Chapter 21

 

***

 

 

“Then I think it would be good to check with the person who recommended it again. Because those who believe in the first place get hit in the head.”

 

“Are you saying I just got hit in the back of the head?”

 

“Otherwise, you wouldn’t recommend these kinds of people, Marquess.”

 

Iker lightly pushed another document on the table toward Elysia.

 

The papers pushed back by the tip of his fingers were, surprisingly, placed straight in front of Elysia. When Elysia picked up the document, Iker opened his mouth as he looked around the nobles with indifferent eyes.

 

“Benjamin Johnson, 25 years old. After graduating from Ureta Academy, he worked as a court clerk for two years in his hometown of Dolores. From this point of view, he seems like a sincere person.”

 

“Are you saying he’s not?”

 

“You’re missing an important fact. Did you know that all expenses, including tuition, came from Veramus when he attended Ureta Academy?”

 

“….!”

 

Even though she knew it already, Elysia opened her eyes as if she didn’t know, and quickly looked down at the papers Iker had given her.

 

The documents meticulously recorded information about the candidates. It was much more detailed than the data she received through Helios.

 

‘It seems that the title of Director of the Bureau of Investigation is not for nothing.’

 

In deep admiration, she slightly shook her hand holding the document. She also didn’t forget to rub her lower lip. Because she had to look like she was shocked.

 

Meanwhile, Iker’s cold voice blew like a bitter winter wind in the council hall.

 

“Mark Chenter, 27 years old. A tax officer in the Gadion region. He was rumored to be a talented person. But this person not only saw local taxes, but also handled taxes on businesses related to Veramus.”

 

“….”

 

“Not only the two I just mentioned now, but all ten of the candidates on the list have been linked to Veramus in some way. There was a reasonable suspicion that only such people were deliberately selected. What do you think about this, Marquess?”

 

“…”

 

When Iker’s harsh rebuke fell on Elysia, the face of Marquis Berten who had prepared the agenda hardened.

 

Duke Russet also looked the same, but his eyes were slightly distorted.

 

The tense air between Iker and Elysia soon spread throughout the hall.

 

Only the sound of swallowing dry saliva was heard from time to time.

 

“If you have something to say, say it, Marquess.”

 

At Iker’s words, the nervous nobles’ eyes turned to Elysia.

 

Perhaps she had checked all the contents of the document, her face was pale and tired, and the fingertips holding the document were trembling slightly.

 

From that look, the nobles intuited that Duke Deimos’s words were true.

 

A deep silence fell in the meeting hall. 

 

It was Elysia who broke the silence that seemed to continue while no one could speak hastily.

 

“It is as you said……. Unbelievable.”

 

Elysia let out a heavy sigh, put the papers down on the table, and put her hand on her forehead.

 

After a certain amount of time had passed, Elysia, who had been silent as if in agony, looked at Iker. She couldn’t read what he was thinking, but it didn’t matter.

 

Because the current situation was exactly what she had hoped for.

 

“This is entirely my fault. I should have checked the candidates a little more, but I didn’t. We will withdraw this proposal.”

 

Elysia, thinking that it would be okay to dismiss the agenda and end the meeting as it was, looked at the nobles to check the atmosphere.

 

Most of the nobles looked at her pitifully, but there were a few who remained suspicious.

 

They were the imperial nobles who were usually displeased with Elysia, but they looked suspiciously at whether she was pretending not to know or she already knew. 

 

‘Let’s move on, d*mn it.’

 

Elysia kept a gloomy expression on her face and murmured inwardly. She thought she had to act a little more to avoid their doubts. But soon she realized that she didn’t have to.

 

“It seems difficult to say that this case is the Marquess’s fault. If it hadn’t been for the information I received from the Bureau of Investigation, it would have been difficult for me to figure out their identities as well.”

 

“….”

 

With Iker’s words, the suspicious eyes on her disappeared in an instant.

 

Feeling fortunate, Elysia bit her lower lip without realizing it. The white fists clenched tightly trembled silently.

 

It wasn’t that she was moved by what Iker said.

 

The eyes of trust that the nobles of the imperial class now show Iker were the same as the eyes of the nobles looking at Elysia’s mother before the Duke of Russet joined the nobility.

 

Those eyes that made her want to become the Marquess of Camellia in the footsteps of her mother even when she was young.

 

And now it was a dream that was too far away.

 

‘Even if I get out of the hands of Duke Russet and the second Prince, that day will not come as long as they dominate the aristocratic faction.’

 

The best she could do now was to return the Camelia family to the original form and protect the nobles who followed her.

 

So she had to be more careful. She didn’t want to become prey for those who were only looking for a chance to bite. Elysia, who was calming her fluctuating emotions, heard Iker’s question.

 

“By the way, Marquess, who wrote this agenda?”

 

‘Marquis Berten!’

