Jackal said confidently.
“Since Lycaon’s safety has been threatened, I must also obtain confidential information that protects the safety of this village. The confidential information I want is information that is currently harming Lycaon as well. We are no longer ethnic minority villagers and as a leader, I cannot sit idly by and watch the damage done by you.”
The village chief kept his mouth shut, but the surroundings were in an uproar.
Some of them brazenly shouted asking what they wanted as they left the village, while others hurled stones or mud at them.
When people’s reactions were more intense than expected, Sosa’s face turned white.
However, in the past, the status of the Kelpie clan was not this bad.
Suddenly, he found friends he had been close to within the circle of people standing, but their expressions when they looked at him were filled with awkwardness and embarrassment.
They didn’t swear or throw anything, but they avoided his gaze because the situation was uncomfortable.
It made him wonder what the village chief was saying to the people while they were away.
Jackal did not move from his place and waited in silence for the response of the village chief.
The village chief raised his eyebrows and said.
“No matter how hard it is, I can’t tell confidential information to anyone who isn’t a member of the village. Even that high-class information is information only a few of us know about.”
“They almost massacred the same minorities. Don’t you think it’s cheap for the lives of the remaining minorities?”
“If you don’t tell me, I’ll force you until I find out. As you know, there are many excellent hunters in Lycaon.”
Jackal finished speaking and looked around the village.
When they felt his sharp gaze, they started to breathe in and out.
His words sounded like a warning that he would wipe out the village unless he cooperated.
The village chief, Horak, spoke in fear.
“Are you threatening us?”
“It’s not a threat, it’s about cooperation. Now that this great butterfly has emerged from a minority, our fate, whether we like it or not, is tied together. If someone does something bad, everyone will be exterminated. Shouldn’t we work together at a bad time like this?”
At that, the village chief kept his mouth shut and then asked seriously.
“Work together…… Are you saying that now, seriously?”
“I’m dead serious.”
The village chief looked into his eyes and said.
“…… Come with me.”
The surrounding officials stopped him, but the village chief turned around first and trudged somewhere.
People stared at them, but Jackal and Sosa followed him regardless.
Finally, they arrived at the luxurious house of the village chief.
They thought he was going to the town hall, but he took them to his house.
However, while looking at the double and triple locked doors, Jackal was tense in case something happened.
Since he risked his life to come here, he had to win something.
Eventually, the village chief pointed to the other side of the wooden table and said.
As Jackal and Sosa sat down, the boss sat across from him and asked, clasping his hands on the table.
“So, what are you curious about that you came all the way here?”
“I’m sure you know it well. It is about a man named Cylon who betrayed the Emperor in the Imperial Palace a few years ago and cursed him.”
The village chief was expressionless, but there was a light of caution in his eyes.
Jackal looked him straight in the eye and said.
“Until now, I thought that his actions were only personal. I thought that he had a close relationship with the emperor, but he might have betrayed him because he didn’t like something. But why? I feel like you’re kind of involved in that.”
The village chief didn’t reply, but it sounded like a safe answer.
Jackal said with a stiff face.
“I need to know about the curse Cylon placed on him.”
* * * * *
While Karaf was going to have lunch, Asha cautiously asked the chamberlain.
“Where can I see the former emperor and Vanessa’s records?”
Asha wanted to know more about Karaf’s parents.
She thought that if she knew Karaf’s background, she might get some clues on how to break the curse.
The chamberlain said with a slightly puzzled look on his face.
“His Majesty locked it in the basement of the imperial palace.”
“Is it an underground warehouse?”
When Asha asked in surprise, he said, averting his gaze.
“Yes. In fact, His Majesty told me to throw it away because he didn’t want to look at it, but he agreed to keep it in an underground warehouse so that the nobles and the people…….”
Asha kept her mouth shut. She thought that it was really like him.
“So no one can enter?”
“Yes. But His Majesty’s permission is required. In reality, no one wants to see it, so this question itself is very strange…..”
The chamberlain smiled awkwardly and blurted out the end of the sentence.
“Who’s managing it now?”
“It’s me, but…….”
Asha said with a twinkle in her eyes.
“Then you can lead me!”
The chamberlain became even more nervous and broke out in a cold sweat.
Asha said with a very confident expression.
“If His Majesty says something, just say that I grabbed you by the neck and forcefully dragged you away.”
