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As they left the cave, a different scenery from yesterday unfolded. The scenery of a moonlit night and midday was completely different. Pulling h hand and crossing her arms, Celia felt as if she had spent the night camping with Leonis,
‘It would be nicer to ride a horse here…….’
Regrettably, there was no way to get there on horseback. She’s not sure if they were coming back here from the other side.
“It will take some time to get to the nearest town.”
Leonis said while walking side by side with Celia. He didn’t explain further to her, but Leonis meant for him to carry Celia on his back when the time is right.
He claimed that no matter how strong she was, Celia could not walk or run at that speed. Even if they didn’t have an enemy sent to them immediately, they were pressed for time due to an impending time limit.
‘It’ll be fine until we get to the village.’
It was the first time he came out with Celia so leisurely. It was partially because their marriage was not usual and partly because their current circumstance was not good in many ways.
“Hurry up, Leon. No one around here is eavesdropping, right?”
“Yes, but why?”
In the middle of a field bathed in the morning sun, Celia quickly loosened her arms with Leonis. She pressed her finger to the egg inside of her ring. When Celia touched it, she felt like a tiny red gem and glistened like jelly.
His mouth opened wide as she slid her fingers inside and opened the magic pouch on the ring.
Leonis was surprised to see Celia pull something out of the ring that was too big for the pouch.
It wasn’t an animal egg because it was too large and didn’t smell strange enough to be mistaken for a monster egg. Because of the dim light, he had to guess.
“This is why the goddess wanted me to enter the secret passage of the imperial palace. I found it in an ancient church that I happened to pass by.”
Did she find it? Is it possible to find something like this inside it?
“Didn’t you hear something?”
“Looking at it…… I guess that’s it. I’m not sure because I didn’t leave after hearing a definitive answer.”
Leonis seemed to be certain of what Celia was not sure about.
“It looks like a divine beast’s egg.”
“Ri-Right? I found it in a church……”
Leonis grabbed it from Celia’s hand because it seemed too heavy to lift with just one hand. The sensation of its shaking inside and the slightly warm temperature were unusual.
Leonis looked at the egg and said,
“…… It moves.”
“It’s been a while since I discovered it. What should I do with this? We need to hatch it…… It will, right?”
The egg of the heavenly beast was not mentioned in any of the literature Celia researched into regarding the curse of Leonis. There was only one record of a god awakening from an egg, but that was all.
Nothing seemed to be known about how to care for the eggs or hatch them.
“First of all…….”
Leonis, who was about to tell her she needed to put it back in, thought it was too large for Celia’s ring. Leonis turned to face Celia.
“Should we put it in my magic pocket?”
“Please do. I actually put it in the ring because I couldn’t carry it with me……. I was worried that the ring’s magic might explode or the egg would break.”
He knew that having Celia by his side was a blessing, but he didn’t know how to thank her for everything she had done for him.
“Huh? What’s the matter?”
The person in question just gave Leonis a bewildered look. Leonis reached out and gently brushed Celia’s hair off her forehead.
“Because you are pretty. I don’t do anything, and I have no shame.”
Even the way her face flushed at his words was lovely. By her very existence, she had already become a blessing to him, but she was constantly giving more and more virtues on her that made him unable to help but love her.
‘I had already decided to be grateful even if I had to devote the rest of my life to you.…….’
Celia’s mouth curved into a smile as soon as their eyes locked. Leonis noticed Celia’s face turning red as he hugged her.
“I don’t think giving all of me to my wife is enough.”
When Celia heard that, she giggled. Leonis sighed deeply as he felt her slender arms embracing each other.
“……I’ll have to carry you with me.”
Leonis, who had embraced Celia, began to walk across the sunny field without notice.
“I’m going to take my shoes off! I mean, it’s still loose.”
“Then I can just keep hugging you.”
Leonis mumbled as he kissed Celia on the cheek. Celia embraced Leonis around the neck while laughing. They expected difficulties, but she expected to let it go after hearing how wonderful it was.
