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“If we collect three more pieces of this, will my curse be lifted?”
Celia handed Leonis a piece of the divine beast’s heart, and Leonis expressed his gratitude. Even in Leonis’ hands, the stone shards fluttered like a beating heart.
The sight made Leonis and his other assistants frown. At this rate, it could end up in the hands of the princes.
If they did something wrong, they (the princes) would find out that this is a piece of the divine beast’s heart.
“We may need to make some changes to your plans.”
Zeppel, who was watching, said as he lifted up one of his glasses eyes.
He had planned to feed the Penina Flower to the prince or emperor and his servants would plant themselves around them to retrieve it.
However, it could not be used if it was discovered as easily as this time. A more circumspect approach was needed.
The princes would have had a difficult time noticing this plan and hiding a piece of heart somewhere.
“……Prince Giel will be easy to deal with. He’s the type of person who can’t say no to alcoholic banquets. I could go to the banquet he attended and try to catch him when he becomes drunk.”
“It’s Prince Phil who is the most difficult to deal with. He has a vicious temper and his mood changes quickly.”
Phil was trash, but he rarely drank till he was intoxicated, and he didn’t like drugs.
He had no idea they could take it out of him until they made the emperor vomit a piece of the heavenly beast’s heart.
“Prince Phil will use Princess Amelia to bring me down. Why don’t you use me?”
Leonis’ face frowned as Celia said it. Some of his entourage seemed to think this was a good idea, but Zeppel frowned as he realized he was in trouble.
“You two seem to have something to say to each other.”
Zeppel ushered the people out of the room. As the two of them were left alone, Leonis seemed to catch a deep breath.
“Didn’t I say that you shouldn’t do anything dangerous?”
“Princess Amelia……She is someone we need in any case. It will happen every now and again as long as I keep her close……”
While glancing at Leonis, Celia hesitated to say anything. But he was unwavering.
“That’s not going to happen. Within the next week, Madam and I will return to the Duchy of Cardian.”
“Pardon? Why are you acting this way?”
We’ve found one heart, but the other three are still missing! On the other hand, Leonis had a confident expression on his face.
“My wife has already given me a lot of the information I need, so that’s enough. My subordinates are competent, so I’ll be able to get things done with it. You don’t have to do anything dangerous.”
It was better to postpone the plan than to put Celia at risk. It was a great harvest just to confirm that the heart piece of the divine beast can really come out of their bodies.
“But none of this matters if I don’t make it. I’d rather be cursed than risk losing you.”
Leonis repeated it with a displeased frown on Celia’s face. She is perplexed as to why she is returning in such a rush.
Celia had a glum expression on her face as Leonis stretched out his hand to pull her.
“You are the most important thing… … You always say it as if you don’t know what you’re talking about; think about it from now on.”
Leonis rested her head on Celia’s shoulder, whispering sweet nothings.
✦ ✦ ✦
‘Is it really not possible?’
Zeppel tapped Nicole on the shoulder when he noticed she had a frown on her face. Nicole gave Zeppel an unfavorable expression and nervously shook his head.
“Even if Prince Phil is a jerk…… He’s not interested in random women.”
That’s why it’s always been an issue, and it’s one of the main reasons Phil didn’t succeed in becoming Crown Prince. Others saw that using the Duchess as bait was a serious problem. She only thought it was more necessary to break the Duke’s curse.
“But we can’t. Her Excellency is more important than you think.”
“Yeah…… Though I think she’s the only one who can be the Duchess’. Once the curse has been lifted……”
“It’s the same even after the curse is lifted.”
Zeppel responded firmly to Nicole’s words. He was much more convinced when he saw the piece of heart wriggling in Celia’s hand earlier.
“Of all the young ladies, only the current madam has been able to overcome His Excellency’s madness. She was the one who figured out how to break the curse. But I don’t think that’s enough.”
Zeppel continued, despite the looks of confusion on his colleagues’ faces.
“She heard it through the Goddess. There are no saints in the Empire now. and… … Think about what we’re going to do. Our masters need legitimacy. More than being the Emperor’s nephew.”
They understood Zeppel’s words for a brief moment, and surprised expressions crossed their faces. Nicole was still perplexed.
“Isn’t that too much speculation? Of course, I wish that were true……”
“The possibility alone is reason enough for her to be protected. The madam will eventually lead our master to the emperor’s throne.”