The chamberlain’s eyes and mouth opened wide at the same time.
He was one of the few people who saw the entire series of events that had taken place at Karaf’s side.
So now, he also knew better than anyone that Karaf would be killed by Vanessa.
If Vanessa wants to see it, he’s bound to have a hard time, but eventually, he’ll open the warehouse.
Fortunately, Karaf did not restrict her access to any part of the imperial palace in the slightest.
Now, as the true lady of the palace, she was free to roam the palace whenever she wanted.
The chamberlain sighed and said as if he had aged ten years.
“……Please take a look at it as soon as possible. This old man’s heart is too weak to face His Majesty and make excuses right in front of him….”
Asha responded with a laugh.
The chamberlain took her down to the basement.
Going down the spiral staircase, as the chamberlain said, a large warehouse appeared, padlocked.
The chamberlain opened the heavy door and said.
“I come from time to time to clean, but the air in the warehouse will still be a bit stuffy.”
Asha nodded and went inside.
There, from the portraits of the previous emperor and Vanessa, the items they cherished and used, the relics given to Karaf, and the historical materials of their reign were neatly arranged like a library.
Asha noticed the portrait of Karaf’s father hanging on the wall and stopped in place, her eyes slightly wide.
In the painting, a man with a face very similar to Karaf’s smiled arrogantly.
His red hair and red eyes were very intense as if to prove that he was the legitimate blood of the imperial family.
His father was as handsome as Karaf…….
It is said that he flirted with many women throughout his life, and it seemed that his appearance, which seemed to attract people just by looking at him, was transmitted through the portrait.
Contrary to Karaf’s dark and decadent expression, he was a man of a cheerful character, and there was not the slightest darkness in his face.
So he felt like a ‘free libertine’ instead of an emperor.
Ricardo Rode Etzheim.
He was an emperor famous for being promiscuous, but he was also the one who greatly developed the culture and art of the empire.
He loved beautiful things and had a hobby of collecting them, he was not prejudiced against bringing artifacts from other empires.
The chamberlain spoke politely from behind.
“I remember when this portrait was painted. Painting portraits for the imperial family is one of the great ceremonies. To capture the emperor’s beauty in a painting, we invite the best painters of the empire to test their skills and instruct them to draw the portrait only after training for a month. This painting was completed in six months.”
Asha asked with great surprise.
“In six months?”
“Yes. The previous emperor was especially obsessed with his own portraits, and when he looked at them very carefully, he would destroy them, so several portraits were destroyed in the middle of the painting process. And at the same time, the artists’ writs almost get crushed.”
He seemed to be very proud of his appearance.
Asha now looked at the portrait of the former empress hanging on the opposite wall.
It was customary for the empress’s portrait to hang next to the emperor’s, but the two portraits were not together, facing each other on opposite walls.
It felt as if the empress wanted him to look directly at her as if she was asking him to look only at her.
She didn’t get his attention when she was alive, so she might have wanted his attention after death.
Karaf’s mother was not so fatally beautiful compared to the beautiful women the previous emperor had.
But she still had a modest and delicate appearance.
Like Asha, she had blond hair and her eyes were green, reminiscent of a green meadow, but they were filled with jealousy and cruelty.
She was smiling gently in her portrait, but that smile seemed a bit restless and nervous.
She had the expression of someone whose position could be threatened at any moment rather than the dignity of an empress.
‘Marigold’ is a flower that blooms and sets with the sun, and now she truly is at rest with the previous emperor.
Like the flowery language of a marigold, in the portrait, she had a face full of pain, disappointment, and sadness.
It was rumored that she hated women more beautiful than her.
Later, she even fell into delirium and saw all the beautiful women as demons coming to take her husband away.
She couldn’t help but sigh.
She felt sorry for Karaf again, who had grown up on a thorny path alone.
Because none of them had any interest in their son……
Karaf was not a child born of love. He was a child born by force for imperial power.
It was like a child born on the highest cliff in the wasteland, without the nutrients really necessary for a child.
That’s why maybe he didn’t have deep roots in the ground.
Asha asked with a slightly disturbed expression on her face.
“Is there a childhood portrait of His Majesty?”
The chamberlain hesitated with a puzzled look before saying.
“The former empress objected to painting a portrait of His Majesty…….”
When Asha realized what she meant, her face hardened.