HCM – 77

He tried to kill Duke Tintalion to ingratiate himself with the emperor so that he could become the crown prince and ascend the throne.

There were only two princes in the empire, so after Aaron’s death, Julien was the only child left of the emperor’s.

The letter requested Aaron’s death masked as a failed attempt to poison Duke Tintalion. And also advised that the guilt should be laid on the Duchess, not the Duke:

‘If you blame the Duchess, you can strike both the Duchies of Tintalion and Atreille.’

It was a strategy he hadn’t even considered before.

Indeed, if the Duke of Tintalion were to be blamed, the Duke of Atreille would try to step aside by getting his daughter to divorce him.

Duke Atreille would use his influence to save his daughter. So he would take the Duchess, and you must kill her before she arrives in the capital.

If the Duchess was killed by an ‘accident,’ it would become difficult to determine whether she was guilty or not. Then, finally, Julien would pin all the blame on Aaron to appease the two dukes.

Duke Tintalion might pretend to mourn, but their affection would not be deep since it was an arranged political marriage. Besides, she would be already dead.

Any politician worth their salt would choose power and safety than fight for the honor of the dead.

In addition, the Duke of Atreille would prioritize the interests of his family rather than the honor of his dead daughter. It was an open secret that the Duke did not have a deep affection for his children.

It was calculated that he would take Julien’s outstretched hand, not wanting to risk the family being charged with treason.

‘Haha… … . How could someone think of such a good scheme!’

Julien’s eyes lit up, and he let out a laugh. From his point of view, it was good advice to fill in the weak spots.

The letter was several pages long. It contained details that included what to use to lure Aaron, from what poison to use to where to fake the death of the Duchess as an accident in the future.

“Your Highness, do you really believe this? It might be a trap.”

Viscount Gaines was in utter disbelief, although he had shown it to Julien mostly because he was afraid to carry out a plan known to a third party, not just themselves.

He was also frightened of being played like a puppet in someone’s hands.

“Look at what is written here! Can any of you come up with a plan like this? This person must be the one who believes in my cause and thinks I should be the emperor!”

Julien’s men, including Gaines, also thought he should become emperor. But it was because they had lined up with Julien for politics, not because they thought he had a divine right to the throne.

In all honesty, they thought Julien’s character was inferior to Aaron’s.

‘But character doesn’t make one an emperor.’

All previous emperors in the current era, including the current emperor Orl IV, were tyrannical, violent, and comparable to tyrants.

It wasn’t because they had benevolent dispositions that they were able to become emperors. It’s because they gathered forces and crushed their other brothers.

Julien seemed to be elated at this spontaneous aid. He judged that a competent tactician had recognized him as the future emperor and assisted him.

“Send someone to Aaron! Tell him I asked to meet you!”

Julien, full of dreams, ordered that with a snake-like smile.

❁ ❁ ❁

“… … Are you saying that he asked to meet me?”

Aaron asked, looking at his attendant with a disapproving face. He was about to order them to make preparations to return to the capital, thinking he had no more to gain by staying here.

He wanted to put on a plausible act with a reasonable excuse when assassinating Duke Tintalion in order to please the emperor, but the opportunity had already fled.

‘Even though I brought the elite forces of the imperial family, I am still no match for the duke…… .’

A man like Duke Tintalion should have been a general rather than stuck in the East. Or a Knight Commander of the Imperial Guard.

Aaron was convinced that if he became emperor, he would do anything to make it happen.

“The messenger awaits an answer.”

At the servant’s words, Aaron wrinkled his brow. In all honesty, he’d like to ignore the invitation, but on the surface, they still had to keep the appearances of brothers.

‘I’m also grateful and indebted to him for killing the crown prince.’

Although he was happy he did it on the one hand, on the other hand, he didn’t know if Julien would try to kill him.

His defense was that he did not benefit from killing his older brother, the first prince, but if Aaron died, only Julien would be the heir to the throne.

“Tell him I’ll be there soon.”

Aaron sighed with annoyance, thinking of the Duke and Duchess of Tintalion. Although he was in only the rural areas in the eastern territories, how dare they be so arrogant to show an equal level of development to that of the imperial capital! 

Although he wanted to make the Duke his knight, he also wanted to kill him. Because he was too outstanding.

‘Indeed, being superior to the emperor is a sin.’

Undoubtedly, it was a sin worthy of being decapitated.

❁ ❁ ❁

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