“Greetings to the sun of the Empire……”
When Adelia tried to be courteous, the emperor extended his hand and stopped her.
“Oh, that’s fine; I’m tired, so let’s skip the courtesy; I have something to say, so why don’t we go inside and talk about it?”
Adelia and Ivan followed the emperor into the drawing room of the Selence Palace. The empty palace was kept in good condition, so perhaps he let the servants manage it for a while.
“Please take a seat.”
As he sat in a chair, the Emperor sighed. It was the sigh of a man who was bearing the weight of the entire world. He spoke, sweeping his hand through his flowing hair.
“I don’t even know where to start…….”
With a troubled expression, the emperor murmured. Upon seeing such an emperor, Adelia first started speaking.
“Did you drag me here because of the rumor that I’m a ‘witch’?”
“To drag you here. I would’ve made it as convenient as possible. No, that’s not that important. Let’s move on. You already knew about that? I am not sure how to tell you.”
“I have an informant.”
The emperor’s eyes shifted to the window in the drawing room at Adelia’s remarks. There he could see Demalo’s broad back, standing firm and performing his role as an escort.
“You have a reliable escort.”
“He’s an outstanding person.”
Adelia did not deny it. The emperor shook his head and smiled. However, the emperor’s smile soon faded from his face. He spoke while giving Adelia a serious look.
“You have no idea, but the situation is more dire than you expected.”
“…exactly what is the issue?
“If it’s just a rumor, I can conceal it; however, this rumor is difficult to suppress, which means……”
“Someone is constantly spreading it.”
“It’s also a problem that people believe too easily, perhaps because it’s related to the disaster.”
The disaster made people nervous and scared. This clouded their judgment.
The scary thing about the disaster is no one knows who is responsible for it. Humans never dared to resent God. Yet it was too much to blame the temple or the royal family. Then, just in time, a suitable scapegoat emerged.
She was famous as a prophet and even served as the torch’s guardian. In addition to that, she used to be the talk of the town. Her notoriety was like black ink that could not be easily removed.
Someone unearthed and disseminated Adelia’s past, convincing people that she was capable of causing the disaster.
“You mean, things have grown too big to be dismissed as a false rumor?”
In response to Ivan’s subdued voice, Theo shook his head as if it were more than just that.
“No way. Did you think it was just that? The real problem isn’t rumors; it’s the repercussions of those rumors.”
“Even other countries that have suffered significant damage from the disaster insist on setting the rumor straight and investigating it thoroughly; it is particularly troubling that the kingdom of Macbeth, which lost its crown prince, is coming out strongly.”
“Macbeth was a kingdom on the south coast.”
“That’s correct; the loss of the crown prince as a result of the disaster that had just occurred has devastated the entire nation, and since their rage has nowhere else to go, it appears that they are attempting to vent it on the Viscount.”
“What about in Huizeniac?”
“Isn’t that obvious? It’s a headache, the Valkyr family is out of control, and they want to investigate anyone who may have had anything to do with the disaster.”
“Even if you don’t look at it, it’s obvious.”
“Right? Tsk. He’s avaricious.”
Adelia burst out laughing. They were impatient to bite her here and there. She had been away from Huizeniac’s social circle for quite some time. She thought she had gotten used to this, but when she experienced it again, she didn’t feel so good.
“Well, I understand why your Majesty staged the play as if you were taking me away; even though the imperial power is strong, the people’s hearts are afraid.”
Theo was taken aback by Adelia’s bold remarks and burst out laughing.
“Ha. Yes, you’re right. I don’t care about the nobles, but I do care about the people, and even though it appears to be a place with everything, there are a lot of things to keep in mind.”
“Do you have any backup plans?”
“Hmm. I’ll try to drag it out as long as I can.”
“Drag it out…… How feasible will it be? ….”
“Well, dragging time is just a stopgap measure; in the meantime, we have to deal with this bloody rumor.”
“I must explain myself.”
“What with this unfair situation? Originally, the political system was like this, being framed for things that you did not commit. It’s a normal thing. But….. These accusations are truly unfair.”
With a calm expression, the emperor tilted his head. He made a fist and clasped his hands together. In a serious tone, he asked for her opinion.
“So, do you have any suggestions?”