The sun shone above their heads, and the lake surface shimmered as if they were dancing. Furthermore, there were only two of them here.
‘So it would be nice to stay like this for a while.’
If she returns as the Duchess of Cardian, she must devise a new strategy to deal with the emperor and the evil princes.
✦ ✦ ✦
Phil realized that he needed to make a decision. The wounds he suffered were serious, but it was unreasonable to blame that it was the work of Duke Cardian.
The person who invaded the second prince’s palace was undoubtedly the Duke of Cardian, but nothing could be proven.
He wore a mask covering his face, and his eyes were also a different color. The only thing that made him suspicious was his request to bring out the Duchess of Cardian.
That was the problem.
It was not a crime to ‘kidnap the Duchess of Cardian without anyone being noticed’, but it was a sin to admit that the Duchess of Cardian was actually in his palace.
Phil had done something similar many times before. He used his power to compel them into his palace, and if that didn’t work, he kidnapped them, as he did this time.
A man claiming to be the Duke of Cardian severely injured…… This was just speculation, anyway.
Instead, the kidnapping he carries out becomes a greater sin.
Even though the opponent was the wife of the ‘Duke’ of Cardian, two of the three dukes who supported him could abandon him.
He could have even brought Michael and other ducal families who remained on Giel’s side to accuse him.
Phil was audacious enough to kidnap the Duchess.
Phil was enraged and furious, but he realized he needed to hide that Celia Cardian was in the second palace.
He only intends to claim that the intruder is the Duke of Cardian, but nothing about Celia should be revealed. His position could be in danger!
But without Celia’s presence in his place, Phil’s claim that the intruder was the Duke of Cardian lost credibility.
Because they couldn’t catch it on the spot, they couldn’t hold the Duke of Cardian accountable! He even dared to have fun by severing the prince’s arm!
Phil started slamming furniture around the room with his left arm instead of his reattached right arm.
There was a commotion in the prince’s room, but none of the servants approached. They knew they would be beaten back if they saw Phil for no reason.
“I’m not going to forgive you! I’m not going to let those bastards go!”
There was a loud cracking sound as if the window had been broken. The servants shrank their heads and only stared at each other when there was a loud noise.
“…… Why is no one coming!”
They dashed inside the prince’s room in response to the late shouts.
✦ ✦ ✦
Zeppel was wary of his surroundings and looking for a chance. He found the secret entrance with the help of the madam, but he didn’t think they were the only ones who knew about it.
The emperor was very likely known, as were other princes, the emperor’s aides, or families favored.
As a result, even as he passed through the secret passages, he remained vigilant in all directions.
He also had a magic bag like Leonis had, and with the food and water inside, he could stay locked up for roughly three weeks.
‘Of course, I don’t plan on staying that long.’
Zeppel went back and forth through the secret passage to check where the palace was. The secret passage was most secretly located in the emperor’s palace, followed by the concubine’s palace.
The chance of the emperor using the palaces of the first and second Princes was relatively small.
There was no secret passage leading to the palace of the third palace, but it was probably because it was newly built for later generations.
‘Prince Giel… … He is almost useless now, so he shouldn’t be a problem.’
Among the three princes, Giel was also the one who seemed unaware of this secret passage. He was sure Phil, the second prince, wouldn’t know either.
He did not order a search of the secret route because Celia and the other three intruders disappeared.
It was unfortunate that a facility of this scale was left unattended in the secret passageway. The hallway leading to the ancient church was the largest, with three entrances on each floor.
The good thing about this secret passage was that the trap wouldn’t activate unless someone who knew about it did.
He didn’t want someone who didn’t know anything to come in and get hurt, but if there is a pursuer, someone who knew about the passage could activate it and shut it down.
‘It’s almost like a different place for me.’
Zeppel, one of the Duke of Cardian’s aides, had already figured out all of the traps. That trap was quite rusted and old, so whether he would activate it was questionable, but it was important to know.
“It seems like the situation has calmed down.….’
Zeppel realized that it was the right time and moved silently.