༺ Finishing ༻
Euphemia who drifted off to sleep on the emergency room bench slowly awoke.
The 11-hour surgery finally concluded.
Ferzen’s unconscious body was brought out of the surgery room.
His complexion was pale and sickly.
“The surgery is over. The anesthesia should still last for a couple of hours. But the patient will remain unconscious for a few more days…… This is an extremely sensitive period because even when he wakes up, he will still need plenty of rest.”
Euphemia could see the numerous vials slowly transfusing blood into his body.
Someone who always had an imposing and dignified presence.
Could also have moments of weakness like this……
Euphemia quietly followed the nurses as Ferzen was moved to his hospital room.
“Well, if you would excuse us……”
As she was left alone in the hospital room, Euphemia brought a chair next to Ferzen’s bed and sat down with her head lowered.
Just like when she was in the surgery room, the young woman continued to act like a confused and lost child.
Her past self would surely be disgusted with her current state of mind.
The woman who had survived and powered through several tribulations while trying her best to rule and manage her Territory.
That strong woman would have been capable of handling this situation with ease.
But she wasn’t that person anymore.
After being locked in her golden cage by Ferzen, the young woman had learned……
How to be submissive.
How to give in to him.
And when to give up.
She also was forced to learn how to please a man.
No……. Not just any man.
That strong and stubborn woman was now reduced to this state……
Where she only served one purpose, being the wife of Ferzen Von Schweig Brutein.
But that wasn’t all that had changed.
Her husband’s influence had corrupted her everything. Her body and mind all belonged to him now.
Yes, his influence had deeply taken root within her being……
She truly became his most prized possession.
Because of this, even now when her cage had been slightly damaged, Euphemia could not escape.
No, she didn’t want to escape.
She had become so used to having a leash tied around her neck, that now……
As she looked at his weary form, the young woman wished for Ferzen to arouse and pull on her leash as he used to.
So, please wake up……
The young woman was desperate for this trial to end.
But the man continued to rest soundly, despite her wishes.
Was it because the surgery was successful?
His body was in such a pitiful state that it wouldn’t be a surprise if Ferzen died at any moment.
And as those thoughts bounced around in her mind, Euphemia sought comfort in his warmth, burying her head on his nape and rubbing on his cheeks like a lost puppy.
……She could smell him
……And she could feel his warmth.
And every time that happened, she felt peaceful……
As such, Euphemia quietly drifted into the land of dreams.
* * * * *
The woman who had once led Louerg has long since passed away.
What lies here is but a tamed being……
Yes, a pitiful caged bird who will never spread her wings again.
* * * * *
「2 days after his surgery, Ferzen was officially recognized as a comatose patient.」
On that day, the 1st and 2nd Imperial Princes paid Ferzen a visit to inquire about his well-being.
「On the third day. 」
The First Imperial Princess, Elizabeth, came to check on the patient.
「 On the fifth day. 」
The Aristocrats who were present at the Imperial Banquet visited.
「On the seventh day. 」
The Emperor of Ernes alongside his wife, the Empress, came to see how Ferzen was faring.
「 On the eighth day. 」
Yuriel Wayne Dayna Alfred stopped by.
……While whispering a single word – ‘Stupid Bastard.’
「On the tenth day. 」
Ferzen was still unconscious.
「On the Twelfth day.」
…… Jeremiah, the head of Brutein, arrived in the Imperial Capital.
* * * * *
Jeremiah Von Schweig Brutein, Ferzen’s older brother and the current Lord of Brutein gazed at the cloudless sky as he prepared to meet the Emperor of Ernes.
Ferzen Von Schweig Brutein.
Even when they were kids, his younger brother had always been very unusual.
Something his nanny had also noticed early on.
The child was strange.
And this became even more apparent as he started to toddle around……
Their mother noticed it then.
As well as their Father.
And even some of the servants……
Thinking back, this must have been Ferzen’s own way of giving his family a signal.
But eventually, Ferzen succumbed to his illness as he, in a deranged state, tried to gouge out his brother’s mismatched eyes…….
Of course, this incident was buried by the Brutein family.
But because of this, they started to keep a distance from Ferzen.
In truth, this ‘freedom’ granted to Ferzen was nothing more than being neglected by his own family
Because Ferzen was born with such strong mana, he was naturally chosen to be the next head of Brutein, but because of that ‘incident’, he was denied of his position and came to be known as the ‘Black sheep of Brutein.’
Jeremiah could still remember those days vividly.
Immediately after his psychotic breakdown, Ferzen was locked up in a solitary room……
And the child locked up in his room refused to eat anything and even resorted to self-harm.
When the pigmentation of his eyes darkened, and Ferzen was able to look at him without fearing the repercussions of his illness, his stoic face broke into a genuine smile and he even shed tears of joy.
