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‘Did I miss people who could have been of great help because of my hasty decision!’
As Nicole said, Giel went to the store he had told him about, but it was empty, and he could hear the news from another merchant nearby.
“Well, when you hear that Your Highness stabbed Her Highness Michael…… He sold the shop and disappeared!”
They would not have known that Giel would go straight to stab Michael as they gave him that information. When the incident broke out, they thought that they would have fled, fearing that the emperor would question them.
Giel wasn’t going to talk about them, but he’d already made rash decisions, so he couldn’t expect them to believe him.
Above all, the opponent had already run away. They might approach him again, but he doubted that an organization with that much information would trust him again.
Giel, who tried to use their intel power to obtain the information about where Lucy might be and who might be responsible for her disappearance, felt let down.
Even though he had already given them orders to investigate Lucy’s family as well as the family she had previously worked with, they hadn’t done much.
‘Why did I make such a mistake……It was satisfying to be able to hurt Michael, but rather it would have been more convenient if I had killed him…….’
If he had, the emperor could have punished him severely, but at the very least, Vivian could have been returned to the Duchy of Carta.
‘No. Because of his disposition, His Majesty may have caused some harm to Vivian, who was poisoned.’
The emperor resented her for not being helpful to his first son, considering that he had married her at best. If his son had died and only his wife, who was sick and poisoned, had caught his attention, he could have killed her out of rage.
‘How the hell am I supposed to save Vivian?’
When he thought about it after sobering up, he could see why Michael was holding on to Vivian. The Duke of Carta eventually caved to the emperor and exiled her daughter, but he loved Vivian.
While Michael held her, Michael held the Duke of Carta in his hands.
Therefore, Michael will never give Vivian up for good. After extracting and digesting the marrow from the Duchy of Carta, he would have no reason to abandon Vivian if the only thing that was left was the empty shells.
The emperor would also pretend not to know that.
It would have been different if he had promised to pay a certain amount to Phil and worked together with Phil to put pressure on Michael, but Phil had now been deposed as a prince, so that scenario was no longer an option.
In addition to this, as if he had foolishly accepted Michael’s words, he was released from prison after only two weeks and claimed to be Michael’s subordinate.
‘He seems like the kind of guy who will spend the rest of his life doing nothing useful!’
Even though they were his older brother, Giel’s relationship with Michael and Phil was strained because their mothers were different.
The only princesses who were allowed to refer to him as brothers were the ones who had married princes from other countries. Naturally, this was not the situation with all of them; however, it was the situation with two princesses who had the same mother.
‘The Duke of Cardian is the only thing left……’
Duke of Cardian took the brunt of the harm done in this commotion.
Phil was seriously injured, having one of his arms amputated, so his damage may appear to be the most severe at first glance. However, Giel had at least a conscience about that.
‘It’s a good thing the injury was so severe because of what he did.’
The purpose of the intruder remains shrouded in mystery, but Giel had a sneaking suspicion that Phil was up to no good and had caused harm to someone.
‘Come to think of it, there was a story that Phil said that the intruder was Duke of Cardian……’
After the emperor had cast doubt on the veracity of the account with a single word, it was a story that was never brought up again. Since the Duke of Cardian was not present in the capital at the time, the decision of the emperor must have been appropriate.
What bothered him was the reason Phil said that.
‘Because the intruder exudes an aura that is comparable to that of the Duke of Cardian?’
If he can reveal his identity, there is a chance that he will be able to apprehend the person who is responsible for the kidnapping of Lucy.
Giel, who was worried, turned around and started walking in the direction of the imperial palace. Without an owner, it would not have been difficult to gain access to Second Prince’s Palace. There he intended to gather information about the intruders.
✦ ✦ ✦
Although the gatekeepers who were guarding the gates of the capital expressed their disapproval, they were unable to prevent the Red Lion Knights from entering. People gathered to watch because the sight of the knights entering the capital with their flags raised was spectacular in and of itself.
The carriage that carried the Duke and Duchess of Cardian through the procession served as the focal point of attention.
Perhaps it wasn’t long after he had survived the harrowing encounter with the monsters when he noticed that the carriage’s windows had been draped with curtains.
People speculated amongst themselves that it was the duke’s carriage, and they kept their heads up in case they saw the duke or duchess.
“I heard the Duke Murderer is quite frightening.”
“And what is the situation with the Duchess? They say that she is so beautiful that even the crazy Duke fell in love with her at first sight!”
The sound of whispering seemed to invade the carriage. If the Knights of the Red Lion had not given their eyes to those who were speaking with menacing eyes, then things would have turned out the way they did.
The nobility did not have any concerns regarding the impending conflict. The imperial family has not yet extended an apology to the Duke of Cardian.
Phil, who was accused of being the main culprit of the monster incident, had officially been deposed as a prince. Still, there was no acknowledgement that a member of the imperial family had committed it.
