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Translated by Wook
Edited by Iris Sakura
Although the Black Moon is an external enemy, Elpidio held hands with them for a short time for the purpose of eliminating the 2nd Prince Ricardis. Even in the Black Moon, or even in Balta, Ricardis presence was a thorn in their side. It was because Ricardis made substantial contributions to weakening the power of the Black Moon. Thanks to that, Elpidio established an alliance with the Black Moon very quickly.
Although it was much easier in many ways than when they solely counted on Elpidio’s power alone, Ricardis was not an easy opponent either. On the contrary, it seemed that Ricardis’ true face was revealed only in a situation where he is driven to the defensive. There are so many hidden things about him. After the alliance, the game that Elpidio thought would soon come to an end was still in a tug-of-war.
The Black Moon said they would deal with him in the hunting competition but then failed. Later, the assassins asked for Elpidio’s help to enter the Moonstone Castle, and they managed to get in somehow, but that failed too. They even fell under the hands of the new senior knight, who had just been assigned to the escort mission that day. How shameful. ‘Ricardis, how arrogant he must be.’ Just imagining it made Elpidio’s blood boil.
In that situation, Ricardis even discovered the identity of the poison, saying it was a mixture of magic power and poison. He was so detailed that he even stated holy power could not heal it. Elpidio was bewildered. He did not receive such information from the Black Moon. Haqab is operating independently within the alliance, which wasn’t a good sign at all. If the claws of the Black Moon direct towards him, it will put him at risk as well as there is no way to detoxify the poison. No, it was already dangerous. A plausible justification for a single purpose could be broken at any time. Elpidio ruffled his bright blonde hair. Things were getting messed up. Count Ironhoff, who had been observing his expression, opened his heavy mouth.
(E/N: “A plausible justification for a single purpose could be broken at any time.” Both sides have a reason for joining together, but they could still easily split up and betray the other.)
“What has already happened cannot be helped, Your Highness. Wasn’t it expected that Prince Haqab would not show all of his hand?”
“Damn, would you have thought of something like this? It’s as if not only Ricardis but mine and your lives all depend on Haqab. While we were Ricardis’ shield, those bastards were thinking of eating Illavenia! They must be very excited!”
Elpidio walked around the room impatiently. Count Ironhoff sighed to himself as he couldn’t find the attitude of a superior in Elpidio. Elpidio should have tried to solve the problem step by step to comfort the subordinates, but he didn’t. Instead, he called his vassals in the middle of the night like this, showing all kinds of temper, which would not help with solving the situation.
“Nevertheless, we still have an alliance. What the Black Moon wants still remains. Grab it and make a deal. There is no poison without an antidote. Let us find it first, Your Highness.” Elpidio stopped his tantrum then turned his head to the count.
“In the end, what they want is obvious. Attempts to invoke the Blessed Night have always been active in the Kingdom of Balta and the Illavenia Empire. A secret library that can only be accessed when one becomes Emperor. Is it not there? There should be a document with instructions on how to summon the white night.”
(T/N: Blessed Night and white night are the same things. They’re just different ways to say it.)
“It’s there,” Elpidio replied.
“If we could have said we knew how, we would have done it sooner. Even if Prince Haqab obtains the material, he will never be able to summon the Blessed Night. Ultimately, this is useless information. There won’t be any fatal risk even if we cross the Black Moon.”
Elpidio thought quietly. What Count Ironhoff said was not wrong. However, as thousands of years passed, that information only became known to a few people per generation. It was information tightly hidden, which implied its importance in the past. If so, there must be a good reason. It might have been a powerful weapon that Illavenia held that could shake the continent.
“It is useless to me, and if it is necessary for others, it should be sold at the highest possible price.”
“The identity of the poison discovered by His Highness the 2nd Prince must have already reached His Majesty’s ears. You must move quickly, my prince.”
Elpidio was worried. ‘How to move to get the best results?’ The identity of the new poison made by the Black Moon was revealed to the Emperor. The Emperor was a person who highly valued holy power and the authority granted to emperor title. Due to the nature of his father, it was clear that once he heard this information, there would be an uproar. It was a more certain way for Balta to request a duel than simply throwing a glove at the Emperor’s face.
