After the attendant departed, Adele clenched her teeth and grabbed the book of imperial palace laws, rifling through it intently.
As she read, she pointed out a particular passage with her finger.

“‘The authority over the supplementary budget lies with the emperor.
However, at the end of the year, when the total budget for the next year is compiled, the emperor and empress jointly have the right to approve it.'”

This meant that, while the empress could interfere during the initial budget drafting process, only the emperor had control over the budget once it was finalized.

“We’ll have to bear with this situation until the end of the year,” she muttered.

Startled by her sudden outburst, Mrs.
Giggs turned to look at Adele.
The empress was deep in thought, her eyes narrowed.

She finally understood why previous emperors and empresses of Ehmont had engaged in bitter conflicts and even passed laws restricting the shape of toilets.
But everything had its ups and downs! Successive emperors and empresses had created the rag-patterned archery to limit each other’s power.

In other words, it was like using one hand to punch while kicking the opponent’s thigh with the other foot.
If Adele used the archery technique well, she could surely find a way out of this situation.

I’ll start searching,” she declared, igniting her fighting spirit as she eagerly delved into the first chapter of archery with burning eyes.


Meanwhile, the poor servant, who was being tossed back and forth, ran over to  Diane and bowed his head.

“The Empress wants me to do it again,” the servant said.

Diane, fanning herself, let out an exaggerated sigh.

“It seems that the empress wants to spend extravagantly despite being given enough funds.
Tsk tsk, how typical,” she said.

“Yes, my lord,” a nearby lady-in-waiting quickly agreed, bowing her head.
She explained that the former empress’s old dog had entered the palace and discarded all the fancy dresses  Diane had chosen for the new empress.
Additionally, she revealed that the empress had not even worn the crown that  Diane had selected for her wedding.
But none of that mattered to Diane Poitier, who stood up with a grin.

“You’ve done well.
You’re free to go,” she said.

The servant, unsure of how many more errands he would have to run, was taken aback by Diane’s sudden words and disappeared quickly, as if running away in case  Diane changed her mind.
 Diane dismissed all but Lorraine, then put on a modest dress, wiped off her makeup, and secretly ordered Lorraine to do the same.

“Now go to His Majesty and tell her that the Empress has summoned me for a supplementary budget.
And be sure to tell her that I’m trembling with fear,”  Diane instructed.

“Excuse me, did you say something? However, the empress did not directly call for the princess…”

Diane frowned disapprovingly and scolded the maid.

“It’s not helpful to be foolish.
Will Your Majesty openly inquire of the empress if she summoned me? Please stop fretting over trivial matters and do as I ask.
Hurry up and deliver the message!”

Lorraine hesitated momentarily at Diane’s urging before rushing out.

“They’re all just inexperienced children,” Diane grumbled, glaring at the door that Lorraine had just left before clicking her tongue and shaking her head.

“Well, even if there are many intelligent children in this palace, it won’t be enough.”

Diane took a deep breath and muttered,

“Shall we go catch the black beast?”


Meanwhile, at the Empress Palace, Adele, who had been scouring through the archives, fortunately stumbled upon a clue shortly after.


She let out a short, triumphant shout and clenched her fists with enthusiasm.
“Yes! Oh, truly! Did you arrange this for me?!” Adele already felt grateful towards her empress, who had passed away several generations ago.
This was the part that she was cheering for.

[The Empress has the exclusive right to decide on the acquisition of a residence in the imperial palace.]

“There was such a clause,”

Even after serving as the general manager of the imperial palace for a long time, Mrs.
Giggs couldn’t memorize all the tattered archery books.
There were too many of them, and reading them filled her with despair.
Nonetheless, she was a trusted advisor to Adele, who appreciated her candor.

“But you must be careful.
The Imperial Palace Law is a double-edged sword.
If you want to wield it, you must be willing to be bound by its rules,” Mrs.
Giggs warned.

Adele smiled wryly and gestured to the trash can.

“Look at me, asking the emperor’s government to increase the budget even though I’m the empress.
They raised it by a single silver bar.
Can you believe it? The double-edged sword was wielded by the emperor first.
I’ve already shed enough blood, so to speak.”

“I understand, Your Majesty,” Mrs.
Giggs replied with a soft smile.
“There is no room for objection.”

“What can I do to reverse a decision that has already been made?”

“If you want to withdraw a document that you’ve approved, you can retrieve it and issue a new order,” Mrs.
Giggs explained.

Adele smiled at the answer.
Her golden eyes shone like the moon.
She turned to her advisor and whispered, “Madam, please obtain a residence permit for  Diane Poitiers from the Ivory Palace.”

Giggs bowed respectfully.
“I understand, Your Majesty.”

The source of an empress’s power is complex and multifaceted.
Generally, an empress gains power through her family connections and the production of an heir.
Empress Ehmont, however, supplemented her power through a system of aides.
Only exceptionally talented empresses were able to build their own power bases independently.
Ideally, the emperor and empress would have a strong relationship that was mutually beneficial, but such couples were rare in Ehmont’s history.

Adele considered the various sources of power and rejected the first two options without hesitation.

“Family connections? That’s irrelevant,” she declared.
“Producing an heir?…” Memories of someone’s unwanted advances flashed in her mind, and she shook her head vehemently.
“That’s not an option right now.”

That left two options: relying on aides or building an independent power base.
Adele had initially intended to focus on building a strong relationship with the emperor before considering these options, but recent events had hardened her resolve.
The supplementary budget from the Ivory Palace had made it clear that she needed to take matters into her own hands.

Adelaide was born into the royal family and had been groomed to be the heir to the Gottrov Empire.
Her late father, Emperor Gottrov, had taken her with him to state affairs and cared for her deeply.
From her wedding day to the present, Adele had been patient, but she could wait no longer.

She pored over the Book of Archery and selected useful clauses, carefully outlining her plan of action.
It was time to counterattack and claim the power she deserved.

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