Author: Nikss



Merria asked in a trembling voice. “How- how did you come up with such an idea?”




With worried eyes, Themis gazed at Merria.


Merria, who was baffled and unable to choose her words, blurted out everything that came to mind.


“Father didn’t even get acquainted with His Majesty the Grand Duke. It’s foolish that the mouth was shut by those who used it a long time ago.” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ




“Father, why are you being wary of Reukis’ power?” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


“Do you… know something?” 


Themis grabbed Merria by the shoulders with his eyes wide open and with both hands.


“You know everything, but you’ve been by the Grand Duke’s side until now? Why… how could you do that!”


Merria stared at Themis without blinking an eye despite his thunderous question.


Themis was speechless for a moment seeing Merria’s gaze, which was different from usual.


Merria didn’t wait long and asked again. “Please answer me. Father.” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ


Themis relaxed his eyes and tapped his shoulder a couple of times.


‘It looks like you don’t want to listen to me right now… It’s probably right to tell her about it.’ ᵀʰᵉᵐᶦˢ


Eventually, Themis took a deep breath and began to speak.


“I wasn’t directly involved in it. I just happened to hear it.”


He frowned as he recalled old memories. Merria breathed calmly and waited for his words to continue.    



It was pretty late at night a long time ago.


Themis, who was checking the documents in the office, sighed heavily.




Themis massaged the back of his aching neck as he sat back in his chair.


The materials he needed to deal with were stacked to the roof, but things were going terribly due to his unsettled thinking.


Themis’ crimson eyes sank deeply. Then, he naturally remembered what happened at the meeting during the day.


High-ranking imperial officials had to attend meetings every Wednesday to report to the Emperor.


Themis was also present as the Duke and Chancellor of the Empire. This afternoon, the meeting held at Kaizen Palace was about to end.


“I have something to tell you.”


The Emperor, who would normally be the first to leave his seat, said.


All the nobles who were organizing their seats listened to the Emperor.


“Soon, the funerals of the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess will be held.”




Everyone’s eyes widened at Afrion’s words.


The death of the Grand Duke and his wife. Those words were too heavy to even put in his mouth.


In the attack that took place in the middle of the night, the Grand Duke and his wife died instantly


The perpetrator died while on the run and was never caught.


At the shocking content, all the nobles present were confused.


“It’s a pity, so everyone shouldn’t talk lightly.”


Afrion added a warning not to speak about it to develop rumors.


However, they say that even if the flowing water was blocked, you couldn’t stop the words from leaking out.


After the emperor left, everyone talked about it.


“Why did His Majesty say that in front of everyone? There must be someone who wants to hear it here.”


Someone mistook this as a political event.


“More than that, don’t you wonder why he didn’t mention the prince? Maybe he was injured by the attack…”


⁽ᴺ: ᴬˡᵗʰᵉᵒⁿ ᶦˢ ᶜᵃˡˡᵉᵈ ᵖʳᶦⁿᶜᵉ. REUKIS’ ᵐᵒᵗʰᵉʳ ᵃⁿᵈ ᵗʰᵉ ᴱᵐᵖᵉʳᵒʳ ᵃʳᵉ ˢᶦᵇˡᶦⁿᵍˢ. ˢᵒ ᶦⁿ ᵗʰᵉ ᵒʳᶦᵍᶦⁿᵃˡ ʰᵉ ᶜᵒᵛᵉᵗᵉᵈ ᵗʰᵉ ᵗʰʳᵒⁿᵉ.⁾


Someone must have coveted the empty seat of power. Themis frowned as he watched the chaos among the nobles.


This was only the beginning. There would be turmoil in the political world of the Empire where the great pillar was broken.


Upon returning to the mansion and delivering the news to Raven, she immediately worried about the prince.


“Didn’t you say he’s the same age as Merria? How…” ᴿᵃᵛᵉⁿ


“He must be in shock.” ᵀʰᵉᵐᶦˢ


Themis also expressed sympathy.


He headed to the office skipping dinner. There were usually no private visits with the Great Prince, but he couldn’t believe he had gone so futile.


With despondency, it became a night of frustration without finishing any work so far.


‘I won’t be able to sleep comfortably with this kind of mind anyway.’ ᵀʰᵉᵐᶦˢ


He went out for a walk at night to shake off his troubled thoughts. It was when Themis was slowly strolling through the garden, calming his noisy mind.


“ㅡI don’t know.”


Themis stopped walking at the sound of words resounding in the quiet garden.




His father, former Duke of Rackester, was Gaithia Rackester.


“Am I right?”


What followed was a murky voice, as if scratching iron. Themis turned towards the sound with a puzzled face.


As the sound got closer, two figures standing opposite the greenhouse were seen.


Gaithia stared at the opponent with vigilance in his crimson eyes. The other person was covered in a robe, but his voice seemed to be an old woman.


She continued with a giggle of laughter. “Has the Emperor entrusted you with the task? Organize what happened inside the Grand Duke’s residence.”


There were two candidates for the current imperial succession, the Crown Prince and the Second Prince, but one heir to the throne in the previous generation was Afrion.


Therefore, by the time Gaithia was in office, there was no division in the nobles. If they had to consider it, it was the power that led the nobility and the power that supported the imperial family.