But they were still at the beginning of the war. Before he got the antidote, Balta was still useful to Elpidio. Above all else, he had to kill Ricardis. If Balta was the sworn enemy of Illavenia, Ricardis was the sworn enemy of Elpidio. So the fastest way to get the antidote while giving a warning to Balta…
Elpidio blinked his eyes.
“Fortunately, I have a way that we can use.”
‘It doesn’t matter if someone has to die.’ Elpidio swallowed the rest of the words. Dozens of eyes fell on Elpidio.
Ricardis’ morning started late. It was because he could’t get out of the aftermath of the drinking battle that suddenly started last night. Isserion, who brought honey water, looked very much like a mother looking at her immature son. It looked like thousands of wine bottles lay on the table, and there were red wine stains on the carpet. The scent of alcohol wafted from Ricardis, who was still in dreamland.
Ricardis groaned at the hand that shook him awake and opened his eyes. Because of the direction of the light, Isserion’s dark brown hair looked black. He shook his head and rubbed his eyes. It was his assistant, Isserion. Ricardis was embarrassed that for a moment, he had mistaken Isserion for Rosaline. By the way, when did she leave the room?
Except for a bit of a headache from drinking too much, he slept pretty well. Thanks to it, he felt lighter today. The bathwater that Isserion had prepared beforehand was steaming. He plunged deep into the tub. As he relaxed in the warm water, the memories of last night came to mind. ‘I think she said something before I fell asleep, but I can’t remember.’
Elpidio, who had just left the Emperor’s office, frowned due to making eye contact with Ricardis, who was walking towards him. Ricardis looked at him and put a bright smile on his lips. His bright smile was enough to make even the sunlight look dim. Elpidio wrinkled his face more when he saw Ricardis like that. ‘Did he take the wrong medicine?’
“Good morning. It’s been a while, Brother. Have you been at peace?” Ricardis greeted.
Elpidio replied carelessly and listened to what he had to say. The weather is good, and it’s a nice day for Idelavhim to look around. Then, Ricardis says that he’s got some delicious tea leaves and he’ll give them to him as a present. Elpidio’s face suddenly crumpled at the word ‘tea leaves’, which was spoken with a soft tone and amiable attitude, as he remembered the failed assassination attempt.
(E/N: “It’s a nice day for Idelavhim to look around.” This goes along with the weather is good, so God is watching over us/can watch over us.)
According to the words of the informants planted in Moonstone Castle, the assassination was foiled by a new escort knight, but Elpidio didn’t believe it. The Black Moon was not such a disorganized group that only a single escort knight could detect them. If it was truly like that, Ricardis would’ve noticed first. Elpidio always tried to understate Ricardis’ abilities. But in moments like this, he always believed in them. Those arrogant eyes always interfered with his work and looked at him with a confident face. He wanted to forget it, but he couldn’t forget.
Supporting the assassination group took a lot of hard work, effort, and money. This time, there was a lot of bleeding as well. He had high expectations for that bunch, but apparently, this cockroach-like thing managed to sneak out again. His stomach rolled.
When Elpidio had an audience with the Emperor, the situation was once again at a disadvantage for Ricardis. This time, the shadow of death was surely cast on that pretty face. Even though Elpidio knew it, he couldn’t start cheering in advance. His opponent was Ricardis, the 2nd Prince with leech-like, weed-like vitality that survives at any cost even in the shadow of death.
Elpidio’s face stiffened, and he quickly brushed past Ricardis. Their shoulders bumped into each other, but it was Elpidio who got pushed back. With a ferociously red face, he hurriedly escaped the Golden Stone Castle. His fast walk having the same speed as a run.
Ricardis wiped the dazzling smile from his face and patted the shoulder that had touched Elpidio’s. His actions and expressions were very feminine, but the twinkling in his blue eyes resemble Elpidio’s eyes before. His anger was not a light emotion that would easily subside even after several years had passed. Isserion, who had been standing next to him all the time, didn’t look happy either.
“He still can’t hide his emotions. I’m ashamed of myself for being so serious.”
“… Are you not offended?” Isserion asked.
Ricardis smirked. It looked very different from the smile he threw at Elpidio earlier. This one was with a cold, sharp face.
“Even if I feel bad, I just want him to feel worse.”
“I always feel it is like this, but Your Highness… You kind of…”
“Have a good personality? I think so too. Stop chatting and go in.”
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