“Have you figured out the scale of the monsters that attacked the imperial palace?”
“We’re still trying to figure it out, but all we know at this point is that it’s one high-level monster.”
“one high-level monster?”
The fountain garden, which had been painstakingly maintained by dozens of gardeners every day, was a mess after being hit by dozens of lightning strikes.
Walking past a statue of a griffon with a broken neck, Leonhard looks at a blue dome in the distance.
He’d only been to the imperial palace a few times, so he couldn’t be sure, but if his guess was correct, that was where the servant was taking him. It was the second prince’s palace.
“Are you sure it’s not a low-level monster but a high-level monster? Otherwise, you wouldn’t have bothered to summon me.”
“I am just following orders. Forgive me for not daring to know His intentions.”
Well, the emperor probably didn’t explain in detail, saying, ‘We need the Marquis Ajas for this and that reason, so bring him in’.
Leonhard did not ask further and silently followed the servant. His hand unconsciously fiddled with the empty boutonniere until he heard the emperor’s angry voice.
“You can’t cure it, are you saying that now!”
Leonhard could see that the body of the attendant who had been walking ahead stiffened. It was well known that the Emperor was in a bad mood, even to Leonhard, who had only met him a few times.
Leonhard patted the servant on the shoulder and sent him on his way, stepping into the mess of the Second Prince’s palace.
“your majesty! Marquis Ajas has arrived!”
“Sorry for being late, Your Majesty. I heard you called…”
“Marquis Ajas! Welcome, welcome!”
It was before Leonhard got down on one knee, As soon as he saw Leonhard, the emperor ran up to him, took him by the hand, and dragged him inside.
“You must have caught hundreds or thousands of monsters on the border. So, you must be familiar with the poison that monsters possess.”
The emperor said as if he must know, it was right in front of the bed where the Emperor and Leonhard stood. It was none other than the First Prince himself, lying on an ornate bed that seemed out of place in the neat and clean of his palace.
“Why is His Highness the First Prince here?”
“That’s exactly what I mean, why he was attacked by monsters here, even before the banquet was over!”
In a place where dozens of people were watching, the emperor looked somewhere, revealing his emotions.
Leonhard glanced in that direction and saw the Second prince standing there with a sullen face.
“The second prince, hurry up and explain to Marquis Ajas. What happened to your brother!”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
‘Would my vassal relationship be better than this? I didn’t feel the slightest kinship between the two of them.’
The second prince bit his lip and stepped forward. The second prince briefly glanced at his fainted younger brother, then looked at Leonhard.
“That kid was attacked by a new monster and fell down. Her claws clawed his forearm, and his shoulder. Although he lost a little blood, he didn’t show any serious injuries, and Kyle took down the monster with ease, so I thought it was no big deal…”
He was born weak and never trained his body. Coupled with his lightly pigmented white-silver hair, the pale-faced Second prince gave off an air of weakness, as if he could collapse at any moment.
But the emperor’s eyes didn’t see it, and he shouted.
“Did he lose a little blood? The clothes he was wearing have become rags. How can you say that after seeing it with your own eyes!”
“Sorry. I didn’t mean it that way.”
“I don’t want to hear it!”
After taking out his anger on the second prince, the emperor softened his voice towards Leonhard as if his personality had changed.
“No one, from the court wizard to the doctor, knows how to remove that petrifying poison, and you’re the only one I can trust now. Please, Marquis Ajas. Please save this child.”
“I’ll take a look.”
Although it was the First Prince who had collapsed and lost consciousness, the attack had taken place in the Second Prince’s palace in the first place, and the Second Prince’s body was covered in wounds as he stood precariously.
However, the fact that the court wizard or doctor who had been called did not treat his body, which clearly showed the direction of the emperor’s affection.
‘This is why the next emperor is likely to be the first prince.’
Of course, this is only if the Emperor’s favor is maintained until then.
Anyway, it had nothing to do with him. Regardless of who will be the next emperor, Leonhard will do whatever the emperor tells him to do. He examined the First Prince’s body calmly. The court Wizard and court Doctor have already completed the treatment. A clean bandage was wrapped around the first prince’s body. After confirming that the wounds had already been healed with the healing magic, Leonhard removed the bandage with the help of the doctor.
The first prince’s left arm and shoulder were hardened to gray. Leonhard’s expression soon turned serious as he bent his index finger and lightly tapped it.
“You know what? Can you cure it, Marquis?”
“I know what it is, but I don’t understand. Didn’t you say the monster that attacked the imperial palace was a Thunderbird?
Leonhard took a closer look at the First Emperor’s body before answering.
“I think this is a Stone snake bite. Your Highness the Second Prince, haven’t you seen any snake-like monsters nearby?”
