A fragrant smell rose from the teapot. Like the expensive tea leaves it was brewing, the teapot looked luxurious and had beautiful patterns. Zich placed his finger between the teacup’s handle and raised it up to his face. He smelled the tea’s fragrance and took a sip. Then, as Zich placed his cup down, he exclaimed, “Even the tea from the palace is high-class.”
The Crown Prince sat in front of him and begrudgingly stared at Zich’s composed appearance. “…You are so calm. Is it because you don’t feel any sense of danger?”
“What do you mean, Your Highness? I’m also human too and I feel as if I’m in danger at times. And why would I feel threatened right now? Besides, if one lives honestly, there’s nothing for them to worry about.”
How could a person related to plots against the entire kingdom and the Crown Prince’s assassination attempt show an attitude like this—even if he was on the side, revealing these schemes? Moreover, even though Zich was treated well, he was currently locked inside the palace.
‘I don’t know if it’s because he is courageous or thoughtless.’
Considering Zich’s skills and everything he had accomplished, it seemed as if it was the former.
“For now, I have pardoned all the crimes you’ve committed. It’s because your deeds were significant.”
“Thank you, Your Highness.” Zich nodded, but he acted like he was receiving a favor he rightfully deserved. Zich’s attitude was a bit annoying, and the Crown Prince thought about saying something to rebuke Zich’s behavior; but in the end, he decided to repress his feelings.
“I was planning to give you a reward. Is there something you want? I will grant you almost anything.”
“I prefer cash.”
“I’m not sure, Your Highness. I can’t think of anything else.” Zich’s tone hinted that he wasn’t greedy for money, but it was useful to him.
‘He really isn’t someone I can buy with money or authority.’
The Crown Prince abandoned the thought of bringing Zich to his side.
“Did you find out anything from the imprisoners?”
The Crown Prince shook his head at Zich’s question. “No, they didn’t open their mouths even till the very end.”
“Those kinds of guys are like that.” Zich knew how useless torture would be and he accordingly didn’t use this method to dig up information from them.
“What about Albus Windpool, Your Highness?”
The Crown Prince scowled. The effect of a betrayal from a trusted foe was stronger than a betrayal by a random stranger. For the Crown Prince, Albus Windpool was one of the names that he hated the most. Just the thought of remembering that man’s name made the Crown Prince scowl.
“He really didn’t know anything. He said that a mysterious group suddenly appeared in front of him, told him their plans, and helped him from time to time. He just believed those mysterious figures and carried out their schemes. I can’t figure out if he’s bold or stupid.”
“Of course, it’s the latter. That’s why he didn’t even realize it when I acted as one of the robed figures.”
“No, from what I heard from him, your strategy and guts were very impressive.”
Even if Albus didn’t know the identities of the robed figures, there was no way it was easy for any ordinary person to act like the robed figures and control Albus however they wanted.
The Crown Prince asked, “Are the people who helped Albus and those who trespassed the palace from the same organization?”
“Yes, there’s a high possibility.” Zich answered and continued, “Your Highness, do you remember how one of the intruders resisted at the end while getting captured?”
“Ah, you are talking about that.”
The Crown Prince remembered how the intruders had transformed into grotesque-looking monsters at the end. They looked terrifying enough to haunt him in his nightmares.
“It’s a tactic that Albus’ accomplices use often. For the price of sacrificing their human appearance, they gain great power.”
“So, that’s why you quickly finished them off.”
“If he didn’t get hit by Lyla’s magic, I would have had a hard time finishing him off too. I was able to beat him because he was still paralyzed from the magic’s effects. I managed to finish off the other guys before they even transformed.”
“Could the other guys also transform?”
“I think there’s a high possibility for that too, Your Highness.”
“Then why didn’t they transform from the beginning?”
“The ballroom was teeming with the Kingdom’s most skilled fighters such as Sir Weig and the bodyguards. So, they probably didn’t want to burst into a fight right away and wanted to monitor the situation for a bit. If we looked easy to defeat, they probably would have gone into battle mode from the beginning. Since their ultimate goal was to run away though, I’m sure they were watching us carefully and biding their time.”
“I guess that’s how they missed the right timing to transform.”
The Crown Prince nodded. “Then, we should continue our conversation with the assumption that those two parties are from the same organization. So, while we are at it, tell me everything you know.”
The Crown Prince’s eyes became sharp. His previous light-hearted attitude was gone, and it was replaced by a strong, charismatic aura. An ordinary person would have succumbed under the Crown Prince’s aura and poured out everything they knew. Yet, to Zich, the Crown Prince’s eyes weren’t any different than a rabbit glaring at him. However, he didn’t plan to disrupt the Crown Prince’s plans.
“If that is what you wish, Your Highness, but it seems another guest has arrived. We can talk altogether.”
“Your Highness!” They heard a servant’s voice outside of the door. “Karuwiman’s Saint, Lady Aine Primel Lubella and Holy Knight Belri Weig have arrived.”
The Crown Prince stared at Zich. “You knew they were outside?”
“Your Highness, sensing people’s presence in front of a door is an easy task.”
“I should’ve known.”
If he thought about Zich’s surprising abilities, it would have been stranger if Zich hadn’t sensed them.
“Let them in!” The Crown Prince got up from his seat. The Karuwima Saint wasn’t someone he could greet while sitting down.
