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Sovieshu briefly stumbled, but instead of falling, he used the momentum to strike back at Grand Duke Kapmen. The grand duke blocked Sovieshu’s fist with his hand, but he flinched as two of his fingers bent backwards.
I tried to step between the two. Sovieshu was adept at sword fighting and basic martial arts, but since he was in the emperor’s office, he did not train hard. Kapmen, however, was a mage who could inevitably spend more time on research. When it came to a fight, it was obvious who would win. No, no matter who won, it would still be a problem.
Fortunately, Sovieshu and Grand Duke Kapmen separated, but they continued to stare down at each other.
The tension had eased only for a second, and then commotion flared again. Servants retreated from the scene while knights arrived at the same time. Some of the knights came to Sovieshu’s side, while others surrounded Grand Duke Kapmen. Those who did drew their swords and pointed it at the foreign man. Grand Duke Kapmen stared casually at Sovieshu, despite the wall of swords surrounding him.
I gave orders to the knights, but they did not listen.
“I order you all to stand down!”
I shouted again, then turned towards Sovieshu. The knights’ first priority was the Emperor’s safety.
Only after Sovieshu’s order did the knights lower their swords, but they did not sheath their blades. They warily watched the grand duke’s movements, ready to stab him the moment he posed a threat.
“You don’t have to worry.”
Grand Duke Kapmen held up his hands.
“My major is magic, so I can attack you from here.”
The knights were surprised, then narrowed their distance to the grand duke. Suddenly, under one of the men’s feet, there was a flash white light and the crackling of electricity. The man was startled, and he backed away and fell to the ground, while the other knights put up their swords.
Grand Duke Kapmen clenched his fist, white sparks flying and crackling from his hand as he glared at the knights threateningly. His specialty must be in electricity. The knights glanced uncertainly at each other, as they knew a fight could mean death.
“I said stand down.”
Sovieshu clicked his tongue and waved his hand, and the knights finally lowered their swords again. Sovieshu, however, seemed wholly unintimidated by Grand Duke Kapmen, and looked at him with a sneer.
“Well, it looks like Grand Duke Kapmen has a heart for the Empress, doesn’t he?”
“Only because I have a human heart.”
“Is it common sense to ask your partner to be friendly to a baby born from an affair?”
Sovieshu’s expression darkened.
“Do you not know that Rashta is an official concubine?”
“The Empress did not give her official approval.”
“Aha. Is the only woman that the Rwibt Emperor loves his political partner? If that’s the case, then I can understand that cultural difference.”
Little was known about the Hwa continent, but there have been several rumors that stimulated people’s interest. Among them were stories of harems among the royalty and upper aristocracy, and how they collected beautiful women to fit their tastes. The stories may have been greatly exaggerated, but it was true that harems existed. Sovieshu knew of this, and Grand Duke Kapmen’s brow furrowed deeply.
Sovieshu had a smug smile on his face, as he had succeeded in pointing out Kapmen’s hypocrisy.
“I don’t know what you’re planning, but I don’t trust a man that seems to be driven by emotion. To spare your reputation, I won’t imprison you.”
He turned away coldly.
“But I’ll have to rethink my deal with Rwibt.”
Sovieshu left with his men, leaving behind Grand Duke Kapmen, Sir Artina and I.
I turned towards Grand Duke Kapmen in pity. Although he had been carried away because of the potion, it had involved me.
“Grand Duke, I—”
I tried to apologize, but he firmly cut in.
“You don’t have to apologize. It’s my fault that I was unable to overcome my emotions at that moment.”
Prince Heinley pressed Sir McKenna as soon as they arrived at the prince’s quarters. He had hurried, feeling uneasy about the situation.
“There is an urgent message.”
McKenna hurriedly closed the door and approached Prince Heinley standing near the table, then handed him a letter.
“Is it from my brother?”
Prince Heinley pulled the letter out of the envelope and unfolded it. His expression grew increasingly worried as he scanned the contents. McKenna stood beside Prince Heinley and carefully watched him. There was another letter sent to McKenna himself, and so he already knew the news the prince received.
Wharton III, the king of the Western Kingdom, was in failing health. Prince Heinley was asked to return. After reading the letter, Prince Heinley placed the letter on the table and gave a heavy sigh.
“Are you alright?”
McKenna scanned the prince’s face, and Heinley shook his head and stared at the table.
“The kingdom is stable and there is a wide gap between the Prince and the second heir to the throne…but you should go home soon.”
“I know. I have to listen to his will.”
Prince Heinley and Wharton III were not close as brothers, but they didn’t have a terrible relationship, nor did they have a bloody race over the throne. Though their personalities were different and Heinley liked to stray from the original circle, they got along in moderation. Heinley wasn’t happy to hear that his own brother was dying.
It was the same with McKenna as well. Though he was a bastard cousin and could not officially be counted as the king’s family, he wasn’t unfeeling.
“I have a headache.”
Prince Heinley pulled out a chair to sit on it, then laid his head on the table.
“Shall I go to Emperor Sovieshu and inform him you’ll be going back?”
“I do it.”
“I’ll tell him.”
“And as for your letter friend…”
“Yes, My Prince.”
Prince Heinley slightly raised his head and stared vacantly into space. Then he turned to McKenna. Sensing that Heinley’s mind was in turmoil, the knight called to him carefully, “Prince?”
“What are the odds I’ll marry her?”
The prince sighed and buried his head on the desk again.
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