“I didn’t see it. But it was dark around me, so I might not have seen it even if I—”
“I didn’t see any monsters like snakes. I’m sure.”
The second prince replied in a trembling voice. The emperor’s face turned red as if he didn’t like that, but Leonhard hurriedly opened his mouth before The Emperor exploded in anger again.
“In the place where the Stone Snake passed, black pebbles were left behind. If it showed up, you wouldn’t have missed it.”
Then there was only one answer.
‘Someone put the Stone Snake’s poison on the Thunderbird’s claws.’
‘At the same time, I could understand why the court doctor and the court wizard didn’t know. The aftereffects caused by Thunderbird’s attack are simple paralysis symptoms. You wouldn’t have thought of a Stonesnake you hadn’t seen.’
Perhaps that was the intention of those who attacked the palace. It was now clear that there was a human hand in the monster outbreak. Leonhard didn’t dare reveal it here and now, instead turning to ask the court, Wizard.
“To detoxify the stone snake’s petrification poison, you need the stone snake’s fangs. Please send someone to the hotel where I am staying. If you tell them that I need to make an antidote for stone snake petrification, they will prepare the ingredients for you.”
“Yes, I will do it soon! Is there anyone else!”
After a while. The wizard summoned by the court Wizard flew to the Crimson Hotel. Upon receiving the order, Leonhard’s aide immediately came to the imperial palace and started producing an antidote for petrification.
The antidote to petrification was completed in the early morning of that day because the healer belonging to the White Falcon wizard had all the necessary ingredients.
When the Emperor saw the First prince’s ashen body return to its normal color, he praised the work of the Marquis Ajas.
“I will not forget your help today. If you need anything, just tell me. I will definitely listen to you.”
However, the emperor’s joy was short-lived.
That evening, the Duke of Kereis, who was in charge of the investigation into the case, uncovered the culprit behind all of this.
It wasn’t enough that he had bought dozens of monsters and mismanaged them, causing chaos in the capital, but that he had plotted to kill his blood brother. It was the Second prince, one of the empire’s successors to the throne.
* * *
“Yeah, that’s what happens in the end…”
“Lady, have you heard the news? Well, it’s the second Prince who caused the monster attack on the capital!”
As I was sighing while looking at the paper on the desk, the door burst open and Helen came inside, making all sorts of fuss.
In her hand, she held the same paper I was looking at. I waved it in front of her without explaining that I knew it, and she set the basket down on the table with a sour face.
“Where did you get that, since you’ve only been at home?”
“When I went out to the garden earlier, Uncle Hans was reading. He had several copies, so I asked for one and got one. How is the atmosphere outside?”
“Of course it’s crazy! I can’t say anything about it because it’s the second Prince, but everyone cursed and made a fuss.”
No wonder they’re cursed, after all, so many people died, so many people were injured, and so many people lost their homes and shops.
‘Public opinion is tilted in favor of the Second Prince, it must have been done to break it, right?’
Married aristocrats having their government was actually common in social circles. Heck, the Emperor himself had the son of a government minister join the imperial family.
However, that was the story of the nobles, and the position of the common people was different.
Whether the emperor’s favor is strong or not, The first prince was, after all, an illegitimate child. Most people thought it was only natural that the second prince should become emperor.
‘That’s why it broke at once this time.’
It wasn’t enough to be a monster-collecting eccentric, so the monster escaped and attacked innocent and powerless people. It didn’t stop there, but he also tried to kill other people in line to the throne.
The Second prince’s image had fallen into disrepute, even though he had often traveled to slums and orphanages to volunteer. It would never recover.
“On the contrary, the first prince’s image has improved a lot.”
“Why? His Highness the Second Prince tried to assassinate him, but he didn’t know it and so he threw himself at the monster. They said he threw himself to protect the second prince and he ended up getting seriously injured.”
‘No, that’s acting…’
I wanted to tell her that she shouldn’t be fooled, but I couldn’t.
I’m frustrated, but I can’t imagine how the second prince feels right now.
‘Well… I don’t think I need to worry about it. After all, The second prince is the one who won this fight.’
“Rather than that, did you get what I asked for?”
“Yeah. I get it, but… Are you sure it’s okay to do this?”
“Sure, no problem.”
A small box was buried under a ball of yarn, perhaps for fear of being found out by others. I took out the box inside and checked what was inside.
“That’s good, thank you, Helen.”
“Your happiness is my happiness, young lady, so what do you want me to do now?”
Is it because you have been by my side for over ten years? Now I didn’t have to say a word. I held out a pre-addressed letter envelope to my trusty Helen.
“Deliver this to the Crimson Hotel. You know who it’s for, right?”
* * *