HCM – 80

The nearby lords approached in delight.

The princes were surrounded by other high-ranking nobles in the center of the banquet hall. Aslei’s cool eyes touched them.

Aaron accepted it, but Julien’s eyes seemed to sting when he met his gaze.

‘I don’t know how he killed the crown prince with that kind of cowardice.’

He even disguised the assassination as an ‘accident.’ The emperor chose to protect his second son rather than punish him.

After all, Julien was also his son. However, because of his work, the emperor’s heart grew distant from Julien. It was also why many aristocrats speculated that Aaron would be the next crown prince.

‘He’s reckless and stupid, but he’s lucky.’

Aslei approached them, swearing that his luck would soon run out.

❁ ❁ ❁

The day got dark. Frisia dismissed her attendants and was left alone in her bedroom. During the day, the spirits of light wandered around with the spirits of the wind, but at night the spirits of darkness emerged, glimmering gently.

They did not travel with the wind spirits, but when the wind rushed over the thick darkness, the wind, and dark souls danced together.

With so many spirits, how could she make a contract with one of them?

Frisia knew that the spirits liked her quite a bit. When she turned away and ignored them, they tugged at her hair and hovered near her.

The fire spirits knew they were dangerous, so they didn’t approach. But that was an exception. In particular, dozens of wind spirits were always attached to Frisia’s body.

Her ladies-in-waiting even admired how the madam could keep her hair fluttering in perfect form.

‘I don’t know.’

Watching the spirits, Frisia lay down on the bed. She wouldn’t sleep until Aslei returned, but he seemed late.

“… … you have to come back safely.”

Ever since she realized her feelings for him, she felt strange. She still didn’t think she loved him passionately. But she presumed that this level of emotion was also love.

‘Maybe if I properly confessed, Aslei’s curse might be completely lifted.’

I don’t know what you’re hesitating about. Or are you afraid of something?

What if the curse doesn’t break after confessing? What if the emotions I’m feeling right now aren’t love?

She thought maybe that was it. It was a cowardly story, but it was also true that she felt that way.

‘But tonight… … .’

She wanted to give it a try. It may be regrettable if the curse was not lifted, but no one knows what would happen unless she tried it.

❁ ❁ ❁

Even the moment he spurted blood, Aaron looked incredulous. He wasn’t in charge of handling the poison to Duke Tintalion.

Aaron’s role was merely to draw his attention the moment the poison went into Duke Tintalion’s goblet.

Julien told him to have a fake seizure, but Aaron refused. Because no noble would recommend a prince with seizures as the crown prince. He didn’t want to do it, even if it was an act.

Julien looked disapprovingly at Aaron’s harsh refusal, and he told him to pretend to be poisoned. [t1v: this convo is a flash back]

“Why aren’t you acting?”

“Smart little brother, have you forgotten that I made this plan?”

The sender of the letter had devised the plan, not him, but Julien took credit. Aaron continued to doubt. It was suspicious that Julien had drawn him into a plan to assassinate the Duke and insisted on sharing the benefit.

He was the one who killed his own brother to become the crown prince.

“Why do you need me?”

“Because of the vassals of the Duke of Tintalion. The knights I have are not enough. You and I will have to combine all our forces.”

Some, if not all, could dare to attack Julien, promising to avenge their master. Julien said he would like to avoid that. And he added:

“You already know that I have already fallen out of favor with His Majesty. Even though he sent the two of us here, His Majesty won’t make me crown prince in the end.”

What Julien asked of Aaron was that when he became emperor, he would give him the Duchy of Tintalion.

If Aslei Tintalion died, the Duchy of Tintalion would be vacant.

The old Duke was still alive, but he was far away. By the time he returned to the Empire with news of his grandson’s assassination, his family would be already shattered.

Aaron was suspicious of Julien, but he had no choice but to accept his plan. Taking Julien’s words literally, he didn’t have to assassinate Duke Tintalion, but he disagreed with Julien’s thoughts.

‘It’s true that his Majesty favors me more, but if Julien alone kills Duke Tintalion, the resentment in his heart against him will be relieved.’

There was no need to take that risk.

Besides, Julien had already annihilated one of his brothers and had fallen out of favor with the emperor. If he murdered him in the Duchy of Tintalion, it would be like openly advertising, ‘my killed my brother.’

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