The “It wasn’t really me who abused you, babe, it was the drugs” is reminiscent of alcoholic abusers and I don’t buy it as an effective plot device. It is not only cheap—it is also dangerous, as it conditions readers to slowly accept this kind of insidious behavior in real life. The pre-timewarp emperor was not erratic or “not like himself”; he clearly calculated his actions (e.g. speaking sweetly to Jieun, sending her away, and switching smoothly to threatening Tia) and was in control of himself. He made the conscious choice to force himself on Tia. I feel as though this drugs arc is being introduced because “I abused you because your mother protected you instead of me, boo-hoo” wasn’t enough to wash the taste of pre-timewarp emperor out of our collective mouths. Also, I don’t understand why Tia constantly flip flops between “I don’t want to be empress” and “oh no what if I can’t be the empress ?" I understand if she’s concerned about the political sphere but if that’s the case then she’d be a lot more practical about it rather than “oh no why does my heart beat so fast around my past abuser?”. Oh but wait no he’s not the same abusive guy you knew before, he’s nicer now. And he’s not taking harmful substances anymore. He won’t do all that again, baby. He’s changed, because you’re better than before. He was like that because you weren’t good enough then, but now you are. It won’t happen again. Give him another chance. I mean he planted a kiss on you out of nowhere but that doesn’t mean he’s the same guy who invoked “marital rights” by pinning your arms to the wall. It’s not like this kind of red flag behavior emerges gradually and insidiously like that. He disrespects your choices by wishing that you’d become his empress instead of inheriting your family’s title, but isn’t he so sweet for doing that? He just loves you so much! It’s disgusting.