Chapter 235: Side Story 27
The Emperor already knows?
That meant he had turned a blind eye to Count Valois being kidnapped.
The Count naturally did not believe it.
‘He must be out of his mind.’
Instead, he thought it was Sabina who was crazy.
Given the situation Sabina was in, it was not unreasonable to think so.
She was recklessly charging in to somehow take revenge on the Count who had driven her into a corner.
Like a moth to a flame!
“I took pity on you when you were born, I tried to let you have the title of Grand Duke’s wife before you die, but you don’t appreciate the kindness and keep struggling to climb up!”
“Think carefully. Do you think dying after enjoying everything and dying right now are the same?”
Sabina sent a cold glance at his threat and then stood up from her seat.
“I omitted it because it was bothersome to talk, but you’re saying it for me. So, do you choose to die right now?”
She took out an elegant envelope with the Emperor’s golden seal from her bosom.
And then she pulled out a document inside and pushed it in front of the iron bars.
“What is this?”
“A certificate of body forfeiture.”
The pale-faced Count hastily crawled over and scanned the contents of the paper.
Of course, it wasn’t a real certificate of body forfeiture.
But he couldn’t be completely relieved.
“This, this is…!”
The interrogation right of the Valois family!
“No, no way! It must be a forgery!”
“Why do you think it’s impossible?”
Sabina asked with narrowed eyes, as if doubting his intelligence.
“Have you not been tacitly allowing the only heir of Castaigne to enter your family?”
At that, the Count couldn’t help but be shocked as if his breath was taken away.
“How could you possibly know that…!”
He reflexively let out a confirming nuance and then hastily covered his mouth.
“You sent me to the Valentines thinking I would know nothing. I don’t understand why you are so foolish.”
In fact, there was a reason for Count Valois’ naive judgment.
It was a rumor, secretly spread, that brides sent to the Valentine family were like sacrificial offerings and nothing more than seed bearers.
He guessed that Sabina would not even be treated as a human there.
‘He couldn’t have imagined that I would uncover Allen’s matter.’
The Count clearly knew that Allen and Sabina had a close relationship.
And he read the note Allen had left for Sabina.
‘I buried it back under the tree after reading it. It’s a trap I set for when I eventually escape.’
Using the note left by Allen Castaigne, Count Valois found his base three years ago and killed him.
And knowing that Sabina had fled to the harbor, he forcibly brought her and sent her to the Valentines.
The deeper he delved, the more vile he was.
“You also committed the crime of overlooking treason.”
“Do you have proof? Proof that I overlooked it?”
“I couldn’t find proof that you overlooked it.”
How could you possibly find evidence that I knew and overlooked it?
“I found evidence that you participated in treason.”
The Count, who was about to burst into laughter, soon distorted his expression.
“That’s why His Majesty the Emperor expelled the Valois.”
Expelled the Valois.
At that statement, the Count felt a shock as if his heart had plummeted to the bottom.
“Participated, that’s nonsense! It’s not participation! Did you really report that to His Majesty?”
“It was not treason.”
Sabina murmured in a low voice mixed with a hollow laugh.
“The rebel army raised by Allen, you were the one who paid the most significant amount of their funding. And you still say that?”
Everyone who supported the rebels was punished for participating in treason.
But there was one who didn’t receive punishment.
‘The anonymous sponsor.’
The one who provided the most substantial funding.
Valentine had tracked him down and eventually discovered the source of the secret funds.
It was Count Valois.
“If you weren’t involved, then what was your intention in sponsoring them?”
“Could it be that you were making donations to the rebels, something you’ve never done in your life?”
It was obvious.
“You must have wanted to strengthen the rebel forces.”
Only if they were a significant threat to the Emperor, not just small fry, could he expect to reap a great reward.
To elevate his own status.
Donating money and providing military support.
‘And planting spies in advance would make it easier to crush the rebels later.’
Sabina bit her lip.
“Did Allen die by your hand then?”
“What does it matter! He deserved to die. The bud of treason must be crushed!”
“You were the one who sowed, watered, nurtured, and then crushed it!”
And then he murdered them all.