✦ ✦ ✦
Leonis was prepared to return to the Duchy, despite Celia’s protests. Leonis’ aides would stay and finish the maneuver, but neither Leonis nor Celia would be able to stay and participate.
Celia was annoyed by this.
Leonis, on the other hand, remained unflappable. The most dangerous of the princes was Phil.
Leonis didn’t want Celia to collide with him and get hurt. He was willing to go to any length to protect her.
Of course, this was passed on to the imperial family. He’s still keeping an eye on Edna, the spy in the Duchy of Cardian, and it’s only natural that she has someone close to relay her information.
Because the imperial ball went off without a hitch, it was also a well-planned move to some extent. Emperor Orkan confirmed Leonis and Celia’s happy marriage and requested to have children as soon as possible.
The princes, on the other hand……
They expected things to be different now that the Duke of Cardian had welcomed his wife. Celia, in fact, invited the capital’s ladies to broaden her personal relationships gradually.
The tea party to which the princess was invited worked especially well. The Duke of Cardian’s reputation as a killer remained, but the public’s image of him was gradually changing.
Continuing on this way in the capital could completely alter the Duke of Cardian’s perception. Despite the fact that the Duchy of Cardian had a social circle, he believed he would remain in the capital due to his small size and incomparable influence.
At least until late winter, when monsters start to show up in droves.
‘Until then, I had managed to sneak her into my bedroom and watch the Duke of Cardian go insane!’
Phil, labeled the next crown prince, could get most of the young ladies he wanted, although he always preferred women of high rank. It was his pleasure to see the noble lady fall into his hands, humiliated and ruined.
He was engrossed in his pride every time he dragged into the bedroom someone he shouldn’t have dared to aim for. In reality, it was just wielding a raging fire while holding the positions of the princes, third empress, and emperor on his back, but Phil saw it as his ability.
“Your Highness, that’s not all……”
Joel approached Phil and whispered something into his ear that shouldn’t be shared.
“Michael, that guy? If His Majesty knew, he would be furious……”
“The First Prince may believe he can avoid the curse because the imperial family’s power has not been passed down to him.”
There was a hint that Michael was trying to harm the Duke of Cardian. Phil was aware of this, but he chose not to inform the Emperor.
Even if the Duke of Cardian died, he believed the emperor would be cursed first, rather than himself or Giel.
Among his brothers were Michael and Giel.
If the emperor became irritated by the curse, he reasoned that contacting a wizard and transferring the curse to someone else would suffice, as previous emperors had done.
If possible, to Michael.
Michael didn’t inherit the imperial family’s mysterious power, so he thought it would be ideal for taking the Duke of Cardian’s place.
“Because I’m such an idiot… … Are you afraid that the throne will fall to me simply because His Majesty’s curse has returned to him?”
Phil, on the other hand, was filled with animosity and pondered accusing the Duke of Cardian of crime in order to turn him into a cursed vessel.
‘But the Duchess of Cardian is pathetic.’
He didn’t believe the Duke of Cardian would be assassinated during a raid. He may be able to take the Duchess of Cardian if he inflicts a severe injury or is in a state of insanity.
‘If the Duchess is abducted in the midst of chaos, it will be difficult to find her down…… Place all of the blame on Michael, and all I have to do now is deal with the truth!’
Phil smirked and gave Joel the order.
✦ ✦ ✦
After observing the Cardian workers packing their stuff, Celia wrote the farewell letter. It was even formally delivered to the Marquis of Montague.
It would be a long separation if she left like this because she wouldn’t be able to go up to the capital until next spring. It was unfortunate that they couldn’t see Ramona’s expression before parting, but they couldn’t.
‘I also sent it to the Princess… … Did you send it to everyone you made friends with this time?’
Only a few people became close enough to connect with one another. Nonetheless, they had become close enough to send a New Year’s greeting card, indicating a successful harvest.
‘I wish I could get all of the princes’ pieces before the end of the year……’
Celia thought as she saw the servant bring her letter out of the room. Celia, who had risen from her desk, was approached by another servant.
“The master is coming.”
There was still time left before the carriage departed. It didn’t help that she had to go down to the Duchy, so she didn’t put on a happy look.
Celia approached Leonis as he entered the room. The maids rushed from the room as if they’d seen it before.
Just by looking at Leonis’ expression, Celia knew she had something to say. And that’s something he doesn’t like.