The grand capital of Croisen was aglow with festivities, celebrating the first anniversary of Emperor Karloi Croitan’s marriage to Evonne Deluah, the precious daughter of Duke Deluah. The air was thick with anticipation and curiosity as the lavish banquet at Prute Palace unfolded.
Rumors of the emperor’s disdain for his empress had spread like wildfire across the empire. Yet, against all expectations, the celebrations were extravagant, arousing a glimmer of hope in the hearts of the people. However, their hopes were shattered at the palace banquet when they witnessed the cold indifference shared between the emperor and empress.
Duke Deluah, unable to contain his rage and frustration, wept silently for his beloved daughter. But he knew well that the matters between a married couple were theirs alone to resolve.
As the nobles noticed the duke’s fury, they attempted to soothe the empress with flattery and conversation. However, her countenance remained unchanged, leaving many uncertain if her demeanor reflected dignity or a cold heart.
In the midst of the banquet, the emperor raised his voice, his face adorned with an unsettling smile. His announcements, when made in solitary celebration, had always been met with disdain from the nobles.
“On this auspicious day, I have an announcement,” he declared, sparking curiosity and trepidation. The nobles stole glances at Duke Deluah, his anger no longer contained within.
The emperor’s words echoed through the hall, revealing his frustration at the absence of an heir. The nobles, aware of the emperor’s refusal to share a bed with the empress, found it audacious of him to discuss the need for an heir.
Unfazed, the empress remained expressionless, as if detached from the scene unfolding before her. The emperor, undeterred by the chaos and the nobles’ reaction, continued his charade.
“There needs to be a change in our distant relationship as a married couple. Perhaps this anniversary will mark the beginning of that change,” he proclaimed, his voice filled with a mix of arrogance and uncertainty.
The footman at the entrance announced the arrival of Lady Kiana, the daughter of Marquess Roden. The hall fell silent as everyone’s eyes fixated on the woman who entered, emanating an aura befitting an empress.
The nobles who supported Duke Deluah paled, exchanging glances between him and Evonne. The empress’s usually indifferent expression shifted, now bored to the point of death.
Ignoring everyone, Lady Kiana approached the emperor, her voice nasal and irritating. The emperor embraced her, declaring her a concubine. The hall erupted into exclamations and shock, with the emperor oblivious to the voices that reached his ears.
The emperor’s actions resurrected a long-abandoned system, two hundred years in the past. His handsome face, aggravatingly beautiful, conveyed a smugness that made the nobles cringe.
Before leaving the banquet, the emperor asserted, “I shall not go back on my words. I have already received the most precious gift from this lady. I would be ashamed to be an emperor if I could not even take responsibility for such a gift.”
The implications of his words sent shockwaves through the nobles. The emperor’s intimate gestures with Kiana confirmed their suspicions. Simultaneously, Duke Deluah erupted with fury, unable to bear witness to the humiliation of his daughter.
Ignoring the chaos, the empress remained detached, her response revealing her indifference to the situation. The emperor, seemingly affected for a brief moment, quickly dismissed her presence.
With Kiana in his arms, the emperor exited the banquet, leaving the empress alone on what should have been a day of celebration. The grandeur and extravagance of the occasion transformed into a tasteless jest, evoking horror and awe among the attendees.
Chapter 1: He Hates Her (1)
Evonne Deluah, the cherished daughter of Duke Deluah, wielded a power almost greater than the king himself. Rumors circulated about her delicate nature, leading to her father’s overprotective tendencies and her lavish upbringing.
It was precisely Evonne’s pampered background that fueled Emperor Karloi Croitan’s contempt for her. Witnessing the tearful display between father and daughter on their wedding day only intensified his disdain.
Karloi sneered as he watched them, thinking it absurd that they were the ones shedding tears. The trap Duke Deluah had set to force Karloi into marriage had been successful, but the display was far from genuine.
“If you were truly concerned, you could have found another suitor for your daughter,” Karloi commented, unable to fathom the hypocritical scene playing out before him.
However, Evonne’s beauty captivated all who saw her. Her golden blonde hair shimmered like the sun reflecting on water, and her emerald eyes held a depth that drew people in. Fragile and ethereal, she appeared as if a gust of wind could blow her away.
The resemblance between Evonne and Duke Deluah sparked speculations among the nobles. They anticipated a tumultuous marriage, knowing that Karloi despised his wife’s beauty and the arrogance it mirrored. The fact that Evonne had brought over her own entourage of servants only added fuel to their expectations.
The wedding ceremony marked the first public appearance for Evonne. As Karloi sarcastically acknowledged her presence, she gazed back at him with unwavering eyes. Her expectant look unnerved him, causing unease to course through his veins.
He detested both her appearance, a constant reminder of Duke Deluah’s audacity, and her audacious expectations. She carried herself as if she deserved his affection, just like her father. The audacity was infuriating.
Suppressing his disgust, Karloi released Evonne’s hand, coldly severing their connection. Her momentary surprise did not faze him, and he wiped his hand clean of her touch. For the remainder of the ceremony, he refused to acknowledge her presence, even storming out without a farewell kiss.
Alone and abandoned, Evonne drew the gaze of all those present. Her irritation pierced through her voice as she chided the onlookers, “What are you all waiting for? Do as he says.”
Thus, one year from their wedding, Emperor Karloi introduced a new woman into their lives, solidifying her position as his concubine, effectively betraying the empress.
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