“W-What sort of bullshit are you spouting?! Assassinating the Emperor…you’re saying I committed treason?!”
Astana couldn’t bring himself to say his own crime and turned a ghastly white.
He struggled until his cloth-bound ankles were all peeled and red, until the bandage on his severed right arm which was tied by the palace unraveled.
No one could beat his dirty temper.
But Perez’s face whilst looking down at Astana’s figure, remained expressionless.
“Do you perhaps want to claim that you don’t remember anything now?”
Perez asked in a dry tone.
“Don’t be ridiculous! Why would I ever try to kill the Emperor…”
Astana murmured, still looking confused.
The next moment, he raised his eyes and shouted at Perez.
“Wait, is that why I’m tied up here right now? Because I tried to assassinate the Emperor?
“Ha! Then that’s fine! Ha ha!”
Astana burst into a fit of laughter.
His sweaty and matted hair, disheveled clothes, and bloodshot eyes made his deranged smile seem as if it belonged to an insane madman.
“There must have been a misunderstanding! The one I was trying to kill wasn’t the Emperor but rather, it was you! So let this go, now!”
The faces of the knights became ambiguous.
How were they meant to explain it?
At the same time, they looked toward Perez.
Perez snorted and stared at Astana before replying.
“The one you rushed toward to kill wasn’t me, rather it was the Emperor instead.”
Perez said whilst he opened a sturdy chest.
“You used this dagger that Bellesac Lombardy had, didn’t you?”
Astana’s gaze arrived at the sharp dagger.
Fine, he remembered holding that dagger in his hand.
“What a load of bullshit. It was clearly aimed at you, you lowly thing. I didn’t succeed because of the imperial knights that were next to you, but…”
Astana’s voice gradually faded away into silence.
His pupils trembled as if there was an earthquake.
With eyes that gradually showed his genuine horror, Astana checked the expressions of the knights with a nervous expression.
Eventually, a sound that seemed to be half a breath came out of Astana’s mouth.
“D-Did I really?”
Astana asked Lord Sloan.
Lord Sloan looked at Perez with a glum face, as if to get permission from him, before he replied to Astana.
“In Madman’s Forest, Your Highness, the First Prince attacked His Majesty the Emperor, not His Highness the Second Prince.”
“B-But he was clearly wearing the red armour, and that bitch from Lombardy was next to him…”
“Watch your words, Astana.”
Perez had already picked up Bellesac’s dagger and pointed it at Astana’s neck before speaking lowly.
It was not just a threat.
The exceptionally sharp tip of the dagger was already pressed against Astana’s Adam’s apple.
With just a little more force, it’d cut through his flesh and stab into him.
Astana answered quickly.
“As I was saying, the young lady from Lombardy was also clearly next to him, I mean.”
“Florentia was taking care of His Majesty and looking around in the woods.”
Perez continued to speak without lowering the dagger.
“Therefore, you are a sinner who attempted to commit treason, Astana.”
“Treason you say?! Why would I? Even if I stay still and do nothing, I’m still a prince who will succeed His Majesty as the emperor in the future! Why would I commit treason?”
“Hard to say. That’s what I’ll need to figure out in the future.”
Perez flipped the dagger in his hand and thrust it in front of Astana’s eyes.
“Astana Nerempe Durelli. You attempted to assassinate His Majesty the Emperor with this dagger in Madman’s Forest. Furthermore.”
At Perez’s order, the knight held out a canteen made of black leather.
“The investigation revealed that this canteen contained a drug.”
“It’s a drug that absorbs magic at a rapid rate, causing visual hallucinations, auditory hallucinations, and so on.”
“Y-Yes, that’s right!”
Astana immediately jumped up from his spot and shouted.
“That’s right, clearly someone must have given me a drug! Otherwise, I couldn’t have mistaken His Majesty for you…”
“Are you saying that you didn’t choose to take this drug on your own?”
Lord Sloan asked Astana.
Magic boosts the human power by leaps and bounds.
That’s why Astana had the strength and stamina to push himself to his limits during those few days.
“Am I crazy enough to want to deliberately absorb magic?!”
“Then this is a very important piece of information”
Then, Lord Sloan asked Astana with an extremely solemn face.
“Is there anyone else who had access to this canteen?”
“How am I supposed to know that? That canteen wasn’t even mine in the first place!”
“It didn’t belong to Your Highness? Then why did you continue carrying this canteen in your possession?”
“That’s because Bellesac…Bellesac…”
Astana’s voice gradually became quieter again.
At that moment, Astana’s gaze turned to Perez.
“When I ran into the Second Prince’s group in the forest, I swiped one of the canteens they had drunk while they were talking about magic.”
Astana couldn’t find it in himself to speak.
He felt goosebumps rise all over his body.
When he came to his senses, only then did he realise that he was already in the beast’s mouth.
At that moment, Perez, who was standing at the back, said.
“Tell me, Astana.”
His voice was as monotonous as before, but to Astana it seemed exactly as if he was laughing.
“For it is His Majesty’s command to find all those who were involved, including you.”
Perez’s red eyes were smiling.
[ / / / ]
Rulac breathed out a long sigh as he sat within a carriage that was entering the Lombardy mansion, watching the view outside the carriage’s window.
All of a sudden, he felt increasingly fatigued.
“Seems like I’ve grown older too.”
Rulac smiled in vain.
It had already been a long time since he found the work of the Patriarch overwhelming.
However, he had still held on until now.