 

Her mouth was itching to give an answer right away, but she kept her gloomy expression and answered in a calm voice.

 

Even if she didn’t answer, it wouldn’t be long before the light mouths who wrote the agenda would spread it. So there was no need to get her mouth dirty.

 

As a leader, it was even more beneficial to show that she was on the same side with the nobles of the same faction.

 

“I’m sorry, sir, but I think revealing the person in a situation like this could create false suspicion. Please understand.”

 

Of course, if Duke Deimos continued to push, she was willing to tell him. But he didn’t seem to mind. 

 

“It is natural to cover up for your own people, but you should check the author of this agenda properly.”

 

“….”

 

There was something strange about it, Elysia thought.

 

It looked like it was a bit of a reproach before and now as it was before, but he was secretly covering her. 

 

It was such a subtle consideration that she would not have felt if she had not been in constant confrontation with him.

 

‘Is he really selfless?’

 

She had doubts, but that didn’t mean she could grab him by the neck like she did before and ask. The agenda was rejected and he helped her so it was not a bad thing.

 

While Elysia was immersed in her thoughts, Iker’s voice was heard again.

 

“Anyway, Marquess, it’s your side, so let’s move on. I hope you bring the proper agenda next time. It would be better to end today’s meeting at this point.”

 

Hearing his voice announcing the end of the meeting, Elysia raised the courage she had forgotten for a while. The agenda was safely rejected, but there was still work to be done. Her eyes gleamed sharply as she looked at Duke Russet and Marquis Berten.

 

****

 

“I’m sorry, sir. I had no idea that Duke Deimos would dig this far.”

 

Duke Russet looked quietly at Marquis Berten, who bowed deeply.

 

The two had come out of the hall and in the uninhabited garden side.

 

Although it was annoying that the agenda was canceled without even attending the vote, it was absurd to say that it was the fault of Marquis Berten.

 

In any case, those on the list were those who had been handpicked by him.

 

“Okay. I don’t know how Duke Deimos knew about it.”

 

Duke Russet’s eyes narrowed in thought.

 

Usually, when examining candidates, it was rare to confirm their character or their relationship with the nobles and more.

 

In particular, who would think that they were connected to the dark organization?

 

“Even if he used the intelligence network of the Bureau of Investigation, it wouldn’t have been easy unless someone gave him information.”

 

“If there is someone handing over information to him….”

 

Like Duke Russet, Marquis Berten, who was speaking with a suspicious expression, kept his mouth shut.

 

Elysia was seen walking towards them at a fast pace.

 

Just by looking at her raised eyes, a faintly folded forehead, and her plump lips that were tightly closed in a straight line, he could tell that she was deeply angry.

 

‘I’m going to have an earful.’

 

Marquis Berten furrowed his brows at the sight of Elysia approaching with the cold air blowing.

 

She, who knew her pride, was openly humiliated by Duke Deimos, so there was no way she could let this go quietly.

 

Unsurprisingly, she walked right in front of them, bowed her head to Duke Russet, and immediately asked Marquis Berten.

 

“How the hell did this happen, Marquis Berten?”

 

“There must have been a mistake in the list.”

 

At Marquis Berten’s brazen reply, Elysia was shocked.

 

Her deep purple eyes looking down at him were cold.

 

“A mistake? Maybe one or two candidates, but they all are related to Veramus? But you’re talking about a mistake now?”

 

“Of course. Had I known, I would have removed it from the list right away. The Marquess couldn’t find anything strange while examining the list either, right?”

 

“Marquis Berten!”

 

As Elysia’s voice rose, Duke Russet, who was watching from the side, stepped out.

 

“Come on, Marquess Camellia.”

 

“But sir!”

 

“I understand how embarrassed you must have been in the meeting. But I don’t think Marquis Berten knew it either. It’s something I never even thought of.”

 

“This is not something you can just ignore. Did you not see the reaction of the nobles in the assembly hall? I’m sure words will come out soon. I trusted you two and put forward the agenda, but I also got in trouble.”

 

Duke Russet frowned as he saw Elysia, who did not back down as usual. As it was said that ‘blood cannot deceive’, the former Marquess Camellia was projected onto her.

 

[There will be no aristocrats in your control. I’m not going to let that happen.]

 

The deep purple eyes staring straight at him were burning with a strong determination, but there was no fear in them.

 

With those words, the former Marquess refused to hold his hands and paid the price for it. With some noble families who followed her. This did not mean that the nobility had completely fallen into the hands of Duke Russet.

 

Using enormous capital and power, he calmed down the complaints of aristocrats and made them shut up, but the inside was in danger like an active volcano that did not know when it would erupt. 

 

Eventually he had no choice but to pull out a new card.

 

****

 

*It seemed that it was Duke Russet who killed Elysia’s mother. He said her mother refused to hold his hands and paid the price.