But of course, Jeremiah who was still terrified of Ferzen turned his back on him.
However, as he aged, Jeremiah came to understand his little brother’s suffering.
Although Jeremiah was never able to fully comprehend Ferzen’s OCD, he could still empathize with his suffering.
So in his own awkward way, he accepted Ferzen’s sincere apologies for his coming-of-age ceremony.
Ferzen was once again dominated by his illness.
And after that second incident, his struggle continued.
Jeremiah watched it all.
There was no way he could turn a blind eye to it.
He was even aware of the habits Ferzen painstakingly built in order to resist his OCD.
There was no cure for the illness of the mind.
One could only overcome it.
But Ferzen wasn’t able to do that.
In the end, he chose to learn how to live with his illness.
But the deeds he had committed weren’t something that could be simply excused under the guise of a ‘mental illness’.
Despite all of that……
He is still his little brother.
He is his family.
But even then, Jeremiah didn’t know what he could do for his brother.
However, for the first time in his life, the child asked for his assistance.
In order to secure the sole woman who his illness approved of.
So, Jeremiah searched through the history of her territory in order to find a clear cause, and he learned that many years ago, Louerg had requested monetary aid from Brutein, and Jeremiah gave those documents to Ferzen.
Euphemia El Lauren Louerg.
He pitied the woman, but……
His priority was his brother and not her.
But this mess was also derived from that same problem.
Jeremiah was already aware of Ciel Midford.
“Is his Majesty the Emperor here……?”
“Yes, My Lord! His Majesty awaits your presence.”
As the knight guarding the door stood aside, Jeremiah took a deep breath, opened the door, and entered the room.
Inside, the Sun of the Empire, the Emperor of Ernes calmly and regally sat on his throne.
“Jeremiah Von Schweig Brutein pays respect to His Majesty, The Emperor.”
Perhaps Ferzen participated in the Imperial Banquet under the surname of Loeurg, so that he could cut his ties with Brutein.
His troublesome brother.
Even if the memories of that day still haunt him……
How could Jeremiah abandon his only family left, when he had already taken so much from him?
The child who grew up learning to never expect anything from his family……
He would show it to Ferzen.
That he was still loved.
“You must have a lot to say, child….. Go on, I shall humor you.”
“Brutein…… intended to use the surname of Loeurg in order to interfere in the succession dispute….. That is what we wanted everyone to think.”
“Hoh…. So you’re telling me Brutein has something in mind with all of this…..?”
“You are correct, Your Majesty. The northern aristocrats always wanted to be a part of the big players in the political scenario of the Empire, and Brutein’s goal is to maintain the stability and increase the strength of the Imperial Influence…… If I may be so bold Your Majesty, isn’t it for this exact reason you intend to marry the eldest daughter of Lord Asran with one of the Princes?”
“Louerg will become the bridge between the north and the centralization of the Imperial power. And to accomplish this, I needed to increase Louerg’s reputation. This is the motive behind my actions.”
A just cause.
Jeremiah’s words alluded to this simple concept.
But the Emperor knew.
The Brutein was hiding its true motives.
Diverting his attention.
Giving him a dubious ‘just cause’……
While another ruler would have been fooled by this, he wasn’t.
This could very well be a historic moment that would never be recorded……
A game of plots and schemes.
But the Emperor decided to play the game, as he gazed towards the young man kneeling in front of him.
Yes, the Emperor decided to be fooled.
* * * * *
“What did you see……”
As Jeremiah left, the Emperor turned to his daughter —- Elizabeth.
His daughter had confirmed that not even a single word he said was a lie.
But as for his innermost thoughts about this subject……
“If the whole world was measured on one side of a scale, and his family on the other……. Then the scale would surely tilt towards his family….”
“Those were Jeremiah Von Schweig Brutein’s innermost thoughts.”
“Is that so……”
With this, the Emperor was sure that Ferzen’s actions were his own.
But, Jeremiah, the current head of Brutein chose to lend his brother his support.
And as a result, Brutein may not be so loyal anymore……
But if there’s no one to speak about this, no one will know about it.
Still, Jeremiah’s thoughts also revealed something to the Emperor.
That while his priorities weren’t his duty towards the Empire.
He didn’t have any sort of ambition for the throne.
And for that.
The Emperor was relieved.
“Well daughter, was that all…..?”
“You also need to see the Elder of the Alfred Family, Father.”
“Ah…… That’s right.”
Maybe because he had just faced the Lord of Brutein……
Dealing with the Alfreds felt like playing with a child now……
* * * * *
「On the fourteenth day.」
Ferzen finally regained consciousness.
TL NOTE: Ferzen’s older Bother is the true sigma male, a giga chad indeed.
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