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- This Time for Sure (2)
“Certainly, he did not depart! I knew he would return like this? Haha! Just where have you been? Huh? Were you just traveling? Or training? If neither….”
The crowned prince questioned like as if he was a cannon being fired rapidly. There were so many questions that he wanted to ask. Yet, the crowned prince found his cool. There was an even more important issue for him.
“I can’t be like this right now. The king, my father, right at this moment…..”
“I know it.”
“You know it…..?”
“The cause of his highness’ illness has been discovered and we are in the middle of looking for the cure. I have come to see you, unannounced to ask regarding that issue. Please forgive my impertinence.”
The crowned prince’s face turned bright from being pale. Not just knowing what’s happened, but being told that he has already discovered the cause of the king’s illness. Furthermore, cure is being looked for? It was certainly Ian like. After all, he is the lucky charm and ultimate supporter of the crowned prince, how can he discuss about being impertinent. The crowned prince would gladly smile even if Ian was to slap his cheek at this juncture.
“Impertinence, no, do not mind it! Do tell me what you wanted to ask. Whatever it is, I will do with everything in my power to help you.”
The reason for Ian’s urgent visit to the crowned prince. It was none other than the request for Ledio and Douglas.
“Yes, my lord. It’s not a very difficult request. I am seeking an authorization to use the imperial palace’s alchemists’ laboratory and equipment.”
“The laboratory and equipment?”
Ledio and Douglas, who have begun studying the flower of Landeor, have hit a wall due to insufficient ‘equipment’. Every tool that could have been bought with money has been prepared in the laboratory at the house, but lacking other specialized tools was the problem. That is, they desperately needed those highest grade equipments that can only be used at the imperial palace as selling them was nationally prohibited.
“By any chance, do you remember those that live with me?”
“Are you referring to the butlers, who sweat profusely?”
“He is not a…..butler, but an alchemist.”
“What? That guy was an alchemist?”
The crowned prince had an obvious look of surprise. He must have thought of Ledio as a butler until now.
“This is a recommendation from the Ivory Tower. With my lord’s approval, Ledio will be granted the authority of being the head alchemist of the imperial palace. It will be on a temporary basis, of course. The effective period will be until there is a specific change in the emperor’s condition.”
The flower of Landeor is a calamitous existence for sorcerers. It warranted the highest level of confidentiality in studying it. By having the title of the head alchemist, he will have the ability to control the other alchemists’ accesses to the laboratory, as well as being able to freely access and use the lab. At the same time, maintaining confidentiality would be very easy.
“Wouldn’t there be a revolt by the alchemists?”
“I am anticipating some level of resistance. However, excessive revolting will be difficult. That’s because they haven’t been able to heal the emperor, not to mention haven’t been able to identify the cause. They will most likely be in a wait-and-see mode, I would suspect.”
Even if the imperial alchemists had many things to say, they wouldn’t be able to, would they? They were not in a position to resist even if an outsider would hold the power over them. It will be especially true if the skills of the one in charge have already been accepted by both the crowned prince and the Ivory Tower.
“And, I’d ask that my return would remain confidential.”
“Someone is behind the deterioration of the emperor’s health.”
“What? Someone is behind it?”
Shocked prince asked in response. Oliver’s eyes were gazing sharply also.
“Who, who are they?”
“My lord will soon find out. Please keep it as a secret until then. That way, the person behind it will feel audacious and will not hide?”
The crowned prince fell into thought for a while. He was curious as to who that person was. He wanted to immediately arrest and render severe punishment. However, he has decided to keep patient for now. He has understood the meaning behind Ian’s words.
“Since my return is to remain confidential, Ledio’s recommendation will also be announced as the will of the Ivory Tower. That is, as the will of Sir Deckard, the intermediate tower lord of the Ivory Tower, and Sir Ronan. The reason behind the recommendation is to assign the exclusive alchemist of Ian Page, the tower lord of the Ivory Tower, to the imperial palace.”
The crowned prince nodded his head. In the past, he would have asked and asked again many times.
“Yes, I certainly understand your intentions.”
However, it was different now. He understood it right away. In a look of surprise, Ian also looked at the crowned prince. His eyes also met the eyes of Oliver, who was standing next to the crowned prince. Oliver only nodded lightly. The 6 years of changes have finally begun to show its effect.
“I will come back for a more appropriate, formal visit, my lord.”
“Leaving already? It has been so long…..”
“There are still many things to take care of…. My apologies.”
Seeing the crowned prince, wanting more, Ian was suddenly feeling the effect of changes in the second life. He always thought that people did not easily change. However, look at the crowned prince.
‘Certainly changed a lot.’
Compared to the previous life, no, didn’t need to go back that far. He has visibly changed even compared to the time when they first met. At the time, Ian thought of the crowned price, Hyden, as someone like a tool that he can manipulate. That is, after he is no longer usable then he would be just ripe to be tossed to the side.
‘I’m not sure if I am making the right moves.’
Is it a prudent decision to become close to the crowned prince, beyond necessity? He wasn’t sure. However, many things have changed from the previous life. He had already experienced betrayal and has become much stronger. He also felt that he obtained a new talent in reading people. He will certainly not repeat the same mistakes of the past.
“Then I’ll leave you now, my lord.”
“Address me, my lord.”
The crowned prince paused for a second. Then with difficulty, he opened his mouth.
“…. Do not disappear without saying anything, or like that.”
“Yes, my lord.”
Replying with a subtle smile, Ian has disappeared with a bright white light. Although Oliver and the crowned prince were surprised at the sudden disappearance, they soon recovered their usual selves. It was because Ian was a grand sorcerer beyond one’s imagination.
No matter what he did now, they nodded their heads first.
Silence permeated for a while. The crowned prince and Captain Oliver. It was the crowned prince, who broke the silence.
