HCM – 82

No, are you insane?

Upon returning from the banquet, Aslei and his companions confided to her. Frisia was stunned. It was partially expected that the Second Prince might kill the Third Prince and lay the blame on Aslei.

But it’s me!

‘… … Are you saying you don’t like the merger of the Atreille family and the Tintalion family?’

It might be because they were far from the emperor’s eyes anyway. One of the two remaining princes was murdered, leaving only Julien to inherit the throne.

The emperor was already suspicious of Julien and hated him. Now that even his youngest son had been murdered by Julien, that hatred must have turned to enmity.

But that was personal, and this was politics.

The emperor would not pass up an opportunity to tear the two families apart by accusing Frisia. But, of course, problems abounded.

First of all, Frisia was not only a high-ranking noble but a member of the imperial family. Additionally, because of her reticent and asocial personality, she had no acquaintance with the princes.

In addition, the Duke of Tintalion and the Duke of Atreille would defend and maintain Frisia’s innocence.

It would be difficult to convict her based on thin evidence and testimony. If circumstances had been different, with solid evidence and imperial authority was strong, torture would be possible, but not now.

High-ranking aristocrats could be interrogated with a bystander present, but for the imperial family, Frisia being one of them, it was impossible to extract a confession by torture. First, the noble council will protest against it and rise up.

“I hope my wife refuses to be investigated.”

These words came from Aslei to Frisia during a meeting with the staff by her side. He looked very serious.

At that, Reid and several of his aides seemed to be taken aback.

“But, Your Excellency, that would only deepen suspicions!”

“Even if you go up to the capital, the investigation will be conducted inside the duke’s residence… … . It is appropriate to go up to the capital when the official notice comes down.”

After hearing the criminal’s testimony at the count’s house, Julien quickly left the scene, acting as if he had heard something he couldn’t hear. And then he fled and went up to the capital.

It was as if he knew that Duke Tintalion would harm him.

Ha! The whole continent knew that he had murdered the third prince and put the blame on the duchies of Tintalion and Atreille.

However, Julien, who has gone up to the capital, will claim to the emperor that the dukes are slandering him and that the duchess executed Prince Aaron.

It was apparent that the emperor would order her to come up to the capital to be investigated.

“Aslei, going up to the capital is unavoidable. I am also from the imperial family. The investigation will not be difficult.”

The imperial family could have two to three witnesses during a questioning. If Frisia designated one of them as Aslei, he could stay by her side throughout the inquiry.

The investigators would feel tremendous pressure just by his presence.

“… … If the emperor sends an official letter without dismissing the claim of the second prince, then his intentions will become clear.”

‘We need some means to put pressure on the emperor,’ insisted Reid.

Currently, only two knighthoods out of the five Orders in the duchy were stationed in Mulia. After the other three Orders returned, Reid insisted that he go up to the capital.

“That’s not good enough,”

Frisia declared in a firm tone. It was a dangerous move that could be seen as plotting treason.

“But, madam, if the emperor’s intentions are clear, then you may be in danger.”

Reid was suspicious of blaming Frisia out of everyone. He feared that the emperor after she arrived in the capital, would force her into prison and torture her.

“Could that happen?”

“Without looking down on the two dukes… … .”

“You’re overthinking.”

Instead, sparks could fly from the heart of the emperor who had lost his child. Reid was adamant.

“The second prince has already revealed his true intentions. The emperor may vent his anger and try to find a reason and price for losing his son here.”

As she listened to Reid’s words, her body trembled.

Frisia was not confident that she could handle being imprisoned in a dungeon cell and tortured. Moreover, in the midst of severe pain, how could she readily assert her innocence?

If they were going to make up evidence anyway, shouldn’t she just say what they want and a least get a brief respite?

It would be despair and agony to be fully endured every moment. But, in addition, fear, anxiety, and dread would pile up and prevail at the inevitability that false allegations became irrefutable charges.

Aslei looked at Frisia and held her hand. His warmth passed on to her from where they touched; she smiled at him.

The meeting ended inconclusively. For now, the only thing decided was to bring back the scattered knighthoods in various places to prepare for an emergency.

“There has been no official letter from the emperor yet. He won’t make a foolish choice if he, too, has any intelligence,”

whispered Aslei, comforting her.

However, two days later, a letter from the emperor came down from the palace. It was an order to have Frisia come up to the capital for investigation.

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