Chapter 3.1

On the evening of the formal banquet, the dining room welcomed no more than fifty esteemed guests. Among them were powerful nobles of the empire, individuals whose influence resonated throughout its territories. To earn a seat at the table alongside the king and queen required not just noble status but also a distinguished title, with stringent selection criteria ensuring only the most prominent figures received invitations. Their faces were familiar to palace denizens, owing to their frequent visits.

Yet, their minds were hardly focused on the feast before them.

Observing the Knight Commander, the nobles couldn’t help but marvel at his refined demeanor, which seemed incongruous with his savage reputation. Despite enduring the rigors of warfare, he appeared more distinguished than ever, his youthfulness adding to their allure.

All eyes inevitably gravitated towards a man seated with stoic composure, his expression betraying no hint of boredom. Admiration for his strength and beauty transcended gender boundaries. Despite humble beginnings, his remarkable achievements had propelled him to the forefront of society. Even the most arrogant nobles couldn’t ignore his wealth, fame, and overwhelming support from the masses.

While the usual gossip about the queen typically monopolized conversation, the presence of the young war hero diverted attention, allowing Lelusha to maintain her position with ease.

Despite the dining room’s opulent decor adorned with masterpieces by renowned artists, all eyes were captivated by a man whose visage rivaled any artwork. Only Lelusha spared a glance at the empty seat beside her.

Her husband’s tardiness went unnoticed until he sauntered in with an unapologetic air. None dared confront him as he casually strolled around, audibly criticizing the apparent extravagance of the setting without bothering to lower his voice.

Lelusha refrained from mentioning that she had allocated just 70% of the usual budget for the evening’s dinner. To do so would invite mockery, insinuating she lacked the acumen to spend money wisely.

“Dine,” Jocelyn’s curt command signaled the start of the meal, which initially proceeded without incident. However, chaos erupted abruptly as Jocelyn choked, spewing blood and collapsing. It was then that Lelusha sensed something was gravely amiss.

“Your Majesty!” Panic engulfed the room as Jocelyn was swiftly attended to by the royal physician and moved to the bedroom. Meanwhile, armed knights stormed into the dining room, sealing off the exits.

The only one maintaining an air of nonchalance amidst the chaos was Matthias, calmly dabbing his hands with a handkerchief. Whether he had foreseen the event or simply remained indifferent to Jocelyn’s plight, he appeared unruffled, steadying the faltering Lelusha until assistance arrived.

Lelusha gazed vacantly into the knight’s impassive countenance as he gripped her arm firmly.

The dinner preparations had been meticulously overseen by Lelusha herself. Just thirty minutes prior to the banquet, Jocelyn’s sudden illness, marked by vomiting blood and collapse, confounded all present. Every utensil had been thoroughly inspected, leaving no room for oversight, including the food.


Each attendee had been carefully selected by Lelusha; over half were royalty, and the nobles present had played pivotal roles in Jocelyn’s ascent to the throne. The likelihood of regicide against the fledgling king, who had only reigned for two years, at a royal banquet seemed exceedingly slim.

Thus, the situation was baffling. In an environment devoid of hostility or opportunity for poison, an attempt on Jocelyn’s life had occurred.

“We’ve apprehended the culprit!”

The culprit was swiftly brought forth, bound by guards. A young servant girl, barely of age, trembled in fear, her pallid face betraying her lack of audacity for such an act against the king.

“Are we certain about this girl?” Lelusha’s voice cut through the tension, prompting the guards who had escorted the girl to nod in affirmation.

“There were eyewitness accounts from the servants, claiming they saw her tampering with the utensils. Furthermore, she confessed to her actions,” one of the guards explained.

“…Confessed?” Lelusha couldn’t fathom that this young servant could act alone in such a heinous deed. She appeared too young, scarcely more than an apprentice.

“Who coerced you into attempting regicide against His Majesty the King?” The soldiers demanded.

As the girl trembled, she lifted her head, locking eyes with Lelusha. At that moment, an unsettling sensation gripped her, sending shivers down her spine.

The girl hesitated, her lips quivering before she tightly shut her eyes and pointed a trembling finger.

“…It was the Queen who ordered me to do it!”

Realization dawned upon Lelusha, confirming her worst fears. She had fallen into a trap.



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