“I apologize for referring to it as a dog fight.
Did you really make the shape of the toilet a law?” Adele sighed as she contemplated the absurdity of the situation.
It was only when she was about to resume writing that something caught her attention, causing her to freeze.
She felt a surge of mana coursing through her veins, making her whole body tingle.
Adele glanced outside the window, where she saw a tranquil scene of a blue sky.

“It couldn’t be…” Adele muttered, gazing at the sky with a perplexed expression.
Just then, her lady-in-waiting entered the room, announcing the arrival of a visitor.

“Your Majesty, the daughter of Count, Diane Poitiers wishes to see you.”

Adele raised an eyebrow in surprise.
Despite sending an attendant, the visitor had still made the effort to come to her.
After a moment of consideration, Adele gave her approval.

“Take me to the drawing room.”

As Adele entered the drawing room, she tried to calm herself down.
She had learned from her mother’s example not to show any emotion towards her father’s mistresses, and now she had to do the same with  Diane Poitier.
Adele considered sending her away, but she knew she had to hear the answer to her order to increase the amount.
She took a deep breath, reminding herself of the aphorism to stay calm in the face of adversity.

As the ladies-in-waiting opened the door, Adele entered the Empress’s spacious drawing room, feeling like she was entering a battlefield.
Diane, who had risen comfortably, greeted her in a soft tone.
Adele turned to face her and couldn’t help but feel that everything about  Diane was bold and powerful, except for  Diane herself.
The Empress, with jet-black hair hanging to one side, dominated the room with her presence.

“Your Majesty the Empress,” the lady-in-waiting announced.

Adele approached  Diane and greeted her with a curt nod.

“The Lady of Count Poitiers,” she said, acknowledging Diane’s powerful name.

Adele’s mother’s words echoed in her mind once again, reminding her that life is a constant battle.
She straightened her shoulders and prepared herself for whatever was to come.

The expression that had completely collapsed the night before was nowhere to be found.
He didn’t even display the slightest displeasure towards the government.
Diane greeted the Empress with a light bow, but her majesty passed by and took her seat without acknowledging her.

“Sit down,” she commanded.

Adele looked at Diane, who was seated calmly, with emotionless eyes.
Then, she spoke in a dry tone, carefully controlling her facial expressions to hide her emotions.
There was no need for rhetoric.

“Did you bring the answer to the matter of sending the attendant personally?” she asked.

“Yes, Your Majesty the Empress.
That’s correct,” Diane replied.

As the Empress continued to stare at her, Diane politely asked, “I’m sorry, Your Majesty the Empress.
What are you upset about?”

Adele managed to keep her composure, even as her eyebrows began to move.
Adele deliberately spoke slowly to avoid revealing any tremble in her voice.

“What am I upset about?” Adele asked.

“Yes.” Diane replied..

Diane tilted her head with an innocent expression.
Adele pressed her tongue to the roof of her mouth, holding her expression.
It was a good question to ask.
If she explained every phrase, she would appear pitiful, and if she became angry, she would appear narrow-minded.
Moreover, the purpose of this question was to establish who currently held the upper hand in their relationship.
Adele accepted the budget sum and the archery book held by the maid standing next to her in a businesslike manner.
Diane scrutinized the Empress with a sharp gaze, trying to detect any signs of trembling or excitement.

Unfortunately, the Empress did not display the slightest agitation.
As Adele unfolded the bills in the Ivory Palace and held them out to Diane, Mrs.
Giggs returned.

“Your Majesty the Empress, I have returned,” Mrs Giggs announced.

“You have worked hard.
Come here for a moment,” the Empress replied.

Giggs took her seat to the right of the Empress, concealing the documents in her bosom.
Diane did not acknowledge Mrs.
Giggs, whom she had not seen in a long time, and instead focused on the budget proposal presented by the Empress.
After reading its contents, Diane inwardly laughed at the Empress.
The Empress was trying to leverage her position to exert pressure on Diane officially, but that would not be so easy.
If positions and laws were upheld,  Diane Poitier would never have been able to become the master of the Ivory Palace.
Whose authority is this Ehmont? Although the Empress’s original authority was transferred to her upon accession, Diane still held the palace authority that belonged to the Emperor.
Of course, the Emperor had expressed his intention to retrieve it, but as of today, he had not followed through.
Furthermore, no noble supporters of the Empress existed in Ehmont.
Thus, now was the decisive moment to break the Empress’s momentum.

“Your Majesty the Empress, with all due respect, why are you showing me these things?” Diane asked.

“There is something I want to ask you,” the Empress replied.

“What is it?”

“Why are there no usage details in the total budget of the Ivory Palace?” the Empress inquired.

Diane fell silent, taken aback by the question.

“Is it for consumables, salaries, or VIP entertainment? All other institutions have usage histories.
Why does the Ivory Palace budget only list the amount paid and spent without any usage details?” the Empress continued.

It was an unexpected inquiry.
Only those with permission to read the imperial budget bill could do so, and even though the Emperor had threatened to punish anyone who found out that Baldr’s family had not written the budget for the Ivory Palace, Diane had evaded including the detailed usage details.
This was because if one structured the usage details too carefully, one would be limited in how they could spend.
One would have to make even a single dress according to the budget.
How tedious! Fortunately, neither the Emperor nor the Minister of Finance had said much about this.
They probably didn’t want to go to the trouble of inquiring about the budget of the Ivory Palace.
While Diane sighed, the Empress sat deeply in her chair and raised her teacup.

“But why are you asking about the Ivory Palace budget?”

At Diane’s question, Adele tilted her head with a genuine smile on her face.
Diane realized that the Empress’s smile made her ask questions she shouldn’t have.
Was this the smile of a monster that seduces people and eats their livers? The Empress’s smiling face was so beautiful that she couldn’t take her eyes off it, but Diane’s palms were damp.

“That’s because the amount allocated to the Ivory Palace has to be transferred to the Empress Palace.”

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