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Chapter 26 - Can We Become a Family?

Forced to be Empress, Navia craves acceptance, but faces betrayal. She pursues revenge and new life. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translations,CWBF,Shoujo,Fantasy

The evidence Philippa had wasn't just a simple ledger.

She had gathered various embezzlement proofs over a long time.

Normally, these would have condemned her to execution by Nikan, but now it was different.

"Search the chef's quarters!"

The search proceeded swiftly.

"What, what is this, all of a sudden!"

The chef's face turned pale as knights and administrators stormed in like a bolt from the blue.

He had indulged in so much wrongdoing that he was caught in his own trap.

His quarters were filled with expensive items, far beyond what his salary could afford.

The administrator spoke sternly to the chef.

"An administrator has also been dispatched to the trading company you embezzled with. It would be wise not to try to wriggle out of this."

As the chef was being searched, Lyndon and Philippa rummaged through Charlotte's quarters.

When items similar to those in the ledger were found in the room, Lyndon's face grew grim, while Philippa was triumphant.

"Find Charlotte immediately!"

They couldn't let a mere servant who dared to disrupt the discipline of great Agnes go unpunished.

But Charlotte was nowhere to be seen.

Cursing Charlotte for complicating matters, Philippa headed to Navia's room.

If she wasn't elsewhere, she had to be in Navia's room!


Philippa flung open the door and shouted triumphantly, then hesitated.

Because the room was empty.

'She's not here either? Where could Navia have gone?'

Could they be plotting something together?

It made no sense for both to be missing simultaneously!

Philippa, growing impatient, urged the servants.

"Hurry and find Charlotte! Catch her before she escapes!"

Philippa treated Charlotte as a criminal, commanding throughout the mansion.

"There's no sign of a maid named Charlotte in the mansion!"


Philippa was flabbergasted and almost cheered.

It was rather a good turn of events.

Though the evidence against the chef was solid, the evidence to frame Charlotte was flimsy at best.

But now, hiding herself like this, the perfect picture was completed.

"That damned girl has realized and fled! Find her quickly!"

Lyndon sighed heavily, annoyed.

'Charlotte yesterday, Charlotte today. And today, there seems to be a real issue.'

Reporting to Nikan that a corrupt maid had fled might result in a chandelier crashing on his head.

He had to catch her before Nikan returned from the imperial city to the duke's estate.

"Increase the search party!"

Thus, the search extended not just to the main house but also to the garden, greenhouse, and annex.

"We've found her!"

At the welcome news, Lyndon hurriedly followed a servant to one of the annexes.

Philippa quickly tagged along.

She needed to press Charlotte, who would deny her involvement in the corruption.

And then.

"...What's going on here?"

Charlotte was in an unused annex, unconscious.

"Something is odd, sir. This annex was locked from the outside."

"What? Then someone knocked out Charlotte and locked her in here!"

Realizing the complexity of the situation, Philippa spoke hastily.

"Could it be the chef's doing? Fearing his embezzlement would be discovered, he must have resorted to this!"

Her baseless accusation only made everyone frown without responding.

"...For now, move Charlotte and show her to a physician."

"Yes, understood."

Lyndon thought the attempt to uncover corruption was taking a strange turn.

A cautious servant spoke up while continuing the search.

"Sir, we still haven't seen Miss Navia."

"What? Since when?"

"She was already not in sight when we were searching for the maid Charlotte, so probably even before that..."

Then a stern voice thundered from behind.

"What did you say!"

Lyndon turned around quickly, looking sheepish.

Nikan had just returned from a trip and was approaching with a menacing expression.

"Master, master!"

"Explain what's going on, right now!"

Lyndon reported everything in an orderly manner, from the embezzlement of the chef caught by Filipa to the current situation.

As Nikan listened, his expression grew increasingly fierce.

He couldn't tolerate that a servant of the household dared to embezzle.

But Navia had disappeared, and her dedicated maid was found unconscious, locked in the annex.

It was a clear case of kidnapping! He was so angry that he felt dizzy for a moment.

'Why has this happened when I've already arranged an audience with the Empress?'

Nikan lost his composure and shouted.

"Find her! Search the entire capital if you have to, but find Navia now!"

* * *


Navia wasn't sure if she had blinked.

She couldn't identify anything as she was submerged in darkness.

'Where am I?'

She felt the texture of the floor behind her back.

Navia slightly moved her hand while lying down to feel the floor.

'It's a wooden floor.'

Moreover, the place had a musty, damp smell of mildew.


She pieced together her last memory and guessed the situation.

'I've been kidnapped.'

That cursed Wood had dared to act, ignoring the threats of his father.


The area she was hit while being kidnapped throbbed in pain.

Navia took a short deep breath, suppressing her pounding heart due to the sudden situation.

'First, stay calm. Panicking won't help.'

If Wood had kidnapped her, she needed to check her physical condition.

She might have broken something in the process.

Fortunately, it seemed like she hadn't been hit anywhere else.

Not only that, she wasn't tied up.

'No gag, and no bindings on my hands or feet.'

Navia was momentarily dumbfounded by the surprisingly sloppy condition, but quickly pinpointed the situation.

'This doesn't seem like a professional's work.'

It seemed like Wood had ordered a servant to lock her up here.

'The reason for locking me up here is obvious.'

He clearly intended to knock her down with physical force, not magic.

Yet Wood had left her untouched and was not present.

That meant he could attend to her anytime.

Or, something unexpected had forced him to leave.

'Perhaps Nikan is looking for him or something.'

She deduced one thing from here.

'I'm still inside the Agnes mansion.'

Then, where was this place? Navia wanted to check the inside, but she couldn't identify anything with her eyes due to the darkness.

So, she closed her eyes tightly and focused all her senses on hearing.

Where this place might be, how long she had been unconscious, if there was anyone outside...

Then she heard a sound that could give her an idea of the time.

'It's the sound of a bird.'

She didn't know what bird it was, but it was definitely a sound she always heard at night.

'So, it's night now?'

She gathered more information.

'The smell of rotting wood, and the fact I can hear outside sounds, suggests it might be an external storage.'

Where was Charlotte?

Had Charlotte, finding it strange that she hadn't returned to the room, led people to search the mansion?

'That's unlikely.'

It was likely that Wood had also knocked out Charlotte and locked her somewhere else.

'It's cold...'

Navia huddled up.

As the mansion was thoroughly heated, she was only wearing a thick dress.

Navia reached out to feel around and cautiously got up, finding nothing obstructing her.

She had no intention of staying locked up like this.

'I wish there was even a small light.'

Navia explored the interior while feeling the floor.


Her foot hit an empty wooden box.

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