In addition, the predecessor Duke of Rackester served the current Emperor and as the teacher of Afrion at the same time as his Chancellor.


Afrion had great trust in Gaithia, who had been by his side from his crown prince days until after his accession to the throne.


However, Gaithia has been living in the territory ever since he handed over the Duke title to Themis. He only responded to the Emperor’s message about how well he was doing and was reluctant to enter the Imperial Palace even when he came to the capital.


Perhaps it was to prevent the power within the Rackester from dispersing, as it was seen as returning to politics.


Gaithia would sometimes stay in the Rackester and go down more quietly at the teasing of his granddaughters. Themis thought that was the reason he came this time.


‘Your Majesty’s orders… ?’


Themis held his breath and listened. The old woman shrugged and said.


“How the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess died overnight, but all the humans under the Grand Duke only say that the criminal fled… Wasn’t it strange?”


“I don’t know where you picked that up or what you heard, but you’d better not talk to me anymore.” ᴳᵃᶦᵗʰᶦᵃ


Despite Gaithia’s threat, the old woman did not care. Rather, she responded consistently with a cheeky attitude.


“Take me to the Grand Prince. It’s dangerous because his power’s too strong right now. If you keep doing that, he won’t be able to handle the remaining mana and would someday be eaten up by darkness.”


The old woman’s gloomy words hovered in the air.


“I refuse.” ᴳᵃᶦᵗʰᶦᵃ


When Gaithia refused at once, the old woman began to laugh at him sincerely.


Hahahaha!! You don’t listen.”


Then she suddenly stopped laughing and quickly narrowed their distance.


“Then give me your blood.”


“What…” ᴳᵃᶦᵗʰᶦᵃ


“Right now, only you and the Emperor could enter. Not a single ant comes out of the mansion. It’s too cumbersome to cut off the Emperor’s wrist.”


The old woman, who had been spitting out a lot of noises, quickly scratched Gaithia.


Soon Gaithiia collapsed as if he fell asleep. Themis watched the scene with his eyes wide open.




Themis, who was about to run to the fallen Gaithia, was unable to continue his words.




It was because the old woman who had disappeared was already in front of him.


Themis stared at her with mouth agape. The old woman glanced at Themis, still gloomy.


“You’re younger than that time. It’s amazing to see everyone getting younger.”


Themis asked, stuttering at the unfamiliar words. “Could you be a wizard or what?”




In the blurred vision, the figure of the old woman’s lips was embedded in Themis’ mind.


At the end of that scene, he also fell asleep as if he fainted.



“I heard this while taking a walk in the mansion in the middle of the night. I’ve been silent until now because I know it’s dangerous just knowing it, but I end up saying this.” ᵀʰᵉᵐᶦˢ


He did not even reveal that he had heard from Gaithia.


Themis felt it intuitively. The fact that he was approaching the death of the Grand Duke and that he would not be in good shape.


‘I didn’t know I’d tell Merria a story that I hadn’t told Raven in 10 years.’ ᵀʰᵉᵐᶦˢ


Themis sighed deeply. Merria was busy trying to calm her confused mind. The whole time she listened to Themis, she couldn’t keep her mouth shut.


Although Afrion looked sloppy, it was difficult to put people inside his borders.


There was no way that such an Afrion would put several people in an important task, such as the death of the Grand Duke and his wife.


Perhaps the Emperor only entrusted the task to Gaithia.


Moreover, judging by Gaithia’s thorough personality during his lifetime, he, too, would have handled this alone. He must have destroyed all of them even if he had borrowed someone’s hand.


‘If my grandfather was alive, I would be able to hear the details of what happened that day.’


Gaithia had already died a few years ago when his chronic illness worsened.


Merria bit her lips tightly. Gaithia, who likes to get things done neatly, could not bring up such an important story amid unprotected support.


If so, that means that the old woman came arbitrarily in the middle of the night.


Even Merria, who knows the original story, would not have known this for the rest of her life if it wasn’t for Themis.


Even the existence of such a suspicious person and the fact that Gaithia was involved in this matter.


‘Besides, I know that person.’ ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ 


From the arrogance and words of the conversation, the old woman knew.


The fact that the Grand Duke and his wife died due to Reukis’ runaway.


It was words from a stranger that Gaithia had never seen in his life, so he probably had ignored it.


Perhaps he thought that the old woman was a fox who had heard information from somewhere and came to see him.


But from Merria’s point of view, the woman was involved in the tragedy of the Grand Duke.


It was something that plunged Reukis’ life into a ditch and further killed his parents. He couldn’t get past any of them.


“Father, do you remember anything else? Anything? Even trivial things?” Merria asked urgently.


Themis replied as if he had remembered something while pondering. “She said that the Grand Duke would suffer a blow to his body due to excessive use of his power. If not treated, he could die.”


“Treatment… a wizard or a priest?” ᴹᵉʳʳᶦᵃ 


“Probably not. Because I asked the same question last time.”




“Then she said that…”


Themis spoke with a cryptic expression, like someone who had heard an unpleasant remark.


“She wasn’t just a wizard.”


Merria’s bright crimson eyes, stained with anxiety, gradually widened.


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