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As she spoke, her eyes lit up with a subtle glare. Dumbfounded, Gaju examined Elisha as if this situation was the height of laughable absurdity. Her polite attitude was as provocative as a knight with a sharpened sword.
“Yes, tell me what you think.”
“It is true that Rosaria thought it would be good to run for Pope. However, it was a vague conception when she did not know that High Priest Merha and High Priest Gunner would be involved in such an unfortunate incident. Furthermore… … . Why can’t Rosaria-nim become the Pope?”
“What do you mean?”
“Archbishop Rosaria is too impeccable, and there are no people in the temple who she can call her own. So what’s the problem?”
“… … .”
“After all, you will need people who will take your side, work for you, and play the villain. Does it matter who in the family takes that role?”
Gaju narrowed his eyes.
“Archbishop Rosaria is a survivor of war, someone who wandered the battlefield. If Rosaria was truly an honest and uncompromising person, would she have survived so far? Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it doesn’t understand common sense. Rosaria-nim became the Pope because she took advantage of the turbulent situation, and before that happened, my husband and I announced that we supported Rosaria-nim, so she would not forget our grace.”
“What kind of influence does Lucerne have on Rosaria?”
the Head asked coldly.
“He did not become the enemy of the family. But he’s still illegitimate.”
Elisha’s hand trembled. She inhaled her breath and took a deep breath. She could not show the smallest crack in front of the Lord.
The Duke was a man that did not give a second chance. He liked people who obeyed him, even if he put a blade to their neck.
“Why does that matter? Whether he is illegitimate or not. Have you forgotten the beginning of the Cartier family?”
There was a reason the Cartiers controlled the temple. The founder and first head of the Cartier family was the illegitimate son of the Pope several hundred years ago.
At that time, high-ranking clerics were not allowed to marry, so all the children of high-ranking priests were all illegitimate. The power of the temple at that time was so great that the Pope established a ducal family and seated his son in the House of Cartier.
After that, they started a usury business, and the family income increased, until the current power of the Cartier family became much stronger than that of the temple.
‘Anyway, the founder of the Cartier family was also an illegitimate child, so what if Lucerne, an illegitimate child, interferes with the temple or not?’
Elisha’s logic was this. Gaju understood what she inferred, although verbally unsaid and looked at her as if she was ridiculous.
“You really… … . You’re a fearless woman. Is this what caught Lucerne’s eyes? Huh, really— really… … . Sometimes I see myself in my grandchildren, but there are moments when I wonder if that Lucerne fellow is actually crazy, so he brings in a girl that is crazier than him?”
“… … .”
Elisha silently listened to Gaju. She didn’t know if it was an insult or a compliment.
“The Cartiers have been monopolizing the seat of the Pope for too long, so the temple was too corrupted. But the high-ranking priests who believe they belong to the Cartier House are arrogant. If we have an outsider who can exert influence on the Cartiers only once, as Pope, the temple will be purified and people’s eyes will be softened,”
Elisha explained nervously. Gaju seemed to be thinking about something. She seemed to know how he felt.
If Gunner or Merha became the Pope, the Head would have used the temple anyway. But what if Lucerne used the power of the temple instead? He wanted to gauge something.
“Are you out of your mind? Are you referring to the origins of the Cartier family in front of me now?”
“… … .”
“You have insulted our entire family. If I’m really infuriated, I could kill you for that crime right now.”
“Thank you for not doing that.”
Elisha didn’t even miss a beat.
Only then did the Head blink and laugh. Elisha felt his anger dissipated, and her legs almost lost strength with overwhelming relief.
“Extraordinarily, you make me laugh. Amazing.”
“… … I’m glad to receive your compliment.”
“I’m laughing because it’s so ridiculous— it’s funny and makes me speechless. Ha, indeed!”
Gaju chuckled as if he was stunned. Then he naturally called Jacob’s butler and asked to bring her tea.
Elisha was relieved by those words and sat down. Her back was sweating profusely.
“I see, you are a woman who thinks.”
The Lord scrutinized Elisha for a long time. She was more afraid of that. Gaju thought that everyone but himself was a dog or a cat.
But right now he was staring at Elisha as if he were examining a human.
“How is your married life?”
“… … married life… … huh?”
“I’m not an enemy, Lucerne is my grandson. So is it strange to wonder about your grandson’s marriage and ask if he is doing well?”
“No, it is not. It is just… … . Normal. Everything.”
Elisha told the biggest lie of the day.
“Even a trusting dog won’t believe that lie,”
“Living with a woman who can manipulate me like this with three tongues, and Lucerne—acting like an ordinary couple that eats dinner together, goes for walks, and goes on outings together as a couple?”
Surprisingly, they did go for a walk together every day, but Elisha did not bother to correct him. Come to think of it, Lucerne had been a bit obsessed with her lately. Why on earth did they go out for a walk together every day? That was something that Elisha was also curious about.
There was a knock on the door. Then Jacob’s butler said:
“The general has arrived.”
Elisha almost dropped the teacup she was holding.
‘Why did you come? You said you’d give me the cold shoulder in front of the Head just this morning, didn’t you?’