The Empress returned to the palace last night, her face ashen.
It caused the viewer’s heart to skip a beat as the already pale countenance became even paler.
Giggs had served as the general manager of the imperial palace for a long time.
Although she no longer had influence over the ladies-in-waiting, her former colleagues remained in the palace.
Rushing to them, she inquired about what had happened, and she heard the entire account before dawn.

“She already looked unwell when she left the Emperor, and Diane Poitiers insulted you properly.
To make matters worse, the Minister of Defense caught her almost falling down the stairs,” they informed her.

Giggs was concerned that Adele might become ill due to her condition, but her worries were unfounded.
The Empress woke up at dawn, washed herself, and began to eat breakfast proudly.

“Eat slowly,” Mrs.
Giggs advised.

The Empress nodded, but she continued to eat without pausing.
The breakfast consisted of well-cooked bacon, a poached egg with savory yolk oozing out when touched, and fresh fruit juice.
Adele savored the flavors and ate until she was full.
She was just about to reach for the strong coffee she had ordered when an attendant arrived.

“What is it?” Mrs.
Giggs asked.

The attendant bowed politely and presented a red envelope from his bosom.

“It pertains to the supplementary budget you mentioned earlier.
The emergency budget supplementary has been completed, and I would like to ask you to review it,” he said.

Adele placed the untouched coffee cup on the saucer, and Mrs.
Giggs quickly retrieved the envelope from the attendant and handed it to her.
The red envelope contained a folded sheet of stiff paper.
Adele unfolded it and reviewed the budget for the Empress’s palace.

“… … .”

All eyes in the room were fixed on the empress’s expressionless face.
Even though her eyes moved once from top to bottom, her doll-like expression remained unchanged.
The attendant who brought the document nervously wriggled her fingers backward.
How long had it been like this? The Empress raised her head and addressed her wife, Giggs.

“Do I have the authority to review the details of the total budget for the imperial palace?” she inquired.

“Yes, Your Majesty,” Giggs replied.

“I want to see it.
Please retrieve it for me,” the Empress instructed.

Giggs respectfully bowed her head.
“Understood, Your Majesty.”

As Giggs turned to leave, the Empress set the paper aside and gracefully lifted her coffee cup.
She casually asked the attendant, who was still anxiously watching her,

“Where did this document come from? Did the Emperor send you?”

“No, Your Majesty.
I am from the Ivory Palace.”

“The Ivory Palace.
They seem to have their hands in everything,” the Empress remarked.

The attendant stammered nervously, “Th-thank you, Your Majesty.”

“Wait here for a moment.
Have a servant escort him to a waiting room, and I will call for him later,” the Empress ordered.

“Yes, Your Majesty.
I understand,” the attendant replied, relieved.
The maids escorted the attendant out of the room.

Adele took a sip of the bitter coffee and glanced at the paper lying beside her.

I’ll enjoy a good breakfast.
Beasts are vulnerable when they are weak.
Since he had made a move yesterday, he probably intended to finish things off today with a confirmed kill.

“I never imagined that an emperor would entrust a concubine with the supplementary budget for the empress’s palace.
It is a rarity to witness such an event in the present day.”

The emergency supplementary budget amounted to no more than what was required to purchase a single horse.
Adele examined the total budget that Mrs.
Giggs had presented with a cold, calculating gaze.

“What on earth is this amount?” Adele asked, passing the paper to Mrs.

Giggs furrowed her brows, strained due to presbyopia, as she scrutinized the contents of the paper.
She took a deep breath and addressed the empress, “Your Majesty, this is…”

“It is not even worth a common horse.
It is a meager amount,” Adele interjected, taking another sip of her third cup of coffee.

With her left hand, Adele perused the booklet containing the entire imperial palace budget and inspected the section allocated for the empress’s palace.
She fixated her gaze on a particular point and couldn’t seem to look away.
Finally, she put her coffee cup down with a click and shoved it aside.
She then pulled the booklet towards her and read the details calmly, tracing the words with her right index finger.
Suddenly, she made a rustling sound and leaned back in her chair.

“Based on my common sense, the amount assigned to the Ivory Palace should also be granted to the Empress’s Palace.
You have been in the Ehmont Imperial Palace for quite some time; take a look,” she said to Mrs.

Adele pushed the booklet toward Mrs.
Giggs, who tilted her head to check the details.

“… … It exceeds the level of the amount placed in the Empress Palace.”

Adele nodded and spoke in a cold tone.

“Tell the attendant who came.” Adele demanded.


Diane Poitier calmly nodded her head, as if she had anticipated the situation.

“So, should we re-allocate the funds?” she asked.

“Yes, my lord,” the attendant replied, realizing intuitively that something was amiss.
He had found himself caught in a difficult position between the empress and the palace, akin to that of a local drummer.
He had heard stories of seniors who had mishandled this role and ended up failing miserably.
He wondered how he could escape this situation.
Should he feign exhaustion and collapse from fatigue? As he was lost in thought, Diane Poitier quickly handed him something, which he took and examined.

“I’m not sure if this will satisfy you,” she said.

“But, didn’t you just say–” the attendant began to protest.

“Will it take you half a day to get it?” Diane interrupted.

Realizing the urgency of the situation, the attendant hastily accepted the envelope.

“I will go and retrieve it immediately.
Right now,” the attendant said, bowing her head nervously.

As she clutched the envelope, the attendant could feel the moisture on her palms.
She hurriedly concealed it in her bosom and began to make her way out of the room.
The attendants thoughts were conflicted.

“If I respond to this request so quickly, it may raise questions as to why I hadn’t allocated more in the first place.
What if I had made a mistake in increasing the amount? What if I am met with a cold, ghostly smile when I present it?” she wondered, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath before stepping out of the room.


It would have been a relief for the attendant if the increased amount had been enough to satisfy the empress.
However, the poor attendant’s ordeal was far from over.
As expected, the empress was displeased with the quick return.
From the attendant’s perspective, it was terrifying to be involved in the imperial politics.

“You came back so soon.
Does this mean that the Ivory Palace has the authority to allocate the supplementary budget?” Adele questioned, trying to make sense of the emperor’s decision-making process.
The empress followed through with the amount indicated on the second memo, but still threw away the paper in frustration.
She then ordered the attendant to return.

“Fine, you may go now,” she said dismissively, causing the dejected attendant to shuffle out of the empress’ palace with drooping shoulders.

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