyone, “Even without the seal, you were qualified, your highness.”
Some clearly wanted to argue, but they didn’t dare.
Finally, the question of whether I could call this meeting was shushed. Now, the real fight would begin.
I swallowed hard nervously.