After thoroughly using them from the beginning…
For a moment, thinking of Allen, her vision blurred.
“You must have received thanks from them, basking in all the credit…”
Sabina muttered, covering her eyes with her palm.
“Do you have a certificate proving I sponsored the rebels?”
Legal action couldn’t be taken based on someone’s testimony alone.
The Count desperately demanded any such evidence to be presented right away.
At that, Sabina lowered her hand.
Her eyes were blazing with bright red fury.
“Do you think I would be doing this without such evidence?”
“What nonsense are you talking about. How could you possibly…”
At that moment, the Count recalled his wife.
He surely had fallen into a deep sleep after drinking the alcohol she had served him, only to wake up in this cellar.
He had been slow to grasp the sudden turn of events.
Finally realizing the situation, Count Valois’ eyes bulged as if they would burst.
“…You plotted this together!”
Sabina silently looked down at the Count as he repeated the same words.
Until his futile resistance subsided and an uncomfortable silence settled.
The Count belatedly noticed the temperature.
The air in the cellar was as cold as midwinter.
And then, the sound.
“Father, do you hear this sound?”
In the chilling space, where even frost seemed to form, the sounds of hot blood and screams echoed ceaselessly.
Though muffled by the walls, it was clear someone was being tortured.
“This, this sound is…”
“I’ve heard there’s a quite capable interrogator in Valentine. Fortunately, I don’t have to dirty my hands.”
“You, you bitch!”
Sabina remained unfazed by his blatant murderous intent.
Having dealt with Grand Duke Valentine, the Count seemed more like an insignificant bug.
“If you confess your crimes, you will be publicly executed. Along with Gary Valois, whom you cherished so much.”
“Gasp, gasp! No!”
“Treason erases three generations.”
At Sabina’s added words, the Count gasped for air.
“It can’t be. It’s impossible!”
His grand vision was being shredded before his eyes.
All in a single moment.
“You think you will be safe!”
Sabina still bore the name of Valois.
Since the wedding had not taken place.
But she smirked and replied.
“I will be safe.”
Sabina left the underground dungeon.
At the same time, she frowned.
Being in the dark cellar had made her eyes sensitive to the bright blue sky and the mild autumn sunlight.
‘The air is completely different above ground.’
She turned her head at the familiar smell of smoke, noticing Tristan putting away a cigarette that seemed freshly extinguished.
“Isn’t it too early? I thought you’d unleash your anger after meeting your blood relative after such a long time, but there’s not even a scent of blood.”
He meant to ask why, despite setting out for revenge, she hadn’t beaten the Count to a pulp before coming back.
Sabina silently gazed at the cigarette butts piled at his feet before speaking.
“If I had intended to dirty my own hands, I wouldn’t have sought Valentine’s help in the first place.”
Tristan smirked and took off his coat, draping it over Sabina’s shoulders.
Her eyebrows shot up instantly.
He had noticed her body trembling slightly.
He had become more perceptive since becoming aware of his emotions.
His attitude and tone remained the same, but it was clear that he was now entirely focused on her.
As if she was the only existence in his world.
Sabina looked straight into his deep black eyes.
In those eyes, like empty pits where nothing else resided, Sabina was reflected, like a mirror.
As if filling his shattered humanity with her presence. As if he had become a complete person because of her.
Such was the intensity of his gaze.
“What about your stepmother?”
Feeling almost suffocated by embarrassment, Sabina changed the subject.
“I sent her to a place where the Emperor’s eyes will never find her. She should be able to spend her remaining days in peace there.”
Sabina did not ask where that place was.
They had cooperated just for this incident, and she had no intention of seeing her stepmother again.
As long as she was safe, that was enough.
“Why did you bite your lips like that?”
Tristan asked, frowning as if displeased.
Her lips, dotted with blood, were as red as flowers.
“It seems the Count really infuriated you.”
He leaned in, gently wiped the blood with his thumb, and whispered in a low voice.
“If such a thing is your family and it’s hard for you to lay your hands on them directly, just give the orders. I’ll make everything just as you wish.”
‘I’ll make everything as you wish.’
After a moment of contemplation, Sabina slightly parted her lips.