Chapter 383. Death Penalty (2)
Translator: Aura / Editor: HB168
The High Court Judge feared that the couple would involve the Emperor, to try to mitigate their crime, no matter whether it was true or false. He was horrified as he quickly calculated his responsibility for what was about to happen.
But the audience, protected by anonymity, had nothing to fear. The Emperor would not punish all those who came to watch.
“Emperor Sovieshu does not know.”
However, the Isqua couple’s reply defied expectations.
“Rashta promised us that if she became the Empress, she would help us find our daughters and bestow all kinds of riches on us.”
“We conspired with Rashta to deceive Emperor Sovieshu.”
“We don’t have to lie about this.”
“If necessary, we can do a paternity test with Rashta.”
Rashta wanted to scream, ‘No, His Majesty Sovieshu knew I was a slave.’
Sovieshu didn’t know about the Isqua couple’s background, but he did know that Rashta’s real parents were not nobility.
Besides, it was Duke Elgy who brought the Isquas.
‘Why is this matter being discussed?’
Rashta felt sunken and aggrieved. She wanted to stop the false accusations and clarify the matter for everyone. However, she couldn’t do it because she had come in secret. She stared at the broken eggs and crushed fruits scattered on the floor. Rashta shuddered as she imagined what would happen if she stepped forward now to refute the couple’s statements.
The High Court Judge, who had remained silent for a while, left the courtroom and entered a small meeting room with other important officials to decide the sentence.
Considerable time passed, but the Judge still didn’t come out. The audience remained in place. Not a single person left.
Before Rashta realized it, not only the Isqua couple, but also Viscount Roteschu and Alan were at the defendants’ site. She noticed the Isqua couple and Viscount Roteschu exchanging strange glances. The couple glared at Viscount Roteschu with hatred.
Others might think the exchange was insignificant, but not Rashta…
‘Viscount Roteschu told them about Evely.’
Rashta understood the situation at once. Otherwise, there was no reason for the Isqua couple to suddenly change their position, nor for them to look at Viscount Roteschu like that.
When the High Court Judge finally appeared, the loud talkers fell silent, as if they had reached an unspoken agreement. The Judge returned to his seat, raised his gavel and rapped his desk several times with a solemn expression. He recited the charges of Viscount Roteschu, Alan and the Isqua couple, one by one. He then added a few personal words and issued the sentence firmly.
“Roteschu Rimwell. Death penalty.”
“Alan Rimwell. Death penalty.”
“Gillimt Isqua. Death penalty.”
“Marsha Isqua. Death penalty.”
The Eastern Empire wanted me to testify as an affected party in the promissory note case.
I could also testify in other cases, but the Eastern Empire was most interested in my detailed testimony about the promissory notes.
Heinley asked me to think it over. That night we went to sleep in each other’s arms without saying anything.
The next day, Heinley left for work and I was still hesitant about whether I should attend. So I decided to tell my ladies-in-waiting. The first to react was Countess Jubel, who spoke firmly.
“Of course you have to go! You must go and tell everything! About the times she called Your Majesty ‘sister’ because you had the ‘same husband’, the time she tried to follow Your Majesty to the special banquet attended only by highly distinguished guests, the scandal she caused at the dinner held before the special banquet and how she imitated your behavior as Empress, the lie she told that Lord Koshar pushed her, the time she wore the same dress as Your Majesty and claimed that Your Majesty had copied her, the letter she sent to a noble of the Western Empire in which she stated that Your Majesty was infertile… Whew! Whew! Just talking about it makes me lose my cool.”
Beside her, Laura added with clenched fists,
“Your Majesty must also say that Rashta lied when she mentioned that Your Majesty sent her all kinds of gifts to welcome her as a concubine! That she pretended to be Emperor Heinley’s letter friend, back when His Majesty was a Prince! Ah, also that when Your Majesty danced with Emperor Sovieshu at the New Year’s ball, she deliberately burst into tears to interrupt the dance!”