The nobles insisted that the emperor apologize or, at the very least, lay down Phil’s head, but even that was only a statement in the emperor’s absence.
The procession led by the Duke of Cardian entered the capital in a stealthy manner, which made an indelible impression on the citizens of the capital.
✦ ✦ ✦
Michael had not yet fed the Penina Powder to the emperor. He wasn’t going to miss another possible suspect besides Phil.
The Duke of Cardian.
He intended to invite Leonis Cardian to the banquet to watch the emperor lose his power.
Phil, who is in charge of the banquet, will be the most suspicious person in the event that the Emperor loses his power during the banquet; however, Phil will point the finger at Duke Cardian.
Because the spy that he dispatched to the Cardian Duchy successfully exposed the existence of the conspiracy.
To that end, Michael ostensibly appointed Phil as head of the banquet.
Duke of Cardian was only a hindrance now that he had defeated his greatest enemy, Phil. When The Duke of Cardian finally made it back to the capital with the knights, he had already been put through a sufficient number of ordeals to push him over the edge and commit treason.
If the emperor didn’t pin the blame on Phil in time for his loss of power, it would be good for the Duke of Cardian to fall down.
‘That’s right! Inviting the Duchess of Cardian would be a good picture!’
Most people seemed to believe the rumour that the Duchess of Cardian had fled with her lover and was apprehended again, but Michael did not. He knew the truth.
If the Duchess turned blue and shook when she saw Phil…… The Duke of Cardian, who said he loved his wife very much, might easily burst into anger.
Celia Cardian must be spared because she has something that will come in useful at a later time, whereas Leonis can be killed right away.
‘The Duke of Cardian alone will not be caught easily, but if he’s with the Duchess, he might be. Even if he is a great armed man, he will be powerless to prevent her being held hostage.’
The question was whether or not the two would show up to their banquet. The second empress’s banquet was prepared by the Marchioness of Montague, so she could attend even if she didn’t like it, but there was no reason to do so at Michael’s banquet.
‘What are you trying to twist?’
He planned to invite the Emperor under the guise of severing ties with the Duke of Cardian. Michael chose the opposite way for Duke Cardian.
‘It would be better if I said I would try to persuade His Majesty to punish Phil properly.’
The Duke of Cardian was the one who brought the Red Lion Knights to put pressure on the emperor to punish him. Michael was certain that Leonis would eat these words.
✦ ✦ ✦
Celia proceeded to the second floor, where Evan was waiting to greet her with a friendly smile. It was difficult for her to travel in a regular carriage, and the trip seemed to take much longer than it should have because she had to accompany the knights.
Even though there was still time left until the imperial banquet, she couldn’t shake off the feeling of unease. She was concerned about the extent to which the princes would have plotted in order to pick up the crumbs that they had scattered.
“Madam. Should I start filling up the tub with water?”
Celia changed her clothes while being attended to by her maids as if it were second nature to her. Leonis’s retinue, which had remained in the capital, was reporting back to him, and this kept him busy.
The maid eventually said that the bathwater was ready.
Celia bathed in the presence of her maids after a long time. It was embarrassing that Leonis’s hickeys remained still remained on her body, but she had no choice but to get used to it.
Celia relaxed on her bed after her bath, after which she had changed into her indoor dress and laid down. It was after the master had given instructions for all of the maids to leave the bedroom.
After checking the door and pulling back the curtains on her bed, Celia took the egg she had been carrying in her bracelet. She had a plethora of other items because the ring’s pocket held a holy relic.
‘Because I can’t keep the egg of the divine beast and the jewel box with the curse together.’
Since it was decided that having sex with Leonis really helps the divine beast’s egg hatch, the two of them have been having it every day since the decision was made.
“There aren’t any cracks yet……”
It looked like it would break, but it didn’t. Celia gave the spindly egg in her basket a vigorous stroke in order to prevent it from rolling off the bed.
There was a time when it rolled over on its own and fell off the bed, but the egg did not even crack, let alone break.
Celia carefully wrapped the egg in the soft, warm blanket that had come with her bracelet. As she did so, she whispered softly to herself as if speaking to the egg.
“When you hatch, what should I name you? Popo?”
The egg was violently shaken, but it was still meaningless.
“Since the oracle said it was a tiger with wings, Shoud it be……Shiro?”
“Is it too simple? Padooki……”
Celia was taken aback when the divine beast’s egg stopped moving.
“No, no! Not this! This pass! That’s just a name I’ve been told, no Padooki!”
Isn’t it a divine beast’s egg? I doubt many people in this world have heard of the name Padooki, but it should not be called that.
“I’d rather choose the first one. Popo!”
The shaking was fiercer as if he didn’t like it. Celia was frustrated.
“Why not? I like Popo! It’s a much cuter name than Padooki!”
In a cold sweat, Celia had to explain why she shouldn’t use Padooki as its name for the Egg of Divine Beast, which was shaking even more violently than before.