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As rumours about the divine beast circulated, the High Priest Hellion had already entered the Duchy of Cardian and asked to meet with the Duke.
The fact that the divine beast came to the land where humans live would be enough to turn the world upside down, but the fact that the divine beast bowed its head in front of a human’s feet needed to be confirmed.
The Church of the God of Heaven was the head of the church in various parts of the continent. That said, it was easy to obtain the cooperation of other denominations once they were recognised by the Church of the God of Heaven.
It was a win-win situation for the Duke of Cardian and for the church to confirm and prove that it was a divine beast. So, Zeppel gladly escorted Hellion to the mansion.
Asylus, the capital of the Duchy of Cardian, served the same function as the Duchy’s capital but was not located in the centre of the Duchy.
Rather, it was in a position that came down to the south. It was for that reason that he could travel to and from the capital in half a day by using the teleportation magic circle.
It was also for this reason that they decided that Asylus could serve as the new capital if a new empire was established.
So, the army of the Duchy of Cardian was also assembling in Asylus at the time. Leonis and Zeppel neither anticipated nor hoped that Michael would squander any of his time.
Michael was already a traitor because he was the one who killed Prince Phil, and Leonis took on the form of an adversary due to the appearance of the divine beast.
He had to fight for the throne while the emperor was still alive.
For that reason, Zeppel predicted that Michael would hold off on killing the Emperor until the very last second.
“Now that he has the Emperor in his custody alive, he will be able to coerce the Emperor into giving him anything that he desires, whether by torture or intimidation. It’s not a terrible scenario considering he can use this to exert dominance whenever he wants to.”
However, the presence of the Divine Beast would be a barrier to overcome.
There was a good chance Michael’s side would deny the existence of the divine beast and label Leonis a traitor.
On the side of Leonis, it is possible to refuse the imperial order from Michael on the grounds of ‘serving God’s will’ under the pretext of the Divine Beast.
As proof of their mystical power in the empire where the Divine Beast disappeared, the Hermos royal line used the favour of Nedesmer, the God of Heaven, as a weapon.
God actually hated and cursed them, but no one knew.
It would be difficult for those who wielded power by claiming the Divine Beast’s power was favoured by the gods to ignore the living evidence of God now.
When Leonis entered the meeting hall, the group gathered and all stood up in unison.
Hellion, the high priest, was seen to be there among them as well. As soon as the interview was permitted, he was about to lead the High Priest of Asylus and storm into the duchy’s mansion.
As Leonis spoke while taking a seat at the table of honour, the people quietly sat down. Most of them were close aides to the Duke of Cardian, but there were also those who occupied a new position.
The Marquis of Montague agreed to support the Duke of Cardian after entering the Duchy of Cardian, but he refused to make an official move. All he lent was his private soldier.
It was the mother’s side of the Marquis of Montague that came forward directly. They seemed to see what was going on and realise what position they were in.
Celia was the sole heir of the Marquis of Montague. Since Lily had fled, the only heir of the Marquis of Montague was expected to become the Duchess of Cardian.
Ramona’s family members seemed to have judged that Celia could become the wife of the next emperor.
Other than that, they were noble families who were able to escape from the capital and save their lives thanks to Leonis in the banquet hall.
They once supported other princes, but things have changed now. Now that all the princes had died and Michael was not the emperor’s biological son, they couldn’t support him.
“……The situation is that Prince Michael’s side is trying to blame our side for the deaths of the two princes and the princess. According to the official report, three people were killed, and the duke was suspected of being responsible for their deaths.”
“A blatant lie that no one will believe…”
An elderly vassal clicked his tongue and muttered.
“Power speaks for itself and bears witness to everything. He must have thought that because he is holding the emperor captive and controlling the remaining troops in the capital, he can manipulate public opinion at will!”
On that day, any nobles or palace workers who had escaped on the night of the banquet could be witnesses, and it was enough to make evidence or witnesses.
It was difficult for the people to know what actually happened in the locked building called the Imperial Palace.
