The aristocrats murmured amongst themselves. There were even some who stepped away while letting out a small scream. The guards and soldiers raised their guards and exuded faint bloodlust. The person who could be called the gravest criminal in the kingdom had appeared inside the palace’s party room. Evelyn turned her head and endured all the shocked looks, murderous intent, and scorning faces.
“…This is surprising.” The Crown Prince said, “Do you think you belong in a place like this?”
As expected of seeing the person who tried to kill him, the Crown Prince sounded angry. Evelyn suppressed her fears and recalled what Zich told her.
‘You did nothing wrong. The only ones at fault are Albus Windpool and the people who helped him. Everyone else misunderstood, so let’s go correct that misunderstanding right now. Act confidently. There’s no reason for you to be discouraged.”
Evelyn glanced at Zich, and he nodded towards her. Evelyn returned his nod and confidently puffed out her chest.
“I came here because there’s no better place to get rid of my false charges.”
“False charges?” The Crown Prince exclaimed as if he couldn’t believe his ears, “You tried to stab me with the knife you secretly brought, and your ex-fiancè, Albus, threw his body out to save me. How can you say that you were falsely accused—?”
“Your Highness, there’s no need for you to listen further.” Albus intervened and continued, “This is a joyous day, and we’re here to celebrate His Majesty’s 50th birthday. There’s no need for Your Highness to listen to their words at the risk of ruining this party. Let’s capture them now, and we’ll have plenty of time to interrogate them later.”
Albus soon regained his level-headedness. He stole furtive glances at Evelyn and acted as if the sight of her pained him. From his acting, people began to sympathize with him.
‘He’s pretty good.’ Zich gave high scores for Albus’ acting skills. However, there was one pivotal factor that Albus lacked: luck. The moment Zich became his enemy, Albus’ fortune had completely changed his future.
Zich said, “No, Your Highness. Please excuse my rudeness, but I believe you should settle this matter right now.”
“Who are you?” the Crown Prince asked Zich as he stepped in front of Evelyn.
“Your Highness, my name is Zich. I am a friend of Lady Evelyn Rouge.”
Albus intervened, “Your Highness, he is one of Evelyn’s accomplices we found from our investigation several days ago. They are suspected as accomplices for Your Highness’ assassination since they appeared and met frequently with Evelyn right before the assassination attempt.”
Whether or not it was by reflexes or careful planning, Albus managed to frame Zich into an accomplice with just a few sentences. The Crown Prince’s gaze towards Zich turned harsher. On the contrary, Albus’ eyes looked at Zich triumphantly while the rest of his face remained serious.
The Crown Prince asked Zich, “Do you also plan to claim that Evelyn was falsely charged?”
“Certainly, Your Highness. I am the one who convinced her to come to this party.”
“Fine, let’s hear what you have to say. Then, who is the real mastermind behind Lady Rouge’s charge?”
“Your Highness, Lady Evelyn will tell us that part.” Zich stepped away from Evelyn.
Evelyn gulped down her saliva. Rage, sadness, betrayal, and all kinds of emotions rose in her heart, but she didn’t show any of them.
Her eyes were locked onto one spot. She raised her fingers and pointed at one person. “My ex-fiancè, Albus Windpool, is the mastermind behind this incident.”
Shock enveloped the entire ballroom. Nobody had expected her to point Albus out of all people as the offender. However, the shock didn’t play favorably for her and Zich as most people thought Evelyn was making an outlandish claim.
“Evelyn, why would you…” Albus muttered like he was grief-stricken and stirred the audience even more.
“I don’t think we have anything more to hear from you.” The Crown Prince shook his head.
Zich asked, “Huh? Your Highness, are you not able to believe her words?” Zich spoke with ease, unbefitting the situation he was in, and the Crown Prince frowned.
“Of course. Who is more believable—the lady who tried to stab me and the person suspected to be her accomplice, or the man who protected me at the risk of his own life? Furthermore, you are someone with no clear background.”
Then, as if he suddenly remembered something, the Crown Prince stared at Count Steelwall. “Now that I mention it, it seemed like you knew this person. Do you know who he is?”
“…Your Highness, he is my eldest son.”
People were stunned. Even Evelyn looked at Zich in surprise. She knew that Zich had a noble background from the conversation they had inside the carriage, but she didn’t expect him to be from Steelwall. Albus had looked at Zich with a triumphant expression, but now it looked as if his eyes would pop out. If Zich was the Steelwall family’s eldest son, the weight of his words changed, and the people’s gazes towards Zich completely changed too.
Fortunately for Albus, Count Steelwall distanced himself from Zich.
“Your Highness, he was disowned after he caused an incident. I told His Majesty about this before too. Please don’t misunderstand since he has nothing to do with the Steelwall family anymore. He is no longer a noble.”
“Sir, I would like to make a correction.” With a smile, Zich mocked the Count, “I wasn’t disowned. I couldn’t stand the pathetic state of the Steelwall family and decided to storm out of the house.”
“I see that you haven’t changed your insolent way of talking.”
“Sir, it can’t be helped. It was all I ever learned from your family.”
The Count’s nostrils flared up with his heavy breaths—his anger was almost tangible. The nobles near the Count stepped away, and the only ones remaining were the Count’s friends and family members who stared at Zich with their eyes wide open.