It was because Doctor Estira, the Lombardy’s family doctor, was extremely skilled, and Rulac himself had lived in her care ever since he had collapsed a few years ago.
But now, he felt as if he was at his limit.
Rulac sighed once again, rubbing his face.
“Patriarch, we’ve arrived at the mansion.”
The coachman’s voice was heard from outside.
“You’ve done well.”
Rulac said as he tried to hide his fatigue as much as he could.
Then the carriage door opened.
Rulac, who had just thought it was the coachman, widened his eyes.
“Grandfather, you’re back!”
Although she had now become an adult, his granddaughter, who was smiling widely, still acted like a child.
“You must have been tired from the long trip, right? Let’s have a nice dinner together, Grandfather!”
“Were you waiting for outside just for this grandfather? It’s cold today though…”
Rulac asked anxiously when he saw his granddaughter’s nose that had turned red due to the cold.
“It hasn’t been long since I came out! My dad is also waiting for you at the restaurant. Grandfather, come with me!”
Tia said, walking arm in arm with Rulac affectionately.
“Gallahan as well…alright, alright.”
Rulac patted Tia’s hand.
Although this hand still felt small and tender, this hand couldn’t be more reliable.
The affectionate grandfather and granddaughter walked up the steps of the entrance, one by one whilst talking.
“The Brown household’s reinstatement is going to be discussed properly at the noble meeting.”
“Really? The Patriarch of the Brown family and Lady Ramona would like that a lot.”
Rulac looked at his granddaughter when he heard Tia’s words.
“What are you going to do, Tia? It was you who showed them to the world.”
Tia smiled, crinkling her eyes finely.
It was a smile that resembled her father, Gallahan.
“Of course it’s good. It was a task that Grandfather had assigned to me.”
What a smart and resolute child.
Rulac patted Tia on the head.
“When did you grow up to be this big?”
His granddaughter had suddenly grown up to be such a strong support for the family.
He had been supportive of her becoming his successor.
The Durelli Family, which was already overflowing with blood, was different to the Lombardy household.
Lombardy had a promising younger generation that was ready to emerge.
‘Tia is still young, so I’ll teach her everything one by one. Then, after a few years…’
It happened when Rulac was having these sort of thoughts.
Rulac’s body collapsed and fell down.
It was the exact same situation as when the still-young Tia had hugged Rulac in order to cushion his fall and rolled down the stairs.
Rulac already knew what to do in this sort of situation.
Wouldn’t he injure her as badly as last time if the same thing happened twice?
Instinctively leaning to the opposite side of Tia, Rulac collapsed on the stairs.
He heard Tia’s shocked voice.
He could feel his granddaughter clutching his shoulder, as if she was still trying to protect Rulac somehow.
In his gradually fading consciousness, Rulac patted the back of his granddaughter’s, just like he did a while ago.
‘Don’t be too surprised. I’m fine.’
However, failing to say all that, Rulac eventually lost his consciousness on the steps in front of the entrance.
[ / / / ]
“Estira, what’s going on?”
My voice was so cold that it was unfamiliar.
As Grandfather was safely taken to the bedroom, Estira immediately ran over right away.
“He’ll regain consciousness in no time. He’ll be alright.”
“How bad is Grandfather’s condition? If you had told me earlier…”
I would have been more careful.
I wouldn’t have let you go all alone on such a long journey to the palace.
Various thoughts were rushing through my mind.
“Don’t scold Doctor Estira too much. I was the one who told her not to tell anyone.”
My grandfather was slowly lifting himself up.
My grandfather smiled as I approached him.
“In the end, isn’t this all because of my old age? No matter how effective the medicine is, it still can’t fool time.”
What grandfather said was correct.
In my previous life, my grandfather was already gradually struggling to move and always needed someone’s help to walk.
Unlike right now, he wouldn’t even have been able to imagine being able to get up from the bed himself or visiting the palace freely by himself.
I apologized to Estira.
“I’m sorry, Estira. I spoke out of turn there.”
“It’s fine. Miss Florentia was also very shocked.”
Estira gave me a warm smile as she handed the medicine to my grandfather.
“I think it’s because I was very fatigued today. Should I take my medicine more often?”
“I’d advise you to rest properly for a few days and observe your progress, Patriarch.”
“Hmm. I see.”
Grandfather shook his head as if he knew it would be so.
“This has become extremely troubling.”
“There’s nothing to worry about. You have to rest completely, Grandfather.”
My grandfather burst into laughter at my words.
“But shouldn’t someone go to the noble meeting and preside over the Brown family’s reinstatement?”
“Don’t worry about that. Perez already knows about that and will take care of it…”
“Alright, Tia, it’ll be find if you go.”
I doubted my ears for a moment.
I tried to scratch my ear with my little finger since I thought I had heard wrong as my grandfather smiled and said to me.
“Tia, you go to the noble meeting instead of me.”
“But, Grandfather. That’s…”
“That’s right, it’s something only an acting head can do.”
I nearly forgot to breathe as I looked at my grandfather.
Grandfather smiled kindly and said again, as if to confirm with me.
“You’ll attend the noble meeting as Lombardy’s Acting Patriarch, Tia.”
damn they rlly all fell into perez’s perfect trap huh. the moment astana realises this is so satisfying.
PLUS SOME MORE EXCITING NEWS! I’VE CREATED A DISCORD SERVER! idk how many of u guys there are but in case any of u guys wanted to be notified on chapter releases, you asked and i delivered hehehe click the link here, it’ll expire after 7 days bc im still scared of translation hunters SDLFKJDFS