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Act III, Scene 5
The scene shifts once again to the palace of Cymbeline where King Cymbeline, the Queen, Cloten, and attendants enter along with Lucius, the Roman messenger. Cymbeline treats Lucius with great courtesy and warmth even as he reiterates his decision not to pay the tribute to Caesar. He vouchsafes a safe journey to Milford- Haven for Lucius who has to cross the River Severn before proceeding to Italy. As usual, Cloten behaves in an insolent manner and refuses to shake Lucius' hand as he takes his leave.
Cymbeline is aware of the political consequences of refusing to pay the tribute but he is prepared to face war. He also knows that there is no time to lose, for the Roman forces stationed in Gallia will be landing in Britain soon and he orders that his soldiers be kept in readiness. It suddenly occurs to Cymbeline that he has not seen Imogen for two days and he sends an attendant to summon her. The Queen, meanwhile, advises caution in speaking to Imogen. The attendant rushes back to report that Imogen's chambers are locked. The Queen then remembers that she had been informed that Imogen was ill but had forgotten to inform the King. Cymbeline immediately fears that his daughter has fled, and rushes to out to see for himself. Cloten observes that he has not seen Pisanio for two days either; the Queen sends him after the King to make sure he is all right. In an informative aside, she reveals her joy at the turn of events, for with Imogen gone, she could claim the throne for herself.