HCM – 74

Stomp! Stomp!

While the wagons and horses ran frantically, the lagging soldiers ran desperately. The second prince, Julien, and the third prince, Aaron, initially considered riding horses like the knights.

However, the advisors dissuaded them. The distance from the capital to the Duchy of Tintalion was unusual.

Watching the galloping horses and the riders on them, Julien and Aaron realized complying with their suggestions was correct.

There is no guarantee that whoever of the two arrives first will be able to slay the Duke, who had turned into a beast, but they were competing with zeal.

Thanks to this, the knights and soldiers who followed were dying.

Since the wagons were sprinting, the galloping horses could catch up, but the soldiers couldn’t. So, with only a couple of commanders left, the rest of the knights were chasing the carriages without rest.

Rumble— rattle— rattle!

The carriage also rocked wildly. No matter how much magic was used to minimize the shaking, it would only naturally become useless at this speed.

Julien refrained from ordering the carriage to slow down, despite throwing up several times into his leather bag. It was because he pledged that even if he died in the process, he couldn’t see Aaron arriving at Mulia first.

As if it was the same for Aaron, they drove the wagon to its limits and reached the manor near Mulia. However… … .

“… … The Duke’s curse has already been lifted?”

The hastily delivered news made Julien almost fall out of the carriage. He had not stopped because he wanted to, but a horse foamed at the mouth and collapsed; he had no choice but to stop.

The third prince, Prince Aaron’s carriage, was in a similar shape, and their servants ran to procure horses from a nearby territory.

During that break, he heard that Aslei, the Duke of Tintalion, had been freed from the curse. It was said it was because of the Duchess’s supreme love.

‘You like love!’

As Julien thought, he wanted to strangle the Duchess. Of course, the whole world knows it was an arranged marriage, but what kind of ridiculous love play was this?!

He barely got a chance to kill that monstrous Duke of Tintalion, and she ruined it!

Aaron was thinking the same thing in his carriage on the other side. He crawled out of the wagon and was muttering furiously.

If the report was accurate, they had raced here in vain. If they passed one more mountain, they would be able to see the walls of Mulia, but it was all for naught.

Of course, if they turned around here, the emperor’s wrath would fall. It wasn’t their fault that the Duke was cursed and healed so quickly, but the emperor would blame them.

‘The crown prince position… … .’

The emperor would drag his feet when it came to deciding without any hint of what he was thinking—like before!

Julien was exhausted by it and felt it was unfair. This had been an opportunity to get rid of the annoying duchy of Tintalion and obtain the position of the crown prince he longed for.

‘What shall I do?’

He felt too bitter to turn around like this. Trying to hit the Duke of Tintalion now with his force was like hitting a rock with an egg… … .

‘Wouldn’t an assassination be possible?’

If he succeeded, the cause of the Duke’s death could be attributed to a curse; if it failed, he could blame Aaron. So the Duke may be safe, but Aaron won’t be safe.

But how could he make it seem Aaron killed Duke Tintalion?

Even a three-year-old child knew that Aslei Tintalion was the greatest sword master on the continent. An ordinary assassin could never kill Aslei.

Maybe if he used something like bait.

‘Bait, bait… … .’

Suddenly, Frisia came to Julien’s mind. Ducal Princess Atreille, Frisia, was once the woman he presumed would be his wife.

If the Duke of Atreille had not rejected and blocked his intentions, he would have sent her a marriage proposal.

Identity, beauty, and personality… … . She had all of the conditions for becoming a royal princess, but Duke Atreille wanted a marriage that would benefit the family.

Since the first prince already had a princess, the second and third princes seemed to have no prospects. It was the same even after the first prince, the crown prince, died in a horseback accident.

He believed the emperor would eventually pass the throne to Aaron, not Julien. Even so, the reason why he didn’t stick Frisia to Aaron was because Aaron would never move according to his will.

“It depends on how joining the imperial family will benefit our family.”

His attitude was polite, but the content was not. Recalling the arrogant Duke of Atreille, Julien gnashed his teeth.

There was no greater insult than to say that a union with the imperial family would not benefit the Duke of Atreille.

‘If the arrogant Duke finds out his daughter is dead… … How will he take it?’

According to rumors, Frisia’s sincere love lifted the curse of Duke Tintalion. In that case, the Duke must also be very fond of his wife.

Because a love that lifts his curse could not be one-way, wouldn’t it be possible to trap the Duke of Tintalion by using Frisia?

‘At least his strength would be diverted to protect his wife.’

Julien looked at Aaron with such a guess. He saw that this plan could not succeed by mobilizing only his own knights.

It was to kill the man competing for first or second place on the continent.

It would only be possible if he mobilized all the capabilities he had and borrowed the power of others. Then, if they failed, he could drag Aaron into it and put the blame on him.

‘If I don’t put the blame on Aaron, I’ll be in danger.’

The Duke would naturally try to hold the perpetrator accountable if the assassination failed. However, Julien believed the emperor would not protect him in such a situation.

As the Duke of Atreille saw, the emperor’s heart leaned towards Aaron to some extent. The death of the first prince was disguised as an accident, but he still had his suspicions about Julien.

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