Adelia sighed and touched her temples. She thought he had a great plan because he spoke so gravely, but it didn’t seem to be the case.
“First and foremost, I must prove to everyone that I am not a witch.”
Yeah, that was the problem. How on earth do I prove it?
“How about using your ability to solve the disaster? Oh, you can’t do that; if you do something wrong, they might accuse you of manipulating the disaster.”
It’s back to square one. Adelia was in agony. She couldn’t keep her ankles tied this way. If ‘they’ find out where the Pope is, they may detain him.
“What if we could indirectly prevent disasters?”
Ivan and Theo both looked at Adelia at the same time. Adelia almost smiled for a moment at the two men’s eyes, which seemed strangely similar. However, she knew it was not the time to laugh or cry, so she held it in and continued to speak.
“It’s a confrontation. First of all, the disaster caused people’s anxiety, correct? Now that there is a way to put an end to the disaster, we can take away their anxiety by having a confrontation.”
“Hmm… That would undoubtedly lessen people’s anxiety.”
“In addition, there will be no reason to blame anyone. I’ll be able to shed the stigma of being a witch if I become the main character in the confrontation.”
“But how are you going to do it? Isn’t that a story that can only be realized once all the relics are gathered?”
The emperor, as expected, was aware of the story of the holy relics and the confrontation. He was a man who deserved the moniker “giant of the continent”
“I don’t think you need to worry about that; I believe I know roughly where the relics are.”
Theo looked at his brother with wide eyes, as if he couldn’t believe it. Ivan silently nodded his head. The tiredness that had remained like stains on Theo’s face vanished, and the color began to circulate.
“Is that true!”
The emperor yelled, his upper body extended toward Adelia, as if he was wondering why he was saying it just now. Adelia moved back and nodded naturally. But the emperor’s body poured toward Adelia without knowing the end.
The emperor’s face would have come to Adelia’s nose if Ivan’s voice hadn’t intervened.
After catching Ivan’s gaze, the emperor regained his composure. He cleared his throat and turned away.
“So, where is it?”
“For now, we have recovered one, and the other three are believed to have been recovered by the Pope and taken to the Sacred grounds.”
“Is that an assumption? Are you saying you’re not certain?”
“Because we haven’t checked it ourselves yet. However, since the information came from Cardinal Eustaf, I believe it is fairly trustworthy.”
“Hmm. Cardinal Eustaf. Then it’s worth a try. But, if you count, aren’t there only four? What happened to the other one?”
“I was just about to tell you. The other one is in the hands of Duke Valkyr.”
The emperor’s face was filled with dismay. His brow furrowed, as if he was wondering why he had it.
“So, while we’re on our way to the Sacred Ground, could His Majesty retrieve the last relic from Duke Valkyr?”
At Adelia’s request, the emperor pondered for a moment and tried to nod. But he soon stopped.
“Wait a minute. Are you going yourself?”
“Yes, because I need to visit the sacred site.”
Sacred Ground. It was one of the world’s few “pure divinity” locations. Only the chosen could enter the land where the gods’ traces remain thick. Anyone else who tries to enter will be punished by the “Guardian” who guards the land.
This could be why the Pope sought refuge in the sacred ground. If he’s there, those with impure power won’t be able to come in and take him.
“You certainly have a point. But what about Ivan?”
The emperor turned to face his brother, who had nothing to do with sacred ground. Adelia was a real saint, so she could get inside the ground, but Ivan wasn’t.
“We have one relic, so you don’t have to worry.”
“According to Bishop Berg, the relic’s power could trick the Guardian.
The emperor agonized, his eyes narrowed, but the answer was set. It was decided that Ivan could not be left out of this important mission, so his brother would act as a guardian and watchman.
“Sigh. That’s great. I’ll allow it, but not right now. Moving now will be too obvious, so leave after everything has calmed down a little.”
As he recalled the envoys from every nation that flocked to the imperial palace, the emperor got a headache.
I should get rid of those bothersome things as soon as possible.
“Alright. It might be a long trip, so I needed time to prepare.”
Adelia nodded coolly.
“I am confident you will succeed.”
The emperor trudged away without regret, just as he did when he returned after a short exchange. When the emperor had completely departed, Adelia turned to face Ivan.
“I think we should get started.”