“…Sir Steelwall, then am I right to think that the man in front of us has nothing to do with you?”
“Most definitely, Sir Windpool.”
Albus calmed his heart. ‘I never imagined that he was the son of Count Steelwall.’
However, it didn’t matter. Count Steelwall assured everyone that Zich was no longer part of his family. Rather, Albus made fun of Zich inside his mind.
‘He’s a person who was abandoned by his noble family. He’s a complete loser.’
Was that why he ridiculed Albus’ speech in the mountains? Because he wasn’t able to gain power for himself?
‘Does he think he is better than other people because he pays no attention to authority or power? What a fool.’
Then Albus thought that Zich would ironically die from the power that he ridiculed so much.
‘I have to drag those guys to prison first.’
He didn’t know how Evelyn was able to come here in one piece, but his victory was assured. The situation had just turned slightly cumbersome for him.
“Your Highness, Count Steelwall is also speaking against that man. Judging by that man’s attitude and Count Steelwall’s words, that man seems to cause a lot of problems, and I do not think we have to listen to his words any further. Let’s put them all into prison first.”
The Crown Prince nodded. When he raised his hand, the knights and soldiers slowly started to close in on Zich, Evelyn, and Lyla.
“W-what should we do?” Evelyn was confused. Zich waved his hands to assure her everything was all right and turned towards the Crown Prince again.
“Your Highness, I’m so disappointed that you don’t believe in my words.”
“How and why am I supposed to believe you? Rather, I’m amazed that you’re still so confident.”
“Ahh, how wretched am I that not a soul believes in me when I have only spoken the truth! Is there really not a soul out here who will help me in my time of need?” Zich began to look at the ceiling and sighed as if he was performing a skit. He continued playfully, “Yes. Maybe a saint-like lady who is beautiful and kind can help me.”
Amongst the people looking at him like he was crazy, someone suddenly burst out laughing. Everyone’s attention shifted towards the person who laughed.
“Please stop laughing. Everyone is looking at us strangely.”
“Hah! A-ah, I mean. I’m trying to keep it in, but…! Ha! Haha!”
There was a person who was covering his mouth and trying his best not to laugh, and a woman staring at the laughing man with a perturbed face. This was definitely not the right time to laugh. However, there was not a single person in this ballroom who could criticize or scold him. In a way, these two people were considered even holier than the Crown Prince who currently held the highest authority in the ballroom.
Seeing that her companion would not stop laughing, the woman let out a sigh and moved forward. Her companion followed right behind her and continued to snicker. After politely asking everyone in front of her to move, she reached her destination. The knights and soldiers had stopped moving and were now cautiously watching how the situation would unfold.
“You are…” The Crown Prince was surprised that a completely unexpected person intervened in this bizarre situation.
The woman bowed towards the Crown Prince and stood in front of Zich. Her companion stood right behind her. As the woman and Zich faced each other, everyone’s eyes were glued to them.
“You really appeared. The saint-like woman who is beautiful and kind.”
“Really, whenever I meet you, something crazy is always going on.”
“Aren’t we living a very interesting life?”
“If it becomes even more interesting, my blood is going to run dry.”
Zich laughed, and in contrast, the woman sighed.
“Ah, Mr. Zich, but there is something that you need to fix.” Still chuckling, the woman’s companion interrupted their conversation. “You are right about a ‘lady who is beautiful and kind,’ but she’s not ‘saint-like’ anymore.”
Zich immediately caught the meaning behind his words.
“Oh, that’s what happened. She became the Saint for real. I send you my congratulations, Lady Lubella.”
The woman, Lubella, nodded her head as thanks. “Thank you, Mr. Zich.”
“Then are you now Saint Aine Primel Lubella?”
Zich swallowed his saliva. Even though he thought his trauma had disappeared after he got closer to Lubella, he felt a shiver run down his back when he said her middle name out loud.
‘I should calm down. We’re never going to fight against each other now.’
Watching the situation in front of him with glee, Weig brought them back to the present. “Congratulations are nice, but shouldn’t we deal with this situation first, Lady Lubella? It’s not like we came here for personal matters.”
“Yes, that’s true.” Lubella walked back towards the Crown Prince again. “I apologize, Your Highness. I humbly suggest that you try listening to Mr. Zich’s narrative. I will vouch for his identity and his words.”
“You will…?” A vouch from the Karuwiman Saint was not a light matter at all. Really, how many times was he going to be surprised? People began murmuring amongst each other again.
The Crown Prince asked, “May I ask if he really is such a trustworthy person?”
“Your Highness, I do trust him, but I’m not just saying this because I trust him as a person. Even though our honor and reputation might fall if he lies, he did so much for Karuwiman, I believe he is more than worthy for me to vouch for anything he says at least once.”
The Crown Prince’s mouth was wide open. Lubella’s words were far more significant than simply just saying that she believed in him. However, Lubella drew back as if her role was now over. Weig watched the scene in front of him with abated excitement.
“So I guess I’m now in a situation where I can finally say what I wanted to say all along.”
With glee, Zich spoke to Albus who now had a very gray complexion.
“Sir Windpool, why don’t we calmly begin our conversation?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter