Chapter 13

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Michael was confused again.

 

Why? Why would His Excellency directly interrogate such an insignificant criminal?

 

‘Is Jonathan Triel some kind of hidden mastermind? Then the soil on his body is not ordinary soil?’

 

As expected, Michael regretted stepping into the case for no reason, and Iker, who confused his deputy, was in another thought.

 

The moment the name Jonathan Triel came out of Michael’s mouth, he guessed, seeing the bewildered looks on Elysia and her escort knight’s face.

 

The two of them must have found Jonathan and gotten even with him. But, he didn’t know they buried Joan in the ground…

 

‘That’s the Marquess. Do I just have to clean up well?’

 

Iker’s lips raised up slightly.

 

The reason he said he would interrogate Jonathan Triel himself was to prevent Elysia’s name from coming out of his mouth, should it ever come up.

 

He didn’t want to make a fuss about her over such a trivial matter. It was disgusting if Jonathan put her name in his filthy mouth.

 

And…….

 

‘I’ll have to check it out. For her sake.’

 

There was no way Jonathan Triel gave Elysia the drink spiked with drugs by accident.

 

It was common practice for people with side effects to give a list for the banquet they were attending beforehand.

 

Elysia would have gone through that process as well….if she had severe side effects on Helis…. So the cocktail she drank must have secretly brought in from outside by Jonathan Triel. 

 

‘I doubt that’s how he knew that she had side effect on Helis.’

 

Usually nobles don’t tell if they have side effects on food, because if they are not careful, their enemies would use it to their advantage.

 

In fact, didn’t some of the cases that came into the Bureau of Investigation use the side effects of peanuts to commit murder? Iker’s golden eyes turned cold as he thought of the second Prince’s men who went around the Imperial Palace that night looking for someone. 

 

It wasn’t simply Jonathan’s doing, he thought. Iker’s sharp, shining gaze changed softly as he thought of Elysia, whom he had met under the guise of coincidence. 

 

The white, thin fingers that were skillfully turning the cup, the coy face, the purple eyes that were constantly observing him… She couldn’t understand how he struggled to resist the urge to swallow her thick, red lips that were pouting at him. 

 

Iker lifted his lips gently as he felt his lower body was quickly getting heavy just thinking about her.

 

“I think I’m in a proper temper.”

 

“What?”

 

“Let’s go now.”

 

Michael glanced at the back of his boss, who turned around and walked with a relaxed pace.

 

It seemed as if he had heard some alien words earlier, but he thought he had misheard them. 

 

There was no way vulgar words could have come out of the mouth of his boss, a noble and elegant man.

 

Shaking his head, Michael hurried after Iker.

 

***

 

In the silence of the office, only the sound of papers being flipped through echoed quietly.

 

“…”

 

Elysia’s brows wriggled slightly, invisibly, as each document was turned over.

 

Now she was fighting a tough battle with her forehead that kept trying to get wrinkled.

 

No matter how poor the case was, she couldn’t just raise her eyebrows openly in front of the second Prince.

 

‘I like equal opportunities. I planted it all over the place.’

 

Elysia stifled a swear word, and turned away from the second Prince, who covered his papers and stared at her obsessively.

 

Dustin Luke Cherman.

 

He was not the recent Empress’s son, but the second son of the emperor and the first Queen. Duke Russet was his maternal grandfather. 

 

One of the two dukes of the empire, the daughter of Duke Russet, did not become empress but became the first queen because the emperor loved another woman other than her.

 

It was said that the current emperor had no intention of welcoming an empress after taking the throne. He ignored the nobles’ words that he should have an heir.

 

It seemed that “Lady Russet” and many other noble ladies approached him, but he didn’t even look at them. Later, he decided to marry because he fell in love at first sight with Lady Rodelin Armand, who made her first appearance in society.

 

As soon as he saw her, as pure and beautiful as a daffodil, the Emperor immediately asked her to dance. This was the first time he had asked anyone to dance since his accession to the throne, and everyone was astonished.

 

Within three months, the emperor, who had fallen in love with the young lady, announced that he would take the Count Armand’s daughter, Lady Rodelin Armand, as his empress. A year after the wedding, the Empress gave birth to the first Prince, Edmund Luke Cherman with the blessings of everyone.

 

However, the happy times were short-lived, because Count Armand was caught up in an embezzlement scandal of gigantic proportions. It was an incident that caused an uproar in the empire. 

 

Shortly after the incident, the emperor suddenly announced that he would take Lady Russet as his first queen. After that, the Count Armand’s family was pardoned with only low-level punishments.

 

As a result, there was a rumor circulating among the public that the Duke of Russet had proposed a deal to the Emperor to help the Count Armand in exchange for having his daughter to become Queen.

 

It was also said that the Duke of Russet had deliberately trapped Count Armand, but the truth was known only to him.

 

What was certain was that the emperor did not like the Queen.

 

He always treated her coldly and never saw her except on the set date of the night duty. Even this was often skipped on the pretext that he was busy.

 

Nevertheless, the first queen seized the small possibility and succeeded in conceiving and giving birth to the second Prince, Dustin.

 

From that moment on, the Duke of Russet made constant efforts to get the second Prince to take crown prince position. However, the emperor did not give him the chance to do so.

 

In the end, the first prince was appointed as the crown prince, and the Duke of Russet’s ambitions seemed to be shattered. If only the first prince had not died suddenly of a sudden illness the following winter…At that time, the second Prince was twenty years old.

 

The Duke of Russet mobilized the nobility and urged the emperor that a new crown prince should be appointed, but the emperor did not falter.

 

Since the first prince became crown prince at the age of 25, the emperor cut off the second prince under a single word, saying that he would “think about it” when the second Prince turned 25.

 

As a result, the crown prince’s seat had already been vacant for four years.

 

‘Speaking of which, has the third prince turned fourteen yet?’

 

When the first prince turned sixteen and the second prince turned ten, the emperor had a third son with the empress.

 

It was a son born at an old age.

 

However, immediately after his birth, unlike the first prince, no one in the nobility saw the face of the third prince.

 

This was because the third prince had never left the palace because he was too sickly.

 

He had a long way to go. He was not even mature yet, and with his weakness, it will be difficult for him to stand up to the second prince. 

 

Sighing inwardly at the fact that she didn’t have enough of a target to keep the second prince in check, Elysia locked gazes with Dustin.

 

He hadn’t taken his eyes off her once from the moment she entered the office until now.

 

 ‘Either he has nothing better to do, or he enjoys watching people. It seems ridiculous to call that kind of staring an appreciation.’

 

It was very difficult at first, until she got used to it and was fine with it, as she was now.

 

Underneath the gaze that pretended to be kind and generous, there was a lust that wanted to devour her. Elysia wanted to praise her childhood self for enduring the torturous gaze, and gently turned her lips from its straightened position.

 

Her current appearance, smiling in front of a disgusting man, was also the result of her tireless efforts.

 

“That’s a good agenda. I don’t think they’ll oppose it if it’s this many candidates.”

 

Elysia put the documents she had read on the table and casually said something that was the opposite of what she was thinking.

 

The fact that Dustin had called her and presented her with the case was tantamount to saying that he had finished talking to the Duke of Russet and had decided to present it to the council.

 

There was no need to go against his mood by putting words to what had already been decided. Now was also an important time for the Marquess of Camellia.

 

Liking her assessment, Dustin raised the edge of his mouth.

 

“As expected, the Marquess has the same opinion as the Duke of Russet. Then you wouldn’t object to bringing it up to Council, would you?”

 

“Of course. Do you intend to submit it to the Council in three days?”

 

“I intend to. The Marquis of Berten has chosen his candidates quite well, hasn’t he?”

 

 Elysia’s eyes lifted a little when Dustin mentioned the Marquis of Berten. 

 

McCain Berten. 

 

A man who became a Marquis a year ago, in his early thirties, after inheriting the title from the former Marquis of Berten, and whose general abilities were not bad, and whose appearance was quite good.

 

But Elysia didn’t like him. Because she noticed that he pretended to be polite and courteous, but behind the pretense lurked a shrewdness and cunning. 

 

He was someone who could commit anything with a smile on his face to get ahead.

 

An irritation passed by Elysia’s eyes, whom Dustin thought was a perfect human being. Dustin stood up from his seat. 

 

The next movement was obvious even without looking. He would approach the couch, sit down beside her, and then call out to her, arrogantly crossing his feet and draping his arms over the couch. 

 

Her prediction was not an inch off. Leaning his back comfortably against the couch, Dustin opened his mouth. Beneath golden hair that looked like it had made from gold, blue eyes laden with arrogance turned to her. 

 

“Is it bothering you?”

 

Only slightly inferior to Duke Deimos, Dustin’s appearance was magnificent. He was so good looking that he had never been robbed of second place in the Imperial Popular Male Rankings.

 

 “I’d be lying if I said it was not.”

 

When Elysia clearly answered, Dustin slowly reached out his hand. The man’s large hand lightly grasped her shoulder. 

 

“The Marquis of Berten is quite good at his job, so don’t worry about it. Still he is not as good as you are.”

 

On the surface, his words appeared to be merely encouraging. But the fingers gently moving over the thin shirt draped over her shoulders had an obvious intent.

 

“Thank you for saying so. Can I take this case with me and look into it some more?”

 

Smiling, Elysia immediately bent down to pick up the documents on the table. In the process, the man’s hand naturally fell her shoulder.

 

She felt disgusted, but her face was as peaceful as if nothing had happened as she lifted the papers.

 

Dustin’s lips twisted softly as if he didn’t like it. But he nodded without showing unpleasant signs.

 

“Yes. It’s a matter for the Marquess to present to the Council anyway, so you might as well take a good look at it.”

 

“Thank you. Is there anything else you want like to say?”

 

“I have one question.”

 

“Please ask.”

 

Elysia looked at Dustin as she packed the documents.

 

She didn’t show any sign of it, but she wasn’t feeling very good right now. It was because of the unpleasant touch on her shoulder.

 

She expected it to happen and put the papers on the table, but every time he did it, she felt worse.

 

‘As soon as I leave here, I’ll change my clothes.’

 

While thinking that she would burn the shirt she’d worn today, Dustin’s question made her hardened.

 

It was a question she had never thought she would  hear.

 

“Where were you that night, MarquessMarquess?”