HCM – 88

Aslei would one day enter the capital. Jeremy could not block him forever.

‘So I don’t have to grant Jeremy’s wish either.’

Not knowing that, Jeremy laughed. His mischievous laugh made her feel the gap of 10 years from the Jeremy she knew before returning.

“Are you serious? No matter what wish I make… … Even if I ask you to marry me?”

“I will listen,”

Marianne declared sincerely. Because Jeremy could never beat Aslei, regardless. He may be capable of cursing him and hiding, but if they came head-to-head, he’d never win.

In the end, he would run away, wounded.

But all Marianne wanted was to hold Aslei back. In the meantime, those mobilized by Julien would murder Frisia.

“All right, I’ll try. It’s something I have no choice but to do!”

Jeremy’s voice rose in excitement. Marianne watched him with a cold, detached regard.

Jeremy opened her window and looked back at Marianne. He seemed to want to give her one last hug before he departed.

However, Jen, sensing something strange, was approaching the inn.

Jeremy clicked his tongue in regret, turned into a crow, and flew out of the window. She quickly closed her window.

A thumping was heard coming up the stairs. The door would break down soon, with Jen pushing it in.

Marianne considered an excuse to say to the innkeeper as she waited for him. The time had come for her to say goodbye to this place as well.

❁ ❁ ❁

His arms hugging her were warm. Frisia looked at the interior, where a few lights were lit, and hoped this would not be her last night at the Dukedom of Tintalion.

Aslei hugged her for a long time without saying a word.

Tomorrow at this same time, they would set off for the capital in a carriage. Just in case, Aslei would ride beside the wagon on horseback and guard it.

Frisia said she would be fine without the added precaution, but he didn’t listen.

‘I guess Aslei also has an ominous foreboding.’

It wasn’t just them. The faces of the other employees of the Duke’s household and the knights preparing for the procession were full of solemnity.

Their duchy was under unjust and unwarranted attack, so the people of the entire territory were united.

Even from before, the imperial family had been trying to damage the Duke of Tintalion, so they knew reason would not work. Everyone in the duchy thought: This time, they are trying to blame the innocent Duchess.

Since the Duchess protected the cursed Duke until the end and brought him back after releasing his spell, it was too bizarre to doubt or condemn her.

How could someone so intent on caring for her husband prepare for his assassination in the meantime? Some even wept at the ridiculous allegations.

Although this was the opinion within the Duchy of Tintalion, it was not much different elsewhere in the Empire. Even the common people felt sorry for the Duchess, though not as much as the masses within the duchy.

This was especially true when people learned that she did not abandon her cursed husband but instead guarded and cared for him.

“What will happen now… … .”

“Hasn’t the emperor already made up his mind? At this rate… … .”

Commoners were fully aware of the unjust reality of power, for aristocracy could accuse and convict those most innocent of the most hideous crimes. 

The nobles were divided over whether the Duke of Tintalion and the Duke of Atreille could save the Duchess.

Their position was favorable to the Duchess. Because a precedent should not be set that the emperor could arbitrarily wield power against them.

If this was allowed, the emperor could accuse anyone of treason. His power would significantly increase, and nobility would have to tread lightly.

The exoneration of the Duchess of Tintalion was not just a gossip of a distant village. Their personal welfare had a stake and vested interests in the outcome.

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