Brendel and Her Royal Highness were still standing by the door and blood splattered against their faces to various degrees. The princess looked at Brendel’s blood-covered features and asked, “Viscount Cauldell, are you really willing to give up everything for Bessidine?”
No, everything else could be a reason, but Brendel swore that this had nothing to do with that. He turned around and saw that, in the nearby distance, Haruz was blushing to the tips of his ears because of what his sister said. Brendel sighed and answered, “Princess, I don’t think this is the time to declare my intentions… if I can, I will naturally take care of her highness. But the priority right now is to get out of here.”
But Princess Gryphine looked at him and shook her head. “You don’t understand. I am the knot that must be snipped off. If I don’t die, the conflict between the nobles and Arreck will never come to light and the kingdom will just fall further into decay, day by day, until one day it is consumed by fire —
“I tied the knot and I must be the one to release it. I am only worried about whether Bessidine can distinguish the people around her. I hope you can give me a clear answer, Viscount Cauldell.”
In history, there had been a rumor that Princess Gryphine had secretly reached out to the Wind Elves in order to counter Arreck. She sent a secret missive with the Elven emissaries, but the news leaked and stirred up the powerful duke’s wish for murder. Very soon after, on a ball very much like tonight’s ball, Arreck ordered an assassin to kill Her Royal Highness and then blamed the murder on Madara.
But afterwards nobody could find any evidence — except for that empty letter.
The secret missive the princess sent with the emissaries was blank. Some suspected that this was a trick from Kirrlutz and it was true that, after the assassination, investigations revealed that Kirrlutz was invovled. Even the Holy Cathedral of Fire wasn’t completely innocent.
But Brendel suddenly thought of another version of the truth.
“The blank letter that the Wind Elf emissaries brought back to elven courts was your plan to force Arreck’s hand, wasn’t it Princess?”
Princess Gryphine looked at him in slight surprise, “How did you know? Arreck already knows? No, no way. If he knew he wouldn’t choose to act –”
Brendel remained silent.
Arreck had been played.
The Acting Monarch, Her Royal Highness, used her death to set a trap for the sly old fox. Everything did happen exactly as she had predicted: Aouine broke out into civil war, the third War of the Black Roses, Haruz marrying Ellara, and the formation of the resistance forces in Aouine.
But he didn’t feel relieved, just furious. The Princess didn’t just play Arrek, she also fooled every player who supported her. He will never forget the night Monsterros sank into a sea of fire.
Or the dejected look on Bai Jia’s face as she left.
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