The Fox Tames the Villainous Grand Duke Chapter 11
A noble status. Depending on their words and actions, someone will die, and someone will live. Responsibilities were always needed.
Epher naturally thought that his older brother, Herian, would become Emperor.
His brave and bold brother suited such a position, not a meek and quiet man.
When he first realized that he had a talent for magic, he thought that one day he would greatly help his brother when he grew up.
However, those around him thought differently.
Those who believed that superior magical power and the ability to utilize magic were qualities of an Emperor naturally concluded that Epher would be a better fit for the position than Herian.
Little by little, the faction was filled with people who followed him, although Epher didn’t even know about it.
Epher, who was still young, said, ‘I have no greed for the throne,’ but the child’s desperate words only bumped into the adult’s thigh.
He pretended to lose his talent for magic, but the factions and public opinion that had already formed were not easily disintegrated.
It was because his mother, the Empress, greatly supported Epher.
People say that biting ten fingers hurts every finger, but there have been fingers that hurt more. (t/n : 열 손가락 깨물어 안 아픈 손가락이 없다 means like among one’s children, no child is more precious than any other.)
The second child, who was already pretty, had a talent for magic and was lovely.
It was only after the death of the Empress that the noisy issue of the throne could calm down a bit.
As planned, Herian became the Crown Prince.
Epher did nothing, but he became a troublesome prince who was thinking of treason somewhere.
There were only two types of people left to him.
The nobles who still wanted him to rebel and become emperor and—.
Those who want him not to think useless things and stay still in the imperial family.
The former believe in him, but he doesn’t want to be with them.
The latter didn’t believe him, though he wanted to be with them.
He was a Prince who was envied when he went outside, but he was always the target of surveillance inside the imperial palace.
Nevertheless, Epher didn’t think of leaving the imperial palace.
“Prince. Wouldn’t it be better to get your title quickly and go to Elnoah?”
Watching Epher swing around, Fior, who is more like a friend than an escort, gave advice as if he felt sorry for him.
“Because you’re here all the time, the number of people who use you as a foothold for opportunity is not decreasing.”
Of course, Fior didn’t think all of this was Epher’s fault either.
However, even if he did nothing, misunderstandings would only pile up, and he thought that misunderstandings caused by not avoiding them were also Epher’s responsibility.
Epher listened to Fior’s sincere advice. But he didn’t understand.
“If I leave here….”
Because there was a big reason why he couldn’t leave the imperial palace.
“Who will take care of these kids?”
The stray cats of the imperial palace.
“…The servants take care of everything. Honestly, the Prince just doesn’t want to leave these kids.”
Epher, who was struck by Fior’s words, glared at him bluntly.
“Think about it really seriously. There are many disputes among the aristocrats in the capital. If we continue like this, there will definitely be a blood wind.”
“Bloody wind or not.”
“I didn’t even tell them to do that.”
“…Is that what you would say as a Prince?”
Epher ignored Fior and took a snack out of his pocket.
At the sound of the rustle, all the cats around stood up and approached Epher.
He smiled and handed out treats to each one of them.
“I just need these kids to be full and happy.”
“If it’s someone else, well, I don’t care if they die.”
He meant it.
Since childhood, he has suffered from too many people. He hated people who always came up wearing a smiling mask and didn’t know what to think.
Who else could be said to be on his side with certainty besides Five Fingers, no, Fior?
His brother and father misunderstood him. Even his mother, who tried to use him like a puppet, ignored his lack of ambition for the throne.
“As long as you’re happy, that’s enough.”
Even Fior, who was angry, had no choice but to shut his mouth when he saw the lonely back of Epher, who had closed the door of his heart to people.
Looking at the imperial family, who firmly believed that he would commit treason over his gentle nature, he really wanted to commit treason.
And a few days later.
Epher went against his brother Herian for the first time in his life.
“…Is this something Your Highness was involved in?”
Even though he knew everything, Herian only shrugged his shoulders with a shameless face.
Epher bit his lip and asked again, barely calming his boiling resentment.
“…All the cats in the imperial palace were dead.”
All of them hardened after eating rat poison and ended their short lives.
Looking at Epher, whose hand became contemplative and trembled, Herian smiled and asked again.
“Epher. Are you rebelling against me just because the cat died?”
“…Brother. You crossed the line.”
“You didn’t do it on purpose to make a justification, did you?”
There wasn’t even a clue about how to solve the misunderstanding, which was making the distance between them even bigger.
Maybe it was something Herian planned after hearing that he didn’t want to leave the imperial palace because of the stray cat he fed.