Rose and Mastas, who didn’t know all that I had been through in the Eastern Empire, repeatedly gasped and stared open-mouthed with surprise.
“Your Majesty endured all that?”
“Your Majesty was attacked one-sidedly?”
“It wasn’t one-sided.”
Despite my correction, Rose and Mastas looked at me with sad eyes.
However, I was serious. Although I overlooked much of what Rashta did to me, to maintain my dignity as Empress, I did at least retaliate for some offenses. And Evely retaliated on my behalf for the times when Rashta called me her ‘sister’.
“Your Majesty, are you going?”
Laura clasped her hands and looked at me. Her expression told me that she hoped I would attend and testify.
I hesitated for a moment before answering honestly,
“I’m thinking about it.”
All of Rashta’s actions that Countess Jubel and Laura recalled had hurt me at the time. It even made me angry to think about it now.
But it wouldn’t do any good to say things like this at the trial… besides, Sovieshu was the one who sent gifts to Rashta on my behalf and took her to the dinner ahead of the special banquet.
As angry as I was about what she did to me, I could not attend the High Court, where serious crimes were dealt with, to address personal matters such as, ‘Empress Rashta used to call me sister and copied my dress.’
I also couldn’t disprove the accusation that my brother pushed Rashta, and that he hired fake parents for her. The latter had been planned by Sovieshu. He would ensure that there was no evidence.
As for the false accusation that Koshar pushed Rashta… I could not step forward because my brother attempted to make Rashta lose her child with abortive drugs.
An official complaint had already been filed with the Eastern Empire regarding the letter Rashta sent to Duke Liberty about my supposed infertility. I didn’t want to deal with the High Court about a matter for which I should receive a formal, public apology.
“I have also been asked to attend.”
Huh? As I pondered, a man’s voice interrupted my thoughts. It was Viscount Langdel. He didn’t usually intervene when I was talking to my ladies-in-waiting.
“By the Eastern Empire?”
“Yes. It seems the Eastern Empire wants me to testify about the report I wrote. Your Majesty Navier handed the report over to Emperor Sovieshu in exchange for my release.”
Oh, that will finally be revealed.
“The slander suffered by Lady Nian can be erased.”
“Yes, so I will definitely go. I will go to clear Nian’s name and to see that woman’s downfall with my own eyes.”
Viscount Langdel spoke sternly. A fiery emotion flashed in his eyes. As if he was happy to put an end to a terrible resentment.
“If Your Majesty goes, I can escort you, as we would both go to the same place. There must be a deep-seated hatred in Your Majesty’s heart. Going to the Eastern Empire to witness her downfall will make you feel better.”
“Part of me wants to see what will happen to Rashta. She pushed me to leave my country, after all. The other part of me doesn’t want to see how weak she has become.”
When I confessed what I felt, Mastas asked me in bewilderment,
“So, will Your Majesty forgive that woman?”
“I won’t forgive her. I just don’t want to see her break down, because I might feel bad for hating her. As much as I hate someone, it would affect me to see that person in a pitiful state.”
Yes. Sometimes I think of Rashta and get angry, I think, ‘what a crazy woman’. The same happens when I think of Sovieshu. ‘What an evil man’.
After I see Rashta fall, will I be able to hate her with all my heart? And if I still hate her, wouldn’t I feel bad?
Heinley asked me to make my own decision. After much thought, I decided to attend, so I went to tell Heinley,
“Do you want to testify, Queen? About all the damage she did to you?”
“No, I’ll just go to watch.”
“Just to watch?”
Heinley asked with concern,
“You may hear a lot of unpleasant remarks about that woman.”
“Wouldn’t it be better not to hear anything about that woman? Besides, you may be uncomfortable in the long carriage ride…”
“Although the situation is serious, Rashta is popular among the commoners, so there will not be many unpleasant remarks, even if many people are disappointed. I think being deposed will be her only punishment.”
Heinley thought about it for a moment and agreed,
“Then let’s go together, My Queen. Only then will I feel calm.”