They are put in a position where they have no choice but to trust the allegations made by the witnesses and the proof provided by those in positions of authority.
“But don’t we have the Divine Beast? The messenger of God is on our side, but no one will believe it.”
Zeppel had already stirred up public opinion. The first prince, Michael, who was the most favoured by the emperor, was actually a child born of the empress’ affair, and what they said was enough to attract the attention of the people.
Even though his parents were different, people were appalled to hear that he had killed his younger brother, Phil, whom he grew up with as a favoured person by the imperial family.
So, people came to understand when they heard that the divine curse that had been dwelling on the Duke of Cardian had moved on to Prince Michael.
Although in reality, it was different.
“There are already rumours making the rounds among the people that the Duke of Cardian should ascend the throne in place of the two princes.”
It was news that the God of Heaven had appointed a new emperor to rule over the continent. The belief that God decides who will reign on the throne was risky because it could give the church too much power in the future, yet it was simple to win people’s hearts.
The people were bound to ask the reason for that much to the person who ascended to the throne.
The idea of a special human being loved by God is a simple justification for recognising a person as an emperor.
“Prince Michael has already gathered an army. He pointed out the Duke of Cardian as being responsible for the deaths of the two princes and the princess; therefore, he did it to punish the traitors.”
The Duke of Cardian was already preparing for it. It was a family that gathered strength despite numerous persecutions from the imperial family.
It would be more accurate to say that he was looking forward to this day.
Due to the existence of the divine beast, the nobles believed that Leonis would ascend the throne. Because of this, everyone was about to raise a flag and swarm around it in order to obtain even a little power.
Michael’s side would have preferred to strike before their army increased in size.
Leonis likewise wished to put an end to his fight with Michael before the end of the winter. It was undesirable for the empire to be devastated by war.
This land, even a handful of grasses, was soon to become his.
“Your Excellency. You may have encountered the same monster again when you fled the capital.”
Zeppel looked very serious as he said this.
The monster was killed then, but Michael could have hidden something else. He thought he would have hidden enough numbers if it was something he could make with his power.
Leonis thought that ordinary soldiers would not be able to deal with them.
“I should have been more prepared.” he said with a frown.
✦ ✦ ✦
‘Haha…He plays quite well.’
The Divine Beast possessed so much energy that he wasn’t in need of it.
It ate its favourite cake and played with the ladies-in-waiting, saying that since it is not an animal like a real tiger, it can eat enough human food.
The chef was delighted that the precious Divine Beast liked his dessert.
The maids seemed to genuinely enjoy the fact that they could play with a rare being called a ‘baby tiger’, just like the ladies-in-waiting.
‘It’s good that they seem to be happy with each other.’
Playing with the Divine Beast seemed like playing with a cat, but he decided to ignore that. He ignored the rolling ball of wool and the cat toy.
Miline, who was very religious, wiped away her tears and said that burying the bones in the ducal family was the best thing she had ever done in her life.
“The Divine Beast, The Divine Beast! You are so cute!”
“Kyaa, look over here!”
Commotion. Seeing him busy shaking and playing with the toys here and there, Celia would look like this even if she had a child in the future.
‘Hmm. Is it not bad?
There was occasionally the appearance of a servant among the maids playing with the divine beast. Since serving divine beasts is considered a privilege in its own way, today it is with another attendant.
As she listened across the street, there was someone who begged Albert, the butler, with tears in her eyes, and he granted her one day in particular, and he replied that she was fine too.
‘I never thought so many people would worship Nedesmer, the God of Heaven….’
Because of this, the duke’s employees, who had previously treated Celia with respect, were now making a lot of effort to avoid stepping in her shadow.
It was because the Divine Beast called Celia a saintess.
Because of that, all the employees of the Duke family assumed that Celia had summoned a divine beast. To save the duke from danger!
An attendant walked up to the open door. Celia looked at the divine beast at his words. He said that the High Priest wanted to meet the Divine Beast.
‘The believers’ reaction is like that….’
If it was a high priest, the reaction would be more intense.