“Yes, my lord.”
The crowned prince’s countenance had been overshadowed by the darkest of the dark clouds. To that face, livelihood began to return. Now, only if the king, my father, would recover. Only if everything would return to its own place. There will be nothing more that I would want.
“I could even see my father.”
The crowned prince has not visited his father for a while. He felt that everything was his fault. However, it would change from this moment. Since it was Ian, he would certainly heal the emperor, thought the prince.
‘I’ll trust and wait.’
‘Do what I can do.’
As a crowned prince of an empire. As the eldest son. The crowned prince’s steps became lighter. They were the lightest steps that he has taken in the recent times.
It has been several tens of days since Ledio, Ian’s designated alchemist, and Douglas have overtaken the imperial palace’s alchemist organization. When that news initially broke, Ragnar, the 5th prince felt threatened. Is it that Ian Page had returned? It was certainly a question worth delving into.
‘Certainly, it was an unwarranted concern.’
However, that concern was only out of fear. There have not been any events that have indicated it to be so. The whereabouts of Ian Page was still unknown, and his alchemists have not produced anything of value as of yet. Everything moved smoothly according to Ragnar’s plan.
‘Even the order has started to assist me to the fullest.’
From some time ago, even the Order of the Dragons has started to fully assist Ragnar. The half dragon man, the leader of the order and a great sorcerer, the one with the wings, would personally assist in monitoring the situation, including the whereabouts of Ian Page as well as the results of the new alchemist that were recommended by the Ivory Tower.
‘Now, it’s only a matter of time.’
The leader of the order has even assured him. Since there is no issue at all, do continue to move forward. Surely, there was nothing better than that assurance. He seemed more trustworthy than when he was being guarded by Herbert, the previous tower lord. Although he would be that much more difficult to throw away, it was more important to get rid of the impeding obstructionists at this time.
‘It would have been done much sooner if it weren’t for the princess.’
If there was a problem, it was the princess. Recently, even the crowned prince has joined forces. The two are guarding the emperor day and night. Therefore, it was difficult to administer the poison.
‘Such bothersome bastard and bitch.’
But, it was OK. The emperor was continually and slowly dying. That dogged life would be cut short soon. Soon, the end will be near.
Ragnar burst out in laughter. It was a loud laughter with subtle madness. He could no longer even feel sense of guilt.
‘I must check in today as usual.’
Ragnar visited the emperor every day. The emperor’s face turned distinctly paler each day. It was to check on the dying face. Of course, he didn’t forget to pick a few leaves. It has naturally become a routine.
‘If possible, before my eyes…..’
Ragnar threw away even the mask of a human. He has entered the emperor’s chamber.
However, it was noticeably different than the usual days. Neither the princess nor the crowned prince were seen anywhere. The old knight Dumpil Moret was not there either. Only the emperor was lying in the bed.
‘Where is everybody?’
Should I ask the guards at the entrance of the chamber? When he was thinking about it.
A medicine bottle, on the table, came into his view. It was a warm medicine bottle, as a warming spell was put on it. It was the medicine bottle, containing the herbal medicine.
‘It has not been administered yet?’
The absences of the crowned prince and the princess. There was only the herbal medicine in the room. He felt a bit suspicious. Yet, it was definitely a chance. The chance to administer the extreme poison in addition to the medicine. This is the time to end it all.
Ragnar’s shoulders shivered. He was feeling the leaves inside his sleeve.
‘What should I do?’
Should I just do it? Is that possible? A bit suspicious though? Every possible thought quickly flashed by.
There will be no proof. No witnesses. No way to find the poison either. There was only the herbal medicine. So, that’s the only thing that I gave to my father. The bedridden sick father and the warm herbal medicine. So, what is the problem? It is very normal. That’s right, it is normal.
‘He was already near death.’
It’s just that he will just die sooner than expected. There won’t be any problem. Of course, there could be a small suspicion. But, it will only be limited to the suspicion of the crowned prince and the princess. That much can be simply ignored. There is no proof, so then what suspicion?
‘This time for sure.’
Ragnar has finally decided. He took out the leaves from inside of his sleeve. Then he dropped them inside the herbal medicine whole. The leaves have dissolved away. There weren’t any changes in color or in smell. The ‘extremely poisonous’ herbal medicine that leaves no trace is finally completed.
“Huuugh! Hugh! Huuuuugh.”
Ragnar picked up the herbal medicine. He roughly let out air from his lungs. An extreme sense of nervousness came over him. Has the sense of guilt come back to life suddenly? No, that does not seem to be the reason.
“King, my father…..”
Finally, Ragnar stood before the emperor. The sound of breathing, from the sleeping emperor, was heard. Even the heartbeat was very regular. He was still strong, yet just couldn’t open his eyes.
“Even your….. Your heart is beating.”
Ragnar murmured in amazement. He moved to raise his father’s upper body first. It was so that he could give him a spoonful of the herbal medicine.
“Should you go to the other world…..”
Ragnar whispered in soft voice. At same time, he took a spoonful of the herbal medicine. The 5th prince’s mind has already been made up. There was not a hint of hesitation.
“Please, never forgive me, my father.”
He moved to force open his father’s mouth. He wanted to pour down the herbal medicine. It was certain that it wasn’t a difficult task. It was just that it wasn’t easy as his whole body was shivering.
“No need to be forgiven, nor did I want that.”
It was then.
It was a heavy voice as if it was being accompanied by the weight of steel. Still, there was certain level of grief in the voice. The emperor’s voice deeply echoed within the chamber.
“Is that so?”
The emperor, whom he thought was only dying. The emperor, whom he thought has reached the end. Terry Greenriver, the father of Ragnar. He fiercely opened his blood filled eyes.
Re-Edited by FlawFinder