Maybe his aide made up the story that he wanted to commit treason by messing with what Epher loved most.
Epher was just sick of everything.
‘It would have been better if I didn’t have any skills.’
In the end, only one word came out of his mouth.
“…I will go to Elnoah.”
That’s how he gave up his right to succeed to the throne and came to Elnoah.
However, Elnoah, where he managed to escape, was just another imperial palace.
Still, Herian didn’t let his guard down against Epher and pressured him to marry the family about to collapse.
He arrived in a new prison, but it was still better than when he was in the imperial palace.
At least once a week, he could take a walk on Mount Tiris and put his stuffy mind down.
In a place where no one was looking, releasing the magic that had been suppressed and finally relieving stress was the only pleasure.
“You could have become a wizard who will go down in history, but it’s a pity.”
Fior said sadly as he saw the magic spreading throughout Mount Tiris.
Even if it’s a natural talent that others can’t have even if they want to.
For Epher, it was just a curse that took away a family to rely on.
“I’m, more than that… rather….”
The tip of his nose turned red.
‘I want to spend the rest of my life raising animals.’
Epher couldn’t say that in the end.
When he closed his eyes, he remembered a scene with a dog and a cat in an ordinary cabin, horses in a stable, and chickens in a chicken coop.
He was too simple to be a Prince’s wish, so he had never spoken of it.
“What would you rather do?”
“No. It’s nothing.”
Epher fiddled with the jerky he always carried in his pocket.
Cheese, Cheddar, Sun, Milk, Mackerel, Black, White, Obongi, and Nyami.
Muttering the names of the nine cats who went to the Cat Star because he liked them. It was then that he had a moment of mourning.
Something blue knocked through his head and flew, and he reflexively caught it.
“Is there something wrong?”
But when he opened his hand, there was nothing but his palm.
“…No. I think I saw something like beads. I must have looked at it wrong.”
It was a moment he was about to pass on, not thinking too much about it.
He stopped walking and had no choice but to stand still.
Click, and he hears something.
A fox with white, fine fur and a bountiful tail, which he had never seen before in Mount Tiris, was standing in front of him.
“Are you a fox?”
It’s just a fox.
The staring fox’s eyes were somehow funny and bewitching.
“It looks like it has a lot of tails?”
He thought the tail was too big. It must have been a fox with multiple tails.
“Right. One, two… nine.”
It’s the first time he has seen a fox with many tails. It was a bit surprising that there were nine of them.
When he thinks of nine cats, a fox with nine tails appears. It might just be a coincidence, but it felt like a strange fate.
He moved closer and carefully placed his hand on the fox’s head.
‘It doesn’t even run away.’
Even the nine stray cats took quite a while to allow him to be around them. It was strange to allow his touch after only a few seconds of facing each other.
A smile formed on his lips as he touched the rough yet soft fur of the fox.
He also thought bringing beef jerky with him was a good idea because it seemed happy to shake its rich nine tails carelessly.
On the other hand.
‘I heard that foxes are usually very wary and don’t appear in front of people.’
It was a pity that he could only give it a piece of beef jerky.
How hungry must it be to appear in front of humans and ask for something to eat?
“Are you having a hard time living because you’re special too?”
Maybe it’s because it looks like it has nowhere to go.
Why did the sudden appearance of a fox somehow comfort him?
“Let’s stop playing now, shall we?”
When it was time to leave, he got up and left his sad heart behind.
Obviously, if he went late, the Crown Prince’s hidden aides would move on.
The Grand Duchess is coming soon, so he should act as unexpectedly as possible to avoid suspicion.
The reason for going back was heavy, but the steps were a little light.
‘The next time I come, I’ll have to bring something more delicious food just in case.’
When he thought about it that way, he thought he could endure his tired daily life.
“Can I keep a fox as a pet?”
“Wouldn’t it be difficult to raise animals that live in the wild?”
“Why? Do you want to take that fox and raise it?”
“What if it gets hurt like those cats again?”
“…As expected, right?”
He smiled bitterly and returned to Elnoah’s city walls.
It was time to return to prison with a firm expression on his face, holding his hands tightly, which still had the touch of fox fur.
“Y… Your Highness. D, does this fox belong to you, too?”
As he turned around, the fox from earlier, who had rich tails, was looking at him with bright eyes.
It rubs its body against his leg. Then it shows its stomach and shows all sorts of cute charms.
It was as if it was telling him that it had come on behalf of the nine cats who had gone to Cat Star.
Another crackling sound was heard in his ears.
This was neither a coincidence nor a strange fate.
As the wheel turns, the fox guides him along the path of destiny.