“You're already here. Your Highness, I apologize for being late.”
“No, I just came earlier because there was something I wanted to ask him separately.”
They both took their seats. As usual, Weig stood behind Lubella.
Lubella asked, “Have you been well, Mr. Zich?”
“Of course. Except for the loss of my freedom, I’ve been treated with the best services. It’s almost making me want to stay a month longer.”
“That’s great to hear. The reason why I came here is so that I could ask you some questions.”
“Lady Lubella, you must want me to explain about the conspiracy, especially about how much those ‘robed figures’ are related to the Bellids.”
“Ha. Mr. Zich, it’s always so easy to talk to you.” Lubella was not even surprised anymore. She nodded her head and looked at Zich for further explanation.
“First of all, I will reiterate what I already told His Highness.” Zich summarized what he just discussed with the Crown Prince to Lubella.
“So are you saying that the group that conspired with Albus Windpool and the group who infiltrated the palace are part of the same organization?”
“What kind of organization are they?”
“Yes, I was about to talk about them. His Highness is also curious about that.” Zich explained what he knew about the organization.
“A group that tries to corrupt people to make them into Demon People…” Lubella lamented at Zich’s words. The Crown Prince’s expression didn’t look great either, and Weig looked as if he wanted to immediately destroy the assassin organization.
“What is their ultimate purpose?”
“I don’t know either. I also don’t know too much about them, but I’m sure that they are not working for the good of the world.”
“Yes, that’s a given.”
There was nothing good about corrupting people and turning them into Demon People. Moreover, they were related to the Bellids—just by this information, in Lubella and Weig’s perspective, they deserved to die a thousand deaths.
“Their goal this time was to corrupt Lady Rouge. If they were successful, Lady Rouge would have lost everything except her life by the person she once dearly loved.”
“Hmmm.” The Crown Prince let out a murmur. He felt guilty that he got swept by Albus’ scheme and unfairly pressured Evelyn and the Marquess of Rouge.
Weig asked, “Is there a possibility that the organization is a faction of the Bellids?”
“I don’t know exactly, but they are definitely related to the Bellids one way or another.”
Lubella said, “Of course. Since they knew Bellids’ ‘control’ ability.”
“I wasn’t sure if those robed figures knew Bellids’ control ability. At first, I was merely suspicious that they might be connected. However, when I pretended to be one of the robed figures and met Albus Windpool, he said that he ‘controlled’ Lady Rouge. Lady Lubella and Sir Weig probably know what I’m talking about.”
“Since the world is theirs, it is their natural duty to make people into their puppets. This is not only their duty but the rightful state of everyone else who is not a Bellid. This is one of the Bellid’s fundamental tenets, and in this way, when they make people their puppets; they also use the word ‘control’.”
Lubella’s voice filled with more and more disgust as she said Belid’s tenets out loud. In the end, she had to add the last sentence: “It’s all horseshit.”
Likewise, Weig gritted his teeth, and the Crown Prince’s expression also stiffened.
“For that reason, it’s the Bellids who most frequently use the expression: I ‘controlled’ a person. When Albus Windpool said a similar expression like this, I thought the Bellids might be involved, but even before this event, I already had my suspicions that this organization was related to the Bellids somehow.”
Zich took out his magic box. It had been taken away from him when he was confined, but the Crown Prince gave it back to Zich himself. Zich took out something from the magic box and put it on the table.
Then he said to Lubella, “You must have seen this.”
“…You told me it was the Pyramid of Vengeful Souls.”
It was an item that the northern branch of Bellid tried to make.
“But why is that in your hand? I thought you broke it last time.”
“It’s because this one is different from the last one. Are you aware of the recent incident that happened at Violuwin?”
The Crown Prince tilted his head in confusion. However, the information network of the Karuwiman, which had temples everywhere in the world, was at a level higher than the ones in the palace.
“I heard that there was a massive invasion by monsters. Ah…no way!” Lubella recalled what Zich said about the abilities of the Pyramid of Vengeful Souls.
“Yes, you got it. I was at Violuwin during that time and got involved. This was what those guys had when they stormed into the city. I’m absolutely certain that those robed figures in Violuwin are part of the organization that tries to make Demon People.”
“What is that?” the Crown Prince asked Zich about the item he was holding.
“It’s an artifact that the Bellids are making. It allows them to control monsters.”
The Crown Prince stared at the Pyramid of Vengeful Souls in surprise.
Lubella glared at the artifact and said, “…Mr. Zich, can you pass that over to us? Last time, I asked you to break it because those dirty Bellid bastards might take it back again, but I want to try researching it more.”
“If it was anyone else, I would have refused, but since it’s a request from the Karuwiman Saint, I will hand it over. I pray that you find something.” Zich handed the Pyramid of Vengeful Souls over to Lubella.
“Thank you. I will never use it for anything bad.”
Lubella quietly packed the Pyramid of Vengeful Souls. Since it was an artifact that could control monsters, the Crown Prince wanted to take it, but he quickly gave up on this thought. If he showed interest in an item related to the Bellids, he would immediately be considered an enemy by the Karuwiman.
“This is the extent of my knowledge. Do you have any more questions?”
The Crown Prince and Lubella shook their heads. Like this, Zich’s comfortable and peaceful confinement inside the palace ended.Previous Chapter Next Chapter